Let ’em Buy Consultant Marketing

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The e-mail from someone I’d never met pushed for the sale with the first words.

Fresh Meat

If you’re further up the food chain that e-mail was an open invitation to line up a new client. Cold calling with a hard over sales approach does not work if you are selling consulting, particularly high-end.

On line or in person any time you use direct communication you need to already have a connection or be in the process of activating one. That hard sell e-mail is, for me, a cry for help.

Let ‘em buy

The most successful sales people and consultants I have ever met gave me the same advice:

“You can’t sell anything if they don’t want to buy.”

“Stop closing! The less you close, the more successful you’ll be.”

“People buy when they’re ready not when you tell ‘em to”

“Your job is to stay connected while giving them all the info they need including the purchase agreement when they’re ready.”

“They come to your website looking for information. Give ‘em the content they’re looking for but help them buy into you as well as your approach.

Time and energy

In most cases a prospect must meet three conditions:

  • They have a problem you can solve
  • They can pay for your services
  • They are willing to talk to you

Being upfront about your rates after you’ve heard about their problem will pay you dividends both short and long term. I offer a one-hour meeting at no charge so that we can “See if we are comfortable with each other and I can get a better idea what problem they are confronting.” I usually tell them that if I can’t help I’ll recommend someone that might be of help.

Generally, the higher your fee the more you will be expected to meet at no cost. Some organizations will expect you to provide a proposal at no charge as well. Elite consultants are willing to do that if they can have at least an hour of the senior officer’s time and agreement to candidly discuss the perceived problem and the value of a solution to the company

Going retail

Smaller problems, ones that can be solved in a telephone or Zoom session or two need a slightly different approach. It is more retail oriented. Your offering can be presented in a website that is filled with information that is infused with your viewpoint. Including video of you delivering some of your advice is a positive approach.

You may want to have them pay for a session with an established hourly fee paid in advance. But you must make it as easy as possible for them to set an appointment and pay online. There are apps available that easily integrate with your web site.

If the web site visitor is interested in your services they will find your pricing page. Linking pricing and appointment apps on the same page will pay dividends.

Price Points

The price for the service offered is where consultants often go astray. It is not unusual, even in B2B negotiations for the consultant to be asked for his/her hourly rates. Consider this increasing price/value/meeting scale:

Price              Value                           Meeting description

$200/hr          Instant answers         Meeting via appointment, phone or Zoom

$200-500/hr  Report issued              In person or zoom based on geography

$1000/hr        Strategic Planning     Reports & Timelines agreed to in advance

Fixed Fee      Plan & Implement     Time required to reach solution agreed to.

Fee +Comm   Plan/Implement        Agreed solution plus additional impacts

Variables

Your kind of consulting practice will impact how you approach the market. You may tend to maintain a client relationship for months or years. In those situations, a retainer may be the better option. Or, you may be available at a specific rate just to assist in defining the problems that come up over time. Of course, engagement rates would be set separately. Top notch consultants have all kinds of inventive pricing schemes. The most inventive are lined to long-term client relationships.

And so it goes.


Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com 

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for on and off-line Trust-based Consultant Marketing and Brand development advice that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com
DIY Training: www.ingomu.com

Out of the Box Value

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My daughter and I (she works for the Federal Government) were talking about why the best senior managers regardless of sector are extremely valuable. I was telling her about a 3-minute video I just completed that explains why successful elite consultants set the gold standard. See the video at: https://vimeo.com/356539908

Worth their weight in gold

Managers and consultants are all carefully taught to think, feel and believe that if we can define the problem we can find a solution. The rule of thumb is that solutions reduce costs and increase profits regardless of the kind of resources being considered.

That’s true as far as it goes. It’s a nice comfortable little box.

The best think outside the box

Manager or consultant they demand a sit down with the woman or man in charge, a discovery meeting. They start with an open mind, candidly discuss the visible problem identified by the CEO and ask questions to establish the value of the solution. Elite consultants take it one step further. They add recommendations above and beyond the requested solution to add value to their engagement.

The value-based proposal

Top notch consultants take their time in that discovery meeting. They have the CEO estimate the value of a solution to the visible problem and probe for additional concerns and valuations during the discussion. They get concise agreement on the objectives, how they will be measured as well as quantitative and qualitative impacts of the results. The elite consultant’s intent is to be able to base their fee on the outcome of the engagement in the CEO’s terms.

Their proposal will include three options:

  • Option 1 must satisfy the objectives.
  • Option 2 is more comprehensive (and includes option 1)
  • Option 3 incorporates partnering with the firm to include hands on implementation or overseeing the implementation.

