How to buy consultancy

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HOME — I had a good chat with a nice guy named Paul this week. He asked ‘how we worked’, and again I recognised that buying consultancy can be a daunting experience for people. And I hate to think that.

I can’t say that every experience will be the same, but here are a few of the things that we at Able and How see as fundamental anyway.

1. You can’t be charged for talking to us

You’ll never be billed for giving us a call. We will talk to you any time, about anything. Before anyone can ask you for any money you’ll need to agree a ‘scope of work’ and sign a contract. There’s probably a lot of talk that will happen before that.

2. We love talking to people

Consultants (probably even lawyers, doctors and accountants) learn a lot by talking to people who are interested in what we do. So every conversation is good for us. It’s only by talking that we learn about you and about what our client-base might require. In one case I talked to one lovely lady for 4 years before we started working together! There are many of you I have been talking to a lot longer than that… and I still love it!

3. We never start work without a contract

We can’t start billing you or working for you without your permission. That means if you even want to talk about working with us, we would spend time discussing cost, timing, how we’ll work together, and many other things. (Don’t worry, we can talk about money without making anyone uncomfortable.) More often than not it’s our clients who want us to start without a contract. But we find things always work better once we’ve had a contract conversation and signatures all around.

4. That doesn’t have to be painful

Don’t let all the foregoing make you think that we can’t start working for you today! We can do that. We have ‘scoped’ out work, agreed everything and started working in 30 minutes before. (Believe me, we’d make it happen if you needed it!)

Since I have been in the consultancy business there has definitely been an increase in the involvement of Procurement Departments. And I don’t mind that. Procurement Departments are professional buyers. That’s not a bad place for us to be. We can handle it.

5. It doesn’t have to be expensive

I know this is always a concern. And professional services of any sort are never sold at Pound-saver, but there’s no need to assume that you can’t afford it. Just ask.

6. Try it… you’ll like it…

Hopefully some readers who have worked with us in the past can attest to this, but I can’t see how businesses can lose from employing consultants judiciously. We can bring ideas and insights that are much harder to create in-house. We can tell you what we have seen work in the thousands of instances we’ve done things before.

No one will hypnotise you and pick your pocket. We report weekly in writing on what we have achieved and keep you up to date on costs. We’ll start with a plan that tells you when we stop working, and we’ll spend a lot of time making sure that we transfer as many skills as we can to you and your colleagues.

Questions? Call. We can talk.


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