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  • Douglas Bock

14 warning signs you've hired the wrong consultant

Good sign, bad sign illustration

It’s an all too familiar story. Your company starts a new project and has put you in charge. Excellent.

You don’t really know too much about the subject. Not as excellent.

With the project and your reputation at stake, you wisely decide to bring in a consultant to get some help.

This is an important decision: Consulting fees can add up. Not only that, implementing a bad strategy can cost your brand much more in lost opportunities. We’ve all been there.

After some research, a few reference checks, listening to a few sales pitches, and employing that divining rod you got at the last national meeting, you select a consulting firm that you're confident is a good fit for your brand needs. But once the ink on the contract dries, you're left scratching your head, wondering where your ideal partner went.

We know how frustrating this can be. We've seen and heard our share of horror stories. Here are 14 real-world situations that we hope you're not experiencing.

You may have the wrong consultant if:

  1. When you send your company’s standard NDA, the consultant’s lawyer, who fancies himself as the second coming of Thomas Jefferson, takes a month to return the NDA. And when you look at the document, it has more redlines than an interstate highway map.

  2. They are experts in everything — there’s never a project they say they can’t do.

  3. Instead of having a team whose average years of relevant experience are “in the twenties,” most of the consultants assigned to your project are actually in their twenties.

  4. You spend more of your brand’s budget on consulting fees than on the tactics the consultant recommends. (That one really is not funny at all.)

  5. When you walk into the first meeting, the consultants from the same company are introducing themselves to each other.

  6. Every face-to-face meeting apparently requires a phalanx of consultants to take notes.

  7. During face-to-face meetings your consultant is clearing out their email inbox.

  8. Your consultant committed to delivering the project in a week and a month later, you’re still waiting.

  9. After interviewing all your internal stakeholders, they package up the information and deliver it back to you as “insights.”

  10. The slides in your consultant’s presentation have another company’s name on them.

  11. The distribution strategy for your new complex specialty drug seems like a plan dusted off from the reserpine launch in the 50s.

  12. You spend your time re-writing all their deliverables.

  13. You have to pay another consultant to teach your first consultant about your business.

  14. Their employees ask you if your company has any job openings.

If you nodded along to any of these (or banged your head on your desk?), perhaps it's time for a new consulting partner.

We created Archbow because we pride ourselves on doing top-notch work. We're curious innovators who have cultivated strong connections with leaders throughout the industry. Whatever goal you're striving to achieve, we thrive on mapping out your path to success.

Contact us to share some of your favorite consultant stories and let us know how we can help you achieve your goals.

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