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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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#400: Get Slightly Famous to Bring Business to You

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Friday, September 24, 2010
Updated: Friday, September 24, 2010
Some consultants have a steady stream of business from their fame from books, speaking or research. I don't have anything other than my skills and experience. How can I generate some interest in my business.

Familiarity creates comfort and at least one of the components of trust. We are comfortable with things we recognize, including taking advice from people we know. How likely are you to consider a movie review from a stranger compared to one from someone you know? Celebrity endorsements are effective because the people doing the endorsements are familiar to us, even if we really don't "know" them.

So, if we aren't a celebrity, how do we create the comfort that will make it likely that prospects will welcome our calls? Furthermore, what do we need to do to turn the corner and actually get them to seek us out?

We don't have to be really famous to get attention. In the absence of a full blown media campaign, though, we do need to identify that one thing that allows us to just be "slightly famous"? How do we define that one niche of our work for which we could be known? How do we translate that, without a complex marketing plan, into a presence in our target industry? How can we use cause marketing to differentiate ourselves from others? How do we actually create brand loyalty, not just awareness?

Tip: Using his journalism skills, results of his research and experience creating brands for his solo practitioner clients, Steve Van Yoder has captured the straightforward elements of bringing clients to you in Get Slightly Famous: Become a Celebrity in Your Field and Attract More Business with Less Effort. The concepts are relatively simple - not necessarily effortless. Unlike lots of books on creating marketing gravity for your practice, Get Slightly Famous lays out a focused process for better defining your unique value and attracting media, attention and business. As the economy starts to recover, this is the perfect time to get your publicity in gear.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  brand  brand management  market research  marketing  referrals  social media 

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#365: Consultants Can Effectively Use Social Media

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Friday, August 6, 2010
With one-fourth of people's online time using social media, I wonder whether this makes any sense for consultants.

Social media, started as a person to person venture, has steadily morphed into a business to business enterprise. If the purpose is to be social and share information about yourself, then this seems an excellent way to both market your services as well as deliver them. Consider at a minimum the search capabilities of LinkedIn, the community building power of Twitter, the impact of many shared bookmarking sites, or the growing ability to create communities of interest. All of these work well for consulting firms and we should all have a social media policy as part of our overall business plan.

Although nothing replaces the personal referral, current and prospective clients find value in a professional presence and a more or less continuous contribution to the body of knowledge through discussion forums or posting of content in your area of specialty. This content must, however, be in the media locations related to the client's interests, not just those populate by other consultants. There are a lot of the latter and, while participation in discipline or consulting forums can be valuable for your professional development, leveraging social media for market research and to sell your services requires client-centered areas. If you can't find any, consider starting your own.

Tip: For a good perspective on how your consulting firm can use social media, see Consulting Firms Using Social Media to Market Their Ideas in the August 2010 issue of Consulting Times.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  market research  marketing  networks  social media  trends 

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#312: How Good Is Your Social Media Strategy?

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, May 25, 2010
A client asked me for some quick and informal advice on social media but doesn't want to bring in an expert in this area. What are the key areas I should focus on?

First, don't make the common mistake thinking this is about technology. There are lots of online applications to which you can devote a lot of time and effort, with varying degrees of success. Technology is the conclusion in a social media strategy, not the opening act. Start with the basics of marketing and define what it is that you are trying to accomplish online that you can't offline, or as a way to leverage offline marketing.

Second, given the potential complexity of social media and the fluidity of its evolution, you really need a robust strategy to be effective. A profile here, a blog there, and a discussion group over there is not a strategy. Third (and finally for this tip but far from last for your purposes), take a deliberate track into social media, tackling one or two pieces at a time and get them right before moving on to the next tactic. Know what is working for your client (or you) and check back often to assure that it still works.

Tip: A great list of evaluation criteria is from Lori Dicker's article 10 signs it's time for a social media makeover. Included are discussions of how length of scope, relation of social media to business planning, the size of your financial commitment, your perceived need for a social media policy and how much of your social media is driven through your website. All important items that can serve as a quick (but quite insightful) checklist to evaluate social media atrategy.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  brand management  client service  communication  marketing  social media 

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#255: Taming the Email Monster (Part 2)

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Friday, March 5, 2010
Updated: Friday, March 5, 2010
Your past Tips about managing email focus on controlling how much mail gets into your inbox by filtering, subscription control and filtering. Are there email management programs or add-ins programs that would also help?

There are a lot of data contained in your email beyond what is inside individual emails. Once you get control of the sheer volume of emails, to the point that you can be responsive to the content in each one, there is an opportunity to use the collective intelligence of your entire email traffic to improve the effectiveness of your communication. There are several free to low-priced applications to help you do this. Their purpose is to speed up your search for emails, show you who emails you the most, when most email traffic is sent to you, and

Xobni (inbox spelled backwards, get it?) is a clever third party application with both free and $30 versions. Xobni has really fast search, the ability to track message threads, find relationships between all the people who email you, pulls information from email signatures and content to enhance your contacts, and links your contacts to their Facebook, Twitter and other social media profiles. This kind of application creates information from your email, far more than just managing it. For example, Xobni can determine who among your email contacts responds fastest to your emails, or when they most often email you (so you know when they are most likely to respond).

Tip: There are other applications, such as NEO (Nelson Email Organizer) and you might consider collections of add-ins (e.g., Top 50 Most Popular Outlook Add-Ons). Each of these has merits that you will need to evaluate for your own needs. Remember, it often takes a combination of behavior and technology to effectively manage your email.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  communication  information management  knowledge management  recordkeeping  social media  your consulting practice 

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#173: A Consultant's Social Media Strategy

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Updated: Friday, November 13, 2009
I am all over social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and several bookmarking sites) but am not getting much in return for the effort. How can I get more traction?

Consider the intent of your social media strategy. It is easy to engage in setting up accounts, participating in forums and referring people to your profiles. Some consultants, however, fail to start with the end in mind, instead feeling that they must have a social media "presence" and will figure out later how it will work. Before you engage in social media in a significant way, consider two issues (these do not include the mechanics of the strategy itself). First, recognize that you are asking people to make an investment in you and your content. Although they do not "pay" in a traditional sense, their interaction with you takes time they could be spending elsewhere. Make sure that you are providing a lot of free, useful and timely content to compensate for their investment. Nobody cares about your business except in ways that benefit them.

Second, recognize that the type of audience you pursue means as much as the volume of attention you attract. Facebook use is rapidly expanding for business, but is it a place your target audience knows and cares about? In which forums do you participate, and are those ones your customers care about? Can you devote significant time to the care and feeding of your social media activities? Are you evaluating your return on investment? How much content do you need to generate, and give away, to justify your target's investment of time to interact with you? Are the types of people you attract compelled to use your services or are they just interested in using your content?

Tip: It is seductive to launch into social media activities because the investment is low (usually free) and largely a do-it-yourself activity. Consider that a gift, but also that the real investment is in the maintenance and operations. Given the total cost of operations for an effective social media strategy, spend more time thinking through how you will generate content and create community around that content. Balance your expectations against the total, and sustained, investment you are making.

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  blogs  client development  social media  your consulting practice 

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