Consultant Marketing Brand Takes Time

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Brand

Have you got one?

Do you want one?

What does it take to get one?

Consultants take heed

You are going to have a brand whether you want one or not.

Some consultants say that you’re only as good as your last success.

That’s true as far as it goes.

Some believe your brand is about hiring a graphic designer to make you look good.

Not a bad idea but only as good as your brief to her/him.

Others hire branding consultants to find a way to tell their story.

Again, considerably useful but not the complete narrative.

Brand, is not what you want it to be. You can present your case. You can use graphics that set you apart. You can declaim your differences in words that flow gently or stridently. You can muster staff and close ranks. You can posture and pose.

But in the end your brand will be the combined perceptions of all who have been exposed to you.

There are three major phases to your branding:

  1. Brand Identity

Your vision for your practice leads you to select a name. With that in hand you seek out a graphic designer to find typography and art that reflects what you want people to think of you.

You are striving to be memorable. Within 15 seconds of receiving your card or landing on the home page of your website the initial perception of you will be formed as will the language used to refer to you in subsequent conversations with other business people.

With a little luck you can become memorable Just don’t assume it will happen automatically or that the initial perception won’t change.

2. Back Story

You find that you need to build a web site and materials for sales and marketing of your services not to mention report formats and word heavy documentation of what you do. Case histories and client quotes can help tell your story.

Within the curve of your growth as a consultant you will need to establish what makes you and your organization unique. That is done by developing a consistent approach to all the elements that lead to trust. Extreme variation will make prospects question your honesty. Lack of imagination will push them to look for alternatives. Being true to your word will move you toward unforgettable but the major factor in that assessment will come from outcomes desired by clients.

3. Battle Hardened

You enjoy multiple engagements and find that you really can help businesses with the concerns and problems they are having.

Suddenly, you are viewed as indispensable. Clients turn to you for advice on every part of their business. Honesty about the extent of your capability and a willingness to find resources that can solve the problem put a shine on your brand.

And so it goes .

For a few of you that find a way to change the way your clients think your brand will go from Credibility to Cash to Legendary.

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

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

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

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

Consultant Marketing Game Change

Change is the heart of consulting.

Without change we would be out of a job. Change is perceived by clients as a problem and they go looking for someone to solve it with expertise or experience they don’t have. We wind up working with them for a single engagement or, over time, for either multiple, linked engagements or just providing services in a single expertise on an ongoing basis.

Most of my interactions with clients are in the latter category. I tend to stay with clients for a while. I’ve worked with a current client now for over 25 years, celebrated a ten-year anniversary with one and I’m coming up on 3 years with another.

I still do singular encounters when I believe I can be of real assistance within the client’s time frame. I’ve come to the conclusion that Contact Relationship Management is no longer an arena I want to work in. Why? Management doesn’t understand it and more importantly does not understand that tasking sales-people with upkeep is a losing proposition.

For the future

I’m shifting my emphasis so that I will offer these services:

  • Marketing Consulting for consultants and coaches (Solopreneurs, Partnerships and Ensembles short and long term)
  • Strategic Marketing Counsel for entrepreneurs and start-ups
  • Speaking on topics that make individuals and organizations more memorable and more profitable. (Keynotes, Breakouts and Trainings for associations and businesses)
  • NEW Products that offer quick and easy branding, positioning and sales development. Example: Consultant Brandr for Linked In which allows you to inject your brand into your Linked In Profile in just one evening.
  • NEW The Credibillity to Cash Junto (named for the group Ben Franklin formed– a continuing conversation about establishing and maintaining your six-figure practice—a mastermind group limited to just 8 consultants that want to take their business up a notch.

Proven Publishing

That means I will continue publishing information on what works and what doesn’t in Marketing in general and consulting in particular.

Blogs I intend to publish blogs both in the USA and internationally on a regular basis every two weeks at a minimum. The topic will continue to be Consultant Marketing and will cover subjects from Practice Management  to promos, PR and Premiums. The emphasis will continue to be branding across all the media available and how to move from suspect to prospect to client.

The Newslog, newly named Credibility to Cash will continue on a weekly basis. The new version will have the same information in an article, a video and an audio as requested by the current recipients. The first quarter for 2022 is in production now

The annual Consultant Marketing Survey is now in the field. This year’s results report will be available by New Year’s day! Sorry, no results tabulated as yet so I can’t provide a single finding! And yes, we will do it again next year.

