Many consulting professionals have imagined establishing an online consulting service as this career path appears to be becoming a booming industry- currently worth $250 billion. Some even believe consulting is the next easiest job description; all you need is to put out an ad, attract clients and make money. However, consulting isn't that simple; it is more demanding than you may imagine. There are hard skills for consulting you will need to function effectively. These hard skills may be particular to your consulting niche. For instance, a business consultant's skills would differ from a tutor consultant's. Beyond the hard skills, there are also soft skills for consulting like communication, time management, etc., that are vital to your job as a consultant.
Workee experts have outlined key skills for consulting that apply to every consultant, regardless of the niche you choose. As a bonus, we received some advice from real-life consultants that we believe will be useful in your consulting career.
What are the skills needed for consulting?
As already emphasized, choosing to consult as a career necessitates having key consulting skills that are in high demand by employers and clients, making you more competitive in the consulting market. There are numerous consulting skill sets, but many entrants lack the required consulting skills before starting this noble profession. They only want to learn after a few fails. This shouldn't be you.
Whether you work for a company or as an individual, you must be familiar with the core skills required of a consultant; for instance, an IT consultant should have the necessary IT consulting skills. Knowing this will aid in the development of a strong consulting skills Resume, which would result in the acquisition of more jobs. These are the top skills your consulting business will need to succeed:
Good collaborative skills
Conceptual thinking abilities
High management skills
Prioritizing your clients
Ability to solve problems
Problem-solving is a highly sought-after skill that should be on your consulting skill list, and it should appear on your resume if you want to get a consulting job.
If your question has always been what skills a business consultant needs to become a hot cake, problem-solving skills are one of the best answers. It is also one of the most valuable skills for strategy consulting.
The primary reason your clients seek your assistance as a Consultant is to aid them whenever they face a tough situation. They rely on your opinions and ideas to solve their businesses' challenges because they know you are an expert in the sector.
Clients are willing to pay any amount for your services if they are confident that you will solve their problems once they use your services. So, if you want to be the consultant who comes to mind when your clients are faced with a difficult problem that appears impossible to solve, you should work on honing your problem-solving skills.
Good collaborative skills
Consulting is a profession that allows you to work with various people to achieve specific goals and objectives. This is why collaborative skill is one of the core consulting skills. Your client may hire you to work with them or their employees to achieve a company-wide goal.
To achieve these goals, you must improve your ability to collaborate with various people, necessitating a high level of politeness, sociability, and listening skills. It is one of the top skills on a good consultant skills list.
According to research, good collaboration skills lead to good performance. This explains why clients place a high value on collaborative skills and will only hire consultants with a high level of collaborative ability to handle their projects. No professional Consultant who wants to succeed in his work will deny the importance of good collaborative skills to his work's success.
After identifying a solution to a client's problem, the most important thing is to present it to them in a way that is easy to comprehend. It would be beneficial if you communicated with your client with compassion. This shows a willingness to assist them regardless of financial gain.
Being empathetic allows them to relax a little and shed more light on the issues they are dealing with, allowing you to assist them better. Every consultant should possess this essential soft skill. Excellent communication skills are also required for interaction with your team. Poor communication is thought to cause 28% of employees failure to deliver on time. While 86% of corporate executives, educators, and employees blame workplace failures on ineffective communication and poor collaboration.
You'll need excellent verbal and written communication skills to advance your consulting career. This is one of the top consulting skills required. A business consultant's resume should emphasize this skill if they want to land new clients and keep them coming back for more. Excellent communication skills help you gain new clients and retain existing ones by building confidence in your abilities and company.
Here's what Diane Caimares-Gildea, Co-Founder of Maximum Wage, a resume writing and career coaching company helping job seekers uncover their path to a higher salary, has to say:
"Control the conversation. Whether you are speaking to a potential client or a current client, you want to make sure you are communicating with them often, providing expectations, and asking questions that help you work within your services. When I was beginning my entrepreneur coaching career, my biggest setback was changing my services to meet clients' requests. This can cause burnout, additional stress, the opportunity for clients to ask for more requests, and the freelancer to be undercompensated. Instead, show your client how they can reach desired results with what you're an expert in and why your set of services is best for them. As a career coach, one of my favorite questions to ask in my initial consult is "What's been going on with your job search so far?" This allows your (potential) client to describe their frustrations and what they may need out of your services. The last question I ask is "What is your next step? After our call, what direction do you think you'll be going in?" Most clients let you know how soon they'd like to get started on solving their needs."
