About Jerry Fletcher

Jerry is the CEO of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. which he founded in 1990. He is an expert at business development and has changed the way the way new business is acquired and introduced on three continents. He is known to meet with clients in dining rooms and boardrooms. He stopped counting successful introductions of new products at 207.

Consultant Marketing Tech Trap

It’s great until it isn’t.

It can be the backbone of the sharing of your body of intellectual property or it can delay the release by days, weeks or months or, in some cases years.

Change

The inherent problem as well as solution with technology is that It keeps changing. Engineers and software designers keep trying to simplify things and, in my view, have achieved wonders. On the other hand as they make things like template driven websites they take away a great deal of creativity in the design. They have made it nearly impossible to intentionally misspell a word. Your spreadsheet won’t compute if your formulas are fongooled. Your presentation slides look good even if they have too many words.

The changes can be incredibly powerful like a search engine that does complex Boolean searches based on answers to questions in English. Or would you have imagined the explosion of meetings software that has occurred in the last six months? The best software has the ability to simplify complex operations and make understandable answers available speedily.

This last week, I got caught on the bad side of the cusp of change multiple times.

Logging in

Cristy, my VA found a piece of software to solve a problem we had been working on to incorporate audios into my Newslog on a regular basis. She suggested I fire it up and get conversant with it. I tried. Oh how I tried. Instead of the usual Username and password approach the site sent me a special key to use to open up my personal part of the site. When I tried it I was advised that my browser software was unacceptable and that I must use one of two which I try never to use. In order to use the key I would have to make one of those browsers my standard. 45 minutes later I figured out how to hook up using a username and password.

Yes, they were trying to make their product better than all the others out there. But they didn’t consider the customer’s viewpoint. I don’t care about having a new way to register. I don’t have time to switch browsers and learn a new system just because it is new.

Software is a tool. It needs to accomplish the task it was designed to do. It needs to be as easy to start and stop as picking up a wrench and putting it down to select a screw driver instead. A more complex tool needs to plug into the electrical power outlet and use the power generally available. Don’t tell me I need to put a special new power converter into my basic system. I’m not buying that idea or using that other browser for one piece of software.

Buying in

Most of us are aware of new standards in acceptable e-mail practices. But the companies that supply e-mail services have significant differences in how they respond to those regulations.

Recently, I moved a client to Active Campaign in order to take advantage of their field leading implementation of automated marketing. Having used their services before I knew that even though they would assist in uploading the client’s list that they would insist, at some point, on proof of double opt-in for all subscribers. More importantly, I knew they would not allow use of their system for those verifications.

So we sent out a notification to all 360 subscribers using a double opt-in sign up form from Active Campaign. That request got us 36 subscribers on Active Campaign pushed through their system. I dropped the subscription notice 5 more times to those who had not signed up and we achieved a 15% sign up overall or 48 people. Then my client offered a book in a webinar he was doing with 2 other experts. Six people provided their e-mails. He sent them an Active Campaign form to get their mailing address noting that they would also receive his Executive Letter via e-mail weekly. Five of them signed up. The count is now 53 double opted in using Active Campaigns forms and automations.

In the following week he added six names manually for a final count of 59.

We designed new templates, prepared appropriate content and scheduled a mailing. The mailing was stopped without prior notification and when asked why Active Campaign responded that it did not meet their compliance standards. When queried multiple times the respondents kept changing and all responses were couched in lookups from their manuals. Because my client requested escalation, our inquiry supposedly was handled by a senior compliance officer. At no time did any one in Customer service or compliance deign to pick up a phone.

Opting out

As of yesterday My client elected to accept their money back offer. I followed close behind and have advised two other clients not to use a service I once proudly recommended.

Let me be perfectly clear. Active Campaign though technically superior is not a good option for Automated Marketing as their promotion does not make it clear that there is no guarantee that your mailings will go out even if the criteria they state is met using their own systems! Their staff is not trained to help you accomplish your tasks as they claim but rather to enforce rules and regulations that fail to meet basic tests of reason.

I recommend that you opt out of using Active Campaign and tell everyone you know to do so as well.

Integrating

So I had to find another solution to my need to handle the back end of a Quiz funnel built in Budket IO 2.0. The one piece missing is the integration to an e-mail provider to provide the capability of sending out the reports. I elected to use Kartra for that and so began the adventure of using Zapier to put the two pieces of software together to transfer the necessary data.

I used the directions provided by Bucket and got thorough 4 steps even though nothing looked the same as described. At step 5 things went in the toilet.

