1. Outline specific marketing goals and be clear in your communications
- The scope of work
Be sure to have clearly outlined the services you're agreeing to have fulfilled - that's how you can make sure you get a proposal which address your needs. Also, make sure that the consultant is able to take up additional work when necessary in order to complete the tasks in your agreement. This will give you an early understanding of the consultant’s flexibility and level of accommodation.
Together you should identify goals, milestones, and check-in points so you can tell whether the consultant is delivering on budget and on time. You can draft a schedule for the completion date of each goal during the engagement. Also, be clear on what you want delivered by the consultant. Do you want them to follow the norm or do you want them to give you something unique?
- Financial compensation
Before consultants start working they will typically require a signed agreement, which also includes details about their compensation. You should decide ahead of time if the consultant is working on a retainer or will be compensated based on hours worked or even goals met.
Compensation can be a sensitive topic, so it's best to make sure you can come to an agreement and that all parties fully understand the terms and have the same expectations.
2. Respect the consultant’s boundaries
It's important to recognize that the reason you get a consultant is for the fulfillment of business needs which you as the business owner could not fulfill yourself. Therefore, it’s only healthy that you take a step back and let the professionals do what they do best. If you hire smart, you can trust that your business will be in very safe hands.
You may be working weekends, but that does not imply that your marketing consultant will also have to work on weekends if that is not part of their normal practice. Take time to discuss any potential boundaries there maybe such as hours of work, response time and style of working in order to ensure there are no surprises down the road.
3. Don’t assume anything
You have hired a consultant because they know more in that field than you do. But that doesn't mean that you should assume they know everything. Instead, ask as many questions as possible; ask about anything and everything -- who’s reviewing the latest proposal? By when? What is the timeline? What happens if you fall behind schedule?
Proper communication and honesty on the part of both parties ensures a healthy working relationship and brings your business long-term success.