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

Consultant Marketing Discovery Meeting

The Dance

where you sit down with a prospect and learn about her/his operation and get to ask questions from which you will develop a proposal.

You need to have this conversation whether you write a simple agreement or an in-depth three tier Value-based proposal. So that we are on the same page, Here’s what I believe should be included in a Value Based Proposal:

  • Statement of the situation
  • Objectives of the engagement
  • Measurement–outcomes that indicate success
  • Value to the prospect
  • Methodology and Options
  • Option 1 Project Advisor
  • Option 2 Market Expansion Advisor
  • Option 3 Trusted Advisor
  • Terms and Conditions

Meeting name

Don’t call it a Discovery meeting or chat or whatever. Put yourself in the position of the  prospect. To her or him, Discovery sounds like a scientific examination. It doesn’t sound friendly at all. Better words will be more neutral. For instance, consider:

  • Informational Get Together
  • Outcomes Conversation
  • Compatibility Chat
  • Get acquainted Discussion

Regardless of what you end up calling it, Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to elicit hard data in the prospect’s terms that will allow you to present three options that have higher outcomes for the prospect’s business as well as increased income for you.

For Starters

Start by determining the primary problem that has caused them to consider your services. I find that it is best to be direct. Ask questions like: What is the problem or concern that caused you to want to talk? In most cases the answer will be that some metric in the sales equation is off. Often this is a narrow view. Be sure to ascertain sufficient background information about the industry and cyclical changes to put the symptom in context. In addition it wise these days to look into disruptions by indirect competitors.

You are preparing a tripe tier Value Based Proposal. You need to have the prospect isolate the out come if this problem is solved. Ask, “What would it mean if we solved this problem?” You need an answer in terms of:

  • Savings
  • Increased Revenues or income
  • Outcome for individual or department or company
  • How it would present to those involved

Becoming unforgettable

Now that you know what would satisfy the primary concern you can probe for data that will help you move from memorable to unforgettable. That happens because you don’t stop with the symptom. You work with the prospect to determine root causes and other problems generated by the primary. You delve into comments you let slide by as they told you about the situation in general. You explore any comment that you believe is causing an unwanted outcome.

If they didn’t give you a long-term goal, get one now. If they were uncomfortable talking about any part of the operation, now is the time to ask. With many people once they have told you the big problem in their view, they will relax. Here is a string of questions that allow you to go deeper:

  1. How did you get started?
  2. Have things changed much since then?
  3. How does that impact the company today?
  4. What about in the future?
  5. What are you doing about it?
  6. How have the costs shifted because of that?
  7. What would it be worth to you if we could solve that?

The information that battery of questions generates will give you what you need to write Option 2 as well as have greater clarity for the situation, objectives, Measurement and Value.

Headed for indispensable

Each of us learn in the course of an engagement. We naturally become more conditioned to the client’s business. We acquire additional expertise in the industry and markets in which the client participates. That knowledge plus the intimate knowledge gained of the client business combined with your capability to see the patterns and think outside the box make it easy to become an ongoing advisor, planner and implementer.

That, unless deeper problems or concerns surface, is the essence of the third tier proposal which makes the consultant a member of the team on an ongoing basis.

Are there other questions? Of course. This is a conversation where you are gathering information.

Do not sell.

You can comment that you have worked with similar situations. You can agree to tell all about those but at a later date. You can admit if something is new but always suggest it sounds similar to something in your experience.

This interview is about getting as much information as you can from the prospect as possible. Often, the astuteness of your question will bring the client to the point they want to get started.

Resist the urge to give them a quote on the spot. Tell them that you want to really step back and look at what they have told you. Tell them they will have your proposal shortly and it will have your best thinking on how to proceed.

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 Assessments

Do you really want to know yourself?

The premise of every assessment I’ve ever seen is that you want to be analyzed so as to know yourself better and thereby:

  • Be able to build on your strengths
  • Overcome your weaknesses by knowing them
  • Build your mental toughness
  • Instill confidence and fit into the team better
  • Be more productive without sacrificing relationships

Harvard Business Review reports: “Recent research shows that about 76% of organizations with more than 100 employees rely on assessment tools such as aptitude and personality tests for external hiring. That figure is expected to climb to 88% over the next few years.”

This ain’t new

Humans have always wanted a way to predict behavior. One of those methods is available daily. Here’s part of the overall description it has for me.

Passionate, motivated, and confident leader who builds community with their cheerful disposition and relentless determination. Uncomplicated and direct in their approach, they often get frustrated by exhaustive details and unnecessary nuances.

They are people full of energy and vitality. With an intense and adventurous personality, they don’t fear anything. They’re always willing to begin new challenges and have a leader attitude which also gives them great self-security.

But they are impulsive, aggressive, and sensitive. Under stress, they will act without thinking. They are bad at facing the truth. They want self-control and get distracted by repetitive failure.

A new look

Because I’m embarking on a new program I was asked this week to work through two modern assessments. Here are the findings from one:

Strengths: Visionary; creative; optimistic; stimulating; able to inspire others; can multitask; quick to get results; great at getting things started.

Weaknesses: Poor sense of timing; impatient; over-optimistic with what others can achieve; easily distracted; terrible at getting things finished.

