Consultant Trust Floats

“Any of y’all have somebody contact you several years after you pitched ‘em and they turned you down?” asked Bubba, Georgia’s answer to branding’s high court.
Trust floats on the stream of time

Rob, even though we call him Bubba is sharp. When he asks a question like that in this group you know there’s something he is really curious about.

As the rest of our crew settled in I responded, “Why do you ask?”

It takes time to get to trust.

“I had lunch the other day with someone I knew had worked with other marketing and sales consultants.” Said Rob with only a hint of drawl. “I listened when he told me why he wanted to talk to me now after this many years. I pointed out that he had hired someone after we last talked and that fellow had exited stage left a few months later and that I knew at least two other consultants that he was familiar with that could and had given him good advice.”

Kate, took a sip of water and said, “So you asked him why me?”

“Precisely, Madam Sales,” said Rob. “George’s ansuh threw me. He started back when we’d met before.”

George, the prospect said, “Back then I couldn’t see any reason to have a branding consultant. I figured that a marketing consultant would handle that as part of his or her job. I assumed that branding was sort of an automatic thing…get the right logo and tag line and you’re done! I didn’t know what I didn’t know.”

Our direct marketing expert Rick observed, “This George sounds like a really bright guy and one that leaves his ego at the door. Seems like he’d be a good client.”

Prospect knowledge in your area of expertise leads to trust.

Thas probably true said Bubba but what I learned by listening to his whole story is why I brought it up today. The more I thought about it the more I kept comin’ back to how Fletch is always goin’ on about Trust being the be all and end all ‘specially for consultants. It ‘minded me of that Yankee fella Thoreau who said that “Time is the stream that I go a fishing in’ The way George described how he came back ‘round to me is just the same. It was a matter of time and his knowledge about marketing and communications growing.”

George said, “I quickly found out that my perceptions about branding were way out of line. I figured out that branding was a real problem for us but I still kept going to general  consultants to help me solve the problem. It didn’t work. One wanted to make me the spokesperson/hero of the organization. Another couldn’t comprehend that even though each of our divisions had to stand on its own sales results it is still one company.”

Rick pointed out, “So your prospect moved from someone that didn’t know what he didn’t know to figuring out what his company’s problem was and then started bangin’ around trying to find the expertise he needed to solve the problem.”

“Right,” said Bubba.

So how did he come to pick you?” asked Kate.

Prospects need time to understand why they should trust you.

“It‘s that fishin’ thing. I just keep my bobber in the water waitin’ for a tug on it. Meanwhile down there just like a fish risin” to the bait George was slowly but surely headin’ back my way. He started asking some of the folks he had confidence in who he should talk to ‘bout his problem. A number of them mentioned me. And then he saw me doing a presentation that he said showed him I was an expert. So he called me.”

Kate said, “And now all you have to do is help him get to know and like you.”

“I musta done that,” said Rob. “He asked me for a proposal.”

The Marketing Takeaway

Getting clients is all about trust. To get them to come to you, you must:

  • Stay consistent

  • Establish your expertise

  • Assure that others refer you

  • Be willing to educate if they want to learn

  • Get to know them

Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry, The Consultant’s Consultant, is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Sign up for the blog and other publications at:

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at

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