Turning Consulting Services Into Winning Products

Craig Rosenberg Interview

Interview Transcript (Draft)

Mike Zipursky: Hi, everyone! It’s Michael Zipursky here from Consulting Success and today’s consulting interview is with Craig Rosenberg.

Craig is co-founder of TOPO, a research, advisory and consulting firm that focuses on driving revenue and conversions. Before TOPO, Craig was VP Sales & Marketing at Focus.com and VP Marketing at Tippit that was acquired by Ziff Davis B2B. Craig also writes at the popular Funnelholic blog.

I’ve been looking forward to this call. So Craig, a big welcome!

Craig Rosenberg: Thanks, Michael. I’m excited too. I’ve been thinking about , and openly and very excitedly anticipating this interview so I can’t wait to do it.

Mike Zipursky: Right on. Well let’s start by having you tell us a bit more about your company and what you’re up to these days.

Craig Rosenberg: Thanks for mentioning it.

TOPO, we’ve been around for probably 6 months but it’s a core group of guys that I’ve worked with. It’s part of the founding team from Tippit and one of the other partners I had done consulting before and before Tippit when I was a consultant in Silicon Valley with a boutique consulting firm called Sales Ramp where we worked with high-tech startups to help build their inside sales __[01:39] and sales processes. It’s a group of guys that I’ve worked with over the years.

Basically, we have this belief that today’s organization can create scalable, efficient and repeatable sales and marketing processes – what we call a ‘revenue machine’ and that’s part of the core belief. The second part of the core belief, the sort of core principle behind that is to develop a deep understanding of the buyer and develop what we call a buying process map that allows you to understand how your buyers make decisions and then from there as a foundation, you can layer all your sort of sales and marketing processes on top of that to create a truly effective sales and marketing machine.

It’s cool to go out to market with a dream right in the methodology. That seems to be working. We’ve developed a number of great logos over the last 5 months and frankly, we weren’t sure we were going to get into consulting but we started to have fun, and we started to really have a sort of fervent belief in what we were doing and that led us to say ‘You know what? Let’s put together Topo and let’s go help some people.’ That’s kind of been the guiding principle and it’s been a lot of fun.

Mike Zipursky: Craig, did you just mention that you’ve created logos?

Craig Rosenberg: Oh, I apologize. Logo is a idea of customers. I’m sorry. No, we’re not in the printing business or design business. Yeah, that’s a good one. Logo as in we’ve got a number of great clients that we’ve developed over the last 5 months and we’re really happy about that.

Mike Zipursky: Right on. So you’re focusing heavily on buyer profiles, and driving revenue, and kind of the whole sales process and not designing logos. I just want to make sure on that one.

Craig Rosenberg: Well, we can talk about designing logos. I’m not sure how great that would be for your listeners.

Mike Zipursky: I want to come back to Topo in a little bit. But before we do that, in my intro I mentioned that you ran Focus.com which was acquired. I’m interested to hear from you a little bit about that experience and what it was like building a company and then selling it.

Craig Rosenberg: It’s obviously every entrepreneur that their goal’s not necessarily to sell it, but it have to at least be successful enough to have some type of compelling event rather it’s going public or being bought. The end result was really exciting.

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How to Write a White Paper That Wins Consulting Projects: Interview with Gordon Graham

Interview Transcript:

Mike Zipursky:  Hi, everyone. It’s Michael Zipursky from Consulting Success. Today, Gordon Graham, we have him on the show. He’s a white paper writer and consultant. He’s worked with Google, Oracle, Intuit among many other Fortune 500 companies. He’s interviewed over 200  C-level executives and written over 170 white papers. Gordon is based in Ontario, Canada. I’m excited to have Gordon on the show today because he’s not only a white paper writer. He’s a very accomplished consultant and a master at marketing his craft. Gordon, welcome.

Gordon Graham:  Thank you very much.

Mike Zipursky:  Gordon, I touched on the kind of companies that you worked with. Did I get that right? Can you tell us more about the work that you’re doing these days?