Successes: Best when free to create, with a team to promote and a team to watch the details. Excels when kept focused on the big picture strategy and the creative process through to the end result.

Failures: Failure comes from trying to control too much, run too fast, or expect too much of others. Creators often keep to themselves and so fail in their communication and expectations.

Notice any similarities?

The first is the description for Aries from Astrology.

The second is from the Wealth Dynamics Profiling System for Entrepreneurs.

Both are accurate. For the first, my date of birth was all that was required. For the last I spent about 30 minutes answering questions.

Behavior Prediction

The whole Idea behind assessments, ancient or modern is to reduce the risk in interpersonal relationships in all arenas of life. They are put to use when an individual is contemplating a major change. The only question is who pays for the reading.

I know that to do a really good astrological chart it is essential to have the exact date/time and location of birth of the subject. I know because I studied the work of Grant Lewi who said:

“Any good astrologer should be able to predict the date/time and place of their death.”

As I recall, he died one week after buying a million-dollar life insurance policy.

The modern assessments are easier for folks to accept being based on behavioral psychology. Asking a series of questions and seeing how they fit together can give you a relatively good picture of how the individual will perform over time. And, given today’s ability to analyze mountains of data have greater accuracy particularly in fitting together a superstar business team.

A caution

A few years ago when I was working in Denver the psychological group on the first floor asked our agency if we would be a beta group for an assessment they were developing. We accepted. They asked us to fill out a form with questions and to ask 5 “people who knew us well” to fill out the same form. When the data was collated all of us were impressed with the accuracy of the results. We tried to operate based on the new insights and found that knowing each team members strengths and weaknesses in psychological jargon was no substitute for having an increased awareness of the emotional basis of our behaviors and a little more caring.

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 Story

Since March first I have been scheduled to speak on Trust 15 times.

I admit, I’ve been doing some outbound marketing to get some dates but the remarkable thing is that so many of these events have been booked because of the snowball effect.

For the short haul

Early on in the Pandemic I built out the Virtual presentation studio I believed would get me through a few months using gear I already had to record quality video testimonials for clients on location. Little did I know. Slowly but surely I’ve added equipment, a Logitech Brio Camera, a mike stand and Fifine Microphone, a Sony walkaround camera, upgraded Camtasia software, and even some audio switching capability.

The most difficult thing was finding a way to disquise the back wall of my office. I tried the Zoom backgrounds but decided against a green screen that would have to be rigged before each call. Then I tried some wallpaper to look like paneling. It peeled as there is a water heater behind the wall and besides that I didn’t like the partially concealed closet bifold door. Finally I found a photographers backdrop that looks like a white brick wall. It looks like the real thing on camera and disappears the closet door.

I had to learn how to use Zoom. I got educated on Hopin. And there are some other applications I’ll be working in shortly. It took a while but I’m now Virtual ready and experienced. I just haven’t had time to be certified by eSpeakers because I’ve been doing events!

Downhill and rollin’

So there I was, looking for speaking gigs. I went looking for exposure. I’d been lucky enough to have appeared for some event promoters and formed long term relationships for both live events and summits. I did every summit I could pushing for live panels rather than recorded slots in order to have the ability to do Q&A with participants and interact with hosts and other panelists.

It worked. Each summit generated other opportunities. One connected me to a Pod cast talent search engine that led to 4 pod casts. Another summit brought interest from Asia and Europe.

A week ago I went form breakfast to doing a virtual closing keynote and then to a  Virtual Pub for a London based organization. Simon, one of the founders was kind enough to make these comments.

Quotes, Stories, Facts and Figures

The title of the keynote is Trust in the New Normal. What’s Changed?

Here are some of the reasons I’m being asked to present this information:

Quotes:

  • In a panel on Lead development I said, “More is not better. Better is better and if Trust is part of that equation your return will multiply.” That led to a 20-minute discussion and two direct requests to present.
  • During one of four TV program keynotes for a Canadian Organization while presenting the elements of Trust: “You have to tell the story the same way every time. Consistency is rewarded duplicity isn’t.”

Stories:  

  • I’ve been opening each appearance with Michaels comment over a Fortune Cookie that ends: What you know matters. “Who you know can be important. BUT the single most important thing about building a business is who trusts you.”
  • My closing story will probably continue to be Margie, the Galactic Commander. I’ve told it live on 3 continents and now virtually as well. Margie’s Moxie makes all my observations about trust real with a chuckle thrown in.

Facts:

  • There is a brain chemical called Oxytocin which under lies our propensity to trust. When we’re stressed we have too little.  When we have enough we have greater empathy.
  • Scientists have found 8 management behaviors that use Oxytocin balance to make people more productive.  None of them have direct costs associated.

Figures:

  • The Edelman Annual Trust Barometer research shows that “People like me” are still more trusted than governments, media, NGOs and business.
  • The same study indicates that businesses are considered the most ethical and the most efficient and expected to lead in the New Normal.

Dates on hold

The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter and it is not a locomotive coming at us. I now have live dates creeping into my calendar: Las Vegas in May, San Diego in June and Dubai in late June. That’s Trust in the New Normal

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