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

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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 After the “All Clear”

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Yes, I’m more than a little squirelly.

Yes, I’d like to go back to business as usual.

No. That is not going to happen.

Maybe in Korea or New Zealand but not in the United States. It is never boing to be the same for consultants here.

Negative Impact

The virus had a negative impact on over 85% of consultants that responded to our annual survey! They said things like this:

  • “People will have to get better at online marketing because onsite is taking a hit.”
  • “Business will never be the same–smaller locations, work from home, telecommuting, more younger people, more technical”
  • “We will use more virtual communications, marketing and delivery. Agility might become more important to clients and prospects.”

An on-line happy hour

Tribal customs die hard. A client sent me a Zoom recording of an exit meeting following a successful engagement with a client company. The entire team had gathered by Zoom with a drink at hand to celebrate the work they had done together, work which will ultimately make the company stronger as they emerge from the social distancing requirements.

Six months ago they would have met in a local tavern, clinked glasses and bottles in shared toasts and enjoyed the camaraderie of a group that had come to know each other better than before because of their shared experience.

Shared memories are a significant part of what happens in any consulting engagement. A happy hour gathering is a pleasant way to share them. That won’t go away when the country “opens for business.” We can expect social gatherings to continue. The only question is when.

We are a solution. That will continue”

That was one respondent’s take on what the future of consultant marketing has in store.

She was right.

That is what consultants do. They help solve problems which may not always be apparent to the folks that wind up hiring them. That won’t change. But the digital wind has picked up force in the last five years.

The digital shift

Another respondent said, “There will be more digital than ever before.”

Back in 2015, out of 100 billion monthly Google searches, those from mobile devices finally surpassed desktops for the first time. WordPress powered 25% of web sites as of early November. Usage of both has soared. A shift to digital has finally started to impact Consultant marketing.

Referral Marketing is still, far and away the most used consultant marketing strategy. But selling online and internet marketing are showing significant gains across all three of the categories we’ve been studying all these years (start up, growth and established firms). Internet marketing is now preferred over networking, direct marketing and chasing new contracts from former employers and clients.

Controversial and social media

In follow up conversations via old -fashioned phone calls and using the bright shiny technology of the moment (Zoom) I found myself looking for a way to summarize what was working for those who were using digital marketing to their advantage. Here’s what I came to believe:

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

Building a brand onsite or online requires a unique trust-based identity that is memorable. You need a hook. Being controversial is one way to do that. The few consultants that go out of their way to be controversial do it with the end in mind not just as a knee-jerk reaction.

They consider the question or concern and based on their knowledge of similar situations and successes in the past disagree with the common assessment providing convincing arguments for their viewpoint based on solid analytics.

The awareness of their name/company name has grown exponentially as has their ability to generate new business from sources they had not considered before. Yes, they still must find a way to interview prospects, analyze their situation and provide a value-based proposal. Yes, they have to provide clarity and speed to solutions. Yes, they need to keep their eyes and ears open for follow-on work. But they no longer discount the source of the initial contact.

After the “All clear”

There will be “New Normal.” The established firms will be the first to take advantage of the digital technology to build a business development approach. A few will structure business development around powerful video capabilities almost like establishing a “personality newscaster.” Some will do ongoing research with an eye toward finding the areas where “common knowledge” ain’t. A segment will build a “tribe” that become willing purchasers of individual products, events and subscription services. My short- hand way of identifying these approaches is:

  • Video Personality
  • Opposite Viewer
  • Productizer

The biggest shift

One major shift will happen because of the Coronavirus. The strip mall and other shopping centers will be converted to housing locations faster than it has been happening already. Small and medium businesses will abandon the idea of having leased offices. They will shift to home offices renting shared offices and meeting spaces on an as-needed basis. Larger companies will take a long look at the lower cost of providing all the equipment needed for a home office versus the cost of “cubicle farms” as they digitize more and more of the administrivia.

