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How to sell your ISO 9001 consulting services

ISO 9001:2015 is the premier standard for Quality Management System (QMS) and business management, and, for many organizations, it is the “entry level” to enable them to compete for business through formal tender processes with large organizations. In addition to the benefits for the organization, we also considered employee benefits in the article What are the benefits of ISO 9001 for your employees? Given that there are multiple benefits of 9001 implementation, it is no surprise that ISO 9001 consultancy can be in great demand, especially in certain business sectors or with SMEs (small and medium enterprises) who perhaps do not possess the resources or finances to employ a full-time quality professional or even have their own QMS. So, given that demand exists, what qualities do you need to have in order to sell your consulting services to one of these organizations?

ISO 9001 consulting – What attributes do you need?

In the previous article, What is the job of the quality manager according to ISO 9001, we considered the tasks required of the QMS manager, and there are similarities in the job of the consultant. Whether you are establishing a QMS from scratch or ensuring that an existing QMS meets the terms of the ISO 9001:2015 standard for audit purposes, there are several attributes that you may well need to illustrate to ensure that you are a viable option for any organization considering hiring your services. Let’s consider them in some detail:

  • Ensure that you can display your experience and competence: It is highly unlikely that an organization will hire you with no experience, and even if this is your first consulting job, you will stand a far greater chance of being engaged if you can demonstrate experience with creating and guiding a QMS through external certification. Being able to reference organizations you have helped through certification will help; having formal references from such organizations will strengthen your case even more.
  • Focus on your knowledge of the standard: Nothing is more convincing for a potential client than the consultant being knowledgeable about the subject matter of the 9001:2015 standard itself. Mix your knowledge of the standard with your previous implementation experience, and you can demonstrate that not only do you have knowledge of the standard itself, but also real-life experience to help the organization navigate both the implementation and the audit.
  • Ensure that you operate clearly against objectives: Your consultancy will be judged a success based on the end results your project delivers. Ensure that you clarify the exact nature of the project objectives at the start of the project, and perhaps even offer input on that objective setting process. Your willingness to clarify objectives and perform against them can often bring a feeling of comfort to a client, and provide them with the belief that your consultancy services can deliver the agreed outcome.
  • Have a balanced view of the benefits of ISO 9001: In the article Six key benefits of ISO 9001 implementation, we considered the benefits of implementation. If your potential client does not have a QMS, it is likely that he/she may have one specific reason for establishing one, whether to comply with a customer’s wishes or to enter a tender process, but it is likely he/she does not have a full perspective on the benefits that ISO 9001:2015 implementation can bring. At this point the consultant can have the opportunity to sell both the benefits of ISO 9001:2015 and his/her services simultaneously, and that combination can prove an attractive combination for the potential client.
  • Be enthusiastic: Knowledge can help sell consultancy services, but equally, so can a level of enthusiasm. If you can communicate the benefits that ISO 9001:2015 can bring to the client’s organization – not only through compliance, but also through the additional knowledge and competence benefits you can transfer to the employees involved – you will have a far superior chance of selling your consultancy service. If you can explain how other clients have benefitted in such ways from past projects, then even better. Remain positive, and your chances of being engaged for a project will increase accordingly.

Selling your service for the benefit of all

However you plan and deliver your effort to try and sell your consultancy project, two things should be at the core: the benefits ISO 9001:2015 can bring to the organization, and the benefits that you can bring as a consultant over and above that. If you can stress your desire to truly understand the business, you can then position yourself accordingly to deliver the best benefits to the client, hand in hand with the clauses of ISO 9001:2015 that need to be satisfied. This positive and flexible approach, along with the inherent benefits of the standard itself, can help your client see that your consultancy services can deliver an ISO 9001:2015 certificate, but also much more.

Use our free online training ISO 9001 Foundations Course to improve your knowledge of the standard and use it to sell your consulting services.

Advisera John Nolan
John Nolan
John Nolan is a Fellow of the Institute of Leaders and Managers in the United Kingdom, and Prince 2 accredited with a background in Engineering and Electronics and Data Storage and Transfer. Having studied and qualified as both a Mechanical and Electronic Engineer, he has spent the last 15 years designing and delivering Quality Systems and projects across many sectors in the UK, including both national and local government.