I did what has worked for me in the past. I asked for help. Haven’t heard from Bucket yet but Zapier responded immediately via a straight talking bot promising contact with a human. Then this morning I received an e-mail from a human.

Wonder of wonders, a software company/service that understands customer service.

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 advice that builds businesses, brands and lives of joy.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com

Consultant Marketing Trepidation To Elation

Lindsay joined the local chapter.

I welcomed her by e-mail.

She is a newbie in multiple ways:

  • A new college graduate
  • A new MBA
  • A new member of IMC (Institute of Management Consultants)
  • A wannabe consultant

We’ll be Zooming next week because she has that innate need to find out how this business works and what it takes to be successful. She already operates on one of the basic principles she will need to be successful:

Trust but Verify

This simple statement which Ronald Reagan made popular comes from a Russian Proverb. It is an elegantly brief bit of advice that works well so long as the relationship is not the key element in question. For someone like Lindsay it is a way to gather a lot of information quickly without committing to any outcome based on that initial data gathering.

That is why it is so practical. The successful consultant is forever gathering data. They must, because of the nature of their calling reap the knowledge of a broad swath of sources. By joining an organization made up of people that do what she wants to do she quickly increases the number of sources easily available to her.

She can Trust in the interviews and based on comparing her analysis of the relative success of her contacts verify how much she should attend to their advice.

Impress but focus

When I was CEO of an ad agency I would do two or three informational interviews with youngsters, new to the trade, each week. It was a way to give back to all the people that helped me, a way to pay it forward. Early on I learned to employ a technique I picked up in a Xerox Selling Skills Class.

It is simple. Ask a question. When the person finishes, simply say Oh? Then wait. They will begin speaking again. Do it again. Do it as many times as the other person will continue speaking.

Employing this technique does two things:

  • You will learn a great deal more about that individual than you ever imagined.
  • You will find out just how capable they are of setting objectives and focusing on them.

They wanted to talk to you ostensibly to get some answers about the industry they want to enter yet they are afraid to say what is really on their mind, getting a job. So the real question each of them has is, “How can I take my education and my limited experience and convince someone to hire me?”

That is tough enough if you are just looking for a job. How do you take that resume out and convince someone to hire you as a consultant?

State a problem and your solution

One of the secrets of finding leaders is how they ask questions.

An individual may ask in one of these informational interviews, “How did you get to this position?” And in all likelihood they are truly interested.

Another might say, what positions did you have to go through to become CEO, President or whatever. They really want to know.

Leaders approach the person granting the interview as a resource that can advise them on the relative strength of their proposed solution.

Do you see the difference? The leader says, “I want to get started in consulting but I don’t think I have experience that business owners will think is enough. I’m thinking of offering my services at no cost unless we get results agreed to before we start work. Would that get me hired?”

Whatever you think of the solution you have had a demonstration of how someone thinks. More importantly you know how they will approach situations in the future.

There is no CEO worth her or his salt that doesn’t want that kind of thinking.

Be planned but present

You know you have a set amount of time for the interview. Don’t waste it. Come to the table with a list of questions. Work it. Ask them in order of importance to you.

But listen. Often a comment from that source will register with you and you will want to know more. Ask the unscripted follow up question and see where it goes. Listen. Pull that string that intrigued.

Often you will discover a creative way to solve a problem you have. Some that I’m aware of:

  1. New college graduate writes a laudatory one-page letter as his wife to personnel directors of ad agencies across the Midwestern USA touting his New York experience with no resume attached. He took the job offered by the personnel director that called one evening and asked to speak to his wife.
  2. A transgender woman encounters a meeting planner on an airplane looking for someone to do a keynote at an upcoming company meeting with diversity as the primary takeaway. She responded to the question, “What do you do?” with, “I take the fear out of being queer.”  She got the gig.
  3. The founder of a world class direct marketing agency diagrammed on a napkin the difference between Brand and Direct. It sat in his desk drawer for a couple years and then he convinced a client to try it keeping track of a full set of analytics. Then he wrote a book about it. He keynoted at the worldwide advertising convention held in Cannes the next year

That’s some simple advice for a newbie. If you like this kind of information about consulting or brand or networking or CRM or writing to persuade you need to sign up for my newslog.
Click here to sign up.

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 advice that builds businesses, brands and lives of joy.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com

Consultant Marketing For Startups

You’ve decided you’d like to be a consultant but you’re not sure how long it is going to continue as a side hustle before becoming your full-time gig.

