Consultant Marketing Trust Barometer

I’ll be keynoting on Trust in April.

Every time I’m asked to present on Trust I look for new information I might bring to the audience.

Online Resources

I always start with a review of the usual suspects. That means typing “Trust Research” into Google. This time it got me this selection of the most recently published items:

  1. An article from the Harvard Business Review on The Neuroscience of Trust (from 2017)
  2. The Journal of Trust Research (Volume 10, Published in 2020)
  3. The Psychology of Trust (A book published in 2018)
  4. Trust and Power (A book published in 2018)
  5. Individual Trust and the Internet (scholarly article published in 2018)

Notice the dates. Only one is as recent as 2020. That is the first problem. The second is wading through the linguistic torture of scholarly articles where communication is sacrificed on an altar of accuracy resulting in impenetrable obfuscation.

Trusted Resources

Thank the gods of business for the Edelman Trust Barometer. Each year since 2000, this worldwide Public Relations Agency with offices in major cities around the world publishes an annual survey of trust and credibility of the world’s four major institutions – Government, Business, Media and NGOs. It is one of the longest running studies on Trust.

What makes it more important is the ongoing comparison of results it affords the viewer and the efforts of the company to find and report on those points where the findings begin to diverge from previous norms.

Diverging Trust

In the 2004 study23% of the people interviewed said they would trust someone just like them. By 2016 that percentage had increased to 82%. People trusted folks like themselves more than Businesses, institutions, Governments, and  NGOs. People like me got higher ratings than any other occupations with the exception of folks with very high Academic degrees and some attorneys. It seems they didn’t like lawyers but did respect them.

Trust Today

So where are we today? What did Edelman turn up in their most recent survey?

  • Income inequality is the most significant factor in developed countries like the USA
  • 56% of the population worldwide believe that Capitalism does more harm than good in today’s world
  • 83% of employees fear losing their jobs
  • Government and media are perceived to be incompetent and unethical
  • Business is seen as the only competent institution

Business stakeholders now expect more from companies.

 “A stunning 92 percent of employees surveyed in the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer say that they expect their employer’s CEO to speak up on one or more issues ranging from income inequality to diversity and training for jobs of the future. Seventy-three percent of employees expect a prospective employer to offer the opportunity to shape the future of society in a positive way.”

Richard Edelman

The Edelman 2019 “In Brands We Trust?” study reported that nearly two-thirds of consumers buy based on their beliefs, and 81 percent agree that “a brand I can trust” is one of their top reasons for purchase.

Trust Boiled Down

Customers and employees are now over five times more important to a company’s long-term success than shareholders.

Business is considered to be the best at getting things done. But is faulted on ethics. Research conducted in 2020 indicated that ethical attributes drive 76 percent of the trust capital of organizations, while competence drives 24 percent.

Trust in the light

CEOs, Presidents and Owners of companies have a chance to step up Here’s what is needed:

  • Take the lead in partnering with government and other institutions
  • Pay decent wages and retrain those replaced by technology
  • Speak up for what is right starting now

In my view, the stepping stones from start up to skyrocket now include a need to be outspoken in word and deed. Speak the truth even when it is uncomfortable. Act as if you were not campaigning for the next rung on the ladder. Solve the Trust paradox. Your employees and customers are counting on you.

And so it goes.

Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and CEO of Z-axis Marketing, Inc.
See Jerry’s new speaker demo reel.

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: https://www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking:  https://www.NetworkingNinja.com

Consultant Marketing Juggernaut

I was zooming today with the founder of an organization using Mighty Networks as the software they use to manage their expanding community.

One of the reasons he cited for that selection was the ability to provide a deep repository for content.

Lots of content

Here’s what he said he and his partner have as weekly goals for content production:

  • 2 blogs each
  • 2 podcasts each
  • 2 videos each of 3 to 5 minutes or longer
  • 2 articles each of 2000 to 8000 words
  • 2 pass alongs of materials of interest to the community from each of them
  • 2 subject driven webinars 90 minutes each
  • 2 open discussion round tables 90 minutes each
  • Social media directed to lead magnets derived from articles, blogs and an annual survey

If I wanted to make use of all that information it would take me about 4 hours minimum.

I don’t have that kind of time

I have a business to run. I’ve drunk from a similar fire hose before. When you add the inconvenience of the hours when the webinars occur (during the working day) and the fact that I’m involved with users of Mighty Networks in Hong Kong, London and Ottawa with similar scopes of operation and all with thriving communities I could literally spend my days wandering the earth and absorbing information linked virtually arm in arm with active communities.

