Alan Weiss Consulting Interview: Part 3

Today we’re happy to share with you Part 3 of our interview with Alan Weiss. Enjoy! Here is the links to Part 1 and Part 2 of the series.

Mike: Alan, I’d like to talk about consulting proposals for a minute.  Should consultants always offer their clients options and packages in their proposals versus giving them just one package or one solution?

Alan: You need to offer options on everything.  Even when somebody says we need to speak again, I would say, “Fine, I can do it tomorrow in person here, or we could do it outside if you prefer to have lunch or breakfast, or if you can give me an hour uninterrupted on the phone we could do it that way in the next week.”  If you give people options you shift them from “Should I do this?” to “How should I do this?” and psychologically that’s huge.

Mike: Do you use any guidelines for what types of options consultants should provide their clients with?

If you give people options you shift them from “Should I do this?” to “How should I do this?”

Alan: It depends on the situation.  It depends on the client.  Otherwise, if you go in with predetermined gold, silver, platinum, or diamond or whatever, what you’re saying is I’ve got an off the shelf response here and I’m going to try to fit you into one of them.  I’m talking about consulting here.  Consulting should always be around what the clients’ needs are.

Mike: You might use a framework of three different offers but each one would be tailored to that specific client and project?

Alan: That’s right.  Each proposal is different.

Mike: Why should a consultant never quote a fee before establishing value?

Alan: What is it based on?  How would you quote a fee if you don’t have the value?  You don’t even know what the fee is based on then.

Mike: Let’s look at an example. A consultant goes into a meeting with a client. The client says to them, “I want you to put on a seminar for us next week on sales for our sales force, how much will that cost?” That’s a tough position for a consultant to be in…when they feel they need to respond right away. What would you suggest they do? Continue Reading

Marketing Mondays: Build Your Consulting Business by Writing Articles

The first time I wrote an article for a business publication I got 3 emails from business owners that had read my article and wanted to hire me.

The next article got more inquiries and all I did was write!

Writing articles for your local newspaper or for a popular blog is a great way to increase your exposure, generate leads and build your business.

Writing articles for your local newspaper or for a popular blog is a great way to increase your exposure, generate leads and build your business.

As with speaking, you don’t have to be THE expert to write articles. You just need to know what you’re talking about. You need knowledge and real world experience.

The biggest mistake you can make is talking about something you have no real world experience with.

If you have some credentials and experience in the topic you want to write on you’ll have a much better chance of having your articles accepted.

How to get your articles accepted

Find out who the editor of the newspaper or blog is and contact them.

Pitch them. Tell them how you enjoy their publication. You’ve read it, understand it, know who their readers are. Then tell them that you have an idea for an article, or a series of articles that you believe their readers will find of value.

Be sure to tell them why they should trust you, believe you, and how you’re the right person to write these articles. Continue Reading

Marketing Mondays: Take Your Marketing Out of the Building

I’m sure there have been some scientific studies on this topic. If there haven’t there sure should be.

I’ve talked with enough professionals to know that the biggest fear most people face in the business world is taking action.

Well, actually, let me clarify that…

When I say “taking action” I don’t mean writing an article, fixing your website, making an advertisement, writing a consulting proposal – those are all important things – but they are what I call ‘building’.

By taking action I mean picking up the phone and setting meetings with prospective customers. Getting out of your office and meeting with potential buyers. And spending money on actual marketing and advertising.

By taking action I mean picking up the phone and setting meetings with prospective customers.

Consultants and business owners will do anything they can to delay doing these things, even though they know that they need to do them.

Here’s the thing. It’s understandable that many people find doing these things uncomfortable. Most people don’t like calling Continue Reading

Marketing Mondays: The Value Bait

Sam told me a story the other day about one of his students that lives right on the waterfront.

To catch crab and prawns they go to their dock each day, find some mussels that have attached themselves to the rocks and dock.

They don’t eat the mussels…they crush them up, put them into a sock and then put that into their crab or prawn trap.

The crabs and prawns love it. And each time they do it they pull in a bounty of seafood.

That story made me think of a similar situation in marketing that is just as effective.

I’ve come to call it the Value Bait (Jay Abraham may have coined that term?).

The Value Bait is when you offer your clients or prospective clients something of huge value.

Maybe it’s a $500 1 on 1 consultation for only $99.

Let’s say that consultation costs you $250 in lost time (time you could spend with another client). You’d be crazy to offer that deal then, wouldn’t you?

Not exactly… Continue Reading

Marketing Mondays: Consulting By-Products and Selling More to Your Clients

Good morning Marketing Monday peoples! Welcome back.

