It’s one thing to set up a business and keep it going. It’s another to provide advice and solutions as a business consultant or coach.
So what’s a consultant or coach to do when they’re in need of advice on how to make an impact on humanity, how to market themselves, or even how to successfully make the millions? Why, turn to one of the world’s most sought-after consultancy experts, of course.
Enter Alan Weiss, a.k.a. “The Million Dollar Consultant” and CEO of the Summit Consulting Group, Inc. He’s attracted clients such as Merck, Hewlett-Packard, Mercedes-Benz, The Federal Reserve, The New York Times Corporation, and so many other leading organizations.
In a podcast episode of Selling With Love (formerly known as Mindvalley’s Superhumans at Work), he shares his expertise on…
- What Is a Business Consultant?
- 5 Must-Have Skills to Be a Million Dollar Business Consultant or Coach
- How to Be a Business Consultant or Coach: 3 Pro Tips by Alan Weiss
If you have the knack for helping people make strides in their endeavors, then you may just find success as a business consultant or coach.
Tune in to the full podcast episode on the Mindvalley platform (available for Members only).
What Is a Business Consultant?
Essentially, business consultants are hired to share their expertise to help enterprises, no matter how small or large, solve problems and attain goals. Because they’re an external specialist, they’re able to give an objective view of the company’s current state of affairs and advice on how it can be improved.
That’s the business consultant definition in a nutshell, but the scope often goes beyond that.
What do business consultants do?
According to indeed.com’s business consultant job description, their duties and responsibilities include:
- Organizing and assigning business projects.
- Meeting with clients to perform assessments.
- Developing and implementing an ongoing budget.
- Developing detailed business plans.
- Helping to recruit new hires.
- Developing and implementing promotional campaigns.
As a consultant, you may find yourself having to coach or facilitate people, according to Alan. This will help support the changes needed to be made to reach the goals of the organization. So given your expertise, you’ll have to decide how to best interact with your client.
Is there a difference between business consulting and coaching?
While they do share similarities in responsibilities and are often confused with one another, business consultants have a much different focus than business coaches.
- Consultants provide much-needed expertise and assistance to businesses. They work with the company as a whole, often dissecting each department to see where improvements can be made. For example, a business management consultant works with clients on structuring roles, performance benchmarking, and succession, which, in turn, helps the company run more efficiently.
- Coaches, on the other hand, focus on the individual rather than a corporation. The aim of business coaching is to help individuals gain awareness of themselves and grow into an asset. For example, helping men and women in business to be great leaders.
A consultant always needs to be a coach. A coach isn’t always a consultant.― Alan Weiss, renowned consultancy expert and CEO of the Summit Consulting Group, Inc.
It’s important to identify which services your clients truly require — that of a consultant or a coach. Regardless, these wisdom nuggets from Alan can be invaluable for both.
5 Must-Have Skills to Be a Million-Dollar Business Consultant or Coach
To be an effective business consultant or coach and make dollar bills like Alan, you’ll have to have a particular set of skills. Here are five important ones to help catapult you to another level.
1. Have a deep knowledge of the industry you want to work in
The world is constantly on the go, and emerging trends (or “new realities,” as Alan calls it) are always popping up. Significant changes like Facebook’s Metaverse, 5G internet, social media trends, the push to work remotely, and even four-day work weeks are shaping our new future. And according to Alan, it can be an opportunity to help people if you so wish.
“If you look at social change, technological change, economic change, and so forth, what you see is a combination of these factors that, on the one hand, can make people fearful and hide under the bed,” he says. “On the other hand, can say to people, ‘Wow, I can really help people in this very turbulent new environment.’”
So look at the industry you’re in or want to work in and scope out what people are interested in as well as what possibilities could arise in the future.
2. Be able to think creatively and analytically
Soft skills are a more important value than hard skills, based on a 2022 survey by Zety, the career advice website. And that includes creative and analytical skills.
Creative thinkers are masters of disruption. Your “think outside the box” mentality enables you to see beyond what has been and what is. Instead, you’re able to imagine what can be.
“If you want to dominate a market, you have to disrupt it,” Alan advises. “If you look at Dyson or FedEx or Uber or Apple or any of these companies that have had such strong starts and continuing strengths. They disrupted their markets and they continue to do so.”
According to Alan, it’s about the ability to understand how decisions are made, how problems are solved, and how innovations are implemented. That’s when analytical thinking comes into play. So it’s important to know how to handle these different aspects and to do so quickly.
