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Keeping Up With Audio

Posted By Administration, Thursday, January 31, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 30, 2013
I agree it's important to read business books, do research and attend conferences to keep up my business knowledge and consulting skills. Despite my interest, I just don't have the time. Any ideas?

According to a number of studies, people who read at least 7 business books a year earn over 2.3X more than those who read just one. With an increasing emphasis on online and video as preferred ways to acquire information, books are losing their attractiveness as a way to keep up.

How many business books have you bought and haven't gotten around to reading? A possible solution is listening to an audio book or watching a video summary.

Whether for fee or free, you can find podcasts, audio books and even short videos to meet your learning plan for the year. Combine learning while driving, during exercise or in place of television.

There are a growing number of resources offering materials on leadership, technology, self-development and marketing. Two companies offering a wide variety of resources are Learn Out Loud and The Business Source, but there are more.

TIP:Check out the Business Book Summary Program. IMCUSA members can get a substantial discount until February 12th.
Go to The Business Source Member Promo to learn more.

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Sharpening Your Ax

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 30, 2013
How important is professional development in the success of a consultant? I tend to learn a lot through client work. Isn't that enough?

There's a fable about a strong woodcutter who was determined to be the best. The first day on the job, he cut down 15 trees. He and his boss were excited about his success, and the woodcutter was determined to try harder the next day.

But the next day he only cut down 10 trees, and the next day only 7 trees. He feared he was losing his strength, and couldn't understand what was happening. He was asked "When was the last time you sharpened your ax?"

"Sharpen? Who has time to sharpen their ax? I've been too busy trying to cut down trees." Are YOU too busy cutting down trees? How do you keep yourself sharp? Sharpening your skills from time to time is the key to success.

TIP:Keep learning and stay educated on what's going on in consulting and your industry niche (if applicable). Business basics change as well as technologies. Learning new things can help keep your business going with fresh ideas and new perspectives.

IMC Academy offers webinars on a variety of topics. They are cost effective and easy to attend. The next one is January 29th - click on the title to learn more. When Prospects Go Silent

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Getting Prospects to Call You Back

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 30, 2013
I don't mind calling for appointments, but many times I am forced to leave a voicemail message. What can I can do better or differently to get more people to call me back?

With emails and voicemails, key prospects are often difficult to reach. A recent Wall Street Journal on how CEO's spend their time shared that 67% of their time is spent in meetings. With the likelihood of getting their voicemail, what is the difference between folks who get called back and those who don't?

One of my favorite sales experts is Jill Konrath. In her book "Selling to Big Companies", she shares "9 Tips to Get Prospects to Call You Back".

  • Get down to business right away.
  • Reference any referrals upfront.
  • Show you've done your homework.
  • Mention a recent newsworthy event.
  • State a strong value proposition.
  • Share a fresh perspective.
  • Eliminate any self-serving verbiage
  • Sound like a trusted peer.
  • Use a script as a foundation.
Consider these 9 points when preparing, and then calling prospects. Don't wing it when making sales calls.

TIP:Jill has a lot of great resources on her website - and much of it is free. Go to her Free Resources Page for her Prospecting Tool kit. It includes a one page sheet with more information on the 9 tips above.

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Once is Never Enough

Posted By Administration, Thursday, January 10, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 30, 2013
When I meet prospective clients, I share what I do. Sometimes there is interest and other times there is not. Should I just move on when no interest is shown?

Consulting prospects buy when they are ready to buy, not when you are ready to sell. This means you have to be in front of them when they're ready. Seek ways to follow-up with them in a consistent way so they continue to learn what you offer ... so they think of you and realize they have a need you can solve.

Consider these 3 components when connecting with prospects:
  1. Education: Be a source of valuable and relevant information, especially if it shows you understand and address their key issues. Provide it and they'll trust and appreciate you. If not, you'll wear out your welcome.
  2. Repetition: We all learn by repetition, so don't think prospects understand what you offer with just one exposure to you. Communicate regular and consistently.
  3. Variety: While your message should be consistent, the way you connect should vary. Phone calls, email, direct mail, social media - all tools to stay connected with prospects.

Need to better utilize and understand social media? Check out an upcoming IMC USA Academy offering, "Social Media for the High Growth Firm". It's $89 for members, $200 for non-members.

Click here to learn more about this 3 part webinar series.

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Your Best Consulting Moments

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 30, 2013
Now that the holidays are over and we are starting a new year, it's a great time for reflection and perspective. Consider what brings you satisfaction in your consulting practice.

Spend a few minutes thinking back over the past year. Close your eyes (after you are done reading this of course) and mentally review your activities: research, marketing, selling, engagements, client conversations, analyses, interviews, publicity, events, presenting findings and recommendations and being called back to provide additional services.

What were the one or two most satisfying and rewarding events or moments you experienced?

TIP:What were you doing when you experienced your favorite moment? If you think about a few of your favorite moments, is there a pattern? Are they all related to selling your services and winning an engagement, or are they mostly about doing the work? Are the winning moments similar activities or situations? If so, how can you focus your efforts to experience more of those satisfying moments in 2013?

Conversely, what were some of the worst moments of your consulting career. Is there a pattern? Can you restructure your practice to eliminate or at least minimize them?

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