Improving Your Consulting Brand: No More Excuses!

Improve-Your-Consulting-Brand

It really amazes me.

In fact I’m actually quite surprised.

Once you have a good logo it can be the base for your visual identity.

At the amount of consulting “professionals” I deal with and come across that don’t have a nice looking and professional logo or visual identity to represent their brand.

It’s not that they don’t run a successful business or aren’t good at what they do.

In fact it’s most often the opposite. They are experts and great at what they do.

The problem I often see is that their logo and overall visual identity really haven’t been designed properly and that gives a mixed message to potential clients.

What is a visual identity?

Let’s take a step back for a moment and just make sure we’re all on the same page here when I talk about having a professional logo and visual identity.

Your visual identity is a small but important part of your overall business or personal brand. It’s the visual side of things. It’s the way you present yourself to the world.

At the forefront of this you have your logo, and then the colors you use, your website, the fonts you use, any print material like business cards and brochures, etc.

Why is it important?

In this day and age it’s more important than ever.

We are visual people and receive thousands of messages each day.

In order to stand out among all the “noise” out there we need have a visually appealing brand.

Not only that, whether we like it or not, people do judge a book by its cover, it’s just human nature. Continue Reading

9 Ways to Get More Consulting Clients

9-Ways-To-Get-Consulting-Clients

So you want to get more consulting clients?

Okay, let’s explore that together. But before we do it’s important that we get clear on WHO your ideal consulting clients are.

To get more clients you want to get your message in front of them.

Because if you don’t know WHO they are how can you market to them? Makes sense, right?

Who Is Your Ideal Consulting Client

So who is your ideal client? What type of client do you want to attract? At this stage you want to figure out the criteria to identify your ideal client. Once you’ve done this properly you’ll be able to effectively move the marketing process forward.

If you rush this part and don’t go through the steps the right way you’ll lack clarity on whom your ideal client is or you’ll have the wrong ideal client in target. This is so important it’s the first step I take consultants through in my coaching program. I call this process “Ideal Client Discovery.”

All of your marketing – your value proposition and marketing messaging – will be based on this. So it’s critical that you have your REAL ideal client in sight.

The More Focused the Better

To get more clients you want to be focused. In fact, the more focused you are on who your ideal client is, the better.

You’ll be able to identify exactly who your ideal client is, what their title is, their industry, their location, etc. And that allows you to target your messaging and marketing exactly to them.

This can be very hard for many consultants.

They feel that narrowing on a specific ideal client is restrictive. That they’ll lose opportunities because of their focus on a specific ideal client type.

I get it. Yes, this process can be a hard shift to make in your mindset. Yet, it’s a very important one.

The most successful consultants and companies have a very clear focus early on. It’s how they make a name for themselves. It’s how they establish their brand and became known as authorities.

Finding Consulting Clients

Once you’re clear on WHO your ideal client is and you’ve really FOCUSED down to ensure you’re going after the right ideal client it’s time to find them.

Marketing isn’t about choosing a popular tactic. Just because one type of marketing is working for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for you.

If the same marketing tactic worked perfectly for everyone, there’d only be one marketing tactic. Right?

Start with Questions

So before you dive into deciding what marketing tactic you’re going to ask yourself, “where are my ideal clients?”

Where can you get in front of them?

To get more clients you want to get your message in front of them.

What events do they attend?

What blogs and websites do they visit?

What publications do they read?

What associations or groups are they part of?

These are just a few of the many questions that can guide you to getting in front of more ideal clients.

9 Tactics to Get Consulting Clients

There are many ways to promote your consulting services. The tactic you choose will depend on who your ideal client is and where you can most effectively and efficiently reach them.

Here are 9 (of many) tactics consultants can use:

1. Webinars
Webinars are a great way to educate and provide valuable information to buyers and ideal clients. Done effectively not only can you demonstrate your authority live on the webinar you can do it in front of many people at one time. Most webinars are a series of presentation slides (think PowerPoint or Keynote) that you take attendees through. It’s a great way to identify the problems prospective clients are having, offer possible solutions, and ultimately make a clear offer. The offer is where you’ll provide an opportunity for the attendee to work with you. Too many people use webinars strictly as a way to present information. The most effective webinars are the ones that engage the attendees making them part of the conversation. Continue Reading

How to Build Rapport and Make More Consulting Sales

The-Consulting-Sale

Have you ever felt uncomfortable asking for the sale?

You were speaking with a buyer, your ideal client, and for some reason it slipped out of your hands like a wet bar of soap. You thought the sale was coming and then it was gone.

