Consultant Marketing A More Powerful Pitch

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It amazes me every time. Coach oriented selling eliminates proposals.

You figure that a consultant would know about and use a Value-Based Presentation.

Only a handful do, the ones that have been around for a while and those bold enough to study some of the masters of selling services. It’s like the refrain from a song in the musical South Pacific, “You have to be carefully taught.” Fewer still are trained in coach-oriented selling.

Most consultants aren’t trained in sales. They are babes in the woods when it comes to the psychology of the deal. Better pitches are built with better knowledge of what a lot of folks today call : “the customer journey.”

Start with a peek at the customer map.

They had a problem or concern about their business. They spoke with friends and colleagues about how to solve it. They queried trusted advisors for names of experts that might help them. With a handful of names they turned to Linked In to review profiles of the candidates to be considered further. They narrowed the search to no more than three. At that point they probably looked at your website to get more of an idea of how you work and to get a glimpse of the expertise you bring to the situation.

Make it easy to meet.

They are still evaluating when they call you to arrange a meeting. They want to get to know you. You are one of at most three candidates. Setting an appointment for what is to them a major concern is probably best made in person. Make sure they can contact you direct, not through an appointment setting app. But if you do use such an app, give them the possibility of stating why they want to talk. What may seem to be dull normal for you is the biggest thing in their world to them. So when that in noted I should be a trigger for you to call them.

The first meeting is all about discovery.

It is a conversation not a commercial. You need to acknowledge their expertise. They will always be more expert in their business than you. Always. Partner with them in a thought-provoking process that allows them to act in away that draws on their experience and your support ot find a way to act. Let them set the agenda. Your mission whether you accept it or not is to do four things:

  1. Engage
  2. Focus
  3. Evoke
  4. Plan

Engage

Establish a mutually trusting relationship based on genuine interest in their situation.

Listen. Focus on their goals, their expectations and why those things are important to them.

Questions you might use:

  • What are your successes?
  • Where are you challenged?
  • What od you know about our work?
  • How do you think we can help?

Focus

Your goal is to collaborate with the prospect, describe the desired outcomes and determine a way forward.

Questions that will allow you to reach common ground:

  • What is most important to you and your organization?
  • What outcome do you expect from our working together?
  • How do you see us working together?
  • What would this mean for the organization?
  • What will it cost if you do nothing?

Strive to define the problem concisely in concrete terms. It is best to zero in on a key single priority.

Evoke

Start by searching for strategies that could solve the problem at hand. Brainstorm some possibilities. Before you suggest an approach ask permission to give them advice.

Helpful queries:

  • What ideas have occurred to you to address this situation?
  • Are there corporate resources you can bring to bear?
  • Have you seen or heard of something that worked in the past that we could put to work here?
  • If forced to come up with one idea, what would it be?
  • What would you do if failure wasn’t an option?

Plan

What you are looking to do now is ascertain if the prospect is ready to move forward and become client. You are not closing. You are merely testing the waters.

Try asking:

  • What are you willing to commit to now?
  • Is there a first step that would be agreeable to you?
  • When can you assemble your team?
  • What’s your timeframe?
  • What are you willing to invest?

At this point, a prospect may ask you to begin an engagement or demur. If they are not asking you to get to work circle back. Engage them. Focus on their view of the problem. Help them imagine a positive resolution and see once more if they are ready to plan.

Some of the most successful consultants use this approach to begin ongoing relationships with clients. Although the information gathered can be used for a Value-based Proposal often the client will forgo that prerequisite just ot get to work now.

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 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.

Credibility to Cash TM is his latest way to share experiences so you can take your business up a notch…or two.

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

Consultant Marketing Credibility Index

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What is your credibility index?

If you are a consultant it is a pretty good bet that you have a profile on Linked In.

How credible does that profile make you to your prospects? Here’s a simple way to evaluate that will take just minutes.

What to consider.

People, I’ve been told, do not give you a lot of time when they come across your information on any page on the internet. The last research I saw said you have 3 seconds to get their attention and brand yourself. Three seconds!

So you have to first stop them and once you’ve done that maintain their interest and provide the information they are looking for. Here’s the short list of considerations:

  • Stopping Power
  • Maintaining Interest
  • Answering their Questions

Let’s take those one at a time.

