Had too many e-mails prescribing the tactics you should use next year to fill your marketing funnel/pipeline/sales telegraph.
What you need to do is what works for you.
There is no reason to change because some self-proclaimed expert is pitching what they believe is trendy. It is better to heed your own council and to do what serves your strategy.
State our strategy and keep track of your successes and your failures.
Write down the instruments you are using
Note the clients that came to you from each and their value.
Analyze the pattern and then delve into the specifics of the most successful.
That is part of what we compile in our Annual Consultant Marketing Survey for the industry. The study results are useful for Consultants, Coaches and Independent Professionals in all industries.
Trust is the single most important component of all Consultant Marketing.
That was true in our first survey and proven again in the 2021 survey. Greater intimacy in their business development process allowed older firms to stay in business and increase their market share in 2021.
Overall, those that have stayed in business are resilient.
About 60% of firms noted increases in business due to shifts in marketing strategy. Greater intimacy in their business development process allowed older firms to stay in business and increase their market share
Referrals Continue to be the marketing mainstay of successful consultancies. Referral marketing increased in 2021. Networking and Direct sales both more than doubled in use over 2020 while internet marketing declined by about a third.
The most successful consultants concentrated their marketing efforts in the areas that provided the most contact with clients and prospects.
It works. It is the way from Credibility to Cash TM.
Just publishing on a host of social media platforms on a regular basis can make you more memorable.
Being consistent in one area of expertise can make you remarkable.
Delivering content in a unique way can make you outstanding.
Pick and Choose
You can’t be everywhere. You wouldn’t have time for the work that pays the bills. Your best bet is to find a way to use the same content across a range of social media. Working with my Virtual Assistant and some scheduling software we can post daily on Linked In, Twitter, FaceBook, Instagram and Pinterest.
The formats we use are video, quotes, questions and lists all of which direct people to my blog site. We chose to use similar formats plus PDF carousels posted manually for the introduction of ProBrandr that allows you to inject your brand into your Linked In profile in just one evening.
Anyone can post in social media. The trick is to build up a following by displaying your expertise in a way that is different from everyone else. Here are three examples drawn from my work with elite consultants.
Leadership myths started out as a chapter in a book written by my client Jim Grew. When Jim was doing the usual round of radio, TV and podcast interviews to promote the book he noted that every interviewer and their audience was interested in the Myths, the short lessons on leadership.
We agreed to translate them into a series of weekly videos with a standard open and close with music. Jim looked straight into the camera and challenged viewers perceptions. Here is a link to Myth 149 When Jim semi-retired in January, 2022 there were north of 155 myths in the can.
Handwritten Economists Insights are the best way I can describe Bill Conerly’s regular reports to clients and prospects. Bill can handle well written approaches to the economy both overall and by sector as he is a regular contributor to Forbes.
He is best known for his abbreviated reports that feature short handwritten notes on the charts and graphs published by the US government. Take a look at his website to see examples scrolling up the home page.
At the Whiteboard In talking about an upcoming speech to be delivered virtually, my client, Frank McShane mentioned that he would prefer using a white board to illustrate his talk instead of using Power Point slides. His rationale was that he often used the technique in client presentations with great success.
His 30 minute presentation sparked a Q&A session nearly as long and almost a third of it was commentary on his choice of medium to make his points. We have built the standard open and close and selected the music for a video series called At the Whiteboard. View one of our tests here.
How are you going to be more memorable?
These are just three ways that consultants have found to go from Credibility to Cash. is there something in how you operate than can make you stand out from the crowd?
Recently, while developing my product called Brandr I realized that most folks don’t understand that Brand has three time components: Now, Later and Long term.
Now, the Short term
This is the part of branding known as brand Identity. It is made up of:
Although it contains visual and verbal elements It may also include other sensory triggers like a sound or a smell a color or a touch. Some examples:
The sound of a Coke being poured into a glass over ice.
The smell of Cinnabuns in a shopping mall
The green of Frog tape.
The way OXO kitchen gadgets fit the hand.
You can take all that in and build a memory in 3 to 5 seconds. Of course, that is literally all the time you have in today’s world. After that your target has moved on from your landing page or your self-introduction.
So much for Now
Later and long term are an entirely different story. Your brand is less about identity and more about the product or service. The way you and your company deal with customers or clients is key. It is less about what you do and more about how and why.
Our human brains naturally parse things into three categories:
What you do
How you do it
Why you do it.
The most important of these is why.
Why operates at the emotional level down in the oldest part of the brain where all decisions are made. That part of your mind is not verbally oriented and in fact does not understand words. It is attuned to feelings., That’s why when you can’t make a decision you will often say, “It just doesn’t feel right.”
