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 It’s Not the App

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I’ve been doing testimonial videos for a client this week.

I’m not a video production expert. My equipment is rudimentary. I use Camtasia to edit. But the quality is sufficient for web sites and the candor I can evoke in the interviewee comes across powerfully because it is not puffery.

My interest is in what they have to say.

The questions I ask are about the concerns they had before and after engaging with the coaches and consultants I work with. I delve into their feelings before, during and after the engagement. I query for concrete results and outcomes.

Their actions speak louder than their words.

One thing comes through in all the interviews I’ve done over the last couple of years. Every single successful entrepreneur, CEO, President and corporate officer turned their phones off for the taping without being asked to do so.

I asked why.

The answer was that they did not want to be interrupted and that the phone simply being on could impede their concentration. Simply being on.

Their success speaks volumes.

These are men and women who recognize the focus a coach or consultant can help bring to their operations. They understand that clarity is the key to taking their organization up a notch and that human interactions are the fundamental driver of business success. 

They are not tied to technology other that to use it as a tool.

They are not addicted to their cell phones.  

They turn them off in order to concentrate.

Several of them noted that they have kept older, land line phone service so that an assistant can handle calls. They tell very few people their direct line.

Rapport generates honesty

Asking questions about both the emotional and literal results of working with someone tends to build rapport between the questioner and the respondent. Often that allows me to get honest answers to infrequently asked questions.

Ever ask someone why they are successful?

It started out as conversation to maintain the rapport while I broke down the video equipment, reclaimed the lapel mike and bundled everything into an old Case Logic video transport that I’ve converted for making sure I have all the gear in one place

Now it has become a standard operating procedure. These days I ask it in many ways:

  • Is there some reason you believe your business is successful?
  • What one thing do you think is why your company is doing well?
  • Does technology make you successful or something else?

Technology is just a tool

Founders of small companies, owners and managers of mid-size companies, C-suite officers both product and service companies agree. Technology is not the reason they are successful. Using it when a competitor doesn’t sometimes gives you an edge. But, by the time it is affordable for smaller companies, the idea of disrupting an industry or even competition in a geographic area just isn’t going to happen. That is their assessment, not mine.

“You do well when you do it good”

He wasn’t the kind of CEO that is dressed for success. His jacket was casually thrown over a side chair. He did the video interview in shirt sleeves with his tie askew saying, “Anybody who knows me wouldn’t believe me if I got all gussied up, and folks like me wouldn’t either.” 

When I asked why he thought his company was doing well he said, “This business is not rocket science. We’re distributors. We take orders on the phone and now online and we transport the product to your location. In this kind of business you do well when you do it good. There are two other companies that can handle your business around here. We have a reputation for doing what we say we are going to do. Been that way since I was drivin’ the only truck we had. Everybody that works here from the gal on the front desk to the mechanics that keep our rigs runnin’ gets it. We tell our customers we’ll get them what they need when then need it.

We keep our promises.”

Out of the mouths of babes

She was a definitely not a slouch. My client had told me about her MBA and how she had climbed the ranks in the financial industry and figured out a specialty service she could start with limited capital. She looked every bit the successful entrepreneur as she finished a phone call and gestured to a seat across from her desk. She put down the phone, clipped an earring back on her ear and asked if seated at her desk was okay for the video.

In the interview she was completely candid noting that she was working on her management skills as her organization had gone from zero to 7 figures in a year and was at the point where she was going to have to start handing off both responsibility and authority.

I asked, “Why do you think you are so successful?” Her response surprised me:

“A few years ago I thought I had it all figured out. I was the top producer in my firm, on the management track with a rosy future. But then the firm was sold. I hadn’t seen it coming. I’d gotten complacent. So I decided that the only sure thing was something I controlled. I’d had an inkling about this service but not the guts to go for it. Even faced with an uncertain future I wasn’t sure. I asked my pre-teen daughter if she would be worried if I started a business.

My darling daughter said, Go for it Mom. Try it. You always tell me to never stop learning. Since I opened the doors I’ve followed her advice. I hired your client to help me with leadership skills. I got what I paid for. We use a lot of technology but that keeps changing and I have to make sure my people are willing to keep learning. Knowing more about the law and how to run the numbers to our client’s advantage is what keeps us ahead of the curve. They trust us to know it better… to never stop learning. That’s why we’re successful.

Success is a matter of trust.