Speak your Way to Business Riches A step-by-step guide to Get Booked, Get Heard and Build Your Business is in first draft. Look for it as a print on demand book from Amazon about the end of the first quarter. (Junto members and Newslog subscribers may receive webinar invitations as well as chapters in PDFs prior to publication)

 In all we do in the coming year, the emphasis will be on showing you how to move from Credibility to Cash.

And so it goes.

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

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

Credibility to Cash TM is his latest way to share experiences so you can take your business up a notch…or two Sign up for the unique audio/video/article Newslog here.

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

Consultant Marketing Brand Sound

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Dave and I had lunch Thursday.

It was good to hear how the little golf product company he founded was doing. He has come a long way from when we met in his kitchen to put together the promotional material for the annual Golf Pro Trade show for the USA.

He had already committed to that show when we started working together. It was only one of the areas he needed advice in. Like most entrepreneurs, particularly inventors, he had no idea of what it takes to start a business from the ground up.

Marketing Consultant/Start up Consultant

I came onboard because he wanted a marketing consultant. Very quickly I turned into a start-up consultant. He had worked through and solved his production problems in way that turned out to be scalable. He was handling fulfillment personally pulling, assembling, packaging and shipping product on an as needed basis.

Sales was how he tested whether the product was something that would work in Golf Pro Shops. On-line marketing was being tested, but not in an organized way.

I squired him through getting a distributor sales organization, acquisition feelers from several companies and finally finding a pro to handle his on-line marketing.

These days he tells me he is negotiating a new distributor deal that includes fulfillment and has come to the conclusion that being able to dial advertising on Facebook up and down to manage sales is what he really wants.

Video is what sells is what he believes.

He asked me to respond to some of his ideas generated by comments on his ads and social media. His ideas (did I say he is an inventor?) tend to take comments about alternatives to the product seriously. None of the alternatives were shown side-by-side with his product in his ideas. Then he kept wanting to add things to the product like speaking digital readouts etc.

What does the product get the buyer?

I stopped him in the middle of how he could measure the degree of deflection between a direct line to the hole and how an individual putted the ball. My response was “So what?” Knowing the degree of deflection doesn’t mean diddly if I don’t know how to correct it. If I read the directions on the current product I’ll be able to see exactly how off I am without having any fancy digital sensors. I’ll be able to correct my putting and practice the perfect stroke. I’ll be able to take strokes off my game which is what I want.

The sound is the promise.

Somehow we found ourselves talking about why golfers would buy his product. It all comes down to sinking putts of any length. We were envisioning a dark screen like a golf course green in the twilight. He talked about a point of view video on the putter and ball as it is stroked, following the ball and then seeing it fall in the hole. I told him that vision was nice but it was no good without the sound effects. The putter clicks when it hits the ball. The distinct sound of a golf ball falling into the cup is unmistakable to a golfer.

The 3 second sale

I pointed out that when someone lands on your web page or clicks on your ad you’ve got no more than 3 seconds to get their attention, become memorable and build desire for your offer. Three seconds.  

The speed of sound

You can recognize a sound in one half of one second (0.05 seconds). More importantly, for branding purposes, auditory reaction time is four times faster than visual reaction time. Hearing is the fastest of our five senses.

Sound is incredibly powerful because of the speed at which you can capture your audience’s attention and ‘cement’ your brand in their mind.” — Gary Vaynerchuk.

I told Dave that the sound of the golf ball falling in the hole should be his singular audio brand component. Sound can sell his product. That sound is why a golfer will buy. That sound is the payoff for every golfer.

Imagine if you will

Video: Point of view (POV) Camera looking down on putter lined up on ball

Putter strokes ball.

Sound: Click of ball being putted (SFX)

Video:  Fade through black to product at same angle as putt.

SFX:    Ball dropping in hole

Video:  POV product demo once with deflection once corrected

            Cut to product logo

SFX     Ball dropping in hole

Video: Super order link

            Product logo

SFX     Ball dropping in hole

All that can be done in less than 15 seconds.

And so it goes

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

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

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

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

Copyright 2021 Z-axis Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved

Consultant Marketing Credibility Index

Featured

What is your credibility index?

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

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

What to consider.

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

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

  • Stopping Power
  • Maintaining Interest
  • Answering their Questions

Let’s take those one at a time.

Stopping Power

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

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

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

Maintaining interest

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

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

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

Here’s an example from one of my clients:

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

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

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

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

Here is what Jim includes:

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

And so it goes.

