As a consultant, author or thought-leading professional, have you considered building long-term recurring revenue into your business model with licensing and certification programs?
Obviously, this is a huge topic but I wanted to at least get you started thinking about it in this post because the potential is so great. This is your ticket to breaking free of the time-for-money trap once and for all.
Imagine a handful of certified consultants delivering your programs for clients large and small all across the country – or even across the world.
Now imagine a dozen of them. And then imagine two dozen. And then imagine a hundred of them. You can see where this is going… pretty exciting for most of us to consider.
If your empire is based on “Responsible Leadership” – you could have a small army of “Responsible Leadership-Certified” Consultants. This is exactly what my friend John Jantsch did with Duct Tape Marketing – what John Maxwell did with his “John Maxwell Team” and what dozens of training firms – who are now multi-million dollar corporations – have done, like Dale Carnegie, Franklin Covey, AchieveGlobal and many others.
But my point is that it started with the first licensee. The first certified consultant. And even before that, it started with things YOU can start to put in place tomorrow – the first subcontractor. The first remote coach. The first on-demand consultant who goes out to your client to deliver your program under your brand.
And who makes you money that is suddenly NOT connected to your personal time, attention and presence.
There are two steps to this piece of your entrepreneurial puzzle – productizing and systematizing. You have to have all your consulting products buttoned down. Training manuals, consultant toolkits, leader’s guides, audios, videos, whatever is part of your flagship package.
And then you need to document all the processes, delivery systems, timelines, backoffice operations, and client-facing experiences that need to happen to deliver the consulting results you are promising to deliver.
Does this take a fairly significant up-front effort? You bet.
Does it pay off handsomely if you are committed to seeing it through? Definitely.
NOTE: Join us for the "Consulting Revenue Roadmap" teleseminar on Wed. May 8th to get a whole slew of ideas for boosting your consulting success. Register right now so you don't miss out.
Guest post by Scott Plum
Last week I made a visit to my neighborhood mobile phone carrier’s retail store and noticed a ‘No Solicitors’ sign in the window. This gave me pause before entering. I thought – “I’m a Solicitor, what’s wrong with me. Why don’t they want me to come in?”
I peered through the glass like a school boy at a peep show, wondering what is going on inside that I was forbidden to see. Others inside the store began to look at me and I finally mustered up the guts to pull the door open and walk in...
Read the rest of the story here...
Quick announcement for you - and a "mark your calendar"...
You're invited to join me for a brand new teleseminar titled "Consulting Revenue Roadmap" on Wednesday May 8 at 12pm Eastern.
Details are here if you want to cut to the chase.
This is perfect for professionals who want to start a consulting practice or seasoned consultants who want to grow their practice and make more money. Also highly relevant for speakers, authors, coaches, high-fee experts, independent professionals, and senior executives.
What you will take away from this 60-minute info-packed program:
- Design the best consulting strategy for your particular expertise
- Discover and evaluate potential niche markets
- Get a simple, repeatable process for researching what types of consulting services and programs your target market will pay for - and use this strategy to start prospecting tomorrow
- Package, promote, and price your consulting programs to maximize profitability
- Set up simple backend systems to scale your consulting marketing AND delivery tasks
- Adopt no-hype, high-integrity methods of selling tens of thousands of dollars of consulting each time you work with clients and audiences of any size in any industry
- Develop a continuing stream of new prospects to fill your professional practice and your marketing database
- Build long-term recurring revenue into your business model with licensing and certification programs
- Do all of this in a specific, structured, and stepwise way to short-circuit any feelings of overwhelm and to regain full control of your business, your income, and your life!
to register for this FREE teleseminar - it takes 10 seconds to sign up
. We'll have room on the call for 100 people, so register now so you don't miss out.