You’ve done some time in the 9 to 5 world and learned how to get some things done.

Could be that you’ve grown comfortable with independence of working from home because of Covid or the outfit you’re working for is beginning to let people go.

Age can matter.

I know. As an Ad Agency CEO dealing with CEOs, Presidents and Fortune 500 senior managers. I was always asked how somebody so young could know so much. The fact was I just looked a lot younger than I actually was. The perception was that I was 20 years younger when I was in my 50s.

If you are young or just look it, people will question your judgement. The higher the value of your advice the more they want you to be grey haired or at least grey at the temples.

On the other hand if your expertise is in technology they want you to be a little younger.

Gender can matter

It shouldn’t, but it does. You will find women that deliver brilliantly in every profession you can imagine. In some cases they do it better than men. But regardless of that there is a known bias toward women in some areas perceived to be more people oriented and away from them in engineering and “hard” science.

So you would probably accept the young lady in the photo as qualified to handle social media but not to specify the concrete for our overpass.

I’m certain of this as my daughter looks like a valley girl but has dual PhDs in Engineering and Microbiology.

Race can matter

I’m of Irish extraction. It has been a couple generations since folks like me were automatically turned down for any white-collar job but I can still remember my grandfather talking about some of the names he was called.

I’ve been in the car when a black friend was stopped for no reason.

I’ll never forget telling the proud Hispanic entrepreneur of a wall construction company that the only thing stopping him from getting work in the local high-income bedroom community was not asking. The work he did on that first job is still earning him testimonials.

Religious garb can matter

If you wear a hijab, a Sikh turban or a Jewish Kippah you can expect to be treated differently.

Sometimes that is a good thing. A case in point was a local manufacturer of custom carpets for businesses and boats who answered my question about the hair coverings of the women doing the intricate work in his operation. He replied, “They are from a Russian sect that lives just south of here and even if  I don’t have an immediate contract for them to work on I will hire them because they are twice as productive as anyone else I’ve hired.”

Engagement matters

If you are not completely engaged it can cause mistakes like overcommitment, under-commitment and insufficient study of the industry or problem in question. Often, proposed solutions will go awry due to reasons painfully obvious in hindsight.

Frequently the error is too much talking and too little listening.

That can lead to a reputation of being ineffective. It causes clients to at best give no testimonials and at worst issue a critical review.

Here’s what you can do about it.

  • Learn how to have a conversation with a prospect instead of delivering a commercial.
  • Build a believable self intro
  • Put together the words they can use to refer you
  • Truthfully sell yourself and your capabilities

That is what my 30-Second Marketing Workshop can do for you. You’ll learn those basics plus how to apply all you’ve learned to build a lead generating web site, presentations that stick with prospects and how to move from memorable to unforgettable, to Indispensable and, if you have the knack of changing the way people think, to Legendary.

Join me. Get on the reservation list for the next 30 Second Marketing Workshop

Send an e-mail to Jerry@Z-axisMarketing.com with the subject Workshop and I’ll send you all the details.

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 advice that builds businesses, brands and lives of joy.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com

Consultant Marketing Soundtrack

I have no clue where this idea came from.

Perhaps it was watching the credit roll on an old movie that used rock songs from my misspent youth as the background to everything from chase scenes to tender love scenes and everything in between.

The music of your career.

Consulting careers are usually sorted out into:

  1. Start up
  2. Growth
  3. Established

When I first considered this way of looking at my past I was struck by the urgency of establishing my practice. As a foot ball fan, the Rolling Stones’ song “Start it Up” came to mind. But I couldn’t think of the words to the song just that powerful guitar riff and driving beat.

So I looked it up. The earworm I had of the musical opening to the song was accurate but the title wasn’t. It is actually “Start Me Up” which you don’t hear until about 15 seconds in. Of course, I watched this video. And then I checked out the lyrics that start with:

If you start me up
If you start me up I’ll never stop
You can start me up
You can start me up I’ll never sto
p

I’ve been running hot
You got me ticking going to blow my top
If you start me up
If you start me up I’ll never stop
Never stop, never stop, never stop

You make a grown man cry
You make a grown man cry
You make a grown man cry

Seems to me there’s a little sexual tension there and if you are really into consulting it has some of those connotations.

What about growth?