Your first focus should be on building rapport with your buyer. People don’t buy from people they don’t like. So job one is to establish a foundation for the relationship. One that you can build on.

Consultants often become frustrated in situations like these. They know they can help the buyer and yet they can’t seem to win their business.

Has this ever happened to you?

Let’s explore why this happens and how to deal with it so that you can start winning more business.

Opportunity to Make the Sale

Entering into a conversation with your ideal consulting client is essential to make the sale. It’s your best opportunity and without the conversation your chances of winning the sale are slim to none.

But you don’t want to start the conversation with the focus on making the sale. Why?

Because before you enter the conversation you don’t even know if you can really help the buyer. Are you the best person to do so? If not, there’s no point in making the sale, right? As consultants we’re not in the business of just selling our services. We’re in the business of providing value and results for our clients.

Since we know that every sale starts with a conversation here’s how to get it started…

1. Build Rapport with Buyer

Your first focus should be on building rapport with your buyer. People don’t buy from people they don’t like. So job one is to establish a foundation for the relationship. One that you can build on.

Your initial conversation can be about a variety of things: the weather (yes, I know that sounds sooo boring but people love talking about the weather), your location or where the buyer is from, anything you have in common, specifics about their industry, hobbies, etc. The important thing is that you want to start the conversation with a topic that the buyer wants to talk about. Not something they will find boring and certainly not about selling something to them.

Note: This initial conversation topic shouldn’t take up your whole meeting. Even a few short minutes to break the ice and build that rapport and friendly feeling is sufficient.

Another note: Be genuine. This isn’t a show. You’re not an actor. Don’t make things up. Be honest, transparent and real.

Now that the conversation has started on the right foot it’s time to move to the next step… Continue Reading

How to Win More Consulting Business by Giving More Advice

Giving-Advice

As consultants we are paid for our knowledge and advice.

Truly we are paid for what our knowledge and advice CREATES.

The PROBLEM it solves.

The RESULT it enables.

On Client Acquisition

Consultants often find themselves holding back information from a prospective client.

Afraid to give away too much…

Yet, if you don’t demonstrate your expertise and HOW you will help the buyer you won’t win their business.

A true buyer will engage you in a conversation because they are looking for help. Not because they are looking to take your ideas, boot you to the corner, and implement themselves.

No, don’t hold back. When you discover something that can help your client be in a better place, see an even greater result…even if it’s not in the scope or area of your current project let them know about it.

Sure, you will encounter dishonest buyers. Those who have no REAL intention of hiring you. Who are casting a net to see what they can pull in.

They are few and shouldn’t be of concern.

When engaging in a conversation with a buyer don’t hold back.

Make it clear to them that YOU are and EXPERT and that YOU CAN help them.

The value you provide them should create a feeling of “Wow, if they are giving me so much value for free imagine what they will provide when I hire them.”

There is an important distinction I’ll make. And that is that you will talk about HOW you will help them. SHOW them what the general process will look like.

Provide them with a HIGH LEVEL view of what they can expect and how you will enable the result they want.

Don’t go into every minute step of the process. Don’t paint the conversation in such detail that the buyer holds your blueprint and no longer needs you.

On Working with a Client

As you begin working with your client the next question appears: How much should you  help them?

Should you stick to focusing solely on the scope of the project you have been engaged for…even if you discover other areas of the client’s business that can be improved?

The answer is…yes and no!

Yes, you should keep the scope of the project. Do the work you have agreed to and provide exceptional value and results for your client. If the client directly asks you to do additional work beyond the scope of your agreement – let them know you’ll be happy to – and that you’ll put together a proposal to cover that.

Avoid scope creep. If you allow a client to make a ‘little’ addition here and then a little addition there…they add up. Continue Reading

3 Reasons to Push Past Your Fear and Become an Authority

Become-A-Consulting-Authority

It comes down to confidence.

I was speaking with a new client in the advertising industry. He wants to grow his business and attract more clients.

Focus on finding and getting in front of the decision maker. They are the ones that can hire you. That can write you the check.

One recommendation I offered is that he should start speaking at conferences and events in his industry.

He agreed the idea would help him to win clients.

And that it would further position him as an authority.

But he had a concern…

“Michael, the thing is…” The tone in his voice changed. “The people at these events will be VP and C-suite level and the highest position I’ve held is a Senior Manager.”

“And…?” I asked to have him share what he really wanted to know.

“Well…” he continued “I feel a bit uncomfortable, will they listen to me? Is it right for me to speak in front of people at that level?”

“Of course it is…” I said.

