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

Consultant Marketing Brand Building

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Andy asked me to sit in on his Brand Marketing Summit over the weekend in Los Angeles.

As one participant summed it up:

“This was a successful young guy translating traditional branding for Millenials.”

I can verify that.

I was one of the “Mad Men” working in advertising in New York in the 1960s when branding first surfaced in the national lexicon. Trout and Reis would later coin the phrase Positioning that came at it from a different direction. They wrote several books on the subject.

No matter what you call it, the masters of advertising in that halcyon era preached the gospel of differentiation to make companies, products and services stand out from the crowd.

Everything new is old again

No, I didn’t mistype that. Here’s the model presented in the workshop.

Although the process from discovery to sale is presented here in the form of a funnel it harks back to all the theories of how mass advertising works developed before there was Daarpa’s darling daughter, the Internet.

Those were simpler times

Back then the big kahuna of awareness was TV. Everybody wanted to be number one in the consumer mass market. You could buy TV time on networks (there were only three!) or locally. So, Tony the Tiger told kids about Frosted Flakes on the network kid shows while Jack’s Autobody told adults who to call about that fender bender.

There were business magazines and consumer magazines, not to mention Radio and Direct Mail and Outdoor.

Attraction, in the day, came to be called preference. What that meant was that of the brands available you, the customer, liked one better than another.

Brands we knew incorporated Appreciation, Respect, Credibility and Certainty in Awareness and Preference. Throughout the heartland of the USA whole towns were dominated by Chevy or Ford. You would be considered a traitor if you bought the other brand. Coke was the champ. Pepsi was the challenger. That Mean Joe Greene commercial for Coke ran in 1979.

That was the way it was for about thirty years (1960 to 1990). The funny thing is we’re being told that mass market awareness is the key to sales success in today’s world. Unfortunately, most of us can’t afford a local TV commercial much less enough network spots to begin to build awareness.

Not to worry, the internet proponents say.

The internet is under 30. Social media are teenagers.

The world wide web did not exist until 1992. Google, founded in 1998, might be considered a very young adult. Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are all teenagers. Yet, social media is being promoted as the new way to achieve mass market awareness.

Notoriety can be achieved but individuals pay more in time and personal space than many are willing to give up. You can generate mass market awareness. Here’s what it takes:

  1. Have a memorable “hook,” a way that people can put your name and a relevant word picture of you in their mind when you introduce yourself in person, in print and on-line.
  2. Use their words to speak to their problems. Forget those fifty cent words you want to use to impress. Speak simply in the words they use to talk about why they need help. Their words are appreciated because you show respect when you use them.
  3. Use your client’s experiences to tell them what you can do. Your credibility goes up when someone else speaks for you. Concrete examples of the outcomes you and a client have achieved will move a prospect one step closer to engaging you.
  4. Stick to your value proposition. One. Do not try to shift your approach for each audience and individual. Consistency is what builds trust. Be honest, direct and tell the story the same way every time.
  5. Be in as many places as you can particularly the ones that your clients may also frequent. Mass market awareness should always begin with the places you might find an ideal client and go on from there.

The attention span of a goldfish.

Microsoft apparently did the research to verify that the human attention span these days without additional stimuli is that long (8 seconds).

There are additional studies that tell us that you have just 3 seconds to get remembered when you meet someone in person, in print or on-line. Just 3 seconds.

To begin a relationship that might end in a sale you need the right words.

The right words is why 30-Second Marketing TM works.

You think through the conversation before it happens so you can find the right words.

You don’t have to come up with something on the fly.

Connect

You can truly connect with people by using the right words.

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 prospect or referral sources

The right words…can establish a brand in the time it takes to speak them

Find your right words.

View this video: https://vimeo.com/393362328/97e414e6a6

Then call me.


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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 Baggage

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In an hour or so I’m headed for the airport.

Packed this morning.

The usual. Essential electronic components in a computer sized wheeled carry-on and a small, good for up to three days, carry on case.