Gordon Graham:  Sure. I’m basically a B-to-B copywriter. I’ve done lots of other things in my life – technical writing for a software companies and journalism and then I was a marketing executive in a software company. That’s when I found that there are certain types of marketing documents that really work better than others so I focused on those.  Now I’m an independent copywriter and I really specialize in white papers and case studies. Continue Reading

From Zero to $300,000 In 18 Months: Interview with Organizational Development Consultant Betsy Jordyn

Interview Transcript:

Mike Zipursky: Hi, everyone. This is Michael Zipursky from Consulting Success. Today, I’m happy to welcome Betsy Jordyn to the show. Betsy is the founder of Accelera Consulting Group. She is an organizational development and strategy consultant but previously worked with Walt Disney World. Her clients also include JC Penny, United Airlines, Hilton Vacations and many others. I’m excited for this interview so let’s get started. Betsy, welcome.

Betsy Jordyn: Thank you, Michael. It’s nice to be here.

Mike Zipursky: Betsy, you worked with several high-profile companies that I just mentioned. What exactly were you doing for them? Continue Reading

Jill Konrath Sales Consultant, Speaker, and Author

Jill Konrath is a leading sales expert, an in-demand speaker, and author of two best selling books, Selling to Big Companies, and SNAP Selling. She helps her clients crack into new accounts, speed up sales cycles and win more business. You can learn more about Jill on her website www.sellingtobigcompanies.com

1. Your book, SNAP Selling, climbed the Amazon charts and hit #1 within hours. How did you get it to be so successful?

Lots of people read my newsletter and blog. They know I’m a straight shooter who offers fresh ideas that are highly relevant in today’s business environment. I also talked a lot about my book while I was writing it and engaged my readers in conversations related to the key issues I was tackling. So, when it came out, they were eager to read it. I had incredible support from my colleagues too. And finally, to keep the momentum going, you need to have a good book!

2. Your website says you have a “joy in selling”. You don’t hear those words together so often? Why is that and why do you find selling so enjoyable?

You’re right. Lots of people hate selling. I’ve always found it fascinating to figure out what works. It’s like a puzzle to me with constantly changing parts: a slew of decision makers who all have their own vested interests, new products coming out, challenging economic times, competitive moves. You can never get bored! Plus, you get exposed to so many different types of businesses, people and perspectives. To me, that’s Candyland.

3. In 2000 your successful sales consultancy went out of business because two of your biggest clients suddenly ended their contracts. Are there any lessons you can share with other consultants and business owners that might be working with a couple of big clients?

My business was on cruise control for half dozen years prior to its collapse. Those big companies just kept giving me project after project. I was sure that the depth and breadth of my relationships would protect me even during tough times.

Ha ha! That was naïve. When Wall Street speaks, companies listen. They don’t care about your “relationship.” To ensure the continuity of your business, it’s essential to have a broad and customer base so that you can weather any storm

4. What was the biggest factor in you going from a local consultant servicing your clients to an internationally known sales expert?

Writing, my e-newsletter and the internet. But it all started because I saw so many small businesses struggling for survival. They had great products/services, lots of talent and a bundle of energy. But, they didn’t have a clue how to market or sell their services – and it was their Achilles Heel. My desire to help them was the genesis of SellingtoBigCompanies.com, tons of “how to” articles, CDs, ebooks and sales guides Once I’d created all that, I decided that people needed to know that this resource existed, so I taught myself how to become visible online. It’s really been one step at a time. First a website, then a newsletter, next came the blog, teleseminars, webinars, tweeting and more. Continue Reading

Author of Smarter. Faster. Cheaper, the host of The Rise to the Top

David Siteman Garland

David Siteman Garland is the author of Smarter. Faster. Cheaper, the host of The Rise to the Top, and a consultant and speaker. David’s show is termed as “The #1 Non-Boring Resource For Building Your Business” and can be seen on his website (www.therisetothetop.com) and on ABC.

