Implied in Consultancy. Almost 60 Tasks for Free.

For my consultancy clients, what I do is quite clear. However, for some of my friends, acquaintances, close people, relatives, it may seem something very ”light” for me to have individual face-to-face or Skype sessions, where I am paid 70 Euros for 60 minutes. About this consultancy, I wrote here and here but it is not like that at all.

Thus, I have chosen to write this post in order to describe, both for those who don’t know what business or personal development (personal, professional) consultancy work implies, and for those who are at the beginning, and think that it is something so simple, that they could do it as well.

For each consultancy session, there is a certain preparation which is important for me to perform. This preparation can be different – from writing an e-mail to reading books of hundreds of pages, or preparing reports of tens of pages. It also depends – from client to client, from objective to objective, but you will further find the main categories and tasks which are included, indirectly, in the cost of consultancy, but never directly invoiced to the client (at least, for the time being).

I may sometimes work for a whole day in order to get prepared for a consultancy session with a client. Here is a part of the actions that may be required within this preparation to be made by a consultant.

(keep reading ↓)

 

If you are a consultant, then you must be prepared to do the following, at any time, whether day or night:

 

Exceeding resistances

  • Remember the time when you worked in MLM or insurance sales that any refusal would get you closer to a ”yes”. Also, remember that not all people are motivated to develop themselves, some of them wait to get in trouble to remember the value of the services you offer. 

  • Don’t get mad at your client if, in the morning of the day when you have the session he can no longer join it because his cat got sick because a pipe has broken, something unpredicted has come up, and he could no longer attend the session. Maybe your schedule just got deranged, but you are understanding since you are a consultant, right?

  • Don’t get mad at the client who postpones his sessions for weeks, or months on end. It doesn’t matter if you had already prepared what you wanted to work with him, and maybe he doesn’t even care about that, who knows?

  • Don’t disturb the clients who told you that they had insights, that you are the best, and who don’t answer your calls to merely give you a testimonial. They are way too successful to think of you, the rigorous consultant!

  • Succeed in being perseverant without appearing to be annoying.

 

Managing your time in order to attend your sessions

  • Wake up at 4 o’clock in the morning for a session with a client living in another time zone.

  • Call the client early in the morning to be sure that he woke up, and he remembered that he had a session with you via Skype.

  • Plan and change meetings. Give up professional opportunities that come up on the spot in order to comply with the already set sessions.

 

Managing tasks

  • Prepare materials for techniques (papers, cardboard sketches, diagrams, ball pens, crayons, different objects).

  • Delegate work to your collaborators (for instance, design, translations, proofreading, transcripts), and check the results of your collaborators’ work for your client.

  • Check whether your clients have received the emails that you sent to them, and remind them to check their e-mail account.

  • Send the materials to your client via Skype, Facebook, e-mail, mailbigfile, Google Drive, in order to be sure that (s)he gets them, and then don’t be surprised if (s)he didn’t have time in 3 days to read the 3 pages on which you worked for 3 hours (the good news is that (s)he has time to do this until the next time).

  • Explain to your client why you can’t instantaneously deal with the results of a quiz that you had asked him/her to fill in the previous week, given the fact that you still have some work to do for the client.

  • Go out and photocopy the material if your multifunctional machine has broken down.

  • Keep track and update the excel files in Google Sheets (one or several for each client, several times a week or month).

  • Call your clients to see if they fulfilled the objectives that are important to them.

 

Accounting

  • Issue and re-issue invoices. Give accounting explanations taken from the Fiscal Code to your clients’ accountants who don’t have updated information.

  • Remind your clients to pay you every week on time.

  • Issue cancellation invoices to the potential clients who have changed their mind for (objective or less objective) reasons, and avoid cursing them after you have already paid for the related VAT.

  • Politely explain to your client that there is one thing to exceed by 3 minutes the time allotted to a scheduled 60-minute consultancy session, and another thing for him to take up extra 20 minutes of your time.

  • Fill in statements almost monthly, go and submit them to the Tax Office.

 

Documentation

  • Get informed on the industry, field, niche in which your client operates. If you know the niche, update your knowledge on the public. If you don’t know the niche, see what it is all about, and which the system features are.

  • Explore the statistical and analytical records for your client’s website.

  • Check what the client’s competition is doing, and analyze.

  • Search for resources for your client’s problems, suited for him/her: books, articles, researches, documentaries, videos. If you find something perfectly suited, but (s)he doesn’t want to read it, divide it, so that you could “spoon-feed” it to him/her.

  • Search through your technique file, look for diagram X of book Y that you read who-knows how many years ago, search for that research article that you wrote for God knows what conference that took place who knows how many years ago, and see if it fits. If you find it after an hour of searching, and it’s not good, look for something else.

  • Bookmark using tags the links that might be useful for certain clients, and send them those links via e-mail or social networks.

  • Search for that Facebook post which you found on X’s page that perfectly suits Y.