That little foray into sensuality got me wondering what the key melody was for all those years I was growing the practice. Nothing came immediately to mind until I started thinking about the years I spent as a journeyman in advertising. Then it came to me. Neil Diamond. Either you’re a fan or you’re not. He recorded a live album at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles called “Hot August Night.” One song in particular that night sort of tells it like it was for me: “Brother Loves Travelin’ Salvation Show”

I discovered that it was used in the movie, “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood,” I sleuthed out  a video where he explains how the song came about and then sings it. click here  Later versions of the song with an orchestra and a choir backing him are just gilding the lily of this powerful take on a piece of Americana. This may have been when I decided to become a speaker because like Brother Love I’ve always wanted to give back and to spread the word of what works in my world. Listen all the way through. You’ll understand.

Established?

That one came easy. You can’t grow up when I did without knowing about a little town called Detroit. Yes, it was famous as where American cars were manufactured. But it became Motown when music that would sweep the nation began to be recorded there. No, I’m not going to claim a connection to something from Barry Gordy’s bunch.

My guy was Bob Seiger. He and the Silver Bullet Band would tour for years but his songs were made famous by other artists that covered them. He is best known for “Night  Moves,” “Still the Same,” and “Against the Wind.”

But the song for this part of the journey is one he wrote while touring in 1973. Check out this video and remember these words: “Here I am, on the road again. There I am, up on the stage. Here I go, playin’ the star again. There I go, turn the page.”

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 advice that builds businesses, brands and lives of joy.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com

Consultant Marketing Pain Payoff

Numerous coaches in my life have all said, “No pain, no gain.”

They were physical coaches. They were talking about my body. The brain discussion was always about handling or overcoming the pain.

But pain isn’t always physical.

Brain Pain

Your clients may exhibit this phenomenon. If they don’t you may not be doing your job as well as you should. Yes, I know that your intent is to lessen their pain by solving their problem. But sometimes you need to give them some pain to provide a longer-term solution.

The path to Legendary

There is a path every consultant must walk. The stepping-stones are:

  • Memorable
  • Unforgettable
  • Indispensable
  • Legendary

Memorable

In today’s world awareness of who you are is critical to staying engaged with clients. One client, plus another and yet another until you have an ongoing string of them. How you identify yourself, the words you use to tell strangers what you do are critical to your success. The more unique your identity, the more memorable you can be. Sometimes it pays to be controversial. A little pain can connect you to potential gain.

            “Controversial gets you seen.

                        Results gets you paid.”

Unforgettable

This second stepping-stone is directly linked to what you deliver. Every step of your interaction with a contact from initial meeting to agreeing to work together to fulfilling the promise of the engagement is judged by what you bring to the partnership. Everything you bring.

The style you show whether chic, understated elegance, or casual competence all get linked to outcomes.

Your way of speaking whether it is “cut to the chase” or a meandering walk through the maze of the difficulty becomes a part of how you are regarded.  

How you interpret data, analyze it and compare it to best practices becomes part and parcel of your persona.

The relationship you build with contacts, prospects, clients and referral sources become an immutable part of how they position you in their recommendations.

“Controversial gets you seen.

                        Results gets you paid.

                                    Relationships get you referred”

Indispensable

One step further occurs when an engagement turns into an ongoing, often retainer-based, agreement to take on the role of continuing advisor for the client. This may range from on-call to regular hours or attendance at specific scheduled meetings.

You are indispensable when you deliver desired brain pain. It may be the sting of sweeping current analytics aside. It could be the twinge of long-term weakness revealed by analysis. It might be the agony of finding a new way of doing business in the face of an unexpected pandemic.

The point is: you are supplying a way of thinking that is not currently available in the organization.

“Controversial gets you seen.

                        Results gets you paid.

                                    Relationships get you referred

                                                A different slant makes you a star”

Legendary

The singular difference of a Legendary Consultant is that they change the way their clients think. The consultant’s way of approaching a problem becomes the standard for client executives. Your practices become best practices for that organization and its leadership.

Based on publication of your results and what underpins them a broader audience adopts your approach and puts you in this category reserved for only a few.

“Controversial gets you seen.

                        Results gets you paid.

                                    Relationships get you referred

                                                A different slant makes you a star

                                                                                    Imbuing wisdom gets renown.”

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 advice that builds businesses, brands and lives of joy.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com

Consultant Marketing The Essence

.

Time is of the essence

.It is.

Contracts for consulting may include this phrase followed by specific goals that must be met by a certain time.

BUT Time is of the essence in multiple ways for a consultant. Here are a few:

  • Billable hours
  • Task schedules
  • Appointment setting
  • Completion agreement date
  • Available hours

Let’s take those one at a time starting with the last.