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

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

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

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

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 Brand Disruption

Two word darlings.

Brand. Disruption. Either gets attention in and of itself. Together they become hard to look away from.

Do conditions make it harder to be at successful at either? Or Both?

Innovation, agility and the ability to think laterally can overcome the economy, the pandemic and the general funk in the populace at the moment.

You could have a winner

  • If a celebrity is enthusiastic about your product and endorses it, you could have a winner.
  • If a government agency intervenes in your category and comes out with new rules you could have a winner.
  • If a fan becomes a social media star and brags on your product, you just might have a winner.
  • If you figure out that your brand is packaged for the wrong market, fix that and get market buy in then you have yourself a winner.
  • If dietary changes run into a continuing desire for comfort foods and you can make them, yes you have a winner.
  • When you come up with garments that are comfortable during a pandemic lock down but still have some style you definitely have a winner
  • When you can match the attitude of your market you an kick the competition to the curb. That is a winner.

We’re all familiar with organizations that have proven to be disruptors. In retail the big box stores changed the way we do business. Amazon changed the pace of delivery across a plethora of product lines. Tesla forced big automotive companies to get real about electric cars.

Little guys get it.

They realize that it is not about them, It is about how they matter to the people they serve. When you need them, they show up. When it is time to make a difference, they do. That makes a significant difference in brand perception. It is a way of thinking more than the statistics about the company. The pandemic has caused a shift, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer. Today, the 33,000 people in 28 counties around the world in their 2020 survey find that Business is now the only institution seen as competent and ethical.

Chipotle is a good example. The company was quick to offer free delivery, raise salaries and feed workers on shift. That paid off with revenue increases nearly double the competition.

Who trusts you?

I had a battery problem once when I was parked at a regional shopping center. Some kind folks helped m push start the car and I drove to an auto service operation in the shopping center, left my car running and went inside to tell them I needed one of their nationally advertised and well branded products. I could see two empty bays from where I was standing but was told I would have to make an appointment.

I declined and called a friend to follow me to the Les Schwab outlet in my area. It is an Oregon founded company that sells tires, batteries, bakes, and the service that goes with them.

They run to your car when you pull in. I did not make that up. They run every time. The gentleman that ran to my car checked out the battery, told me what a new one would cost with installation then asked if I had the old paperwork in the glove compartment. We checked and found it. He took it and then said that because the old battery was one of theirs and had two months of warranty left that he would credit that on the new battery. He changed it out and I was on my way home in twenty minutes

Service is the pelota

That stone from David’s sling that dropped Goliath was called a pelota. Roman slingers made them out of clay fired rock hard. The point here is that being turned away by the big national chain drove me to a small local company. They ran and they gave me a credit and got my trust. That kind of trust is valuable. Since that day I’ve replaced batteries on two cars and put two sets of tires on my car, my wife’s and my daughter’s.

One battery sale worth under a hundred dollars led to purchases in excess of over $5000. Lifetime value (LTV) is what builds brands for Davids. Customer service that wows the guy or gal with a problem earns their trust. Treating you like an adult and dealing with you that way builds confidence. Simply having integrity makes them memorable.

You have to hit the ground running to beat Goliath.

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, works with individuals and organizations to make them memorable, trusted and more profitable.

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

Consultant Marketing Word Man

Cult Classic

There’s a cult classic movie called “Eddie and the Cruisers.” It’s the story of a driven young rocker from the shore who pushed everyone he made music with to levels they had not dreamed they could reach.

It is a drama full of angst and attainment, joy, grief and, in the end, hope. While searching for the missing tapes of the band’s never-released album, a TV reporter newswoman makes the band think that Eddie may still be alive. Made in the 80’s, the story is about a legendary group from the 60’s

Major Cast

The Car A powder blue ’57 Chevrolet convertible.

Eddie Wilson is played by Michael Pare

“I want something great. I want something that nobody’s ever done before!”

Sal Amato is played by Matthew Laurance

We ain’t great. We’re just some guys from Jersey.”

Doc Robbins the slightly shifty manager is portrayed by Joe Pantiliano

“…never bull shit a bull shitter. You make the music, I’ll make the deals.”

Joann Carlino is embodied by Helen Schneider

“Eddie and I, we had a deal, we never talked about the future. We thought the present was so fine, why ruin it by planning ahead?”