This is where empathy resides and the basis for Trust. Logic doesn’t live here. To a great extent each of us have the ability to determine if our why matches up with, complements or is opposed to others. When we are compatible it leads to great teamwork, Trust and long-term acceptance.,
How is your process.
How is the way you get things done. If you are a coach active listening may be critical. Consultants need to know how to analyze problems in ways that point toward solutions. Experts need to demonstrate their knowledge in understandable ways.
Your how needs to combine both visual and verbal memory builders. One of my clients uses a white board to explain his knowledge of the complexities of Supply Chain in ways that make it understandable. Another is the repair person that dons booties over their shoes when they enter your home. Or the computer technician that makes sure your view of operations on the computer doesn’t change while explaining what she is doing step by step.
What do you do?
That question demands an answer in words and is the one we ask first in most cases. Words that paint a picture will serve you best. That’s because we are visually oriented. The letters in our languages are evolved from pictographs and carry some hidden visual meaning in most cases. That’s why we prefer stories to lists and videos to step by step directions
Credibility to Cash
Combining Visual and Verbal in the Now , Later and Long Term will allow you to build an enduring brand.
Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, a BeeKonnected ambasador,founder as well as founder and CEO of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. See Jerry’s speaker demo reel.
His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for on and off-line Trust-based Consultant Marketing advice that builds businesses, brands and lives of joy.
Credibility to Cash TM is his latest way to share experiences so you can take your business up a notch…or two.
You just don’t wake up one day and decide to change the name of key communications tools that have become familiar to those you have built relationships over time.
The day inevitably comes.
You think about it. Sleep on it. Have long dialogues within between the emotional aspect and the quiet logical voice. That conversation is one each of us must go through even though we know how it is going to come out.
Gut feeling beats the hell out of logic. Emotion is a body blow to logic. Mood stymies reason. And so it goes.
The decision is made.
Going Forward, the Newslog is going to be called Credibility to Cash.
Why? Because the first time I saw the words written on a torn-out scrap of notebook paper I knew they were right. The right words don’t need graphic embellishment. They don’t need to be presented in new world announcement typography. When they are right, they are RIGHT.
I was in Miami at a gathering of successful speakers, coaches and entrepreneurs. All of us were intent on helping each other find ways to shake off our doldrums and take our businesses up a notch. It’s not like there were any slouches in the group. We would not have been invited if that were the case.
I had scheduled a few minutes with Jeff. His unique ability is in naming things. We talked briefly about what I was doing in my Consulting practice working with elite consultants from Singapore to Madrid to make them more memorable and more profitable. He listened, really listened and then said, “So you guide them to find a way to build credibility and that leads to generating more cash, right?”
I agreed and then he tore a piece of paper from a small notebook and wrote these words in blue ink at the bottom of the page:
Credibility to Cash Conversion Cycle
Credibility to Cash Conversation
I circled Credibility to Cash in red and put it in the 3-ring binder I was carrying keeping notes at that multi-day event. That was late in May of 2021.Now I find myself at the end of the year and just getting around to implementing actions considered when the year was stretching spring-time muscles.
A name is sometimes just a beginning
That’s not to say nothing has been done. I put together a 90-day plan but it was not the one the seminar leader was driving us toward. The objective was to be a complete overhaul of the business shifting to a more powerful approach generating significant new income levels.
My 90 day plan had a physical health component as well as long term scheduling component I had to deal with. The physical component was knee replacement surgery. I came home with a newly strengthened desire to get it done and by fall proceeded to go through all the hoops to get it paid for by insurance. Unfortunately, Covid has filled the hospitals and my surgery ahs now been delayed three times.
Long term scheduling is a delight and a devilment. It is great to know you’re scheduled to speak somewhere and all the details have been taken care of, the flight, transfers, hotels. All that stuff. But Even if you are speaking virtually you need to do all the prep and continue your work with current clients.
I knew what I was going to be doing for 5 months after returning from Miami. So I squeezed what I could into my schedule. I checked off these actions in getting here to the holidays:
Logo design (Cristy did a magnificent job)
Logo design for transition (You’ll be seeing it next week)
Research on building, running and making a peer advisory group profitable for all who are involved
Action plan for shifting Blogs and Newslogs from A Different Slant to Credibility to Cash
Development of Brandr, a product that makes it simple and easy for consultants to add their brand to their Linked In Profile in an evening incorporating their WHY.os
We are well down the road from Credibility to Cash.