Available Hours

As a consultant, running your own business, you can determine how many days a week you are gong to work and how long each day. You may be willing to put in a lot of time to become successful. That’s okay if you don’t have a life outside your business. But, over time you will find that a life of joy is doing the work you love at a tempo that is comfortable and allows you to pursue other interests.

Let’s figure out how many hours are actually available.

Days in a year                                                           365 Days

Total hours in a year (24/day)                                8760 Hours

Actual Working weeks per year 52 less
Federal  holidays (20 days or 3 weeks,
2 wk vacation(10 days)
and 5 sick days (1 week)                                        48 Weeks

Standard working hours in USA @ 40Hrs/wk     1920 Hours

Billable Hours        

Here is a dose of reality. None of us deliver work for all the standard working hours. Even expecting to average 8 hours a day is not viable. You need to eat lunch or your capabilities tank. You are not plugged in every minute of the rest of the day. A bathroom break or two is essential. Just like warming up that cup of coffee. Not to mention the administrivia of running a company (which I’m not going to subtract here) Here are the numbers:

Real working hours in week
less lunch 1 hour and Admin 1 hours/day           30

Actual available billable time at 5 hours/day       1440  

Doubt me? Here’s away to figure out reality.

  1. Print out a week’s calendar pages from your CRM, one day per page. Usually they will be marked in 30-minute increments and are easy to schedule meetings starting on the hour or half hour.
  2. Starting Monday morning record what you are doing in 15 minute increments. All of it. The coffee break. The trip to the bathroom. Going out to the mail box. Doing a report for a client. Doing a proposal. Whatever.
  3. Do it for the week.
  4. Now go through the week and highlight the activities you could bill a client for.
  5. Total up the numbers day by day and for the week.

Most of us bill only about half our time at best.

Task Schedules

As secondary benefit of the above exercise is seeing how long it takes you to accomplish a task. Suppositions are fine in fiction but you’re building a business based on getting results. Your profit, or lack thereof, is directly linked to your ability to estimate the time it is going to take to accomplish a task versus what you can bill the client for the work.

All of us think we can get things done faster. It just doesn’t happen that way. At best we’ are off by a factor of 1.5 to 3.5.In other words, if you put 10 hours to do something in a proposal  and it takes 15, 25 or 35 hours to do it you could be out the difference, particularly if you use project pricing.

Appointment Setting

You schedule a Zoom meeting inside your Outlook or other software calendar. It asks you for a start and an end time. That lunch you can finally have with a client as Covid restriction ease get put into your calendar. You carefully note the place and the time. If you are writing it in you don’t note and end time. Noting the occasion in your phone forces you to put in an end time.

End time. What a concept. Meetings of all sorts start late and drag on when a stake in the heart is the most reasonable thing to do.

In order to be at the restaurant on time you need to leave early. The end time is set to precede your next meeting or task but travel time eats into that. When you set an appointment look at the time it takes you to get there and get back. Every appointment needs a realistic start and end time. Unless it is directly client related it is not billable.

Completion Agreement Date

You can’t dodge this bullet. Your job is to deliver the results you promised when you promised them. Earlier if possible

Time is of the essence:

  • The time you estimate to solve the problem
  • The time it actually takes
  • The time you can bill for it
  • The time you spend getting to, in, and getting back from appointments
  • The timely delivery of what you promised

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 advice that builds businesses, brands and lives of joy.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com

Consultant Marketing Listen or Lead?

The popular press was crowing about how populism was sweeping the earth because social media had given everyone a voice.

Then a pandemic got in the way.

Suddenly marketing gals and guys are debating whether to listen or lead and how the pandemic reaction will affect that going forward.

Consultant Marketing is different…or is it?

We know from 17 years of research that Consultant Marketing is not like traditional product marketing. It is not like the standard marketing required for a service either. Has the mainstream idea of the customer dictating the marketing of the product impacted on Consulting?

Yes and no.

 The length of time a consultancy has been operating makes a difference as does the size of client.

  • Start-ups are too busy trying to find their next engagement to do a lot of listening to populist viewpoints. They are out there pitching on and off-line. They’ve taken up virtual networking and speaking on Zoom to get in front of prospects. To get speaking bookings they have to present on an area of expertise.
  • Growing firms have established an expertise. They are expected to bring that proficiency to bear on client’s problems that fit nicely into their knowledge base. They tend to be seen as “thought leaders” and are expected to lead the discussion. Those that have the greatest revenues do so, on stages, in boardrooms and in interviews. Their clients generally are middle market B2B and not subject to the opinions of the multitudes except if they are targeted by an anti-elitist group.

