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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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#383: Speaking Won't Give Away Your Company Secrets

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Updated: Wednesday, September 1, 2010
The few times I have done some public speaking, I can't help but feel as though I am giving away too many "company secrets." Is there a way I can keep from doing this?

Probably like many consultants, we worry that our speaking presentations will "give away the store." We think that to give a compelling speech, we will tell my audience too much and will cannibalize our opportunities to attract new business.

One reaction is to turn our presentations into blatant advertisements for our services, beating people over the head with the idea that they should buy our products or services. Conversely, we may hide so much content, it seems as though we do know a lot but aren't willing to share it.

Instead of seeing this as "giving away everything," the opposite is actually true. Only by generating trust and eliminating high-pressure sales tactics will we succeed in coaxing new customers out of an audience. So lighten up and be willing to share your knowledge and expertise liberally. The trust you generate in return will more than make up for any imagined "stealing" of your hard-won secrets.

Tip: If you think someone will "steal" your ideas from a single speech, then prepare a combination of speeches, white papers and workshops to roll out your new research or ideas. This way, it is clear that they are yours alone and that they have value.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client development  presentations  publicity  reputation  speaking 

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#284: Marketing Through Trade Associations

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Thursday, April 15, 2010
Updated: Thursday, April 15, 2010
The industry I consult to is growing so fast that I'll never be able to market to all of them. How can I get more leverage than by contacting each one individually?

Trade and industry associations exist to serve their members. In associations where the members are companies, the association often collects information on member capabilities, activities, and investment or customer service plans. They often publish a newsletter or studies of industry activity, key issues or trends and major opportunities or constraints facing the industry.

If you consult to an industry, you should be in close contact with the trade association (sometimes there are several for various aspects of an industry). Use collected information on the industry or, better yet, do your own research or write articles for the association publications. Speak at their annual conference, join as an affiliate member, and participate in forums or study groups.

Being front and center in an industry as an active participant in an association demonstrates to others that you are a professional. Imagine how much more credible as a trusted advisor you are when industry mavens see your name in industry association publications and know you are committed to their industry. Make sure they know you are a member or are otherwise affiliated with the association.

Tip: The effect is similar when you talk to your clients and let them know that you are a member of a professional consulting organization and not "just doing a little consulting" while looking for another job in the industry. Certainly, being able to show that you are a member of IMC, which sets the standards and competency framework for professional consulting in the US, enforces ethics and certifies consultants to global standards, will increase your credibility.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  marketing  professionalism  publicity  reputation  sales 

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#267: Will Anyone Remember You After Your Speech?

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, March 23, 2010
I don't speak much but I have a few opportunities coming up. How can I make sure attendees remember both my topic and me?

First, make sure they hear and see something memorable. This means a solid and timely topic to present. Nothing is less memorable than a talk that is loosely organized, that they have heard before, or that is hard to follow. Even if it is a topic you know well, update it with references to current or emerging aspects of your audience's industry, professional discipline or region. Set a standard of at least one-quarter of the content should be outside the "conventional wisdom."

Second, do something different from every other presentation and speech your audience sees. This could be a contest or a series of questions to the audience about the topic. You will engage them as well as gather some market research about audience awareness or attitudes about the topic. They will remember because they were engaged and learned something about how others saw the topic. Make it challenging.

Third, make it easy for the audience to connect with you after the event. They may remember you the day of the event, but you asked how to make them remember you weeks or years after the event. The usual strategies apply: hand out your business cards, make sure your contact info is on your slides, put a handout on every seat before your talk, and collect business cards from all attendees.

Tip: You want to know who is most interested in your expertise under the assumption that they are future clients or partners. Offer something through your website related to your talk, preferably an update or subscription to your speaking topic. This will let you know who is really interested in you and your expertise and provide an ongoing way to engage them in a conversation about the topic. This does not have to be a formal newsletter; it could even be a monthly email from you on trends in your topic. Don't make it harder than need be, and start to use information from your correspondence with your community.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  networks  publicity  reputation  speaking 

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#238: Getting a Handle on Your Firm's Online Presence

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Updated: Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Other than the obvious Google search ranking, what are some ways to know whether my website or blog are really as visible as we hope?

Website or blog popularity is an elusive and ill-defined concept for many. The ultimate goal of our online presence is to be found by people who are engaged by our content and hopefully find enough value in that content to retain our consulting services. They reach us through a wide range of online routes and each of those search engines and tracking functions has its own algorithm to rank your site. Because these differ, your popularity ranking will differ, sometimes widely.

A number of ranking services exist on the web. Each one will evaluate your content and give you a sense of what aspects of your site or blog are attractive or not. Rather than assuming that "higher" is always better, look at what each ranking algorithm focuses on and, if appropriate, how your site is trending. A good compilation is 15 Tools for Monitoring a Website’s Popularity.

Tip: Consider both who you are trying to reach and who your competitors are. Use some of the above referenced popularity rankings and see how you compare with your competitors. Look at the recommendations for each of these ranking sites to improve your visibility. Ultimately, though, the quality of your content and its value to your clients and prospects means more than artificially inflating your rankings.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  brand  market research  marketing  publicity  reputation 

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#127: How Many Brands Does A Consultant Need?

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, September 8, 2009
I am a Gen Y consultant and I don't really have a brand other than myself, which I am OK with. Why do I need a company brand when the client is buying my services mostly for me and not my company?

Perceptions brand value vary, and nowhere more than when considering how generations look at brands. Ther are three major types of brand for a consultant. Each may resonate differently depending on your type of practice and relationships with your clients. First is professional, often designated by a degree, license or certification. An MBA or PhD, for example, may be prized or denigrated, depending on a client's perceptions of the value of academic degrees. Professional certifications and government licenses are generally recognized as validating experience, knowledge and practical accomplishment (e.g., MD, PE, CMC, ATR for pilots).

Second are institutional brands. For most of the later 20th century, who you worked often for carried more weight than who you were as an individual or your academic or professional pedigree. You've heard the expression, "No one ever got fired for hiring XXX"? Many consulting firms used to be, and some still are, strong brands. However, following a series of ethical and management lapses in large firms, including more than a few consulting firms, a company name alone no longer automatically carries the weight it once did.

The third brand is the personal brand. Although the rise of social networking and the "always on and public" style of Gen Yers is described as overly narcissistic by Boomers and some Gen Xers, there is something to be said for making a name for yourself beyond just your profession and institution. Because we are more mobile, staying at one company, and often one career, only a short time. Your most enduring brand may just be your personal one. Although a personal brand changes as your circumstances and interests change, it is more under your control than when the professional/institutional brands affected by company scandal or professional ethical lapses.

Tip: It is never to soon to begin forging a personal brand. Certainly, it takes more time and effort than did an institutional and professional brands. Once you took a job or achieved your certification, you were all set for those brands. Creating and maintaining a personal brand takes more forethought and effort. Make it a priority to have other people know you first as you, rather than classifying you as the ___ (insert certification or degree here) who works for ___ (insert organization here).

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  brand  brand management  marketing  publicity  reputation 

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