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Google's "Feed Me!" Content Mentality

Posted By Rayne Provost, Saturday, November 16, 2013
Updated: Thursday, April 10, 2014
Google keeps telling me that more content is the way to get noticed on the internet. Does anyone really have the time to create, and more importantly read, this content?

In reality, no one has interest in your content. So it's up to you to create content (blogs, tweets, etc.) that catches people's attention and breaks through the NOISE. Consider these things when writing content:

  1. Who are you trying to reach?
    You really aren't trying to be a writer and create new content. You want to grow your business. So know who your target audience is and what they are interested in.
  2. It's all about conversations. Your blog post and supporting tweets are designed to begin and continue conversations. Your blog creates a place people can go to learn more about you, your thoughts and what you offer.
  3. Get People's Attention. How can you stand out from other content? Share ideas and content that have worked for you. Share what you've learned that worked for others.

TIP:Your content needs to meet these 3 criteria:
  1. Offer quality content that's well written.
  2. Be consistent and write regular content. One blog every 3 months doesn't do anything for you.
  3. Give them a reason to read - A call to action, a valuable tip.

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5 Crippling Beliefs That Keep You in the Poorhouse

Posted By Rayne Provost, Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Updated: Thursday, April 10, 2014
Most independent consultants work long hours, yet often earn less than they did in the corporate world. They don't lack talent or fail to work hard. So what's the problem?

Ian Brodie, hired to help attract more clients and win more new business, shares his "5 Crippling Beliefs That Keep Consultants and Coaches in the Poor House". They all stem from his belief that we are not usually good at marketing or selling our services.

  1. If I do good work, people will hear about me. Truth: No, they won't. It's a passive strategy that goes against the fact that folks share a bad experience with 12 people, who tell 6 others. Good experiences are shared with a few people ... who tell no one else.
  2. I just need to get my name out there. Truth: It won't make any difference. Unless you have a message that resonates with potential clients, you are just part of the noise.
  3. I'll copy what's working for others. Truth: That doesn't mean it will work for you. You have to tread your own path. Learn from others but find things that work for you ... and then master them.
  4. I can't find the time for marketing. If you don't, you'll soon have plenty of time on your hands. You should be spending 10-20% of your time on marketing and business development. You don't find the time ... you make the time.
  5. I'm not a natural salesperson. Truth: No one is! It takes experience, training and practice. And getting over the fear of selling.

TIP:Honesty review these crippling beliefs and your actions. Pick one that you relate to the most and commit to making it a priority to work on in the next few months.

To read the full article, go to Ian Brodie's website to read "5 Crippling Beliefs That Keep Consultants and Coaches in the Poor House.

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Getting YES to Your Proposals

Posted By Rayne Provost, Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Updated: Thursday, April 10, 2014
I thought my proposal was great; I researched, interviewed key players and am convinced I addressed the organization's needs. But, I didn't get the job. I again missed getting the project when I thought I had the inside track. What did I do wrong?

What the prospect SAYS they want is not always what they REALLY want. The best way to uncover the REAL need and write the winning proposal is to:

  1. Make sure you know who the REAL decision maker is. More often, there's only one who actually is the "Button Pusher" - the one who can say yes and write the check (Economic Buyer).
  2. Meet or connect with the "Button Pusher". Even if you have to do it by phone if the ultimate decision maker is not geographically available.
  3. Ask the decision maker this KEY question: "When the engagement is a success, what does the end look like?" Know and understand their expectations with a description of the end results in their own words. Avoid generalities and seek specifics.
  4. Repeat back (NOT summarize or recap) what you heard. This allows the Button Pusher to reflect back on what was said and to add or correct. It verifies how to word your proposal's list of deliverables, and when possible using the exact words you heard.
  5. Know who the informal leaders are. During your research work, identify and more importantly, win over the informal leaders. These key players (perhaps User or Technical buyers) can also act as Coach and help your bid if asked for their opinion.
  6. Write your proposal to include phrases, actions and outcomes provided by the decision maker and the informal leaders.

TIP:Uncovering the true motives behind decisions will hone your proposal winning skills to include REAL needs and expectations rather than good guesses. Remember, the prospective client wants to know the actual results and specific expectations you will meet rather than what you know or how you will do it.

Thanks to IMC USA member Lawrence Bassett CMC for sending in today's tip.

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Are You Afraid to Sell?

Posted By Rayne Provost, Thursday, October 31, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, April 9, 2014
I'm experienced, competent, ethical and knowledgeable - so why don't I have more paying clients?

Having all of the above traits doesn't prevent a big fear - the fear of selling (oh, that horrible word) your services. There is no way you can avoid selling, so how can you make it less scary?

  1. Have the right attitude. I've heard consultants say "I didn't become a consultant to be a salesperson." If you're not selling your services, then you're not really in business. If something doesn't get sold, it's just a hobby.
  2. Have conversations rather than sell or talk about yourself. Good selling is all about having conversations to: 1) identify if they have a need or want for your service; and 2) find out if you are the right person to fill that need.
  3. Build them a basket. What you offer and what the prospect wants has to be a match. When the founder of Longaberger Basket asked that his HQ building look like a basket, his "consultant" suggested other options that would be better. His response? "Build me a basket!" - and that is the HQ today.

TIP:The real key to selling your services is to listen more than you talk. Tounderstand the need of your prospect and how you can fill it. Focus on theminstead of you and you're a problem solver rather than a salesperson.
And that's not scary at all!

Happy Halloween!

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Don't Be Spooked by Flat-Fee Billing

Posted By Rayne Provost, Monday, October 28, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, April 9, 2014
What and how to charge clients is a topic that if often discussed in consulting circles. Today's guest tipster Michael J. Katz shares his thoughts.

Blue Penguin Development Michael Katz's recent article in Rain Today, Don't Be Spooked by Flat-Rate Billing, likens fixed-fee billing to all-you-can-eat candy consumption at Halloween. Here are his reasons for encouraging you to abandon charging clients by the hour and moving to flat-rate billing.

  1. It's better for my clients. With no clock ticking,conversations are more relaxed, I get more involved in multiple aspects of their business, and the longer conversations gain me a greater insight into who my clients are.
  2. It's better for me. Fixed-fee billing has liberated me from tracking my time in 15 minute increments. I work on client ideas whenever I get one, and don't have to worry about how to bill for it.

TIP:If you are starting out, or unhappy with hourly billing, give this approach some thought. The fear that clients will call every day and take advantage of you hasn't happened for him. Click here to read his entire article at our IMC USA Affiliate RainToday

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