  • Established Firms Still may include individual front-runners. that got where they are on the corporate ladder by championing a singular opinion. But close observation reveals that they are now prone to carefully weighing their stance against the opinions of client customers.  Those clients tend to be larger and B2C oriented. Then, too, the staff in such organizations is always larger and tend to be filled up with youngsters that are charged with understanding how the client company operates.

Ask and Choose

There will be a “New Normal.” The world will change. People will have different expectations.

The mark of a good consultant will continue to be the ability to listen. The need to assess the situation in conference with a CEO will not go away. The requirement to understand a prospect’s operations will continue. The impact of customers on the  client’s business will still have to be assessed.

Consultant Marketing will, I believe, begin heavier use of two tools.

Ask As simple as it sounds this way of going about things will, I believe, see expanded use in the future. Many are reticent to use this means of getting to what matters. It can be as simple as saying, “oh” repeatedly to get the speaker to examine their contention. Or, you might employ a quiz to determine which of your areas of expertise are what is expected or dated or needed.

You will need to query in a way you can get useable, verifiable information. Make your questions ones that can guide you in selecting products, services and approaches. Whether your clients work in B2B or B2C you can be more effective the more you know.

Choose First you ask the right questions. Next you focus on verifying the salient qualities of the choice. Does it sell? Will they buy again? Can we layer other sales on top of it? Are ancillary products or services wanted? Is it trending up or down?  How does it compare to known successes? Is there competition or is it a unicorn? (You want a competitor).

Involving folks in both the client organization and their customer base will often provide you with insights you would not get any other way. It will save you and your client time as well as give you an edge on success.

Make it personal

Testing your assumptions will give you a competitive edge. Knowing which of the services you offer are most important to your ideal clients will allow you to be more certain in your approach. Determining what customers for your clients really want will make your advice produce revenue faster. Shifting your communications to the area that interests prospects and using their words will make you more successful. When you take the stage and provide he advice they are looking for, more of them will hang on your words, in the meeting, in the hallway, in their boardrooms and in their offices.

Be a real thought leader

Here are three thoughts generated by the most recent Consultant marketing Survey:

  • “Speaking is the new magic weapon for building a practice…
    If the right stages can be booked and the follow up is in place.”

                                                                                          Jerry Fletcher

  • “Every consultant has a branding problem…You gotta move
    from Nobody to Somebody and do it in just 3 seconds!”

                                                                                                      Jerry Fletcher

  • “Controversial gets you heard...
    Proof gets you hired.”

                              Jerry Fletcher

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 advice that builds businesses, brands and lives of joy.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com

Consultant Marketing Crafting Identity

.

SEO is only part of the equation.

I agreed to sit on a panel after a presentation on SEO the other day.

The presentation was well done if a little lumpy because the presenters were not used to using Zoom.

I learned some things about how SEO works which I’ll put to good use.

But, the most important thing I learned was that key words are worth nothing if the web site doesn’t communicate on a personal level.

The right words.

As the presenters put it, SEO is for the AI (Artificial Intelligence) in the search engines. The words speak to the humans visiting the site. The more personal and to the point the words are the better your chances of getting the visitor to take the action you want them to take.

An example from a consulting web site rewrite:

Before:

These men and women feel they are being reactive rather than proactive and want to exert more analytically supported control over the business. Often, they feel that they are running just to catch up. They are certain that with the right plan in place with assurance the have right managers on the job they will be able to handle any crisis.

After:

Do you often feel that you are running just to catch up? Tired of being reactive rather than proactive? Want to exert more insight driven control over your business?

Our clients are certain that with the right plan in place and the right managers on the job they can handle any crisis.

The Before is talking about someone. The After talks to someone. Questions move this to a conversation instead of a description. Notice the increase in connection and the impression of a personal exchange in the After.

Empathy counts

Shifting the “Running to catch up” to the first position says to the busy executives you are addressing that you understand the situation they are confronted with daily. Too often, CEOs and other senior officers must concentrate on finding a fix for what is going wrong rather than concentrating on getting things right for the long term. The sentence beginning, “Tired of being reactive…” standing alone reemphasizes the empathy and clicks into their desires. “Insight driven control” suggests an attainable way to reach the better management goal.

Graphic cues

Separating the last sentence provides a visual cue that there is a change in the  discussion. That is accentuated by opening the sentence with the words, “Our clients.”

