Consultant Marketing Discovery Meeting

The Dance

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

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

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

Meeting name

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

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

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

For Starters

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

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

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

Becoming unforgettable

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

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

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

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

Headed for indispensable

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

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

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

Do not sell.

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

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

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

And so it goes.

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

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

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

Consultant Marketing Magic Words

We’ve been meeting on Friday mornings for at least a couple years.

A Mastermind

I had attended a conference on gamifying products in the fall before Covid struck. On the last day Luthie asked, “Would you like to join a mastermind group to keep us all on track with what we’ve learned here?”

I accepted the invitation and about 10 of us started gathering. Now we’re down to 7. This morning only six of us showed up as one member is recovering from Covid.

Getting Through

Somehow we got on the subject of getting through to officials in companies in order to sell our products in the corporate market. One member noted that three times in the last three days she had been told: “E-mail doesn’t work.”

  • A friend told her that if she really wanted an answer to phone her.
  • Her son who is a music producer laughed and told her that the only way to get an answer was to text folks
  • A business associate said, “Just message ‘em on Linked In.”

It is not your choice

That’s when I jumped in. People do want to be communicated with. They just want it to be in the way they prefer. In general that is kind of a generational thing. Younger folks may not check their e-mail for days. They tend to be oriented to texting and are offended when you don’t drop everything to respond to their text messages.

I always tell clients to ask how their customers and clients want to be contacted and note that information in their file in the CRM (Contact Relationship Management software) and then use that information regularly.

Better odds

If you really want to be successful these days you need to understand what works and what doesn’t in general. Here are the options and what it takes to reach your objective:

  1. Phone is still the best direct contact vehicle for initial contact. Your chance of getting through is at the highest with this vehicle. Three things can happen:
  2. They will answer (You will need a script)
  3. Your call will go to Voice mail  (You will need a script)
  4. A gatekeeper will answer  (You will need a script)
  5. E-mail still works. You just have to know what form and frequency in order to connect. If you are like most you are enamored of the graphically based e-mail systems like Constant Contact and Mail Chimp.

Fact is that the higher the level of management you are trying to contact the more powerful an all-text message can be. Regardless of whether your e-mail is graphically enhanced or just text you may have to send it as many as 9 times to get it opened by a stranger. Scripting it is not a bad idea, especially for multiple messages.

  • Instant Messaging is a more recent option and has a strong following among millenials and FaceBook fans. Again, it does well among those that favor it but will result in minimal success if you are not sure of your target’s preferences.
  • Texting is okay if you have an established contact but it is illegal in the USA these days to text for commercial purposes.

I work with one board member that has six e-mail accounts and looks at them once a week in a good week. Text is his go to if you want to get his attention. Just like Phone and e-mail scripting it in advance is a good idea especially for repetitive touches of different prospects.

  • Linked In is a strong contender for cracking through to key prospects. You need proven scripts for each of these steps:
  • Be sure you have a connection.
  • If not, establish one noting common connections
  • Only after the connection is accepted send a message.
  • Do not sell in the initial message push for a telephone call
  • Sell only after a relationship is established

Never off the cuff.

The key to success in this business is thinking it through in advance. Start with what you are trying to accomplish. If what you are doing is repetitive this is especially important. Over the course of time we start to overlook our intent and we begin leaving out significant details that get us the business By looking at the alternatives and planning for them you don’t get thrown. By writing them down you have a reference for two purposes: honing the pitch based on real life trials and recall of what works should you have a break in doing the solicitation.

Magic words

There are magic words. They can brand you and they can begin to build trust. How you will present them will vary by the communication vehicle you are using. This video describes how 30-Second Marketing works for branding.

The words that build trust:

  • As Promised. Use this as an e-mail subject line. Use it as a way to infer approval from a referral source as in “As I promised, Name, I’m contacting you …” Use it in a text that includes data to connect with you which you agreed to send. Use it wherever you want to increase the trust the contact has in you.
  • Thank You Also a great subject line. It makes the receiver ask, “For what?” and that gets further attention on your message. Try saying it in a handwritten note sent snail mail. You will stand out because so few people do it these days.
  • How can I help? This question allows you to discuss the key problem your prospect may be having. It is particularly powerful when combined with: “If I can’t help I’ll refer you t someone who can.”