Perception, not a problem

A CEOs job is to keep the company ahead of the curve, see into the future and sense the possible disruptions out there. What if she or he just has a niggling feeling about a potential future problem, or better still an opportunity that is on the horizon? That represents a challenge for most managers not to mention consultants. The CEO wants to get a resolution on the uncertainty. She or he wants to quantify it and then look at the actions required to achieve it or defend from it.

The quantification proposal

Once again you must begin with a discovery meeting. Together, you and the CEO must assess the perceived discontinuity. Two concerns drive the selection of the consultant to handle this kind of engagement:

  1. A successful track record with this client (to include a couple flashes of brilliance and out of the box thinking).
  2. Experience in an industry or a credential in science or engineering that is perceived to have knowledge to bring to this research.

If you are in the room you need to verify which reason brought you there. More importantly, you need to let that reason drive how you build your proposal. Your proposal must identify the objectives, how they will be satisfied and a specific time frame to do so. If you believe that expertise you don’t have is required you must explain how you will find it and how you will engage it. To the degree possible, you must provide a statement of how the information obtained will be evaluated. You may also want to consider how to implement or oversee implementation.

A solution, no problem

Working with elite consultants can prove educational. Recently a client challenged my definition of a Prospect:

“A prospect is someone with a problem you can solve, who has the funds to pay you and is willing to talk to you.”

He said, Every CEO or President or business owner wants more profits, right?” I agreed. He went on, “I’ve stumbled onto something in my consulting over the last few years. It is a solution without a problem. I need a way to describe it and a way to convince CEOs to just have a conversation about it.”

Hidden in plain sight

Yes, for me this idea was outside my comfort zone. For starters the urgency of the problem is not inherent in this situation. You don’t even have a niggling possibility causing concern for the CEO. But, as we strove to build a product description more meaningful and to apply the techniques of 30-Second Marketing TM , I reflected on the testimonials I had videotaped from clients where this process was put in place and realized it was proven thinking outside the box that could only be developed by someone with business acumen and experience that had psychological training.

The Shared Passion Proposal

The key to greater profits, even in a down economy, is hidden in plain sight in every company that has employees. Employees, approached properly can in a relatively short time develop a passion for the business that builds profits long term. The essence of that proposal is, for the moment, a trade secret but I’ve interviewed the men and women that have applied the process in their organizations. Greater dollar profits are the tip of the iceberg in the world of the Millenials.

And so it goes.


Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com 

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for on and off-line Trust-based Consultant Marketing and Brand development advice that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com
DIY Training: www.ingomu.com

Consultant Marketing Appointment Setting

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Stop for the count

Before you add that appointment setter to your web site stop and look at the number of times you are asked to set an appointment.

Make it easy on yourself. Look at the last week or month. Compile four lists: Clients, Prospects, Referral Sources, Trusted Advisors and Unknowns:

  • Clients—These are the folks you are working with now. You have a key contact in each organization. There may be others in the organization that want to meet with you but if you have no relationship as yet they are not a client. They could be a Prospect, a Referral Source and infrequently a Trusted Advisor. Until you clarify their status they are Unknown.
  • Prospects – are the people you have identified as someone who can hire you, has the funds to pay you and has a problem they believe you can solve. If they don’t meet those requirements the probability of an engagement is nil. It is possible they could be a referral source or a trusted advisor but in truth they are a unknown until you talk to them.
  • Referral Sources – can come from a meeting, speech or publication. But if you are like most consultants the Pareto rule is in full effect. Eighty percent of your referrals come from 20% of your clients, client alumni or known referral sources.
  • Trusted Advisors —are the professionals you refer to clients or prospects. You trust them to deliver their capabilities for you and whoever you steer to them. These are folks that will call you for a meeting.
  • Unknowns —are just that. You need to clarify their status in your connections hierarchy before you decide what to do.

Direct versus Digital

I’ve yet to meet an elite consultant or one that wants to be that has sufficient inbound interest to need a Digital appointment setter. The only number from the above count that matters is Prospects. There are independent professional practices that could use an appointment setter. Possibilities include Financial Planners, Insurance providers, Real Estate agents, Dentists and so on. But in the B2B world that is not a problem.

Prospect age is a factor

Younger people (under 35) prefer to keep a digital distance from suppliers. They tend to be transaction rather than relation oriented. They are uncomfortable telephoning to set a meeting preferring instead to text or use an appointment setter on a web site. They will defer direct contact as long as possible.

Position makes a difference

If you are targeting the C-suite, you need to put yourself in the place of that corporate officer. Their normal journey to come to the conclusion to talk to you looks like this:

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Why senior officers follow that path.

It’s lonely at the top. Often there is no one on the staff that is thinking far enough in advance to see the problems that a CEO may identify. She or he may have colleagues in similar positions or in the same industry that are considering what is coming. They may have suggestions as to who might be able to help. That CEO can learn a great deal about you by reviewing your web site. If what they see intrigues them they may request more information. They will review what you provide, vet your testimonials and the results. Then, because they don’t waste time they will call you. In smaller companies they will call you direct. Larger firms my have an assistant call to set an appointment at your convenience. The point is they will call you. They will not go back to your web site to use an appointment setter.

