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November 17, 2008

It's not what you know it's who you know

Most consultants are exceptionally proud of what they know. We pride ourselves on getting results, on teaching others how to achieve great things, and on how to navigate thought he hard times that they will encounter on their way to operational nirvana.

We think that's why they hire us. And because of that, we pride ourselves in it even more.

Unfortunately...we're wrong.

They don't hire us just because of what we know. The odds are pretty great that you are not the only person on the planet who has this knowledge.

The main reason they hire us is not because of what we know, but who we know.

How did they hear about you? What do their peers think about you? Can you give them references from within their industry? Or could you provide them with references from people that they know of and trust?

Part of this is about trust of course. Trust that you have the capabilities and the track record to deliver what they think they need. If you are recommended by people they know, or know of, and trust...then some of that rubs off on you...Trust can be inherited.

But the other part of it relates more to access to knowledge.

Who can you help them to connect to? What is the likelihood that you will have knowledge of best practices from within their industry or discipline?

Who you have access to, how you can help them to leverage that, and what is it about your network that helps you to provide greater value than the next guy to enter the room with a slide deck?