Success is all about getting to Trust. As one of my guides said:

“The wise man knows everything, The shrewd one everyone. But the single most important thing about building your business is who trusts you.”

And so it goes.

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

Consultant Marketing The Right Words

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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.

Don’t.

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.

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

Consultant Marketing Getting Ready to Get Ready

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I offered a free 3-Day Challenge.

Two thirds of the room signed up.

I figured it was a good way to build trust while working out some of the kinks in the first of a series of new experiential products with a small group.

What I learned.

I knew that most informational products sold okay but the purchasers didn’t implement the actions recommended. The research shows that 80% don’t even open the item after they have paid for it and downloaded it! And of the 20% who do open it up only a handful (20 to 25%) ever finish and implement!

In other words gamification techniques must be applied in order to get the purchasers to put the training to work.

Expectations versus reality

I wanted to be sure that this proven process got implemented. I carefully set things up so the perceived value was greater than the stated price ($197) the product included:

  1. A bonus video demonstrating the 30-Second Marketing self intro technique
  2. Module 1:
  3. An overview video for the course.
  4. A graphic roadmap of the course
  5. Trial Hook worksheets in writeable PDF form
  6. A zoom coaching call with all participants to share their work (and build community)
  7. Module 2:
  8. Hook’em worksheet with tips on resources to help craft creative breakthroughs
  9. Directions on how to come up with more memorable hooks
  10. A Higher recall worksheet (writeable PDF)
  11. Challenge Winners worksheet (with segment for recording the groups suggestions)
  12. A 30-Second Marketing Briefing
  13. A zoom coaching call to share their progress and provide feedback

 It worked but not as well as I had hoped. I was targeting 80% of those who signed up completing the course. Shifting the goal to actual use of the material being developed makes a difference. No longer is the measure of success a simple sales metric. Now it is a true measure…whether or not the purchaser got their money’s worth.

The numbers

The entire pitch was 3 minutes out of a 2-hour presentation. It was a small group, just 12. Eight of them signed up. Three completed the first worksheets. The same 3 showed up for the Zoom coaching calls. None of them completed the Module 2 worksheets. (1 did a day later)

BUT, all of them felt the product was worthwhile and all said they had learned a great deal about how to present themselves and their offering in a new way that they believed would pay off.

Mission Accomplished.

Along the way we helped one participant figure out how to expand his potential market and how to change up another’s presentation to get her unique difference across more quickly.

Shifting these individuals from doing a commercial to having a conversation was what I had set out to do. That got done. Will they be more memorable in the future? Probably.

An epiphany

One of the participants, after hearing the group agree with her friend’s suggestion about how to identify herself said,

Hmmmm… interesting.  Seems that would let me tailor what I say next based on whether I’m talking with an executive, business owner, manager or staff person.

That made it all worth while

The lesson for us all

I’ve been doing one-on-one consulting with consultants long enough to know that getting ready to get ready is a common failing. We all do it. We bite off more than we can chew. We sign up for a course, then get busy and figure, “well I can always come back to it.” We procrastinate.

There is a solution. As one of my clients puts it:

“Define the three things you believe will change your business for the better.

Pick one.

Do it.

Rinse and repeat.”

Stay tuned. More to come on putting more positive experience into the products it takes to build a business, a brand and a life of joy.

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 strategies that build businesses, brands and lives of joy.

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

Consultant Marketing Contact to Contract

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Up your leads

That’s the promise. All those digital advertising outfits promise to give you leads well beyond what your current marketing delivers. Usually, that promise is made without knowledge of what constitutes a good lead for you and with no advice about what to do with it once you have it.

Real leads

Too often the perception of a lead is someone ready to buy. Our fondest desire is to be served up an ideal client that is ready to sign a contract. I wouldn’t spend a lot of time in that waiting room if I were you. The way I define a lead is:

  1. The contact has a problem I can solve
  2. The contact has the authority to hire me
  3. The contact can authorize payment to me

If the contact doesn’t meet those criteria they are not a prospect. But if they do then you need to nurture the budding relationship.

Your mission

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to go from memorable to unforgettable to that prospect.

It ain’t easy.

Memorability is a matter of seconds.