1. In your book, you talk about out-smarting your competition as opposed to out-spending them. You say there’s a big shift in how marketing is done effectively now as opposed to years before. Can you tell us more about that and why it’s such a powerful concept?

So there is this Internet thing…perhaps you have heard of it (*wink*). Seriously, though out-spending is a losing game especially if you are a small company. That is how so many traditional media sources were built. If the car dealer down the road advertised, then you felt you needed to advertise or be left behind. But now, the barriers to successful marketing have crumbled and the Internet has evolved to be one of the greatest places where you can DIYDS (Do It Your Damn Self). You don’t need to be a tech genius or have an advertising degree to hop on the opportunity.

2. How big has writing a book been for you in terms of generating income and creating new business opportunities for you?

Great question. A secret (that isn’t so secret) is that writing a book “for the money” is a quick route to failure. Books are about spreading ideas. I was fortunate to get a decent advance on my book and it is sort of “me in book form” which means I’ve been introduced to more people, more people have watched the show and it has led to all kinds of interesting opportunities including one with a search engine that rhymes with Moogle.

3. You are a consultant, speaker, writer, and you run The Rise to the Top show. How do you manage to stay on top of all of these and currently which is your biggest focus?

Honestly, I really don’t stay on top of all of them. My focus and passion is on interviews and the show. That is where I like to be and that is what I enjoy doing the most overall. It doesn’t mean I DON’T enjoy the other activities, but I feel like I’m best as an interviewer and storyteller with an ability to connect with guests and bring out the best in them. And that is what I spend most of my time doing and I’m happy as a clam. Continue Reading

Branding, Marketing, Design Consultant Michael Huggins

Michael Huggins is an educator, Registered Graphic Designer, and the owner of a successful design firm, Mindwalk Brand Marketing www.mindwalkmarketing.com in Ontario, Canada. Michael also coaches designers to help them build and run more profitable design businesses. Find out more about Michael and his work at www.forgraphicdesignersonly.com.

1. You were working as Creative Director at a company before deciding to start your own business. Was this something you were thinking about for a long time and why did you decide to go out ‘on your own’?

I had always thought about starting my own business. In fact I felt so strong about it when I first entered into this career, that I told this to my first employer before he actually hired me. I was just fresh out of college and it was my first job. In hindsight I’m surprised he still hired me. And I’m not so sure that was the best thing to say to my first employer. But as it turned out – it didn’t hurt my chances of working with him. And I did work for him for over 9 years before I finally left him to work on my own. The experience was invaluable. During my employment with him I never lost the dream of going into business for myself. I wanted to learn as much as I could about the business as I could. I worked my way up from designer to Creative Director before I finally made the leap. The deciding factor for me finally starting my business was that I had learned all I could working for someone else. It was time to grow and learn through new experiences.

2. After starting your design company how did you go about getting your first clients? Did you find one method of marketing more effective than others?

The best way I found for getting clients when I first started my business was networking. I focused on ‘getting seen’ and making connections with as many people as I possibly could. Usually over a cup of coffee or lunch (always my buy).

It’s important to note however that my emphasis was on building relationships, not on selling. I knew you had to focus on others first before you could expect anything in return. Eventually the conversations turned back to me and I could share what I was doing. I would ask everyone I met with if they knew anybody who could use and benefit from my services. I had a specific targeted individual in my mind who I wanted to attract. So I just described this “ideal person” to those I met with. This approach always gave me great feedback and results.

Another important component to my networking was having marketing material and samples on hand when I met people. Talking about business was always good – but showing people exactly what I did was always better. It had more impact when I brought out portfolio samples and case studies.

I put a lot of effort into creating marketing material that made me appear “bigger” than I was. I wanted to be a design agency – so I created marketing material that looked and sounded like a design agency right off the start. Both my networking and marketing material helped me land some pretty big clients when I first started.

As I became more established I started creating direct mail programs for my company. They were also extremely successful at attracting and getting new clients. And it allowed me to spend less time out on the road meeting people.