You did not start your speaking, consulting or professional services firm
because you woke up one day and said... "Gee, I'm EXCITED to market and sell all day... Nothing I love more than hunting prospects and facing daily rejection, fear, uncertainty and doubt. Oh boy, I can't wait to start another day of THAT..."But you probably DID start your speaking, consulting, or professional practice
because you are EXCITED about entrepreneurship and running your own show
... you are EXCITED about sharing your ideas
... you are EXCITED about helping people
and making an impact
on their work, their lives, and their success. Well, this EXCITEMENT might be precisely what is killing your business!
More on this concept in a moment...
You may have already seen the details of our next Speaker Liftoff program
and thus my questions for you:
- Did you make a New Year's Resolution to kick it up a notch (or three) in your speaking, consulting, or professional services practice?
- Are you tired of being the best kept secret in your industry or professional expertise?
- Do you want to raise your personal visibility as an expert in front of your prospects and clients?
EXCITEMENT vs. EXECUTION:
is fleeting - and what's worse, it is unfocused. As entrepreneurs, we often get excited about NEW ideas, NEW business models, NEW opportunities - and too often these turn out to be NEW distractions that reduce our level of focus, clarity, and momentum. Excitement is about SPENDING emotional energy.
Yes, it's positive and fun - but it can often lead you to suffer from "shiny object syndrome" where you're excited about your new ideas but end up spinning your wheels in frustration because your new ideas have no traction or framework to be turned into results.
is permanent - It is about getting into focused daily action and moving things - one at a time - from your "TO DO" list to your "DONE" list! The more you execute, the more you will find yourself having greater levels of focus, clarity and momentum.
Action begets action. The path emerges where one step leads to the next and pretty soon, you have accomplished more, gotten concrete results, and built a new foundation for doing even better in the future. Execution is a muscle - When you use it, it gets stronger and stronger. And the bonus? When you execute and succeed - you earn the other kind of excitement - the kind that PAYS YOU BACK in emotional energy and gratification.
Hope you'll consider adding some EXECUTION to your EXCITEMENT about your coming year of business success!
Guest post by Steve Markman
Marketing mix: Your marketing and PR efforts should be in the forefront of your organization, given today's competitive climate and the uncertain economy. Standing out from the crowd, regardless of your organization's industry, is a huge challenge. How can you meet this challenge?
Many organizations have recognized the value of holding seminars at which their executives make presentations. The problem with these seminars is that, more often than not, the attendees are existing customers, clients or individuals who are already familiar with the firm.
Companies need to expose their expertise to prospective customers and clients. What is a proven method of accomplishing this objective? By speaking at public forums - at conferences, seminars and forums held by independent event organizations, associations, professional and industry trade groups, and academic institutions and think tanks - enormous exposure is created.
There is much evidence in the field of professional services marketing that speaking in public forums often results in new business, by providing increased awareness of your company in general and specific subject areas in particular, to an audience of your potential customers or clients. Presentations about industry trends or "how-to" talks can make a large impact on your audience.
Speaking opportunities for consulting firm principals, corporate executives and entrepreneurs represent a strong marketing, public relations, and business development tool for the following reasons:
1. Attendees get to learn about your firm's expertise firsthand and can interact directly with your speaker immediately before or after the presentation. An attendee asking for a business card can be the first step to obtaining a new client. The press in attendance also present opportunities for added exposure.
2. Gaining increased visibility in vertical/industry sectors or broad-based areas that your firm has determined is in need of greater exposure. This can be an established line of business where your firm speaks from a position of strength and is known as a "go-to" firm for a particular area. Conversely, presentations can cover an area that is just getting off the ground or at an early stage in its development and needs some fast exposure to let your potential customers know about your newly offered products or services.
3. Your company gains "advertising" by having its name and your executive speaker's name published in the agenda of thousands of brochures and promotional announcements mailed or e-mailed by event organizers.
What should your professional services firm be doing to get your executives and managers out on the speaking circuit? Take the following eight steps:
1. Decide which product or service area(s) your firm should be targeting for increased visibility. Make sure that you have executives in those areas committed to the idea of making public presentations. Some will resist the idea of taking time away from other business activities so make sure that you have their full support.