Maggie Foley Our erstwhile TV reporter was brought to life by Ellen Barkin

“I am going to do a tribute to a group of guys who were ahead of their time.”

Word Man (Frank Ridgeway) was performed by Tom Berrenger

“You don’t understand. The night Eddie died, the Cruisers died with him.”

Words & Music

Early on Eddie is challenged about bringing Frank Ridgeway into the band. His answer is one I’ve never forgotten:

“He’s got somethin’ we need. Words and music, Doc. Words and music.”

 Either can strand alone. Either can be celebrated. But together they can be noble.

Brand is like that.

There are some that believe brand is all about the graphics of Brand Identity.

It isn’t.

Some will tell you the words are most important.

They are half right.

Words & Music.

Your brand is the sum total of all the perceptions customers, prospects, contacts and strangers have about it.

Your brand can be a journey.

Just like Eddie and the Cruisers you can build a dream. Start rockin’ it with your entreprenurial idea. Get the beat. Bring in the horns. Covers are okay but you need original stuff to really get noticed.

Get a word man. Mold a product or service marked by a singular approach that is memorable.

Get the entire organization in the groove. When everyone has the same mission the service you present to the world is consistent. It is the same in Toledo and Timbuktu. The customer gets the same service regardless of where they are.

Satisfaction leads to positive comments.

Your reputation grows.

The stages get bigger.

Trust builds.

You stay with your proven hits but slide new items into each set.

That marks the difference.

The Great ones

The great ones are always upping their game.

They pull in influences from other parts of the world.

They experiment and keep what works.

But those that become legendary do one thing others don’t.

The change the way those that follow them think.

Here’s the way Eddie put it:

“What I want is songs that echo. The stuff we’re doing now is like – somebody’s bed sheets. Spread ’em out. Soil ’em. Ship ’em out to laundry. You know? But, our songs, I want to be able to – fold ourselves up in ’em – forever. Do you understand? That’s the most you’ll ever get out of me, Wordman. Ever.”

Not bad words for a music guy.

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 Synchronicity

It is Friday the 13th as I write this.

That has always been a lucky day for me. And this week has proven positive as well.

Monday, I attended my local NSA chapter monthly meeting. Virtually, of course.

One of our speakers was talking about interactive activities that could be used working virtually and taking advantage of the breakout room capability available in Zoom and other virtual meeting tools.

Rant, he said.

And rant a couple of us did. The exercise is to have someone in the meeting rant for one minute, uninterrupted, about a subject of their choice. If you haven’t thought about the subject, I guarantee you will run out of things to say quickly.

On the other hand, if you are really into a subject, if you are passionate about it, you can go on for quite a while. And you will find that you can expand on the key elements of your beliefs quite easily.

The exercise is intended to open up a closer understanding of the people “in the room” and to build engagement. It works. But more importantly it is a way for you to determine just how “into” a subject you are. It is way to fix powerful emotions on an issue in your mind. Your fervor will make you more convincing. Every time.

What Is Your Soapbox Stand?

That was the title of a blog from a Canadian Consultant friend, Charlene Norman. In it she discussed her reaction to finding a would-be local politician behind the knock on her door. She asked him, “Why should I consider you?“

That simple phrase means a lot more. It is precisely the same string of questions each one of us must answer every time we bump into a prospect:

  • Are you like me? 
  • Are your values close to mine? 
  • Are you going to fix MY problem or make MY life better? 
  • Can I trust that you will do what you say? 
  • How long will it take you to deliver what you say?
  • How much of my time do you expect from me?

Hang on. Here comes the synchronicity.

As Charlene says, “One superb way to hold attention is to take a stand.  What is the one thing you could spend hours talking about on a soapbox in a public square?  (I am not expecting you to actually do it.  I am hoping you can imagine ‘what if I could.’)

I very much doubt you can talk all day about the product or service you sell.  I highly doubt you can wax poetic for more than 10 minutes about all the ways you deliver fantastic customer service.  And I know you can’t fill more than maybe an hour with tales about your experience, your years of service and your fabulous team.”

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

To be memorable you take a stand.

Taking a stand makes you both more vulnerable and more respected. The immediate change is that you have a brand impact in 3 seconds or less. Your opening words in a self-introduction can make all the difference! You stand out from your competition. And people want to engage you in conversation if they think you have a point. You also, very quickly, determine if you and the prospect are compatible.

