Let's go back to the basics. Many prospective clients do not understand the difference between a "consultant" and a "management consultant". Being able to explain what a management consultant IS and what a management consultant DOES paves the way for future discussions about specific capabilities and areas of expertise.
As a general rule, management consultants are more highly qualified than (just) consultants. Many who term themselves consultants are not qualified to work at the highest levels of a company, are contract employees calling themselves consultants (as in the traditional "sales consultant" or "training consultant"), or many are "between-jobs" and don't want to be thought of as unemployed. Management consultants typically have greater skills, abilities, and experience than consultants and thus are able to provide more value to the client; accordingly, they command higher fees.
What is a management consultant? A management consultant is a professional who, for a fee, helps the management of client organizations define and achieve their goals through better utilization of resources. The management consultant may do this by helping to define and identify current or future problems and/or opportunities and recommend solutions. Some take it through implementation; others do not. They work in a myriad of sectors or specializations; they do not all work in the area of leadership, communications, organization change, etc.
Simply put, a management consultant is one who consults (and advises) to the management of organizations.
What kind of management consultants are there?
Management consultants may have a host of technical disciplines, including strategy, organizational development, change, operations (including manufacturing & logistics), information technology, human resources, sales & marketing, etc. They may be part of a firm or own their own business consulting firm. They may be generalists in their area(s) or specialists whose background and experience focus on more specific areas of management. The common thread is that they work with an organization's top management to improve the client's state.
The Certified Management Consultant certification is awarded (Institute of Management Consultants, Washington D. C.), to those select consultants (only 10,000 worldwide) who have met global standards for competence, ethics, and results.
The earning of a CMC designation by a management consultant is no trivial matter. It can be likened to an attorney passing the Bar, an accountant receiving a CPA, an engineer obtaining their PE license, or a doctor receiving their medical license. A candidate must submit to the most rigorous vetting process in the profession that includes: receiving satisfaction surveys from clients, taking in-depth examinations covering consulting competencies and ethics, and sitting for a panel interview by senior CMCs.
All these give you confidence in knowing that the CMC you've chosen has passed the toughest certification process in the profession, and the only consulting certification that has been ISO-accredited and recognized by the insurance industry as reducing risk.