Typography offers multiple ways help our minds picture the conversation:

  • Bolds
  • Italics
  • Underlines
  • Strike throughs
  • Initial Caps
  • Punctuation
  • Bullets
  • Copy Centered
  • Copy Left
  • Copy Right
  • Copy Justified
  • Numbered lists
    • Indents

We are a graphically oriented bunch. I’ve been told that spelling, so difficult for many, is visually oriented rather than verbal. So, instead of sounding out words it may pay greater dividends to eyeball them out!

Page or Screen

These graphic elements work in print and on your computer screen. You can do so much with words that some e-mail experts in Business to Business (B2B) situations prefer all text to templates full of color and photos and illustrations. But in the Business to Consumer (B2C) world the colorful piece in print or digital form wins the day.

Strangely enough when you follow-up with print matter after an initial digital presentation the preference is contrary. In B2B color brochures are preferred whereas In B2C one or 2 colors is well accepted for transmittal.

Video  

Recently I was reviewing some web sites and one had a video that was silent. I thought my computer sound had crashed. A couple minutes in I understood what the video was about. The silence had become a hook, a way to intrigue me. It was a kind of sound punctuation. It made me remember the site well after I had any use for the service offered.

Video literally grabs your eyeballs but without words to go with it the story may not come through. Words supered on screen can make a powerful point . Music can enhance it all.

But without the words in the voice over and those imprinted on the image you have a failure to communicate and there goes your identity.

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 advice that builds businesses, brands and lives of joy.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com

Consultant Marketing The Right Words

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They arrive in my inbox as attachments.

The request is: “Here’s the latest, take look and see if it will get your agreement.” Or, “How can we make it better?” Sometimes it is just a simple, “Please edit. I’m looking for people to agree with this and take action.”

Multiple forms, one mission

Here are the most common written documents produced by my clients:

  • Newsletters
  • Blogs
  • Articles
  • Posts
  • White papers
  • Position Papers
  • Presentations
  • Booklets
  • Books

All of them are written to be informative and to one degree or another to be convincing or persuasive.

Words that work

Ever find yourself wondering what someone means, especially when they use acronyms? Do you get confused when someone’s argument goes off obliquely? Are there words you’ve heard that sound good but don’t convey a succinct meaning to you?

I’m playing with you. Let’s try those questions with other words:

Ever find yourself wondering what someone means, especially when they use collections of letters as a word? Do you get confused when someone’s thinking goes off at an angle that doesn’t make sense? Are there words you’ve heard that sound good but don’t speak clearly to you?

A better picture in your mind’s eye

The USA is not one of the greatest collections of readers in the world. Of the developed countries we rank 16th or 17th depending on the study. Scarier still is the fact that about 14% of the US population is illiterate! So why should a consultant be worried about that?

Step away from the 50-cent words

Yes, you are well educated. Yes it cost you a fortune. Yes, you’d like to put the vocabulary you learned to work. Of course, you want to impress that prospect with your knowledge.

Don’t.

Let your emotions be your guide

To convince or persuade you first have to communicate. To get people to see things your way you have to find a way get your ideas across to them. Shorter words have greater emotional connections. The little words make people feel things. Some examples:

  • Canine versus dog
  • Residence versus home
  • Endeavor versus aim
  • Unbiased versus fair
  • Expeditious versus fast

Understanding is a many layered thing

The length of sentences as much as the words used control what we understand.

A sentence that goes on and on like a winding country road that meanders through one croft to another over hill and dale passing innocent bovine pastures and orchards swollen with nuts and fruits will sooner or later cause a bump in the reading larger than any of the chasms in the lanes.

Whew! I got lost somewhere around “bovine.”

To win, you need to write short.

Short sentences.

Little words.

To get the gig you need to touch their emotions.

Don’t impress.

Do not make them guess.

Find the words they use.

The right words.

This is the way I end a speech that talks about how to go from nobody to somebody:

  • The Right Words can make you Memorable in a heartbeat
  • The Right Words can generate trust as you introduce yourself
  • The Right Words allow people to sort themselves into prospects or referral sources
  • The Right Words can get the sale.
  • The Right Words can establish your brand in the time it takes you to speak them

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 advice that builds businesses, brands and lives of joy.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com

Consultant Marketing Automagiced

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“I don’t have to be there in person.”