The missed connection argument is not valid

Providers of the appointment software will tell you that you are missing opportunities. That is true for organizations that target transactional appointments but is not valid if your business is dependent on the relationships you establish and engagements that may extend over years.

Keep your calendar at hand

Answer every call and be prepared to make that discovery appointment. You’ll spend less on software and get significantly better results.

And so it goes…

Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com 

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for on and off-line Trust-based Consultant Marketing and Brand development advice that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com
DIY Training: www.ingomu.com this,t)}}

Consultant Marketing List Building

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You snooze, you lose.

Something got lost between the Rollodex, the CRM (Contact Relationship Management) software and the growth of the internet generations.

People seem to have become a lot more transactional. They have given up the power in the connectivity of relational networking.

Relational vs Transactional

I’ve been speaking and writing about networking as a business development tool since 1990. Early on, someone asked me what the best “style” of networking might be. Here’s how I replied in an Article called Pearl Diving:

“Network. Just don’t try to turn that contact into a contract on the spot. It won’t work. We’ve all met people that try that. They glide up to you like a shark, ask a question, talk through your response with a rapid fire commercial, tell you to call them and then they’re gone. In their view, they are networking. Those predatory types just don’t understand the difference between transactional and relational networking.

Transactional networkers want to score now. They are driven to pin down a prospect, get the job or close the deal. They have no time for anything else. They see networking as just one more form of manipulation. Leads groups that penalize members for failure to produce prospects fall into this category, as do the tactics employed by some multilevel marketing organizations.

There is a place for transactions, but it is never on a first meeting. And in most cases it will come much later in the sequence. Tit for Tat Transitional Networking does not scale. The best networkers understand that Networking is the establishment of a relationship.

Relational networkers aren’t interested in what you might be worth to them. They are always more curious about you as a person. They consistently ask how they can be of help to you rather than the other way around. They maintain the contact out of regard for you, not a need to cash in on the contact.”

The power of the list

I advise elite consultants on the marketing they need to build already successful businesses. All have a list of clients, prospects, referral sources, trusted advisors (for themselves and others) and other resources pending Trust evaluations.

The numbers on the lists vary and may be scattered across the world depending on the geographic scope of the consultant’s business. For instance, if you need to initiate a change in a government or multinational I can tell you who to call. That trusted resource is headquartered in Singapore. Need software to revolutionize the speed of managing your business? I can connect you with the president here in North America or the founder in Australia.

In most cases the extremely successful do not have huge lists. If you sell product on line you need to continually expand your list or you need to offer new products of value on a regular basis. But if your business is primarily one to one B2B your list may be relatively small. My current clients have combined lists of no more than 500. They continually add prospects and referral sources but the best apply one measure you should consider.

Meet them before classifying them.

You can add folks to your list in these ways:

  • Speaking—all those folks that want to talk after you step down from the platform and be added to your blog and/or newsletter list if they agree to that. Meet with them before you classify them as a prospect or referral source.
  • Networking—at industry events, again with their permission. Before you go past your blog and newsletter try to meet with them on a more personal basis.
  • Social Networking Connections—to include Linked In, FaceBook, BeBee and any other that provides a profile and allows you to connect with them. Before you start adding folks willy-nilly be sure you have a solid description of the demographics and psychographics of your target addition in mind. Again, get permission before you add them to your blog and/or newsletter list. I recommend that you limit your on-line list development primarily to prospects and that you count on it taking longer than you expected.
  • Introductions—either in person or on-line from referral sources or a relational networker. Always get their permission to put them on your blog and newsletter lists. If you think they are worth pursuing as a prospect, add them to that list. Could they be a referral source or a resource? You decide.
  • Face to Face—prospects introduced by referral sources should be added to the blog and newsletter list almost automatically. If you are meeting with them as a result of speaking or networking you will need to decide whether to put them in your prospect or referral source or resource list.

Keeping track of them

There is no question that the digital world has more efficiency than the old rollodex. The question is how much of that capability do you need?

Excel or other Spreadsheet programs are quite sufficient for some small or highly specialized organizations. That is good for maintaining the list. You’ll need to have calendar program as well to assure you can schedule follow up.

Manual CRM system sounds like an oxymoron but if you are really dealing with a small target number it can make sense. I designed a manual system for a client specializing in Gallium Arsenide chips that had a total of only 26 prospects. It worked. He sold his process and retired.

Digital CRM software can be added to your computer as a standalone or cloud based. Your practice or business size and the number of people that will require access to the data can significantly impact your choices. That, plus the capabilities of the software to deliver blogs or newsletters and other marketing materials, should be considered.