It can be done. Your hook in 30 Second Marketing TM can deliver it. The right words can crack through all the messages out there and brand you in the first 3 seconds. That makes you memorable.

In person, folks will give you 30 seconds to tell them what you do. On your website you’ll have about 7 seconds more while they look at the first panel of your home page to either pull them in or lose them

In person

In person, you do it with words. Here’s what I say when someone asks “What do you do?”

“I’m jerry Fletcher, I’m a master of Consultant Marketing.

You know how everyone tells you that you have to be memorable but nobody tells you how to do it?

What I do is help consultants craft a unique trust-based marketing strategy to build a business a brand and a life of joy.”

That takes less than 30 seconds. It is unusual. It is arresting. It gets me to memorable in a face to face situation.

Here’s how it will look on the first panel of my home page on my new website:

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Unforgettable takes longer

Memorable is not enough to get the contract. Memorable puts you in the spotlight but what you do from here out will make the difference between a vaguely recalled contact and the consultant that gets the contract.

Here are suggestions on how to stay front of mind with the prospect and link your special skills to the problem they are trying to solve.

  • Send a hand-written note to thank them for talking to you. (It is just not done these days and will make you stand out from the crowd.)
  • If you promised them any information during your conversation, e-mail it to them. (Use the words, “As promised” as our subject line. That will get the e-mail opened and increase the likelihood of the information being downloaded)
  • Schedule regular follow-up touches in your Contact Relationship Management software and when it comes up on the calendar, just do it. (The follow-up can be a phone call, an e-mail or a check in before an event. I recommend mixing it up but do not put off using a phone call. That is considered a more person l touch by the recipient.)
  • Monitor information sources for something that may prove to be of value to the prospect and send it to her/him as it presents itself. (Try to find examples from industries other than the prospect’s as this will show your capability to understand the depth of the problem and how you can bring added perspective to their concerns.)
  • Wait for them to indicate more interest and then suggest a breakfast or lunch meeting. (An e-mail response or indication in a phone call may be the entrée your need. You want to orient the conversation toward determining where they are in their search for a solution and begin understanding what the value of the solution would be for their business—the first step in building a value-based proposal.)

Get the contract plus

By understanding the value of your solution in customer terms you can increase the base value of the Contract and extend it well beyond the initial engagement. How to gather the information you need (the value interview) and how to present it (the value- based proposal) is coming up. Stay tuned to multiply your revenues.


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 and Brand development advice that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy.

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

Consultant Marketing Well Spent Weekend

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I decided to journey to the Institute of Management Consultants Conference held over last weekend in Dallas, Texas.

The Crucible

At the airport I bought a paper back to read on the flight. The title was “The Crucible” which sucked me in with, in part, this jacket copy:

“…a frantic quest for answers that are connected to mysteries reaching back to the Spanish Inquisition … What they uncover hidden deep in the past will reveal a frightening truth in the present and a future on the brink of annihilation, and force them to confront the ultimate question: What does it mean to have a soul?”

Within the book, James Rollins connects witch hunts to the wonders of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and where it is headed. Little did I know that I was getting an in-depth preview of one of the keynotes!

Late Arrival

I missed the opening keynote delivered by Alan Weiss as I decided not to go to the airport at early dark thirty. I chose a 9:45 departure which got me in town about the time Alan started speaking.  Apparently, he said some of the things I’ve heard before so it wasn’t a great loss for me.

Why did I go?

  1. To renew some old acquaintances and make some new ones.
  2. To learn what’s new
  3. To gather new contacts for my annual Consultant Marketing Survey

Old Acquaintances

That piece of art at the top of this missive came from Mark Haas. Years ago when the IMC web site was in development, I was the Marketing chair in Portland. Mark was volunteering to get the site up and working from his home office near Washington DC. Many a night we would be on the phone, me at Midnight and he at 3:00 AM. The only time we see each other in person is at these gatherings.

Ken Lizotte was speaking at this conference. We tried to figure out how we know each other and gave up after about ten minutes. Ken is the conference chair for next year. We chatted about me speaking next year and he asked me to be his sidekick in putting together the 2020 Conference in Boston. I think I dodged that bullet!

