One of my proudest moments as an IT consultant was when I was working for a global company implementing an end-to-end digital transformation initiative, including new CRM, MarTech and CMS platforms. It was a complex project with many hands on deck.
More than a year into it, we hit a major roadblock that could have torn the team apart. My team not only solved the problem, but arrived at the best example of what it means, to me, to be a great IT consultant: to problem solve, come together to work as a team and to know your piece of the project.
But when a staffing firm is involved, that level of teamwork can only happen if it places people with the right personal brand. We all have a brand, what we are best known for. And the best staffing firms to me are those that help build and promote my brand. For starters, they need to understand the individuals they are placing. In addition they need to lay the groundwork — communicate — so the client can use us right.
An IT consultant’s brand should include:
Pride in the quality of your work. Whether we’re freelancers, part of an organization’s professional services team, or a consultant placed by an agency: Those with strong brands strive to make every deliverable and interaction of the highest quality. If we’re not proud to put our name on it, we shouldn’t turn it in. And staffing firms can facilitate this by ensuring there are no roadblocks in our way.
Deliver, every time. This doesn’t mean we will work for free or over-commit; it means serving with a purpose and delivering with passion and drive. These qualities are palpable, and it will come across in every communication, team meeting, and delivery we make. I say, do it with passion or not at all and never leave it to the next person to deliver. If you see something that may not be an item on your task list but that needs direction, or if you know the answer, get involved. Initiative should be an element of your brand.
Consistent — and honest — communication. In the IT arena, it is expected that things will break — problems are part of the game. Great consultants want to get in front of any negativity and communicate when problems arise, even if we are to blame. The more candid we are, the more of a trusted advisor we will become. But if the end client isn’t open and welcoming of our message, it is all for naught. So encourage your clients to keep an open mind and listen to what we have to say, just as we will listen to them. If the staffing firm needs to help with communicating with the client or candidate, it should ensure its rep is on top of the project and knows what is going on.
Without question, our role as a consultant is to serve as a trusted advisor. We may bring other talents and skills to the table, but a core component of our trade is to problem solve and advise. It should be a signature element of your brand and reputation, and people should come to know us for that. So, as we offer ourselves up — providing insight humbly and from a place of authenticity — you can help by acknowledging us in that capacity to the client. Do your due diligence. Of course, we have to prove ourselves, but once that is done, to have our staffing provider acknowledge us as the expert eases our way into providing stellar service to our clients.
You may be thinking that all of this sounds like common sense, and maybe it is, but implementing it is a different reality — and one not every staffing firm achieves. Applying these basic, but key, branding best practices in a purposeful way will open doors for your staffing firm as well as your consultants. You will know you are doing it correctly when client companies ask for our services time and again.