Consultant Marketing Going Virtual

.

Meet via Zoom, phone or in-person?

Frank and I will be Zooming in the morning.

There was a time when that statement would have drawn quizzical looks and, in all likelihood, some snide comments. No more. Today that company name has reached the level of brand penetration that compares only to Kleenex and some other brands that have become household names for an entire category.

Have a virtual day.

The more I though about how one product has come to dominance because of the Coronavirus the more my mind began to delve into how we may be ready for a spread of that virtual acceptance to all our approaches to business.

What if, at 8:00 AM your phone chimed and presented this message:

Translation:

8 to 8:30 E-mail

8:30 to 10 Planned phone calls

10 to 12 Team Brainstorming

Noon Lunch

1 to 2 Video Call, file attached

2 to 4 File work

4 to 5 Chat with coworkers

5 Outa here for a beer.

All of us are more comfortable with icons than you may think. I’d be willing to bet that most of you didn’t need the translation to understand most of that schedule. Take that a step further and consider how quickly you and your colleagues could be ready for your day using the same icons all the time.

If you are working from home and using a virtual assistant/scheduler this could be the front end of a cloud-based system to keep you on track.

Imagine a complete connection

As I’ve reported here, I now work with a Virtual Assistant. Cristy is located in the Philippines. I work a 10-hour schedule from 8 AM to 6 PM Pacific. She works an 8-hour schedule from 2 PM to 10 PM Pacific. For her that is night-time. She goes to breakfast when I tuck it in for the night. We meet Monday through Friday at 2:00 PM Pacific to review what needs to be done and at 6:00 PM to confirm the day’s work and check signals on the following day’s schedule.

Microsoft Teams makes it work

You can put your whole team into the system and assure real communication. Audio calls, Video calls. Chat that is like texting on steroids (Those of you, like me, that prefer typing to thumbing will love this!) The ability to share files, edit and annotate so everyone can see them. Huge amounts of cloud-based storage. And it is always being improved and uses the familiar Microsoft suite of products.

It turned this solos mind around.

I stopped collaborating on a regular basis when I left the Ad Agency business in 1990. When pushed to do so by colleagues I refused. I felt the tools were clunky and having worked with creative development found business types a little boring. But collaborating with a young lady half a world away has brought back that wonderful feeling of finding solutions to problems from a different slant.

In one month her recommendations and implementation have increased my blog following four fold. My Linked In comments and approaches are at record levels. And Facebook by which I’m totally eluded is beginning to be a place I visit because other folks are visiting me.  That will continue and increase next month when we add even more video to the equation.

Will I operate more virtually coming out of the Pandemic? I already am. What about you? There is no turning back.

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 Failing Forward

.

Dr. Ali Anani, my friend from BeBee where I blog internationally, got me thinking about how failure is a major part of learning for just about anyone in business.

Fail Fast and Frequently to Succeed.

I quoted that rubric in response to one Dr. Ali’s postings. I’ve been lucky enough to work with entrepreneurs that have been successful. I’ve participated in over 200 successful new product launches.

There have been some failures as well. The camera kerfluffle may be the best example about what not to do but I’ll get to that in a minute. First, let’s talk about failure leads to success.

Fail towards success

  • Tell everyone your product idea and listen. The hard part is hearing what they have to say. You start with everyone because it is easiest. But as quickly as possible begin gathering input from folks that are probable buyers. Sometimes you discover that the people you thought were customers aren’t. Sometimes you discover that the product is not in the form or what they want. Once in a while you get confirmation. But it is the failures that keep you from spending more time and money than you need to in order to find a viable product.
  • Assume that everyone understands the user interface. There is no single thing that everyone understands. Nowhere is this more true than in technology products. Engineers design and incorporate as many functions as possible in a device without considering the average user. An example: last week a friend and rather sophisticated coach told me that her internet/TV/phone service guy showed her how to answer her smart phone by swiping the button. Until then she was jotting down the number and calling back. Starting up a new flat screen TV took me three phone calls and a very patient technician to get it to work.Seldom, if ever do technology companies wise up and have real users try things. It took Microsoft at least seven years before they looked for customer input on how windows worked! Every time you’re required to simplify operations based on a user failing to be able to make it work is a success.
  • Let YouTube provide the manual. I’ve been victim to this syndrome personally. It took my Virtual Assistant and I three days to figure out that we would have to upgrade a piece of software one level to be able to use it on social media. We made the decision that it was probably not worth the expense because it was so poorly documented. They failed but not successfully. In retrospect we should have picked up on the probability based on the marketing. The idea is good, but the greed in the pricing and the obvious lack of real interest in the customer will, in the end shut them down. The more you think through how a customer is going to use the product and the better the instructions you provide the better off you are going to be.A “genius bar” is a nice piece of customer service branding but I would appreciate a little more genius in documentation. Most people would.
  • Drag all your preconceptions along. This usually happens in the hardware side of things but I’ve been involved in a couple of software and service situations where this failure prone approach has not led to success. In one case, a company which will remain nameless received the largest order for a new product that they had ever received from a single company. It was from a company they had never worked with before. The testimonial ad was presented in a divisional management meeting and caused a furor. Management said, “Our products are for engineers and scientists, not for the likes of insurance companies. Do not run that ad and advise the sales force to seek appropriate customers.” The lesson is that when you offer a product and an audience you had not figured on starts buying you failed to see that market but they could make you a success.

The Camera Kerfluffle

There was a time when a 35 millimeter Single Lens Reflex camera was what the upcoming pros used. If you were an amateur, into photography, had money and wanted something better than a Kodak Brownie you looked at 35mmSLRs. You wanted something with the control a Pro would use and the possibility of using different lenses.

But there was also a market for small, aim and click cameras that used 110 film. Kodak jumped into this market as well as a number of Japanese companies. Use of plastics throughout these products made them incredibly low cost. My client, a manufacturer  and distributor of 35mmSLRs saw this as a new market for which they could provide a higher quality product. The client was willing to spend the money to do some research. We set up focus groups searching out people that said they wanted a simple way to take “record photos” of special events and vacations.

Given the choice between the simple point and shoot cameras and the 35s they oriented to the models of one Japanese brand of 110s that were offered in multiple colors. They wore curious about the 35s but felt they were too complex.

The young product manager assigned mistook the interest in the 35’s and the company went ahead with design and development of a 110 camera with changeable lenses.

Back to Focus groups with early production models along with competitor products. Again, the focus group participants were curious about the all black tiny camera with interchangeable lenses. But asked which one they would like to take home oriented to the competitor multicolored units.

No argument could convince the product manager to reverse his decision to go forward with his pet project. It cost the company millions. But there was one good thing that came out of it. The company learned that the more their lowest cost model could be simplified the better it would sell to the people that wanted just a little more than point and shoot. As a result, it has become the standard in photography schools across the globe.

“It is not a failure if you learn from it”

Both my mother and my father said this. Both taught me the patience to see things through and to acknowledge mistakes but always to look for the lesson in the outcome. I try to pass this wonderful knowledge on to all those I work with.

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”

.

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.

.

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

.

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

.

”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

.

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

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­___________________________________________________________________________

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

.

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.


.

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

.

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

Consultant Marketing It’s Not the App

.

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

.

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