Trust in your judgement.

Trust in your staff

Trust in your customers

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 strategies that build businesses, brands and lives of joy.

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

Consultant Marketing in the Beginning

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I was interviewed on a Podcast last night.

I had approached the interviewer because of a post she had put in a group I’d been asked to join on Facebook. Usually I don’t engage on that platform but there she was, right up front when I clicked a link to the group.

We had chatted briefly on the phone, set a date for the interview and she said she would send me all the particulars.

When she called a little after dinner she was concerned that I had not responded to her e-mail.

I immediately searched my e-mail files and found zip, nada, nothing. She did the same and discovered that it was in her draft folder and had not been sent!

She asked if I could talk now to record her blog.

I said, “Certainly.”

She clarified a few points and then proceeded with the introduction.

Our connection is an event promoter who is launching a nationwide tour in March. I’ll be one of two keynoters in San Diego in November. He wanted me to keynote in multiple cities in the west but I no longer get a kick out of being in an all-day event, flying at night to the next city and doing it all again the next day. So I passed on Phoenix and Las Vegas.

Then I was asked to introduce myself.

Here’s what I said:

“My name is Jerry Fletcher, I’m a master of consultant marketing. You know how everybody tells you that you have to have to be memorable but nobody tells you how to do it? Well what I do is help consultants, coaches and entrepreneurs craft a unique trust-based marketing strategy to build a business, a brand and a life of joy.”

Memorable? She asked

“You have three seconds to use words face-to-face or on-line to get someone’s attention. Three seconds to say something or register or a strong headline to get through the armor we all have on our minds to open the way to further conversation. In the next ten seconds you must give them a reason to want to talk to you.

A commercial is not going to get it. People would rather have a conversation than listen to a commercial.”

Nobody is legendary right out of the box.

What you say in that first three seconds must give them a way to recall you. It should include your name and a memorable hook. That is the beginning of what I call 30-Second Marketing TM. Over time you will move through a series of steps that bring you closer and closer to that client/customer. Here’s the progression:

Memorable

            Trusted

                        Branded

                                    Employed

                                                Unforgettable

And for a few elites: Legendary

For her, it is the beginning.

Her questions revealed that she is moving from a full-time job in healthcare to coaching. She is fired up. She has taken the training and is now certified but like all indpendent professionals, consultants, coaches and solopreneurs she is having difficulties figuring out how to market her services.

I explained that the marketing that works in the beginning is not the same as she will use as her business grows and will change yet again when she is established. Of course, I have the benefit of the consultant marketing research studies I’ve done over the last 16 years.

Companies are built one contact at a time.

One gem of a contact plus another and yet another until you have a string of them like a lustrous string of pearls. In time, with trust some become clients, some become referral sources and some become both. Networking will always be a part of the successful firm’s marketing strategy. It will diminish in relative importance over time but will always be there. Along with direct sales activities, no matter what the business entails it is what the new entrepreneur must count on in order to pay the bills.

Speaking puts more targets in your sights.

I didn’t discover this fact of life. L learned about it by interviewing a consultant that had authored a book. Because of her I signed up for a newly formed group that I helped become the local chapter of the National Speakers Association. I’ve been a professional member of the National and the Local since 1993

If you have a process or viewpoint that can help solve a problem for individuals you can take that same information and build it into a speech crafted with signature stories and incidents along with content that will change the lives of  those in the audience. In doing so you will generate memorability, trust and brand. You will bring a part of that audience to the point that they want to work with you. You will be able to close the deal to work with them. And, assuming you deliver as promised, you will make yourself unforgettable.

Walk away from the podium.

Get your first appearances in places like your local Rotary. You won’t get paid by them or other small local groups that would like to hear your message. That is okay. You will need the practice and to learn what people really want to hear.

Slowly but surely you will develop the skill to speak without notes and to roam a stage finding positions that will help you make your point. Later when you are pursuing an appearance at a larger organization you will be asked, “What is your fee?” It will happen and from that day on you will be a professional speaker. Just remember, “It’s not about you. It’s about them.” Make sure your audiences always leave with information they can put to work immediately and that you have a way to continue the relationship.

Between those who come up to speak with you when you finish and those that provide you with their contact information your business and your referrals will continue to grow.

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 strategies that build businesses, brands and lives of joy.

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

Consultant Marketing Getting Ready to Get Ready

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I offered a free 3-Day Challenge.

