Consultant Marketing Pillow Talk

If you’re lucky.

Not everyone has a partner outside the business they can talk to candidly about how it is going. For the majority of consultants who are solopreneurs the only chance they have is when they are comfortably esconced in bed with that special person. If married the mate can be the sounding board. In a long term relationship you can share with the one you’re with.

Triumphs and tragedies

The need to share the triumphs and the tragedies can grab hold of you at any time. The desire to take someone else along on the journey can be overwhelming.  We don’t want to be alone.  Our egos are always looking for praise. That causes problems.

Hitches, glitches and snags

  1. The loner brain dump       This occurs when an expert consultant happens to be a solo in her/his practice, home life and social life.  The need to vent or share a victory builds up until without warning the brain dump begins. It can ruin a date or dinner with friends or a special occasion like a wedding. If the one unloading their latest client experience is lucky they will be considered merely offensive.
  2. The honey pot         If you are into spy fiction or reality this one is obvious. In order to perform industrial espionage a person of the consultant’s sexual partner preference is introduced. They practice their sexual wiles on the unwitting counselor becoming the willing listener to all the woes, trials tribulations and triumphs in order to get the secret to the client’s success. It ain’t pretty but it has been working for eons. The more solo the consultant the more effective this approach can be.
  3. The one for the road         Our ill-fated expert advisor puts a real hitch into his or her git-a-long by agreeing to just one more drink before heading off to a well-deserved rest. After that conviviality she or he “opens up” and the next thing you know a trademarked process is drawn and annotated on the closest napkin. It happens. And the worst part is our guide may not recall blurting out the methodology or special ingredient or whatever secret should have remained so.
  4. Another Client’s shoulder           This is possibly the worst. The need to share engages when our erstwhile expert is engaged with another client. It doesn’t matter whether the information being shared is positive, negative, secret or common knowledge. The problem is the effect on the client receiving the remarks. How would you feel about someone sharing private information with you? Would you be concerned about what you have provided the consultant in confidence?
  5. Ego boosting events         These can take on many guises. The common denominator is the combination of public attention and a bit of ego massage. For instance, the interviewer in a pod cast asks how you accomplished a turnaround for a client or what process was used to save multiple clients. You overlook confidentiality because it feels good. It feels good when a reporter seem intrigued by your answer so you add more details. A national outlet calls you to get confirmation for a story they are working on but you go further than a yes or no in your answer.  You see the public aspect as good advertising and your ego appreciates being preened so you stick around to get groomed a little more.

Forewarned is forearmed

Some of us are inherently close mouthed, have solid ethics and just cannot comprehend behaving in such a way. But not all of us. That’s why the Institute of Management Consultants (IMC) has a 15 point code of ethics.

This discussion deals with item 5.0 which is:

I will treat appropriately all confidential client information that is not public knowledge, take reasonable steps to prevent it from access by unauthorized people, and will not take advantage of proprietary or privileged information, either for use by myself, the client’s firm, or another client, without the client’s permission.

Notice that it provides you with a way to be able to share the data with client permission.

Here are some ways you can make that wok to everyone’s advantage:

  • Joint presentation at an industry event.
  • Joint appearance on a panel at a conference
  • Joint interview by a media outlet
  • Publish a case history or success story approved by the client
  • Record a video testimonial from your client and put it on your website
  • Invite your client to lunch with a prospect and allow him/her to present the particulars of the engagement.
  • Make that client’s story an approved part of your next book

Losses count, too.

And don’t forget the losses. Many times those are just as important as the wins. When a client demands a process or procedure or approach you know won’t work based on your experience it is a significantly more powerful argument to try another way if you can cite an example that refutes the prospects preference.

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 Trust Factor

I’ve been asked to speak on Trust 4 times between now and the end of April.

I’ll be sharing information that has remained timeless along with research findings being updated now.

A Fortune Cookie

I speak on Trust because of a Fortune Cookie. After a successful morning presentation, the promoter and I decided to have lunch at a Chinese restaurant nearby. After the meal they brough us fortune cookies.

My fortune was: “The wise man knows everything, the shrewd one, everyone.”

Michael pushed his glasses down his nose. Looked over them and said, “That’s good as far as it goes.”

I’ve never forgotten his next words:

“What you know is important, who you know can make a difference…but the single most important thing in building a business is who trusts you.”