Stopping Power

If your Linked In profile looks like this you are in trouble:

We live in a visual world. If you want to stop people you need to take advantage of every bit of visual stopping power Linked In offers. The absolute minimum is a headshot. Consider also:

  1. Using the first panel of your website home page as the background.
  2. A photo in the background that shows you in action.
  3. A photo in the background that shows product(s) you are associated with.
  4. The addition of your company logo to that background
  5. Your name in that background.
  6. A positioning line in that background (like a headline)
  7. Combinations of the above.

Maintaining interest

Why are they searching on Linked In? In all likelihood, someone gave them your name or they came across it looking for an expert in a specific industry or they have heard about a specific skillset you have. You have to speak to their concerns and interests in their terms in order to keep them in your profile.

Your name Start with your name. Use the name you are known by amongst colleagues and people that might refer you. Do not use an initial for your last name. Initials are okay, however, if you regularly use them. If folks call you DJ or JJ or BZ then use that moniker but include your last name.

Your title Since most consultants are independent professionals operating as solos (nearly 70% in our last survey) you can call yourself anything you like. But instead of massaging your ego consider what that prospect is looking for. Do you think they want one of the “normal” titles like President or CEO? Research shows that they want more of a positioning statement that fits with the expertise they are looking for. You have space to use a positioning line, a generic/industry descriptor for what you do and a normal title.

Here’s an example from one of my clients:

Answering Their Questions Whatever brought them to your Linked In profile in the first place will now come front and center. You stopped them with professional looking graphics. You intrigued them with a positioning line that will get them to read further.

There are different approaches prospects take from this point on. Some will read everything on your profile. Others will say, “That’s who I was looking for, How do I get in contact?”  As consultants we know the men and women who have the clout to hire us don’t have a lot of time. So why do so many consultants make it so hard to contact them?

There is a reason the words Contact Us are in blue. Unless you’ve been kidnapped and held incommunicado for a decade you know that clicking on that phrase will get you a way to contact the profile owner.

Yes and no. In a random check of that capability I found that 90% of the profiles did not include a telephone number. Many of them had only the Linked In Profile listed. You need to make it as easy as possible to contact you. Prospects want to know how to connect NOW

Here is what Jim includes:

What you say on your profile is important but these three things will make you one of the few that stand 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 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.

Credibility to Cash TM is his latest way to share experiences so you can take your business up a notch…or two.

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

Consultant Marketing Digital World Speaking

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I spoke live on Wednesday.

It was only the third time this year. My expectation from the run-up back and forth with various staff members was that this would be a well-managed professional event.

It was. The gal at registration recognized me. She was delightful. The tech in the room was completely efficient. His first question was, “Any change in the slide deck?” I said, “No.” He then efficiently got me into a lavaliere microphone, did a sound check handed me a slide clicker and declared me, “Good to go.”

That’s when things went off the rails.

I sat in on a couple sessions before mine. One was being done by an acquaintance. His topic was: How Brands Can Use NFTs To Engage Consumers And Generate Revenue. (an NFT is a Non-Fungible Token, a unique digital asset that utilizes Blockchain Technology)

Like the preceding session the introducer basically read the session topic, the presenters name and their company name from the printed agenda card. That was it.

You have to introduce yourself.

Each of the speakers I watched had to use the first 2 minutes of their 30 minutes on stage to introduce themselves. I was bemused by the way they crammed all sorts of data on a slide: Name, Title, Company Logo, Web address, E-mail, Social media they were involved with, where they were published and seemingly any kind of social proof they felt gave them existence.

The first line of “Sympathy for the Devil,” Rolling Stones (1968) kept running through my mind:

“Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man of wealth and taste. I’ve been around for a long, long year, stole many a man’s soul and faith.”

Whether you are a Stones fan or not you have to admit these lines are memorable.

An introduction sets the stage.

For some reason events primarily directed to digital professionals eliminate solid introductions and in doing so lose benefits to the speaker and the attendee.

A good introduction sets a positive tone, generates enthusiasm and interest. More importantly, sone properly it can make a clear case for why listening to the speaker is more beneficial than grabbing a cup of coffee. A memorable introduction engages the audience and convinces the audience to listen to the speaker.

A good introduction will accomplish three other objectives:

  1. Focus the audience attention on the speaker transitioning them from their current actions or thoughts.
  2. Enhance the credibility of the speaker personally or by citing social proofs.
  3. Make a promise about the presentation that creates intrigue and a need to “hear it from the horse’s mouth.”