Ya gotta be picky and other tricks.

Here’s how I stay connected and still manage to keep my business thriving:

  • I plan my weeks to assure blocks of time for clients.
  • Each client has a block of time assigned each week for regularly occurring required actions
  • Each client has a block of time each week for thinking about their strategy and where we can get more or better traction
  • Each client has a block of time set aside for analysis of current activities and consideration of modifications to strengthen them
  • Each week has a working day devoted to Content development
  • Speech scripting, revising, personalization by event
  • New lead magnets (booklets up to 96 pages, Infographics, Checklists, worksheets, etc.)
  • Blog and Newslog development to include recording and editing audio and video components and uploading them to Vimeo and YouTube
  • Books, for example one for entrepreneurs on how to use speaking to build a business
  • Speaking professionally requires a great deal of sales activity. The assistance of my VA is invaluable in this regard. Her ability to do the research necessary to find data on upcoming venues has freed up days of time for me. Now, all I must do is:
  • Review the options found. Verify their possibility and have them posted in my speaking CRM
  • Contact the Meeting professionals involved in a sequence of contacts using, in most cases, e-mail, Linked In, telephone and/or Zoom
  • Once a presentation is booked it is a matter of a follow up sequence to assure that we accomplish the organizations goals for the meeting.
  • I look for alternative views regardless of the delivery medium
  • Viciously defend your time by looking at the indicators of what the content really has. Is it a rehash? Skip it. Does it challenge what “everybody knows?” Look a little deeper. Does it straight out come at things from a Different Slant? If you find good ones, stick with them.
  • Podcasts can be listened to at 2x. Yes. If the subject is worth it but not during the day. Push it into the evening or on a daily walk. Don’t waste production time.
  • Video. Never watch in working hours. When you do tune in be sure it is a subject with a presenter that is going to give you something to think about. I prefer reviewed items like TED talks, personally.
  • Use what you’ve learned
  • Your prospect doesn’t have all day to be involved with your content. Be succinct. Do not “work up to the good stuff.” Prospects want the best you’ve got right out of the chute. A very, very, few will be able to run with what you tell them. Most will come back multiple times to “sit at your feet.”
  • In time, they will need to work directly with you either in a one to one or a one to many program in order to get the outcomes they envisioned. The fact is that they will never be able to see things from your unique perspective and find the solutions they are seeking.
  • Keep making the offer even after they have completed our course. Repeating a course can easily be sold especially if you allow them to bring a friend.

Meanwhile back at the ranch

Well, I’ve gobbled up all my content time for the day, so I’ll sign off with a final quote:

“Be sincere, Be brief, Be seated.”
― Franklin Delano Roosevelt

And so it goes

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

See Jerry’s new speaker demo reel.

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: https://www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking:  https://www.NetworkingNinja.com

Consultant Marketing Focus

I was in the Army. I should have learned then. I didn’t.

I volunteered.

It wasn’t like I hadn’t done it before. That was years ago for the organization. A whole new set of officers had come and gone for the local chapter of a national organization. The only one I knew from before is the current chapter president. They had no one in the Marketing director slot and I could tell from the communications that the President was drowning.

I said I would build a strategic marketing plan and supervise the tactical implementation on the agreement that my Virtual assistant would be paid for the work I would ask her to do to get the organization on a scheduled basis.

A simple question

I asked in an e-mail, “Do we have a web site, an e-mail service and a way to register people for events and any social media that the chapter uses?”

Sounds simple, right? Should take a yes or no and if yes than a time to connect in a phone call to convey the username and password.

Should is the operative word. There was no website so I was asked to join the President on a Zoom call. I listened as he connected with GoDaddy to get a cheap web site that would be sufficient to the chapter’s needs. That took two hours between explaining why a personal site would not work, waiting for a connection to GoDaddy and his exploration of how to save money by using personal credits.

Stop writing in code!

He agreed to send me the connection details (User name and Password) for the new web site, Mail Chimp and EventBrite accounts as well as the social media accounts. I agreed to take part of my Sunday evening to begin work on the web site. I could not get into the site to begin the design process.  The information he had sent was minus one letter in the password. Rather than call him after 10:00 PM on a Sunday I sent an e-mail stating the problem.

The following morning he sent an entirely different password. That didn’t work either. I decided to call him, request the data and try it while I had him on the phone. He insisted on sending me e-mails in a kind of code and then talking me through how to decode the information to get into the applications. Two hours later I had the basic information I needed. Then we started on the same merry go round for social media. Somehow he set up a new twitter account while we working through decoding how to get into the Linked In and Facebook accounts.

