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How to get business when you join IMC USA

Posted By Loraine A. Huchler CMC FIMC, Saturday, August 10, 2013

My last blog stimulated a robust conversation about the value of membership organizations.

Numerous consultants talked about a platform for sharing and expanding cutting edge ideas to improve member’s capabilities – essentially a learning laboratory that had direct relevance to a consultant’s competency and competitiveness in the marketplace.

In addition to education, consultants repeatedly talked about getting business and connecting to clients - but didn’t offer details about how to make this connection happen. Our own members are often puzzled about how a membership organization and certifying body actually helps them "get business.”

Here’s how this calculus works in IMC USA – it’s worked for me and I’m confident that it will work for you.

The strength of our membership is our diversity. We have general management consultants, advisors and coaches as well as subject matter experts – defined by their practice, market-segment and/or industry focus. We have solo practitioners as well as consultants in boutique, small, mid-sized, national and global consulting firms. We have members who are studying at a university, exploring consulting as a career, getting established, expanding their practice, highly experienced and semi- or fully retired from consulting.

The challenge of serving our membership is our diversity. Consultants at different stages of their career have different needs – education in consulting skills, leveraging technology, ethics, practice management and areas of practice, collegial relationships and mentoring, business growth and new clients, repositioning and succession, service to the profession, the community and pro bono opportunities.

Consultants in different practice areas speak different languages. Consultants in different market segments adapt to the different priorities of their clients. And it goes without saying that the diversity of the subject matter expertise in our membership creates a huge challenge for our organization to simply connect to the breadth of the client community.

So how does a membership organization and certifying body such as ours help our members "get business?”

Our incredible diversity means that we can’t define your unique selling proposition, we can’t prospect for business for you, we can’t build relationships of trust with your prospects and we can’t market and sell for you.

But we can help you understand the mindset of prospects and clients, the professionalism and ethics of consulting and teach you skills to communicate, connect and deliver on engagements.IMC USA offers opportunities to learn in our Academy, connects you with top-notch, senior colleagues to create meaningful relationships and test-drive your message with your peers in our chapters, national committees and our virtual community event, C2M Live!, sets the standard of excellence and ethics in the consulting profession and provides mentoring to become certified, giving the client a tangible assurance of competency.

So what's required? An investment, of course – there’s never "something for nothing.” You'll need to put up some cash, of course, but the bulk of the investment is sweat equity – getting connected, making the commitment and getting involved. The analogy to a health club membership could not be more appropriate!

So the next time that someone asks – how does a membership organization and certifying body help its members get business? Tell them – it’s a partnership – between the consultant and the organization.

We’re here to help you grow your professionalism and grow your business. Join us!

Loraine Huchler, P.E., CMC®

P. S. If you were one of our members who experienced problems with our Early Bird registration for GROW!? Don’t despair – we want to apologize and offer to extend the Early Bird until August 31; just click here. I will see you at GROW! in October.

Tags:  business  membership 

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Comments on this post...

Jennifer A. Leake CMC says...
Posted Saturday, August 10, 2013
Loraine - Well written and great thoughts! I especially agree with what's required for some of the best benefits of being an IMC Member - the sweat equity.

As membership chair for the Carolinas chapter, I often tell guests that anyone can write a check, but not everyone really "becomes a member". Real benefits come from getting involved. Getting to know fellow IMC members for friendships, referrals, feedback and advice - all things I have been grateful to have since first becoming a member in 1997.
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Mark Haas CMC FIMC says...
Posted Saturday, August 10, 2013
For more than a decade, almost all of my consulting projects have come through my IMC contacts - and I have brought other IMC members onto my projects and referred clients to still others. It is precisely the diversity of perspective, skills and experience that makes it possible to grow as a consultant and enter new markets and develop new capabilities. Serving in a chapter or national leader/volunteer role gives you the visibility (as well as experience and connections) to create an instant consulting network.
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Tristram D. Coffin CMC says...
Posted Saturday, August 10, 2013
Thank you, Loraine, for articulating the pieces and sewing them all into the big picture in a few paragraphs. Very well said and comprehensive in content!
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Paul A. Halas Jr. VA CMC says...
Posted Saturday, August 10, 2013
Thank you Loraine, your comments on the IMC were dynamic and on point. I was certified in the 80s and the CMC designation has been a super important credential in working with my clients to establish their "real world" market value. And in the life cycle of any business, final entity value is what it's all about! Paul A Halas, Jr., VA, CMC

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Michael E. Cohen CMC MBA says...
Posted Friday, October 25, 2013
In my 25 years of membership in IMC as a CMC, I have heard the question numerous times of how and whether IMC helps and should help its members to get business. I have always felt it does- through professional development, networking, certification, and access to resources. You have said much the same thing, Loraine, but you have said it better. Forgive me if I have missed any of your key points.

Still, there are members, some of some certified, who feel the above, as stated bt you and I, is not enough. Unfortunately, most of the time the dissenting members have not have offered other suggestions, although in one case, the members suggested that he IMC chapters should estbalsih the equivalant of consuklting firms to pursue business. This did not get mucxh support, but at least it was an idea.

I remember hearing several years ago that one of our mebers, Cathy Silverstein, a very successful consultant, had sodthat one of the reasons she left IMC was that it did not do enough to help members get business, and that another of her professional associations, did more in this regard. I am unaware if anyone followed up with Cathy, but I would suggest that any time a member leaves such a comment upon departure or even at another time, that the appropraite IMC committeee should immediately follow up. Maybe there are lessons to be learned from other associations. (Apologies in advance for typing errors- lol).
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