Top 10 Consulting Trends You Need to Know [2022 Edition]

As with all businesses, the consulting industry evolves. Consulting trends arise, and those who can keep up with them will grow.

Change has always been a new constant, which is more evident than ever when we look back. During the last few years, socio-economic and political changes have transformed not just the consulting industry but all industries.

The following are the top ten consulting trends for 2021 that you should be aware of if you want to take your firm to the next level.

  1.  The customer is always king, both today and in the future. Meeting their shifting demands and developing a trusting relationship will be the key to success.
  2.  The industry will continue to be impacted by technology and automation. The location-based consultancy has already been rendered obsolete by technology.
  3.  Clients will want to invest in bankable consultants who possess the necessary experience and competence.
  4.  Training and accreditation will become more critical as the market becomes increasingly regulated.
  5.  Regulations will encourage the industry’s growth to be more structured, resulting in increased earnings for consultants.
  6.  Specializations will enable you to access a more specialized audience.
  7.  Businesses will hire consultants for elite leadership positions and team development.
  8.  Web and video marketing will gain traction.
  9.  Positive psychology will be critical in raising employee morale and motivating clients.
  10.  Relationship-oriented People will always be in demand. In 2021, consulting will be focused on developing honest, lasting relationships. This connection is crucial for overcoming personal and psychological obstacles.

However, rather than focusing on external changes, I will demonstrate how to adapt your firm to these developments to establish a foothold in the consulting market.

1. Are you a customer-centric organization?

Because you are in the people industry, a customer-centric approach will go a long way toward earning any client’s trust. This does not imply you must walk in your client’s shoes. Still, you must walk alongside them as they navigate their experiences, become aware of their limitations, and integrate higher learning to achieve their professional or life goals.

One of the most critical aspects of becoming an excellent consultant is initiating and developing trusting relationships with clients. How are you going to accomplish this? My motto is straightforward: Listen, listen, listen. While excellent listeners may not always make excellent consultants, excellent consultants must be excellent listeners.

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2. Are you technologically savvy?

Things have grown more straightforward and more complex due to digitization and automation. The trick is to understand how to utilize technology and automation best and stay ahead of the curve.

One of the most significant changes that digitalization has brought about is the rising obsolescence of location-based consulting, a trend that will continue well beyond 2021.

It makes no difference where your client lives or works, thanks to Skype calls and the participation of artificial intelligence. It may take years before a face-to-face meeting occurs in certain circumstances, especially if you are geographically and time zone apart. While this has opened up new opportunities for business in previously unreachable regions, it also implies that the requirement for communication may well necessitate 24×7 availability and sensitivity to the client’s needs.

While technical help is beneficial, effective consultants’ influence on their clients is tangible and robust. And it’s all connected to human emotions. Even with the absence of face-to-face interactions, the consultants who have the most considerable influence will be those who provide clients with “the human touch.” Do your clients see themselves being empowered as a result of your affiliation? Then your task is complete.

Bear in mind that technology will never be able to replace humans completely!

3. Are you a dependable choice for the client?

The current market environment encourages everyone to take cautious bets, and who can blame them? The tendency toward quantifiable investments has permeated the consulting profession as well. Before employing consultants, clients want to see measurable achievements they have previously produced. And the most definitive reference you can obtain is a robust list of satisfied clientele.

In some ways, this trend toward bankable consultants is beneficial for the industry, as clients will quickly discern between results-driven consultants and those who are not. As the sector evolves, you will compete against the industry’s elite.

Is that intimidating? Not in my opinion, as competition frequently brings out the best in some.

4. Are you capable of delivering?

This new perspective will also drive sector growth since rules will provide the consulting industry with a much-needed foundation and structure. Regulations and accreditation will increase responsibility in the consulting business and assist clients in making the best option for selecting a growth partner. To profit from this trend, invest in yourself by completing training and obtaining a license before asking clients to invest in you.

Being a member of a consulting membership site will also assist you in this endeavor by keeping you informed of market changes and allowing you to continue learning even as you practice.