I’m betting that along the way we’ll find some new ways to take care of our “social critter” needs.

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

Consultant Marketing A Tasty Webinar Slice

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Have you noticed how often you are seeing offers to attend a webinar show up in your e-mail? Is the apparent increase because of sheltering in place? Has the world suddenly become more receptive to online offers? Why do they all seem the same?

There is a formula.

It seems like every webinar offered lately uses it. Here’s the way it works:

  1. There’s a reward if you stick around until the end.
  2. Why you should listen to this person
  3. The problem your product solves for me
  4. Some social proof like statistics that tell me you are an expert
  5. A roadmap to the things you’ll learn if you hang in there
  6. Stuff that lured you in the first place…but not all of it.
  7. The program you can buy plus bonuses (with a call to action)
  8. Wrap up the content you promised
  9. Surprise bonuses for a limited time (with a call to action)
  10. Q&A with emphasis on the main objection (with a call to action)
  11. Link to the reward promised
  12. How you’ll be transformed when you buy (with a call to action)
  13. Follow up afterwards if you didn’t buy during

That baker’s dozen was developed after studying this phenomenon and submitting to more product, service and program offerings than I care to count. That includes a couple webinars that were touted to “teach me the secret of a successful webinar.”

The secret.

A member in a mastermind put it this way, “Give them a whole lot of what and damn little how.”

But before you can do that you have to do some solid marketing work. Specifically:

  • Identify the ideal audience for what you want to sell. That means you know their key problem including the emotional pain it causes them and you understand how your offer solves their problem
  • Develop Content that converts. Find a way to help them see things in a different way. Give them “Aha” moments that naturally lead to deciding to take action now.
  • Create a “no-brainer” offer that is clearly valuable for the basic product but irresistible when the dollar amounts of bonuses are stacked up beside it and the clock is ticking.

Don’t stop when the webinar ends.

Number 13 up there was a last-minute add-on. It was grounded in the statistical information presented by organizations teaching this systematic approach. The facts:

If 100 people attend a webinar the max that buy is about 30%. If you follow up with all those that didn’t buy immediately you can get as many as 70% to purchase. People that registered did so because your offer looked interesting. They will appreciate the fact that you are still interested in them even though they didn’t order.

Why is it so prevalent?

It has simply become the go to shiny marketing object in the era of the Coronavirus. It was becoming more common before we started sheltering in place. Now it is more ubiquitous than ever. It has replaced selling onstage even though it follows a similar script. It is hard to know which is the adaption in some cases.

Webinars are the most direct of sales tools available on-line. Nothing else allows an entrepreneur to take her or his complete belief in a product or service out of the box and tell the world about it. No other approach can generate the income from a “tribe” as quickly. This online marketing template is focused on instant rewards.

The ROI is unsurpassed.

Do the math. I’ll make it easy. Let’s say 125 people register. 100 show up (20% drop-out is the usual). Out of those 100 attendees about 30% or 30 people buy. Afterwards you maintain contact with the 70% of people that didn’t buy while you were “on the air.” About 50 of them buy (I rounded).

If your offer was priced at $100 you generated sales of $3000 while you were “on the air.” Roughly ten days later (Follow-up sales go off a cliff after 10 days) you can rack up another 50 sales of $5000. That’s $8000 for one webinar. What could you generate with your product or service in a one-hour webinar?

But it is only the beginning.

Now that someone has voluntarily joined your tribe they are significantly more prone to look into other offers you might make. Even if the initial purchase did not get used (this happens at a rate north of 65%) they still associate your name with products and services that can be trusted and frequently will buy additional products from you particularly those priced higher than their initial purchase.

Would a new template work as well?

I don’t know.

But I’m going to find out.