Can I hire you?

He asked me that as we were wrapping up Having spent nearly a day’s time total just getting to the point where I can begin to try to straighten things out, You can understand why I was hesitant to respond.

I queried his reasons for asking. His practice has declined and he has lost some clients and some he was assisting in succession/buyout were slowed because of the Covid.Pandemic.

He noted that his volunteer position in the chapter was eating a lot of his time.

There was a long silence when I told him my absolute minimum fee and noted that I worked only with a handful of elite consultants on a retainer basis.

Focus I said.

  1. “You let me worry about marketing the chapter. Forget it until you get a plan from me to evaluate.
  2. Shift your attention to assuring your paying clients are getting the service they expect and then some.
  3. Pick up the phone and call past satisfied clients. The script you should use is:
  4. I’m just checking in to make sure you have your plans in place as we go into 2021
  5. If not, you know I understand your busines from our past work together. I may be able to help you get to answers more quickly.
  6. Glad all is going well. I have some time available right now. Is there anyone you know that I could help? I’d appreciate a referral.
  7. Sounds like an interesting situation. Why don’t you invite them to lunch on me with the two of us or a joint Zoom call if we can’t get together because of Covid regulations.
  8. Let your former client talk about how you deal with the kind of problems the referral has.
  9. When he or she has made it clear you can handle the situation, suggest that you meet with the referral source at his/her office to gather the information it will take for you to put together a value-based proposal

Focus

Never forget consulting is a business. No matter how much you want to help people. No matter how much you want to change the world. No matter how good volunteering makes you feel. You still have to pay the bills. You still have to get results. The outcome of your efforts needs to be a net gain in revenues as well as social capital.

If you’re time isn’t sellin’ out your practice is shellin’ out..

And so it goes.

Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and CEO of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. See Jerry’s new speaker demo reel.

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: https://www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking:  https://www.NetworkingNinja.com

Consultant Marketing Doveryay no Proveryay

Jim sent a link.

I was for an article in the New York Times. In it the writer, Bret Stephens summed up his concerns under this headline: Donald Trump and the Damage Done

The key

As Mr Stephens put it, “Trump was a corrosive. What he mainly corroded was social trust — the most important element in any successful society.” Near the end of the article he noted why Trust was his choice in explaining his views. He quoted from an article written by Statesman George Shultz published in the Washington Post on the occasion of his 100th birthday:

 “When trust was in the room, whatever room that was — the family room, the schoolroom, the locker room, the office room, the government room or the military room — good things happened. When trust was not in the room, good things did not happen. Everything else is details.”

Consider that simple but powerful observation from a Marine who came back from the Pacific theater and served in 4 different cabinet posts for three US presidents.

Trust is the coin of the realm

Not my words. His. An elegant summary to a century of observation:

  • As a child he came from a loving home where Trust was a constant.
    Did you learn Trust at your parents’ knees?
  • As a Marine he lost the man he trusted with his life, his sergeant. Those of us who have served know the bonds of battle. Like George they inform our views for the rest of our lives.
  • As a graduate student he observed how a union negotiator could get labor and management on the same page by building Trust. Have you thought about how giving a little, seeing the other sides perspective, trusting just a little can make great things happen?
  • Throughout his career in government he saw that genuine empathy is essential in establishing solid, trusting relationships. Can you get into the other side’s mindset? Can you make them understand that you, too, have experienced events that are like theirs?
  • As Secretary Of State he was responsible for the treaty with Russia helping eliminate intermediate-range Nuclear weapons. He gave the credit for that to President Reagan noting that the President had nurtured a trusting relationship with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev and that Reagan’s approach: Trust but Verify increased trust and in doing so made verification easier.

Doveryay, no proveryay

That is Trust but Verify in Russian. It seems that it is an old Russian maxim which President Reagan discovered in conversation with Mr. Gorbachev. They chuckled over this application of Russian words expressed by an American President (with apologies for his pronunciation) when they were signing the treaty.

Trust is the coin of the realm.

With Trust we can conquer anything. My hope is that in the coming year we can use Trust to:

  • Eliminate Covid 19 across the earth
  • Stop the insidious growth of fascism and replace it with democracy
  • Craft a cure for racism, establish equal justice and the rule of law

Tell the story

Trust doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Telling a story helps make your case in a way that no abstraction can: A story builds an emotional bond, and emotional bonds build trust.