2. Get the right speaker on board. Proposed speakers should be experienced executives and, preferably, experienced speakers. Small-to medium-sized organizations should nominate their CEO or other senior executive. Large organizations can also nominate staff at the director or manager level, depending on the criteria of the speaking opportunity.
3. Speak to the right audience. Thoroughly research the events for which representatives of your firm can be proposed as speakers, as solo presenters or as panelists. There are so many events taking place on so many topics, frequently simultaneously, that you'll need to choose diligently in order to maximize the time and expense associated with speaking. Identify speaking engagements whose audience represents the customers and industries your organization wants to reach.
4. Develop a proactive speaker placement program. It's fine to evaluate unsolicited speaking opportunities. However, having someone dedicated to the task who will aggressively identify opportunities, develop relationships with event organizers and write and submit speaker proposals, should lead to an increase in the frequency of speaking engagements and thus increased visibility for the executives participating and the firm as a whole.
5. Decide on the geographic area to target for speaking engagements - locally, regionally, nationally or even internationally. There are thousands of speaking opportunities held worldwide every year.
6. Create high-impact presentations. Audiences want to get actionable information they can take back to their organizations. They don't want to hear that your firm is the leading firm in this or that subject area. A solid, informative presentation that covers applications or technologies and is not product or company specific will create instant credibility and obviate the need for a "sales pitch." A presentation that turns out to be a sales pitch will ensure low evaluations by the audience and a one-way ticket home from the conference organizer. The speaker who gives a sales pitch is duly noted and rarely invited back, oftentimes tainting the entire company in the eyes of the event organizer.
7. Learn the process for submitting a speaker proposal to the event organizer - follow the format established by the organizer for writing a presentation abstract, submitting bios and speaker expertise, previous speaking experience information, and, of course, meeting the proposal deadline date. Make sure you tailor the abstract and the bio to each speaking opportunity so that they fit the objectives of the audience.
8. Follow up continuously and persistently with the event organizer to help your company stay above the noise, since you will often be competing with several other companies for the same speaking slot.
By developing an effective speaker placement program for your organization, you will have taken a big step in meeting your marketing, PR, and business development objectives.
Steve Markman is President of Markman Speaker Management (MSM) a Needham, Mass.- based speaker placement and conference development firm established in 1994.
Guest Column By Lee Thayer
Firing someone is often a distasteful, sometimes painful, act. It is the end of something. Hiring someone is usually full of hope and expectation. It can be exciting. It is the beginning of something.
Yet you don’t learn much when you hire someone. It often turns out to be not all you had hoped.
You could learn a great deal about yourself and about others from the process of firing someone, however.
If you can do a better job of firing, you could do a better job of hiring. The most direct way of learning how to do a better job of hiring lies in what you can learn from the process of firing.
- Hope and wishful thinking clouds your perspectives when you are hiring someone. But when you fire someone, you are challenged to understand why.
- Firing can clear the lenses. It can be – ought to be – a very rational process. If you do it right, you are dealing with bedrock criteria, not wishful thinking.
- If you can figure out why and how and when to fire someone, it will clarify why you went wrong in the first place.
- If you did a perfect job of hiring people, you would have a perfect understanding of how to fire people. But most organizations haven’t done a better job of hiring people in spite of the tsunami of advice about how to do it.
- You have to come at it the other way around. There is no reliable recipe for doing a perfect job of hiring. You have to learn from your failures – as all leaders have had to do.
- It is figuring out who needs to be fired and why that provides the clarity needed to get better and better at hiring.
There are always the conventional reasons for firing someone: poor performance, redundancy, obsolescence, RIF, attitude, and myriad others. There are reasons. And then there are the real reasons.