Two thirds of the room signed up.

I figured it was a good way to build trust while working out some of the kinks in the first of a series of new experiential products with a small group.

What I learned.

I knew that most informational products sold okay but the purchasers didn’t implement the actions recommended. The research shows that 80% don’t even open the item after they have paid for it and downloaded it! And of the 20% who do open it up only a handful (20 to 25%) ever finish and implement!

In other words gamification techniques must be applied in order to get the purchasers to put the training to work.

Expectations versus reality

I wanted to be sure that this proven process got implemented. I carefully set things up so the perceived value was greater than the stated price ($197) the product included:

  1. A bonus video demonstrating the 30-Second Marketing self intro technique
  2. Module 1:
  3. An overview video for the course.
  4. A graphic roadmap of the course
  5. Trial Hook worksheets in writeable PDF form
  6. A zoom coaching call with all participants to share their work (and build community)
  7. Module 2:
  8. Hook’em worksheet with tips on resources to help craft creative breakthroughs
  9. Directions on how to come up with more memorable hooks
  10. A Higher recall worksheet (writeable PDF)
  11. Challenge Winners worksheet (with segment for recording the groups suggestions)
  12. A 30-Second Marketing Briefing
  13. A zoom coaching call to share their progress and provide feedback

 It worked but not as well as I had hoped. I was targeting 80% of those who signed up completing the course. Shifting the goal to actual use of the material being developed makes a difference. No longer is the measure of success a simple sales metric. Now it is a true measure…whether or not the purchaser got their money’s worth.

The numbers

The entire pitch was 3 minutes out of a 2-hour presentation. It was a small group, just 12. Eight of them signed up. Three completed the first worksheets. The same 3 showed up for the Zoom coaching calls. None of them completed the Module 2 worksheets. (1 did a day later)

BUT, all of them felt the product was worthwhile and all said they had learned a great deal about how to present themselves and their offering in a new way that they believed would pay off.

Mission Accomplished.

Along the way we helped one participant figure out how to expand his potential market and how to change up another’s presentation to get her unique difference across more quickly.

Shifting these individuals from doing a commercial to having a conversation was what I had set out to do. That got done. Will they be more memorable in the future? Probably.

An epiphany

One of the participants, after hearing the group agree with her friend’s suggestion about how to identify herself said,

Hmmmm… interesting.  Seems that would let me tailor what I say next based on whether I’m talking with an executive, business owner, manager or staff person.

That made it all worth while

The lesson for us all

I’ve been doing one-on-one consulting with consultants long enough to know that getting ready to get ready is a common failing. We all do it. We bite off more than we can chew. We sign up for a course, then get busy and figure, “well I can always come back to it.” We procrastinate.

There is a solution. As one of my clients puts it:

“Define the three things you believe will change your business for the better.

Pick one.

Do it.

Rinse and repeat.”

Stay tuned. More to come on putting more positive experience into the products it takes to build a business, a brand and a life of joy.

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 strategies that build businesses, brands and lives of joy.

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

Consultant Marketing Not a Selfie

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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.

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

Consultant Marketing and a Life of Joy

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When people ask what I do I answer:

“I’m a master of consultant marketing.

You know how everybody tells you how you have to be memorable but nobody tells you how to do it?

What I do is guide independent professionals to a unique trust-based strategy to build their business, their brand and a life of joy”

What is a life of joy?

The entrepreneur, just starting out sees it one way, the guy or gal with some time in the trenches another. The elation with the job when you are new to the business will fade over time but if you are really cut out to be a sage advisor the delight of finding hidden profit and revealing ways to solve problems will stick with you.

One life is all you’ve got.

Joy comes not only in the work but also in the rest of your day, week, month or year. You have only one schedule. You need to look at building your days and your calendar so that there is time to smell the roses, play a round of golf, take a hike, coach some kids and give back to the community. There is more to life than work.

I was a workaholic when I was in the corporate world. I figured that if you run a company you damn well better set the standard. I was in before 8 and seldom left before 6 each day and then usually with a full briefcase. Saturday was the day for catch up. Sunday was for resting up for the coming week.

Revenue is not what it is all about.

As the CEO of a thriving ad agency billing over 50 Million I had a full complement of folks to do the work necessary to maintain a reputation that caused high tech start-ups to seek us out. There was always more work. But there never seemed to be time for my family and friends. I couldn’t pull back, fearing a loss in revenues for the business and in personal income.