3. You run your business from a town of less than 40,000 people. Is it hard to land big clients? Do you see your location as an advantage in any way? Continue Reading

Dave Fleet, VP of Digital at Edelman’s Toronto

Dave Fleet is the Vice-President of Digital at Edelman’s Toronto office (one of the world’s leading PR firms). Prior to working at Edelman, Dave held positions with the Government, Lloyds, and Hitachi. Dave writes a great blog with in-depth posts on social media, communications, PR, and the online world.

Dave, tell us about your job (what do you actually do at Edelman) and what your favourite part of it is?

I manage the Digital practice in Edelman’s Toronto office. We have a great group of people working on digital projects within every practice in the office, from Corporate, to Consumer, to Healthcare, to Technology. My job is to support them in whatever way I can, while also driving the practice forward. I’m very fortunate as I have a team full of people who are smarter than me, so my job largely consists of pointing them in the right direction and getting out of the way.

2. You write very in-depth blog posts. How much time do you spend on your blog each week or month?

I generally spend between one and two hours on each post. So, if I manage three posts a week that’ll be somewhere between three and six hours each week.

3. What kind of impact has blogging had your career and your company’s business?

Blogging has had three significant effects on my career:

  • I’ve made industry connections across the world that have strengthened my network immensely
  • My blog provides me a place to flesh-out my thoughts on work-related topics. Once they’re up there, I also benefit from getting other peoples’ input on them.
  • My blog has enabled me to build-up my own profile. I’m just a regular guy that works hard at what he does. My blog has let me take that and turn it into innumerable opportunities

From my perspective, employers benefit as their employees grow. So, as I grow personally, my work for the company improves; the people around me benefit and the company benefits.

4. You’ve worked both for the Government and with several large companies (like Lloyds and Edelman) in the private sector. What are the biggest differences you’ve found in working with these two groups?

Working for the Ontario government was a great experience for me. Through it, I gained a great grounding in corporate communications and a fantastic introduction to Canadian issues. Working in the government is like working in a large company in many ways. Of course there are differences – additional stakeholders; more complexity; less of a P&L focus – but for me working in government, and especially in the central agency where I worked, was great preparation for agency life.

5. Agency’s often bring in external talent like consultants, marketers, copywriters, and so on. What are you looking for in these people? And what should they keep in mind when approaching an agency for work?

Edelman is a full service agency, so we use relatively few external sources. When we do, though, one of the big things I look for is flexibility. We need to respond to our clients’ needs quickly and effectively, and we need partners to do the same. If you can work flexibly and you can deliver a high-quality end product, you’re in good shape.

6. You have two free ebooks on your site (a communications planning ebook and a social media policies ebook). Why did you create these and did putting them on your site accomplish what you planned (ie. land a job, get exposure, etc)? Continue Reading

Personal Branding Consultant Dan Schawbel

Dan Schawbel is a personal branding expert, consultant, author and speaker. Dan is the managing partner of Millenial Branding, LLC, author of the best selling career book Me 2.0, and is a columnist for BusinessWeek and Metro US. Not to mention that he’s been called the “king of personal branding” by Inc. Magazine. Dan’s achieved all of this and much more, and he’s still under 30 years old. Read more about Dan on his site www.danschawbel.com

1. Dan, how do you define personal branding and why is it so important?

Personal branding is the process by which you unearth your unique value and then communicate it to the appropriate audience. Branding is important because it creates loyalty, meaning, and a trust with your audience. Your brand is your single greatest asset, separating you from the competition.

2. Why did you decide to focus on personal branding and build your business around that?

I learned how to brand myself in college, where I had eight internships, seven leadership positions, and my own consulting company. When I went on interviews, I had a business card, portfolio, and my own website, which separated me from other applicants. When I graduated, I started an educational blog that showed students how to get internships and jobs. That blog eventually turned into PersonalBrandingBlog.com after I read Tom Peter’s “Brand Called You” article in early 2007. I’m where I am right now because of determination, creativity, and fate!

3. You’ve accomplished a lot. Consultants and freelancers often find staying motivated a challenge. You seem to have conquered this, what’s your secret to staying motivated and getting so much done?