E-mail Programs like Constant Contact and Mail Chimp make it easy to build and e-mail your newsletter as well as keep track of your lists. One of my clients decided to forego a blog opting to send his guidance filled newsletter on weekends. Midweek he sends a mini-update including a new video. His opens average 25.3% on a list that is exclusively c-suite.

Automated Marketing? Yes, It can be done but do you need it? Do you need to trigger actions based on time elapsed or actions taken? Can you build out a funnel that will guide the prospect to a sale based on their situation? (That is a whole blog by itself)

Your list is the second most important part of your business.

The most important is you. If you are a solopreneur the knowledge you bring to the equation is why the business succeeds. If you are an entrepreneur working with a team, your ideas and processes are the intellectual property that makes the business possible. Whether you provide a product or service without your list you can’t make sales over time.

And so it goes.


Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com 

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for on and off-line Trust-based Consultant Marketing and Brand development advice that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com
DIY Training: www.ingomu.com

Consultant Marketing Billing Choices

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What’s your hourly rate?

Too often, when the choice is made by an entrepreneur to become a consultant, the decision to bill time for services is made with little or no thought. Prospects assume you will invoice them showing the time spent on each task you addresed.

An hourly rate is not the only option.

You are being paid for your:

  • Knowledge
  • Capability
  • Speed

You would not have been considered for the engagement if you didn’t have one or more of those as assessed by the client. You have what they don’t. You can do what an employee practiced in the art could do if only they had one. You offer a solution to a problem they have which they cannot solve on their own.

Your approach is part of the equation.

Availability is part of the value perceived by the prospect. There are experts in every arena but the more complex and esoteric the field the fewer are available with associated higher rates. The possible approaches range from done for the client to hands on tactical implementation to strategic advice to ongoing counsel.

Results factor in to what you can charge

Never forget that you are helping to sort out a problem and that the results you deliver, the ones you agreed to in your proposal, are how you are going to be judged. That’s why you should shift to value-based proposals as soon as possible using the prospects valuation of the work you propose to do.

Options to consider

  1. Hourly rates Tried and True. Doesn’t have to be explained other than a justification for the rate. When I speak it translates to an hourly rate of at least $7500. Do I charge that for consulting? No. But there are times I could.
  2. Fee for Task is a common way to provide a comparative rate linked to a specific task. Example: Agreement to build a basic web site consisting of a specific number of pages for a specific amount.
  3. Tactical Implementation Management Charge This is commonly used when a combination of coaching, training and oversight is required to get staff in an organization to adopt a new way of doing things. The consultant manages the process and can, to some extent, control the time to results.
  4. Retainer This can work for limited time engagements but is a marvelous way to extend a relationship. It allows a great deal of latitude in proposals and agreements and simplifies invoicing. The best part is that you can set it up to bill in advance.
  5. Commission on Results When you and a client agree on the results you are seeking in the proposal phase you can reach agreement on what part of the results you deliver will be your payment. If the result of your activities generates an additional $100,000 in income for the client, a commission of up to 30% is not untoward.

How do you decide?

First: Wrap your mind around the idea that you are an expert. Now build on that by maintaining your level of knowledge in your specialty. Monitor information online about it (set up Google Alerts). Attend industry conferences. Get involved with educating the industry. Never overlook applications of your industry knowledge in other industries. Over time migrate your expertise to the upper echelons of expertise in the industry,

Second: Never assume that there is only one way to get paid for your work. Think about combining one or more or the options above. Or take payment in another way. I negotiated an agreement once that included a stock award (for time at a specific rate) above a preset monthly contract. That stock was worth $4Million when the company went public.

Third: Simplify your agreements so that you can’t be held hostage by clients. This is why I recommend the retainer and use it as my primary choice. I still consider stock as partial payment in some cases. I will look at commissions on results but now I add a twist either requesting 50% in advance or placing the full commission in an escroll account. The 50% in advance is the easier sale and can be positioned in such a way that it is viewed as a standard engagement agreement based on a value-based proposal where the client generated the “results number.”

Overall stop operating on autopilot.

Look at all the options before you write that proposal and agreement. Be non-traditional but be sure you believe in what you are saying. Be prepared to alter your offer but veer away from collecting minute by minute accounting of what you are delivering. Be prepared to walk away if the prospect demands to be billed in any way that is not what you are proposing.

Make sense? Tell me your favorite compensation approach. If we don’t shake things up, who will?

And so it goes.


Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com 

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for on and off-line Trust-based Consultant Marketing and Brand development advice that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com
DIY Training: www.ingomu.com

Consultant Marketing Prospect Profile

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Take your revenue stream up a notch

Wouldn’t you be more comfortable if you had an ongoing revenue stream that let you:

  • Serve the kinds of clients you enjoy working with
  • Do the kinds of engagements that are satisfying
  • Have time to enjoy life a little more.

