Consultant Marketing Listen or Lead?

The popular press was crowing about how populism was sweeping the earth because social media had given everyone a voice.

Then a pandemic got in the way.

Suddenly marketing gals and guys are debating whether to listen or lead and how the pandemic reaction will affect that going forward.

Consultant Marketing is different…or is it?

We know from 17 years of research that Consultant Marketing is not like traditional product marketing. It is not like the standard marketing required for a service either. Has the mainstream idea of the customer dictating the marketing of the product impacted on Consulting?

Yes and no.

 The length of time a consultancy has been operating makes a difference as does the size of client.

  • Start-ups are too busy trying to find their next engagement to do a lot of listening to populist viewpoints. They are out there pitching on and off-line. They’ve taken up virtual networking and speaking on Zoom to get in front of prospects. To get speaking bookings they have to present on an area of expertise.
  • Growing firms have established an expertise. They are expected to bring that proficiency to bear on client’s problems that fit nicely into their knowledge base. They tend to be seen as “thought leaders” and are expected to lead the discussion. Those that have the greatest revenues do so, on stages, in boardrooms and in interviews. Their clients generally are middle market B2B and not subject to the opinions of the multitudes except if they are targeted by an anti-elitist group.

  • Established Firms Still may include individual front-runners. that got where they are on the corporate ladder by championing a singular opinion. But close observation reveals that they are now prone to carefully weighing their stance against the opinions of client customers.  Those clients tend to be larger and B2C oriented. Then, too, the staff in such organizations is always larger and tend to be filled up with youngsters that are charged with understanding how the client company operates.

Ask and Choose

There will be a “New Normal.” The world will change. People will have different expectations.

The mark of a good consultant will continue to be the ability to listen. The need to assess the situation in conference with a CEO will not go away. The requirement to understand a prospect’s operations will continue. The impact of customers on the  client’s business will still have to be assessed.

Consultant Marketing will, I believe, begin heavier use of two tools.

Ask As simple as it sounds this way of going about things will, I believe, see expanded use in the future. Many are reticent to use this means of getting to what matters. It can be as simple as saying, “oh” repeatedly to get the speaker to examine their contention. Or, you might employ a quiz to determine which of your areas of expertise are what is expected or dated or needed.

You will need to query in a way you can get useable, verifiable information. Make your questions ones that can guide you in selecting products, services and approaches. Whether your clients work in B2B or B2C you can be more effective the more you know.

Choose First you ask the right questions. Next you focus on verifying the salient qualities of the choice. Does it sell? Will they buy again? Can we layer other sales on top of it? Are ancillary products or services wanted? Is it trending up or down?  How does it compare to known successes? Is there competition or is it a unicorn? (You want a competitor).

Involving folks in both the client organization and their customer base will often provide you with insights you would not get any other way. It will save you and your client time as well as give you an edge on success.

Make it personal

Testing your assumptions will give you a competitive edge. Knowing which of the services you offer are most important to your ideal clients will allow you to be more certain in your approach. Determining what customers for your clients really want will make your advice produce revenue faster. Shifting your communications to the area that interests prospects and using their words will make you more successful. When you take the stage and provide he advice they are looking for, more of them will hang on your words, in the meeting, in the hallway, in their boardrooms and in their offices.

Be a real thought leader

Here are three thoughts generated by the most recent Consultant marketing Survey:

  • “Speaking is the new magic weapon for building a practice…
    If the right stages can be booked and the follow up is in place.”

                                                                                          Jerry Fletcher

  • “Every consultant has a branding problem…You gotta move
    from Nobody to Somebody and do it in just 3 seconds!”

                                                                                                      Jerry Fletcher

  • “Controversial gets you heard...
    Proof gets you hired.”

                              Jerry Fletcher

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.


Consultant Marketing Crafting Identity


SEO is only part of the equation.

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

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

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

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

The right words.

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

An example from a consulting web site rewrite:


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


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

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

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

Empathy counts

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

Graphic cues

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

Typography offers multiple ways help our minds picture the conversation:

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

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

Page or Screen

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

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


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

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

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

And so it goes.

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

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


Consultant Marketing The Right Words


They arrive in my inbox as attachments.

The request is: “Here’s the latest, take look and see if it will get your agreement.” Or, “How can we make it better?” Sometimes it is just a simple, “Please edit. I’m looking for people to agree with this and take action.”

Multiple forms, one mission

Here are the most common written documents produced by my clients:

  • Newsletters
  • Blogs
  • Articles
  • Posts
  • White papers
  • Position Papers
  • Presentations
  • Booklets
  • Books

All of them are written to be informative and to one degree or another to be convincing or persuasive.

Words that work

Ever find yourself wondering what someone means, especially when they use acronyms? Do you get confused when someone’s argument goes off obliquely? Are there words you’ve heard that sound good but don’t convey a succinct meaning to you?

I’m playing with you. Let’s try those questions with other words:

Ever find yourself wondering what someone means, especially when they use collections of letters as a word? Do you get confused when someone’s thinking goes off at an angle that doesn’t make sense? Are there words you’ve heard that sound good but don’t speak clearly to you?

A better picture in your mind’s eye

The USA is not one of the greatest collections of readers in the world. Of the developed countries we rank 16th or 17th depending on the study. Scarier still is the fact that about 14% of the US population is illiterate! So why should a consultant be worried about that?

Step away from the 50-cent words

Yes, you are well educated. Yes it cost you a fortune. Yes, you’d like to put the vocabulary you learned to work. Of course, you want to impress that prospect with your knowledge.