You decided to put your consulting career on the front burner. You decided that it is time to make that side hustle your full-time job.
You need to think about two things that will make or break you. I’ll bet neither have managed to tap you on the shoulder so far. If you’re like most, you are too excited by the potential in front of you to consider these factors. Those important items that are eluding you are:
Before you marshal your arguments, listen to my tale of woe.
The crew you work with was probably assigned to you. Or, rather, you were assigned to it. As your career progressed you were moved from team to team. You may have decided to change companies but once again you were assigned to a team. With experience you were moved more and more into leadership but seldom if ever did you select the people on your team. At best you took on the responsibility of selecting individuals from within the organization to put into teams.
Now you are engaged in building a company. Any business coach or attorney will tell you that you need to have a business entity. No matter what form of business you decide on and no matter what title you assume, you, for the first time possibly, will be the one calling the shots. You will Have to think about teams differently.
Solos don’t have teams
That was my contention until a client pointed out that I had a group of suppliers that I worked with all the time. We were comfortable handling projects together, each of us doing what was needed, each connecting seamlessly to get things done, each a solid member of the unit that wasn’t formal but still functioned by any measure as a team.
Even then I still held that the best thinking came from individuals not teams. I cited all the geniuses of the arts and some of the discoveries in the sciences as “obvious examples”.
Not long after that I was trying to convince the man who has now been a client for a decade that moving from doing turnarounds as a CEO or COO to Leadership and Management Consulting was significantly different and that he did not have a team in place to handle the shift.
Teams can trump persuasion.
I pointed out that That when you have C-suit initials as your title, employees have to follow your orders. They may resist, citing long standing team approaches, but long term they must acquiesce. As a consultant you don’t have that power. You have to convince, persuade, cajole and sway them in any way you can to be effective. And the team you have in place whether they work for you full time or on a 1099 can and will impact your efficiency.
Nobody can do it all alone.
At least not the ones I’ve come across. That was a hard lesson. It took me over 20 years to figure it out. And I was still left with a hole in my knowledge of how to select, build and lead teams starting from scratch. Like a lot of people I searched for answers. I had worried my way through just about every assessment tool you can imagine starting as a beta tester on an early one back when I worked in Denver.
Technology wasn’t the answer.
There were a couple problems with the assessments:
The person you were evaluating had to take the assessment for you to get any kind of real fix on them.
The training requires that you use the labels assigned by the assessment on a daily continuing basis to use it to your greatest advantage.
I found very quickly that I had to become some sort of new millennium astrologer to begin to get any use out of all the time I’d put in studying the assessments. Unfortunately my Mars in retrograde got wrapped around the axle of the conflicting moons and I found myself fizzling out dodging detritus circling Saturn even if I had the code for a people connection.
Maybe their Why is the answer.
I learned of a new piece of Software the other day. It is called the WHYos and will introduce on November 15. I went to the WhyTechnology website to learn more. I tried the free trial and in a matter of minutes was rewarded with the assessment’s view of my Why.
“Why” is associated with Simon Sinek.
He wrote a book called Start with Why back in 2009. He may be better known for a TED talk which can be seen here. He made the world cognizant of what made some individuals and organizations stand out from others. Because of Simon Sinek, a dentist in Texas began searching for software that would allow him to optimize his why.
Dr. Gary Sanchez’s WHY is to find a better way and share it. HOW he does that is by making things clear and easy to understand. WHAT he brings is simple solutions to help people move forward. He and his Team have worked with hundreds of thousands of individuals, as well as thousands of companies from small yoga studios to Fortune 500 Companies helping them get clear, stand out and play bigger.
I didn’t know I was looking for that piece of software.
But I was.
I didn’t realize what a difference it could make.
Now I do. I tested it.
I was never quite sure what drew me to trying to find a better way in everything I do.
Now I understand.
Why.os is changing my life.
It will change my product launching December 15 called Linked In Brandr which guides you step-by-step to inject brand into your Linked In profile in just one evening. It will make it possible to base your brand on your why. The product was good before. Now it is great.
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,
That night you didn’t try to hide how to do it. You literally revealed all.
I watched you use it in multiple networking situations. Each time it sounded like you just came up with it.
When you trained my partners to do it our close rate doubled.
You never let me down when I referred you.
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.
The premise of every assessment I’ve ever seen is that you want to be analyzed so as to know yourself better and thereby:
Be able to build on your strengths
Overcome your weaknesses by knowing them
Build your mental toughness
Instill confidence and fit into the team better
Be more productive without sacrificing relationships
Harvard Business Review reports: “Recent research shows that about 76% of organizations with more than 100 employees rely on assessment tools such as aptitude and personality tests for external hiring. That figure is expected to climb to 88% over the next few years.”