Over about 50 years consulting and coaching I’ve learned to improve your stats you need to do some sort of mundane stuff to make the shift. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Track your current engagement data (time, revenue and costs)You’ll find more at https://www.bebee.com/producer/@jerry-fletcher/consultant-marketing-eye-on-the-money
  2. Target prospects similar to your preferred clients
  3. Take action to be seen, heard, remembered and perceived as a trusted expert.

Yes, it is about the money

Periodically you need to review the time spent and the revenue generated by your activity. That means plotting your actual revenue against what it took to earn it. If you don’t track both, how are you going to know?

Look hard at the clients you like working with that pay their bills on time, provide referrals and you’d like to clone. Before you go charging off after new business be sure you have a complete profile of both the individual prospect and his/her company with a complete comparison to your preferred client/company profile.

The people assessment

This is a process that works for me and has proven to be effective with the elite consultants I work with on three continents. You’ll need a sheet of paper you can work on in landscape orientation. At the top write MY PROSPECT PICK’R. To set up your worksheet drop down a line or two and put in these column headings:

 Client Company      Primary Contact  Repeat?

Step 1.  Jot down your clients for the last 5 years, or if you are new to this, as long as you’ve been in business. Note the client company and the individual you worked with.

Step 2.  To the right of the names, if you’d like to work with them again (regardless of the reasons) write Yes. If not, just line them out but keep your record as we may need to analyze your reasons why and what it would take to put them in the “Yes” column.

Step 3.  Add some facts about your engagement(s) with the “Yes” clients. Specifically under these column headings: Engagement  Length Time Revenue Cost Outcome. The length is the number of weeks/months. Time is the actual time you’ve spent working on the project.

Revenue is the revenue generated by that engagement. Cost is your non-reimbursed expenses associated with that assignment. Outcome is a measurement of the shift in client performance.

Now your worksheet should look like this (with examples):

Step 4.  I have not included the extended data on those I marked “No” even though one was on retainer for $1000 a month in excess of 13 months and the other generated over $50,000 in six months as well as a stock position in the company.

The first was because the client just wouldn’t pull the trigger. The latter was because the venture capitalists proved to be pain where a pill won’t reach.

Now comes the hard part Even if you said “Yes” you need to look at time versus revenue less costs and calculate actual income. Sometimes you like a client so much you don’t charge them for all the time you’re spending. Sometimes the challenge is so fascinating that helping them resolve it is a huge psychological boost.

At the bottom of the worksheet you need to prepare three assessments:

Assessment 1. Client company

Look at size (employees, sales, revenue), industry (size and direction), longevity, management (strengths, weaknesses and intent), ownership. Be clear on where this company is in terms of its development. Is it a start up? Is it struggling to grow? Has the pace of growth caused problems?

Assessment 2. Client Contact

This is the person who hired you and you report to. The higher the level the better. Owner, President and CEO or COO are the titles that have the most clout. Note that in larger organizations Division Managers might be able to hire you. For each of the client contacts look at demographics and psychographics. Look for similarities. Underline them.

Assessment 3. The Ideal Prospect

What is it about those you designated with a “Yes” that caused that gut reaction? Write it down. Now look back at the revenue. Is there cause for you to reject or not chase a similar organization and contact because the income isn’t there? Should you look at your rates or how you charge clients to find a better way?

Can you define the prospect that could become your next ideal client now?

Here’s a word portrait of my ideal client (more at www.JerryFletcher.com):

Entrepreneurs and Singular Consultants
You’re one of the best at what you do but not enough people know that.
You know you need Consultant Marketing and a Brand but are not sure how to take yours up a notch. You know that to be successful you must be remembered. You’re looking for a way to build referrals and operating on a tight budget without a lot of time to put into your marketing. You’re tired of being told what to do and want help with the how.

And so it goes.


Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com 

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for on and off-line Trust-based Consultant Marketing and Brand development advice that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com
DIY Training: www.ingomu.com

The Pivot

Divorced, downsized and still dedicated

Other than my daughter, my consulting practice has been the single on-going relationship in my life. Yes, clients have come and gone but the tenets of marketing I discovered on this journey, added to the knowledge imparted by 25 years prior in the advertising trade have stood me in good stead.

I’m still standin’

Z-axis Marketing was incorporated in 1990. It has been my primary business since then and was profitable enough to help put a daughter through college as well as put food on the table, a roof over head and an SUV in the driveway.

That is still the case.