It is these real reasons the chief executive needs to uncover. You have to plow through the verbiage and your own thinking to arrive at the real reasons. Was it a poor hire? Was it just a poor “fit”? Was it the culture of the organization that was at fault? Was it the attitude of the person’s peers? Was it the person’s boss? Could it even be you?
Done well, this kind of forensic exploration begins to illuminate better hiring practices by starting with reality rather than the jargon of the day.
To the person targeted for being fired, there is often no correlation between the reasons offered and that person’s assessment of his or her own performance. Big clue.
Here is the crunch issue:
The person being fired was probably not told at the time of hiring the specific reasons that might lead to dismissal.
Three mistakes were likely made:
- The person was probably provided with a list of activities to be performed. That’s the way conventional “job descriptions” are constructed. There may have been some past experience or credentials thrown in for the company to hedge its bets.
- It was likely nothing was said about what was to be accomplished. You can’t measure activities objectively. But you can measure accomplishments.
- The person was most likely hired for a “job.” He or she was not hired to a role in the organization’s future. It is the future that really matters, not the past. Past performance does not predict well to future performance.
Competence is difficult to measure. So most organizations measure what’s easy to measure – the financials. But, to use a provocative metaphor:
Financial performance can only be measured in the wake of the ship. It is where the ship is headed that matters most. And then it is how it is powered and steered to get there.
It is full competence in every role in the organization that seals its fate. If you hire for full competence to carry forward in a well-specified role, you won’t have to fire for incompetence.
A key ingredient of competence is being in the “learning mode.” The best evidence for being in the “learning mode” is that the person performs his or her role better today than they did yesterday. You fire for lack of that. Maybe you should hire for the presence of that.
And, if it isn’t necessary for the person to perform his or her role better, poor performance may not be the person’s fault. It may be your fault for not making continuous improvement in every role necessary.
What is necessary will likely happen. What is not necessary may not happen.
Every organization, like every person, arrives at a status quo – ways of doing things that take precedence over doing them right. Percy Barnevik of ABB fame considered the status quo to be the enemy. His suggestion? Kill it.
There are people who have one year’s experience repeated 20 times. They become deadwood. How frequently do you clear the deadwood? Ranchers cull their herdsat least annually, in order to get better breeding.
Jack Welch eliminated the bottom 10% of performers annually. That takes the uncertainty and pain out of firing.
Outstanding performers are disruptive of the status quo. They are therefore more likely than mediocre performers to get the axe. If the culture of your organization is a safe haven for mediocrity, you are not doing a good job of firing.
And if you aren’t, you can’t do a good job of hiring.
One of the hidden reasons for firing people is that they don’t seem able to learn from experience. They never seem to get consistently better at what they do. Lesson? Make that explicit.
The best CEOs are not in their role to do the job. They are there to learn how to perform their role better today than they did yesterday. They expect the same of others.
If that’s not why you are there, you should be fired. You are, after all, the exemplar.
The best time to fire someone is the day before you hire them. If you can do that, you will be doing a far, far better job of hiring.
The bonus is that firing the wrong people for all the right reasons makes room for hiring more of the right people for the right reasons. But you have to know clearly what those are.
This is why knowing the real reasons for firing people will help you to make better and better judgments about hiring. In other words, the best way to get better at hiring is to get better at firing.
For what good reasons would you fire yourself? If you really figure that out, you will do a far better job of hiring – including casting yourself in the right role.
Lee Thayer has been a CEO coach and consultant for 45+ years and is known worldwide for his work “in the trenches” with executives to create high-performance organizations. Dr.Thayer has also held distinguished professorships in many of the major universities worldwide. His recent, acclaimed books include: Leadership: Thinking, Being, Doing; The Good Leader; Leaders and Leadership; Leadership Virtuosity; How Leaders Think; Explaining Things and The Competent Organization.
I got a phone call a few days ago from my friend Steve who is a fellow independent professional. He said to me at the beginning of the call, "David, I'm calling you as a reference."