I figure there are a lot of consultants out there that don’t have time to register and attend a webinar on someone else’s schedule that lasts anywhere from an hour to half a day. I’m going to investigate these variables:

  • Webinar length
  • Time of delivery by time zone
  • Alternate templates (the current one can be done in as little as 3 minutes!)
  • Live versus recorded versus recorded with live kicker
  • Charging versus free for the webinar.

Why test?

I’m up to here with the old template. It has robbed me of countless hours when I could have been doing something profitable both short and long term. It has generated damn few really useable bits of information. True, I’ve found a couple resources that have provided products that work and continuing content that is useful. But overall I’m looking for folks that are not going to waste my time. I may be wrong, but I believe there are a lot of consultants out there that feel the same way. I’ll find out.

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 Elephant in the Room

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When there’s an elephant in the room, you can’t pretend it isn’t there. My clients and others in the consulting community finally “got that” this week. You may have noticed.

There has been a marked increase in the number of webinars being promoted. One passed through my email that had pricing of $98 for one major speaker $980 for both major speakers and streaming of the whole event and $9880 to be allowed to Q&A with the principal speakers. I have never seen a pricing structure like that for a webinar. I checked with a friend who literally wrote the book about online presentations. He said, “I’ve seen pricing that high and that low but never with that kind of spread for the same event. Of course, the elephant in the room is causing more people to move their events online than ever. We’re going to see even more weirdness”

More weirdness.

Three times this week I’ve done impromptu workshops with a client to give them tips on how to use Zoom without giving a bad impression. Here are the highlights:

  1. Get dressed. You may be comfortable in those sweats but would you wear them to an in-person meeting? Really? Dress to impress. No, you don’t have to suit up, but you should be in unwrinkled business casual at least. Let your clothes say a little about you. Creative? Wear something zingy. All business? Go with a pressed button down collar.
  2. Hair and makeup please. Okay, you guys can skip the makeup but comb your hair and shave. Before this lockdown is over there are going to be a lot of guys with ponytails. I’m already having trouble finding my ears. Women, do not think the camera on your computer is forgiving. It isn’t. Apply the paint, you’re going hunting after all.
  3. Come into the light. Before you opt into the meeting or request an instant meeting, turn on the camera on your computer and look at your face. One of my clients self-described his look as a “sickly cadaver” Turns out his wife’s grow lights for the plants in his office were on! It is good to be lit from the front with natural light say by a window.
  4. Look behind you. Clients who have visited my office know about the stacks of books and boxes of client products. They would think it strange if I appeared and they weren’t there. Dirty dishes in the background is not good. A stack of toys visible over our shoulder is not good. I’m just as averse to background screens. Let me see your home office. After all, most of us are adlibbing here.
  5. Step away from the computer. Too many of us are used to moving forward to convey our sincerity and interest. It doesn’t work when you are using something like Zoom or Skype. Back up. When you move closer to your computer we lose sight of your hands and suddenly it is like you’re  being muted visually. We are so oriented to body language that when we can’t see the hands of the speaker we feel disconnected. You can see yourself on the screen. Make sure your hands are visible.
  6. Have a live video signal. My Virtual Assistant and I regularly use the video chat capabilities of Microsoft Teams. Her husband who is on lockdown was cooking in the kitchen and leaned in to ask if she wanted tea. It’s hot there. All he was wearing was shorts. Startling when you are deep into a database discussion. The point here is that we are all coping with an unusual circumstance. Let your family know when you are live on video. Develop a visual warning sort of like the red “On Air” lights in radio and TV studios.
  7. Bring it! Stop worrying about what you look like and think more about what you have to say. Before the call, make notes about what you want to cover. If that is complex and you want to say things perfectly, put the information in a word document and put it up on your screen for a sort of homemade teleprompter. (Just don’t inadvertently share your screen!) If you are going to be asking questions figure them out before you enter the meeting and don’t be hesitant to record the session if you’re uncomfortable taking notes.
  8. Know how to use the technology. Take the time to watch the video tutorials and then telephone a friend to actually have a meeting. It is easier to make all the mistakes when the person on the other end knows it is a practice call. Be sure to return the favor.
  9. Take a coffee and body break before. Take it from a professional speaker—you don’t want to step on stage without having relieved yourself. A video meeting is just like stepping on stage. (you don’t want to ask to be excused leaving your fellow caller with “dead air.”  I don’t drink coffee on stage but I like to have my morning cup with me if I’m on a call. And I always have a glass of water handy to  quell those frogs that invade my throat. You can be quite comfortable sipping as you pause to make a point or while the other person is talking.
  10. Play to the camera. When someone is talking you inherently want to look at them. That’s okay. But when you are talking look at the camera. It’s that bright white dot centered above your computer screen. That way people will feel you are looking directly at them. In the “real world” we call it eye contact. It is the fastest way to generate feelings of trust.
  11. Get there early and Network. A video group meeting is no different than one in-person in the days before social distancing. Wave. Say Hello. Put on a happy face. Share some non-threatening observations. Small talk is okay until the meeting is called to order. Want to meet privately with someone in the group later? Be up front about it during the networking. Don’t do it while “in session” though, that generates negative feelings unless it is at the behest of the group or group leader.
  12. Say thank you. In one to one meetings a hand-written thank you note has proven to be one of the most powerful branding devices I’ve ever seen. An e-mail thank you to attendees is, in these times, nearly as powerful. This is particularly true if you met one-on-one with a prospect or client.