Diane has worked as a former recruiter and has featured on Indeed.com, Jobscan, and LinkedIn.
Conceptual thinking abilities
As a professional, one of the soft skills for consultants that you should possess is thinking conceptually. This will allow you to think more deeply and allow your client to tell you everything they are facing by asking provocative questions that allow them to think critically.
In the consulting skill lists section of your resume, conceptual thinking is one of the important skills for a consultant that clients are looking for. So, if you have an excellent conceptual thinking ability that can help you solve problems in a short time frame, the likelihood that a client will hire you is very high.
"To understand what skills you need to succeed as a consultant, it is helpful to understand how leading consulting firms evaluate their staff. Most firms use a variation of these three key evaluation criteria:
Analytical abilities - How good are you at solving problems? Can you create insightful data analyses in Excel or the tool of your choice? Are your contributions analytical and structured?
Team abilities - Are you a team player? Do you invest the time to develop more junior colleagues on the team? Do you add to a positive and inclusive environment in the team room?
Client abilities - Are your clients appreciating you as a thought partner? Do you see your clients as data sources, or can you co-create solutions and get their buy-in? Are you great at leading meetings and communication?
These skills are crucial to succeed as a consultant. Working on developing these skills will be instrumental for your consulting career. "
As a consultant, your clients may not be completely satisfied with your services at first; this is why being a professional and successful consultant necessitates being adaptable and ready to make changes as needed by the client.
Adapting to the preferred conditions of clients is a top consulting skill that will set you apart and make you the best candidate a client could ever get. This will assist you in gaining new clients, retaining existing ones, and being recommended for jobs by your clients.
Suppose you are a new entrant into the consulting pool or a practicing professional with many years of experience looking to improve your consulting game. In that case, flexibility is one of the key consulting skills you should consider having.
High management skills
Management ability is one of the essential skills for management consulting that anyone should have before embarking on a consulting career. Almost all of the time, your clients hire you if they or their workers believe they or their staff cannot handle a particular problem in their company. Because this is what you'll be compensated for, you should refine your skills and make sure they're prominently highlighted on your consulting CV to improve your employment chances.
Working within a time frame specified by your client or employee while still achieving the project's goals and objectives is one of the challenges you will face as a consultant. This is where having excellent time management skills comes in handy.
Everyone likes an employee who can get things done without wasting time, including your clients and employers, so you should not take management skills lightly if you are serious about landing a consulting job.
Prioritizing your clients
Having all of the top skills for consultants is not enough if your clients are not being valued and treated with the highest level of sympathy. If you are a management consultant, your management consulting skills are incomplete if you are not prioritizing your clients and their businesses.
Prioritizing clients, according to research, results in higher average customer profitability and a higher return on investment. So, if you want to rise to the top and keep your clients coming back, you must prioritize them when providing your services.
When you're trying to come up with a solution to the problem they hired you to handle, think about how it will help your clients.
When working with clients, you must show empathy and show that you are interested in helping them solve difficulties in a way that benefits them and their business.
Extra tips from an expert
We asked an established expert for the essential skills needed for running a successful consulting business. Check precious practical tips and tricks to know where to begin.
Angela Civitella is a Certified business coach with more than 20 years of proven ability as a negotiator, strategist, and problem-solver. Guest contributor for local and regional TV for ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX. Featured published contributor for EAPA, Bizdaily, Canadian Government Executive, Inc. Career Girl, Women in Retail says that
"Web assets: as much as you need to prioritize your business with traditional steps ( incorporations, banking, office lease, etc..), web assets today are equal in value to traditional soft and hard costs. Website, social media, branding, and imagery are vital if you want to be an online consultant and succeed.
Know your competition- what are others in your field doing? What are they offering? How did they succeed in standing out? Which markets are they in? What makes them stand out? All important questions you should ask yourself about what you want to do. Better you know the answer than someone else.
Protect your brand- put all the necessary mechanisms in place that will not allow your brand to be compromised. Trademarks, copyright, registered logos, and google alerts whenever there is an attempt to compromise your content.
Keep researching actively- stay on top of moving and changing trends. The only way to stay ahead of the curve is to understand and have a vision for trends and tendencies. The research will give you that third eye."
Above all, putting your clients first begins with useful solutions for meeting scheduling, service billing, and so on that are simple for both you and your clients to understand.
Workee is the ideal solution for professionals looking for an efficient way to organize business processes in one place. With this platform, consultants can work with clients directly via video calls, book and schedule sessions, create and send bills for services, handle taxes, etc.