Win Consulting Projects With This Simple Email Strategy: Interview with Peter Sandeen

Mike Zipursky:  Hey, everyone. It’s Michael Zipursky here and today I’m excited to have Peter Sandeen on the show. Peter is a website conversion specialist based in Finland. His business has had some impressive growth and I look forward to having Peter share with you his story. Peter, welcome.

Peter Sandeen:  Thanks.

Mike Zipursky:  Peter, I introduced you as a website conversion optimization specialist but let’s start off with having you tell us a little bit more about what that really means and what it is that you’re doing today.

Peter Sandeen:  Website conversion optimization basically means changing your website so that it just converts more visitors into subscribers or customers or consulting clients, but it’s not just about changing your website. If you’re talking about website conversion optimization then, sure, it’s just about websites, but conversion optimization at least in my mind is a lot more than that. It’s about looking at your competitors, looking at your value proposition, which is actually the most important thing about conversion optimization. It’s about looking at a lot of things, about how to get your ideal clients to your website and all that. Technically, it is just about changing your website but that’s just one part of it.

Mike Zipursky:  Let’s go back now a little bit. How did you get started in this business? What were you doing before you got into the website conversion optimization area?

Peter Sandeen:  Well, I did – I think a lot of people did – I started as a very, very general business consultant, maybe with a slight focus on marketing. I didn’t really have any clear focus on it and it didn’t work. I think that’s a fairly common question people come to me with now, is still, “Okay, how do I make this work better? I’m doing the marketing consulting.” It’s just too vague, at least usually. From there, first I started focusing on referral marketing, I don’t know. It was interesting and I think it works and you can do it very well. I just realized that most people aren’t interested in creating a really well refined referral system, so it didn’t really work. Continue Reading

Why Consultants Need to Be Excellent

How excellent are you at what you do? Some believe they are, most are not. Few try to be, even fewer ‘make it’.

Being excellent at what you do isn’t about being the best … it’s about being better than most of the others around you.

The service at most restaurants is average to good. You then walk into one restaurant and are blown away by the attention and care they give to everything from the decor and their greetings… to their friendliness and of course the food. That’s excellent.

Excellent stands out. There’s no ignoring it.

Being average or even good may get you a mention from time to time. When you’re excellent at what you do people can’t stop talking about you.

Most of us know we could be doing better. We could sharpen our skills more…learn new strategies that will help our clients…invest our own money into new products and testing for improvements….yet most people fail to do this.

When you’re excellent you go beyond where most others dare venture. Continue Reading

Consultants Building Syndrome – How to Avoid It

Most consultants have what I call ‘Build Syndrome.’

They keep busy building things for their business that deliver them little to no results.

They stay home and create a new business card, brochure, website, or a fancy consultants marketing plan.

It might take them days, weeks or months to get these materials done.

The problem is they don’t do anything with them.

People, this is a big problem! Build Syndrome is dangerous…

Here’s how it usually occurs and why it’s so nasty:

  1. You spend a great deal of time creating materials you’ll rarely implement.
  2. If you do implement them, you’ll do a half-ass job of it.
  3. You’ll do a half-ass job of implementing because implementing is 10x harder than building.
  4. You trick yourself into thinking that you’re busy doing important work – while really you’re busy doing work that won’t help grow your business (because you won’t implement).
  5. You repeat the cycle all over again.

How consultants can avoid these mistakes Continue Reading

Marketing Consultant Jay Ehret

Jay Ehret is a marketing consultant, speaker and owner of The Marketing Spot and blogger at The Marketing Spot Blog. He works with his clients to build their brands, create memorable customer experiences and develop effective advertising. A love of wine and poker player, when Jay is not speaking around the USA, you can find him just outside of Waco, Texas where he calls home.

1. What is the best part of your job?

The best part is that I love what I do. I love working together with clients to build a marketing plan. They let me inside their business and I get to positively influence the future of their company.

2. Tell us a bit about The Marketing Spot and how you started the company?

I worked in radio advertising for 17 years but knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. However, I really didn’t know what type of business I wanted to own. Believe it or not, I thought I was going to open up a coin-laundry facility and even did a business plan for one. But I thought the return on investment was too low, and coin laundry owners have to know something about maintenance, and that’s not me.

So in the spring of 2001 I went to an Entrepreneur Magazine conference/showcase in Fort Lauderdale to get some inspiration, and I did. The event was not well run, some of the speakers didn’t show, the ones that did weren’t very good. My inspiration was that I could teach this stuff more effectively than Entrepreneur magazine. I was already a sales trainer at Clear Channel Communications and my m.o. with clients was to educate them as I helped them. So that’s when I decided I would start my own marketing company with an emphasis on education.

That was May and for the next four months I laid the groundwork for The Marketing Spot (the name was chosen because that web domain was available). I decided my start date would be October 1, 2001 and I would give my employer two weeks’ notice on Monday, September 17th. Then came the tragedy of 9-11 and I had to make a decision whether or not to move forward. After talking about it with my wife, and worrying about it all weekend, that Monday morning, the 17th, I decided to turn my notice and move forward

3. Give us a glimpse into what your typical day looks like and what you do to keep a solid work-life balance (if you feel you have one)?

I mostly office from my home office, so I’m usually at my computer by 6:30 in the morning. My early mornings are spent reading and creating content such as blog posts, podcasts, articles, learning courses. By mid-morning I may be meeting with a client or working on client projects.

Two days per week I play basketball at a lunchtime businessman’s game. Then back to the office for more client projects or out in the field meeting with clients. I also meet with several clients by Skype. By mid to late afternoon my mind is a little fried, so I will pack up my laptop and either head to my satellite office or to a Starbucks to do some thinking, reading, working. In the early evenings I may work out or go to a local civic function. At night, I will usually sneak in to my office to do a little work. But mostly nights are spent with my wife.

