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10 ways to become a business consultant

Lou Markstrom | April 23, 2014
In the first of a series of monthly blogs, Lou Markstrom provides 10 useful tips on how IT pros can gain the consulting skills they need to succeed.

7. Ask good questions

Ask questions to uncover the issue; don't rush in with a fix too soon.

6. Be diplomatic

Learn to be respectful even if you disagree. No one likes to be made to feel wrong.

5. Target your message to your audience

Speak to their level of expertise and in their language. Avoid appearing arrogant and condescending.

4. Talk about what you can do

People want assistance in solving problems; they don't want reasons, justifications or excuses. Focus on finding solutions to problems and stop talking about what you can't do. This is a sure-fire way to close down a conversation.

3. Build trust

When their making technology decisions, your customers need to work with someone they trust — a partner who will help them reach their desired outcomes. It takes time to build and can be lost in a moment. If trust breaks down, don't ignore it. Ask the client what they need to rebuild it.

2. Educate

Lead through teaching. Educate your clients to be better consumers. The more you teach them, the more their confidence in you will increase.

1. Get in their world first

Avoid taking the position of "being right"; understand their perspective first.

Like a good financial planner, doctor or contractor, the IT professional needs to become that kind of partner — someone with the required expertise and also the ability to apply it in a way that makes them an invaluable asset to the business.

IT is such a large part of what makes modern organisations tick, so you really have no other choice but to develop the business acumen and human interaction skills that will make you a trusted partner.


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