Consultant Marketing Speaking Pay to Play

3 days ago I responded to a call for speakers passed along by a friend. It was for a Summit here in Portland and is a live event. I sent a one sheet on my Trust speech and a link to my speaking demo not expecting a response since I was mor interested in their events in major cities across the USA.

My e-mail lit up with a notation of interest and by the end of the day I was in communication with the event planner in charge of assuring speakers would not be doing commercials.

I’m used to that as these days so many organizations host events where they expect “Thought Leaders” to pay their own way to the event and pick up the cost of the hotel as well. Since most of these people are in corporate jobs that doesn’t present a problem to them.

But what if you are a “Thought Leader” but not affiliated with an organization that will allow you to write of the trip as a business expense? What about those unaffiliated “thought Leaders?”

What about the whole pay to play idea?

These events charge attendees. That is reasonable as the venue must be paid somehow. But it is not unknown for corporate speakers to be pressured to buy a booth and or a sponsorship or both. Failing that, often event planners will attempt to get professional speakers to engage in a commission deal for anything sold as a result of the speech. And it is not unknown for event planners to charge new speakers just for the privilege of taking their stage.

What about business development value?

One of the reasons I do an annual Consultant Marketing Survey is that years ago I wanted to prove the point that trade shows did not have reasonable ROI when compared to other promotional possibilities. Even though Covid has slowed things down the trade show continues. Yes, it has morphed in some ways but it still capture hearts and minds with the promise of being at the center of an industry and having all the players available. Why they might just stroll up to your booth and change your life!

The value is only there if you know how to take advantage of it. One of my clients spent the better part of two years going to shows to sell his software. Two years. No sales. All those out -of-pocket costs could not be recovered. In part it was because he never stopped tinkering with the product going through at least 5 programmers I was aware of. You have to pull the trigger if you are going to offer a product. It has to be real. Or all you get is a bill.

What about a service offering? Easier to make buck there. Anybody can make an offer in or out of a booth. You can set sales meetings with a lot of key players in a short time. You can network with media and other influencers. You can enjoy all the benefits of being there.

The money is in the follow up.

People don’t buy on the first meeting. You will have to build a relationship with them first. One client resisted the idea of sending thank you notes to people they had talked with at a convention. The president convinced the VP to do so. We sent 36 hand written thank you notes out. Three organizations responded immediately. Two asked for presentations. They bought. That put 2.5 Million on the bottom line for the company that quarter.

Speaking increases your visibility.

If you can get in front of part of the attendees at that event a group of them you can begin engaging with numbers well above what you might in any other way. All that stuff you’ve heard about lead magnets is really helpful here. Your personal offer from the stage is more valuable than all the social media you can imagine. Why? You have a relationship with the audience. When they ask you to send them something and give you their contact information you have an open door. More importantly if is with people  that are several steps further along the customer journey.

Is it worth it? Yes. One client who had a Software as a service offering got really tired of paying for a booth and coming home empty. Then he negotiated a speaking breakout with the booth. The speech he developed proved to be crowd pleaser. Soon he was being asked to appear at all the regional shows and he booth became a courtesy. Yes, he had a product that brought digital to an analog industry and his understanding of both made him a sought-after expert. A year in sales of the product were making the company solvent. Two years in the largest analog supplier in the industry saw the writing on the wall. He accepted their offer of north of $7Million.

The advice

Look hard at every trade show/event/convention offer. Can you accomplish what you want ot get out of that time and place without writing a check. Attend once if you believe it is “your kind of people.” Evaluate it and make it a point to meet the people running it if you are going to pursue a speaking position. Then make sure you make your speech all about them. Those that realize you care will reach out to 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 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

Conversations Get Closes

.

“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

.

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

.

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 Diving In

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.

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

Learn more about Credibility to Cash. Subscribe to Jerry’s Newslog.

Consultant marketing : The Brutal Truth About Trust

Ya got it or you don’t.

I was having coffee with a former client. He asked a favor that involved me contacting a person who had spoken for an organization I handle marketing for the slides from the presentation.