Let your emotions be your guide

To convince or persuade you first have to communicate. To get people to see things your way you have to find a way get your ideas across to them. Shorter words have greater emotional connections. The little words make people feel things. Some examples:

  • Canine versus dog
  • Residence versus home
  • Endeavor versus aim
  • Unbiased versus fair
  • Expeditious versus fast

Understanding is a many layered thing

The length of sentences as much as the words used control what we understand.

A sentence that goes on and on like a winding country road that meanders through one croft to another over hill and dale passing innocent bovine pastures and orchards swollen with nuts and fruits will sooner or later cause a bump in the reading larger than any of the chasms in the lanes.

Whew! I got lost somewhere around “bovine.”

To win, you need to write short.

Short sentences.

Little words.

To get the gig you need to touch their emotions.

Don’t impress.

Do not make them guess.

Find the words they use.

The right words.

This is the way I end a speech that talks about how to go from nobody to somebody:

  • The Right Words can make you Memorable in a heartbeat
  • The Right Words can generate trust as you introduce yourself
  • The Right Words allow people to sort themselves into prospects or referral sources
  • The Right Words can get the sale.
  • The Right Words can establish your brand in the time it takes you to speak them

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.


Consultant Marketing Automagiced


“I don’t have to be there in person.”

First I had to teach consulting clients how to use Zoom. We walked through lighting, checking the background and the inevitable foul ups. Then we did a little refresher on how to present successfully at a distance. A couple months into sheltering in place we shared fun uses like a virtual happy hour.

Then the lights went on. Forced to work at a distance and substitute technology for being up close and personal I started hearing comments like:

            “I don’t have to be in the room to build rapport.”

            “I can work with folks a plane ride away without a TSA line.

            “Is there a way we can get to prospects beyond the metro area?”

Automagic Marketing

That’s what I used to call the kind of marketing that pushed the limits on georaphy. Still do, actually, but back when I invented the term I was more aggressively promoting it. To me, the promise of automated marketing was a kind of magic.

It still is.

But then or now the problem is that most folks just don’t understand it. To make Automagic Marketing work, you have to know the limitations as well as the impressive capabilities of computers connected to the internet using direct marketing techniques guided by the magic of if-then scenarios.

An apology, translation and explanation

For those of you that understand this stuff, please pardon my starting with really simple and moving toward more complex. I’ve been amazed by the lack of knowledge of the very sophisticated clients I work with of all ages and backgrounds.

A Rolodex TM

It started with a Rolodex TM. My friend Allen, one of the best sales people I’ve ever met, told me how his jewelry company kept card files on customers that included data on each customer’s extended family. They knew the purchases, ring sizes and preferences for both wives and mistresses! These days that kind of information is in databases manipulated by software for Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

Some think that an e-mail program like Mail Chimp or Constant Contact is a CRM. That’s because CRMs always include a way of sending an e-mail either standing alone or working with one you have installed on your computer. The most modern CRMs can also send out texts to smart phones. (Drives me nuts, too!)

Automagic Marketing is what happens when you connect a CRM to an e-mail system and use the abilities of the computer to respond to what action the addressee takes on receiving your message. It is like direct mail on steroids.

The basics

Google is the great search engine that helps you find most everything on the internet. That’s because it ceaselessly searches what is out there. And those that understand how it searches are always dropping clues. Keywords are the primary way to get on the radar. These are words significant in any search you do. A hash tag (which started on Twitter) linked to a keyword makes the item you’ve tagged more visible on social media. Although searching by hashtag has declined, using them puts you higher in the search for the key word. (That’s why people use up to 11 for one item on Instagram or Facebook).

Blogs vs Newsletters

Many of us write blogs. For some it is like writing a journal. For others it is the need to put ideas out into the world and get reaction. If you are looking to have a conversation, you can allow folks to subscribe to your blog. After the psychic payoff you need to understand that a blog says to Google that you have made a change to your web site. That is the best reason for having you blog as part of your website. It enhances your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) which is the process that helps make sure that your site ranks high in the search engines for relevant keywords and phrases.

A newsletter is not a blog. A newsletter is published via e-mail. It can be all text or formatted with pictures and text, backgrounds and other design elements. It is usually developed using a template supplied by an e-mail service and is sent to a list of people who have opted in to receive it. That list is why some internet entrepreneurs are millionaires. That list, which includes suspects, prospects and customers, is becoming the basis of valuation for companies that operate digitally.   

These days newsletters come in all levels of graphic design from text alone to magazine style approaches that have audio and video links built in. Adding to and making offers to that list is how to get to a 24/7 payday.

Links that pay

People subscribe to your newsletter because they want your content. That may be because they saw a blog and signed up on a form  to get more information. Or they were intrigued by something you posted on social media (a lead magnet) that linked them to a form (a landing page) that had to be filled in to get the item they wanted. The sign-up form automatically puts the contact data into a list and sends out a message to the inquirer’s e-mail so they can download the information. That is automated marketing at it’s simplest.

But wait, there’s more

What if you could set a timer so that another message went out to that new subscriber in an hour or a day or a week or whatever combination of those you preferred?

You can. It is part of Automated Marketing.

What if you have your computer react to subscriber behavior such as their choices in a survey by sending out different information based on their answers?

You can. It is part of Automated Marketing.

What if you could shift your follow up e-mail sequences based on current responses?

You can. It is part of Automated Marketing.

What if you could track subscriber reactions from opt-in to purchase and then based on the purchase begin a sequence to purchase the next product in the series you offer.

You can. It is part of Automated Marketing.

The magic


The magic is in knowing this is possible.

The magic is in the ability to test to see what works…automatically

The magic is in devising strategies with this capability to build a business, a brand and a life of joy…automatically.

I do that magic and I call it Automagic Marketing

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.