A few years ago (2009) Simon Sinek wrote a book called Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action,
He spoke about it in a TED talk which kind of went viral.
In that talk he did a great job of publicizing the idea but never got around to describing how to determine your why or that of others. In 2017 he got a around to publishing Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team.
A dentist in New Mexico. Gary Sanchez saw that talk and became fascinated by the concept, worked with Sinek to find his own WHY and for five years worked out a manual system to figure out other people’s WHYs, their way of approaching life.
The Why Discovery is what he called it. It was slow, taking hours for each discovery and required a certified coach to help determine how to apply the findings in your life, in your team and in your company.
Now it is the WHYos. After years of the manual approach Gary taught himself computer coding and wrote a program that has proven to be over 99% accurate and only takes minutes when you take it online. Get it FREE. just let me know.
Learn your WHY, your HOW and your WHAT in minutes. You’ll have:
· A better grasp of how you operate as an individual.
· A better connection in every relationship
· A discovery of the joy of being fully engaged
Understand your brand. Once you discover your WHYos you will have a firm grasp of your purpose and the perceptions that make you unique. The consistency you bring to your relationships will make you more memorable and more profitable.
That’s what credibility to Cash TM is all about.
And so it goes.
Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, founder and CEO of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. and a Certified WHYos Coach. 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. Get the Newslog at his consulting site.
You don’t have to be sure your marketing is going to work.
But if you don’t take action you will never know. That idea will always just rattle around in your mind. It will stagnate and die never having seen the light of day. It will be resigned to the scrap heap having never been tested. It will die, stillborn.
Action is better than inaction.
We learn from our mistakes. Even if we don’t have a process in place we absorb what works and what doesn’t. We understand what is effective versus what is not. We gather information to formulate new approaches and discover connections we had not perceived before.
Rules for Failure as a strategy:
Take action. Don’t wait. Do it now or forever lose this chance.
Note trial components. Write down the strategy and expected results. Reduce the test to as few elements as possible. Use multi-variant design if you can’t reduce things to A-B split testing.
Analyze results. Look at what happened versus what you thought might. Do not wear your rose-colored glasses. Delve into the fundamentals and scan for hints of affirmative outcomes while quantifying both positive and negative consequences. Look for both strategic and tactical effects.
Build a winners file. Make note of what works whether it is graphics, words, colors, sounds, video or animation. Look at the combinations that work and how changes in one of them impacts your outcome.
Assemble your findings. Build a check list or diagram or a process report that incorporates what you’ve learned. I’ve been doing this since I opened my consulting firm. When you sign up for my Credibility to Cash Newslog you get the benefit of what works by avoiding 25 years of failures.
There is not a lot I remember from my High-School French class.
One phrase is stuck in the little gray cells:
plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose
That translates to “The more things change the more they stay the same.”
When it comes to marketing, you need to adapt to the Normal particularly the New Normal.
You can’ keep doing the same thing and expecting a better result. That won’t work. (Some people say that is the definition of insanity!)
What has changed and what stays the same?
The ways of presenting your message, carving out a brand for yourself, your service or your product are increasing and morphing on a daily basis. Even the internet is enduring continuing change. Successful Marketing acknowledges and uses new technology (Pepsi is betting on Web3.0 and NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens)
BUT, human nature is slower to change than technology.
Today I read some research that shows the younger generation prefers face to face over on-line to build relationships. New technology comes at a premium in terms of money and time but since we humans are slow on the uptake, smaller firms can orient to the customer, stick with earlier technology and still compete.
Exploit the changes while maintaining client/customer Trust.
Watch the “big guys” as they experiment with Web 3.0. Learn from their mistakes but do not commit staff, funds or time until you can see a clear path to changing tactics that stays on the winning strategy to stay connected to your customer.
And so it goes.
Jerry Fletcher is an international speaker with clients from Singapore to Spain.
He guides elite individuals and organizations to become more memorable and more profitable.
We will never get back to the Normal we knew before Covid.
The financial arena is in turmoil but the predicted inflation problem is the least we have to worry about. The growing separation of the wealthy and the poor is the real problem. When a tank of gas costs well over $50 your commute from the suburbs, the only place you could afford a home, gets more and more expensive. And if you are not a corporate officer parking will have to come out of the same pay check you are already stretching for food and education and medical care.
Millions of people are walking away from jobs each month.
