Dialectica Expert Network Review

A strong player in the European market, Dialectica operates out of London and Athens. They support management consultants, private equity investors, institutional investors, and hedge funds by connecting them with leading experts in a particular field.

They are a European competitor to Alphasights, GLG, Third Bridge, GuidePoint, and ProSapient.

Were You Invited to A Dialectica Paid Consultation?

If you were approached by a recruiter from Dialectica, that is a compliment to your status in your industry. Their team identified you as an authority within your field. You are considered an industry expert, and Dialectica is just one company or expert network service that will come looking for your expertise.

They could be working on behalf of:

  • Private Equity Investors – Assembling information for an acquisition
  • Strategic Planners – Seeking perspective outside their current team
  • Management Consultants – Trying to quickly learn about a new business
  • Institutional Investors – Need to understand key trends in your industry

They offer a variety of consulting engagements and expert interviews, ranging from short phone calls to support primary research, to contract projects and white paper development. For an example of how a typical phone engagement plays out, check out of description of an expert network call.

Since you are discussing sensitive or confidential information, there will be a high emphasis on regulatory compliance to avoid insider trading. This is especially tight for publicly traded companies, especially if you are an insider. Ethically, you should not be approached for engagements related to your current employer or industry, as with any other consulting firm or expert consultation.

Expert Networks – How To Get Noticed?

So the bad news is… these people come to you.

You don’t have much control over the early stages of process. The good news is they have an online signup page, which helps you get into their internal database. Beyond that, we suggest enhancing your LinkedIn profile to showcase your expertise.

From a marketing perspective, focus on areas where you are “the best” or otherwise unique in your perspective vs. sharing your full skills. They’re going to be far more interested in a significant tenure with leading companies or the ability to claim that you’ve “collected all the hats” in a particular industry’s commercial operations.

By all means, do a good job on the phone call. From what I’ve seen, many expert network services keep notes on the quality of your phone discussions and insights. There is generally some form of rating process and higher rated consultants (better record and expertise) get more calls.

Expert Calls – Typical Questions

The specifics of a call are driven by the engagement. The good news is that, since a significant cost is involved, your clients are often very focused. Cater to this.

Many calls are intended for industry experts to get new management consultants and investment professionals up to speed on a space. This is common with private equity investment groups: a new investor, skilled in deal execution and analytics, may need to get some perspective on the industries where they want to deploy capital. Expert network calls give them a quick way to learn about aspects of the business for a particular deal, without the price tag of an independent consultant.

The agenda will likely include a discussion comparing common business models, revenue models, and customer segments. If the business is centered around a particular product, be ready to talk about key differences within the product portfolio. You should be able to identify the largest consumer of the industry’s output and any critical supply chain competitors (threats to access to raw materials and labor). This is likely to be a subject of keen interest given the Covid-19 crisis and various pandemic responses from companies.

Many management consultants and institutional investors will be interested in learning more about the basis of competition within an industry. Be ready to discuss the growth potential and how competitors differentiate themselves. Another pro-tip: don’t just provide the client with an outcome (“prices will rise 15%”) but be ready to explore the data behind your insights (“demand will fall because the Panama Canal is closed in October”). Most clients will talk to multiple expert network advisers and will “remix” the facts afterwards into their final report.

Want to add even more value to an expert network service call? Be ready to share a frank perspective or insight on operational risks and areas where you can improve the business. Consider things such as sales effectiveness, supply chain improvement, and manufacturing efficiencies. If there are areas where the leading companies in the industry are making capital investments to improve results, be sure to call them out. This will be of keen interest to many investment management clients in your expert consultations.

Dialectica Consulting Rates

The expert consulting market is fairly efficient, so I would recommend keeping your Dialectica consulting rate in line with what you charge other networks. Rates in this space start around $150 per hour; you can easily increase this to $300 – $500 per hour once you develop a little confidence in your capabilities and some good ratings on file. Expert network consultants with especially impressive credentials (former CEO, noted speaker or authority within a field, book author, etc) can ask for up to $1000 per hour. We describe the logic of how you justify the rate in this article.

By the way, one of their competitors (ProSapient) posted a wonderful article about paying your experts what they are worth on their blog…

Raise Your Profile – Other Expert Networks (Signup Links)

If you’re interested in raising your profile as an expert, run through the list below and sign up for the networks which are relevant to your skills and geography.

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