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Between 2005 and 2011, IMC published Daily Tips every weekday on consulting ethics, marketing, service delivery and practice management. You may search more than 800 tips on this website using keywords in "Search all posts" or clicking on a tag in the Top Tags list to return all tips with that specific tag. Comment on individual tips (members and registered guests) or use the Contact Us form above to contact Mark Haas CMC, FIMC, Daily Tips author/editor. Daily Tips are being compiled into several volumes and will be available through IMC USA and Mark Haas.

 

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Top tags: client relations  communication  customer understanding  your consulting practice  marketing  consultant role  learning  client service  reputation  goodwill  consulting process  market research  practice management  sales  ethics  planning  client development  engagement management  innovation  proposals  professional development  professionalism  knowledge assets  prospect  trends  presentations  recommendations  consulting colleagues  intellectual property  product development 

#72: How Visible is Your Website Relative to Other Consultants?

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Monday, June 15, 2009
I can find out how my website's popularity in general but how do I find out whether my website is more popular or visible than other consulting sites?

Use Marketleap to gauge your site's attractiveness relative to other consultant sites. It offers three free services: (1) link popularity check, (2) search engine saturation, and (3) keyword verification. It also provides some resources in search engine optimization (SEO), or how to improve your site's visibility, regardless of where you are now.

Using Marketleap, we can see that IMC USA ranks fairly well, better than PWC Consulting and Consulting Central and less than less than Bearing Point and Accenture (with a lot more resources devoted to maximizing visibility). On Search engine saturation, IMC USA ranks close to Boston Consulting Group.

Tip: See where you rank with each major search engine (Google, AOL, HotBot, MSN, Yahoo, FAST, AltaVista) and use Marketleap's resources to highlight your site. For IMC USA members, this increasing visibility is a solid reason to make sure your consulting profiles are complete and you participate fully in our communities of practice.

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  brand  brand management  market research  marketing  website 

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#70: Extending Your Consulting Service to Address Mother Nature

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Friday, June 12, 2009
Updated: Friday, June 12, 2009
Several of my clients are facing issues in their businesses directly or indirectly related to climate change. Is this something I can build on as part of my practice?

As consultants, we are supposed to be a step or two ahead of our clients. Our ability to see emerging threats or opportunities is part of what makes us valuable. You are right that there are a lot of impacts on business generated from climate change and other natural phenomena. There are consulting firms that specifically focus on this but I recommend every consultant be conversant in how Mother Nature affects business. Regardless of your consulting discipline or industry, these issues will affect your clients and you don't want to be surprised when they start to affect your clients' bottom lines.

What are some of these impacts? For example, higher temperatures are increasing heating loads in office buildings, thus expenses. Changing weather patterns are already disrupting crop yields, changing demand for certain types of foods and recreation, and increasing the attractiveness of telecommuting. We are coming up on the eleven year solar max peak, which may start as early as late 2010, in which increased solar activity (expected to be the highest in 50 years) will disrupt radio, GPS and communication signals. These impacts of changing nature are also indirect, such as when a previously optimized supply chain needs to be totally reconfigured because carbon regulation makes offshoring less attractive than it was. Furthermore, consumer demand is also indirectly influenced by your client's perceived response to climate change, sustainability and resource stewardship.

Tip: Start to build a modest library of the concerns of business planners to climate change and their priorities for making decisions about responding. One example is Impact of Climate Change on Future Business Strategy. Share this and others in your growing library with your clients and start a conversation about how you can help them.

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  consultant role  customer understanding  marketing  product development  sustainability  trends 

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#67: Connecting With Other Businesses

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, June 9, 2009
My consulting network is just fine but I'd like to build out some more relationships with other types of businesses. What are some good ways to locate and cultivate such businesses?

Sometimes we focus so much on close-in relationships with other consultants that we forget that a strong network is built on a base of different businesses unlike our own. This means more than just other professionals like accountants, lawyers and other presumably direct referral sources. Your network can also be of people who can use your services and support as well as providers of services you use, but not obvious network candidates.

Set a goal of developing a dozen new relationships over the next three months (an average of one a week). Look in two places. First, reconnect to people you respect and have worked with in the past who are not consultants. If you thought highly of them before, they are likely to still be in sync with you now. Second, think of people who would benefit from your services but whom you don’t think of as clients. These might include sports club proprietors, auto dealers, commercial real estate brokers, travel agents, and engineers. Each of these might well use your management consulting services but perhaps not in the core area of your practice. Closer relationships with these businesses will give you both insight onto a broader set of businesses as well as an opportunity to provide advice to help them in their businesses.

Tip: Plan an open house or event hosted by yourself or with one or two colleagues. It's OK to present this as a networking event but make it clear that it is not intended as a hard core business development event, just a get to know you event. To make the introductions "sticky," arrange with some other attendees to host the next event a month or two later. It does take some effort to facilitate several of these different networks at one time but you will jump start your network and get better known well outside your traditional networks.

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client development  marketing  networks 

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#60: The Customer is Not Always Right

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Friday, May 29, 2009
Updated: Friday, May 29, 2009
My clients range from wonderful to challenging. What are some tricks to trade the latter for the former?

What you consider wonderful and challenging depends on what you value in a client. Is it intellectual stimulation, socially productive work, or just a fast pay cycle? Regardless, the clients you have are a function of the clients you seek and cultivate. When you set your marketing and sales plan in motion, are you placing a high enough weight on those factors you value and excluding prospects (or evolving clients) who exemplify factors you don't like? Consultants are susceptible to the same blind spots when it comes to selecting clients as any other consumer - we sometimes ignore factors that would improve our decisions.

Perhaps one of the common blind spots is the assumptions on which we evaluate our current clients. for example, as advisors, we seek to serve the interests of our clients and assume their purposes, their approach and our role is all to the good. Unfortunately, the customer is not always right (for us). Are we pursuing a high fee client for one that causes us endless aggravation? Do we decide to enter into a relationship with an interesting engagement that results in our putting up with long hours? Have we stuck by a client whose speed of payment and intellectual challenge of the task long ago slowed to almost nothing? It might be time to reevaluate how we select (or at least pursue) our clients.

Tip: What may look like a dream customer to others may just not be right for you. Think about the 80/20 rule and identify that 20% of your business you would elect to get rid of if you had the chance. Be very clear about your evaluation protocol, including revenue, lifestyle, work environment, professional growth, etc. Now work hard to replace that bottom 20% and, when your task or engagements are at an end, find a colleague to refer those customers to. You can choose to replace the when that customer is not right for you.

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client development  client relations  customer understanding  marketing  planning  prospect  sales  your consulting practice 

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#59: Getting to Yes in Securing New Clients

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, May 28, 2009
Updated: Thursday, May 28, 2009
No surprise that it takes a longer to get new clients than retain past ones. However, it is distressing how long it takes to get in sync with a prospect when you are both mature professionals. Are there any shortcuts?

There are not, nor should there be any "shortcuts." The process to build trust takes as long as it does because both parties need to get to a place where they are as comfortable as they need to be to do business. In the book Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time, Greg Mortenson tells about the slow steady process in Baltistan (northern Pakistan) required to build trust. He relates a Baltistani proverb that says, "The first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger. The second time, you are an honored guest. The third time you become family." Maybe it takes more or less times than three times, but you still need to go from introduction to trusted advisor.

Tip: Getting to yes means making haste slowly. Be deliberate in the relationship development process, taking each step with specific outcomes in mind. How long do you think it will take for your prospect to think of you as family?

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client  client development  client relations  communication  customer understanding  goodwill  marketing  sales 

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