So I'm thinking, "OK, he wants to hire someone I've worked with or someone I know - perhaps even a client of mine whose testimonial he saw on my website."
I say, "Steve, what can I do for you?"
And then he mentions someone's name. Let's call this person Larry. Now I like Larry and he's a good guy - perhaps a little confused about his marketing and messaging... and frankly that's OK because Larry is NOT a client of mine (although I've given him plenty of chances!)
Steve stops me and says, "No, no... I don't want to hire Larry. Larry wants to hire me. I'm calling you to ask you what kind of client do you think he would be?"
Wow. It's not a consultant reference, speaker reference, or service provider reference - Steve was asking me (essentially) "Would this guy be a good client?" FYI Steve saw me connected to Larry through LinkedIn and some other social media sites.
Lessons for YOU:
- We live in a hyper-connected world
- People DO read your social media profiles
- People DO judge you on the "company you keep" both online and off
- If you're a pain in the ass - as a consultant, speaker, vendor, partner, OR client... word will spread faster than you can imagine
- The top people in their field (ahem, YOU) do not have the bandwidth nor the interest to work with folks who are a pain in the butt
- YOU can't afford to be a pain in the butt on EITHER side of the professional services buying equation
Comments? What do you think? Have you had some experiences to share along these lines? Would love to hear from you in the Comments section below...
Dozens of my readers (mostly professional speakers, consultants, and professional services firms) are complaining of declining response rates, a downturn in business, and the weak economy.
“Our direct mail isn’t pulling like it used to,” they complain.
“What can our firm do to generate more leads, better prospects, and bigger sales?”
Here’s what I have found works to turn ON your marketing efforts:
1. Take massive action. Figure out what you think you need to do to generate the level of leads and orders you need. Then do twice that amount.
2. Don’t rely on only one promotional vehicle, like direct mail or - heaven forbid - social media marketing. Do three, four, even five things: send out mailings; advertise in very narrow, well-targeted media; regularly e-mail your list; write an article; give a speech.
3. Make every communication a direct marketing communication. Offer a premium with a high perceived value. Feature your free offer in your promotion.
4. Test different offers, ideas, copy, formats, and media to see which work best. Roll out with those promotions that work. Scratch the others. If they don’t do well in a small test, doing more won’t help.
p.s. I don't subscribe to the "recession mindset." And I don't care much for the goofballs who now say we're "coming out of it." I DO very much believe what my pal, professional speaker Jim Mathis, CSP says -- the economy is not DOWN, it's DIFFERENT. And furthermore, it's NEVER coming back (not the way it was, anyway).
Welcome to the new world - and NOW is a great time for you to prepare your firm to market successfully in it!
Even the best of us will sometimes run out of things to say.
As a marketing speaker and marketing coach, I have found 14 things that most of my clients (professional speakers, consultants, and professional services firms) can turn to that will keep your e‐zines and blogs timely and fresh.
Here's the list for you - and please use the COMMENTS section below to add your own great ideas...
1. How‐To Tips. Everybody loves to read “how to’s.” A very short pithy practical tip your reader can use that day. For example, say you were writing to employers interested in OSHA regulations. You may have an article like, 10 Tips You Can Use to Pass Your Safety Inspections.
2. Dialogue with the Reader, Soliciting Feedback and Participation. I love this; it works equally well for an ezine or blog. This allows two‐way communication with your reader. You get to build a real bond with your readers. Your readers can be your best source of material. Pose questions to your readers and promise to publish the answers. For example: In one of my e‐zines I asked my readers to tell me some of their success stories, involving giving out free information. I told them that if I used their information I would give them full credit in my e‐zine.
