It’s not easy bringing in a consultant for the first time. One of the greatest benefits that a consultant can bring is objectivity. He can ask questions that have been ignored. He can sort the real issues from the red herrings. When someone is in the trenches they often lose sight of the big picture and a sense of what is going on in the larger marketplace. The consultant can bring this to the table and apply it to your business.
Use a consultant intelligently. Give them the information they need, listen to them, respond and make it a dialog. Internalize what they recommend and make it your own.
You must be committed to action when you engage a consultant. Doing all the work, not engaging in a real conversation and ignoring their recommendations is surely not a good use of time and money. If the consultant was impressive enough to hire in the first place – then listen to what they say, engage with them and apply their talents and ideas to suit your needs.
I have been working with a company that was leery about bringing in a consultant. They talked about it for – oh, over two years I think. Finally they took the plunge, identifying a small and defined project. The project went well and was most productive. The ice was broken, everyone benefited from the trial, and now the relationship will continue.