You can view my past postings on how to develop a lucrative consulting business and register for a free webinar by clicking here.

5. Is consulting going to be a profitable venture for you?

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Additionally, increased accountability among consultants will result in higher financial returns. Clients who recognize your worth will also be more willing to pay a premium for your time and work.

According to the International Consultant Federation, there were 53,300 consultants globally in 2018, up from 47,500 part-time and full-time consultants in 2011. 33% of these consultancies are based in the United States, totaling 17,500 consultants. Personal consulting was expected to have a market value of $955 million in 2015 and $1.02 billion in 2016, up from $707 million in 2011. According to the same organization, consultants earn an average yearly salary of $27,100 to $73,100. Specific specialty consultants can even make more than $100,000.

Consider the market to be saturated? You might be shocked to learn that the demand for qualified consultants continues to grow as millennials enter the workforce.

6. What is the key to your success?

While there is no one-size-fits-all answer in the consulting sector, one of the most valuable pieces of life experience I can impart is the importance of quickly identifying your target audience.

You may read a previous blog post about my experience developing a 6-figure consulting firm by clicking here.

Finding your specialization will not only assist clients in differentiating between the numerous options available to them and provide you with the competitive edge necessary to strive for higher returns.

7. How do you plan to expand your business?

Consultancy is no longer an exclusive prerogative reserved for leaders. Organizations are rapidly recognizing the crucial role of consulting in employee and leadership development at all levels and the need of coupling consulting with leadership training in developing and retaining their most valuable asset: the human talent bank. This means that consulting is no longer exclusive to the elite, and industries will discover that investing in specialized consulting for sectors and firms is a worthwhile investment.

What does this mean for you and your company? This results in increased earnings for you because you are no longer limited to individual clients but are now becoming relevant to corporations.

Specialization and prior expertise will become increasingly valuable assets for consultants, even within specific industries, as clients seek faster outcomes for their business success.

8. In what areas are you seeking success?

You’ve worked it all out by now. You have a degree and substantial experience; you have identified your niche and are pursuing the ultimate goal, but your efforts are not translating into earnings.

What piece of the puzzle is missing?

Take a step back and evaluate your visibility and competitive advantage. Are clients able to readily locate you in a crowd?

According to this Forbes article, video is the future of online media, and you must understand the ramifications for your organization. Cisco forecasts that by 2020, video will account for 82% of consumer internet traffic, and worldwide internet traffic will grow at a 22% annual rate, making internet traffic 95 times more prominent in 2020 than it was in 2005.

How can this benefit you?

Branding is a long-term endeavor, and you must understand how and to whom to offer your services. Blog about your triumphs, network with colleagues and develop a long-term advertising strategy to reach your target audience.

Successful video marketing may well be the elixir that lifts your firm to new heights.

Create readily digestible video content and use it to expose your brand to potential clients across all social media channels.

I’ve included some additional advice in this piece regarding how advertising to a targeted demographic aided me.

9. Do you incorporate positive psychology into your practice?

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The majority of individuals are overly focused on the developments that have shaped the consulting profession. They discuss various topics, ranging from technology improvements to shifting attitudes toward hiring consultants. While this is true, the essence of consulting has remained constant across time and will continue to do so.

We are in the business of assisting individuals. Consultants are more aware of the value of positive psychology and place a premium on what is right with people to help them thrive and flourish.

Over the next few years, consultants will use positive psychology and mindfulness principles in their consulting to assist their clients in creating more positive, productive, and profitable workplaces and applying these ideas to their own lives.

10. Are you sufficiently human?

What is the one thing that will set you apart in today’s fast-paced world? You can maintain a human connection with your clients.

As your clients’ deadlines for success shorten, they will look to you for ideas built on a foundation of trust and your prior expertise in producing measurable outcomes. Consultants who discover novel ways to make encounters feel empowering, purposeful, yet “human” will achieve unparalleled success.

Both the client and the consultant will need to be vulnerable. And it is how they manage a shared experience that defines and ensures the relationship’s success.

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