AI, AGI and ASI

AI is, of course, Artificial Intelligence. The Saturday morning keynote was delivered by David Copps, a futurist, technologist and visionary as well as a member of the Aspen Roundtable on AI among other things you might expect. He spoke of where AI is today noting things I’d read about in The Crucible including how AI will morph to AGI or Artificial General Intelligence (like Asimov’s Robots) and then to ASI, Artificial Sentient Intelligence when the AI takes on a life of its own. Mr. Copps made it clear, with specific examples that it is happening a lot faster than you think!

Serendipity is a strange thing.

New Acquaintances

Saturday, after that serendipitous keynote I joined an experiment where conference attendees could suggest topics for a series of breakouts on subjects of interest to them and then see if other also wanted to discuss. I suggested “How is Consultant Marketing Changing?”

Six people signed up and we did a roundtable on the subject. The participants ranged from a start-up to a couple of us with 20+ years of experience. I heard a lot of current and future possibilities but only one current approach I had not heard put so simply before:

“Don’t try to build a huge list. Keep track of folks that provide referrals, no more than 100 if you get that many and touch them at least once a month personally with a phone call or in person meeting. Let them know the kinds of engagements you are currently working on. Send them a monthly newsletter. Do something special just for them at least quarterly. Things like lunch or dinner, tickets to an event or sending them a book or article especially selected for them.”

I will, of course be sending all of the round table members along with a score of others that agreed the Annual Consultant Marketing Survey.

The attention span of a gold fish

Yoram Solomon, another of the keynoters cited Microsoft research that said that the human attention span had dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2013. The study noted that the attention span of a goldfish was 9 seconds. So if you’ve read this far, you have the attention span of at least a school of goldfish!


Yoram spoke on trust. Here are his 7 Laws of Trust:

  1. Trust is not binary. It is continuous.
  2. Trust is contextual
  3. Trust develops between every two people independently.
  4. Trust is asymmetrical.
  5. Trust is transferable.
  6. Trust is reciprocal.
  7. Trust needs two sides.

Yoram has done the research, that is why he has a PhD. I’ll leave you with this fact from his investigations:

“A trustworthy salesperson
can sell the same product or service for 29.6% higher price.”

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. 

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

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

Consultant Marketing Mindset

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Take a hard look at the photo.

What do you see?

Me, I see a very confident young woman. My impression is that she knows who she is, has mastered some capabilities and expects you to acknowledge her expertise.

How can I get all that out of a photo?

You make your mind up about anyone, in person or in media in the first 3 seconds.

How do you want to be perceived? What do you want your personal brand to project? How do you introduce yourself? How “Real” do you come across?

Currently, there is a commercial that portrays the danger of hiring someone that is “just okay.” The series is, in part, humorous but if you want to get hired you need to be perceived as more than barely competent. As the commercials say, “Just okay is not okay.”

You need to convince four groups:

  • Your Associates
  • Your Prospects
  • Your Referral sources
  • Your clients

But first you must convince yourself

All of us fear rejection. Somewhere north of 98% of people are afraid of public speaking. Most of them would prefer death to doing “the talk.” What about less-open appearances or interactions with strangers? Not quite as death-defying but still seen by some as a disaster about to happen. Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert makes no difference because just about everyone has a fear of being seen as inadequate.

Self-doubt must be erased.  

Whether you’re applying for a job, presenting in a corporate conference room or trying to get a consulting engagement over breakfast or lunch you need to be confident in your skills and how you present yourself. That 3-second judgement capability is something you can control. It is not logical. It is emotional. With powerful people it is a skill that has been carefully honed.

Overcome the impostor syndrome

All of us, on occasion, feel we are impostors. We judge ourselves more harshly than all those with whom we come into contact. The key here is to listen to the concerns and take steps to overcome them. Here are three suggestions that will allow you to stand tall, command the room and be memorable:

  1. Disconnect before the meeting. Look at yourself through the eyes of those you are interacting with—individual or group. Can they possibly know more than you do about your special expertise? It is truly doubtful. The more years of experience you have, the greater your practical knowledge. They simply don’t have the experience you’ve compiled. Do they know more about another subject or arena? Probably. But not yours.  Their view of you will be that of the inferior. Their expectation will be that you will teach them as you advise. They will incline towards respect.