This ain’t new
Humans have always wanted a way to predict behavior. One of those methods is available daily. Here’s part of the overall description it has for me.
Passionate, motivated, and confident leader who builds community with their cheerful disposition and relentless determination. Uncomplicated and direct in their approach, they often get frustrated by exhaustive details and unnecessary nuances.
They are people full of energy and vitality. With an intense and adventurous personality, they don’t fear anything. They’re always willing to begin new challenges and have a leader attitude which also gives them great self-security.
But they are impulsive, aggressive, and sensitive. Under stress, they will act without thinking. They are bad at facing the truth. They want self-control and get distracted by repetitive failure.
A new look
Because I’m embarking on a new program I was asked this week to work through two modern assessments. Here are the findings from one:
Strengths: Visionary; creative; optimistic; stimulating; able to inspire others; can multitask; quick to get results; great at getting things started.
Weaknesses: Poor sense of timing; impatient; over-optimistic with what others can achieve; easily distracted; terrible at getting things ﬁnished.
Successes: Best when free to create, with a team to promote and a team to watch the details. Excels when kept focused on the big picture strategy and the creative process through to the end result.
Failures: Failure comes from trying to control too much, run too fast, or expect too much of others. Creators often keep to themselves and so fail in their communication and expectations.
Notice any similarities?
The first is the description for Aries from Astrology.
The second is from the Wealth Dynamics Profiling System for Entrepreneurs.
Both are accurate. For the first, my date of birth was all that was required. For the last I spent about 30 minutes answering questions.
The whole Idea behind assessments, ancient or modern is to reduce the risk in interpersonal relationships in all arenas of life. They are put to use when an individual is contemplating a major change. The only question is who pays for the reading.
I know that to do a really good astrological chart it is essential to have the exact date/time and location of birth of the subject. I know because I studied the work of Grant Lewi who said:
“Any good astrologer should be able to predict the date/time and place of their death.”
As I recall, he died one week after buying a million-dollar life insurance policy.
The modern assessments are easier for folks to accept being based on behavioral psychology. Asking a series of questions and seeing how they fit together can give you a relatively good picture of how the individual will perform over time. And, given today’s ability to analyze mountains of data have greater accuracy particularly in fitting together a superstar business team.
A few years ago when I was working in Denver the psychological group on the first floor asked our agency if we would be a beta group for an assessment they were developing. We accepted. They asked us to fill out a form with questions and to ask 5 “people who knew us well” to fill out the same form. When the data was collated all of us were impressed with the accuracy of the results. We tried to operate based on the new insights and found that knowing each team members strengths and weaknesses in psychological jargon was no substitute for having an increased awareness of the emotional basis of our behaviors and a little more caring.
Since March first I have been scheduled to speak on Trust 15 times.
I admit, I’ve been doing some outbound marketing to get some dates but the remarkable thing is that so many of these events have been booked because of the snowball effect.
For the short haul
Early on in the Pandemic I built out the Virtual presentation studio I believed would get me through a few months using gear I already had to record quality video testimonials for clients on location. Little did I know. Slowly but surely I’ve added equipment, a Logitech Brio Camera, a mike stand and Fifine Microphone, a Sony walkaround camera, upgraded Camtasia software, and even some audio switching capability.
The most difficult thing was finding a way to disquise the back wall of my office. I tried the Zoom backgrounds but decided against a green screen that would have to be rigged before each call. Then I tried some wallpaper to look like paneling. It peeled as there is a water heater behind the wall and besides that I didn’t like the partially concealed closet bifold door. Finally I found a photographers backdrop that looks like a white brick wall. It looks like the real thing on camera and disappears the closet door.
I had to learn how to use Zoom. I got educated on Hopin. And there are some other applications I’ll be working in shortly. It took a while but I’m now Virtual ready and experienced. I just haven’t had time to be certified by eSpeakers because I’ve been doing events!
Downhill and rollin’
So there I was, looking for speaking gigs. I went looking for exposure. I’d been lucky enough to have appeared for some event promoters and formed long term relationships for both live events and summits. I did every summit I could pushing for live panels rather than recorded slots in order to have the ability to do Q&A with participants and interact with hosts and other panelists.
It worked. Each summit generated other opportunities. One connected me to a Pod cast talent search engine that led to 4 pod casts. Another summit brought interest from Asia and Europe.
A week ago I went form breakfast to doing a virtual closing keynote and then to a Virtual Pub for a London based organization. Simon, one of the founders was kind enough to make these comments.