An involuntary step off the treadmill

Then came the day my board and I agreed to disagree and they asked me to leave. I became a solopreneur. I found out what its like to have to do everything. I learned Word and Excel and Power Point to stay in business. I found a program called Quatro Pro that was the first to make it possible to link spread sheets. I wrote my own accounting system using it. And then a client needed a better way to assess potential sales given data available for every major city they served. No one had ever looked at it that way before.

Technology can set you free.

If you did annual projections manually, you could save days doing the same job and still more days when you had to revise the data. Those days saved became opportunities I’d never considered before.

For starters I got my Saturday’s back. I’d go play golf in the morning and spend the afternoons at my daughter’s soccer games. We’d go hiking on Sunday afternoons after attending services at the church we helped found. The time just naturally became available to volunteer at the metro chamber of commerce. Along with a handful of others we formed the local chapter of the National Speakers Association. I was asked and accepted the position of marketing chair for the local chapter of the Institute of Management Consultants. I began speaking and taught at two local universities.

None of that would have been possible if I had clung to a corporate ladder either here in Portland or in another city.

Technology gave me time. A mindset shift gave me joy.

These are the memories that stand out:

  • “Wow, Dad I didn’t know you could do that!” the first time my daughter saw me step up on the platform and deliver.
  • “I really appreciate you driving me up here to Seattle for this book fair and being there in the front row for my reading. Its so much better than when you were always working.” The Dragon Lady, my ex-wife who wrote books about dragons.
  • When my Mom said, “It’s so nice of you to fly all this way to have Thanksgiving with us.”
  • The comment that came from friend introducing me, “Jerry tells me that the reason he has products as a speaker is that folks just want to take piece of you home with them.”
  • Being stopped just five minutes into a get acquainted meeting with the Managing Director of a four continent event planning company so he could ask, “Would it be all right with you if we added you to our list of speakers we promote?”

A door made me a family man.

When you office in your home the tendency is to work at all hours. Going back to your desk for “just a few minutes” after dinner can become much too regular. So, I set hours like any business. I said I was going to be open for business from 9 AM to 5PM.

The trick was putting the computer to sleep at 5 PM getting up from the desk and closing the door of the office. That gave me some time n the kitchen to catch up on everyone’s day, get the schedule for the next day and get to know a wife and daughter better than before.

The choice is yours.

You can build a business, a brand and a life of joy.

They are not mutually exclusive.

Each has its own place.

Each contributes to the other.

The mix is up to you.

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.

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

Reinvention.

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Like it or not, if you are an independent professional you will, at some point, have to do it.

Times change.

Clients change.

Technology changes.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it is:

  • Adapt your approach and processes to today’s requirements
  • Find a way to get in sync with your kind of customers
  • Step up to the new technologies and learn how to use them.

I thought November and December were going to be quiet, just the regular client work, minimal new business meetings and just some seasonal cocktail dos. So I signed up for two on-line courses that help with that whole reinvention thing.

The best laid plans…

Two new clients, bless them, sent my laid-back, study at leisure, pipe dream up in smoke. I figured the year end change over would be cake walk. I got behind on the classwork. So I ensconced myself in the office over the holiday and did several ten hour days to get to the point where I’m only two days behind on each course.

An open mind.

I’ve learned a great deal because the coaching calls for the courses are recorded on video and available for viewing at your convenience. You can learn a lot by simply listening to other folk’s questions about how things work. One course has a Friday coaching call that deals with the technologies necessary to develop, sell and deliver products in person and on line. The nice thing is that technologies are reviewed from free to paid, cheap to expensive. The coach is straightforward about his preferences and gives his reasons why. 

Because I have had numerous clients in the technology sphere I am regularly assaulted in my inbox with pitches for new products and I’ve been known to try them out. That’s why I recommend products that originate around the world. This experience convinced me that I had made the right decision in going to Office 365 instead of opting for the free Google suite. Having to generate responses in Google docs and monitor activities in Facebook verified that neither is the best business approach.

It is really all about the experience

I’ve sold information products as a speaker since the 1990’s but had stopped when a combination of ill health and technology shift put that on hold for a couple years. So I dove into learning about how the dopamine injected addiction of gamification can assure that the expertise you offer for a business or personal problem gets put to use.