Zoom and Skype and other kinds of video calls have replaced face-to-face meetings for the moment. It is truly the elephant in the room but not one to be afraid of. Acknowledge it and have fun learning to ride it.

Sorry, I’ve got to run. I have a video meeting coming up and I have some files I’m going to want to share and I need to refill my coffee and comb this unruly mop. Barbers are going to be really busy once the all clear sounds!


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 Capitalizing Now

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”He roller coaster
He got early warning
He got muddy water
He one Mojo filter
He say one and one and one is three
Got to be good looking
‘Cause he’s so hard to see
Come together right now
Over me”

I awoke to those Beatle Lyrics on a rinse and repeat cycle between my ears.

I let it thrash on for a while and then tried to logic it.

The best I could do was assume it was about where Consultant Marketing was headed as a result of this damn virus.

He roller coaster

That must be a reference to the way most Consultants market their services. You know that clicking sound as the roller coaster is lugged up to the top of the first hill…Market, Market, Market. Then you tip over the top…Do the work, Do the work, Do the work.

That’s when you begin to think about finding a better way, a way to have business in the pipeline.

He got early warning

Wouldn’t that be loverly! Knowing, in advance where the work might be coming from and what it might entail is the dream of every independent professional. All of us yearn for that full-tilt referral-based practice that somehow gives us visibility of what is in store for us next week and next month. That would be nice to have but how do we get it?

He got muddy water

It was tough enough before but now with this Coronavirus lockdown we don’t even know when we can see someone in person. Audio and video conferencing just isn’t the same. Senses are blunted. Body language is not as easy to see and interpret. I almost believe that pheromones have some sort of role in the traditional face-to-face! The roiled surface caused by social distancing keeps us from getting information with any depth.

He one mojo filter

  • We must capitalize on the hesitance of the competition. Me, I hired a Virtual Assistant.
  • We gotta put what we have to better use. I’ve had Office 365 since a client recommended it. I’d never used the Teams capability in it. Now, my VA who is resident in the Philippines and I share files, chat, phone and video as if we were just cubicles apart. It took just 10 minutes to set up.

  • We have to start substituting. We find apps we didn’t know existed before. And we link them into our operational software. We do video testimonials using Zoom or Teams to record and Camtasia to edit. We get the job done by adapting our methods to meet familiar objectives.