Craft your story to build trust carefully. Make sure if is from your heart. People can tell if you are trying to fool them because it is human nature to Trust but Verify.

And so it goes

Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and CEO of Z-axis Marketing, Inc.
See Jerry’s new speaker demo reel.

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: https://www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking:  https://www.NetworkingNinja.com

Consultant Marketing Your Voice

Say what?

The right words can make you memorable at introduction. Past that you have to work at being quoted to become unforgettable. It’s all about being current, consistent, and considered in your opinions.

You don’t have to be controversial.

But it can help. What you want is to be heard. To do that you have to be real, straight up and willing to put yourself on the line. That’s the only way you will be able to expand belief in your savvy outside the firm you work in. There are three levels of expertise in my view:

  • Your niche in the local market
  • Well known in our industry
  • A “leading light” in your industry

When you’re building a business those three levels equate to Unforgettable, Indispensable and headed for Legendary. Being able to convey a contrarian viewpoint will limit your audience but enhance your fame.

Pick an approach

Find a way that is comfortable for you. Not everyone has to be the one that is noted for driving innovation. Not many can pull that off. But being the one that is like a forward scout can pay dividends. Being the source for everything going on in the industry can prove to be a powerful position. One benefit of that approach is that you have a large roster of experts to draw on. Or, you can narrow your focus. Knowing everything about one segment or technology in the industry can make you essential in some situations But most of us find it easier to connect two areas of proficiency. For me, it is marketing for consultants. Knowing how the crossover changes an approach tends to make you appealing to a slightly larger audience.

Stubborn counts.

The truth is that just about all business processes are burdened with an inherent need to stay the same. The same old, same old media outlets won’t get you out in front. Thinking that doesn’t challenge the “the way it has always been done” if just a little will go unheard. It will take time to get your point across so keep repeating it. The first time you are quoted to yourself will be an astonishing experience.

Quotes that have come back to me.

“People don’t want to hear a commercial they want to have a conversation.”

“Brand is an expression of Trust.”

“You can influence brand but you can’t control it.”

“What you know is important, who you know matters but the single most important thing about building a business is who trusts you.”

The payoff

Getting out in front by having a justified opinion pays dividends if you are an independent professional: According to a study conducted by Hinge Research:

  • 46% of those surveyed found that their name recognition (personal brand) increased.
  • 41% said it brought them business
  • 38% cited increased credibility and reputation

The fact that those interviewed were asked to speak more often was a contributing factor to their capabilities as rainmakers for their firms and for about 1 in five of them to open their own firms.

The ability to be more selective in the engagements selected and to demand higher fees are also direct results. Depending where you fall in your level of expertise you can increase your earning potential from 200% to 800% in your home country and over 100% if you practice internationally.

An Added Benefit

The better known you become the easier it is to build alliances with other experts in your arena. Your network will increase in both numbers and quality. That is particularly true as you come to discover how delightful it is to find other minds that are a match for your curiosity and ingenuity. Imagine what it is like to have someone you have never spoken with recognize you at an event or eagerly accept your phone call. See Jerry’s new speaker demo reel.

Lazy won’t get it

This is a skill that must be honed continually. How?

Read. Read everything that directly impacts on your area of expertise. Then read something that doesn’t connect and find the connection. Don’t accept anything at face value. Dig into it. Go find the scientific paper and decode it. Don’t stop with the items mentioned on the first page of Google.

Write. Put pen to paper or exercise your keyboard skills to take the newfound knowledge and turn it into observations in your voice. Think it through. Does it change a previous view? Does it add to a process you’ve espoused? Can you put it in an emotionally approachable way and back it up with logic and data?

Voice.
Take that information and put it to the test. Bounce it off some of the experts you have come to know. Listen to what they have to say. Publish it, first in your own social media outlets and then in commercial print media and broadcast interviews. Never stop listening. Parse the comments into additive and hidebound and stand your ground.

Try. There is no test like putting your observations to work. Clients will want you to do so. In the end, the outcomes your views produce will be the most telling argument. But first, you gotta find your voice.

And so it goes.

Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and CEO of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. See Jerry’s new speaker demo reel.

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: https://www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking:  https://www.NetworkingNinja.com

Consultant Marketing Virtual Virtuoso

Professional Speakers are out in front.

I don’t mean on stage but rather in figuring out how to make the most of presenting virtually.

I asked, in a “mastermind” group, “Anyone else finding that you know more about how to make virtual meetings work both in terms of technical and techniques than the folks hiring you and their experts?”

