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#658: Perfecting Your Brochure

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, September 21, 2011
I have never used marketing collateral to publicize my business, instead relying on word of mouth. Yet, most articles talk about having a website and brochures, and doing webinars and podcasts? Is any of this necessary?

First, congratulations on having a consulting practice sustainable by word of mouth. If this circumstance brings you a steady stream of challenging, lucrative and socially productive work, then that's great. If this is not the case, then having these pieces of collateral, per se, may or may not be useful. However, going through the exercise of creating them may well be.

Here's what I mean. Ask most consultants what they do, why they do it, how they do it, and who they do it for and you can expect a 15 minute (if you are lucky) explanation. Very few have a clear, concise and "get-to-the-point" description of who they are. Part of this is due to not finding the words that resonate with a wide audience. Being able to say, "I create secure supply chains for transpacific container shipping companies by combining personnel training, integration with your current information technologies and performance tracking systems" is a lot clearer than "I am a supply chain consultant."

Tip: You may not have a brochure, nor need one, but the process of having to put down on a single sheet of paper who, what, where, and why you do is not as simple as it sounds. Give it a try and do two things. First, map this explanation against your last five engagements. Does your practice description capture what you did for these clients and the value you delivered? Second, pass your practice description by about five clients or colleagues and ask them if they recognize you (possibly uniquely) in your description. If not, go back and rework your "brochure." Even if you never use it as an actual brochure, you will have a clearer way to explain the core value you really provide.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  brand  brand management  presentations  prospect  sales  your consulting practice 

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Cox Ferrall CMC FIMC says...
Posted Thursday, September 22, 2011
Important post, Mark. And, re your estimate of 15 minutes, you are both a very nice guy and a born optimist. Just ask anyone who has ever hosted an ABC meeting!

Re your middle paragraph, however, I would suggest some clarification. What works well in brochures and elevator speeches is often inappropriate and off-putting in a real-world prospecting discussion. When we are trying to open trusting conversations, I believe that your closing sound bite (“I’m a supply chain consultant”) is a better starter than the more salesy sentence that precedes it.

I’m giving a talk on this very subject Monday (September 26th) at an IMC breakfast gathering in the Central Valley. I would urge anyone within hailing distance of the ever delicious Marie Callendar’s Restaurant in Modesto, California, to come on down and hone their conversational prospecting skills!

Cox Ferrall, CMC FIMC
Sales Wisdom Now
Direct 415.956.5558
cox@saleswisdomnow.com
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Mark Haas CMC FIMC says...
Posted Thursday, September 22, 2011
Cox,

I was saying that you would be lucky if the response was as short as 15 minutes - most consultants require a hook. As to what works in public, that depends on who you are talking to, but we all need to be as explicit as we can four our own purposes
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