10 Habits That Can Kill Your Consulting Business

Good intentions can often be our biggest obstacle.

As a professional consultant, your intentions are likely good, but even your best intentions might not be communicating the message you desire to get across.

That’s where movements towards good business practices and away from mistakes is worth more than any mere intention.

As Dr. Steve Maraboli (Best Selling Author and Behavioral Science Academic) says,

“Take action! An inch of movement will bring you closer to your goals than a mile of intention.”

From my experience, he's right on the money.  Actions are better than even the best of intentions.

So, now it's time to take action and break some bad habits that are limiting your success as a consultant.

1.) Not Being a Good Listener

We are all guilty of not listening well on occasion. It is unquestionably human.

However, if you want to succeed as a consultant, you need to minimize this fault.

Make sure you listen. Really listen to your clients.

They will know if you aren’t listening.

After all, it’s usually pretty obvious.

Not only is it bad business, it’s also a rude gesture.

Make sure that you show your clients you are listening to them 100%, always.

2.) Being a Gossip

We aren’t little ladies in the church choir or sixth-grade girls telling the latest secret to her classmates.

So, don’t gossip! Ever!

It just isn’t becoming.

If you hear something you are concerned about, address the person it's about.

Ask yourself if spreading news will help or hurt someone. If you cannot foresee any good coming from it, leave it unsaid.

This is a general rule to a good life as well, not only a good business practice.

3.) Not Meaning What You Say

We have all had times when our best laid plans have fallen through. Sometimes, you can’t help it. It’s life.

However, more often than not, you should follow through when you say you are going to do something.

If you don’t feel you can handle a task, be honest. Get the help you need to accomplish the job.

But, whatever you do, don’t say you will do something and then not do it.

Remember, clients don’t really care what you say, they care what you do.

What are your results? Do they match your promises?

4.) Being Antisocial or Abrasive

No, the business world isn’t high school. But, it’s still pretty social in nature.

Therefore, you won’t get very far if you are antisocial or abrasive.

Treat people as you would want to be treated. Follow the Golden Rule.

Be sure to say thank you and please.

Show respect to those around you, even people who might be lower on the totem pole at your client's office.

5.) Being Insecure

We are all insecure on occasion. But, as a consultant, you can’t be consistently insecure and successful. You have to be sure of yourself.

There is nothing worse than a person who is all hot air.

All they do is talk to hear themselves talk.

They don’t know what they are talking about, but boy do they ever try to convince others around them that they do.

Don’t be like this! Be confident yet humble.

6.) Being Overly Forgetful

If you are forgetful, which let’s face, it we all are occasionally, take steps to counteract this weakness. Take notes if you must.

Make yourself reminders on your phone.

Do whatever you have to do. But, make sure you don’t forget what you need to do.

If you forget something important and leave someone hanging, this looks really bad.

Of course, the occasional slip up is simply human. However, strive to make those slips up few and far between.

Remember more than you forget.

7.) Being Two-Faced

We all had that friend in school who acted like our friend to our face, but was the first person to bad mouth us to others when our back was turned.

Just as in life, never talk about people behind their backs in business.

This will undermine your trustworthiness.

After all, if you talk bad to one client about another, why wouldn’t they assume you would talk about them behind their backs to someone else?

8.) Being Overly Defensive

A secure, confident person doesn’t get overly defensive when their ideas or beliefs are challenged.

Be willing to listen to others’ arguments without shutting them down right away.

You can learn from others if you are willing to listen.

Don’t get defensive whenever something you say is challenged. This will only cause others to see you as overly sensitive and someone who cannot be reasoned with.

This isn’t a good trait in business or in life in general. It also isn’t representative of someone who is a good team player. Be willing to give sometimes.

9.) Demanding the Last Word

Being a person who always has to have the last word just showcases an immaturity.

Phrases like “I told you so,” or “ if you had only listened to me” don’t do you any favors.

In fact, it just makes you look bad.

Instead, be willing to admit when you were wrong and don’t rub it in when you end up being right. People will realize you were right. You don’t have to tell them!

10.) Putting Other People Down

This is kind of in the same line as gossiping and being two-faced.

You should never put other people down, even when they deserve it.

If you don’t agree with someone, a simple “well, I really don’t agree with you Jack” is fine.

However, “that is a dumb idea Jack. That’s why I am the boss and you aren’t” isn’t necessary. It only comes off as mean.

Again, treating others as you would want to be treated is a good rule to go by.

Now that you know these 10 behavioral mistakes you need to avoid as a consultant, you should evaluate yourself to see if you are guilty of any of them.

If you find them present, make the choice to change the way you do business.

Your subsequent success will be your ultimate reward.

About the author

Brian Ainsley Horn

Brian Ainsley Horn is considered to be the “pioneer of authority marketing”, which has exploded in popularity recently. His unique methods have been talked about and covered on The Howard Stern Show, Wall Street Journal, ABC, Perez Hilton, CBS News , Forbes, Advertising Age and dozens of other media outlets. Brian is the co-founder of the consulting firm, Authority Alchemy, and also writes for Huffington Post and Entrepreneur Magazine about authority marketing and personal branding.

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