It was like dropping a match into a puddle of gasoline. First the whoosh of the gas and then a long low steady burn. The entire group whooped and then each told a story of woe. I took notes and here’s what I learned:

Live is easy. Virtual ain’t

Half of the group are Certified Speaking Professionals. The rest of us split out between  those, like me, who have been speaking professionally for over 25 years and the youngsters averaging 5 years of experience.

All of us were appearing live across the North America regularly and a few of us have presented in International venues. All of us concluded:

  • Live is easy. Virtual ain’t
  • Live interactivity is not expected
  • Virtual interactivity is a must
  • Live reaction is easily visible
  • Virtual reaction is sometimes unreadable
  • Most Meeting professionals do not comprehend the differences
  • On-site technical experts drafted for Virtual duty are not up to speed on all the capabilities and difficulties of virtual technology

Technology tips

Those of us that have now been presenting virtually since January have used most of the major video conferencing tools. Our experience adheres to the general market share pattern.

  1. Zoom 40.49%
  2. Go to Webinar 19.82%
  3. Cisco Webex 12.31%
  4. ON 24 3.51%
  5. Adobe Connect 3.38%

Each has peculiarities and each makes different demands on the presenter.

Meeting professionals who would never dream of having a keynote speaker say “Next slide please.” don’t understand that is exactly what they are doing when they do not have their technicians cede screen sharing to the speaker.

Those who plan meetings and conferences can no longer use the same sort of scheduling for their events. Sessions must be shorter because the demands on the visual cortex of watching a screen are greater than when you are in a live event. “Shorter is better in a virtual meeting” was our consensus.

To get the most out of the video conferencing platform speakers, especially non-professionals, should have a rehearsal before the event was a suggestion from one of the veterans. All agreed that programs would be more successful with this simple change.

All of us have had to deal with schedule changes. I have cut a one-hour keynote down to 32 minutes while on stage to get a meeting back on schedule. You need to make sure that you, the organizer and the technologists are all on the same page. One of the long-time professionals in our group suffered a change in scheduling that made it impossible to become interactive with an audience seeing her recorded keynote with segments built for that purpose. The technologists used multiple times for the audience to begin viewing without advising her!

Technique Tips

Any event with more than a few people in the room is show time. Virtual makes it more so. The further you can get away from the “Talking head,” the better. Here, in no particular order are suggestions to strengthen your appearance in that virtual meeting:

  • Stand up! Presenting standing up will give you better breath and voice control as well as make you more active in front of the camera.
  • Don’t be afraid to gesture. We, as humans, read body language more easily than we read facial expressions. It takes fewer of the little grey cells to understand what is being said.
  • You can move, the lens can’t. We all want to have visual cues about what is important. Even as a baby we respond to someone who “leans in.” Don’t be afraid to use that knowledge to get your point across.
  • Use hand gestures. Because you and your audience are closer to one another using the kind of gestures you would use across a desk or a table will be more easily understood than the broad gestures you might use on the platform.
  • Share your screen, briefly. That is one way to increase the interactivity and engagement in your message. But, one slide left up for more than a half minute is going to bore the audience to tears in live or virtual. But in virtual they can be gone completely and you will not know it.
  • Get interactive. Use polls, voting via gestures visible to all, having a contest with entry via the chat capability, Q&A using the chat, Breakout rooms with reports on return, team tasks in breakout rooms that may be contest oriented, Try a Karaoke choir to get everyone working together.
  • Record it in video. Yes, Use the capabilities of the platform for record purposes but understand that you want a higher level recording for promotion as the compression algorithms in the platform recording deliver a less than stellar result.

Do not be the weakest link.

Even nine months into the Pandemic there is a huge lack of knowledge in how to use the video conferencing capabilities available to us. Ask what platform is going to be used. Set up a way to communicate any program or timing changes in advance. Question everything. The success of the program depends on you.

And, so it goes.

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

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

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

Brand:        https://brandbraintrust.com

Consultant Marketing For Startups

You’ve decided you’d like to be a consultant but you’re not sure how long it is going to continue as a side hustle before becoming your full-time gig.

You’ve done some time in the 9 to 5 world and learned how to get some things done.

Could be that you’ve grown comfortable with independence of working from home because of Covid or the outfit you’re working for is beginning to let people go.

Age can matter.

I know. As an Ad Agency CEO dealing with CEOs, Presidents and Fortune 500 senior managers. I was always asked how somebody so young could know so much. The fact was I just looked a lot younger than I actually was. The perception was that I was 20 years younger when I was in my 50s.

