Find Good Consulting Opportunities by Identifying the Real Decision Makers

Who makes the decision to hire a consultant? 


Ultimate decision maker?

It varies, of course. The smaller the company, the more likely decisions to hire and work with consultants will be instituted by the company President or General Manager. Even in more general management consulting opportunities, the ultimate decisions about working with a consultant will generate from the top, even if some of the “exploratory” activities are delegated to someone else.

In a larger company, with more depth on the management team, the more likely you will be tapped by line managers for specific assignments. You may never even come in direct contact with the senior management.

The way all these people make decisions will vary considerably. And whether you really want to work with them will depend a great deal on your own background, specialty and temperament.

So the message here is:

Know who you’ll actually be working for.

If your target market is smaller companies, you are most likely to come in contact with the company Owners or Presidents through industry associations, local Chambers of Commerce, Rotary Clubs, etc. and this is where you will want to focus much of your networking activity. Getting out and about is the best way to be in contact with them.

If you publish a newsletter, sponsor seminars, etc., you can find these people on mailing lists that are probably available in your local library or on lists that you can rent. You may even find them as part of social groups you belong to on LinkedIn.

For larger companies, the challenge is greater.  Line managers or project managers are likely to be more “mobile” and more difficult to identify as prospects. While there are specialty lists available for many titles, these lists are both smaller by region and more expensive to rent. They are derived by industry publications, attendance at conventions and membership in local chapters of national organizations.  (Again, being able to travel will give you an advantage in meeting these people in these special venues.)

Over the past few years, these “title” lists have been supplemented or even replaced by searches available through social media such as LinkedIn and specific industry social sites.

Where we work with Consultants in providing data and related services for their Marketing Plans, we always review listings in the National and Regional editions of the Trade and Professional Associations Directories.

Naturally, we search for relevant connections via LinkedIn, too.

The more you can learn about who your contact person is, and who the real decision maker is likely to be, the better you’ll be able to decide if it’s an opportunity you want to pursue.

Joe Krueger


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