I went on to explain:

First, it’s natural to feel uncomfortable. If you always feel comfortable in everything you do it means you’re not leaving your comfort zone. You’re not pushing yourself. Passing boundaries and entering new growth stages.

Know that feeling is natural. Embrace it. Know that though it will feel hard as soon as you TAKE ACTION on the thing you feel fear about, that fear will melt. You will have conquered it. You will have grown.

Second, remember that your ideal clients don’t have your EXPERTISE. If they did, they wouldn’t need you. While they may have a higher position and title than you have had…though they may be older and have more years of work and life experience…they don’t have your LEVEL of experience and expertise in your area of specialization.

They look up to you. They may know the general landscape in your industry. They may even have some detailed knowledge. But most aren’t specialists and don’t have the DEPTH that you have. The expertise you’ve cultivated and developed. Continue Reading

Lessons from a Coffee Brand: Showing Your Important Clients the Love!

Brand-Coffee

A couple of days ago I was downtown and had just finished up a small brainstorm and business meeting with a good friend of mine.

Before heading home I stopped by a local department store to pick up a new suitcase and an interesting thing happened.

You don’t have to go build them a million dollar coffee lounge but if you have a consulting client that you really appreciate there are many things you can do to show them you care.

While I was browsing around for some luggage I looked up for a second and saw a lively looking coffee bar. The café had an amazing design and aesthetic to it and was filled with happy looking people and a few baristas all deep into conversation.

For anyone who knows me, I’m a BIG coffee lover so I walked over to further investigate what was going on, and hopefully get myself a nice espresso and into the enjoyable looking conversation.

As I approached I saw a nicely designed sign reading “Nespresso” and asked one of the sharply dressed baristas if I could kindly get a cup of java but I also asked what this was all about. Continue Reading

Stay Away from This Marketing Trap

Avoid-Marketing-Trap

Are you falling right into the marketer’s trap?

Here’s how you can tell:

  • Are you constantly reading books, attending seminars, jumping on webinars?
  • Are you always looking for the latest strategy?
  • Are you excited by new trends and technologies?
  • Do you spend more time learning than you do applying what you learn?

One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a consultant is to believe that the more information you have the more successful you will be.

Realize that KNOWING what to do and actually DOING what you know are two very different things.

I get it. I can see how you’d feel that way. Marketers spend a great deal of resources blasting messages at you. They tell you that you NEED the latest ________ (fill in the blank with whatever it is they are offering).

The BIG Names Come Out

Then you might see some other “BIG” names online talking about how good the new product is. And that can get you feeling excited right?

Maybe you purchase what they’re offering. You don’t do much with it. It most often sits on a shelf or hard drive somewhere anyways, right?

Before you can really take ACTION on it the next ‘latest and greatest’ offer comes out. This time telling you WHY what you got before isn’t good enough. That can  be confusing. But the marketer has all kinds of proof, data and ‘facts’ to support their claims.

Now you end up getting the next product.

The cycle repeats itself. Continue Reading

10 Proven Marketing Tactics for Consultants and Coaches

10-Experts-Share-Marketing-Tactics

“What type of marketing works best?” It’s a question I’m asked over and over again.

Each year we run our Marketing for Consultants survey which provides insight into this question.

I recently decided to ask some friends (who are consultants, coaches, and solo professionals) what type of marketing is working best for them.

Especially what I wanted to explore was ‘what type of marketing is generating the highest quality leads and opportunities?’

And ‘WHY they believe it works so well for them?’

Below you’ll find answers to these questions from 10 experts. I’ve also provided my thoughts on the responses and a BIG takeaway for you at the end of the post.

(If you enjoy the post please share it)

Hugh-Culver-1Hugh Culver

www.hughculver.com

What type of marketing works best for you? I have been using webinars for five years, but only recently added a piece to the marketing formula that has really improved our results. Our new webinar formula is to schedule a full year of webinar dates, one per month. When I connect with someone who also serves the speaker/expert market I invite them to promote one of our dates. Because SOS is a monthly service, we can afford to be more generous with our partners. If I don’t have an affiliate lined up I run the webinar regardless off our list.

Why does it work so well? Each affiliate webinar grows our list and generates income for us and the partner – nothing new there. The trick I’m finding is to have the full year of dates already pre-booked. The set dates motivate the partner to take action and make a decision.

Laura-Ashley-TimmsLaura Ashley-Timms

www.businesscoaching.co.uk

What type of marketing works best for you? High end Business Development events – i.e. where we pay to attend a select event with guaranteed mutually chosen meetings with around 10-20 of our target corporate level clients (these are often from C-Suite level top FTSE 500 companies or Global equivalent) – held across UK or Europe.