3. Learn to communicate effectively
As a consultant or coach, you often find that the people you have to interact with on any given project have tight schedules and limited attention spans. That’s why being able to communicate effectively is at the top of Alan’s must-have skills.
“Everything today is about language and communication and cutting through the noise,” he explains.
And to make it as a top dollar consultant or coach, you’re performance and results are crucial. So being able to communicate well is vital not only for the business that hired you but also for your business.
4. Improve your leadership skills
A lot of what business consultants and coaches do is create change, either inside an organization or within a person. That means pushing clients (who may be inherently resistant to change) to shift their mindset in order to grow.
This is where your leadership skills come in.
“You have to continue to learn, learn, learn,” Alan explains, adding that a healthy intellectual curiosity helps to hone in on your leadership qualities. And part of that is to be able to constantly keep up with what works and what doesn’t, how to be a person people can trust, and take charge.
5. Have a healthy sense of humor
Trying to implement change can be the cause of a lot of stress. Not only with the people you’re consulting or coaching, but also with yourself.
This is where having a sense of humor can help. Even research, like this 2016 study, has shown that laughter and humor can have deep and long-lasting psychological effects.
“Humor reduces stress, reduces tension, and creates more of a bond with people,” Alan explains. “I don’t mean necessarily a sarcastic sense of humor. But I do mean being able to put things in perspective and laughing at yourself.”
How to Become a Business Consultant or Coach: 3 Pro Tips by Alan Weiss
So if you want to stand out from the crowd and level up to that million-dollar paycheck, then consider these pro tips by Alan.
1. Value yourself as a business consultant or coach
The relationship you have with yourself shapes every life category, including your work as a business consultant or coach. And your self-value is the foundation of this relationship.
Your knowledge, too, has value…to someone somewhere out there. But it all boils down to believing and respecting that it’s worth something.
What Alan advises: “If you feel you’re providing something for people of value, you have no qualms about contacting them, about talking to them, about interceding because you’re helping them.
If you feel you’re trying to sell people things in order to get money for yourself, you’re going to be very concerned that you’ll be seen as somebody who’s interfering, as somebody who’s an irritant, and somebody who’s trying to take something.”
2. Create proposals that work
Proposals are essentially your elevator pitch to a potential client. It outlines how you would handle a specific project unique from everyone else.
According to Alan, the main ingredients in an effective proposal would include:
- Objectives: Business outcomes that the client wants to achieve in the project, like increased profits, lower retention, and better branding.
- Measures: Where you want their business to go and how you know you’re getting there. They’re the metrics that tell you you’re making progress.
- Value: The impact of hitting the objectives. For example, if you want to improve profit, the value could be to increase salaries, pay off debt, increase investors, increase physical property, etc.
These three are what Alan calls “a conceptual agreement.” It’s not meant to be a collaborative effort, nor an agreement between you and the potential client.
What Alan advises: “Once you have objectives, measures, and, value, you have the basis for your proposal and the rest is easy.
You do a situation appraisal, you provide options. Because when you provide options, you move people from “Should I do this with him?” to “How should I do this with him?” And that can increase your hit rate by 50.”
3. Understand the difference between budget and money
A budget shows a business’ future income and expenses. It’s essentially a plan on an estimated income, where it will be allocated, and how it’ll be spent.
That’s obviously important for any enterprise. It helps better understand operating costs, and anticipates any operational changes need to support the business and reach its goals.
However, the well-known secret is that budgets can always be revised. So if a client tells you that they have no budget, there’s a way to outwit them.
What Alan advises: “A client will say, ‘We have no budget.’ Well, of course, you have no budget because you didn’t expect to be talking to me. You didn’t budget three months ago for somebody you never met. But you do have money.
And that is, you’ve allocated money in different budgets. You can reallocate it. You can take money from over there and invest it in me because I’m giving you a better return than you’re getting over there.
And that’s the secret to the ten-to-one return.”
Be the Million Dollar Changemaker
Making the millions as a business consultant or coach like Alan is within reach. Remember, though, that money is a byproduct of doing what you love and doing it well.
You will be what you decide to be. Nothing less, nothing more.― Alan Weiss, renowned consultancy expert and CEO of the Summit Consulting Group, Inc.
People pay top dollar for products like Apple or services like Uber because of the same sentiments. And they’ll do so with you.
If you need help getting a jumpstart, head over to Mindvalley and join the Certified Business Coach program. As you learn more about how to provide businesses with the answers they’re looking for, you become an extraordinarily valuable asset for any company that hires you.
Take the step to this next level of learning so you can be the next level you. Welcome in.
Images: @alanweissphd / Instagram