He say one and one and one is three

It does all add up if you take advantage of both intuition and logic. That ain’t easy. You have to work at it. The elite consultants I work with have that skill. They find the fundamental differences that lie behind the figures. They explore form and fit and focus to determine how your business can find hidden profit. They listen to what you say and what you do to reveal better ways. Often the solutions they find are to problems that may not have surfaced for you.

Got to be good looking ‘cause he’s so hard to see.

In a way that is what my mission is all about. Consultants must have a brand that is not widely known but is fascinating to the prospects that need their help. You have 3 seconds in person or online to get to Memorable, 10 seconds to get to Trust. That ability to be both logical and intuitive at once is what will make you Unforgettable. Doing your job well will not make you visible to the general public. But do it often enough and well enough to generate a lasting legacy within that group of people and organizations that need your help and you will become Legendary.

My job is to help you craft unique trust-based marketing strategies to connect, become Memorable, deliver in an Unforgettable way and develop the mindset to become Legendary as you build a business, a brand and a life of joy.

Come together right now, over me

What that all comes down to is that within a week we will send out invitations to participate in: The 17th Annual Consultant Marketing Survey.

We will ask you to tell us how you marketed your practice last year, what you’re doing now and how you anticipate going forward after we stop sheltering in place. We will, of course, send participants the report before we release it elsewhere.

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 that builds businesses, brands and lives of joy.

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

Consultant Marketing From Nobody to Somebody

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Normally I don’t sell from the stage when I speak. At least not for the last 15 years.

I just about always collect contact data to begin a relationship.

I always  take  the time to visit with anyone interested in learning more.

A salute to product.

As a result of a consulting contract an event manager has asked me to speak at three of his events later this year. He specifically wants me to sell 30-Second Marketing TM from the stage because it supports and adds to the planned experience of the program.

You missed one thing

My report said that overall the 2-day event had been well done and provided some unexpected presenters and subjects. “But,” I said, “You missed one thing. The people that attend these entrepreneurial events come in two varieties:

  • Men and women completely new to start-ups
  • Experienced entrepreneurs trying to avoid further failures

Both of those groups need one thing that they generally don’t get in on-line or in-person events.”

They need a brand but no one tells them how to build one.

I said, “Your program talked about all the social media needed to get to a mass market brand. It was excellent in that regard but provided no solid method to develop the words that would set an individual apart. Brands are built one contact at a time. One gem of a contact plus another and another until you have a string of them. Like a string of pearls. You have to be memorable to one person before you can be remembered in the same way by a crowd.

From Nobody to Somebody

Three seconds is all you’ve got to go from Nobody to Somebody. That’s true in person or on line. How you answer the question, “What do you do?” will make you stand out from the crowd or continue in oblivion.

A Memorable Hook is just the beginning

You can get to Trust, build a brand and generate referrals in 10 seconds if you have the right words.

The right words

You think through the conversation before it happens so you can find the right words.

You don’t have to come up with something on the fly.

You can truly connect with people by using the right words.

  • 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 prospect or referral sources
  • The right words…can establish a brand in the time it takes to speak them

Moving from Vision to Product

Most entrepreneurs have the ability to have others connect with their vision. They start with family and friends and expand to other funding resources but then comes the time to sell their product or service in order to be successful and they are stymied.

They have to stop selling the vision and start selling the product or service. Then they have to expand that market or get faster repeat.

The right words make the difference.

The formula is all about the words. It always includes a Hook, a Hold, a Pitch and a Close.

The Hook changes your generic title to something Memorable in the vernacular that inextricably includes your name.

The Hold must be presented in the prospect’s words with full understanding of their fears, ambitions, concerns and perceived risks.

The Pitch must be definitive in how your process or ability or approach delivers that is not available elsewhere while giving them an easy way to explain it to someone else they believe it will fit.

The Close is more about taking an order when they are ready to buy than selling. Yes, give them concrete examples of what you’ve done for others. Talk about outcomes you’ve delivered.

Then there is the guarantee.