In the creation and delivery of most products and services by-products are produced.

The majority of business owners and consultants pay little attention to these. They ignore them or don’t even know they exist.

The majority of business owners and consultants pay little attention to these. They ignore them or don’t even know they exist.

Identifying your consulting by-products and marketing them can bring a whole new stream of revenue for you and your business.

Take the consultant that gives presentations and seminars on a regular basis. She decides to compile all her notes and teachings and creates a webinar that she charges for. That’s a by-product. Taking that and creating videos or a book out of it would be another by-product. New income streams.

The web designer is busy creating websites for his clients. He finds himself creating many websites for lawyers. Rather than continuing on business as usual, he decides to launch a service of website templates designed specifically for law firms. It’s a targeted and popular offering. It generates new revenue.

What by-products are you overlooking?


Marketing Mondays: How to Take Your Marketing Skills to Other Industries

I was on the 22nd floor of a downtown skyscraper. Headquarters of a large financial business. Sitting in the boardroom with the company’s owner waiting for the division managers to arrive.

When they did the President introduced me to the rest of the people in the room told everyone why he had brought me in to help the company.

Each manager introduced themselves politely and I was about to start my presentation. Just then one of managers called out and said…

“Hey, do you have any experience in our industry?”

At that time I hadn’t. I’d worked with companies in over 21 industries at that point, but not pharmaceuticals.

I met eyes with the manager that had called me out and said, “No, I don’t. But that’s exactly why you need me here. Because I bring a fresh perspective to what you guys are doing.”

Clearly the status quo wasn’t working for this company.

If it was, they wouldn’t have brought me in.

My response seemed to please the manager and I went on with my presentation.

The lesson today is about being open to learning Continue Reading

Marketing Mondays: The Only 3 Ways to Increase Your Sales

There are only 3 ways to increase consulting sales. It doesn’t matter what type of business you run, what kind of consulting you specialize in. There are only three…

Here they are:

#1 You can increase the number of clients you work with.

#2 You can increase the size of the sale to each client.

#3 You can increase the number of times a client buys from you.

Pretty straightforward, right?

It is. But it’s amazing how many business owners and consultants I meet that forget this timeless principle.

Before you spend time trying to come up with that next magical marketing plan, or planning that big PR blitz, be sure to ask yourself if what you’re doing is going to directly connect to one of the three ways you can increase sales.

If you’re looking to grow your business (I’m guessing you are because you’re reading this) it’ll be well worth your time to focus on each of these 3 strategies and brainstorm actions that you can take to address them.

Got questions?

Ask away in the comments below…

Marketing Mondays: Discover the True Value of Your Customers

One big mistake that many business owners and consultants make is not understanding the true value of a client or customer.

A customer that pays you $500/mo or $5000 for a project is worth just that, right? Wrong!

It’s critical that you remember the Lifetime Customer Value of each client. LCV is the total value in dollars that each client will spend with you over their lifetime.

If your clients pay you just $500 a month, but on average stay with you for 3 years, each client is actually worth (their LCV) $18,000.

Why should you care?

The reason you must keep this splendid equation in your mind at all times is because it’s a game changer.

Knowing that each client is worth $18,000 to your business…you can confidently spend more money on your marketing (I’m guessing you’re spending no where near $18,000 per client on marketing) to bring in more leads.

And you can do so because you know that as long as you bring in a client at a lower cost than what they are worth, you’re going to Continue Reading

The Biggest Mistake You Can Make with Your Marketing

Many business owners and consultants experience periods of feast followed by famine. The main cause of this completely unnecessary situation is a lack of consistent marketing.

Marketing done on a consistent basis wins every time in comparison to random spurts of marketing activity.

If you wait until you need clients to start marketing, it’s too late.

There’s a way to solve this problem once and for all.

First you need to analyze your marketing activities and find out what the most effective actions are.

To do this simple write down all of your marketing activities and create columns to the right of each activity for: time, investment, and return. Then fill in the information across the columns for each activity.

Then see which activities are bringing you the highest return on investment (the most clients or projects for the least amount of time and money).

Once you know what works the best, do more Continue Reading

Why Your Marketing Needs Many Touches

I was doing some research for a client in the financial space the other day and came upon this research from Grant Hicks. Even if you’re not in the financial field there is a great takeaway here for marketers all around.

Remember, what you read here isn’t just for financial advisors, but also for management consultants, marketing consultants, and just about any other kind of consultant or business out there.

Most financial advisors find they are 80% more successful after the fifth contact with prospects.

The reason why is in the numbers: Continue Reading