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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 

#507: Make it Easy for Clients to Find You

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, February 22, 2011
I am always amazed by consultants who deliver a memorable talk but sometime later, when I want to ask a follow up question or refer them to a client, I can't find their contact information. It got me to wondering how visible I am to audiences I speak to.

A cardinal rule of sales is to make it easy to buy. This means, at a minimum, making sure every prospect has your contact information. It is amazing how many presentations have no contact info on individual slides or on a page at the beginning or end. Your name, company name, email and phone number should be on every piece of literature, presentation, card, report, disk, and brochure you produce. If possible, add a very brief description of what you provide to a prospect, to trigger their memory of who you are. I regularly come across business presentations years later with no contact information or a business card with no indication of the person's expertise.

This does not mean your documents should look like a NASCAR vehicle, but it does mean anyone can find you to discuss any piece of data, speech, research or advice you produce. Make a plan to assure that each marketing piece and work product has your contact information. For example, develop a template for your presentations that has your website in the footer, and a closing page with contact and brief biographical info.

Tip: Make a list of ten ways you can get something of value into the hands of prospects (e.g., speech, white paper, article, referral, research report, business suggestion) and make sure you have a way to include your contact info on each one. Some are harder than others. For example, when you send a copy of that interesting newspaper article to a client, did you remember to (subtly) include your name on the article?

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  communication  contact information  marketing  publicity 

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#506: Take Me to Your Leader

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Monday, February 21, 2011
Updated: Monday, February 21, 2011
I have a lot of colleagues who head up small or solo consulting practices. Between them, they are President, Principal, Managing Partner, Chair, Executive Consultant, CEO, CXX (any number of "creative" titles), or no title at all. Does any of this matter?

To whom?

These titles are important in a large firm to differentiate between various management and executive jobs. It helps outsiders know which roles and responsibilities an individual has. HR departments use these to describe a job to applicants. Inside a firm, it helps define accountabilities, and who gets what size office. Certainly if your business is related to the Internet or marketing, there has been an arms race in creative job titles.

For a solo consultant, this boils down to what your ego needs and what makes your mother proud. It really doesn't make any difference what you call yourself. Clients are hiring you for your expertise, perspective, skills and behaviors, not because you are CEO or President or Grand Poobah. I've heard more than one client express some disdain in reaction to a consultant whose business card reads "CEO and Chairman" when they are a one-person firm.

Tip: Call yourself whatever you like, but know that it is mostly for your own benefit.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client relations  communication  marketing  reputation  sales 

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#503: Position Your Consulting Practice

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Too often consultants try to be all things to all people and, as a result, lose credibility. But what happens if you do a lot of different kinds of consulting work spanning more than one specialty area?

Although picking one lane in which to drive is a logical strategy, it is not for everyone. Focus on each intended audience and concentrate on their specific needs and requirements. Savvy consultants have separate, customized biographical information that they utilize for each of the different audiences they serve. For example, they might have one bio for speaking engagements, another for mailing to specific category prospects, etc. Complementing your positioning approach, also consider how your processes might be different for each of these clients/markets.

Tip: You can't be all things to all people, but you can be different things to different people. Where possible, customize your client communications to focus on their particular needs. "Position" yourself appropriately for each audience! But remember, it might be OK to drive in a few different lanes, but stay on your side of the road!

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  brand management  marketing  prospect  your consulting practice 

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#497: Finding the Next Big Thing in Consulting

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, February 8, 2011
The economy is in turmoil, technology is generating new markets, and globalization is running full steam ahead. It seems like there should be lots of new consulting opportunities opening up. What are they?

Every change in technology, culture, demographics, or trade brings about a need for expertise to plan and manage effectively those changes. First, look though the Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine, Fortune, the Economist, or any other business magazine or management journal with an eye to how your current consulting skills could support those emerging businesses. Don't read the articles just for information. Look deliberately at each article about an emerging business or product as a way to develop your own new line of business.

The clues are there. Pick a few trends and follow them for a few months to get a sense of who the players are, where activity is, what institutions (companies, government, and nonprofits are all relevant) are engaged, and what enabling and constraining factors are relevant. Think of this as research for investment, because it is - investment in your consulting practice.

Tip: If an article isn't something for which you can provide consulting services, can you refer the idea to a consulting colleague? Do you have clients for whom the article might be relevant as an emerging product or service? You might even suggest that you could help them develop a product or service around the idea.

One idea (of many) is the boomer exit planning/execution trend. As baby boomers retire, many of them will want to sell or liquidate their businesses. Several organizations, consulting firms and books have resulted from this trend. One example (IMC does not endorse this organization, but provides it as an illustration only) is The Exit Planning Institute, which certifies exit planning professionals and has published a popular book, The $10 Trillion Opportunity: Designing Successful Exit Strategies for Middle Market Business Owners

This is one good example of how demographic changes continuously create consulting opportunities for those willing to look closely.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  market research  marketing  trends  your consulting practice 

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#494: Make Positioning Your Consulting Services Clear

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, February 3, 2011
Updated: Thursday, February 3, 2011
Too often consultants try to be all things to all people and, as a result, lose credibility. But what happens if you do a lot of different kinds of consulting work spanning more than one specialty area? What's wrong with being a generalist?

There is a time for being a generalist and a time to be a specialist. You might appear to be useful to a wide prospect base if you are not too specialized but your best value comes from providing a deeper, more nuanced and forward looking expertise in a specific field. Some consultants have separate, customized biographical information that they use for each of the different audiences they serve. For example, they might have one bio for speaking engagements, another for mailing to specific category prospects. Also, you might have general processes for diagnostic work and different service sheets for each industry segment.

That said, you may be a generalist in marketing your services, but recognize that your client is hiring you for a particular problem that requires specific skills. Once you are engaged and into a project, you will need to shed the generalist mindset and narrow your focus. The more you consider yourself a generalist, the more you will have to work to narrow that focus once you start to serve the client.

Tip: You can't be all things to all people, but you can be different things to different people. Position yourself appropriately for each audience and, once you are engaged, keep focusing to provide more value in increasingly narrower areas of need.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client development  consultant role  consulting process  engagement management  marketing  proposals 

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