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Reshma Budhia .

Recently an entrepreneur asked me - why will you have the drive to grow my business as a consultant?
I was offended. It felt like he was questioning my ethics and my value system. Why would anyone even be in the staff of consulting if not to grow answers business?? How could they sleep at night if they thought they hadn't given a 100%? Do people even do that?

I counted down from 10 to 1 in my head before responding. I realised that what I had as a response were my client success stories and examples and case studies. I did tell him those but honestly I wasn't too convinced with the response. It felt incomplete because it was my word against his. As a marketing consultant who has worked on long term retainer projects, the long engagement itself is sometimes testimony enough... But for some reason the response fell short (at least in my head).

Anyways the call was done but the question stayed with me. In fact I was so troubled that I called an ex-client and posed him the question - he responded that I should have just asked him to call few of my clients as reference and they could have told him. Fair enough. But what really hit me at that moment was a more important point that I missed earlier - this prospect was one of those rare prospects who came without a reference. We are a 100% referenced company and our last 8 years has been out about growing via references. This meant that the prospects would have already heard about our work, v our commitment and our drive (hopefully) even before they reached us. Which is why I have never had to answer this question! But this prospect connected with me via Instagram, had zero references and was validating us from scratch.

Wow! Were we spoilt all these years? Thanks (or no thanks) to Covid I did start outreach campaigns last month and i now realise that this will mean a complete different kind of sales cycle.

Tomorrow I am going to work on rebuilding my cold call responses and be more geared for when such questions come up.

Originally Posted Here
12 Comments

Manish Chauhan

You shouldn't mind the skepticism. Unfortunately, consultants have a great track record of over promising and under delivering. I have hired consultants multiple times in my life and my experience has been so bad consistently that I don't hire them at all anymore as a matter of policy.

Reshma Budhia

oh that's really sad. For me it's only drive and passion that drives me.... When I see the sparkle in my clients eyes on hearing a strategy or an idea or a concept and When we deliver results based on that is what makes me tick. I have not known any other way.

Vishal Dahiya

There are certain questions which we feel are a direct hit to our work ethics or experience, but end of the day it's a part of the entire process.
I get references as well as random leads for my proposal and date planning company.
And I am often askedif we can really pull off a great experience in India or abroad.
Initially I hated it and felt like it's direct attack on my personal self, sometimes on the verge of hurting my ego. But with time I realised these people are putting their faith in us on the most special days of their life.
So I completely changed our brand language and now I personally talk to all my clients over WhatsApp and befriend them casually so that they can trust me better. I show them previous work, incorporate their ideas and keep on reassuring them on a personal front as well. Like motivating the guy to prepare a proposal speech or telling him what clothes will look better on them on the date.
And then on the D-Day, I over deliver than promised in some way or the other.
Be it a suite upgrade, private musician, extra flowers, a bottle of wine, anything that makes them happy.
And the cycle continues.
I guess I have become much better as a person and at business by facing such tough questions:)

Bharat Acharya

It is indeed a fair question. I know it can be a bit painful but the person needs to be convinced before he can borrow your expertise. The concept of consultancy is largely misunderstood in our country. Sometimes a consultant is confused for an advisor. You should specify what problems you would solve for them & how it will create value. That should do the trick.

Anaggh Desai

yep. A fair question, but wonder why entrepreneurs ask consultants to trust them when its a question of money and in most cases hold back or deduct?

Bharat Acharya

It is a different jingbang altogether. I would pose a counter question to them if they questioned me this;)I think if you have a great reputation you de facto have an upper hand at negotiation and you can upright ask for the money.

Anaggh Desai

true sir. Not today but since my first venture, I have always taken money upfront but still have lost money.

Mansi Rastogi

it's a classic trust objection from a cold prospect. It means you haven't addressed it in your content. In reality, the prospect is telling you. "I'm afraid to invest. I feel like I'm taking all the risk. Tell me you'll support me till weget to the end". Never make a sales call about you. It's not. It's always about the conversation your prospects are having in their head. Try to get in there and address their concern. Ask they why they feel that you won't have the drive.

Jayanta Samaddar

It's a fair question. Answer without being offended. The idea of getting a deal on a difficult client should be an exciting challenge.

Reshma Budhia

Just to add to the context here - he was hoping to bring be onboard as a Co-founder and I wanted to be on the project as a consultant.

Arunaday Basu

As a rule of hand, to my cofounders I do not offer a salary or a compensation. You can work pro-bono if you wanna but not for money.

It's pretty logical. Just that I am tired of explaining the logic.

This exact call I have done with a marketing person at least 10-15 times.

I am sorry if I am being gender biased, but mostly women have told me what you told him. And I have replied what he replied to you. I don't know why this happened so many times with women.

Right now, I started off working on something with men AND women as co-founders. Right now, the men are still there and the women are not there with me. They left.

I understand that there is a problem with financial security for women in our country but that's all fine. My purpose is to seek a co-founder. Not an employee.

If I had to get an employee, do you think I would "mistakenly" be looking for a co-founder? No, obviously not.

This is exactly what I need when I am looking for a co-founder - only equities, nothing else. Otherwise, goodbye.

Reshma Budhia

here he was hoping I would be co-founder, but I had already established that it wasn't possible for me.... Nothing to do with money but the inclination.... However I was happy to play similar role as consultant. Obviously that meant the risk was entirely his, but the idea is also entirely his...

However your other point on what motivates a co-founder candidate and especially if they are women - should be a new post for discussion. I would be keen to investigate this and we can invite others to also share their reasons.

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