First I had to teach consulting clients how to use Zoom. We walked through lighting, checking the background and the inevitable foul ups. Then we did a little refresher on how to present successfully at a distance. A couple months into sheltering in place we shared fun uses like a virtual happy hour.

Then the lights went on. Forced to work at a distance and substitute technology for being up close and personal I started hearing comments like:

            “I don’t have to be in the room to build rapport.”

            “I can work with folks a plane ride away without a TSA line.

            “Is there a way we can get to prospects beyond the metro area?”

Automagic Marketing

That’s what I used to call the kind of marketing that pushed the limits on georaphy. Still do, actually, but back when I invented the term I was more aggressively promoting it. To me, the promise of automated marketing was a kind of magic.

It still is.

But then or now the problem is that most folks just don’t understand it. To make Automagic Marketing work, you have to know the limitations as well as the impressive capabilities of computers connected to the internet using direct marketing techniques guided by the magic of if-then scenarios.

An apology, translation and explanation

For those of you that understand this stuff, please pardon my starting with really simple and moving toward more complex. I’ve been amazed by the lack of knowledge of the very sophisticated clients I work with of all ages and backgrounds.

A Rolodex TM

It started with a Rolodex TM. My friend Allen, one of the best sales people I’ve ever met, told me how his jewelry company kept card files on customers that included data on each customer’s extended family. They knew the purchases, ring sizes and preferences for both wives and mistresses! These days that kind of information is in databases manipulated by software for Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

Some think that an e-mail program like Mail Chimp or Constant Contact is a CRM. That’s because CRMs always include a way of sending an e-mail either standing alone or working with one you have installed on your computer. The most modern CRMs can also send out texts to smart phones. (Drives me nuts, too!)

Automagic Marketing is what happens when you connect a CRM to an e-mail system and use the abilities of the computer to respond to what action the addressee takes on receiving your message. It is like direct mail on steroids.

The basics

Google is the great search engine that helps you find most everything on the internet. That’s because it ceaselessly searches what is out there. And those that understand how it searches are always dropping clues. Keywords are the primary way to get on the radar. These are words significant in any search you do. A hash tag (which started on Twitter) linked to a keyword makes the item you’ve tagged more visible on social media. Although searching by hashtag has declined, using them puts you higher in the search for the key word. (That’s why people use up to 11 for one item on Instagram or Facebook).

Blogs vs Newsletters

Many of us write blogs. For some it is like writing a journal. For others it is the need to put ideas out into the world and get reaction. If you are looking to have a conversation, you can allow folks to subscribe to your blog. After the psychic payoff you need to understand that a blog says to Google that you have made a change to your web site. That is the best reason for having you blog as part of your website. It enhances your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) which is the process that helps make sure that your site ranks high in the search engines for relevant keywords and phrases.

A newsletter is not a blog. A newsletter is published via e-mail. It can be all text or formatted with pictures and text, backgrounds and other design elements. It is usually developed using a template supplied by an e-mail service and is sent to a list of people who have opted in to receive it. That list is why some internet entrepreneurs are millionaires. That list, which includes suspects, prospects and customers, is becoming the basis of valuation for companies that operate digitally.   

These days newsletters come in all levels of graphic design from text alone to magazine style approaches that have audio and video links built in. Adding to and making offers to that list is how to get to a 24/7 payday.

Links that pay

People subscribe to your newsletter because they want your content. That may be because they saw a blog and signed up on a form  to get more information. Or they were intrigued by something you posted on social media (a lead magnet) that linked them to a form (a landing page) that had to be filled in to get the item they wanted. The sign-up form automatically puts the contact data into a list and sends out a message to the inquirer’s e-mail so they can download the information. That is automated marketing at it’s simplest.

But wait, there’s more

What if you could set a timer so that another message went out to that new subscriber in an hour or a day or a week or whatever combination of those you preferred?

You can. It is part of Automated Marketing.

What if you have your computer react to subscriber behavior such as their choices in a survey by sending out different information based on their answers?

You can. It is part of Automated Marketing.

What if you could shift your follow up e-mail sequences based on current responses?

You can. It is part of Automated Marketing.

What if you could track subscriber reactions from opt-in to purchase and then based on the purchase begin a sequence to purchase the next product in the series you offer.

You can. It is part of Automated Marketing.

The magic

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The magic is in knowing this is possible.

The magic is in the ability to test to see what works…automatically

The magic is in devising strategies with this capability to build a business, a brand and a life of joy…automatically.

I do that magic and I call it Automagic Marketing

And so it goes

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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 advice that builds businesses, brands and lives of joy.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com