That is the big win in this shift. The research shows that by moving to an experiential model the number of people that actually use the advice offered, that complete the programs, goes from 1 to 5% up to 30 to 50% on average and as high as 70 to 90% in some cases!

Winning on the platform and after

Most people that step on to a stage and speak in public do it to because they firmly believe they have a message of value to deliver. Whether you are looking to get paid for the speech or to build your business by getting in front of prospects or simply intent on helping people you can learn to do it better.

I’ve been speaking professionally since 1993. The greatest compliment I’ve ever received was from someone that had gifted one of my double tape cassette tapes (before CDs and streaming). Her friend had overcome a fear of networking and was now building her business through membership in multiple chambers of commerce.

An involved audience

Zoom, an easy-to-use webinar/screen sharing/meeting software makes it possible to host workshops for up to hundreds of people to share your insights. No, it is never going to be the same as a face-to-face encounter in a room somewhere but for me it is a way to extend my offering and help people build a business, a brand and a life of joy by sticking with them for longer than that hour on stage.

Selling from the stage has never been my forte. Most meeting planners frown on it. I like to give full value so that the audience goes home with something the can put to work today. I’ve found a way to extend the relationship and take them deeper into the secrets I’ve discovered so more of them win and win bigger.

Free is a very good price.

These days I offer a FREE 3-Day Memorable Hook Challenge. (Regular Price: $197) It is a combination of short videos, worksheets and live coaching to go from Who? to Memorable spending no more than a few minutes a day for 3 days. Anyone that accepts the challenge learns three ways to figure out a trust-based hook that is unique to them. This is practical knowhow based on my experience in 1-on-1 consulting that has been tested, verified and well worth the price of admission.

Those that try the challenge are always the first told about new products, findings and ways to sync new technologies with new methods and new customer mindsets.

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.

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

Consultant Marketing Video Up!

I admit it.

I’m a techno laggard at times.

Yesterday I was telling my twenty-something trainer at the gym about the difficulty I was having finding the take and bake bread I liked at the supermarket. (It is always out when I can shop)

All she said was, “Have you tried looking for it on line?”

I had never thought of that. Searching for distribution of a product on the internet for me is like swatting flies with an elephant but I’m nothing if not game.

I clicked into Google when I got home and found the bread of my desire was available at five major outlets in my neck of the woods!

I texted her about my success (I’m slow to try tech but when forced…)

She texted back with an animated video emoji.

Startled, I responded with a text that expressed wonder and delight.

Technology morphs so fast we can get left behind and not know it. That’s not okay if you are in the consulting business. Video is the wave of the future.

Video e-mail is something I believe every consultant should be aware of. I’ve learned a little about it and had a chance to analyze over the last few months as I, once again, reinvent myself.

My conclusion: Video e-mail can be the single most important arrow in the consultant marketing quiver. Here’s why:

Connecting with suspects, prospects, clients, referral sources and anyone you want to build a trust-based relationship with is more intimate in video. Through video, people can:

Read your body language

Hear your tone of voice

Engage with all the layers of your message

Get a feeling of what it would be like to work with you

Understand you at both an emotional and logical level

Accurately assess your sincerity or conviction about your message 

Becoming memorable is easier to accomplish when I can see you and hear you and not just read your words. All of us are more genuine when we’re having a conversation not delivering a commercial. A study cited in the Harvard Business Review determined that “face-to-face requests were 34 times more likely to garner positive responses than emails.”

If a video e-mail only gets you half-way there it is worth it because the message you’re delivering isn’t just about your words. It’s also about all the wonderfully subtle ways we communicate as social creatures. 

  • Holding interest over time with video e-mail can generate more business, more quickly than all the referrals you’re waiting for. Video e-mail is how you can take that content filled funnel everyone says you need in today’s digital world that is taking forever to produce results and make something happen now. Target selectively. Use proactive personalized video e-mail and stack up a pile of new business possibilities just waiting to be cashed in. This is one of the secrets of getting on more stages if you speak to build your practice.
  • Powering up your pitch by making it more cogent. E-mail video forces you to cut to the chase, inject emotion and stop hiding behind the numbers, logic and slides. Yes, you can still present a value-based proposal in person. But imagine the difference in impact when you ask for the in-person meeting in a video e-mail quoting their perceived values and as taste of how you are going to deliver them.

Statistics tell us that we open 77% of work email and 59% of personal email.

