Looking into the Future of Consulting
by: Carol Trehearn
Consulting is evolving almost as quickly as technology itself. This isn’t eliminating the need for consultants, but it is altering how they find clients, connect with clients and do their jobs. Let’s look into the future of consulting and the strategies consultants can use to keep up.
|The Increasing Specialization of Consultants
Consultants have to be able to provide answers that cannot come up in response to a web search. They also need to compete with a growing array of automated tools. For example, automated financial advisors (robo advisers) are giving many small account holders advice on where they should invest based on their age and life stage. Financial advisers must find more value-added expertise to justify their expenses, such as being able to offer combined financial planning and estate planning advice or advising people on tax reduction strategies in addition to giving financial projections. When businesses can access tools to understand their general search engine rankings and terms that bring them customers, consultants need to branch out to either giving far more detailed and actionable advice or serving new markets like applying SEO to crowdfunding campaigns.
Let’s Meet – Digitally
Consultants used to have to travel to site to give more than the most basic advice. The obligation to pay travel and lodging either directly for the consultant or indirectly through high fees made consultants in many cases expensive. Now consultants can meet digitally, such as initial discussions of the problem taking place via teleconferencing and the explanation of the problem being relayed by someone on site sharing video and audio live through a smartphone to the consultant. This doesn’t eliminate all travel to the client’s site, but it opens the door for many consultants to work with clients around the world while rarely having to leave home.
How Consultants Promoting Themselves Is Changing
Blogging is an excellent way to increase the odds you are found in online searches for your area of expertise. If you answer high level questions on the topic via your blog, you’ll capture any conversational queries close to that question. Now you’re showing off your expertise to anyone seeking that type of advice, and it is a legitimate forum for promoting your business. You can also answer questions on Q&A websites like techexploring.com if you don’t want to bother with a blog.
There are even websites that exist to hook up consultants with clients who need an expert answer without leaving the office. These sites allow businesses to pay for an expert opinion based on a detailed question submitted to the consultant, data sets sent to the expert or teleconferencing sessions where the consultant is paid by the hour. This type of consulting is ideal for those who simply analyze data, whether you’re analyzing website traffic or manufacturing data.
The future of consulting looks very promising with all the new technology tools now at the disposal of consultants. Technology is allowing many consultations to take place digitally, and consultants can now work almost completely from home or the office because the data is sent to them by the customer. It is also having a huge effect on how consultants advertise themselves.