When you can’t stay ahead of the cost of goods and you don’t see a way out with a current employer you go looking. You look for a better position. You look for a side hustle. Many become desperate.
Hope becomes the best marketing tactic.
Those anxious millions become reckless and impulsive. You will see deals with benefits that are unbelievable.
They are. At the con man level the Nigerian Prince hustle morphs to a perceived charity that selects you as a winner in a drawing. When your situation seems hopeless you are most prone to buy in to schemes cloaked in righteousness.
Trust becomes more valuable than ever.
When the economy is stripping away your lifestyle you begin to look for friends, people that you know really well, merchants that you like and brands that haven’t let you down.
Suppliers that know that Trust is important to you will do everything they can to not betray it. They will stay consistent, truthful and engaged with you. That is how you extend the life of your service and your company.
You can’t go back. You can only go forward.
Your business will have to cope with the disruptions. Your marketing will have to accept the changes and communicate that understanding to customers that are disheartened but yearning for words of shared beliefs. Heed their words and their actions. The life of your company depends on it.
And so it goes.
Jerry Fletcher is an international keynote speaker with clients from Singapore to Spain and across the Americas.
He guides consulting individuals and organizations to become more memorable and more profitable.
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.
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.
You decided to put your consulting career on the front burner. You decided that it is time to make that side hustle your full-time job.
You need to think about two things that will make or break you. I’ll bet neither have managed to tap you on the shoulder so far. If you’re like most, you are too excited by the potential in front of you to consider these factors. Those important items that are eluding you are:
Before you marshal your arguments, listen to my tale of woe.
The crew you work with was probably assigned to you. Or, rather, you were assigned to it. As your career progressed you were moved from team to team. You may have decided to change companies but once again you were assigned to a team. With experience you were moved more and more into leadership but seldom if ever did you select the people on your team. At best you took on the responsibility of selecting individuals from within the organization to put into teams.
Now you are engaged in building a company. Any business coach or attorney will tell you that you need to have a business entity. No matter what form of business you decide on and no matter what title you assume, you, for the first time possibly, will be the one calling the shots. You will Have to think about teams differently.
Solos don’t have teams
That was my contention until a client pointed out that I had a group of suppliers that I worked with all the time. We were comfortable handling projects together, each of us doing what was needed, each connecting seamlessly to get things done, each a solid member of the unit that wasn’t formal but still functioned by any measure as a team.
Even then I still held that the best thinking came from individuals not teams. I cited all the geniuses of the arts and some of the discoveries in the sciences as “obvious examples”.
Not long after that I was trying to convince the man who has now been a client for a decade that moving from doing turnarounds as a CEO or COO to Leadership and Management Consulting was significantly different and that he did not have a team in place to handle the shift.
Teams can trump persuasion.
I pointed out that That when you have C-suit initials as your title, employees have to follow your orders. They may resist, citing long standing team approaches, but long term they must acquiesce. As a consultant you don’t have that power. You have to convince, persuade, cajole and sway them in any way you can to be effective. And the team you have in place whether they work for you full time or on a 1099 can and will impact your efficiency.
Nobody can do it all alone.
At least not the ones I’ve come across. That was a hard lesson. It took me over 20 years to figure it out. And I was still left with a hole in my knowledge of how to select, build and lead teams starting from scratch. Like a lot of people I searched for answers. I had worried my way through just about every assessment tool you can imagine starting as a beta tester on an early one back when I worked in Denver.
Technology wasn’t the answer.
There were a couple problems with the assessments:
The person you were evaluating had to take the assessment for you to get any kind of real fix on them.
The training requires that you use the labels assigned by the assessment on a daily continuing basis to use it to your greatest advantage.
I found very quickly that I had to become some sort of new millennium astrologer to begin to get any use out of all the time I’d put in studying the assessments. Unfortunately my Mars in retrograde got wrapped around the axle of the conflicting moons and I found myself fizzling out dodging detritus circling Saturn even if I had the code for a people connection.
Maybe their Why is the answer.
I learned of a new piece of Software the other day. It is called the WHYos and will introduce on November 15. I went to the WhyTechnology website to learn more. I tried the free trial and in a matter of minutes was rewarded with the assessment’s view of my Why.
“Why” is associated with Simon Sinek.
He wrote a book called Start with Why back in 2009. He may be better known for a TED talk which can be seen here. He made the world cognizant of what made some individuals and organizations stand out from others. Because of Simon Sinek, a dentist in Texas began searching for software that would allow him to optimize his why.