Who do you trust?

Like many business owners you immediately think of your professional advisors:

  • Accountant
  • Attorney
  • Bookkeeper

Like Michael said, “That’s good as far as it goes.” But like so many things it shows that we are oriented to who we trust rather than who trusts us. It’s natural. It’s human. But it is not the foundation of your business.

Who trusts you?

Over the years, I’ve found that there are four folks that must trust you in order for you to be successful. Here they are in order of importance in the New Normal.

  1. Yourself. Second guessing yourself all the time will get you nowhere. Listening to that little voice that whispers doubt in your ear will keep you from getting things done. Trust yourself to figure things out. Trust yourself to make a plan. Trust yourself to take action.
  2. Your Team. If you’re a manager that means both the management team you are a part of and your direct reports. Not a manager? It is the group of folks you work with all the time which may or may not be designated as a team. Your team includes all the folks that get credit when the job is done, the objective reached, or the product is delivered.
  3. Your Company.  Own it? Trust is essential. Just a hired hand? Trust improves outcomes. Trust lowers your stress and makes you more productive. (Stay tuned for hard numbers)
  4. Your Customer. No business can succeed without customer trust. That is true whether the business is a product, a service or a combination of the two. Customers will go the extra mile for you event to the point of not purchasing a competitive product to wait for yours with the same capabilities. 

In today’s world of social media positive comments can maintain a reputation over time. Customer trust can give a company momentum like never before. Public reviews can turn an unknown organization into a rising star overnight.

Business Trust Statistics

85% of Americans are likely to stick with a business during a brand crisis if it has a history of being transparent.

67% Agree, “A good reputation may get me to try a product, but unless I come to trust the company behind the product, I will stop buying it.”

64% of consumers globally are belief driven buyers. This means they are willing to buy or boycott a brand because of its position on social or political issues.

The bottom line.

I was fortunate enough to meet Tony Simons of Cornell University just as his book, The Integrity Dividend was being published. In it he describes how he conducted interviews with the staff at 76 different locations of a hotel chain. Tony had the staff rate managers on six different trust factors. He found that where managers were rated highest the increase in revenue was $250,000 a year. 

The oxytocin kicker.

Paul Zak, Neuroscientist, is the author of Trust Factor: The Science of Creating High-Performance Companies. He identified these eight key management behaviors that stimulate Oxytocin production and generate Trust:

  1. Recognize Excellence
  2. Induce “challenge stress” to intensify focus and strengthen social connections
  3. Give people discretion in how they do their work. After they are trained, allow them to execute projects in their own way.
  4. Enable job crafting (choice of projects by the employee)
  5. Share information broadly (corporate goals, strategies and tactics)
  6. Intentionally build relationships (for everyone involved)
  7. Facilitate whole person growth
  8. Show vulnerability (asking for help is the sign of a secure leader)

High trust versus low trust

Here’s what Zak and his researchers found:

Work performance High=106% more energy 76% more engaged 50% more productive

Loyalty High= 50% more will stay a year, 88% more recommend as a place to work

Job Satisfaction High= 60% more enjoyed job, 70% more were aligned with the company purpose 40% less burnout reported

Overall, high trust companies have employees that are more productive and innovative.

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 Magic Words

We’ve been meeting on Friday mornings for at least a couple years.

A Mastermind

I had attended a conference on gamifying products in the fall before Covid struck. On the last day Luthie asked, “Would you like to join a mastermind group to keep us all on track with what we’ve learned here?”

I accepted the invitation and about 10 of us started gathering. Now we’re down to 7. This morning only six of us showed up as one member is recovering from Covid.

Getting Through

Somehow we got on the subject of getting through to officials in companies in order to sell our products in the corporate market. One member noted that three times in the last three days she had been told: “E-mail doesn’t work.”

  • A friend told her that if she really wanted an answer to phone her.
  • Her son who is a music producer laughed and told her that the only way to get an answer was to text folks
  • A business associate said, “Just message ‘em on Linked In.”

It is not your choice

That’s when I jumped in. People do want to be communicated with. They just want it to be in the way they prefer. In general that is kind of a generational thing. Younger folks may not check their e-mail for days. They tend to be oriented to texting and are offended when you don’t drop everything to respond to their text messages.

I always tell clients to ask how their customers and clients want to be contacted and note that information in their file in the CRM (Contact Relationship Management software) and then use that information regularly.