Getting back on track

My marketing has changed over the years responding to on one hand the whims of the moment but on the other to constant monitoring of results. If I had to cite one book that put me on this path it would be Claude Hopkins’ Scientific Advertising. It provided the inspiration for this mantra:

Test, Measure, Reset…Test, Measure, Reset Ad Infinitum
Jerry Fletcher

Long ago and not so far away

I identified myself as a Consultant and Speaker as far back as 1993.

That’s when I helped found the National Speakers Association chapter in Portland, Oregon. Speaking, as I now coach the consultants I work with, is a superior way to reach more prospects and get to trust more quickly than any other way I’ve found.

The key to getting booked to speak is to provide information of interest that will help audience members take skills away with them that can help build their business. Networking was what I centered my speaking on back then.  After waiting 7 years to scoop it up, I owned the Networking Ninja URL, built my speaking web site and, overtime, updated it several times.

Because my one-on-one consulting practice kept getting bigger I reprinted the cards with the consulting identity on one side and Networking Ninja on the other.

That’s when this phrase first appeared:

“Trust-based strategic marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy…on and off line.”

Confused, cross and convalescent

I was speaking internationally by now but a health problem, later diagnosed as Thyroid snuck up on me and sapped my energy. Airports, traveling to speaking engagements, became for me a version of the Bataan death march. I stopped promoting myself as a speaker and coped with having to rest after just a couple hours of work. Finally, I subjected myself to a battery of tests that required drawing six vials of blood. Both my oncologist and my regular doctor reached the same conclusion. I had a thyroid problem.

Now, I take a pill the size of a baby aspirin each day and I’m in the gym daily during the work week. It took a little over a year to get back to normal. 

Google Trends

I decided to, once again, go back to speaking. A fellow speaker suggested I check topics on Google Trends to determine what folks were interested in these days versus the past.

I did.

It wasn’t pretty. The younger generations are not relationship oriented. For them, networking knowledge is not something they covet. Brand, particularly personal brand was trending up. That was about a year ago. I switched to identifying myself as the Brand Poobah. The story is here: http://jerryfletcher.net/2018/12/brand-anew/

SEO to success

I received my copy of the book Choose from Ryan Levesque, who is the founder of The Ask Method. I proceeded to read it and then over Independence Day follow the advice between the covers.

My assumptions regarding the search terms that would profit me most were only partially true. The approach I had taken is here: http://jerryfletcher.net/2019/04/what-are-the-key-words-of-your-brand/

Choose lays out how to decide what your keywords should be if you want to sell education and expertise on line. The advice is straightforward and the tests easily accomplished in a day at your computer after some initial brainstorming.

Power in a pickle label

I generated over 50 possible keywords and proceeded to test them with the process Ryan had developed.

My selections didn’t even get through the first round unscathed. I stepped back and tried again. On the third try I put in two phrases copywriters would call “pickle labels.”

Both met the test requirements…all of them. That’s why my consulting website has been rewritten. That’s why my profiles on social media have been updated. That’s why the ID at the bottom of the page is changing.

The moral of the story

I’m not getting any younger. I still like speaking because I can see the lights go on in solopreneur’s minds when my advice hits home. I still like one-on-one consulting and I’ll continue to do it. The thing is, clients and others keep asking me to put some of my advice on line and to provide ways I can work with more folks.

I can do that best by concentrating my efforts in one thing: Consultant Marketing. That’s why I bought the URL and a new website is on the way.

And so it goes.


Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com 

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for on and off-line Trust-based Consultant Marketing and Brand development advice that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com
DIY Training: www.ingomu.com

Formula for Creative Brand Marketing

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Some advertising wag once said:

“It ain’t creative unless it sells”

But most of us are standing here on the other side of that evaluation trying to come up with something creative that will sell our brand, product, concept or service. We need a way to figure out what will convince a large enough group of folks to lay down their cash so that we can make a profit.

Building a brand that sells

You can work all the magic of words and graphics on anything but when you bring them to bear on something with a real difference they become unstoppable. A truly unique product or service is much easier to position, promote and sell.

How do you make your concept unique? How do you develop it so it inherently has the differentiation that makes it saleable? What do you need to do to make your offering singular?

Here are three things you can do that will help you innovate:

  1. Act like a child

The sad truth is that our education, though not designed to do so, removes the marvelous questioning and experimentation that we have as primary behaviors when we are children. Do you recall losing track of time as you delved into some simple thing? Have you ever gone back to that ‘anything is possible” set of beliefs? Therein lies one of the most powerful tools available to you.

Experiment. Get your hands dirty playing with the possibilities. Try anything and everything, the less orthodox the better. Keep track of what you find out. The insights you reach could prove valuable.

2. Make new friends

Scientific studies tell us that we are most creative when we see connections across unrelated fields. People with different ideas and perspectives can help you see those connections, questions, problems and ideas.