A self-introduction is never as powerful.

Yes, you can introduce yourself powerfully in networking situations. That is what 30-Second Marketing is all about. Or you might like this video.

The fact is, we trust others more than we trust an individual presenter to perform an introduction. Second party information is given more credibility. The human mind does not like hearing someone “Toot their own horn.” And so introducers are used at most speaking events. And in order to accomplish the objectives of a good introduction, most professionals write their own and, in some cases, rehearse the introducer persuading them to read it as written.

Here’s the self-introduction I resorted to:

I’m Jerry Fletcher.

I’m a Master of Consultant Marketing.

You know how people keep telling you that you have to be memorable but nobody tells you how to do it?

Well, what I do is work with individuals and organizations to develop unique trust-based strategies to build businesses, brands and lives of joy.

I’ve been doing it since1990 and stopped counting successful new product introductions at 207 and individual branding for consultants at 147 at last count.

Today I’m going to tell you how to go from Credibility to Cash in the New Normal.

The audience stayed for the entire session laughed at some stories and gave me a hand at the end. I’d like to think this digitally oriented, just give me the bullet points audience learned that no matter how they would like it not to be true, the analog human mind controls all acceptance, belief, trust and purchasing.

Like to see it?

I’ll be doing that speech virtually for IMC NorCal on October 5. Sign up here if you would like to see it.

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 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.

Credibility to Cash TM is his latest way to share experiences to you take your business up a notch…or two.

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

Consultant Marketing The Ladder

Gail asked me, “Do you remember how you used to start that speech sitting on top a step ladder?”

“Sure”, I said, “Every business owner has a place they want to get to. For some it is a simple thing but for others it is a full-blown Technicolor dream of a castle way up there in the air…

Do you have the ladder you need to get you there?”

“Do you still do that speech?”

“Not for years,” I said. “If I were to do it today I would shift the focus from CRM to Automated marketing, what you’ve heard me call Automagic Marketing”

What tool do you need to build you business?

If you had to reach the ceiling or get up on your roof or rescue a kitten from a tree you would get a ladder, right?

In business in today’s world that ladder is a mystifying array of ways to connect to potential customers. There’s the traditional advertising and PR stuff that has been changed forever by the internet.

But, some things never change.

  • You will always have to introduce yourself
  • You will always have to get people to listen to you
  • You will always have to tell them what you do
  • You will always have to ask them for their business
  • You will always have to get to trust to keep their business.

Automagic

Automated Marketing software is how to get to the top rung of your ladder these days. It won’t take the place of branding and networking and generating referrals but it can help do all that with clarity and consistency building the relationships that turn contacts to contracts.

It is proven and infinitely practical. And now there are integrated systems anyone familiar with a computer can learn to use to build automated marketing campaigns that capture leads and nurture them into sales. You no longer have to kludge together 5 or 6 different pieces of software as you did when I first started working with this concept.

Everyone that wants to get to their castle way up there in the air needs a ladder and an Automated Marketing system can be a key to their success.

Time and Money

All marketing is a matter of time and money. If you intend to sell beyond your local area and provide services or products you need to have a presence on line. The time you put into your business will quickly move from planning and structuring to selling because if you don’t sell you have no revenue and you will go out of business.

An Automagic Marketing system can save you huge amounts of time in selling on line. The flip side of that is that it can have a steep learning curve and that takes time.

One of the top all-in-one online programs (Kartra) will cost you around $200 a month to get these capabilities:

  • Up to 12500 leads in a sophisticated CRM that keeps track of all your interactions with those leads and allows you to maintain multiple lists.
  • 3 Custom Domains which allows you to Brand 3 different websites and other pages in the system.
  • Unlimited e-mails. Send as many al you like to your lists. Whenever you like.
  • Unlimited Pages. All your website pages. Landing pages. Thank you pages. Form Pages.
  • Unlimited videos. Video is fast becoming the way to reach out to people and now you can use as many as you like.
  • Unlimited products. You can sell as many products as you can invent or purchase whether the product is real world or digital.
  • Unlimited Membership sites so you can set up online organizations that are only for registrants and either paid or free.
  • Unlimited Quizzes and Surveys to continually get to know your customers better.
  • Unlimited Team Members which becomes important as you stretch your entrepreneurial muscles. This allows you to keep developing products and services but have staff handle the tasks of automating your business.