Dr. Gary Sanchez’s WHY is to find a better way and share it. HOW he does that is by making things clear and easy to understand. WHAT he brings is simple solutions to help people move forward. He and his Team have worked with hundreds of thousands of individuals, as well as thousands of companies from small yoga studios to Fortune 500 Companies helping them get clear, stand out and play bigger.
I didn’t know I was looking for that piece of software.
But I was.
I didn’t realize what a difference it could make.
Now I do. I tested it.
I was never quite sure what drew me to trying to find a better way in everything I do.
Now I understand.
Why.os is changing my life.
It will change my product launching December 15 called Linked In Brandr which guides you step-by-step to inject brand into your Linked In profile in just one evening. It will make it possible to base your brand on your why. The product was good before. Now it is great.
It amazes me every time. Coach oriented selling eliminates proposals.
You figure that a consultant would know about and use a Value-Based Presentation.
Only a handful do, the ones that have been around for a while and those bold enough to study some of the masters of selling services. It’s like the refrain from a song in the musical South Pacific, “You have to be carefully taught.” Fewer still are trained in coach-oriented selling.
Most consultants aren’t trained in sales. They are babes in the woods when it comes to the psychology of the deal. Better pitches are built with better knowledge of what a lot of folks today call : “the customer journey.”
Start with a peek at the customer map.
They had a problem or concern about their business. They spoke with friends and colleagues about how to solve it. They queried trusted advisors for names of experts that might help them. With a handful of names they turned to Linked In to review profiles of the candidates to be considered further. They narrowed the search to no more than three. At that point they probably looked at your website to get more of an idea of how you work and to get a glimpse of the expertise you bring to the situation.
Make it easy to meet.
They are still evaluating when they call you to arrange a meeting. They want to get to know you. You are one of at most three candidates. Setting an appointment for what is to them a major concern is probably best made in person. Make sure they can contact you direct, not through an appointment setting app. But if you do use such an app, give them the possibility of stating why they want to talk. What may seem to be dull normal for you is the biggest thing in their world to them. So when that in noted I should be a trigger for you to call them.
The first meeting is all about discovery.
It is a conversation not a commercial. You need to acknowledge their expertise. They will always be more expert in their business than you. Always. Partner with them in a thought-provoking process that allows them to act in away that draws on their experience and your support ot find a way to act. Let them set the agenda. Your mission whether you accept it or not is to do four things:
Establish a mutually trusting relationship based on genuine interest in their situation.
Listen. Focus on their goals, their expectations and why those things are important to them.
Questions you might use:
What are your successes?
Where are you challenged?
What od you know about our work?
How do you think we can help?
Your goal is to collaborate with the prospect, describe the desired outcomes and determine a way forward.
Questions that will allow you to reach common ground:
What is most important to you and your organization?
What outcome do you expect from our working together?
How do you see us working together?
What would this mean for the organization?
What will it cost if you do nothing?
Strive to define the problem concisely in concrete terms. It is best to zero in on a key single priority.
Start by searching for strategies that could solve the problem at hand. Brainstorm some possibilities. Before you suggest an approach ask permission to give them advice.
What ideas have occurred to you to address this situation?
Are there corporate resources you can bring to bear?
Have you seen or heard of something that worked in the past that we could put to work here?
If forced to come up with one idea, what would it be?
What would you do if failure wasn’t an option?
What you are looking to do now is ascertain if the prospect is ready to move forward and become client. You are not closing. You are merely testing the waters.
What are you willing to commit to now?
Is there a first step that would be agreeable to you?
When can you assemble your team?
What’s your timeframe?
What are you willing to invest?
At this point, a prospect may ask you to begin an engagement or demur. If they are not asking you to get to work circle back. Engage them. Focus on their view of the problem. Help them imagine a positive resolution and see once more if they are ready to plan.
Some of the most successful consultants use this approach to begin ongoing relationships with clients. Although the information gathered can be used for a Value-based Proposal often the client will forgo that prerequisite just ot get to work now.
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:
Answering their Questions
Let’s take those one at a time.
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:
Using the first panel of your website home page as the background.
A photo in the background that shows you in action.
A photo in the background that shows product(s) you are associated with.
The addition of your company logo to that background
Your name in that background.
A positioning line in that background (like a headline)
Combinations of the above.
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.
Are you thinking of bailing out of a full-time job to start a consulting business?
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.
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.