Network in organizations or groups that are outside your “comfort zone” to gather distinctive new thoughts. Allow those new relationships to direct your reading. Ask the questions that challenge their status quo. Apply their answers to your view of the world. Find a way to merge the two. Test the new “common wisdom.”

3. Renew industry acquaintances

Take along look at the behavior of customers, suppliers and competitors to identify how they do things. Just because it has “always been done that way” doesn’t mean it must continue unchanged.

Borrow ideas from other industries. Try them on and think through how they could change your product or service and the industry in which your firm is doing business. Play out the “what if” scenario alone or with your partners. See what might happen form an operational and an income viewpoint.

We live in a time of disruption.

Join the party.

Apply Sir Richard Branson’s mantra:

A-B-C-D Always Be Connecting the Dots

Here are some what ifs that I’ve been thinking about which you may find stimulating:

Cosmetics

What if you could use DNA testing to develop formulations for foundation makeup for women that was healthy for their skin and offer it in tones that matched their complexion by race?

Commuting

What if you had AI driven vertical take off and landing one or two passenger vehicles which you sold as a subscription service. Think about pricing. Peak and off-peak utilization. Would suburbs expand or contract? How would you control traffic particularly altitude changes in the flow?

Distribution

What if you could find a way to replace trucks as the primary physical distribution vehicles. It wasn’t so long ago that the intermodal revolution swept this industry. That change brought about containers that could be moved on the high seas, via rail, air and finally via truck.

Initially, if you had drones to carry single truckloads you might operate at specific heights above the current freeway system. But what do you do about delivery at the destination. How would existing loading docks affect your transport design? Do you have operators either in each unit or at a distance or do you use AI?

And, so it goes


Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com 

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development for independent professionals on and off-line.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com
DIY Training: www.ingomu.com

Brand Name As Catch Phrase

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Catch Phrases Round 5

Over the last month I’ve talked about Catch phrases as Slogans, Taglines and Hooks. Each of them strive to make your company, product or service more memorable, differentiate it from the competition and give prospects a reason to buy.

What if your name was a catch phrase?

What if just saying your company, product or service name could trigger those positive attributes? What if the name you chose resonates with your ideal client or customer? What if you could rise to the top of your category just by mentioning the name?

It has been done. This kind of pragmatic name can help reduce marketing costs by explaining your offer or value right in the name. Here, in no order, are some examples across multiple categories:

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Diehard was introduced in 1967 after years of research and millions of dollars in development. It was and is America’s most innovative automotive battery — tested, proven and guaranteed to deliver across any circumstance.

What do you a call a language school in Cali, Columbia teaching English to small groups of Spanish speaking business executives:

Google apparently the name started as a joke about the amount of information the search engine could search, or a googol of information. (A googol is the number 1 followed by 100 zeros.) When founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin gave a presentation to an angel investor, they received a check made out to “Google.”

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This organization went through multiple names, several rounds of investment, buyouts, and management shifts that make “Game of Thrones” look like a stroll in the park to become the most ubiquitous payment platform in the world.

Founded in 1997 in California, this company began as a subscription-based provider of DVDs by mail. Today, with 148 Million paid subscribers from around the world, their primary business is streaming films and TV programs including some produced in-house. There is an apocryphal story that the founder decided to start Netflix after being fined $40 at a Blockbuster store for being late to return a copy of “Apollo 13.”

The name is a combination of the words “Net” from Internet and “Flix” is a shortened version of the word flicks – a synonym for movie.

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This example demonstrates the power of analogy and, if you follow trademark legal actions, how to end a high in the cannabis market. It hails from near Cincinnati, Ohio where I grew up, is privately held and was first sold to consumers in 1997.

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I nearly overlooked this example. When you stop in just about daily you tend to not see the logo. Anytime Fitness is a franchise health and fitness club founded in 2002 and headquartered in Woodbury, Minnesota. Each of their gym facilities are open 24 hours a day, 365 days out of the year.

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Before Apple resolved to call it ‘iPhone’, it considered ‘iPad’, ‘Telepod’, ‘Mobi’, and ‘Tripod’. Of course, iPad ended up being the name for Apple’s tablet PC, According to Ken Segall Advertisng lead at the time, “Apple considered calling the device ‘Telepod’ because it sounded like a futuristic twist to the word ‘telephone’.” ‘Mobi’ – a shortened version of the word ‘mobile’ was also considered.

The name ‘Tripod’ “did not win out but it did make a big impact on Apple’s original presentation and marketing for the iPhone. ‘Tripod’ stems from the iPhone being a combination phone + iPad + Internet communications device.”