If you are young or just look it, people will question your judgement. The higher the value of your advice the more they want you to be grey haired or at least grey at the temples.

On the other hand if your expertise is in technology they want you to be a little younger.

Gender can matter

It shouldn’t, but it does. You will find women that deliver brilliantly in every profession you can imagine. In some cases they do it better than men. But regardless of that there is a known bias toward women in some areas perceived to be more people oriented and away from them in engineering and “hard” science.

So you would probably accept the young lady in the photo as qualified to handle social media but not to specify the concrete for our overpass.

I’m certain of this as my daughter looks like a valley girl but has dual PhDs in Engineering and Microbiology.

Race can matter

I’m of Irish extraction. It has been a couple generations since folks like me were automatically turned down for any white-collar job but I can still remember my grandfather talking about some of the names he was called.

I’ve been in the car when a black friend was stopped for no reason.

I’ll never forget telling the proud Hispanic entrepreneur of a wall construction company that the only thing stopping him from getting work in the local high-income bedroom community was not asking. The work he did on that first job is still earning him testimonials.

Religious garb can matter

If you wear a hijab, a Sikh turban or a Jewish Kippah you can expect to be treated differently.

Sometimes that is a good thing. A case in point was a local manufacturer of custom carpets for businesses and boats who answered my question about the hair coverings of the women doing the intricate work in his operation. He replied, “They are from a Russian sect that lives just south of here and even if  I don’t have an immediate contract for them to work on I will hire them because they are twice as productive as anyone else I’ve hired.”

Engagement matters

If you are not completely engaged it can cause mistakes like overcommitment, under-commitment and insufficient study of the industry or problem in question. Often, proposed solutions will go awry due to reasons painfully obvious in hindsight.

Frequently the error is too much talking and too little listening.

That can lead to a reputation of being ineffective. It causes clients to at best give no testimonials and at worst issue a critical review.

Here’s what you can do about it.

  • Learn how to have a conversation with a prospect instead of delivering a commercial.
  • Build a believable self intro
  • Put together the words they can use to refer you
  • Truthfully sell yourself and your capabilities

That is what my 30-Second Marketing Workshop can do for you. You’ll learn those basics plus how to apply all you’ve learned to build a lead generating web site, presentations that stick with prospects and how to move from memorable to unforgettable, to Indispensable and, if you have the knack of changing the way people think, to Legendary.

Join me. Get on the reservation list for the next 30 Second Marketing Workshop

Send an e-mail to Jerry@Z-axisMarketing.com with the subject Workshop and I’ll send you all the details.

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 Essence

.

Time is of the essence

.It is.

Contracts for consulting may include this phrase followed by specific goals that must be met by a certain time.

BUT Time is of the essence in multiple ways for a consultant. Here are a few:

  • Billable hours
  • Task schedules
  • Appointment setting
  • Completion agreement date
  • Available hours

Let’s take those one at a time starting with the last.

Available Hours

As a consultant, running your own business, you can determine how many days a week you are gong to work and how long each day. You may be willing to put in a lot of time to become successful. That’s okay if you don’t have a life outside your business. But, over time you will find that a life of joy is doing the work you love at a tempo that is comfortable and allows you to pursue other interests.

Let’s figure out how many hours are actually available.

Days in a year                                                           365 Days

Total hours in a year (24/day)                                8760 Hours

Actual Working weeks per year 52 less
Federal  holidays (20 days or 3 weeks,
2 wk vacation(10 days)
and 5 sick days (1 week)                                        48 Weeks

Standard working hours in USA @ 40Hrs/wk     1920 Hours

Billable Hours        

Here is a dose of reality. None of us deliver work for all the standard working hours. Even expecting to average 8 hours a day is not viable. You need to eat lunch or your capabilities tank. You are not plugged in every minute of the rest of the day. A bathroom break or two is essential. Just like warming up that cup of coffee. Not to mention the administrivia of running a company (which I’m not going to subtract here) Here are the numbers:

Real working hours in week
less lunch 1 hour and Admin 1 hours/day           30

Actual available billable time at 5 hours/day       1440  

Doubt me? Here’s away to figure out reality.

  1. Print out a week’s calendar pages from your CRM, one day per page. Usually they will be marked in 30-minute increments and are easy to schedule meetings starting on the hour or half hour.
  2. Starting Monday morning record what you are doing in 15 minute increments. All of it. The coffee break. The trip to the bathroom. Going out to the mail box. Doing a report for a client. Doing a proposal. Whatever.
  3. Do it for the week.
  4. Now go through the week and highlight the activities you could bill a client for.
  5. Total up the numbers day by day and for the week.

