7 Weird Tricks to Smarter Consulting.
Learn how to impress clients and appear like you know what you‘re doing.
As a consultant, it is important to have all of the answers. If you don’t have all of the answers, then the next best thing is to pretend that you have all of the answers. Here are 7 weird tricks that consultants use to do just that.
1. Draw a Magic Quadrant
Magic Quadrants are a consultant’s best friend. In fact, it doesn’t even matter what you put in the quadrants. They are just that powerful.
I personally recommend that you look thoughtful and pause a few times while you draw it on the whiteboard. It’ll make it seem like you are deep in concentration as you pretend to solve your client’s dilemma.
2. Propose a Crazy Alternative
The suggestions you give to a client are going to be ignored. I know you are probably thinking to yourself, wait didn’t you just tell us to have all of the answers?
Yes, yes I did.
You see, consulting is a delicate waltz of them not admitting they have a problem and you not admitting you have any good solutions.
So in the meantime, you should follow up your reasonable ideas by proposing something batshit crazy. When you do this well, there is a very small chance that they’ll listen to your original, more reasonable ideas.
Bonus points if they don’t even remember you proposing the reasonable idea and think that they came up with it themselves.
3. Share a Meaningless Story from Another Client
What you can tell, are meaningless and vague stories from other clients that give your current client a glimmer of hope. I’ve provided a template that I recommend you follow, to prevent any missteps.
This story template accomplishes many things.
First, it gives a false sense of social proof in that you actually know what you’re doing and that you’ve done it elsewhere.
Second, it doesn’t go into any kind of meaningful detail because, you are a consultant and could never share that kind of intellectual property.
Third, you completely absolve yourself of any fallout if the client actually tried the solution because, they are a unique special snowflake of a company and you warned them it probably wouldn’t work anyway.
4. Draw a Bell Curve
One of the staples of consulting is the bell curve. Make sure you place an arrow somewhere along the line that best supports whatever point you are trying to make. It is important to stress how they need your guidance to go up or down the bell curve to whatever fictional state they are convinced they need to achieve.
5. Use 5 Whys
5 Whys is a great tool consultants use to place blame on someone and divert responsibility away from themselves. You basically ask “Why?” 5 times and ideally, place blame on someone when something went wrong. It works best when the blamed party is not even in the room. I’ve seen blame placed by the 2nd Why in this situation, which is super efficient.
6. Introduce a Dogmatic Methodology
A dogmatic methodology or framework is the fuel that powers any well known consultant. I’d recommend a few, but really there are so many you can just pick any one of them off of the internet. Introducing a dogmatic methodology is key because your client will never, ever successfully adopt it.
So when they fail to adopt it, and oh will they fail, be sure to point out how they didn’t follow the exact steps and therefore didn’t actually ever do the methodology correctly. By the time you’ve completed assessments and made more recommendations, you’ll be ready to introduce a new methodology and repeat the process all over again.
7. Use a Venn Diagram
If nothing else works, and you aren’t fired yet, then you might as try using a Venn Diagram. These don’t work as well as they used to, but if you are struggling, you can always add more circles.
Interested in how to test your business ideas? Feel free to contact me.