You can name your company, product or service in a catchy way. Stay tuned as you begin to determine if supporters and potential buyers learn about it. Dial in to:

  • Words that describe the benefit
  • What investors call it
  • What clicks with users
  • How foreshortening and combining words get the point across
  • The understandable analogy
  • The power of a simple description
  • Keeping it simple

And so it goes


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Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com 

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development for independent professionals on and off-line.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com
DIY Training: www.ingomu.com

Building Your Brand Catch Phrase

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Catch Phrases Round 4

To establish your brand, to build your business, you gotta be memorable. If people can’t remember your name or the business name they won’t buy. The best way to generate awareness varies by type of business, the number of employees and available promotional budget:

  • Solopreneurs, particularly independent professionals like consultants, and coaches must find away to become known on little or no budget. Usually, they establish themselves through networking and direct sales. Even when you get past 6 figures in income the promotional budget may be limited. The most successful tend to use 30-Second marketing techniques (whether I’ve trained them or not) to present themselves with a Hook.
  • Small businesses, whether they are product or service oriented, early on will probable also use networking and direct sales to build sales. When your company is building, moving from 3 to 5 people to 25 and more the advertising budget will be constrained. That’s true even if you are running a successful on-line business (Pay Per Click ain’t cheap!). Because you will, in all likelihood, have more media opportunities you’ll be able to position the company, product or service with a tagline.
  • Larger businesses, those that have reached the size where they have sales and marketing staff tend to rely more on advertising and direct sales to generate the cash flow necessary to keep the business humming. Because they usually offer more than one product or service it is necessary to separate the corporate identity from that of the products (or services) offered. If a product or service is promoted on its own, the Corporate logo and tagline may be included in any advertisement but given less emphasis than a slogan.

Familiar Slogans and taglines

MasterCard:

  • Slogan: “There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard.”  Created in 1997 Used in a campaign that appeared in 98 countries in 46 languages. The first commercial ended with an observation describing the time shared by a father and son at a baseball game that became the
  • Tagline: “Priceless”

Dollar Shave Club:

  • Tagline: “Shave Time. Shave Money.” This direct marketed subscription razor service was started by two young men from Venice California with their own savings. It turned heads when it introed in 2012 with a YouTube Video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUG9qYTJMsI&feature=youtu.be ) that went viral.

Today, that video has been viewed over 26 million times, the company has grown to over 1 million subscribers and was acquired by Unilever for $100 Billion in cash in 2016. Not bad for a five years work.

Nike:

  • Slogan “There Is No Finish Line”   Remember, a slogan is used by larger companies to differentiate products or services in a memorable way. This is the Nike slogan that has ben employed on a host of advertising campaigns starting in 1977. This unique message reflects what Nike is all about: the next challenge, and the one after that, and the one after that. It leads directly to the
  • Tagline “Just do it” is the better-known Nike message. “Just Do It” hovers over every product and event Nike creates or sponsors, and that’s exactly what makes it the company’s official tagline. It embodies a state of mind and encourages you to think that if you want to do it, just do it. That’s all it takes.

Hooks that work

Hooks are for little guys (& gals). Whether you are starting up or have reached a plateau in your business and feel you need to take it up a notch, 30-Second Marketing might be the solution.

It starts with a hook. Yes, you need to learn to Hold ‘em, Pitch ‘em and Close “em as well but start with a Hook. A hook is a short phrase that answers the question “What do you do.” Because it is part of a conversation it should not sound like a commercial. Later, you may adapt it and use it as a tagline but right now concentrate on making it memorable. Link it to the solution you provide for the problem for which 60 to 80 percent of your clients have engaged you.

Here are some tips to make your hook stand out from the crowd

  1. Use an analogy Here’s a recent example from my client files:

Larry Briggs is Leadership consultant. His response to “What do you do?” is Sticky Leadership. He described it in his speaker one-sheet like this:
Sticky Leadership is what comes after vision.
Sticky Leadership is what it takes to get to the next level.
Sticky Leadership is how you take the business you built one step higher.

Sticky Leadership is how successful entrepreneurs get their leadership to stick in the heads, hearts and actions of others.

2. Be specific

The world’s first consulting detective– Author Conan Doyle never claimed this for Sherlock. It is the hook offered by a screenwriter.

Contact Relationship Magician—One I’ve used when pursuing engagements in “Automagic Marketing.”

3. Keep it under 7 words

Imagineering—from the Disney organization. Short for imaginative engineering I’m told.

Defogger and Accelerator—For a management and leadership consultant and coach that brings clarity and speeds up processes.

I take the fear out of Queer—developed by a transgender speaker in a 30-Second Marketing Workshop. Think how powerful that is when directed to a meeting planner planning an “inclusive” event

Need help? Just about everyone does, particularly if you want folks to take action. Even if they remember you there is still the requirement to convince or persuade them to buy at least once if you are to be truly successful. Just call or e-mail.


Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com 

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development for independent professionals on and off-line.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com
DIY Training: www.ingomu.com