Packing is a matter of minutes for me these days. There is a mental checklist firmly in place right down to managing the pharmacy that comes along with age.

That checklist thing got me to thinking.

All of us have baggage.

There are two kinds:

  • The layers of detritus that we squirrel away in our homes and offices
  • The layers of mental mothballing we engage in

Each connects with the other in ways that must be put under a microscope to even begin to fathom. Some of it is good. Some bad. Part is positive mirrored by negative. Every element clings to us. Each is a small component of our experiences both in physical and psychic space.

No two of us is alike.

Your baggage is different from mine and from everyone else’s. Sure, there are similarities. The physical stuff tends to be analyzed on a community level. The stuff in our heads is, to me, more intriguing. And, it may be more malleable than we think.

There is no operating manual.

As much as we hear about brain studies and research on what goes on when a stimuli impinges on one of our senses there is still no definitive repeatable system for controlling what we take in, store and carry around with us. It is not like the physical bags we lug aboard an aircraft. We can’t change them at will. In fact, it takes a great deal of commitment to make a change, any change. We don’t need research to tell us how difficult stopping patterns of behavior can be. Dieting ain’t easy. Starting an exercise regimen is difficult. Giving up addictions requires help.

Problem solving help

People claim to want this. And, that is why Consultants, Coaches, Head Doctors and Healers of all kinds can make a living. That is their job. Each of us knows, deep down that at some point we need help either because we have no experience with the problem to be solved or we’ve come up against a bit of our own baggage that is blocking our way forward.

Regardless of the reason we tend to spin up like a kid’s whirligig if the concern is allowed to get hold of our ego.Therein lies the dilemma. We need to allow ourselves to accept assistance but we want to believe we can handle just about anything on our own. Or we listen to that little voice that whispers in our ear that we’re just not good enough to do anything. And sometimes we do both at the same time!

On your own.

You might be surprised at how far you can go on your own. Yes, this is advice from a consultant but you have to execute and you have to judge the results and you have to do it alone. Here are some things that have proven to work for me, my clients and coaches I know

Challenge your assumptions. You may not even know you are making them. When you are having an interior monologue about a problem or concern you are addressing, watch for comments like:

“that won’t work because…”

There’s no evidence that…”

“I don’t have enough time to implement an approach like that since…”

Consider the opposite For example, most people think about brand as some mystical identity that only a big budget and a lot of time can generate. What if you thought of it as something accomplished one individual at a time. Would that change how you think about becoming memorable, trusted and branded? Would it give you a reason to go a step further and become unforgettable.

Add some baggage. I know that sounds counterintuitive but often our baggage is just the empty bags that we have assembled over time. So open your mind. Read from sources that provide proofs. Look at research. Talk to people that have been there, done that and maybe originated the T-shirt. In other words get some experience vicariously.

Success is changing thought patterns

A consultant can’t be considered successful unless and until they manage to change the thought and behavior patterns of clients. That is what changes outcomes. That is what gets expected results. That is the way to become Unforgettable.

But it is not enough to make you Legendary. That takes another level of commitment, skill and desire. You must find a way to help the client learn to think differently. Your mission is to bring out the talent hidden in every entrepreneur, every business founder and every successful business owner that wants to take their company, staff, clients and themselves up a notch.Your mission whether or not you choose to accept it.

And so it goes.

______________________________________________________________________________

Jerry Fletcher is a master of consultant marketing, a sought-after International Speaker, and a  beBee ambassador.

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for crafting unique trust-based marketing strategies that build businesses, brands and lives of joy.

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

Consultant Marketing It’s Not the App

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I’ve been doing testimonial videos for a client this week.

I’m not a video production expert. My equipment is rudimentary. I use Camtasia to edit. But the quality is sufficient for web sites and the candor I can evoke in the interviewee comes across powerfully because it is not puffery.

My interest is in what they have to say.

The questions I ask are about the concerns they had before and after engaging with the coaches and consultants I work with. I delve into their feelings before, during and after the engagement. I query for concrete results and outcomes.

Their actions speak louder than their words.

