Consultant Marketing Trepidation To Elation

Lindsay joined the local chapter.

I welcomed her by e-mail.

She is a newbie in multiple ways:

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

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

Trust but Verify

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

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

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

Impress but focus

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

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

Employing this technique does two things:

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

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

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

State a problem and your solution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be planned but present

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

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

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

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

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

And so it goes.

Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and CEO of Z-axis Marketing, Inc.

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

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

Consultant Marketing The Right Words

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They arrive in my inbox as attachments.

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

Multiple forms, one mission

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

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

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

Words that work

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

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

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

A better picture in your mind’s eye

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

Step away from the 50-cent words

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

Don’t.

Let your emotions be your guide

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

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

Understanding is a many layered thing

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

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

Whew! I got lost somewhere around “bovine.”

To win, you need to write short.

Short sentences.

Little words.

To get the gig you need to touch their emotions.

Don’t impress.

Do not make them guess.

Find the words they use.

The right words.

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

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

And so it goes.

Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and CEO of Z-axis Marketing, Inc.

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

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

Consultant Marketing Getting Ready to Get Ready

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I offered a free 3-Day Challenge.

Two thirds of the room signed up.

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

What I learned.

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

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

Expectations versus reality

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

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

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

The numbers

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

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

Mission Accomplished.

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

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

An epiphany

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

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

That made it all worth while

The lesson for us all

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

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

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

Pick one.

Do it.

Rinse and repeat.”

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

And so it goes.


Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and CEO of Z-axis Marketing, Inc.

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for on and off-line Trust-based Consultant Marketing strategies that build businesses, brands and lives of joy.

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

Consultant Marketing Contact to Contract

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Up your leads

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

Real leads

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

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

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

Your mission

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

It ain’t easy.

Memorability is a matter of seconds.

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

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

In person

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Unforgettable takes longer

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

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

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

Get the contract plus

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


And so it goes.

Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and CEO of Z-axis Marketing, Inc.

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

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

Consultant Marketing Well Spent Weekend

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I decided to journey to the Institute of Management Consultants Conference held over last weekend in Dallas, Texas.

The Crucible

At the airport I bought a paper back to read on the flight. The title was “The Crucible” which sucked me in with, in part, this jacket copy:

“…a frantic quest for answers that are connected to mysteries reaching back to the Spanish Inquisition … What they uncover hidden deep in the past will reveal a frightening truth in the present and a future on the brink of annihilation, and force them to confront the ultimate question: What does it mean to have a soul?”

Within the book, James Rollins connects witch hunts to the wonders of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and where it is headed. Little did I know that I was getting an in-depth preview of one of the keynotes!

Late Arrival

I missed the opening keynote delivered by Alan Weiss as I decided not to go to the airport at early dark thirty. I chose a 9:45 departure which got me in town about the time Alan started speaking.  Apparently, he said some of the things I’ve heard before so it wasn’t a great loss for me.

Why did I go?

  1. To renew some old acquaintances and make some new ones.
  2. To learn what’s new
  3. To gather new contacts for my annual Consultant Marketing Survey

Old Acquaintances

That piece of art at the top of this missive came from Mark Haas. Years ago when the IMC web site was in development, I was the Marketing chair in Portland. Mark was volunteering to get the site up and working from his home office near Washington DC. Many a night we would be on the phone, me at Midnight and he at 3:00 AM. The only time we see each other in person is at these gatherings.

Ken Lizotte was speaking at this conference. We tried to figure out how we know each other and gave up after about ten minutes. Ken is the conference chair for next year. We chatted about me speaking next year and he asked me to be his sidekick in putting together the 2020 Conference in Boston. I think I dodged that bullet!

AI, AGI and ASI

AI is, of course, Artificial Intelligence. The Saturday morning keynote was delivered by David Copps, a futurist, technologist and visionary as well as a member of the Aspen Roundtable on AI among other things you might expect. He spoke of where AI is today noting things I’d read about in The Crucible including how AI will morph to AGI or Artificial General Intelligence (like Asimov’s Robots) and then to ASI, Artificial Sentient Intelligence when the AI takes on a life of its own. Mr. Copps made it clear, with specific examples that it is happening a lot faster than you think!

Serendipity is a strange thing.

New Acquaintances

Saturday, after that serendipitous keynote I joined an experiment where conference attendees could suggest topics for a series of breakouts on subjects of interest to them and then see if other also wanted to discuss. I suggested “How is Consultant Marketing Changing?”

