Coleman Research

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Coleman Research Review

Kevin Coleman founded Coleman Research in 2003 to provide investors with better access to industry-specific information. Instead of spending hours researching reports or traveling to meet people at conferences and other research, Coleman connects clients with industry experts to get immediate, relevant insights. Today, Coleman answers thousands of clients’ most pressing questions without ever leaving their offices.

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Sophie Fischer – Our Expert Network Specialist: Sophie is from Hamburg, Germany and is our specialist on Expert Networks. After several years of working as a top executive, Sophie is now an independent consultant and is signed up as a council member of several networks. When she is not helping HuginX write Expert Network reviews, she can often be found enjoying thrilling Nordic noir crime series.

Coleman acquired by VQ in 2021

In 2021, the Japanese expert network VisasQ (VQ) acquired Coleman Research for US$102 million to become the largest expert network with offices in Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong, London, New York City, Los Angeles, and Raleigh.

“With our mission of “Connecting Insights and Aspirations Across the Globe”, VQ is building the world’s top global knowledge platform as its key strategy. VQ decided to acquire Coleman, the leading ENS firm in the United States, to help achieve this goal. Through an integrated platform with Coleman, VQ will expand its business to over 400,000 experts, 7 locations worldwide (3 in the U.S., 1 in Europe, and 3 in Asia), and over 350 committed employees.” VisasQ

Coleman Research Review

Consulting with Coleman Research

This is how the consulting process looks:

  • Step 1: Request sent from the client
  • Step 2: Coleman searches their network
  • Step 3: Potential experts are vetted
  • Step 4: Consultations are scheduled
  • Step 5: Expert consulting with the client through a phone meeting
  • Step 6: The expert receives payment from Coleman

How do Expert Networks operate?

New to expert networks? Here is a quick guide to 10 key steps networks take when matching experts with clients for ad-hoc phone consultations.


Expert Networks explained in 10 steps

Looking to join an expert network? Here are the key steps in the process applicable to most networks:

1. Client request recived

Expert Network receives specifications from client.

2. Search for candidates

Internal network checked for matching candidates

3. External resources utilized

Additional external candidates are sourced if needed

4. Vetting of candidates

Candidates are vetted over phone or through screener questions

5. Compliance and confirmation

Candidate undergoes compliance training

6. Scheduling of consultation

The phone consultation is scheduled

7. Consultation takes place

Phone consultation is conducted, usually on a single blinded basis.

8. Post-call confirmation

You receive confirmation of compensation amount after the call

9. Request payment

You'll fill in your payment details and request payment

10. Payment received

You receive the payment. Usually through bank-transfer, PayPal or pre-paid credit card.

Read more about how expert networks operate

Expert Networks Guide

How to get picked for the gig

It’s essential to give Coleman the best high-level view of the topics they are asking, as the client decides which expert to consult based on their biography. The vetting conversation is meant to be short, lasting no more than 15 minutes, but project managers will stay longer if you’re willing to provide more details because those details could be the key to selling the call.

At the end of the vetting conversation, they will let you know if they believe you are a good fit for the project. If so, discuss your hourly consulting rate, your availability for a client call, and an overview of the compliance policy. Even if you aren’t a good fit for this project, you can still be added to their expert network database and may be tapped for future opportunities.

Coleman Research Consulting Rates

Coleman Research’s hourly consulting rates vary widely. The initial rate you are offered will be determined by several factors, including your job title and how many years you have been removed from the industry or the relevant job title the client is researching. The closer you are to the relevant job title, the more likely you will be chosen for a call and, thus, more likely to command a higher rate. While you may have been called about a job you held three years ago, it may be unlikely that the client will take a call with you.

Let’s talk numbers

If you are below a director-level role, you will likely be offered $100-$200. If you are a director or above, you will be offered $200-$350. The associate is authorized to offer as high as $500, but anything higher has to be approved by a manager. Some experts get paid $1,000 or more per call through Coleman Research, but usually, after they complete several calls and demonstrate that they can consistently offer clients beneficial and informative conversation. 

Always negotiate

The best way to maximize your consulting rate is to let the associate know that you have worked with expert networks and already have a set rate. This lets the associate know you are experienced and know your worth. It also sets a benchmark for the negotiations, so you can limit the pay range to what makes the engagement worth your time. Additionally, if you have been contacted for many projects, your knowledge is probably in demand, and you can renegotiate your rate with each project.

Keep talking

Your hourly consulting rate will be pro-rated based on how long you are on the call, so it’s in your best interest to keep talking (er, providing valuable insights!) to keep the client on the phone. Coleman Research pays by the minute, like many expert networks, so you will only receive your hourly rate if the call is under an hour. However, the good news is that you’ll earn extra on calls that exceed 60 minutes – nothing beats earning an extra $50 by keeping a good conversation going a little longer!

The Coleman Research Client Call

Okay, you’ve done the vetting call, settled on a rate, and scheduled a call. What can you expect?

Most client calls centre on a particular company, industry, or product. The client will want to know the details of the industry— how it works, business models, verticals, customer types, competitive landscape, key growth drivers, challenges, and trends. 

Real-life confirmation 

Clients have generally done their research, reviewed publicly available information, and heard a management presentation. They are looking for an insider who can confirm the research and give an informed opinion of the growth prospects and challenges of a particular industry, company, or product. The client is not expecting you to prepare for the call— they are looking to download industry knowledge via your many years of experience rapidly.

Competitor comparison

If you’re speaking with an investment manager, they are likely researching a particular company; they will want to know how it compares to its competitors, product and feature differentiation, quality of management, etc. These calls will often revolve around your former employer or a major vendor that you work with frequently, in which case they’ll want you to compare it to other similar products you vetted, with emphasis on the key factors influencing your decision.

Purchasing criteria

Alternatively, the client may be a management consulting firm tasked with developing a marketing strategy, solving operational problems, restructuring an organization, or other issues. These calls will often dive into how you approach a particular issue or problem, your impressions of various products, how purchase and budget decisions are made and provide feedback on some potential new products or proposed solutions.

You don’t have to answer.

You’ll usually have an easy time answering most questions during a call – after all, the client wants to learn about an area you’ve worked in for years. Of course, you may not have the answer to everything, so don’t feel bad for saying that you don’t have the answer to a specific question; the client will move on to the next question on their list, and they aren’t paying top dollar for made-up answers!

Keep in mind compliance

It’s important to note that you’ll never be asked to share non-public or proprietary information. Coleman Research will provide you with clear compliance guidelines several times before you connect with the client. One of the critical responsibilities of expert networks is to ensure that improper information isn’t shared with clients, who are bound by strict compliance standards. You’ll rarely be asked to share any non-public information, and you should decline to answer any questions you feel move into this territory; clients won’t press you to share things that you shouldn’t.


This is how we review gigs

Disclosure: While HuginX is editorially independent, we may earn commissions on sign-up links.


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