If you operate in the English Language and fully participate in an in person or on-line 30-Second MarketingTM Workshop and can’t develop words that work based on your fellow student’s viewpoint, I will give you three hours of my personal assistance, If, after that your fellow students still say it is a lost cause you get your money back. No ifs, ands or buts.

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, brands and lives of joy.

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

Consultant Marketing Brand Building

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Andy asked me to sit in on his Brand Marketing Summit over the weekend in Los Angeles.

As one participant summed it up:

“This was a successful young guy translating traditional branding for Millenials.”

I can verify that.

I was one of the “Mad Men” working in advertising in New York in the 1960s when branding first surfaced in the national lexicon. Trout and Reis would later coin the phrase Positioning that came at it from a different direction. They wrote several books on the subject.

No matter what you call it, the masters of advertising in that halcyon era preached the gospel of differentiation to make companies, products and services stand out from the crowd.

Everything new is old again

No, I didn’t mistype that. Here’s the model presented in the workshop.

Although the process from discovery to sale is presented here in the form of a funnel it harks back to all the theories of how mass advertising works developed before there was Daarpa’s darling daughter, the Internet.

Those were simpler times

Back then the big kahuna of awareness was TV. Everybody wanted to be number one in the consumer mass market. You could buy TV time on networks (there were only three!) or locally. So, Tony the Tiger told kids about Frosted Flakes on the network kid shows while Jack’s Autobody told adults who to call about that fender bender.

There were business magazines and consumer magazines, not to mention Radio and Direct Mail and Outdoor.

Attraction, in the day, came to be called preference. What that meant was that of the brands available you, the customer, liked one better than another.

Brands we knew incorporated Appreciation, Respect, Credibility and Certainty in Awareness and Preference. Throughout the heartland of the USA whole towns were dominated by Chevy or Ford. You would be considered a traitor if you bought the other brand. Coke was the champ. Pepsi was the challenger. That Mean Joe Greene commercial for Coke ran in 1979.

That was the way it was for about thirty years (1960 to 1990). The funny thing is we’re being told that mass market awareness is the key to sales success in today’s world. Unfortunately, most of us can’t afford a local TV commercial much less enough network spots to begin to build awareness.

Not to worry, the internet proponents say.

The internet is under 30. Social media are teenagers.

The world wide web did not exist until 1992. Google, founded in 1998, might be considered a very young adult. Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are all teenagers. Yet, social media is being promoted as the new way to achieve mass market awareness.

Notoriety can be achieved but individuals pay more in time and personal space than many are willing to give up. You can generate mass market awareness. Here’s what it takes:

  1. Have a memorable “hook,” a way that people can put your name and a relevant word picture of you in their mind when you introduce yourself in person, in print and on-line.
  2. Use their words to speak to their problems. Forget those fifty cent words you want to use to impress. Speak simply in the words they use to talk about why they need help. Their words are appreciated because you show respect when you use them.
  3. Use your client’s experiences to tell them what you can do. Your credibility goes up when someone else speaks for you. Concrete examples of the outcomes you and a client have achieved will move a prospect one step closer to engaging you.
  4. Stick to your value proposition. One. Do not try to shift your approach for each audience and individual. Consistency is what builds trust. Be honest, direct and tell the story the same way every time.
  5. Be in as many places as you can particularly the ones that your clients may also frequent. Mass market awareness should always begin with the places you might find an ideal client and go on from there.

The attention span of a goldfish.

Microsoft apparently did the research to verify that the human attention span these days without additional stimuli is that long (8 seconds).

There are additional studies that tell us that you have just 3 seconds to get remembered when you meet someone in person, in print or on-line. Just 3 seconds.

To begin a relationship that might end in a sale you need the right words.

The right words is why 30-Second Marketing TM works.

You think through the conversation before it happens so you can find the right words.

You don’t have to come up with something on the fly.

Connect

You can truly connect with people by using the right words.

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 prospect or referral sources

The right words…can establish a brand in the time it takes to speak them

Find your right words.

