Finding the right consultants is critical to your success.

As a working consultant, I come across a panoply of business requests. Akin to résumés, few of these requests offer much insight for its intended audience. Whether you’re looking for a designer, developer, event planner, marketer, or other consulting professional, you want to discover the right people quickly to help your business thrive. I believe these ideas can contribute to attracting ideal consultants.

Offer as much information for potential consultants as possible. Imagine you received a request like this:

“We need help with online marketing. We’re a small business. We want more business and customers. The job can be short or long-term. Compensation varies by experience. We need results.”

As a consultant, would I take my working time to reply to this application? Heck no! I have no idea why or how I can help this organization. Unfortunately, I see “potential opportunities” described similar to the above every day.

Hiring a consultant is similar to shopping for a home. The needs of the buyer must be clear. Requests I often receive are akin to saying, “I want to buy a house.” OK… Tell me about your needs. How many people will be living in this house? Do you have kids? Do you have pets? Do you need a yard? What style of home interests you – rancher, split-level, side-by-side, Tudor, etc.? How much is your budget? What’s your property tax budget (hello New Jersey)?

I firmly believe that the format for any request should be in this order.

WHY

Why do you need help? Who is your audience? Who are you trying to reach and convert to customers or clients? To whom do you provide service? Why are you looking now? What areas have been successes? Which areas have not met expectations and why?

HOW

How have you prepared for success? How does your organization intend to achieve its goals while partnered with a consultant? By this, I don’t mean, “hire a consultant.” That’s a result. If you understand why you need help, it follows that you know how to accomplish your goals. How do you intend to utilize a resource best? How, precisely, do you expect to work together with a consultant?

WHAT

What do you need help with, specifically? “Content Marketing” is not a what. It’s an area. A what is, “I need to funnel back visitors to my eCommerce Website who have placed items in their cart but have not executed a purchase.” Have you developed a transparent budget that is realistic? How many hours a week is help needed? Do you need a consultant to work on a W2 versus a 1099 basis? Can the consultant work from a home office or do they need to be on location, or possibly both? Often, to attract ideal consultants organizations work with professionals remotely.

Imagine a request more like this:

“I have a blog and website that reviews and sells cat toys. I’m making more income than I ever expected and decided to focus on growing this business. I have marketing and business experience, but not specifically with an eCommerce brand.  I don’t know how many Website visitors I have now. I don’t know how to track conversions correctly nor how to retarget visitors with AdWords and Facebook advertising. I don’t fully understand my real cost per conversion. I’ve tried email marketing but need help with automation, list management, A/B testing, and analytics. I also need help leveraging social media sufficiently to get my cat toys and reviews in front of as many people as possible. Can you help me accomplish these things? I can afford $xxxx a month over the next three months for help part-time, and if we hit the targets I believe are obtainable, I would be interested in a longer engagement.”

The above explains why help is needed, plus how and what plans have been considered to succeed. As a consultant, I understand the time commitment involved, compensation, and possible growth opportunities. I firmly believe that you will attract ideal experts by expressing why, how, and what you need – in that order, while being clear about your needs and opportunities.