Walk your talk. Let the confidence reek. They will sense it.

  • Practice positive self-talk. Do what it takes to know your audience. Check them out on social media. Understand their way of thinking based on their writings, interviews and appearances. No time to prep or a networking situation? Say, “Self, you’ve got this. You’ve thought yourself through 30-Second Marketing TM https://vimeo.com/358198046  so you know how to Hook ‘em, Hold ‘em, Pitch ‘em and Close’ em. More importantly you have honed your ability to listen, react and really be interested in them. 

  • Stop trying to close. The worst advice I’ve ever heard for a consultant is, “Close early and often.” Put yourself in the prospect’s position. They are anywhere in the process of deciding from just starting to think about it to shaking hands on an agreement. The better advice is, “Agree to work with them after they have sold themselves.”

That brings us back to erasing self-doubt. One of the best ways I know is to keep track of your successes. Prepare a case history https://vimeo.com/352835268 or success story after each engagement. Note the key outcomes. Review those files on a regular basis. If you are going into discussions in a similar industry you’ll have the facts at the ready should you need them. More importantly you’ll get the self-confidence boost you need to overcome any residual impostor syndrome. About to step into the unknown? If you follow my direction on your success stories you’ll find that your regular reviews will give you buoyant assurance in your abilities in your chosen field.  

Being at the top is a matter of mind over matter.

If you trust yourself, it shows. If you’re certain you have the experience, it becomes apparent. If you assert your convictions you will garner respect. The confident get the contract. Those with self-assurance do it again. And again, And again.

And so it goes.


Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com 

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

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com
DIY Training: www.ingomu.com

Let ’em Buy Consultant Marketing

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The e-mail from someone I’d never met pushed for the sale with the first words.

Fresh Meat

If you’re further up the food chain that e-mail was an open invitation to line up a new client. Cold calling with a hard over sales approach does not work if you are selling consulting, particularly high-end.

On line or in person any time you use direct communication you need to already have a connection or be in the process of activating one. That hard sell e-mail is, for me, a cry for help.

Let ‘em buy

The most successful sales people and consultants I have ever met gave me the same advice:

“You can’t sell anything if they don’t want to buy.”

“Stop closing! The less you close, the more successful you’ll be.”

“People buy when they’re ready not when you tell ‘em to”

“Your job is to stay connected while giving them all the info they need including the purchase agreement when they’re ready.”

“They come to your website looking for information. Give ‘em the content they’re looking for but help them buy into you as well as your approach.

Time and energy

In most cases a prospect must meet three conditions:

  • They have a problem you can solve
  • They can pay for your services
  • They are willing to talk to you

Being upfront about your rates after you’ve heard about their problem will pay you dividends both short and long term. I offer a one-hour meeting at no charge so that we can “See if we are comfortable with each other and I can get a better idea what problem they are confronting.” I usually tell them that if I can’t help I’ll recommend someone that might be of help.

Generally, the higher your fee the more you will be expected to meet at no cost. Some organizations will expect you to provide a proposal at no charge as well. Elite consultants are willing to do that if they can have at least an hour of the senior officer’s time and agreement to candidly discuss the perceived problem and the value of a solution to the company

Going retail

Smaller problems, ones that can be solved in a telephone or Zoom session or two need a slightly different approach. It is more retail oriented. Your offering can be presented in a website that is filled with information that is infused with your viewpoint. Including video of you delivering some of your advice is a positive approach.

You may want to have them pay for a session with an established hourly fee paid in advance. But you must make it as easy as possible for them to set an appointment and pay online. There are apps available that easily integrate with your web site.

If the web site visitor is interested in your services they will find your pricing page. Linking pricing and appointment apps on the same page will pay dividends.

Price Points

The price for the service offered is where consultants often go astray. It is not unusual, even in B2B negotiations for the consultant to be asked for his/her hourly rates. Consider this increasing price/value/meeting scale:

Price              Value                           Meeting description

$200/hr          Instant answers         Meeting via appointment, phone or Zoom

$200-500/hr  Report issued              In person or zoom based on geography

$1000/hr        Strategic Planning     Reports & Timelines agreed to in advance

Fixed Fee      Plan & Implement     Time required to reach solution agreed to.