You can use as much or as little of that capability as you like but once started you will quickly take your on line marketing up a notch.

See how it works. We will be surveying consultants, coaches entrepreneurs and independent professionals later this year for the 18th annual Consultant Marketing survey. You can get a copy of this year’s report and sign up for the upcoming survey. Just click here.

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 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.

Credibility to Cash TM is his latest way to share experiences so you can take your business up a notch…or two.

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

Consultant Marketing Speaking Pay to Play

3 days ago I responded to a call for speakers passed along by a friend. It was for a Summit here in Portland and is a live event. I sent a one sheet on my Trust speech and a link to my speaking demo not expecting a response since I was mor interested in their events in major cities across the USA.

My e-mail lit up with a notation of interest and by the end of the day I was in communication with the event planner in charge of assuring speakers would not be doing commercials.

I’m used to that as these days so many organizations host events where they expect “Thought Leaders” to pay their own way to the event and pick up the cost of the hotel as well. Since most of these people are in corporate jobs that doesn’t present a problem to them.

But what if you are a “Thought Leader” but not affiliated with an organization that will allow you to write of the trip as a business expense? What about those unaffiliated “thought Leaders?”

What about the whole pay to play idea?

These events charge attendees. That is reasonable as the venue must be paid somehow. But it is not unknown for corporate speakers to be pressured to buy a booth and or a sponsorship or both. Failing that, often event planners will attempt to get professional speakers to engage in a commission deal for anything sold as a result of the speech. And it is not unknown for event planners to charge new speakers just for the privilege of taking their stage.

What about business development value?

One of the reasons I do an annual Consultant Marketing Survey is that years ago I wanted to prove the point that trade shows did not have reasonable ROI when compared to other promotional possibilities. Even though Covid has slowed things down the trade show continues. Yes, it has morphed in some ways but it still capture hearts and minds with the promise of being at the center of an industry and having all the players available. Why they might just stroll up to your booth and change your life!

The value is only there if you know how to take advantage of it. One of my clients spent the better part of two years going to shows to sell his software. Two years. No sales. All those out -of-pocket costs could not be recovered. In part it was because he never stopped tinkering with the product going through at least 5 programmers I was aware of. You have to pull the trigger if you are going to offer a product. It has to be real. Or all you get is a bill.

What about a service offering? Easier to make buck there. Anybody can make an offer in or out of a booth. You can set sales meetings with a lot of key players in a short time. You can network with media and other influencers. You can enjoy all the benefits of being there.

The money is in the follow up.

People don’t buy on the first meeting. You will have to build a relationship with them first. One client resisted the idea of sending thank you notes to people they had talked with at a convention. The president convinced the VP to do so. We sent 36 hand written thank you notes out. Three organizations responded immediately. Two asked for presentations. They bought. That put 2.5 Million on the bottom line for the company that quarter.

Speaking increases your visibility.

If you can get in front of part of the attendees at that event a group of them you can begin engaging with numbers well above what you might in any other way. All that stuff you’ve heard about lead magnets is really helpful here. Your personal offer from the stage is more valuable than all the social media you can imagine. Why? You have a relationship with the audience. When they ask you to send them something and give you their contact information you have an open door. More importantly if is with people  that are several steps further along the customer journey.

Is it worth it? Yes. One client who had a Software as a service offering got really tired of paying for a booth and coming home empty. Then he negotiated a speaking breakout with the booth. The speech he developed proved to be crowd pleaser. Soon he was being asked to appear at all the regional shows and he booth became a courtesy. Yes, he had a product that brought digital to an analog industry and his understanding of both made him a sought-after expert. A year in sales of the product were making the company solvent. Two years in the largest analog supplier in the industry saw the writing on the wall. He accepted their offer of north of $7Million.

The advice

Look hard at every trade show/event/convention offer. Can you accomplish what you want ot get out of that time and place without writing a check. Attend once if you believe it is “your kind of people.” Evaluate it and make it a point to meet the people running it if you are going to pursue a speaking position. Then make sure you make your speech all about them. Those that realize you care will reach out to 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 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

Conversations Get Closes

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“I put all this time and money into SEO and I’m still not getting any new business!”

