You have done your research. You need to hire external consultants to help you deliver a critical project within very tight time lines. You have contacted reputable organizations and they agreed to come meet you at your office.
Each consulting firm you have met with tells you they are different (i.e. better) and only they understand your issues. Each organization has sent in well dressed and good looking individuals who have all left behind glossy brochures and great hourly rates. They all seemed knowledgeable and competent but you can’t make up your mind.
Start by asking yourself these 2 questions.
How many of the sales people were practitionners – people with real life experience – as opposed to professionally trained sales people?
How many consulting firms priced their offering based on a successful outcome – the completion of your project on time and within budget – as opposed to billing for efforts?
The first question is related to understanding your business needs as opposed to pushing their services (i.e. selling). Does the consulting firm have to hire trained sales people to make you buy their services or do they send in their technical experts to meet with you to better understand your needs?
The second question is more complex. Most consulting organizations do not care to take on some of your risks, they are interested in placing resources on your project for which you will pay them an hourly rate. In all honesty, what is the incentive to quickly help you with your project when they will make more money as the project drags on. This approach is controversial as it changes they way people and organizations pay for services.
Do you want to pay for the efforts or for the outcome?
Paying for outcome is a better way of getting what you pay for, so next time you look to hire external help, why don’t you ask the consultants to price their services based on the successful results of your project as opposed to the number of hours they spent on the project?
* Picture by swgrlimited used under the Creative Commons (CC) agreement. The view expressed in the blog post is the one of the author. The photographer does not endorse in any way the content of this blog post or the work of the author.