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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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#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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#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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#404: Be Professional When Discussing Other Consultants

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, September 30, 2010
Updated: Thursday, September 30, 2010
I have run across a consulting firm in my market that does really awful work. I don't mean just low quality, but that provides advice that I believe is harmful to clients. Shouldn't I say something about them to my clients so they are forewarned?

Tread carefully. You are in possession of "information" about this consulting firm's work based on your perception of the quality of work and value to clients. Three points. First, you may possess the experience and perspective to effectively evaluate whether or not this consultant is right for you to work with. However, it is up to each client to evaluate the qualifications, experience and chemistry of a consultant. You may be dead right, but it is not for you to say.

Second, do not make the mistake of badmouthing this firm. As the expression goes, "Nobody raises their reputation by lowering that of others." Provide factual information but don't pass judgment (out loud).

Finally, there is an obvious conflict of interest in judging other consultants, especially in the context of consideration for engagements. If a prospect asks you about a colleague, your answer implicitly alters the relative judgment about you, raising ethical questions and the appearance, if not fact, of a conflict.

Tip: This conflict is especially serious when a prospect asks you for the names of several other consultants with similar expertise to evaluate. The appearance of a conflict is that you could easily recommend higher priced or lower quality colleagues to improve your chances of winning the engagement. Explain this to the prospect and just say that you can't provide specific recommendations.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  consulting colleagues  ethics  publicity  reputation 

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#401: Understand Misconceptions About Publishers Before You Write That Book

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Monday, September 27, 2010
Updated: Monday, September 27, 2010
I want to publish a book but people who done it tell me getting a publisher is not always easy. What do I need to know as a "reality check” before I get going? Isn’t getting a publisher the best way to go? 

Many people fail to realize that signing a contract with a book publisher comes with its own set of problems. Contrary to widespread assumption, a commercial book publisher typically does not take care of its authors with much help in either promotion or distribution.
  • Misconception 1: A book publisher will aggressively promote me and my book, ensuring my book the widest possible visibility.
  • Misconception 2: A publisher will make sure my book gets on the shelves of all the nation’s bookstores, especially the largest ones.
  • Misconception 3: A publisher will endorse, print, and communicate my ideas the way I conceive them and arrange them.
  • Misconception 4: A publisher will provide me with a sizable monetary advance, allowing me to take time off from my regular work so that I can focus exclusively on the book.
  • Misconception 5: A publisher will keep my book in circulation long enough for it to find its audience and build a following.
  • Misconception 6: A publisher will keep the book updated by coming out with revised editions.
If you have any of these thoughts, then you need to work with a publisher or a publishing advisor.

Tip: For a reality-check for you so you'll know what you’re getting into, check The Expert's Edge: Become the Go-To Authority People Turn to Every Time(McGraw Hill) by Ken Lizotte CMC.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  advice  publicity  publishing 

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#392: Plan on Always Staying One Step Ahead of Your Client

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Updated: Monday, September 20, 2010
I think being an effective consultant means staying a step ahead of my clients. However, I just can't keep up with all the media that cover my client, their customers and trends that affect their business. I am embarrassed every time someone says, "Did you see the article about XYZ?" and I haven't seen it. Any suggestions?

Companies use what is called a "clipping service" to track all media mentions of a client or issue. The name comes from the day (not that long ago) when the service literally "clipped" out newpaper or magazine articles that mentioned the topic of interest.

Today's clipping services are based on the ability to efficiently scour online media databases and they vary in price from free to substantial. As a clipping service subscriber, you would indicate what keywords or phrases you'd like to monitor and what publications you want to include in the search. The service compiles search hits and reports to you (often by email) usually on a daily or weekly basis. The more expensive services are required to search through scholarly jounals and higher priced subscription publications.

To get familiar with clipping services, I suggest you use Google Alert. You can sign up for a search through websites, news, blogs, or other Google areas. Try this out for:
  • Your own company name
  • Your type of consulting practice
  • Names of your clients or prospects
  • Your client's markets or activities
  • Areas of the consulting business or profession
Tip: Once you get a sense of how Google Alert works, you can decide if a broader set of media to search is worth the cost.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  learning  market research  marketing  practice management  professional development  publicity 

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