It is not an unfamiliar complaint. It is the lament of every consultant and entrepreneur that provides a service at the point when they have decided to generate all their business on-line. Lately because of Covid I hear it more frequently because SEO is like putting a band aid on a massive chest wound. My advice to that despondent client (at the end of the blog) was to have some conversations.

Human nature

My clients are elite consultants, primarily in North America. Each year I survey the market to determine what marketing strategies and tactics are working. (I’m getting ready to do it again this year in Q4. Let me know if you are willing to answer about 20 questions to get the report before the public. E-mail me at  Jerry@Z-axisMarketing.com)

What I’ve found over the years from both the survey and my selected one-on-one follow up calls is that Trust is the gating factor at every step in the customer journey.

  • They Trust because of referrals from friends and colleagues
  • They Trust the way you introduce yourself
  • They trust the words you use to describe their problem
  • They Trust the solutions your content describes
  • They Trust because your testimonials include concerns
  • They Trust because your Social Media is consistent
  •  They Trust because you are not afraid to talk to them

Credibility to Cash

The reason we do what we do in terms of marketing is to move from Credibility to Cash. If a prospect doesn’t believe in us we are never going to win their business. If we can’t convince them to follow the path to our capability we will not close any new business. How do you build trust? What actions can you take to get to that essential conversation, face to face, via phone or via Zoom?

Referrals that build trust

Referrals or comments from multiple sources that use the same words and site the same outcomes are more believable than a scattered tangle of conflicting observations. The way to assure consistency is to always use the same information to describe the kinds of folks you work with, what you do for them and the outcomes they get working with you. Their conversations can build trust for you. Conversations get closes.

A Trust-based Self Intro

You’ve got to be memorable. If they can’t remember you, it is over.  That means you have to step away from the generic and find a unique way to identify yourself. You need to find an answer to the question, “What do you do?” that becomes an ear worm a kind of hard to forget description of you and your services. The trick is to make it striking and linked to your name. For example: “I’m Jerry Fletcher, Master of Consultant Marketing.”  If you use a similar hook everywhere your conversations in person and on and of line, in print and video will build trust through consistency. Conversations get closes.

Problem descriptions that generate Trust

You can’t pull this off if you haven’t done your homework. About 80% of the people that need your help are dealing with the same basic problem. Understanding their concerns is how you earn their trust. Having an in-depth grasp of the difficulty and the words they use to describe it gives you a way to show a sympathetic perception of what they are going through. The words I use to establish this are: “You know how everyone tells you that you have to be memorable but nobody tell you how to do it?”  If they have that problem they are on board immediately. If not, they may think about how that impacts their business. Either way, if your words suggest a further conversation is warranted you have joined them on their journey. Conversations get closes.

Solution statements that lead to Trust

Can you summarize your services in a sentence?  What is the view of how you solve problems looking down from 30,000 feet? Your description should be put together with the idea of having the prospect Trust in what you deliver.  Here’s what I say, “What we do is guide you in crafting a unique trust-based strategy to build your business, your brand and a life of joy.” The word “guide” says I’m going to help you do this not do it for you. The words craft and unique imply that this is going to be tailored for you. Outcomes? Build your business, your brand and a life of joy. The solution description says there will be a great deal of conversation in getting to a solution. Conversations get closes.

Testimonials that build trust

All of us want to believe that the resource we are coming to trust is worthy of our faith. That is why we turn to reviews and comments to see what others think. What people say about your services is usually presented on social media profiles and web sites in the form of testimonials. Too often they are sentimentally laudatory or just a spouting of numeric results. Our research indicates that the testimonial that incudes concerns that were overcome are significantly more powerful. Here is one from my web site: “When he proposed I answer the question, What do you do? with I’m the Business Defogger and Accelerator, I thought he was nuts. Then I tried it. Everybody gets it. Nobody forgets it.”  When your testimonials are like having a conversation their power increases geometrically. Conversations get closes.

Trust from consistent social media

You can go crazy trying to keep up with social media. All the apps are one thing but your interactions on those sites are also subject to prospect scrutiny. And don’t over look your profiles regardless of where they appear. Are you in the directory for an organization or two? What does it say about you in the profile? Yes, That, in my view is a form of social media. To the degree possible, I use exactly the same self intro in every profile and every directory. Consistency builds believability and stimulates conversations. Conversations get closes.

