To Be The Best, First Get Better

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Consultants often play the endless mind game of ‘know everything, know nothing’.

They start their careers by thinking they don’t know enough to be successful.

A year or two in and they think they know everything there is to know.

A simple excuse is to say that it costs money and that you don’t have an organization to fund this investment for you.

Today I want to talk about this second phase. If you’re aiming to the best in your industry or one of the best around then this is for you…

Top organizations across the globe invest in ensuring their leaders and employees have the best training.

Whether it’s bringing in speakers, trainers or consultants to share new perspectives and teach skills and approaches they are unfamiliar with.

The best of these organizations do this on a regular basis. They have annual programs to ensure that their ‘best’ keep getting better so the organization grows and prospers.

So why is it that many independent consultants feel that they know everything there is to know?

They get comfortable where they are by having enough clients to provide an income and some freedom.

Yet inside they want more. They know they should achieve greater success.

The question is, “how can they achieve that success if they aren’t prepared to improve their knowledge and skills?”

A simple excuse is to say that it costs money and that you don’t have an organization to fund this investment for you. Continue Reading

Selling Your Consulting Services: Who’s The True Buyer?

Consulting-Service-Buyer

A consultant I work with just emailed me…

She was all excited because she just wrapped up a meeting with a large ideal client.

When your proposal is shared with people that haven’t been a part of your meetings and prior conversations things tend to go downhill.

She forwarded over an email response she received from the prospect. It had a glowing review and the prospect believes this consultant would be a good fit.

But the final sentence in the email caught my eye.

“I will be sharing your proposal with my team, and get back to you.”

I quickly responded to the consultant to let her know that she may be talking to the wrong person. Her prospect may not be the real buyer.

Here’s the point I want to share with you today:

Just because you have a good relationship with someone in an organization and they have accepted a meeting with you, doesn’t mean they are your ideal buyer.

A real buyer must have buying authority.

That means that they can make the decision to hire you without consulting others. Continue Reading

Stop Giving Advice Away for Free

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Have you ever noticed that when you give someone advice for free they don’t take action on it?

When someone pays you for that same advice they are much more likely to use what you’ve shared with them and benefit from it.

Those kinds of people do exist. They just want to get what they can for free and aren’t serious about hiring someone.

This isn’t a universal truth that applies to 100% of people. It is however what happens in the vast majority of cases.

It happens so often in fact that what’s revealed is a bigger issue…

People don’t value what they get for free.

When you give your advice for free, people may say “thank you” and “I appreciate your time”. Pleasantries are nice, but you’re not giving advice to have your ego stroked (at least you shouldn’t be).

You’re giving advice because you want the person to benefit from it. To take action on it, to implement and to get the result they are looking for.

Consultants often ask me, “Michael, my clients and prospects always want my advice but they’re not willing to pay for it, what should I do?”

My answer…

Get a new client!

Sounds harsh, yet it is a real option.

You see, if you’re dealing with a client or prospect that is just looking to be a leech and suck away your time and knowledge they may never be willing to pay you for help.

Those kinds of people do exist. They just want to get what they can for free and aren’t serious about hiring someone. They’ll try to do everything themselves and will end up taking three times as long to get where they want to go and often won’t ever reach their destination.

Instead of giving away all your advice for free, ask the buyer as many questions as you can to understand their situation.

If you sense that’s who you’re dealing with, it’s time to move on and find a real client and buyer that needs help and wants to hire someone that can deliver great value. Continue Reading

Are You Failing Enough?

Failing-in-Consulting

On a call with one of my coaching students the other day I realized that one of the greatest obstacles you’ll come up against is the person you see in the mirror.

That’s right, YOU!

Have you ever felt the fear to pick up the phone and call a prospective client? Or how about waiting to launch your website or a direct mail campaign because things weren’t ‘quite right’ yet?

When you encounter failure or rejection, don’t take it personally.

The reality is, almost everyone one of us has faced some kind of fear like this that holds us back from moving forward and being successful.

What it comes down to is ‘fear of failure’.

You lose a project.

A client wants you to reduce your consulting fee, you don’t and they walk away.

You can look at these two situations and see failure. Be scared by it and then use it as an excuse not to move forward. Not to get more done.

Or you can view your failure as a lesson. Learn from it and move on. Continue Reading

Turn $1 Into $5

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Let’s talk about investments for a minute.

If I told you that I could turn every $1 you gave me into $5, how much of your money would you hand over?

As much as you possibly can, right?

The people that invest in themselves and their businesses almost always see significant growth and reach their goals much faster.

Just yesterday I was looking at the sales report for the month in my payment processor system and it really got me thinking that many business owners don’t understand the difference between expenses and investments.

And that’s a critical issue.

I can pay over $1000 each month to process payments.

Most business owners have no problem with this model – because they don’t pay anything upfront.

You only pay the fee when you make sales.