3. Tips from Friends and Colleagues. This gives you the opportunity to “be seen” as an unbiased source of information. I love to bring in experts covering all sorts of topics. Lets be honest: you and I don’t know everything. If you can bring in experts covering a wide range of topics you become a source of information that your reader can always look to. In one of my e‐zines my friend Paul Karasik gave a great networking tip from his new book “How to Market to High Net‐Worth Households”
4. Plugs for Friends and Clients’ books, e‐books, reports, products and services. Make extra money by creating affiliate relationships, or joint ventures. Becoming an affiliate for someone can be the easiest way to make money. All you do is promote their products for a commission. Alternatively, you can promote a friends product as a favor because you believe your readers would benefit from it. (I do this regularly with a lot of my NSA speaker buddies who offer excellent programs and products to the same target market that I serve. No money changes hands. Just love and referrals.)
5. Reader Feedback and Contributions. This gives you a chance to create a buzz, controversy and argument. There have been times I have posted information, only to be inundated by readers telling me they agree, or disagree. Either way that is good. It means people are reading.
6. Upcoming Speaking Engagements, Seminars, and Tele‐conferences. If you do any public appearances, some of your readers will want to attend. This is your chance to let them know where you will be and what you will be doing. It is also a great way to meet some of your most loyal readers. Include links to Websites where the reader can register for the event.
7. What I’ve Done Lately. Your readers will want to see what you have been working on; it is like reality TV. It gives them a sneak peak in to your life and lets prospective new clients see your work.
8. Recommended Vendors. Sometimes you come across a service provider that has helped you out, and you feel would be a godsend to your readers, why not return the favor and promote him in your e‐zine? A copywriter friend of mine recently had a problem with his computer, and a company called Rescue.com saved his bacon.
9. Useful and Relevant Websites. While you are cruising the net, you may find a Website others don’t know about, that you find useful. Let the world know, get the word out. For example, this ezine marketing course may be exactly what you need to get your ezine marketing back on track!!
10. Mini Book Reviews. If you read a book that you feel may be valuable to your readers let them know, post a link to Amazon and make yourself a couple of bucks if they buy.
11. News Nuggets of Interest. Clip excerpts from industry trade journals that you believe may be relevant to your readers.
12. News About Your New Books. Let your readers know about any books you might be working on.
13. Plugs for Your Own Products. This is where you get a chance to plug your own products. You do not have to feel guilty about selling your products and professional services; your readers want to know what you have to offer. Look at it as a fair trade. You give your reader valuable information, and in return he rewards you by purchasing some of your products. It is totally win/win.
14. Quotations. Many people love to read quotes. A good quote can be inspirational. If you find one you like include it in your next issue.
That's it - so now you have no more excuses NOT to crank out terrific, value-rich ezines and blogs with a lot less effort than you thought.
Got more ideas? Share them in the COMMENTS area below.
p.s. If you'd like some personalized help - and your very own customized email and phone outreach tools, social media scripts, a killer email signature file, a polished referral blurb and more, check out the Small Biz Outreach Action Packs.
Professional speakers, coaches, consultants, and independent professionals should not present themselves as technicians, number- crunchers, or talk about their “techniques, approaches, and methods.”
Newsflash – Your customers and prospects don’t care.
Instead, present yourself as a problem-solver.
For years now, large accounting firms have taken the lead in portraying themselves as "business partners." They know the danger of being viewed as "number crunchers" or “geeks” or... heaven forbid, “consultants.”
Why have they changed their tune?
Simple. Experience shows that today's customers want both solid results PLUS personalized help, guidance and direction. And as a small business owner, YOU are ideally suited for this role!
For many customers, your business can become a one-stop shop, giving customers the benefits of a product expert, service partner, information advisor, strategy planner, and personal guide all rolled into one.
There is another factor here that should not be ignored: It is never in your best interest to be viewed as a commodity. Today, your small business must offer the value of a consultant in order to secure lasting and price-irrelevant relationships.
You must be able to subtly and regularly communicate to every customer: “These are the measurable ways I am enhancing your results.” Do that, and they won’t leave you for a slightly cheaper alternative down the street. And do it consistently, and you’ll develop customers for life.