If you are any kind of independent professional taking a stand will pay dividends for you. Clients searching for trusted advisors gravitate to truth tellers. Elite clients want to work with thought leaders.

The truth of the matter is:

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

It is all a matter of being seen, heard and, in the final analysis, trusted. We trust those who are consistent and make us think. We find them unforgettable and consider them indispensable.

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 crafting on and off-line Trust-based Consultant Marketing advice that builds businesses, brands and lives of joy.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com   Sign up here for the Newslog!
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com

Consultant Marketing Trepidation To Elation

Lindsay joined the local chapter.

I welcomed her by e-mail.

She is a newbie in multiple ways:

  • A new college graduate
  • A new MBA
  • A new member of IMC (Institute of Management Consultants)
  • A wannabe consultant

We’ll be Zooming next week because she has that innate need to find out how this business works and what it takes to be successful. She already operates on one of the basic principles she will need to be successful:

Trust but Verify

This simple statement which Ronald Reagan made popular comes from a Russian Proverb. It is an elegantly brief bit of advice that works well so long as the relationship is not the key element in question. For someone like Lindsay it is a way to gather a lot of information quickly without committing to any outcome based on that initial data gathering.

That is why it is so practical. The successful consultant is forever gathering data. They must, because of the nature of their calling reap the knowledge of a broad swath of sources. By joining an organization made up of people that do what she wants to do she quickly increases the number of sources easily available to her.

She can Trust in the interviews and based on comparing her analysis of the relative success of her contacts verify how much she should attend to their advice.

Impress but focus

When I was CEO of an ad agency I would do two or three informational interviews with youngsters, new to the trade, each week. It was a way to give back to all the people that helped me, a way to pay it forward. Early on I learned to employ a technique I picked up in a Xerox Selling Skills Class.

It is simple. Ask a question. When the person finishes, simply say Oh? Then wait. They will begin speaking again. Do it again. Do it as many times as the other person will continue speaking.

Employing this technique does two things:

  • You will learn a great deal more about that individual than you ever imagined.
  • You will find out just how capable they are of setting objectives and focusing on them.

They wanted to talk to you ostensibly to get some answers about the industry they want to enter yet they are afraid to say what is really on their mind, getting a job. So the real question each of them has is, “How can I take my education and my limited experience and convince someone to hire me?”

That is tough enough if you are just looking for a job. How do you take that resume out and convince someone to hire you as a consultant?

State a problem and your solution

One of the secrets of finding leaders is how they ask questions.

An individual may ask in one of these informational interviews, “How did you get to this position?” And in all likelihood they are truly interested.

Another might say, what positions did you have to go through to become CEO, President or whatever. They really want to know.

Leaders approach the person granting the interview as a resource that can advise them on the relative strength of their proposed solution.

Do you see the difference? The leader says, “I want to get started in consulting but I don’t think I have experience that business owners will think is enough. I’m thinking of offering my services at no cost unless we get results agreed to before we start work. Would that get me hired?”

Whatever you think of the solution you have had a demonstration of how someone thinks. More importantly you know how they will approach situations in the future.

There is no CEO worth her or his salt that doesn’t want that kind of thinking.

Be planned but present

You know you have a set amount of time for the interview. Don’t waste it. Come to the table with a list of questions. Work it. Ask them in order of importance to you.

But listen. Often a comment from that source will register with you and you will want to know more. Ask the unscripted follow up question and see where it goes. Listen. Pull that string that intrigued.

Often you will discover a creative way to solve a problem you have. Some that I’m aware of:

  1. New college graduate writes a laudatory one-page letter as his wife to personnel directors of ad agencies across the Midwestern USA touting his New York experience with no resume attached. He took the job offered by the personnel director that called one evening and asked to speak to his wife.
  2. A transgender woman encounters a meeting planner on an airplane looking for someone to do a keynote at an upcoming company meeting with diversity as the primary takeaway. She responded to the question, “What do you do?” with, “I take the fear out of being queer.”  She got the gig.
  3. The founder of a world class direct marketing agency diagrammed on a napkin the difference between Brand and Direct. It sat in his desk drawer for a couple years and then he convinced a client to try it keeping track of a full set of analytics. Then he wrote a book about it. He keynoted at the worldwide advertising convention held in Cannes the next year

That’s some simple advice for a newbie. If you like this kind of information about consulting or brand or networking or CRM or writing to persuade you need to sign up for my newslog.
Click here to sign up.

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: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com