One thing comes through in all the interviews I’ve done over the last couple of years. Every single successful entrepreneur, CEO, President and corporate officer turned their phones off for the taping without being asked to do so.

I asked why.

The answer was that they did not want to be interrupted and that the phone simply being on could impede their concentration. Simply being on.

Their success speaks volumes.

These are men and women who recognize the focus a coach or consultant can help bring to their operations. They understand that clarity is the key to taking their organization up a notch and that human interactions are the fundamental driver of business success. 

They are not tied to technology other that to use it as a tool.

They are not addicted to their cell phones.  

They turn them off in order to concentrate.

Several of them noted that they have kept older, land line phone service so that an assistant can handle calls. They tell very few people their direct line.

Rapport generates honesty

Asking questions about both the emotional and literal results of working with someone tends to build rapport between the questioner and the respondent. Often that allows me to get honest answers to infrequently asked questions.

Ever ask someone why they are successful?

It started out as conversation to maintain the rapport while I broke down the video equipment, reclaimed the lapel mike and bundled everything into an old Case Logic video transport that I’ve converted for making sure I have all the gear in one place

Now it has become a standard operating procedure. These days I ask it in many ways:

  • Is there some reason you believe your business is successful?
  • What one thing do you think is why your company is doing well?
  • Does technology make you successful or something else?

Technology is just a tool

Founders of small companies, owners and managers of mid-size companies, C-suite officers both product and service companies agree. Technology is not the reason they are successful. Using it when a competitor doesn’t sometimes gives you an edge. But, by the time it is affordable for smaller companies, the idea of disrupting an industry or even competition in a geographic area just isn’t going to happen. That is their assessment, not mine.

“You do well when you do it good”

He wasn’t the kind of CEO that is dressed for success. His jacket was casually thrown over a side chair. He did the video interview in shirt sleeves with his tie askew saying, “Anybody who knows me wouldn’t believe me if I got all gussied up, and folks like me wouldn’t either.” 

When I asked why he thought his company was doing well he said, “This business is not rocket science. We’re distributors. We take orders on the phone and now online and we transport the product to your location. In this kind of business you do well when you do it good. There are two other companies that can handle your business around here. We have a reputation for doing what we say we are going to do. Been that way since I was drivin’ the only truck we had. Everybody that works here from the gal on the front desk to the mechanics that keep our rigs runnin’ gets it. We tell our customers we’ll get them what they need when then need it.

We keep our promises.”

Out of the mouths of babes

She was a definitely not a slouch. My client had told me about her MBA and how she had climbed the ranks in the financial industry and figured out a specialty service she could start with limited capital. She looked every bit the successful entrepreneur as she finished a phone call and gestured to a seat across from her desk. She put down the phone, clipped an earring back on her ear and asked if seated at her desk was okay for the video.

In the interview she was completely candid noting that she was working on her management skills as her organization had gone from zero to 7 figures in a year and was at the point where she was going to have to start handing off both responsibility and authority.

I asked, “Why do you think you are so successful?” Her response surprised me:

“A few years ago I thought I had it all figured out. I was the top producer in my firm, on the management track with a rosy future. But then the firm was sold. I hadn’t seen it coming. I’d gotten complacent. So I decided that the only sure thing was something I controlled. I’d had an inkling about this service but not the guts to go for it. Even faced with an uncertain future I wasn’t sure. I asked my pre-teen daughter if she would be worried if I started a business.

My darling daughter said, Go for it Mom. Try it. You always tell me to never stop learning. Since I opened the doors I’ve followed her advice. I hired your client to help me with leadership skills. I got what I paid for. We use a lot of technology but that keeps changing and I have to make sure my people are willing to keep learning. Knowing more about the law and how to run the numbers to our client’s advantage is what keeps us ahead of the curve. They trust us to know it better… to never stop learning. That’s why we’re successful.

Success is a matter of trust.

Trust in your judgement.

Trust in your staff

Trust in your customers

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 in the Beginning

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I was interviewed on a Podcast last night.