Most of us bill only about half our time at best.

Task Schedules

As secondary benefit of the above exercise is seeing how long it takes you to accomplish a task. Suppositions are fine in fiction but you’re building a business based on getting results. Your profit, or lack thereof, is directly linked to your ability to estimate the time it is going to take to accomplish a task versus what you can bill the client for the work.

All of us think we can get things done faster. It just doesn’t happen that way. At best we’ are off by a factor of 1.5 to 3.5.In other words, if you put 10 hours to do something in a proposal  and it takes 15, 25 or 35 hours to do it you could be out the difference, particularly if you use project pricing.

Appointment Setting

You schedule a Zoom meeting inside your Outlook or other software calendar. It asks you for a start and an end time. That lunch you can finally have with a client as Covid restriction ease get put into your calendar. You carefully note the place and the time. If you are writing it in you don’t note and end time. Noting the occasion in your phone forces you to put in an end time.

End time. What a concept. Meetings of all sorts start late and drag on when a stake in the heart is the most reasonable thing to do.

In order to be at the restaurant on time you need to leave early. The end time is set to precede your next meeting or task but travel time eats into that. When you set an appointment look at the time it takes you to get there and get back. Every appointment needs a realistic start and end time. Unless it is directly client related it is not billable.

Completion Agreement Date

You can’t dodge this bullet. Your job is to deliver the results you promised when you promised them. Earlier if possible

Time is of the essence:

  • The time you estimate to solve the problem
  • The time it actually takes
  • The time you can bill for it
  • The time you spend getting to, in, and getting back from appointments
  • The timely delivery of what you promised

And so it goes.

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

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

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

Consultant Marketing Crafting Identity

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SEO is only part of the equation.

I agreed to sit on a panel after a presentation on SEO the other day.

The presentation was well done if a little lumpy because the presenters were not used to using Zoom.

I learned some things about how SEO works which I’ll put to good use.

But, the most important thing I learned was that key words are worth nothing if the web site doesn’t communicate on a personal level.

The right words.

As the presenters put it, SEO is for the AI (Artificial Intelligence) in the search engines. The words speak to the humans visiting the site. The more personal and to the point the words are the better your chances of getting the visitor to take the action you want them to take.

An example from a consulting web site rewrite:

Before:

These men and women feel they are being reactive rather than proactive and want to exert more analytically supported control over the business. Often, they feel that they are running just to catch up. They are certain that with the right plan in place with assurance the have right managers on the job they will be able to handle any crisis.

After:

Do you often feel that you are running just to catch up? Tired of being reactive rather than proactive? Want to exert more insight driven control over your business?

Our clients are certain that with the right plan in place and the right managers on the job they can handle any crisis.

The Before is talking about someone. The After talks to someone. Questions move this to a conversation instead of a description. Notice the increase in connection and the impression of a personal exchange in the After.

Empathy counts

Shifting the “Running to catch up” to the first position says to the busy executives you are addressing that you understand the situation they are confronted with daily. Too often, CEOs and other senior officers must concentrate on finding a fix for what is going wrong rather than concentrating on getting things right for the long term. The sentence beginning, “Tired of being reactive…” standing alone reemphasizes the empathy and clicks into their desires. “Insight driven control” suggests an attainable way to reach the better management goal.

Graphic cues

Separating the last sentence provides a visual cue that there is a change in the  discussion. That is accentuated by opening the sentence with the words, “Our clients.”

Typography offers multiple ways help our minds picture the conversation:

  • Bolds
  • Italics
  • Underlines
  • Strike throughs
  • Initial Caps
  • Punctuation
  • Bullets
  • Copy Centered
  • Copy Left
  • Copy Right
  • Copy Justified
  • Numbered lists
    • Indents

We are a graphically oriented bunch. I’ve been told that spelling, so difficult for many, is visually oriented rather than verbal. So, instead of sounding out words it may pay greater dividends to eyeball them out!

Page or Screen

These graphic elements work in print and on your computer screen. You can do so much with words that some e-mail experts in Business to Business (B2B) situations prefer all text to templates full of color and photos and illustrations. But in the Business to Consumer (B2C) world the colorful piece in print or digital form wins the day.

Strangely enough when you follow-up with print matter after an initial digital presentation the preference is contrary. In B2B color brochures are preferred whereas In B2C one or 2 colors is well accepted for transmittal.