Better odds

If you really want to be successful these days you need to understand what works and what doesn’t in general. Here are the options and what it takes to reach your objective:

  1. Phone is still the best direct contact vehicle for initial contact. Your chance of getting through is at the highest with this vehicle. Three things can happen:
  2. They will answer (You will need a script)
  3. Your call will go to Voice mail  (You will need a script)
  4. A gatekeeper will answer  (You will need a script)
  5. E-mail still works. You just have to know what form and frequency in order to connect. If you are like most you are enamored of the graphically based e-mail systems like Constant Contact and Mail Chimp.

Fact is that the higher the level of management you are trying to contact the more powerful an all-text message can be. Regardless of whether your e-mail is graphically enhanced or just text you may have to send it as many as 9 times to get it opened by a stranger. Scripting it is not a bad idea, especially for multiple messages.

  • Instant Messaging is a more recent option and has a strong following among millenials and FaceBook fans. Again, it does well among those that favor it but will result in minimal success if you are not sure of your target’s preferences.
  • Texting is okay if you have an established contact but it is illegal in the USA these days to text for commercial purposes.

I work with one board member that has six e-mail accounts and looks at them once a week in a good week. Text is his go to if you want to get his attention. Just like Phone and e-mail scripting it in advance is a good idea especially for repetitive touches of different prospects.

  • Linked In is a strong contender for cracking through to key prospects. You need proven scripts for each of these steps:
  • Be sure you have a connection.
  • If not, establish one noting common connections
  • Only after the connection is accepted send a message.
  • Do not sell in the initial message push for a telephone call
  • Sell only after a relationship is established

Never off the cuff.

The key to success in this business is thinking it through in advance. Start with what you are trying to accomplish. If what you are doing is repetitive this is especially important. Over the course of time we start to overlook our intent and we begin leaving out significant details that get us the business By looking at the alternatives and planning for them you don’t get thrown. By writing them down you have a reference for two purposes: honing the pitch based on real life trials and recall of what works should you have a break in doing the solicitation.

Magic words

There are magic words. They can brand you and they can begin to build trust. How you will present them will vary by the communication vehicle you are using. This video describes how 30-Second Marketing works for branding.

The words that build trust:

  • As Promised. Use this as an e-mail subject line. Use it as a way to infer approval from a referral source as in “As I promised, Name, I’m contacting you …” Use it in a text that includes data to connect with you which you agreed to send. Use it wherever you want to increase the trust the contact has in you.
  • Thank You Also a great subject line. It makes the receiver ask, “For what?” and that gets further attention on your message. Try saying it in a handwritten note sent snail mail. You will stand out because so few people do it these days.
  • How can I help? This question allows you to discuss the key problem your prospect may be having. It is particularly powerful when combined with: “If I can’t help I’ll refer you t someone who can.”

Success is all about getting to Trust. As one of my guides said:

“The wise man knows everything, The shrewd one everyone. But the single most important thing about building your business is who trusts 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 Into the Dark

The sneezing makes it hard to concentrate.

Two nights and two days without power with temperatures below freezing in a hundred-year ice storm will leave you cold.

Bone Cold

Even when I found a friend’s couch to surf on I was still cold. Even when she produced a stew that I’d write home about I was still chilly. After two days of hospitality I got a call that power was back on in the neighborhood.

I walked into a home that was already warming up.

The lights worked.

My computers came back to life.

 I muddled my way through 4 days of e-mail. Life had become normal again.

I had a hot meal. Left-overs, yeah, but I zapped ‘em in the microwave.

Slept in my own bed.

Murphy came to visit.

This morning I got up early to catch up with all the things that needed doing after 4 days in the dark.

What is that old line about he best laid plans going to Hell even as you put them to work?

My internet that had been working when I returned home was not. At first I thought it was somehow connected to the power outage. I rebooted two computers just to see.

Nope. So I turned to my phone to try to call the cable company. To use search on the phone I had to enter my Office 365 password. I tried that but it requires double security. I got through the first step using my phone as the security device. But because it is a two-step security system you need to use e-mail for the second step. Of course, I had none.

Murphy’s Law: If something can go wrong, it will.

Into the dark

So what do you do? I figured that there were a number of things I could do that didn’t require the internet.