I had approached the interviewer because of a post she had put in a group I’d been asked to join on Facebook. Usually I don’t engage on that platform but there she was, right up front when I clicked a link to the group.

We had chatted briefly on the phone, set a date for the interview and she said she would send me all the particulars.

When she called a little after dinner she was concerned that I had not responded to her e-mail.

I immediately searched my e-mail files and found zip, nada, nothing. She did the same and discovered that it was in her draft folder and had not been sent!

She asked if I could talk now to record her blog.

I said, “Certainly.”

She clarified a few points and then proceeded with the introduction.

Our connection is an event promoter who is launching a nationwide tour in March. I’ll be one of two keynoters in San Diego in November. He wanted me to keynote in multiple cities in the west but I no longer get a kick out of being in an all-day event, flying at night to the next city and doing it all again the next day. So I passed on Phoenix and Las Vegas.

Then I was asked to introduce myself.

Here’s what I said:

“My name is Jerry Fletcher, I’m a master of consultant marketing. You know how everybody tells you that you have to have to be memorable but nobody tells you how to do it? Well what I do is help consultants, coaches and entrepreneurs craft a unique trust-based marketing strategy to build a business, a brand and a life of joy.”

Memorable? She asked

“You have three seconds to use words face-to-face or on-line to get someone’s attention. Three seconds to say something or register or a strong headline to get through the armor we all have on our minds to open the way to further conversation. In the next ten seconds you must give them a reason to want to talk to you.

A commercial is not going to get it. People would rather have a conversation than listen to a commercial.”

Nobody is legendary right out of the box.

What you say in that first three seconds must give them a way to recall you. It should include your name and a memorable hook. That is the beginning of what I call 30-Second Marketing TM. Over time you will move through a series of steps that bring you closer and closer to that client/customer. Here’s the progression:

Memorable

            Trusted

                        Branded

                                    Employed

                                                Unforgettable

And for a few elites: Legendary

For her, it is the beginning.

Her questions revealed that she is moving from a full-time job in healthcare to coaching. She is fired up. She has taken the training and is now certified but like all indpendent professionals, consultants, coaches and solopreneurs she is having difficulties figuring out how to market her services.

I explained that the marketing that works in the beginning is not the same as she will use as her business grows and will change yet again when she is established. Of course, I have the benefit of the consultant marketing research studies I’ve done over the last 16 years.

Companies are built one contact at a time.

One gem of a contact plus another and yet another until you have a string of them like a lustrous string of pearls. In time, with trust some become clients, some become referral sources and some become both. Networking will always be a part of the successful firm’s marketing strategy. It will diminish in relative importance over time but will always be there. Along with direct sales activities, no matter what the business entails it is what the new entrepreneur must count on in order to pay the bills.

Speaking puts more targets in your sights.

I didn’t discover this fact of life. L learned about it by interviewing a consultant that had authored a book. Because of her I signed up for a newly formed group that I helped become the local chapter of the National Speakers Association. I’ve been a professional member of the National and the Local since 1993

If you have a process or viewpoint that can help solve a problem for individuals you can take that same information and build it into a speech crafted with signature stories and incidents along with content that will change the lives of  those in the audience. In doing so you will generate memorability, trust and brand. You will bring a part of that audience to the point that they want to work with you. You will be able to close the deal to work with them. And, assuming you deliver as promised, you will make yourself unforgettable.

Walk away from the podium.

Get your first appearances in places like your local Rotary. You won’t get paid by them or other small local groups that would like to hear your message. That is okay. You will need the practice and to learn what people really want to hear.

Slowly but surely you will develop the skill to speak without notes and to roam a stage finding positions that will help you make your point. Later when you are pursuing an appearance at a larger organization you will be asked, “What is your fee?” It will happen and from that day on you will be a professional speaker. Just remember, “It’s not about you. It’s about them.” Make sure your audiences always leave with information they can put to work immediately and that you have a way to continue the relationship.

Between those who come up to speak with you when you finish and those that provide you with their contact information your business and your referrals will continue to grow.

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 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