I asked why he didn’t contact the speaker direct. His answer surprised me.

“I trust you and I figure he does as well,” he said, “So he will be happy to do a favor if you ask.

It turns out he was accurate in his assessment. But before I knew that I asked him,

“I am honored by your trust but how long have I enjoyed that position?”

He responded by saying that it went back to the first time he saw me speak. The subject was 30-Second Marketing (6 minute video) I presented at meeting of the local chapter of the Institute of Management Consultants. (IMCnow).

“That was years ago,” I responded. “Since then I’ve been a consultant for your company and you’ve referred me to other profitable business and even one company you had invested in, why does that speech stand out in your mind?”

He took a sip of coffee and held up a hand. With the other he lifted one finger at a time with an ongoing commentary,

  1. That night you didn’t try to hide how to do it. You literally revealed all.
  2. I watched you use it in multiple networking situations. Each time it sounded like you just came up with it.
  3. When you trained my partners to do it our close rate doubled.
  4. You never let me down when I referred you.
  5. Over the ten years I’ve known you, you do exactly what you say you will do when you introduce yourself. What’s not to trust?

I, of course, thanked him profusely.

Are you trusted?

Think about how you are perceived by contacts and colleagues, prospects and purchasers.

Your livelihood is dependent on whether people believe in you or not.

Paying the rent is dependent on how your boss, your client or your customer perceives you.

The faith that people put in you, your brand, if you will, makes all the difference.

You need to guard that assessment of your value. Here’s how:

  • Be accountable for all your actions.
  • Do everything you do with integrity
  • Strive to be consistent
  • Build credibility by doing all those things

Then you will be trusted. If you don’t it will be brutal.

Trust will make you a candidate for Credibility to Cash. To learn more let me know in the comments.

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 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 Pillow Talk

If you’re lucky.

Not everyone has a partner outside the business they can talk to candidly about how it is going. For the majority of consultants who are solopreneurs the only chance they have is when they are comfortably esconced in bed with that special person. If married the mate can be the sounding board. In a long term relationship you can share with the one you’re with.

Triumphs and tragedies

The need to share the triumphs and the tragedies can grab hold of you at any time. The desire to take someone else along on the journey can be overwhelming.  We don’t want to be alone.  Our egos are always looking for praise. That causes problems.

Hitches, glitches and snags

  1. The loner brain dump       This occurs when an expert consultant happens to be a solo in her/his practice, home life and social life.  The need to vent or share a victory builds up until without warning the brain dump begins. It can ruin a date or dinner with friends or a special occasion like a wedding. If the one unloading their latest client experience is lucky they will be considered merely offensive.
  2. The honey pot         If you are into spy fiction or reality this one is obvious. In order to perform industrial espionage a person of the consultant’s sexual partner preference is introduced. They practice their sexual wiles on the unwitting counselor becoming the willing listener to all the woes, trials tribulations and triumphs in order to get the secret to the client’s success. It ain’t pretty but it has been working for eons. The more solo the consultant the more effective this approach can be.
  3. The one for the road         Our ill-fated expert advisor puts a real hitch into his or her git-a-long by agreeing to just one more drink before heading off to a well-deserved rest. After that conviviality she or he “opens up” and the next thing you know a trademarked process is drawn and annotated on the closest napkin. It happens. And the worst part is our guide may not recall blurting out the methodology or special ingredient or whatever secret should have remained so.
  4. Another Client’s shoulder           This is possibly the worst. The need to share engages when our erstwhile expert is engaged with another client. It doesn’t matter whether the information being shared is positive, negative, secret or common knowledge. The problem is the effect on the client receiving the remarks. How would you feel about someone sharing private information with you? Would you be concerned about what you have provided the consultant in confidence?
  5. Ego boosting events         These can take on many guises. The common denominator is the combination of public attention and a bit of ego massage. For instance, the interviewer in a pod cast asks how you accomplished a turnaround for a client or what process was used to save multiple clients. You overlook confidentiality because it feels good. It feels good when a reporter seem intrigued by your answer so you add more details. A national outlet calls you to get confirmation for a story they are working on but you go further than a yes or no in your answer.  You see the public aspect as good advertising and your ego appreciates being preened so you stick around to get groomed a little more.