Why does it work so well? It works because we mutually select each other – they get to see our passion and quality – we can follow it up and build on the relationship with other added value sessions

Stefan-DrewStefan Drew

www.stefandrew.com

What type of marketing works best for you? Leveraging “Creating Business Growth” the book [I co-authored with several other marketers] is bringing me in high value clients.

Why does it work so well? In a world full of white papers, social media posts and ebooks, a lot of serious business people in my niche still regard a physical book as being something that is only produced by people with expertise and authority.  So I’m emailing key decision makers in the £10-60m turnover section of my niche and telling them I’m sending them a copy of my book.  I also tell them that, unless they object, I’d like to set up a strategy meeting with them once they’ve read the book.  A week or so after sending the book I then phone them and check if they received the book and ask when they would like to meet. I also find most gatekeepers take me far more seriously as they’ve also seen the book.  In most cases they either get the decision maker on the phone for me or set up a date for a meeting with their boss. Continue Reading

Attract High-Paying Consulting Clients and Hit 400% Revenue Growth

Corrie-Banks-High-Paying-Consulting-Clients-Case-Study

Corrie Banks, President of Triskele Logistics and Consulting, has over 18 years of experience in the supply chain industry, which, along the way, is why she decided to start her own supply chain consulting firm. Triskele Logistics and Consulting focuses on continuous improvements and process improvements for supply chain companies, whether it’s a warehouse or trucking company, or a even a CPG company that requires assistance in optimizing their supply chain.

She was working on an hourly rate – trading time for dollars. The shift Corrie has made using Michael’s process has allowed her to land 3X more clients and grow revenues by 400%.

Challenge

Before coming across Michael Zipursky’s coaching program, Corrie had one major client, and one smaller client where she was doing ad hoc work; the total contract size was $80-100K a year. Corrie was able to keep the lights on and keep moving forward, but her client base was not diversified, and she wasn’t positioned as an expert in her industry. She wanted to open doors and get people to understand who she was, what she could do, and what she was capable of, but wasn’t in a place where she felt that she could achieve any of those three goals—and had been trying to do so for over a year and a half.

Actions

Before working with Michael, Corrie would feel nervous and hesitant when trying to reach out and contact various people in the industry. She was unsure how to approach these people, and was even unsure about what to say. As a result, the meetings she did have would lead nowhere—they would be great meet and greets, but no opportunities would stem for Corrie from these meetings.

Michael offered a way to fix these problems through a change in Corrie’s value proposition. Instead of a general approach to all industries, Corrie started to take the time to frame and understand what potential clients were looking for and what their challenges were, and how her experience in those situations would be able to help provide a viable solution.

Michael also worked with Corrie so she felt more confident and go after the clients she wanted and that would truly value her expertise, rather than sticking to the smaller companies she would normally work with.

Results

300% more clients and 400% more revenue

“Michael Zipursky is a great coach, leader and mentor. His process, the training and coaching program have helped me triple my client list, quadruple my revenue. He’s also helped me be more efficient and effective with managing my time. His program has paid huge dividends, and has transformed my business.”

Corrie Banks, President
Triskele Logistics and Consulting

This change in strategy that Corrie learned has not only significantly changed how potential (and existing) clients approach her – they now seek her out for her expertise – it has even led to how people respond to Corrie over email. Before, Corrie would reach out to prospects via email and would have a very low response rate—now, the emails are concise, targeted and effective, and she gets responses right away. The confident and targeted conversations have led to three major results for Corrie: Continue Reading

5 Questions Every Consultant Should Ask

Success-Questions-Consulting-final

Is your quest for knowledge holding you back from success?

Strange question? Maybe, yet it’s an important one. Let me explain…

Many consultants find themselves constantly on the hunt for more information.

All the information in the world is simply information until you APPLY it and take ACTION on it by focusing on the right questions.

They devour blog posts, articles, newsletters, and books.

They feel EMPOWERED by the amount of information they collect.

With all this information it’s easy to FEEL that you have ALL THE ANSWERS.

That you KNOW exactly what you should be doing to grow your business.

The PROBLEM however is that the answers CAN only help you when you ASK the RIGHT QUESTIONS.

Because all the information in the world is simply information until you APPLY it and take ACTION on it by focusing on the right questions.

Here are 5 questions every growth-focused consultant should ask:

  1. What am I really working towards? Put another way, what is my real goal? If you can’t visualize what you’re working towards how can you get there? Driving without direction will unlikely get you to your destination.
  1. What am I world-class at? Rather than trying to be all-things to all-people what can you focus on that your clients’ want where the value you create is extraordinary?

Continue Reading