Quotes, Stories, Facts and Figures
The title of the keynote is Trust in the New Normal. What’s Changed?
Here are some of the reasons I’m being asked to present this information:
In a panel on Lead development I said, “More is not better. Better is better and if Trust is part of that equation your return will multiply.” That led to a 20-minute discussion and two direct requests to present.
During one of four TV program keynotes for a Canadian Organization while presenting the elements of Trust: “You have to tell the story the same way every time. Consistency is rewarded duplicity isn’t.”
I’ve been opening each appearance with Michaels comment over a Fortune Cookie that ends: What you know matters. “Who you know can be important. BUT the single most important thing about building a business is who trusts you.”
My closing story will probably continue to be Margie, the Galactic Commander. I’ve told it live on 3 continents and now virtually as well. Margie’s Moxie makes all my observations about trust real with a chuckle thrown in.
There is a brain chemical called Oxytocin which under lies our propensity to trust. When we’re stressed we have too little. When we have enough we have greater empathy.
Scientists have found 8 management behaviors that use Oxytocin balance to make people more productive. None of them have direct costs associated.
The Edelman Annual Trust Barometer research shows that “People like me” are still more trusted than governments, media, NGOs and business.
The same study indicates that businesses are considered the most ethical and the most efficient and expected to lead in the New Normal.
Dates on hold
The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter and it is not a locomotive coming at us. I now have live dates creeping into my calendar: Las Vegas in May, San Diego in June and Dubai in late June. That’s Trust in the New Normal
Every time I’m asked to present on Trust I look for new information I might bring to the audience.
I always start with a review of the usual suspects. That means typing “Trust Research” into Google. This time it got me this selection of the most recently published items:
An article from the Harvard Business Review on The Neuroscience of Trust (from 2017)
The Journal of Trust Research (Volume 10, Published in 2020)
The Psychology of Trust (A book published in 2018)
Trust and Power (A book published in 2018)
Individual Trust and the Internet (scholarly article published in 2018)
Notice the dates. Only one is as recent as 2020. That is the first problem. The second is wading through the linguistic torture of scholarly articles where communication is sacrificed on an altar of accuracy resulting in impenetrable obfuscation.
Thank the gods of business for the Edelman Trust Barometer. Each year since 2000, this worldwide Public Relations Agency with offices in major cities around the world publishes an annual survey of trust and credibility of the world’s four major institutions – Government, Business, Media and NGOs. It is one of the longest running studies on Trust.
What makes it more important is the ongoing comparison of results it affords the viewer and the efforts of the company to find and report on those points where the findings begin to diverge from previous norms.
In the 2004 study23% of the people interviewed said they would trust someone just like them. By 2016 that percentage had increased to 82%. People trusted folks like themselves more than Businesses, institutions, Governments, and NGOs. People like me got higher ratings than any other occupations with the exception of folks with very high Academic degrees and some attorneys. It seems they didn’t like lawyers but did respect them.
So where are we today? What did Edelman turn up in their most recent survey?
Income inequality is the most significant factor in developed countries like the USA
56% of the population worldwide believe that Capitalism does more harm than good in today’s world
83% of employees fear losing their jobs
Government and media are perceived to be incompetent and unethical
Business is seen as the only competent institution
Business stakeholders now expect more from companies.
“A stunning 92 percent of employees surveyed in the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer say that they expect their employer’s CEO to speak up on one or more issues ranging from income inequality to diversity and training for jobs of the future. Seventy-three percent of employees expect a prospective employer to offer the opportunity to shape the future of society in a positive way.”
The Edelman 2019 “In Brands We Trust?” study reported that nearly two-thirds of consumers buy based on their beliefs, and 81 percent agree that “a brand I can trust” is one of their top reasons for purchase.
Trust Boiled Down
Customers and employees are now over five times more important to a company’s long-term success than shareholders.
Business is considered to be the best at getting things done. But is faulted on ethics. Research conducted in 2020 indicated that ethical attributes drive 76 percent of the trust capital of organizations, while competence drives 24 percent.
Trust in the light
CEOs, Presidents and Owners of companies have a chance to step up Here’s what is needed:
Take the lead in partnering with government and other institutions
Pay decent wages and retrain those replaced by technology
Speak up for what is right starting now
In my view, the stepping stones from start up to skyrocket now include a need to be outspoken in word and deed. Speak the truth even when it is uncomfortable. Act as if you were not campaigning for the next rung on the ladder. Solve the Trust paradox. Your employees and customers are counting on you.