Consult This! 62 Tips for Consulting Success by Michael W. McLaughlin Principal, MindShare Consulting LLC

By Michael W. McLaughlin Principal, MindShare Consulting LLC Coauthor, Guerrilla Marketing for Consultants

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That will help keep your proposal concise and reader-friendly. Obviously, your proposals must provide all the facts clients need. But keep your proposals as short as possible, and you'll have better odds of having them read by prospective clients. " Ever been in a meeting with one or more consultants and heard phrases like the above? Makes you wonder how consultants have mastered such a low ratio of meaning to word count. Of course, consultants aren't the only ones who can talk a lot without saying anything.

According to a study by Kennedy Information, the average salary offered to consultants from top business schools was expected to be $109,000 in 2005, accompanied by five-figure signing bonuses and annual bonuses ranging from $5,000 to $30,000. The total, first year compensation package for a newly-minted consultant could thus be over $150,000. An independent practitioner charging an hourly rate would have to work awfully hard to match that newbie's salary. Not to be tedious, but do the math: There are 261 days in a year—once you subtract the weekends.

Strong relationships won't overcome poor performance. If your track record is poor, having friends in high places won't save you. 4. Value and track record trump relationships. Superior value will give you an edge, even over competitors with strong client executive relationships. 5. Single decision makers are rare. Projects often impact many parts of an organization, so multiple decision makers get into the act. Add the bevy of gatekeepers, influencers, and technical evaluators, and it becomes harder and more imperative to figure out who will make the decision.

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