Six people signed up and we did a roundtable on the subject. The participants ranged from a start-up to a couple of us with 20+ years of experience. I heard a lot of current and future possibilities but only one current approach I had not heard put so simply before:

“Don’t try to build a huge list. Keep track of folks that provide referrals, no more than 100 if you get that many and touch them at least once a month personally with a phone call or in person meeting. Let them know the kinds of engagements you are currently working on. Send them a monthly newsletter. Do something special just for them at least quarterly. Things like lunch or dinner, tickets to an event or sending them a book or article especially selected for them.”

I will, of course be sending all of the round table members along with a score of others that agreed the Annual Consultant Marketing Survey.

The attention span of a gold fish

Yoram Solomon, another of the keynoters cited Microsoft research that said that the human attention span had dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2013. The study noted that the attention span of a goldfish was 9 seconds. So if you’ve read this far, you have the attention span of at least a school of goldfish!


Yoram spoke on trust. Here are his 7 Laws of Trust:

  1. Trust is not binary. It is continuous.
  2. Trust is contextual
  3. Trust develops between every two people independently.
  4. Trust is asymmetrical.
  5. Trust is transferable.
  6. Trust is reciprocal.
  7. Trust needs two sides.

Yoram has done the research, that is why he has a PhD. I’ll leave you with this fact from his investigations:

“A trustworthy salesperson
can sell the same product or service for 29.6% higher price.”

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 Mindset

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Take a hard look at the photo.

What do you see?

Me, I see a very confident young woman. My impression is that she knows who she is, has mastered some capabilities and expects you to acknowledge her expertise.

How can I get all that out of a photo?

You make your mind up about anyone, in person or in media in the first 3 seconds.

How do you want to be perceived? What do you want your personal brand to project? How do you introduce yourself? How “Real” do you come across?

Currently, there is a commercial that portrays the danger of hiring someone that is “just okay.” The series is, in part, humorous but if you want to get hired you need to be perceived as more than barely competent. As the commercials say, “Just okay is not okay.”

You need to convince four groups:

  • Your Associates
  • Your Prospects
  • Your Referral sources
  • Your clients

But first you must convince yourself

All of us fear rejection. Somewhere north of 98% of people are afraid of public speaking. Most of them would prefer death to doing “the talk.” What about less-open appearances or interactions with strangers? Not quite as death-defying but still seen by some as a disaster about to happen. Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert makes no difference because just about everyone has a fear of being seen as inadequate.

Self-doubt must be erased.  

Whether you’re applying for a job, presenting in a corporate conference room or trying to get a consulting engagement over breakfast or lunch you need to be confident in your skills and how you present yourself. That 3-second judgement capability is something you can control. It is not logical. It is emotional. With powerful people it is a skill that has been carefully honed.

Overcome the impostor syndrome

All of us, on occasion, feel we are impostors. We judge ourselves more harshly than all those with whom we come into contact. The key here is to listen to the concerns and take steps to overcome them. Here are three suggestions that will allow you to stand tall, command the room and be memorable:

  1. Disconnect before the meeting. Look at yourself through the eyes of those you are interacting with—individual or group. Can they possibly know more than you do about your special expertise? It is truly doubtful. The more years of experience you have, the greater your practical knowledge. They simply don’t have the experience you’ve compiled. Do they know more about another subject or arena? Probably. But not yours.  Their view of you will be that of the inferior. Their expectation will be that you will teach them as you advise. They will incline towards respect.

Walk your talk. Let the confidence reek. They will sense it.

  • Practice positive self-talk. Do what it takes to know your audience. Check them out on social media. Understand their way of thinking based on their writings, interviews and appearances. No time to prep or a networking situation? Say, “Self, you’ve got this. You’ve thought yourself through 30-Second Marketing TM https://vimeo.com/358198046  so you know how to Hook ‘em, Hold ‘em, Pitch ‘em and Close’ em. More importantly you have honed your ability to listen, react and really be interested in them. 

  • Stop trying to close. The worst advice I’ve ever heard for a consultant is, “Close early and often.” Put yourself in the prospect’s position. They are anywhere in the process of deciding from just starting to think about it to shaking hands on an agreement. The better advice is, “Agree to work with them after they have sold themselves.”

That brings us back to erasing self-doubt. One of the best ways I know is to keep track of your successes. Prepare a case history https://vimeo.com/352835268 or success story after each engagement. Note the key outcomes. Review those files on a regular basis. If you are going into discussions in a similar industry you’ll have the facts at the ready should you need them. More importantly you’ll get the self-confidence boost you need to overcome any residual impostor syndrome. About to step into the unknown? If you follow my direction on your success stories you’ll find that your regular reviews will give you buoyant assurance in your abilities in your chosen field.  

Being at the top is a matter of mind over matter.

If you trust yourself, it shows. If you’re certain you have the experience, it becomes apparent. If you assert your convictions you will garner respect. The confident get the contract. Those with self-assurance do it again. And again, And again.