Conversations get closes

The single biggest error made by most businesses is not prominently displaying the telephone number on the first panel of your home page. If prospects can’t see how to have conversation with you in 3 seconds or less, they are gone. Offering to have a telephone discussion with a prospect gets them one step closer to working with you. Whether you offer a strategic conversation or simply to answer their questions it is a powerful conversion technique. Last year some trusted colleagues found that if you called back a person that had abandoned their cart that you could convert between 13 and 30% of them to customers by simply offering to answer questions and direct them to the best deal for them.

Consultants find that they close 25 to 50% of all prospects they engage in a conversation. Yes, do the SEO. More importantly make sure that you offer a conversation throughout your website. Gather Name, e-mail and telephone number at a minimum before you make the call. Test gathering other data to see how it changes requests for calls. And don’t be afraid to reach out to past clients and referral sources for a conversation that could lead to new business or just a better understanding of the market. Have a conversation whenever you can. Conversations get closes.

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 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 Journey to Success

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No one ever said it would be easy.

Then again, only a few folks, over time, explained what it takes in way that was completely accessible to those ready for the advice. Some of the best known are:

  • Ben Franklin
  • Napoleon Hill
  • Dale Carnegie
  • Claude Hopkins
  • Steven Covey

One thing marks them all: Best Seller Self-help books.

But when you study how they came to be so admired you may find you were unaware of some things that might change your beliefs. In fact, the lessons that can be learned from these men might stretch your imagination and put a new spring in our step on your journey. Let’s take them one at a time:

Ben Franklin

He signed all four of the documents that are the basis of formation of the United States was scientist, inventor, diplomat and the originator of a form of peer groups called a Junto.

Ben seldom wrote under his own name. First, he wrote as Silence Dogood for his brother’s newspaper. But his best known work was Poor Richard’s Almanack. The book, filled with proverbs (many of which he invented), was published continuously for 25 years and became one of the most popular publications in colonial America, selling an average of 10,000 copies a year.

Old Ben was his own ghost writer and not afraid to present his views and ideas as inherited from the ages.

Napoleon Hill

He wrote Think and Grow Rich. To date, over 80 million copies have been sold. This may be the top selling self-help book of all time.

It is captivating and clear. It consists of 13 principles that he derived from conversations with some of the wealthiest men of his day. It turns out that there is science to why it works which may explain its longevity.

But the thing is that Hill was not able to think, grow rich, and then write a book about it. Instead, he thought of a book, wrote it, and the riches followed.

Dale Carnegie

We know him best for his book How to Win Friends and Influence People. He said:

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you”

This pioneer in the field of public speaking and the psychology of the successful personality built an organization that continues to this day

Dale was born Dale Carnagay in 1888 in Missouri.

He changed the spelling of his name only after his first book Public Speaking and Influencing Men of Business was published.

Claude Hopkins

He is a personal hero of mine, one of the great advertising pioneers. Hopkins wrote Scientific Advertising  which has sold 8 million copies (It is now available free on-line)

His basic premise was that testing all components of marketing a product was essential to overcome the risks inherent in advertising. That meant looking at product distribution, sampling, copy and graphic split-testing as well pre-empting product specifics benefits and personalities to establish a brand He was a total advertising man.

Even though he was one of the highest paid ad men of his day he resented the fact that he had made his clients significantly wealthier than himself.

Steven Covey

Mr Covey wrote The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. At last count it had sold more than 30 million copies since it was first published in 1989. One of his lesser known quotes speaks to what I have found to be true:

“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”

Covey presents a viewpoint that is based on his idea of where principles and values intersect. He sees values as internal and principles as external and disallows conflation. In his view, values are responsible for human behavior whereas principles control results.

His ideas strung together in pithy statements intended to empower and inspire are seen by many as cryptic and requiring significant additional information.

My takeaways after a morning’s research:

  1. A complete model makes a self-help approach more accessible and memorable just as having a junto builds solutions capability.
  2. Being controversial or in disagreement with other self-help classics is probably a good idea particularly if your viewpoint is approachable.
  3. Personal/ individual Marketing is really what self-help is all about. Getting there means understanding what works with the audience.

I’ll be keeping these things in mind as I build out Credibility to Cash.

And so it Goes

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

Credibility To Cash Information Sign up for the Newslog

Consultant Marketing Diving In

Are you thinking of bailing out of a full-time job to start a consulting business?