Forewarned is forearmed

Some of us are inherently close mouthed, have solid ethics and just cannot comprehend behaving in such a way. But not all of us. That’s why the Institute of Management Consultants (IMC) has a 15 point code of ethics.

This discussion deals with item 5.0 which is:

I will treat appropriately all confidential client information that is not public knowledge, take reasonable steps to prevent it from access by unauthorized people, and will not take advantage of proprietary or privileged information, either for use by myself, the client’s firm, or another client, without the client’s permission.

Notice that it provides you with a way to be able to share the data with client permission.

Here are some ways you can make that wok to everyone’s advantage:

  • Joint presentation at an industry event.
  • Joint appearance on a panel at a conference
  • Joint interview by a media outlet
  • Publish a case history or success story approved by the client
  • Record a video testimonial from your client and put it on your website
  • Invite your client to lunch with a prospect and allow him/her to present the particulars of the engagement.
  • Make that client’s story an approved part of your next book

Losses count, too.

And don’t forget the losses. Many times those are just as important as the wins. When a client demands a process or procedure or approach you know won’t work based on your experience it is a significantly more powerful argument to try another way if you can cite an example that refutes the prospects preference.

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 Trust Factor

I’ve been asked to speak on Trust 4 times between now and the end of April.

I’ll be sharing information that has remained timeless along with research findings being updated now.

A Fortune Cookie

I speak on Trust because of a Fortune Cookie. After a successful morning presentation, the promoter and I decided to have lunch at a Chinese restaurant nearby. After the meal they brough us fortune cookies.

My fortune was: “The wise man knows everything, the shrewd one, everyone.”

Michael pushed his glasses down his nose. Looked over them and said, “That’s good as far as it goes.”

I’ve never forgotten his next words:

“What you know is important, who you know can make a difference…but the single most important thing in building a business is who trusts you.”

Who do you trust?

Like many business owners you immediately think of your professional advisors:

  • Accountant
  • Attorney
  • Bookkeeper

Like Michael said, “That’s good as far as it goes.” But like so many things it shows that we are oriented to who we trust rather than who trusts us. It’s natural. It’s human. But it is not the foundation of your business.

Who trusts you?

Over the years, I’ve found that there are four folks that must trust you in order for you to be successful. Here they are in order of importance in the New Normal.

  1. Yourself. Second guessing yourself all the time will get you nowhere. Listening to that little voice that whispers doubt in your ear will keep you from getting things done. Trust yourself to figure things out. Trust yourself to make a plan. Trust yourself to take action.
  2. Your Team. If you’re a manager that means both the management team you are a part of and your direct reports. Not a manager? It is the group of folks you work with all the time which may or may not be designated as a team. Your team includes all the folks that get credit when the job is done, the objective reached, or the product is delivered.
  3. Your Company.  Own it? Trust is essential. Just a hired hand? Trust improves outcomes. Trust lowers your stress and makes you more productive. (Stay tuned for hard numbers)
  4. Your Customer. No business can succeed without customer trust. That is true whether the business is a product, a service or a combination of the two. Customers will go the extra mile for you event to the point of not purchasing a competitive product to wait for yours with the same capabilities. 

In today’s world of social media positive comments can maintain a reputation over time. Customer trust can give a company momentum like never before. Public reviews can turn an unknown organization into a rising star overnight.

Business Trust Statistics

85% of Americans are likely to stick with a business during a brand crisis if it has a history of being transparent.

67% Agree, “A good reputation may get me to try a product, but unless I come to trust the company behind the product, I will stop buying it.”

64% of consumers globally are belief driven buyers. This means they are willing to buy or boycott a brand because of its position on social or political issues.

The bottom line.