Video e-mail can make yours stand out from the crowd show that you are authentic and get to trust more quickly.

  • Trust building follow-up is quickly and easily accomplished for everything. It brings the client into the equation in greater depth and builds on a personal conversation.

One of my Oregon clients uses a web consultant located in Toronto, Canada. Each time a change is made in the client’s web site the consultant sends a screen capture video of the work he has done commenting as the actual changes appear. The work is done faster and with fewer repeat requests.

Other follow-up possibilities:

  • A simple thank you (Gratitude for any positive action)
  • A referralor recommendation
  • Introductions
  • Apologies
  • Status reports

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.

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

Consultant Marketing Contact to Contract

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Up your leads

That’s the promise. All those digital advertising outfits promise to give you leads well beyond what your current marketing delivers. Usually, that promise is made without knowledge of what constitutes a good lead for you and with no advice about what to do with it once you have it.

Real leads

Too often the perception of a lead is someone ready to buy. Our fondest desire is to be served up an ideal client that is ready to sign a contract. I wouldn’t spend a lot of time in that waiting room if I were you. The way I define a lead is:

  1. The contact has a problem I can solve
  2. The contact has the authority to hire me
  3. The contact can authorize payment to me

If the contact doesn’t meet those criteria they are not a prospect. But if they do then you need to nurture the budding relationship.

Your mission

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to go from memorable to unforgettable to that prospect.

It ain’t easy.

Memorability is a matter of seconds.

It can be done. Your hook in 30 Second Marketing TM can deliver it. The right words can crack through all the messages out there and brand you in the first 3 seconds. That makes you memorable.

In person, folks will give you 30 seconds to tell them what you do. On your website you’ll have about 7 seconds more while they look at the first panel of your home page to either pull them in or lose them

In person

In person, you do it with words. Here’s what I say when someone asks “What do you do?”

“I’m jerry Fletcher, I’m a master of Consultant Marketing.

You know how everyone tells you that you have to be memorable but nobody tells you how to do it?

What I do is help consultants craft a unique trust-based marketing strategy to build a business a brand and a life of joy.”

That takes less than 30 seconds. It is unusual. It is arresting. It gets me to memorable in a face to face situation.

Here’s how it will look on the first panel of my home page on my new website:

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Unforgettable takes longer

Memorable is not enough to get the contract. Memorable puts you in the spotlight but what you do from here out will make the difference between a vaguely recalled contact and the consultant that gets the contract.

Here are suggestions on how to stay front of mind with the prospect and link your special skills to the problem they are trying to solve.

  • Send a hand-written note to thank them for talking to you. (It is just not done these days and will make you stand out from the crowd.)
  • If you promised them any information during your conversation, e-mail it to them. (Use the words, “As promised” as our subject line. That will get the e-mail opened and increase the likelihood of the information being downloaded)
  • Schedule regular follow-up touches in your Contact Relationship Management software and when it comes up on the calendar, just do it. (The follow-up can be a phone call, an e-mail or a check in before an event. I recommend mixing it up but do not put off using a phone call. That is considered a more person l touch by the recipient.)
  • Monitor information sources for something that may prove to be of value to the prospect and send it to her/him as it presents itself. (Try to find examples from industries other than the prospect’s as this will show your capability to understand the depth of the problem and how you can bring added perspective to their concerns.)
  • Wait for them to indicate more interest and then suggest a breakfast or lunch meeting. (An e-mail response or indication in a phone call may be the entrée your need. You want to orient the conversation toward determining where they are in their search for a solution and begin understanding what the value of the solution would be for their business—the first step in building a value-based proposal.)

Get the contract plus

By understanding the value of your solution in customer terms you can increase the base value of the Contract and extend it well beyond the initial engagement. How to gather the information you need (the value interview) and how to present it (the value- based proposal) is coming up. Stay tuned to multiply your revenues.


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, careers and lives of joy.

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

Consultant Marketing Start-up Checklist

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There’s more to it then hanging out your shingle.

A lot more.

I had breakfast with an old friend the other day. He’s about to embark on consulting full time having been a CFO who found software so good he bought the North American rights.  In that situation he had a safety net. He was supported by his previous firm and the software developer. Now, he’s about to step out onto the high wire with no net.

A walk on the high wire

It takes courage, expertise and some luck to go from zero to full engagement in the consulting business. I’ve been privy to this journey for more young men and women than I care to count. Those that made it for the long term put a check in the box next to these things:

Savings to last at least 6 months in the style to which they have grown accustomed.