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

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

Brand is a Rainmaker

In times gone by, there were folks that hoped or believed they could get nature to relent and to turn cloudless skies into rain that would wash away a drought if only in one little part of the country.

Some seemed successful. Others, not so much.

Desire doesn’t change.

Each of us want there to be some sort of magic formula to bring new business to us without our having to work for it. We want the gods to smile on us. We’re willing to wear clothing we were wearing when we were successful before. That special tie comes out for the “big pitch.”  The unmatched socks get worn on purpose when we’re going for a new job interview. That railroad watch your Dad gave you gets wound up for the first time in years.  The rabbit’s foot key ring once again settles into your pocket.

The charm is your brand.

  • Sorcery doesn’t deliver potential clients. Staying true to your brand does.
  • Voodoo will not bring a customer to you. A brand that delivers will.
  • Alchemy doesn’t solve customer problems. You do and that is what your brand is based on.

You make the rain.

Although my blog appeared here each Saturday for the last month, I was half a world away from my office. I wrote those weekly comments on Brand before I left on a trans-Atlantic voyage followed by visits to Barcelona, Madrid and Washington, DC. I maintained my work with current clients (when I had internet connections). I wasn’t looking hard for new business. I was taking a vacation and meeting with some folks in person that I enjoyed from internet contacts. I thought I might be of assistance to some of them along the way. Turns out I will be.

Sometime when it rains, it pours.

As initially planned I was going to spend a few days sightseeing in Barcelona and return home. But then internet contacts in Madrid agreed to meet with me for lunch or coffee and so I extended my stay to take a high-speed train to Spain’s capital. Here’s what transpired:

  • I had coffee with the managing director of the largest speaker’s bureau serving Europe, Central and South America. He asked if he could add me to their database 10 minutes into our conversation.
  • I had lunch with the Spanish speaking former employee of a client based in Singapore. Later, because of her new coaching business I introduced her to the speaker’s bureau.
  • The founder of a social media service agreed to have coffee with me. I asked why things had “gone dark” after an initial burst of funding acquisition. He told me, in detail, and then proudly said that they had held the company together and it was now profitable. Then he asked for my consulting help in building the business in the USA.
  • I telephoned a client when I reached DC to find out how his knee surgery had gone. He asked me if I would take on an assignment for an association he is working with. I said, “Of course.”
  • A client “hip-dialed” me yesterday morning. We chatted briefly and then he asked me to meet with a consultant he knows. I agreed and the luncheon meeting is set.
  • This morning I got a message through the social media site that another member of group is as he put it “Looking for a professional speaker that may be interested in assisting to bring a virtual reality product to the market in North America.” We’ve agreed to talk about it.

You can’t control it, but you can influence it.

Just like you can’t control Brand, you can’t control the pace at which new business opportunities come to you. You can however, influence both.  You start by staying true to what you do. You stay honest and forthright. You decline when you have to but you always try to suggest someone else that might be able to help.

Most of all you build Trust. You do it in each conversation. You do it more in your actions.

I didn’t have to introduce Rosa to the speaker’s bureau, but I did.

I wasn’t calling a client about his knee surgery, I was calling a client that over the years has become a friend. Help him with the association? I’ll do that regardless of the fee.

Have lunch with a prospect when one of your best clients asks? Definitely. He knows the prospect will get honest answers and didn’t even think to ask.

Hear out a founder who has come through the valley and has emerged profitable? Accept an assignment? Done, in all humility.

Agree to talk to an engineer about becoming a “product ambassador?”  You bet, because I’m convinced that contact came about because of my conversation with the social media network founder in Madrid.

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

Brand Loyalty is a Matter of Trust

Business people joining hands

I was three slides into an after-lunch keynote in Bogata, Colombia.

I had exhausted my Spanish and had switched to English when a gentleman about six rows back in the audience started waving wildly.

I acknowledged him and he said in heavily accented English, “No interpreter!”

I responded, “I will speak verrry slooowly.”

The entire audience, some 600 strong laughed with us. Moments later, the interpreter, speaking through the earphones the audience was wearing, apologized for being late.

The moral of that story is Confianza, Spanish for Trust. The audience member assumed I would trust him. The laughter of the audience said they trusted me and the organization putting on the conference. The interpreter’s apology sealed the deal.

Here’s the slide that was up.

Trust (Confianza) plus time equals success. That is as true today as it was 10 years ago.

But the point that followed it has proven to be prophetic.

Marketing today on and offline is about Trust (Confianza)

  • In yourself
  • In your staff
  • In your company
  • In your customer

Trust in yourself 
Just about every independent professional has that little voice that sits on your shoulder and insists that you are not really qualified or expert enough. Working through the steps of 30 Second Marketing can solve that for you and at the same time make you more memorable and easier to refer.