I work a lot of hours because I mostly work from home, but I have a pretty good work-life balance. I spend a lot of time with my wife, we usually watch the grandkids some on the weekends. And every Friday or Saturday night we go out on a date. My wife and I will also travel 3-4 times per year. We are very active in our church and that keeps us busy too. Continue Reading

3 Tips for Staying Productive in Summer Weather

Do these amazing summer days affect your consulting productivity in a good or bad way? Well I’m not sure about you folks, but over the years as a freelance business consultant based in Vancouver (a city known for its cloudy, cold, and rainy weather) I find that when these extraordinary summer days hit the city really want to spend more time outside enjoying life, patios, good food, and the nature the city offers.

I’ve already realized that even though the weather is great, business has to go on as usual. So how have I dealt with this? Well I’ve come up with a few summer fixes so that I can enjoy the weather and still get tons of work done.

1. Arrange Meetings in Good Spots
Vancouver is known for it’s outdoor eateries, patios, and cafes. So what do I do so I can get a piece of the action and still keep the biz moving? I logically offer up meeting spots that have outdoor seating, are near the ocean or a park, or have tons of sunlight and summer breeze passing through the place – this technique alone works wonders.

2. Schedule Your Day Differently
During these lovely summer months I change up my work schedule a bit. So what do I do that’s different? Split my work day into different parts. The first stage is about 8am – 3:30pm, then I work out and enjoy the sun for a few hours, then work a few more hours in the evening after dinner and the sunset. Continue Reading

Secret to Getting Consulting Referrals

Ask any successful consultant how they currently get their clients and more than 90% of them will tell you they come from consulting referrals.

A referral is when someone, whether a friend, family member, acquaintance or client, refers another prospective client to you.

They do this because they care for you, respect you, trust you or know you can get the job done. Meaning you know how to get results.

And sometimes it’s all of these reasons combined.

But by far the biggest reason is that a past or current client was or is satisfied with the work you did for them. And when someone they know asks if they know of anyone that can help them with their PR, marketing, management, etc… your name is the one that comes up.

Referrals are not only the most common way of receiving business they are also the most effective and cheapest… Continue Reading

Good Business Consultants use GAP Analysis

While it’s easy to identify the problems within some businesses, uncovering others remains a bit of a challenge.

Regardless of how many years you attended school or how skilled you are at your job, business consultants know that the process is not always a piece of cake. If you have been called in by a business owner or executive, it is normally because unidentified issues are wreaking havoc within the structure or sales of the company.

Even if you sport a list of successes a mile long, the possibility remains that you will eventually be stumped by a business’ situation. So, where do you start when you need to locate the problems faced by a company? Continue Reading

The Timeline Secrets of Top Business Consultants

Top business consultants know the tricks of the trade, helping them to create a long list of accomplishments that span a variety of industries.

There are several crucial components that mix together to form the perfect balance of professionalism and approachability, and these are not taken lightly by the experts. Experienced business consultants know that the key to success is meeting the clients’ expectations, which can range from expertise to training to timelines.

A Straightforward Approach to Prep Time

More often than not, clients are eager to get down to business. While many hope to see overnight results, researching, planning and implementing take time. While it can be difficult for new consultants to set time frames for themselves and the client, this is a vital aspect of a well-oiled relationship.

Even if you expect the work to take months, it is absolutely necessary to provide an honest time estimate, or you may appear unprofessional in the end. Developing a time line is easier than you may think, as long as you allow sufficient room for revisions and client modifications. Continue Reading

Presenting Yourself as a Business Consulting Career Expert

Perhaps the most important component of any business consulting career is the ability to engage the client and demonstrate past successes.

Of course, in order to secure an opportunity to do so, you have to reach that crucial second stage: the initial meeting. While the phone call or brief introduction that took place in the first phase may be considered smooth sailing by some, meeting face-to-face is a different experience, indeed.

However, presenting yourself as an expert in the field is a crucial part of closing a deal and welcoming a new client.

There’s No Time Like Prep Time
No question, there is groundwork involved in the first meeting. If you arrive at the appointment unprepared, you risk losing all credibility and the client may opt to pursue a working relationship with someone else.

Allow yourself sufficient time to gather the necessary materials, such as pens, notepads, a calculator, and business cards.

Remember, networking opportunities exist everywhere; following a successful close, you may choose to offer a few business cards to your newest client in the hopes that he or she will recommend your services to others. In addition, a professionally designed portfolio can prove to be a valuable investment and indispensable tool when it comes to showcasing your previous successes. Continue Reading

Business Consulting and the Recession

Perhaps now more than ever, companies are in need of business consulting services. While this statement may surprise you – given the current state of the economy – this field has been identified as one of the few with staying power. Although many businesses continue to struggle daily (or collapse altogether), owners are turning to industry professionals to help them find their way through the storm.

Business Owners Look to Consultants for Support
Many business owners are tightening their budget belts so much that it hurts. However, in order to find the light at the end of the tunnel, owners need a consultancy superhero of sorts, someone to analyze the situation, implement a plan, and work to safeguard the future of the business. Enter the focused, success-driven business consultant.

Fact is, no company can excel at everything. If you are a business owner, you know how precious your time is, and how even the smallest of economical changes can affect your entire outlook. It can be very difficult to rebuild a business following lost funding or a sudden drop in clientele, but help is out there. Business consulting professionals know their stuff; they are ready to dive in head first and create a new plan for the future. Continue Reading