I was fortunate enough to meet Tony Simons of Cornell University just as his book, The Integrity Dividend was being published. In it he describes how he conducted interviews with the staff at 76 different locations of a hotel chain. Tony had the staff rate managers on six different trust factors. He found that where managers were rated highest the increase in revenue was $250,000 a year. 

The oxytocin kicker.

Paul Zak, Neuroscientist, is the author of Trust Factor: The Science of Creating High-Performance Companies. He identified these eight key management behaviors that stimulate Oxytocin production and generate Trust:

  1. Recognize Excellence
  2. Induce “challenge stress” to intensify focus and strengthen social connections
  3. Give people discretion in how they do their work. After they are trained, allow them to execute projects in their own way.
  4. Enable job crafting (choice of projects by the employee)
  5. Share information broadly (corporate goals, strategies and tactics)
  6. Intentionally build relationships (for everyone involved)
  7. Facilitate whole person growth
  8. Show vulnerability (asking for help is the sign of a secure leader)

High trust versus low trust

Here’s what Zak and his researchers found:

Work performance High=106% more energy 76% more engaged 50% more productive

Loyalty High= 50% more will stay a year, 88% more recommend as a place to work

Job Satisfaction High= 60% more enjoyed job, 70% more were aligned with the company purpose 40% less burnout reported

Overall, high trust companies have employees that are more productive and innovative.

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 Doveryay no Proveryay

Jim sent a link.

I was for an article in the New York Times. In it the writer, Bret Stephens summed up his concerns under this headline: Donald Trump and the Damage Done

The key

As Mr Stephens put it, “Trump was a corrosive. What he mainly corroded was social trust — the most important element in any successful society.” Near the end of the article he noted why Trust was his choice in explaining his views. He quoted from an article written by Statesman George Shultz published in the Washington Post on the occasion of his 100th birthday:

 “When trust was in the room, whatever room that was — the family room, the schoolroom, the locker room, the office room, the government room or the military room — good things happened. When trust was not in the room, good things did not happen. Everything else is details.”

Consider that simple but powerful observation from a Marine who came back from the Pacific theater and served in 4 different cabinet posts for three US presidents.

Trust is the coin of the realm

Not my words. His. An elegant summary to a century of observation:

  • As a child he came from a loving home where Trust was a constant.
    Did you learn Trust at your parents’ knees?
  • As a Marine he lost the man he trusted with his life, his sergeant. Those of us who have served know the bonds of battle. Like George they inform our views for the rest of our lives.
  • As a graduate student he observed how a union negotiator could get labor and management on the same page by building Trust. Have you thought about how giving a little, seeing the other sides perspective, trusting just a little can make great things happen?
  • Throughout his career in government he saw that genuine empathy is essential in establishing solid, trusting relationships. Can you get into the other side’s mindset? Can you make them understand that you, too, have experienced events that are like theirs?
  • As Secretary Of State he was responsible for the treaty with Russia helping eliminate intermediate-range Nuclear weapons. He gave the credit for that to President Reagan noting that the President had nurtured a trusting relationship with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev and that Reagan’s approach: Trust but Verify increased trust and in doing so made verification easier.

Doveryay, no proveryay

That is Trust but Verify in Russian. It seems that it is an old Russian maxim which President Reagan discovered in conversation with Mr. Gorbachev. They chuckled over this application of Russian words expressed by an American President (with apologies for his pronunciation) when they were signing the treaty.

Trust is the coin of the realm.

With Trust we can conquer anything. My hope is that in the coming year we can use Trust to:

  • Eliminate Covid 19 across the earth
  • Stop the insidious growth of fascism and replace it with democracy
  • Craft a cure for racism, establish equal justice and the rule of law

Tell the story

Trust doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Telling a story helps make your case in a way that no abstraction can: A story builds an emotional bond, and emotional bonds build trust.

Craft your story to build trust carefully. Make sure if is from your heart. People can tell if you are trying to fool them because it is human nature to Trust but Verify.

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