The secret to being motivated over a long period of time is to take on several different projects. For me, that means publishing a magazine, running an events business, writing books, blog posts, and columns, speaking, in addition to consulting. Since I’m diverse, it allows me to stay active, and to cross-sell and market between platforms.

4. What’s the biggest or most common mistake you see people making when it comes to their personal brands and how can they avoid making it? Continue Reading

Jason Womack Speaker, Executive Coach and Consultant

Jason Womack is a speaker, executive coach and consultant to leaders and executives in the business and education sectors. Jason works with companies to create systems to increase productivity and create tools to help them achieve greater results. He is also the co-author of The Promise Doctrine. You can find out more about Jason and his work on his blog at www.JasonWomackBlog.com

1. You earned degrees in US history and Spanish literature. Then a Masters in Education, before going back to get a Masters in Psychology. You’ve said your goal was to study how people “effectively implement what they learn”. How did you feel this knowledge would help you in your work? Did you see an opportunity in the marketplace to apply this knowledge?

Earning a MEd (from the University of California) gave me insight into the teaching process. For over 5 years, I focused on building “portfolio assessment” programs where high school students tracked learning over time. Traditional teaching focuses on someone in the room distributing information to a group of people.

Later, I went back to school to earn a MA in Psychology (from the University of Santa Monica) because I wanted to understand more about the implementation process. When someone hears, or sees or does something once, what happens? And then, when someone KNOWS they need to make changes, what can they do to make those changes easier to address, implement and adopt?

As an executive coach, clients look to me to better understand areas of management and leadership. To delegate effectively and lead efficiently people need to understand people; they need to understand motivations, they need to understand distractions. My study of these two topics give me tools and information I use every day to be a significant influence for leaders and their teams.

The marketplace (in my case leaders within companies) are engaged in looking out over a talent pool of unbelievable potential. Organizations who have spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars to build intact teams need to lead, manage and coach those individuals effectively.

2. Many consultants wonder whether they should go back to school to get additional certifications and more education or are they better off ‘learning as they go along’. You’ve got a lot of education under your belt, what’s your take on this?

Certifications, more education and networking are all significant aspects of an effective consultant. The more we know, the more we have seen and the more we have done all comes together when we are in a client engagement. I consider myself an “eternal learner.” I’m always reading, always looking, always seeking something else to learn.

My advice is always to take something you’re interested in learning more about, this month, and do a one-month experiment. Buy a couple of books, subscribe to all the magazines you can, and attend a 2-3 day conference. At the end of that experiment, ask yourself, “Was it worth it?”

3. You speak, consult and coach, and sell your own information products. How do you split your time between these activities? Which is the biggest part of your business?

Biggest part of the business? The travel…Living in Ojai, CA, most of my client work is on the East Coast of the USA and in Western Europe. Next, is building relationships…That takes time, and energy and focus. I attribute my networking and client development success to the work I have done with Keith Ferrazzi. He has been someone I have learned a lot from over the past several years.

The challenge as I see it for people who are wanting to build their consultancy and step in to new and bigger markets will always be to surround themselves by the people who care for and are willing to encourage their success. Creating a content base that people want, and then letting them know that exists is a full-time job.

4. You are booked pretty solid each month with speaking events and client engagements. What were the biggest factors in getting to this level of success? A specific marketing strategy or set of actions you took that worked especially well?

Here is my strategy:

  1. Show up
  2. Do good work
  3. Repeat

I know it sounds simple, but sounding simple and being simple are two different things. There are three things I look to hear from a client through our working relationship:

  1. “Jason, you’re always on time, and you’re always prepared.”
  2. “Jason, the feedback from participants is positive, and…”
  3. “…we’d like you to come back and work with another person/group.”

When those three things happen, we are now in a working partnership. We no longer see each other as vendors or clients, but as leadership partners building a community.

5. When you work with consultants and independent professionals, are there any common mistakes or challenges you often see these people making, and how can they best avoid them? Continue Reading