The Ability to Deliver Results in the Business Consultant Company

The ability to deliver great results is what separates successful consulting companies from those that simply fade away. Delivering results is what you are hired to do. Whether you are a small safety consulting business, with only you and a partner, or a thriving group of financial consultants, delivering results is key to your success. No one intentionally hires a consultant that cannot get the job done, but there are consulting companies that end up doing just that. These consultants win bids and proposals, but cannot deliver what the client needed. Continual failure to deliver less than the desired outcome will result in declining business and the erosion of your reputation as a consultant.

We will discuss quite a few characteristics and traits you can turn into opportunities you can use to drive great results, and actually grow and build your client list, because you do deliver results.

Let's discuss customer service and innovation, first. These are two of the greatest driving factors in your business success. It's no secret customer service and customer satisfaction go hand in hand. No matter what business you are in, you need customers. Businesses spend billions of dollars per year attracting and retaining customers. You will spend time and money on marketing and advertising, as well. Successful consulting companies work in the mindset using a "customer for life" philosophy.

Customer Service and Innovation

Customer Service

Innovation is also a quality characteristic that sets you apart from the competition. What is considered innovation? Services and products that offer a higher level of performance and quality that was previously unavailable. What does your consulting company offer that others do not? What sets you apart, and what do you do that is innovative?

Clients appreciate working with consultants that make the process easier through communication, automation, or innovative techniques. Look at it from a customer service standpoint. When you purchase goods and services, you expect a quality product, at a reasonable price, with great service. That's exactly what clients expect of you. If you intend to grow your consulting business you need to be the consultant who provides the best results with the greatest of ease.

Let's take a look at some customer service factors you use as a consultant. These will help you design a client experience that is tailored to meet their needs.

Listen to your customer to design the solutions that are most important to them.

Delivering results quite often means delivering to your clients valuable techniques and tips that they simply don't receive from the other consultants. An example of this is "blue ocean strategy." A blue ocean strategy focuses on creating an uncontested market space, instead of focusing on beating the competition in production sales of existing products and services. Blue ocean strategies focus more on value innovation. The key principles of blue ocean innovation include:

  • Building execution into strategy

  • Overcoming key organizational hurdles

  • Reconstructing market boundaries

  • Developing the right strategic sequence

  • Focusing on the big picture strategy, not just the numbers

  • Reaching beyond existing demand

An example of a blue ocean strategy that is used as a common case study is the company Cirque du Soleil. They were able to create a hybrid between circus and theater. Their focus point was using comfort, sophistication, and elegance with a theatrical plot to serve clients who didn't exist in the past. Their focus was an untapped demographic market of customers who quite often paid significantly more for tickets than the average attendee of a typical circus. They simply found an untapped, nonexistent market and seized the opportunity. As a consultant, these are the type of services you want to deliver to your client. You want to be known for your ability to deliver the best results, and also provide results that other companies simply cannot.


In addition to providing great customer service that is innovative (the two key areas), there are several core competencies you must have to be in a position to deliver the best results.

We will discuss personal competencies you need as a consultant, and competencies you need as a consulting firm. As we look into these, think in terms of your overall strategy for your consulting business. Where do you want your company to be, in terms of size and client base? What are the guiding values you have within your consulting business? Do you possess these key traits?

  • Integrity

  • Respect

  • Customer-first attitude

  • Performance focused

These are some of the core competencies you need as a consultant, and your employees need if they are consulting for your company. Your competencies determine how well you deliver results. The more competent you are, the better positioned you are to deliver your customers the best results.

  • Planning and organization

  • Communication skills

  • Project management

  • Critical thinking skills

  • Results oriented

  • Problem solving

  • Knowledge and expertise

  • Change agent

  • Commitment and drive

  • Customer strategy and marketing

Delivering the best results many times hinges on having specific competencies as a consultant, which relate to meeting outcomes and delivering results. Consultants who consistently deliver results do so through a number of methods and personal qualities.

Let us begin with character. The consultants who deliver the best results are honest and have a high level of integrity. These individuals display technical expertise, professional demeanor, and innovation in solving problems and resolving issues. They have excellent interpersonal skills and are able to collaborate with teams and develop relationships which motivate and inspire. They are also good communicators.

Individuals who deliver results, do so by taking personal initiative, establishing goals, and focusing on the results.

Delivering results is accomplished by focusing on six key areas: planning and organization, achieving results, problem-solving, communication, leadership, and innovation.

As a consultant, you are responsible for planning and organizing workload, determining the focus of the work, and the key deliverables. You will also determine what resources are necessary, and what time requirements are necessary to develop and present your report.

  • Planning and organization is the ability to skillfully manage all aspects that will initiate and cohesively organize a consulting review for your client. These are details such as setting initial meetings, reviewing client documents, meeting with key employees, reviewing strategic plans, etc.

  • Achieving results is the ability to influence a strategy change, using your skills and expertise.

  • Problem-solving is the ability to analyze and synthesize data into information that helps determine trends and allows business owners to make decisions.

  • Communication is the ability to convey information with clarity and understanding in a persuasive manner.

  • Leadership is the ability to manage relationships to deliver shared goals.

  • Innovation is the ability to provide new ways of working to offer a wide range of approaches in response to complex and changing circumstances. Innovation includes the ability to generate creative approaches to delivering strategies.

Additional ways you can deliver the best results include:

  • Provide the customer with segmentation, meaning focus their target areas for them. You help determine and refine their target areas by showing them where to focus, providing them an advantage over their competitors, not focusing on these areas.

  • Help your clients to focus on pricing capabilities and revenue opportunities they can capitalize on. Pricing is an underdeveloped area for a number of companies.

