Turn your phone around.
Point it at your client.
Successful consulting is all about them.
Get their viewpoint.
Speak to it.
Use graphics that touch them.
Tell their stories.
Stop selling and let them buy.
Successful consulting is about changing what they think, feel and believe.
They think they are customer focused. They want to be but how often do their decisions meet customer preferences? Do they ask customers before building a new product? Do they depend on “gut feel” more than research? Do they resist A-B split testing?
Your mission is to find clarity and convince them to adopt a strategic analysis process
They feel that they have an inside track on what works because they were successful in another industry. They are of the opinion that their success will translate no matter that the culture of a new company or the customers is different from what they have known. They seem, at times, to be saying, “don’t confuse me with facts, I know better.”
Your job is to acknowledge their feelings and gently guide them to look at more viewpoints, particularly those of customers or clients.
They believe that what worked before will work again. You hear the phrase, “it has always been that way.” Someone notes that, “The industry standard has been in place since before we went into business.” Or, the argument that is supposed to end the discussion, “We can’t be the first to do something different.”
Your task is to convince, persuade or cajole them into trying a new way and see what happens.
Successful consulting is not about what you say. It’s about what people hear.
There is a word for it: Value.
Select your words with care and stand firm on recommendations because often it is not what you say but how you say it. Too often we provide features and benefits and overlook the power of why we’ve built things that way. We don’t walk the path our customers or clients walk. We become so enthused with our solutions that we lose sight of what success will be like for the folks we are advising. Clients want to know that you are going to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty helping them. That’s why you select:
Guide versus advise
Craft instead of assemble
Shape rather than manufacture
You will be judged by your words in the first three seconds on or off line. You need to make them count. Past that, the way you describe what you do, who you do it for and why your approach works in specific terms must be rendered quickly, surely and in a way that people can connect with. People will give you 30 seconds to do that.
A case in point: 30-Second Marketing has been one of the strategic marketing tools I have provided clients for longer than a decade. It has changed over time as elements were tested and improved. The modules in the training and the speech used to be: Hook ‘em, Hold ‘em, Pitch ‘em and Close ‘em.
Here is how they are identified in the new experience-based incarnation:
30-Second Marketing takes you from Memorable to Unforgettable.:
- Module 1—Your Memorable Hook: 3 tools that simplify finding the words that will make you memorable, establish your brand and begin earning trust as you introduce yourself.
- Module 2—Crafting the conversation to Hold ’em: Developing the statement hat will help listeners sort themselves into prospects or referral sources in seconds.
- Module 3—Getting to Trust to Pitch ‘em: Explaining what you deliver in a way that immediately earns trust and provides a simple script for a referral.
- Module 4—Compiling outcomes to Close ‘em: Gathering the concrete examples of results that demonstrate how effective your advice is for your clients.
- Module 5—Becoming Unforgettable: Specific ways to use what you’ve learned as the strategic center of your business development (Networking on and off line, building a persona video, ceveloping your web site, speaking to build your business, clarifying all your marketing materials.)
The value here is in presenting each module in a way that allows the client/customer to assess it in their terms.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to mull over what I’ve said here and how it impacts the way you communicate the value of your consultancy. Need to change? Build a plan. Stymied? Contact a professional. Still not sure? Try it out on a real client/customer. That’s the only way to be sure.
And so it goes.
Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and CEO of Z-axis Marketing, Inc.
His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for on and off-line Trust-based Consultant Marketing and Brand development advice that builds businesses, brands and lives of joy.