How to Choose a Consultant
Choosing a consultant almost feels like choosing a therapist. Before I reached out to my first consultant, I must have vetted them for over a year. Reading all their posts, understanding their perspective and making sure they were legit. The point I finally made the leap, completed that first lead capture form, I wasn’t even sure what I was looking for. At that time I was in a growing practice, everything was going well but I felt like I was missing that sense of community. As cheesy as it sounds, I felt lonely. Very lonely. At that time I didn’t know what my options were, and didn’t even know what a Membership Community or Mastermind Group was! I was really able to see that in the previous two years I had dug my heels in, had my head in the sand and was really hell bent on figuring out my private practice thing. Seems crazy, right? Sounds crazy to me now.
I searched high and low, asking everyone I knew online if there was a place I could go to learn how to further scale my group practice. Crickets. I found nothing. Maybe I wasn’t looking hard enough or maybe I just wasn’t looking in the right places but I did find a group that was focused on big ideas. At the time I didn’t have a big idea, but the sense of community within my group was good enough for me. It helped me to understand there were, in fact, others out there like me that were also looking for that same sense of support.
So, how do I choose a consultant?
It seems like there are so many! If I had it to do anything in my experience over again I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m thankful for my experience and was able to use it to do something that I really didn’t even have in the plans. I do, however, have some helpful feedback for finding the right consultant to fit your needs!
What’s their Purpose? To me, purpose, is a pretty big deal. You can get a feel for what a person’s purpose is and why they’re doing what they’re doing. Do they have a passion for helping people, are they bored and want to do more than just run their practice, do they feel like they have a unique perspective to offer to the world? Whatever it is, how do you feel about it? Do you feel aligned with it? Can you get onboard? If so, this might be a good consultant for you.
Do they have Proof in their Pudding? This is a big one, and I mean BIG one. Anyone can call themselves a consultant. Heck, when I first started my private practice four years ago, I also started my “consulting” business because I thought I knew what I was doing. I didn’t. I couldn’t have been more naive. I hosted one conference and said, no thanks. It’s kind of the same story with my private practice. I started and then realized I needed more experience to backup my claims and have proof in my pudding. If you’re looking for a consultant who can help you analyze your financials? How does their practice reflect this expertise? What content do they have out into the world that support your needs? It’s not just about the talk they talk but have they walked the walk that you plan to take? Do they understand how to manage cashflow because they’ve actually done it, or do they just know how to talk about it because they’ve heard others talking about it. If you’re looking for a consultant who specializes in marketing, check them out! What are they doing that you like? What are they doing that you want to do? Are they successfully at it? If someone’s claim to fame is growing a Facebook audience, and they have 100 followers, would you hire them. My advice here is, check out your consultant’s pudding!
Are they an Expert in the area they’re consulting in? I’ll be the first to admit, sometimes I struggle to even call myself a consultant. Maybe it’s that Imposter Syndrome or something else, who knows, but it’s the truth. Could I say that I consult about online marketing? Sure, but that’s not my speciality. Could I tell people that I consult about billing? Yes, but I’m definitely not an expert. I can confidently tell people that I understand strategic systems that help people scale their businesses quickly and efficiently. Look for a consultant that is truly an expert in their consulting field and have the practice or experience to back it up. You are paying for expertise so expect it!
Who’s doing what you want to do? Look for someone that not only has the lifestyle that you want to live, but has the type of practice you want to have. People don’t get where they are by chance, they get there because they’re good at what they do. Could I help you grow a multi-million dollar self-pay practice based solely on digital marketing and online strategy? Maybe, but that’s definitely not my expertise and I might even be doing you a disservice. I actually don’t even think I would accept you as a client because I happen to know another consultant, like Joe Sanok, that give you much more industry-specific feedback that has the potential to launch your practice forward much faster than I could.
Do you prefer a MIndset or Content approach? Some consultants focus more on mindset paradigms, big picture concepts, framework and perspective. These consultants are awesome because if you’re still in that phase, or going back to that phase to readjust what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, this is what you need. By the way, this is not me. This is definitely not my strength but there are amazing consultants that have this in their wheelhouse. I would consider myself more of the meat and potatoes consultant. I like the nuts and bolts, the nitty gritty, the dirty version of how to make things work. I like to look at systems, analyze them and determine how to tweak or revitalize the process in a way that is not only scalable but much more efficient! Think about what kind of person you need at what point in your practice, and head off in that direction!
If you’re looking for a consultant or coach, that’s amazing! I applaud your initiative in making that commitment. I would encourage you to immerse yourself in the content and community of the consultant(s) you’re interested in working with. Evaluate their purpose and their pudding and see what “feels” right for you! Good news is, there’s lots to choose from!