Video  

Recently I was reviewing some web sites and one had a video that was silent. I thought my computer sound had crashed. A couple minutes in I understood what the video was about. The silence had become a hook, a way to intrigue me. It was a kind of sound punctuation. It made me remember the site well after I had any use for the service offered.

Video literally grabs your eyeballs but without words to go with it the story may not come through. Words supered on screen can make a powerful point . Music can enhance it all.

But without the words in the voice over and those imprinted on the image you have a failure to communicate and there goes your identity.

And so it goes.

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

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

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

Stir Crazy

I had lunch with a client yesterday.

Neither of us could stand being at home alone for another day. We did sit on opposite sides of the conference table which is just by chance about 6 feet across. The food was ordered and paid for online. He told me that when he picked it up the only people in the restaurant were a cook and a waitress. She put the bag with his order on the counter then stepped back saying, “Here’s your order. Thank you.”

Lockdown is unhealthy

While we ate we talked about the impact on our lives the lockdown for COVID-19 is having. Both of us are used to going to the gym daily during the week, He’s been at it much longer than me and the forced abandonment of the daily routine is depressing him. Me, I just find it impossible to sit still. Legs jitter. I can’t focus on a task.

Both of us have resorted to walking in our neighborhoods as a way around the suffocating requirement to stay at home. I’ve now built a nodding acquaintance with more of my neighbors than in the last year. The hardest part for both of us has been foregoing petting the many dogs being walked that have befriended us.

We are social creatures

Both of us remarked on the discomfort of not being able to have a conversation with people we’ve never met before. We’re used to talking to everybody like the barber, the mail carrier, a person in line at the store, small business owners at a chamber meeting, the clerk at the bank, you name it.

A part of us winds up feeling unfulfilled and I, for one, believe it drags me down. Phone calls to friends and acquaintances are not the same. Zoom meetings with some new folks can help but it is not the same as being up close and personal.

Trillions won’t help.

I heard the Senate had passed a bill providing a couple trillion-dollar stimulus package to keep the country going when businesses are shuttered and employees are without income. I understand the reasoning. And I understand why one element is trying to get the government to allow the country to go back to work as soon as possible.

I believe the damage has already been done. For too long the people of this country have operated without a emergency fund as part of their individual or family budget. If the shelter at home order were lifted today we would still have to deal with massive numbers of people out of work again. I agree with the experts that say it will take months to get back to a “new normal.”

Fear is clingy

One of my clients had to postpone two speaking engagements. One was for a new product/service he was about to introduce which we were looking at rolling out to the entire west coast. The other was for a proven program that he offers with a Mergers and Acquisitions attorney and an Investment Banker.

So far, my speaking schedule has not been impacted. I’m confirmed for a keynote in Los Angeles in July as well as Las Vegas and San Diego in November. But I’ve suspended my marketing efforts while I put a new practice running piece of software in place and finalize hiring a virtual assistant. That should be wrapped up next week.

Associations and businesses have all stopped talking to speakers, trainers and consultants. Fear of putting a meeting of more than 10 people together has brought planning to a standstill. Venues are closed. Catering is not available. Transportation and housing are shut down.

Golfers may have an out.

My inventor client who has a product in the golf market is continuing to sell his putting device as it can be used indoors even in a lockdown and since it is delivered by mail he can get it to those who order.

As part of his involvement with the sport he monitors what golf clubs are doing. They are still very much in business. He tells me they responded to the lockdown with these actions:

  • Renting carts to individuals only unless the two people are from the same family
  • Removing all items from the course like ball washers that people might touch
  • No longer providing rakes for the sand traps
  • Changed rules so that the pin (flag stick) is never touched
  • Added a cylinder of spongy material to the base of the flag stick so balls can be easily retrieved

Courses are, of course, maintaining the six-foot distance in pro shops and recommending that players schedule and pay on-line.

Amazon and Netflix score big

My buddy Bill, a recovering attorney, as he puts it called this morning to ask if I was stir crazy yet. I allowed as how I was coping but not as well as would have liked. He noted that in order to escape their apartment, he and his wife had started taking walks daily.

And he admitted that Amazon and Netflix had allowed them to keep their sanity by streaming all sorts of programming but their favorites were the old TV series. He admitted binge watching both old variety shows and series that were indulgent pleasures of the past.

He’s not the first I’ve heard that from. Some other friends have reported signing up for those two streaming services (and others) just to have an intelligent choice of TV watching

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 unique 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