This is a great question and one that serious consulting firms enjoy answering. Since we excite our clients with exceedingly high performance deliverable, we hold ourselves extremely accountable at our expense. Every consulting and training engagement is a mutual agreement. We do not accept a project for the fee alone. In fact, we design the fee around options that help the client select the most value for his or her investment.
Here are some bullet suggestions I would offer you to help you make an informed decision in making the best selection. Of course, you can preempt these steps if you receive a very reliable referral or if you have worked with a group in the past you are willing to give the project to.
I make these recommendations on the assumption that money is not the object but that finding the right consulting relationship is your primary objective.
- First and foremost select on high ethical and professional standards.
- Seek a referral from a happy associate or go to a consulting referral
- Come up with at least 3 - 5 consulting firms.
- Ask for a written proposal.
- Review the proposal and examine them all carefully.
- Select on demonstrated results.
- Rely heavily on the consulting firm's past client's quantifiable satisfaction.
- Form a review team and review the proposals to narrow down the search to
the top 3 firms.
- Ask if the consulting firm is willing to train your staff so they can continue
to benefit from their input
- Ask for a capability statement of your final 3 firms.
- Interview the best prospects and check their references. (Consider their
extent of expertise, listening skills, ability to adapt to the nature of your
organization, ability to work with your staff, ability to coach to ensure the organization can address the problem in the future, etc.)
- Really satisfy yourself that the firm meets your performance criteria.
- Because you are seeking technical work, select based on specialist
- Don't pick someone based only on price.
- Satisfy yourself that you feel comfortable with the consulting firm.
- You want a consulting firm to lend credibility to the process as such decisions they make must be ethical and in your best interest.
- If you are not working with a trusted referral, do not be afraid to check out
I hope this helps you in the process.
Felix P. Nater, CSC
Nater Associates, Ltd. www.naterassociates.com