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Jumping out of a perfectly good airplane isn’t a good thing to do on a whim. On the other hand with a little pre-planning it can prove to be exhilarating. I’ve known folks that parachute from airplanes that were airborne in the Military and those that just wanted to check off a thrill on their bucket list.

Both took a lot of precautions. But the bucket listers all enjoyed it more.

What do you need to consider when you are taking that side hustle to full time? How do you get from unknown to memorable. More importantly what does it take to become Credible?

How do you go from Credibility to Cash?  

  • Stay real, honest and authentic
  • Scrupulously avoid individuals and organizations that are not trustworthy.
  • Pay it forward. Practice relational networking not transactional.
  • Never stop adding to your expertise.
  • Tell it like it is (even when your view is different from the “common view”).

People hire consultants, not companies.

Too often this is overlooked. The new consultant is so intent on becoming a branded entity that they overlook this simple fact. Really big companies may hire consultants by their company name but mid-level and below organizations are looking for experts and look for them by name. If you want to have a fancy name and elegant logo that is fine but sooner or later you will find that if prospects remember your company name it will be associated with your name.

In other words, if you are an independent professional of any kind such as a consultant or coach, you might as well append your name to your company name because your clients and prospects are going to do so whether you like it or not. Your name adds credibility and that credibility leads to cash

Trust is the single most important business development attribute.

Having enough in the grouch bag (reserve funds) can help you with this. If you are not extremely concerned with providing for you and yours it is easier to stay on the straight and narrow. You find that you have the ability to say, ”No” to those deals that just don’t smell right. You will be able to be genuine and be plainspoken. Yes, your expertise is important. The connections you generate via networking can lead to being considered for engagements. The folks you add to your CRM (your list) become, in a way, investments. You invest your time and capabilities in them and they return the favor. Over time you will find that who you know is not as important as who trusts you. Your credibility, the trust you have generated leads to cash.

People are like Pearls.

Years ago I wrote a blog that likened the friends, associates and colleagues each of us has to pearls strung together into a magnificent necklace. If you think of your contacts that way you will want to show them off. That is what relational networking is all about. Transactional Networkers tend to look for tit for tat exchanges. They are much more about “What have you done for me lately?”

Relational networkers pay it forward. They refer the experts they know to fill a client or prospect’s needs. They constantly seek out opportunities for those they believe in. It pays off. Their credibility as a referral source leads to more assignments and better cash flow.

Know it all or at least more than others.

It is called lifelong learning in some circles. Continuous learning fuels creativity and innovation, helping the learners use their knowledge and skills in meaningful ways. The more you know about your area of expertise the easier it will be for you to diagnose situations and prescribe courses of action that will get to a positive resolution.

But don’t limit yourself to only your specialty. Explore subjects that are just to the side of it. Look into things that might have no connection at all. Because of the way our brains are wired those seemingly unrelated areas of interest generate connections that lead to creative connections. Challenging the little grey cells can make you more believable and inspire prospects to cash in on your unique abilities.

Controversial gets you seen. Results get you paid.

People respond to what is different. They actively seek out better solutions that are positioned and identified in ways that make them stand out from the crowd. Being controversial in your writings, speeches and other public appearances will get you noticed. A portion of the people that can hire you will listen in depth. Others will not. Both will have become aware of you in a way that is memorable.

Get the outcome stipulated in an engagement and you will earn the testimony of a satisfied client. Do a joint presentation with her or him at an industry gathering and you will generate another circle of admirers. Like dropping a rock in the water you will cause a small wave to press outward leaving a recognition of your knowledge. Each time your insight is touched your credibility increases. The more prospects that hear about your approach, find it ingenious yet plainspoken, the more will engage 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 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

Learn more about Credibility to Cash. Subscribe to Jerry’s Newslog.

Consultant Marketing Elite Rage

When you’re that good you expect to be treated with deference.

You get used to people taking your word as the expert.

You won’t admit it but it feels good to have that ego polishing occur.

That expectation may be misinformed.

I work with elite consultants who, if they don’t have a strong sense of humility, can find themselves angry at potential clients who don’t display sufficient acceptance of the thought leader’s elevated position as he or she observes it in the actions of satisfied clients.

Men display this trait more than women.

