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B2B Marketing – 8 Characteristics of a Good Consultant

  1. Knowledge of strengths and weaknesses
  2. Ability to work independently
  3. Insatiable thirst for knowledge
  4. Strong persuasive salesperson
  5. Charisma
  6. Curious, diagnostic approach
  7. Values time
  8. Strong business sense

These 8 characteristics were the center of a presentation given by Cidnee Stephen at the Duct Tape Marketing Gathering 2011.  I found it very helpful to review these characteristics and think about how they contributed to my B2B marketing consultancy and how they applied to the business owners I serve.

Knowledge of strengths and weaknesses

Since I charge a premium, my clients hire me for my strengths, not because I offer services at a discount.  But I also make them aware of my weaknesses, and I am fond of saying while I’ve driven a Honda for 15 years, I haven’t the slightest idea of how to repair a Honda.  I can assist you in creating memorable, valuable and frequent content for your website, but I can’t code your website.  However, I can point you to the people who can.

I focus and promote my strengths and work to find a team of people to fill the gaps of what I cannot do myself.

In Cidnee’s presentation she stressed that this characteristic involves knowing what your super power is.  John Jantsch shared that his super power was curiosity – becoming engrossed in understanding why and how and what and who.  Your super power is the thing that always fascinates you.  Your super power is the thing that when exercised is always giving you juice and energy.  What is your super power?

Ability to work independently

Cidnee kicked off the discussion of this characteristic by saying “A good consultant is not afraid of hard work, because they don’t view it as hard work.”  I’d call it the ability to operate in a state of flow.

If you have a good grasp of what your super power is, you are securing the engagements that best take advantage of your strength.  When you are operating in an arena where you know the application of your strength will yield great results – getting to the finish line erases the thought of “hard” work.  It’s not hard work, it’s the energy behind what gets you out of bed every morning; it’s the pulse of your purpose.

Insatiable Thirst for knowledge

You know the feeling – you can’t read enough, you can’t learn enough, you can’t attend enough sessions that help you grow.  My three days at Duct Tape Marketing Gathering 2011 fed my thirst for knowledge – whether it was discovering little tactics for greater efficiency or being challenged with larger commitments (the conference theme was “Think Bigger”) – it all served to rev up the internal engine of adding to the existing stockpile of knowledge.  Having a network of the best and the brightest to challenge, encourage, educate and assist is exhilarating.  It’s a great feeling.

Strong Persuasive Salesperson

The fact of the matter is you must be able to sell your services and you must get paid.  The bills never quit appearing in the mailbox regardless of how lofty one’s goals are.

While my strength is not selling, I need to do it.  One of the things that makes it easier for me to sell, and this is something I shared at the Gathering, is that I can tell my prospects that everything I will be recommending that they do, are things that I have done myself.  I can confidently address what the expected results will be, the effort and investment necessary to attain the results and what the short term and long term metrics are that will show progress.


Cidnee described a charismatic leader as “a giver with passion and drive” and encouraged us to stop trying to mask our personality.  I found it interesting that I’m often urging my clients to do the same thing.  And when comparing notes with the other consultants at the Gathering, they also shared that their clients are hesitant to project anything other than a formal, business persona.


When I began blogging, I realized that I would lose potential customers as well as win potential customers as a result of my content.  But I also came to realize that I was both winning and losing for the right reasons.  Those that did not “buy” the ideas that drive and flare my passion – probably weren’t the right fit anyway.  Those that did – qualified themselves.

Curious, diagnostic approach

Built into this characteristic is the ability to actively listen and resisting the urge to tell.  When we are genuinely curious and take the time to ask questions that get our clients to tell their story (not just share a list of objectives) we more quickly discover their super power, their purpose and their passion.  When we have a clear picture of what drives them, we are able to address their goals in a manner and using language that is meaningful to them.

Values Time

I’m at a point in my life, unless I live beyond 100 years, where there is more time behind me than in front of me.  I value time.  As John Jantsch said at the Gathering, you can’t buy more, you can’t invent it, and no one can give it to you.

A good consultant values their own time and values their customers’ time.  We need to make committed, proactive choices regarding how we spend out time – as well as how we are not willing to spend our time.

Strong Business Sense

We’ve got to keep our house in order before we can help others with theirs.  We need to strike a balance between sound financial management and investing enough in the future and growth of our businesses.  We need to carve out time to work on the business as well as in the business.  We need to be a good partner to our strategic alliance partners.

I love being a marketing consultant – there is nothing else I’d like to be.  I want to see my clients succeed.  I want to see my business succeed.  While none of the 8 characteristics come as a surprise – it was beneficial to review them and assess my awareness of them and take note of areas where I could improve.

What do you think of the 8 characteristics?  Which ones challenge you the most?  Are there characteristics missing?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section.


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