Trust in your staff 
If you’re a solopreneur that means structure your processes in such away that personal foibles don’t get in the way of getting the job done. If you’re a corporate manager it is similar but in this case the clarity of your directions to staff and allowing them to use creative problem solving based on pre-set criteria will make our life more joyous. Trust ‘em and both your personal and product related brand will rise in the customer’s view.

Trust in your company 
The organization you work for is not just a legal formality. If you’re a solo or partnership or ensemble there will be a brand associated with the organization. It will be the sum total of what people aware of the company think, feel and believe about it. Corporate manager? You, too, mus establish trust in the organization. That starts with you demanding to understand what the real objectives are and agreeing with the ethics of the outfit. Then you have to make that information understandable for your staff. Your company will have a brand whether one id wanted it or not.

Trust in your customer.
The customer has always controlled brand. In the Mad Men era, mass media wielded tremendous influence over what people believed. They trusted what those 60-second commercials had to say. Customers were loyal to a fault.

The internet altered that.

Today they can “shop around” for anything in seconds.

Today you have customers rebelling against traditional and digital marketing approaches.

  • To belong
  • To be respected
  • To be recognized

Today they are moved less by selling and more by understanding their needs:

Serving and rewarding their communities will build your brand and their loyalty.

They will make repeat purchases and refer you.

They will be willing to pay a 25% increase in price over the competition.

They will still wait for you to introduce a competitive product

The answer is to champion something 
It isn’t about you. It is about them and their values. Be careful. It is nearly impossible to go back after you commit without destroying the brand you’ve nurtured.


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 Stagecraft

Think of your brand in a concert hall or conference room

Yesterday I reviewed the latest blog from Science of People. One of the items was about how to use the physical elements of the stage to enhance your ability to communicate when making a speech.

That got me thinking about how we present information about our brand on web sites.

Brand is the expression of Trust.

How you stage yourself, your product or service makes a difference. Your words can tell prospects they are seen, heard and understood. That creates a level of empathy. Your authority must sync with it to get to Trust. Stagecraft can make the difference. Let them see an expert guide.

The body has a language of its own

Some people craft what they say as if the world will hang on each word. It doesn’t. Your physical appearance in the space impacts it just as much. The elements of body language that can impact your meaning are:

  • Facial Expressions (including your eye movements)
  • Body posture
  • Gestures
  • Breathing
  • Touching to include handshakes

Brand is all about getting to trust. If your posture gives the lie to the empathy you are presenting in your words, you lose. A direct gaze in a Latino culture is a challenge or a romantic indicator. Want to come across as an expert? Relax your hands. That indicates confidence and self-assurance across most cultures. Breathe. Take full deep breaths. Shallow breathing means you are nervous.

All that applies whether you are in a one-on-one meeting, on stage or on video.

Blocking for intimacy

The stage has a front (closest to the audience), a middle and a back (upstage). Intimacy increases the closer you are to the front. It is the same with photos you use on your web site. It is the same in any video you do. Think about how in a movie there’s a shot of the city that cuts to a street with our hero and guide walking along that cuts to a close-up of them talking. That builds intimacy without saying a word. As the distance between the presenter or product is reduced the intimacy increases.

Importance is all about placement

Looking at a stage there is a left, a center and a right from the audience’s viewpoint. If you are presenting something that has a time line involved you may want to begin at the audiences left and work your way to the right to physically enforce the time frame. If you use flashbacks as part of your presentation, always move to the point in the linear narrative where the action occurred. Your audience will get it without a lot of explanation.

All of us have seen web sites with pricing and benefits arrayed from lowest price and inclusions on the left to most on the right. Sears Roebuck started this with their catalog offering of Good, Better and Best. Most commonly today these options are identified on web sites as Silver, Gold and Platinum.

Position can also indicate importance.

In cultures that read left to right/top to bottom, the tendency is to place the most important item on the left moving to lesser items to the right. Where should your most important service be positioned in the offering on the web site? The service panel templates usually have three options. I recommend putting your signature item on the left, the next best revenue producer in the middle and the lowest of the three on the right.

Position vs Intimacy

Combining position and intimacy of graphic can shift this reaction. Frequently there is emphasis put on the center item to supercede the positional importance.

For instance, place an intimate photo of the product/service in the center flanked by less intimate graphics of the other two services. Our tests show that the intimacy of the graphic tends to be the governing factor when there is a difference. If the graphics are similar, position wins.

Shakespeare said, “All the world is a stage…

Look at how you block your brand appearance to enhance your connection with your audience.
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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