How do I Choose Between Top Consulting Firms?

G. Melanson

Unlike the average local consulting firm, top consulting firms maintain a high profile in the public eye, and earn their reputations by exceeding client expectations. As a result, a person or organization choosing between two or more top consulting firms can spend less time worrying about the quality of the firm’s services and more time investigating which firm would best suit their particular needs. Top consulting firms have a track record of success that should be put front-and-center in their marketing material, making it easy for potential clients to determine whether or not the firm suits their needs.

Businessman with a briefcase
Businessman with a briefcase

The first step in selecting from top firms is to list the names of firms that immediately come to mind, as well as any recommendations from friends or associates. Once the list of firms to choose from has been drafted, visit each firm’s official website to confirm that they provide consulting services in the area you require, whether it’s IT consulting, financial consulting, or management consulting. Look for case studies, testimonials or a list of clients on the site who have had similar consulting needs, to see how the firm addressed the issues of those clients. If it’s unclear from the firm’s website whether or not they provide the specific type of consulting you’re looking for, that should be considered a red flag that the firm is not specialized in the required area.

In addition to having a clear list of clients stated in their marketing material, top consulting firms should be able to provide evidence of measurable results that they’ve helped their clients achieve. These results might come in the form of profit increases or expenditure decreases they’ve helped a certain client achieve, or a new account they assisted a client in landing. Top consulting firms should have no problem providing potential clients with examples of ways in which their consulting has helped past clients succeed in their business endeavors.

Rather than emailing the firms once a shortlist has been compiled, call each firm individually to discuss consulting needs. Note the overall way in which the firm receives client inquiries, from the receptionist to the account manager handling the call. Are they polite? Do they sound confident in their ability to provide you with the type of consulting you need?

A negative first impression when dealing with a firm can help narrow down the selection process. Once the project has been discussed and the firm has the requisite specs, they should be able to provide a quote. Final cost comparison, in addition to all of the other factors above, should then be weighed together, to determine which firm to proceed with.

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