  • Help your clients to effectively focus their sales through customized solutions containing a combination of strategic and operational improvements to remove variability in under-performing marginally performing sales areas.

  • Help your clients to reduce the barriers to innovation by helping them better differentiate the product and meet customer needs.

  • Help your clients to develop branding strategies by elevating brand positioning that has the highest returns.

  • Help your clients to build loyalty with their customers in good times and bad through the use of loyal customers who are active with your business.

Delivering results may also include delivering quality. In this respect, as the consultant, you are responsible for:

  • Measuring organizational improvement

  • Monitoring progress

  • Ensuring employees are clear about the organization's goals to improve the quality of services

  • Assisting to ensure resources are in place to help the organization reach its goals

  • Aligning quality to make sure that all levels of the system relate.

  • Rewarding and celebrating improvements when goals are met

  • Spreading and sustaining goals

Quality improves with the reduction in variability of process execution. Some of the fundamental quality measures include lead times, resources, space requirements, defects and errors, customer complaints, increased productivity, reduction in cost, improved market share, reduction of waste, and employee satisfaction improvement. You can impact the delivery of results significantly by focusing on quality. By improving your quality, you are able to provide your clients the competitive edge that comes from refinement of processes, and improving the variables that help them to provide the customer needs.

From this perspective you are responsible for measuring customer service and customer satisfaction, in terms of delivering results. Some of the difficulties for measuring customer satisfaction relate to the fact that customer satisfaction is a blend of qualitative and quantitative measures. Qualitative data is data that is not ranked numerically or in numerical comparisons. Quantitative data is data that can numerically be manipulated or calculated. When trying to measure qualitative aspects, one problem is balancing the variety of qualitative aspects being measured, with the response rates that realistically can be expected from customers.

Each client expects results from your consulting company. In order to grow your business, you manage a continuous cycle of client engagement, which includes developing insightful marketing packages, showing potential clients that you can add value to their operation, acquiring the customers, actively engaging in the customer experience, receiving payment for services, and developing future customer loyalty.

Delivering good results and value to your clients to meet their objectives involves a degree of project management. Many consultants do use project management methodologies to manage the key deliverables, as they deliver results. Common statistics for project failure claim that 90 percent of projects are delivered late, 50 percent of them are over budget, 50 percent fail to meet the objectives, and 30 percent are canceled prior to completion. That shows, from a consultant perspective, that there is a high degree of project failure. As your goal is to deliver results, you can learn from the failure points of existing industry projects. The success for delivering results lies in the competency of the person managing the consulting project. Good consultants have these traits as the catalyst for delivering results:

  • They set clear direction.

  • They are good with relationship management.

  • They effectively manage consulting budgets.

  • They have a solid understanding of one or more business and project methodologies.

  • They are results focused.

  • They anticipate issues and have contingencies in place.

  • They frequently provide status reports.

Never fear, there are a number of activities and tools you can use to assist in delivering results. Activities include: collecting process data, taking measurements, developing process maps, developing measurement systems, analyzing data, defining performance objectives, identifying value, determining root causes, listing potential solutions, testing pilots, verifying improvement, documenting standard procedures, and developing policies. The tools you can use are: data collection plans, bench-marking, control charts, design of experiments, return on investment, failure mode analysis, Pareto charts, signal levels, value streams, hypothesis testing, statistical analysis, brainstorming, development of decision matrices, capability studies, and implementation plans.

Your job is to make sure the right resources and activities are applied at just the right time. The best consultants at delivering results understand the objectives of the business -- both stated and implied. They have effective relationships between the management and employees for messaging, and a clear and proactive manner. They ensure that the client company has the tools they need and focus only on the issues that are within the scope of the consulting agreement. In this manner, they monitor to ensure that employees are not distracted by issues that do not affect the problems you are trying to resolve. They think in the future tense, and develop actionable activities that can be embedded into operations and are not dated as soon as they are implemented. They drive full integration for systems from the concept to the completion of activities. And, they ensure that the plans they develop are agile and can be adjusted for some flexibility to reach the end goal.

True excellence is driven through engagement and conversation. Consultants provide the catalyst energy to ensure change efforts are adopted throughout the company, and are routinely measured and monitored by all employees.

Summary Reminders and Takeaways

This article centered on delivering results as a consulting business owner, allowing you to grow your client list. Two of the greatest factors that affect delivering results are customer service and innovation. As a consultant, you want to develop a "customer for life" philosophy. Some of the customer service factors you will use to design a great client experience that is tailored to meet their needs, include listening to your customers' needs, designing novel ideas, and development of products that are more effective, and a better solution to meeting requirements.

Innovation includes developing products and services that the competition does not have. Blue ocean innovation is able to help consultants do just that, by developing products and services for clients that simply do not exist in the marketplace. This allows you to be a differentiator in offering services, rather than working within the constraints of the red ocean marketplace. This is a type of niche service offering. Key principles for this type of innovation include building your execution into strategy, overcoming key organizational hurdles, restructuring market boundaries, developing the right strategic sequence, focusing on the big picture, and reaching beyond existing demand.

In addition to customer service and innovation, competence is a necessary requirement for every consultant. There are a number of competencies that you need, in order to deliver the best results to your clients. Character traits are important, such as integrity, respect, and a customer-first attitude; but you also need individual competencies, which include planning and organization, communication skills, project management skills, critical thinking skills, a results-oriented mindset, and technical expertise.

Delivering results also involves differentiated services that make your business stand out, which include market segmentation, pricing capabilities, customized solutions, reduction of barriers to innovation, branding strategies, and developing loyalty.