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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 

#520: Creativity Can Remake Even the Most a Troublesome Image

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Friday, March 11, 2011
Updated: Friday, March 11, 2011
For all the efforts we make as consultants to present ourselves in as good a light as possible, sometimes we just have to step back and applaud some who turn adversity into a strength.

You may remember the job wanted ad Brian O'Dea placed in the Toronto Financial Post in February 2001 by a man who wanted to transform his experience as a drug smuggler into a portfolio of experience worthy of a respectable job.

The ad generated a flurry of job offers from companies who were looking for skills, not pedigree or marquee firm history. What does this tell you about how to market your experience?

Tip: What is there about your experience (let's presume it is not criminal, but apparently even that is not off the table), that you can repurpose as a strength?

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  communication  marketing  reputation  sales 

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#516: Losing a Sure Engagement

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Monday, March 7, 2011
Updated: Monday, March 7, 2011
There are many times I have a solid lead on an engagement that just slips away. Everything seemed to be in place but something goes wrong at the last minute. Is this common?

I can't speak to how common this is among consultants but it certainly happens when most of us pursue a goal, whether it be a business deal, athletic competition (consider the number of athletes who dropped out of the Olympics at the last minute due to injuries or illness), or other objective. We tend to chalk up the wins but dwell on the near misses (or near hits, as the case may be).

Above my desk I have a poster of a painting by Charles Russell called Meat's Not Meat Til It's In The Pan. It shows a cowboy just after he has shot a bighorn sheep, anticipating a hearty dinner. However, the sheep has fallen off a cliff and is hung up on rocks below. Russell makes his point that sometimes everything can go exactly right, except for a small detail that prevents the outcome you expected. The meal the cowboy assumed he would be eating is now just out of his grasp.

Most of us have had one or more of these happen to us in our careers. A CEO asks us to start work and the Board suddenly decides on a new corporate direction. Our facility modernization consultation is shut down by the client's market dropping off. And so on.

Tip: The print is a constant reminder to not put any engagement on the books until work actually starts and you have a signed letter of agreement in hand. Meat's Not Meat Til It's In The Pan!

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  engagement management  marketing  practice management  proposals  sales  your consulting practice 

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#512: Being a Unique Consultant May Not Be of Value to Clients

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, March 1, 2011
How can I create a unique brand among a sea of similar competing consultants that will provide some marketing gravity?

Certainly creating high value helps with your marketing but reconsider the premise of your question. I infer that you consider uniqueness as equivalent to value. For any qualification you have, you should not be surprised to know that there are a lot of other consultants who have that same qualification, skill or experience. What makes you of greatest value to a client (other than the fact that you are in front of the client and those other consultants are not) is the 3-5 characteristics for which a client has the greatest need at this time. Your value is a combination of your qualities in the context of the client's needs, not the inherent mixture of your particular qualities.

Tip: Being of value to a client does not mean you have to be one of a kind, just of value in those areas that matter to your client right now. When in doubt, ask what prospects need, and don't be surprised if the answer is different than it was last year.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  customer understanding  marketing  reputation  sales  your consulting practice 

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#509: Use Your Slow Times Effectively

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, February 24, 2011
Updated: Thursday, February 24, 2011
Two new clients delayed the kickoff of engagements, so I have some down time. Where is the best use of time - marketing, administration, product development or even taking some time off?

There should never be unplanned "down time" in your practice. Sure, projects sometimes get delayed, but you should have a plan to use that time efficiently and not let it go to waste.

First, your attitude toward time is critical. Consider "found time" as precious. There is never enough time to do all the things we want, whether it is time with family, business, community, sleep or reading. Treat found time like a gift and spend it doing something positive to grow yourself or your business. Avoid consuming it doing "more" of what you are already doing. If you won $1000, would you divide it proportionally among all the things you now spend money on or would you put the whole $1000 toward a special investment or expenditure? Treat time the same way.

Second, always know how you would spend that marginal hour of time. You may already know where your time most effectively puts you on the path to achieving your business and life goals. What would a little more time do for you?

Tip: Make a list of things you could do with a few hours, a day, and a week. Update the list throughout the year as your needs and priorities change. This is a good exercise to keep you focused on balancing your business and personal life. If you have a week and your priority is to spend it all in one place, what does this say about how much time you are spending in other areas of your life?

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  marketing  planning  practice management  your consulting practice 

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#508: Promoting Your Content at Conferences

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, February 23, 2011
I am attending a conference soon and want to be able to promote my blog, book and white papers. How can I do this if I am not on the agenda and don't have an "in" at the event?

Conferences are generally oriented toward professional development and the only ones who are supposed to shamelessly promote their products are the exhibitors. However, this does not mean you can't help educate and enlighten conference attendees with your content. There are a couple of ways you can respect the conference organizers and attendees and still meet your own needs.

First, be sure the content you want to promote is consistent with the theme of the conference. This is what the attendees are there to learn and your material should at least add to the body of knowledge. If your book or research does not advance the state of the art, promoting your content will damage your reputation - the opposite of what you intended. Second, design a few innovative ways to get your material in front of attendees. Since you aren't part of the program, consider handing out postcards with a description of the content and significance of your book, including a picture of the cover to strengthen your brand. Post a note (if allowed) on the conference bulletin board describing how people can get copies of your white papers. Talk to presenters with similar content to see if they will mention your work or even hand out your work with their own.

Tip: Your goal is to create the impression in the mind of attendees that your material is the "secret" that didn't make it onto the conference agenda. They should consider it a bonus and feel like they are getting additional value. Remember, always work with the conference organizers to make sure your activities are appropriate

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  marketing  professional development  publicity  sales 

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