It comes up when I’m asked to look at their communications efforts because:

  • “The phone isn’t ringing”
  • “I have concrete results but nobody believes them.”
  • “I’m as good as any Olympic coach but there are no medals for the work we do.”

Elites walk a fine line.

They get used to being the hero and coming up with ways to affect changes in organizations and individuals, changes that literally makeover lives they are touching. They are so engaged In that place of esteem, extreme trust and nearly religious fervor that they forget that strangers don’t see them that way.

Rage is a way to keep an ego from shattering. And it is a way to cope if the rage is directed at getting the disappointment off one’s chest with a coach that understands what is going on. If it is used as a way to begin building humility, all the better.

It is all about them I say.

It is not about you dear elite. It is about the people and companies you can impact with your processes and trainings and ways to change the way your clients think. It is all about them. Marketing is all about finding more of the kinds of folks that are similar to the clients you have worked with. It is all about finding a way to begin a relationship with real potential.

Usually I pull an old ad from my files. Md Graw Hill placed it many times starting in, I believe, 1958. The copy is as powerful and appropriate today as it was then:

”I don’t know who you are.

I don’t know your company.

I don’t Know your company’s product.

I don’t know what your company stands for.

I don’t know your company’s customers.

I don’t know your company’s record.

I don’t know your company’s reputation.

Now, what was it you wanted to sell me?”

They are strangers.

Why expect them to treat you like those you have an ongoing relationship with?

Why would you believe they are already sold on you?

How can you expect then to touch a forelock and bend a knee?

They don’t trust you.

If they don’t find you on Linked In, you don’t exist.

If your web site home page doesn’t position you and your services in 3 seconds, they are gone.

If you don’t publish regularly (written verbal or video) you may not have anything worthy of attention in their view.

If your clients won’t speak up for you should I bother looking into your services?

If you are not willing and actually eager to talk to them they can’t accept the outcomes you claim.

Credibility to Cash

What prospects think, feel and believe about you and your offer begins with you acknowledging that you are strangers. Even though human beings lean toward trust, they are suspicious. So everything you do must add to your cumulative credibility score with them. If you are controversial to get attention, you need to back up your views with cogent arguments. If you are an acknowledged expert in an industry you need to seek out industries with similar problems to work your magic.

Put your ego on hold.

The most important thing is to always remember that you have to help them on the journey from stranger to believer. Every action you take should be done with that in mind. Every action.

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 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 : The Brutal Truth About Trust

Ya got it or you don’t.

I was having coffee with a former client. He asked a favor that involved me contacting a person who had spoken for an organization I handle marketing for the slides from the presentation.

I asked why he didn’t contact the speaker direct. His answer surprised me.

“I trust you and I figure he does as well,” he said, “So he will be happy to do a favor if you ask.

It turns out he was accurate in his assessment. But before I knew that I asked him,

“I am honored by your trust but how long have I enjoyed that position?”

He responded by saying that it went back to the first time he saw me speak. The subject was 30-Second Marketing (6 minute video) I presented at meeting of the local chapter of the Institute of Management Consultants. (IMCnow).

“That was years ago,” I responded. “Since then I’ve been a consultant for your company and you’ve referred me to other profitable business and even one company you had invested in, why does that speech stand out in your mind?”

He took a sip of coffee and held up a hand. With the other he lifted one finger at a time with an ongoing commentary,

  1. That night you didn’t try to hide how to do it. You literally revealed all.
  2. I watched you use it in multiple networking situations. Each time it sounded like you just came up with it.
  3. When you trained my partners to do it our close rate doubled.
  4. You never let me down when I referred you.
  5. Over the ten years I’ve known you, you do exactly what you say you will do when you introduce yourself. What’s not to trust?

I, of course, thanked him profusely.

Are you trusted?

Think about how you are perceived by contacts and colleagues, prospects and purchasers.

Your livelihood is dependent on whether people believe in you or not.

Paying the rent is dependent on how your boss, your client or your customer perceives you.

The faith that people put in you, your brand, if you will, makes all the difference.

You need to guard that assessment of your value. Here’s how:

  • Be accountable for all your actions.
  • Do everything you do with integrity
  • Strive to be consistent
  • Build credibility by doing all those things

Then you will be trusted. If you don’t it will be brutal.

Trust will make you a candidate for Credibility to Cash. To learn more let me know in the comments.

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