Fee +Comm   Plan/Implement        Agreed solution plus additional impacts

Variables

Your kind of consulting practice will impact how you approach the market. You may tend to maintain a client relationship for months or years. In those situations, a retainer may be the better option. Or, you may be available at a specific rate just to assist in defining the problems that come up over time. Of course, engagement rates would be set separately. Top notch consultants have all kinds of inventive pricing schemes. The most inventive are lined to long-term client relationships.

And so it goes.


Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com 

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

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com
DIY Training: www.ingomu.com

Brand is a Rainmaker

In times gone by, there were folks that hoped or believed they could get nature to relent and to turn cloudless skies into rain that would wash away a drought if only in one little part of the country.

Some seemed successful. Others, not so much.

Desire doesn’t change.

Each of us want there to be some sort of magic formula to bring new business to us without our having to work for it. We want the gods to smile on us. We’re willing to wear clothing we were wearing when we were successful before. That special tie comes out for the “big pitch.”  The unmatched socks get worn on purpose when we’re going for a new job interview. That railroad watch your Dad gave you gets wound up for the first time in years.  The rabbit’s foot key ring once again settles into your pocket.

The charm is your brand.

  • Sorcery doesn’t deliver potential clients. Staying true to your brand does.
  • Voodoo will not bring a customer to you. A brand that delivers will.
  • Alchemy doesn’t solve customer problems. You do and that is what your brand is based on.

You make the rain.

Although my blog appeared here each Saturday for the last month, I was half a world away from my office. I wrote those weekly comments on Brand before I left on a trans-Atlantic voyage followed by visits to Barcelona, Madrid and Washington, DC. I maintained my work with current clients (when I had internet connections). I wasn’t looking hard for new business. I was taking a vacation and meeting with some folks in person that I enjoyed from internet contacts. I thought I might be of assistance to some of them along the way. Turns out I will be.

Sometime when it rains, it pours.

As initially planned I was going to spend a few days sightseeing in Barcelona and return home. But then internet contacts in Madrid agreed to meet with me for lunch or coffee and so I extended my stay to take a high-speed train to Spain’s capital. Here’s what transpired:

  • I had coffee with the managing director of the largest speaker’s bureau serving Europe, Central and South America. He asked if he could add me to their database 10 minutes into our conversation.
  • I had lunch with the Spanish speaking former employee of a client based in Singapore. Later, because of her new coaching business I introduced her to the speaker’s bureau.
  • The founder of a social media service agreed to have coffee with me. I asked why things had “gone dark” after an initial burst of funding acquisition. He told me, in detail, and then proudly said that they had held the company together and it was now profitable. Then he asked for my consulting help in building the business in the USA.
  • I telephoned a client when I reached DC to find out how his knee surgery had gone. He asked me if I would take on an assignment for an association he is working with. I said, “Of course.”
  • A client “hip-dialed” me yesterday morning. We chatted briefly and then he asked me to meet with a consultant he knows. I agreed and the luncheon meeting is set.
  • This morning I got a message through the social media site that another member of group is as he put it “Looking for a professional speaker that may be interested in assisting to bring a virtual reality product to the market in North America.” We’ve agreed to talk about it.

You can’t control it, but you can influence it.

Just like you can’t control Brand, you can’t control the pace at which new business opportunities come to you. You can however, influence both.  You start by staying true to what you do. You stay honest and forthright. You decline when you have to but you always try to suggest someone else that might be able to help.

Most of all you build Trust. You do it in each conversation. You do it more in your actions.

I didn’t have to introduce Rosa to the speaker’s bureau, but I did.

I wasn’t calling a client about his knee surgery, I was calling a client that over the years has become a friend. Help him with the association? I’ll do that regardless of the fee.

Have lunch with a prospect when one of your best clients asks? Definitely. He knows the prospect will get honest answers and didn’t even think to ask.

Hear out a founder who has come through the valley and has emerged profitable? Accept an assignment? Done, in all humility.

Agree to talk to an engineer about becoming a “product ambassador?”  You bet, because I’m convinced that contact came about because of my conversation with the social media network founder in Madrid.

And, so it goes.


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Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com 

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development for independent professionals on and off-line.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com
DIY Training: www.ingomu.com