An initial engagement for their previous company or a client of that company.

Corporate filing in the state they are setting up their business

Defined Product/Service that is desired by identified prospects

A name for the company.A Vision, Mission and Position

A Persona that establishes a brand based on a real value proposition.

Courage to network your way to new business

A door on their office.

Step by step

Savings are the crunch element for folks that are married and/or have family. All the zeal you feel for this new adventure may seem to have been accepted by your spouse and the kids but I guarantee you that going backwards in terms of their socio-economic status is not going to play out well. You need to, as quickly as possible regenerate the “grouch bag funds” so that a set back occur in your business you can stick to it.

Initial Engagement is what keeps just about every successful consultant above water in year one according to our annual Consultant Marketing Survey. It gives you a safety margin where you are providing a service that is familiar but now performed at arm’s length. Often, this connection with a previous employer is extended as it is beneficial to both parties. But because you have control of when the work is done you can engage in the activities necessary to develop your consulting business.

Corporate Filing is essential if you are going to operate legally. It is a good idea to find your corporate attorney now before you open the doors. I recommend looking for a business attorney that operates from a small or home office nearby. I went to an attorney in one of those downtown towers and realized what those paneled offices cost me after few years. My current attorney has a home office but makes house calls! Every person I’ve referred to him tells me he has kept all his high-end litigator capability but shifted his personality from downtown to down home.

The primary options are C-Corporation, S-Corporation or LLC. Your lawyer can help you select which is best for you. The key is that you have a corporate shield to minimize the possibility of any suit filed against you personally.

Defined Product/Service is essential. Some of you may think that is obvious. It is and it isn’t. Some people try to start a consulting business without having the expertise to solve a problem that their prospects have. If you don’t know what your prospects want or need, how can you present yourself? You need to define the problem you can help solve in customer terms. More importantly you need to state the solution in way they can understand it and see as advantageous to them.

That phrase “identified prospects” was not just filler. Never assume that because your old company has a problem that all other companies have the same problem. Never assume that the same solution will work in every company. Never assume that this one problem will last as long as you want to maintain your practice. Before you step out on the wire make sure there is a market for what you have to sell.

A name is where a misstep occurs most often. I made this mistake. We get so full of what we know everyone needs and our different approach that we overlook the obvious:

  • People will identify your name with your practice more than any made-up name. Lawyers know this. So do CPAs. Plus a slew of consultants. You can tell the one’ that have learned this lesson over time by the way they begin to incorporate their name into their logotype.
  • Unless the name you choose is based on something well-known in the industry you are working in the probability of anyone understanding it is between slim and none.
  • If you base your company name on your process or part of it or a numeric outcome you are asking the prospect to make a leap which only you have made in understanding.

Vision, Mission and Position Your Vision is where you want the company to go in the future. Vision statements often include superlatives and competitive viewpoints. Generally it is for those that work for the company.

Mission is not your vision for the future of your company.

Mission is not your goals or objectives.

Mission is not something you are going toward or even something you are trying to become.

Mission is what your company is. It is why your company exists.

A vision statement is for the company and stake holders.

A mission statement is for the company and general public.

A positioning statement is for the targeted general public.

A brand is the sum of perceptions about the company in the general public.

Persona Everything you do has an impact on the people that become your clients. Don’t overlook the basics as you go to market.

Your Persona is a Core of Trust wrapped round by Product, Price and Passage encased in your Name.

Initially, the Core of Trust is you. If you operate solo it will always be. With a partner or multiple partners (an ensemble) you all have to ascribe to the same central beliefs about your business.

Because you can’t fool customers for long.

Customers see your company from the outside in. They rely on how your decisions impact them to make judgements about you

Courage Stepping out on your own is not easy. You are, in all likelihood, going to have to get out of your comfort zone if you want your business to grow and prosper. Every business is built on Networking. Every business. It will be up to you to go wherever prospects gather to get to know them and how you can serve them. You will need to find away to say something that makes you memorable. Weak statements don’t work. You’ll need to understand 30-Second Marketing TM at a minimum. And buckle up Bunkie stepping into the limelight and speaking about your expertise could get you more leads in less time than all the social media campaigns.

A door on your office is needed because if you work from home you’ll find yourself working well into the evening and on weekends. That is not good whether you are single or married with or without children. Learn to close the door and get a life. Isn’t that part of why you decided to do this?