View this video: https://vimeo.com/393362328/97e414e6a6

Then call me.


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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, brands and lives of joy.

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

Consultant Marketing Baggage

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In an hour or so I’m headed for the airport.

Packed this morning.

The usual. Essential electronic components in a computer sized wheeled carry-on and a small, good for up to three days, carry on case.

Packing is a matter of minutes for me these days. There is a mental checklist firmly in place right down to managing the pharmacy that comes along with age.

That checklist thing got me to thinking.

All of us have baggage.

There are two kinds:

  • The layers of detritus that we squirrel away in our homes and offices
  • The layers of mental mothballing we engage in

Each connects with the other in ways that must be put under a microscope to even begin to fathom. Some of it is good. Some bad. Part is positive mirrored by negative. Every element clings to us. Each is a small component of our experiences both in physical and psychic space.

No two of us is alike.

Your baggage is different from mine and from everyone else’s. Sure, there are similarities. The physical stuff tends to be analyzed on a community level. The stuff in our heads is, to me, more intriguing. And, it may be more malleable than we think.

There is no operating manual.

As much as we hear about brain studies and research on what goes on when a stimuli impinges on one of our senses there is still no definitive repeatable system for controlling what we take in, store and carry around with us. It is not like the physical bags we lug aboard an aircraft. We can’t change them at will. In fact, it takes a great deal of commitment to make a change, any change. We don’t need research to tell us how difficult stopping patterns of behavior can be. Dieting ain’t easy. Starting an exercise regimen is difficult. Giving up addictions requires help.

Problem solving help

People claim to want this. And, that is why Consultants, Coaches, Head Doctors and Healers of all kinds can make a living. That is their job. Each of us knows, deep down that at some point we need help either because we have no experience with the problem to be solved or we’ve come up against a bit of our own baggage that is blocking our way forward.

Regardless of the reason we tend to spin up like a kid’s whirligig if the concern is allowed to get hold of our ego.Therein lies the dilemma. We need to allow ourselves to accept assistance but we want to believe we can handle just about anything on our own. Or we listen to that little voice that whispers in our ear that we’re just not good enough to do anything. And sometimes we do both at the same time!

On your own.

You might be surprised at how far you can go on your own. Yes, this is advice from a consultant but you have to execute and you have to judge the results and you have to do it alone. Here are some things that have proven to work for me, my clients and coaches I know

Challenge your assumptions. You may not even know you are making them. When you are having an interior monologue about a problem or concern you are addressing, watch for comments like:

“that won’t work because…”

There’s no evidence that…”

“I don’t have enough time to implement an approach like that since…”

Consider the opposite For example, most people think about brand as some mystical identity that only a big budget and a lot of time can generate. What if you thought of it as something accomplished one individual at a time. Would that change how you think about becoming memorable, trusted and branded? Would it give you a reason to go a step further and become unforgettable.

Add some baggage. I know that sounds counterintuitive but often our baggage is just the empty bags that we have assembled over time. So open your mind. Read from sources that provide proofs. Look at research. Talk to people that have been there, done that and maybe originated the T-shirt. In other words get some experience vicariously.

Success is changing thought patterns

A consultant can’t be considered successful unless and until they manage to change the thought and behavior patterns of clients. That is what changes outcomes. That is what gets expected results. That is the way to become Unforgettable.

But it is not enough to make you Legendary. That takes another level of commitment, skill and desire. You must find a way to help the client learn to think differently. Your mission is to bring out the talent hidden in every entrepreneur, every business founder and every successful business owner that wants to take their company, staff, clients and themselves up a notch.Your mission whether or not you choose to accept it.

And so it goes.

______________________________________________________________________________

Jerry Fletcher is a master of consultant marketing, a sought-after International Speaker, and a  beBee ambassador.

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for crafting unique trust-based marketing strategies that build businesses, brands and lives of joy.

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