  • Continue pulling together scripts (audio and video) for the next round of Newlsogs
  • Tackling all the filing I’d been putting off (one piece of administrivia I abhor)
  • Preparing some blogs in Word for a client to demonstrate how to do them in WordPress
  • Scripting sequences for orderly contacts of meeting professionals
  • Tuning to local radio to see what is going on in the world.

Long term.

Those things are fine for the moment. But what should anyone do to avoid the problems long term?

  1. Learn to use your phone. Unless towers go down it usually will be the last device lost.
  2. Be sure you have all the methods of accessing your phone written down and that you test them at least monthly.
  3. Be sure you have the emergency number of your internet service in your phone (with a written copy in reserve)
  4. Make sure you can use your phone to contact clients, associates and others that impact your business.
  5. Be proactive. Reach out to all those an outage can affect. Do it as soon as you know.

That is not a lot to do, but it would have saved me hours of trying to get hooked up when my problem was an outage for the area.

I can work on both my business and projects for clients because I keep files resident in my system and synced with cloud copies. Unfortunately, I don’t sync everything. That will change.

Too many assumptions

The designers of the security systems are just trying to make things as risk free as possible. BUT, sometimes security measures can get in the way of effectiveness. The only way I could get the emergency phone number for my cable/internet service was to call a friend who was still connected. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to put it on every device where it could be found easily?

Customer disservice.

When you turn the TV on you get a message that the cable/internet is not connected and instructions you can’t finish reading about what to check. Wouldn’t putting the number to check for outage problems be a good idea to put into that message?

The problem is that damn little brain sweat is spent on situations with less than perfect conditions. The assumption is that these kinds of situations occur so infrequently that a band aid is sufficient for a sucking chest wound. Phone software that assumes you will have internet capability is simply stupid because there are a lot of times that could happen that are not connected to power outages. The inability to get any information on an internet outage other than a non-committal “It will be fixed shortly” is a customer disservice. People want to know how long power will be out, when the internet will be available again. How about a little customer service that acknowledges the customer’s questions and concerns.

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 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 Stages of Success

Not everyone is a customer.

Online or in person you will meet a host of people. Some will, over time, become customers. But most will not. Many will be contacts forgotten almost as quickly as they passed through your sphere. Others will form lasting relationships with you often as just an acquaintance that “gets you.” A few will be referral sources.

All are evaluators of your brand.

Whether they are in your headlights for moment or seemingly along for the ride as you navigate the fog of building a business each has an influence on your perceived brand. That is true whether their assessment is formed from an internet experience or a candid conversation over coffee.

Networking ain’t what it used to be.

These days, due to Covid, the closest you can get without pushing the regulations is a one-to-one Zoom call. Your favorite association is meeting virtually whether it’s in your home town, nationally and even internationally. Expense accounts are no longer a major item for corporations as travel and entertainment have pretty much been eliminated.

Yet, some people still get the call.

Why?

What makes them different?

Why are they rain-makers for their firms?

Stages of Success

Certain things work whether you are meeting virtually or in person. You have to step up in order to be at the forefront when others need a solution to a problem. You have to consciously work at being the one they call.

There are stages to success:

  • Fresh New to the business or the area or to the role you fill in the organization.
  • Memorable Positioned in a way that makes it easy for folks to remember you, your name and what you do.
  • Branded People recognize your name, your organization’s mission and the positive attributes you bring to the table.
  • Tried Someone takes a chance on you, hiring you and your operation to solve a problem for them.
  • Successful You complete the project on time, on the money and with the results promised.
  • Proven Your experience and credentials have paid off for a number of clients
  • Trusted You are now the go-to guy or gal in your industry, market or geography for your expertise.
  • Promoted You are asked to speak at conferences, appear on panels, interviewed by on and off-line media.
  • Quoted Your views, based on solid data and good thinking become touchpoints in your area of expertise etched into prospects minds.
  • Unforgettable You are now in a sustainable position and could probably put your practice on cruise control but you are driven.
  • Indispensable Key clients will not make a move without consulting you.
  • Legendary Over time you have changed the way a formidable group of men and women think in and around the businesses in which you provide advice and counsel. The world you set out to change is actually changing because of you.

What stage of success are you on?

Each of us moves at our own pace. Some more quickly than others. Speed is not the gating factor. Consistency is more important. Originality is more deserving. Trust, maintained over time is critical.

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