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 crafting 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 Visual Cues

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Little things can mean a lot.

Start at the top, with hair or the lack of it. That works whether you are male or female. Unruly hair that looks like a frightened rooster just won’t get it. On the other hand being expertly coifed and looking like a model may be a bit much. The key is to fit in to the comfort zone of the audience and be just one notch above it.

You want to get to trust. Trusted advisors get the contracts.

One notch better

If there is a single piece of advice in this regard, that is it. Recently, at a conference attended by top independent consultants from across the country one topic that ran through the lunch room was that clients were asking that the men not wear ties. The consensus was that was a good idea until key players in a meeting showed up in cravats!

I’ve not worn a tie since 1990 when I opened my practice. But I wear special shirts when I do a keynote that have a hidden placket and a collar that buttons tight to the neck. I have them in both black and white. My notch down is a turtle neck worn with a sport coat.

The women at the lunch table simple laughed and said the one notch above was a good idea but the way to do it was not power suits. Their advice was to have great high value accessories—scarves, purses, and most important, shoes. One noted that women knew expensive shoes the way guys know cars.

A signature item

A few of my clients have considered trying to stand out by linking themselves with key items of equipment. One was forever trading up his laptop to the smallest, lightest and most advanced until one of his clients asked how much time he spent after each upgrade learning to use it.

For awhile one client was over the moon about his expensive fountain pen until a CEO told him that he never bought a pen in his life and had no intention of doing so.

Cars, watches, airplanes, etc. Those don’t matter to most of the folks that sign the checks. They are, at best, borrowed marks of excellence. Only something that relates uniquely to you will generate the memorability you are after.

One of my clients uses a tangled skein of purple wool to visualize the money knots in all our minds when she’s speaking. The color is the same that is used in her “Untangler” logo.

Graphic consistency

I started with your appearance because the human face recognition skills far surpass our visual cognition in every other area. We are better at sensing when something is amiss then when all is okay. Other graphic elements to consider:

Color The color in your logotype needs to be the same wherever it is employed. If the color plays a major part in identifying you. It needs to be consistent. Where?

  • Business cards
  • Letterhead
  • Website
  • Signage
  • Vehicles
  • White Papers
  • Brochures
  • Presentations
  • On-line Content

Typography The type style you use for your logo may be so singular that it will prove too hard to read if used for all the text in your materials. That is not always the case. The critical decision here is the selection of a single type style for all the required word elements—headlines, subheads, text, captions and even footnotes. Your mission, should you choose to accept it is to make it all easily readable.

If you tend to produce a lot of your own content there are a couple other tips you may want to employ:

  • Try to keep your line length under 50 characters. Tess show that the human eye tends to tire if the line length is too long. Apparently, resetting to the next line “wakes up” the eye.
  • Use flush left ragged right. Do not use the other options available in Word (Center, Flush right ragged left and Justified) All of those are harder to read.
  • Multiple columns of information tends to be perceived as for business purposes.
  • Eye traps (bolds, underlines, italics, bullets, lists, indents, and initial caps) can enhance read through.
  • Use reverse (white type on black background) very sparingly.

Process Diagrams I never met a consultant that didn’t have a process. Like most of us they like to have diagrams that help explain their unique approach. Too often those diagrams are drawn anew each time. Again, consistency is the most direct route to Trust.

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The style of the diagram also needs to be constant. This is particularly true if there is motion or implied motion in the process. That is why I use a gyroscope as the primary overall illustration for the Z-axis Process. You can use a photo or a graphic extracted from a photo or linear graphics. Arrows can be hard-edged or brush strokes, open or filled in. Here’s a hard edged example straight out of Word

Whether you use hard edged or loose design the key is to keep it the same throughout and to use the same descriptors throughout.

Photography/Illustration Be careful to assure that your photos are all the same level of quality. If you use color photos, do so on everything (unless you have a historic black and white or tinted photo that lends credence to your “About” story) Seldom if ever should you swap back and forth between photography and illustration. Pick one and stick with it.

Most importantly, be sure all your designs look like they came from the same family. A good designer can give you a “look” that helps brand you, make you memorable and get you one step closer to becoming a trusted advisor.

Like mama said, “Mind your Ps and Qs and use consistent Visual cues!”

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 and Brand development advice that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy.

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