Consulting tips


GoMiles is an online tool and website focused on helping to manage your frequent travel points. I use this tool exclusively to help track my progress toward elite status (check out my article on travel points for more tricks of the trade). The tool also helps to ensure I don’t let any of my points expire or go unused and determines potential transferability between programs to maximize rewards.


ConsultingMag is a magazine and website that caters exclusively to the consulting industry. The site features news about consulting firms, rankings across the firms, as well as some important resources such as job postings, company profiles, and free webinars. This is a good place to frequent to stay up to date on industry happenings.


During your education, you likely learned about a number of strategic models, such as SWOT or Porter’s, and how to apply them to solve problems. However, there are many more models that exist, and when you need a refresher on when and how to use them, MindTools is there. The site provides an overview on a number of tools and has a good list of strategy frameworks that you can reference throughout your project work.


If a hammer is the tool of choice for a homebuilder, then Excel is the equivalent for consulting. The program is one of the most fundamental skills to master within consulting, but it also requires significant practice and often a helping hand. Chandoo, an Excel master, offers online courses, downloadable Excel templates and dashboards, and a wealth of tips, tricks, and how-to advice on both basic and advanced Excel functions. This is my first stop when building out a new financial valuation model or trying to improve the quality of my Excel deliverables.

Don’t Give up Prematurely

The nerves associated with calling a complete stranger, the strong chance of rejection…cold calling is difficult. It’s no wonder then that almost half of the sales reps (44%) will quit if their first follow-up is not successful, says Peak Sales Recruiting. That’s a lot of sales reps giving up awfully early! We’re not advising you to harass your prospects, but do give them more than a single follow-up. Try four or five times. If, at that point, the prospect stops answering, you know you should back off. The same is true if they tell you outright they’re not interested. Once you get to that point, you know you’ve done all you can to win them over and it just didn’t work out that time. Onto the next one! Read also: EngageBay’s Drip Campaigns — Automate email sending and boost click rates

Speak in an Open-Ended Manner

You know how much your tone matters, but what you say is almost as important. Particularly, the way you ask questions can be the difference between getting the prospect to give you pertinent information or not. You want to focus on asking questions in an open-ended way. Here’s an example of what we mean. Do you see the difference between the questions? The first question invites the prospect to talk about their thoughts and feelings. They’re telling you about themselves, which is what you need. The second question requires a simple yes or no answer. You learn nothing about the prospect in the process. If you’re the type who asks yes/no questions, try peppering in a few more open-ended questions next time you talk to a prospect. Even if you don’t get the sale, you’ll be impressed with how much more info you glean.

Not keeping adequate or accurate records

Even if you’ve done a great job deducting all of your allowable business expenses on your taxes, it will all be for nothing if you haven’t kept adequate records. The IRS requires you to keep track of all business receipts as proof that you actually incurred each of the expenses. Yes, it takes a little time and organization on your part, but it’s worth the effort in the long run. When it comes to 1099 income, one of the main reasons mistakes are made is a lack of organization, and those mistakes can lead to additional tax payments and penalty fees.

Give the Prospect Time to Talk, Too

The average cold call is about two minutes, says ProSales Connection, LLC. It’s okay if it goes a few minutes longer, but a 10-minute cold call is unusual. Besides, you’re a business, and you have to reach out to X amount of people every day. Spending more than a few minutes per cold call will not help you achieve your goals. During that short call, you must give the prospect the opportunity to talk. You want to learn more about them, including their problems and their needs. Then you can position your product/service as the perfect solution. Remember that your prospect is an individual, not just another number in a long line of leads.

Go Deep with Subpages

Imagine you’re taking a course on poetry, and one day the lecture is about Shakespeare. During class, you’ll be discussing several Shakespearean sonnets. You can add a page for Shakespeare’s sonnets to the Poetry section in your School notebook and create subpages for each poem discussed during the lecture. There are two different levels of subpages. That means your subpages can have subpages! Right-click on a page to promote or demote it in your page hierarchy.

Tag Your Notes

OneNote has a bunch of built-in tags to help you organize your notes. Choose from tags like Remember For Later, Website To Visit, or Idea. Users of the Windows and Mac apps can also create custom tags. In the Tags section of the Home ribbon, select the More dropdown. At the bottom of the list, you’ll see Customize Tags. Select the New Tag button to create your own. OneNote web app users are limited to the preset tags, but the rumor mill says custom tags are coming.