$1000 a month on a service may sound like a lot (and it is)…but it allows me to process tens of thousands of online orders ($s) each month.

Let’s dive into some psychology, because here is where things get interesting…

If I asked you to pay $1000/mo for the same payment processing service – but you had to pay it upfront – before the sales came in – would you? Even if you were asked to pay $1000 upfront and that you’d get any unused portion back after… Continue Reading

Get Paid More

Get-Paid-More

Here’s a thought…

You get paid for the value you produce and deliver to the market.

Companies need to constantly improve their products because buyers are always looking for more value.

Have you looked at yourself as a product? You should.

Whether you’re actually selling a product or providing a service, YOU are a product.

The more valuable you make yourself the more you’ll get paid.

Your Best Investment

When you invest in yourself, sharpen your skills, hone your marketing – you become more value and can charge and earn more.

Ever seen a 20 year old outperform an ‘experienced’ 40 year old salesperson? It happens all the time when the 20 year old is hungrier for success and decides to invest in themselves.

The 40 year old thinks they know everything. Makes some cold calls and grumbles about how things have changed. Inside they’re starting to doubt their abilities. But they don’t do anything about it. Continue Reading

How to Be a Great Resource to Your Clients

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As you build your consulting practice you’ll constantly be looking for ways to stand out from the crowd.

A powerful approach that can help you is to become a resource to your clients. To become a resource you’ll need to expand your circle of influence, education and investment in the market you want to be known in.

Now imagine how your clients will feel and think about you when they know that you are the go-to person? That’s right, you’ll be their resource and trusted advisor.

The benefits of becoming a resource are:

  • You are the first one clients go to for help and advice
  • Your clients refer you to others more often
  • You get asked to speak at events
  • People want you to write for their publications
  • Your name becomes associated with your specialization

The benefits of this are clear. Your business will grow and you’ll make more money. So how can you achieve this?

You can become a resource in several ways:

  • Read the latest industry news and publications
  • Share the most relevant information with your clients
  • Attend networking events in your industry
  • Write articles for print and online publications
  • Keep a blog that you write for consistently
  • Connect and get to know other professionals in the industry

The last point is more powerful than most people think. To truly become a resource for your consulting clients, you’ll want to reach out, connect and get to know other professionals that serve your clients marketplace. Continue Reading

What Differentiates Your Consulting Practice From the Competition?

Differentiation Consulting

Today I want to encourage you not only to read my article but to ‘work’ through it. That’s right; I want you to actively participate. Not for my benefit, but for yours.

If you can come up with a statement that matches both criteria there’s a good indication you’re getting close to finding what really makes your practice stand out from the competition.

I’m going to ask you a question and I want you to take a minute or two right now and answer it. Trust me, it will be worth your time and greatly benefit your consulting practice.

The Question

Okay, here it is:

Question: “What makes your consulting practice special and separates you from other consultants in your marketplace?”

Now before you continue reading think about that question and list out 3-5 of your key differentiators and advantages.

If you can’t, an alarm should be going off for you that this is something you really need to work on.

Okay, have you written down your answers now? Continue Reading

15 Ways to Get Referrals for Your Consulting Business

Referrals for Your Consulting Business

As our survey on Marketing for Consultants revealed referrals is still the top source of new clients for most consultants.

Getting consulting referrals doesn’t always happen by itself.

The consultants that get the most referrals have a system and process they follow that works for them.

With that said I thought I’d share a collection of 15 different ways you can ask for and get referrals.

Here they are:

“I’m so pleased you’re happy with my work. Do you know anyone else who can benefit from my services?”
Source: Entrepreneur.com

“We’ve found the best way to get referrals is to have a web form that all our clients see after purchasing and we can also send this out through follow up email. This allows clients to provide us referrals quickly and easily.”
Source: FreshGigs.ca Continue Reading

10X Business Growth: How an Engineer Turned Consultant Uses Marketing Automation

Steve Gordon

Interview Transcript

Mike Zipursky:  Hi, everyone. It’s Michael Zipursky here and I’d like to welcome you to another show. Today, we have Steve Gordon with us from Steve Gordon Marketing Florida. Steve took an engineering consulting firm from $250,000 to $3.1 million in sales in a few years.  Today he works with businesses to improve their marketing in a variety of industries. Steve, welcome.

Steve Gordon:  Hey, Michael, great to be here.  Thanks for having me.

Mike Zipursky:  Yeah, my pleasure. I’m excited about this. Steve, let’s start off and talk a bit more about your previous job at that engineering consulting firm. What were you doing there?

Steve Gordon:  I started there fresh out of college and kind of wait behind the ears not knowing anything, and had the good fortune to have a really great mentor in the founder of that firm, and very quickly moved on to a path to succeed him in the firm. I’d been there about four years and then he asked me to take over. It was just an outstanding opportunity to step in to a bigger role really early in my career. Continue Reading