  • Learn how to use new software programs that you need for your clients, or that your clients use and you must command.

 

Innovation

  • Design new working techniques or adapt instruments for the needs of each client.

  • Find written reasons and instruments conceived for the client’s limiting beliefs.

  • Conceive valuable strong questions that would support the client in meeting his/her needs.

  • Conceive questionnaires, and then explain to the client how to use or fill them in.

  • Express creative solutions to the objectives of potential clients – yours and your clients’ clients. Assign at least 15 minutes for each objection. Multiply by the number of objections. Multiply by the number of products/services. Multiply by the number of clients. Now go ahead and calculate the time!

  • If it happens, explain why the copywriting received from the client for a campaign that is to be launched the next day could very well be thrown to the bin, and you must do everything again from the beginning.

  • Search through your creativity bag in order to find or invent the ideal job for a client who has about 10 talents and keeps refusing employers because they are too incompetent to pass an employment interview. Find reasons to encourage him/her that eventually, it would be easier for him/her and more productive for humanity if (s)he were a freelancer.

 

Editing:

  • Perform assessments, make calculations, calculate scorings, and conceive clear and correct excel files.

  • Make sketches, demonstrations, case studies, and comparative tables.

  • Check the client’s homework. Correct, take notes, and prepare work techniques.

  • Correct the spelling mistakes made by the clients in the materials, and politely remind them, if the case may be, to study the Romanian or English language some more. I accept that about myself as I accept it about other people.

  • Send the homework to the client, with feedback (whether in writing, audio, or video comment).

  • Write articles on the topics that your clients are preoccupied with so that they could understand and apply solutions irrespective of you. Don’t be mad when your articles get to become so good, that some consider that they no longer need to take consultancy sessions.

  • Produce promotional materials for your own services, so that you would get new clients.

 

Simplification, clarification

  • Send your client a summary of what you have done so far, what it is to be done from now on, what progresses (s)he has made, and what (s)he has left until (s)he reaches his/her objective, and don’t be surprised if (s)he doesn’t read it.

  • Prepare the summarising tables, so that they would be as short as possible (because the client doesn’t have time to read the details), and then spend an hour and a half to explain to them in detail because your clients have not understood them.

  • Send your client a follow-up and reminders of what (s)he has to do after certain sessions.

  • Explain to your client in writing (not audio), via e-mail, how to speak on the phone with his/her clients, so that he would have the text in front of him/her, in case (s)he loses himself/herself during the conversation.

  • Change and personalize the training materials, so that they would be adapted to the consultancy needs.

  • Find the passages proving what you know what can be found in a book that the client has superficially read.

  • Explain to the client in your words what (s)he can also read in an automatically generated electronic specialized report.

  • Translate specialized terms from a different language, and explain them to him/her. Actually, be a walking dictionary.

  • Find for the client well-suited courses that (s)he would take for his/her identified courses.

 

Face other roles

  • Calm the client down over the phone, so that (s)he wouldn’t have a panic attack before delivering a speech in public for which (s)he hasn’t prepared.

  • Attend to blockages and traumas that your clients taking personal development consultancy sessions might have, and won’t go into therapy for.

  • Log on to your client’s computer, and see why his/her Skype connection isn’t working. Teach him/her how to insert the earphone and microphone plugs into the right slots. Provide troubleshooting services and clean his/her computer of viruses, so that (s)he can speak to you. Pay for international phone charges if you can’t manage.

  • Go ahead and restart your router when your internet connection just broke down precisely when you were talking about an essential matter with your client via Skype. Remind yourself of your Internet provider, look at the little green light, and hope that it would blink soon, while you are anxiously looking at your watch.

  • Explain to your client who comes home from his/her multinational company job at 9 or 10 PM the fact that, if (s)he works overtime, (s)he will not receive a medal reading: “the best employee who hasn’t kicked the bucket at work” when (s)he is laid off.

 

And all of these, for FREE. Clients will pay ZERO Euros for all of these. This work of mine is not paid for because according to my system only the actual consultancy hours and the editing of promotional materials are paid. My clients don’t even know that some of these are behind my actual consultancy sessions. I don’t even know how I should account for them, especially considering the fact that I can’t know how long many of them will take, or if they are necessary. It wouldn’t be fair if I included them in the invoice without asking the client first, without explaining to him/her why they are there. Many people think that these are implied and natural. Some actually are. It’s just that they take time, especially when they add up to about 10 clients and collaborators that I work for in a week on several directions/projects.

Thank you in advance for your understanding.

If you haven’t already had this experience, request a free 1-hour consultancy session! 

Marcus Victor Grant

Text Copyright © Marcus Victor Grant 2017-present. Translation by Cristiana Brezeanu of the article “Implicit în consultanță. Aproape 60 de sarcini gratis.published in Romanian at the 29th of March 2017 on Discerne. Text Copyright © Marcus Victor Grant, all rights reserved. 

One thought on “Implied in Consultancy. Almost 60 Tasks for Free.

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