I will be speaking tomorrow at the Lake Washington chapter of Biz Enrich in Mercer Island. The topic is how to create a value-based consulting proposal. It will be a highly interactive session tomorrow. I’m looking forward to seeing all my friends from Biz Enrich again.
Copyright 2013. Dan Weedin. All rights reserved
Your Secret Sauce to Success
Resolutions – both business and personal – are made with great intentions. And most are doomed to fail. Why? Because business plans are over-rated. They fail because you might just hit it.
It doesn’t matter what kind of business you are in. My advice to you is to eschew a business plan and create a powerful marketing plan. Having a business plan without a strategy on how you’re going to bring business in is like taking off for a secluded vacation getaway without a GPS, a map, or a Boy Scout compass. You might end up getting there, but it took you longer and wasted more of your valuable time.
Here is your GPS to success for next year (Just imagine my voice imploring you to recalculate when you go off track. I think many of my coaching and mentoring clients can relate!)…
- Determine how you improve the condition of others. What is the value you bring? What sets you apart from your competition? If you can’t sum it up in your own words, ask your best clients. Find out why they do business with you. Two things happen. First, you learn why people do business with you. Second, they remind themselves why they should continue to work with you!
- Who is your target market? Are there new audiences you should be reaching? How do you get yourself and your brand in front of them?
- Put referrals on the top of your list. Most businesses get referrals, but do a poor job of asking for them. Develop a system and language for your sales professionals (and you) to mine for gold. Asking for referrals is not difficult once you know how. Make it a priority.
- Create your own intellectual property. That means webinars, teleconferences, articles, columns, blogs, and podcasts. Create new services, products, and offerings. Become an object of interest.
- Stop wasting time and money on tactics that aren’t working. Does anybody even own a phone book anymore? Find out where people hear about you and go there.
- Find ways to speak publicly. You aren’t there to “pitch.” However, if your presentation is deemed as valuable then you will get opportunities to speak. The thundering herd of people approaching you afterwards to talk to you is your sign that people might like to hire you.
- Be better at following up. We have all been guilty of getting great leads and then letting them slip through the cracks. Set up a system that doesn’t allow that to happen.
- Set metrics and review data to see what is working and find out why. If it isn’t working, adjust and re-try. If it still isn’t working, stop. If it is working, rinse and repeat.
- Be shameless in your promotion.
I recently heard a colleague and friend of mine, Alex Goldfayn proclaim, “Marketing is no place for modesty.” He is absolutely correct. If you provide a great value through your services or products, you should be telling the whole world. If you genuinely believe that you are improving the condition and lives of others, then not aggressively tooting your own horn is actually selfish. You have great value; believe in yourself first.
Bottom line – ditch the business plan and create a powerful marketing plan. A marketing plan that works well will ultimately blow away anything your business plan would have set as a goal.
Take a left at the next light. You have reached your destination…
Here is hoping all of you slide in under the tag in 2013!
© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
Collaborated on by Robbie Kellman Baxter and Dan Weedin, both accredited “Master Mentors” for Alan Weiss, author of Million Dollar Consulting, the Consultants Bible and about 40 other books on consulting….
Are you being mentored or coached and don’t know why or when to call your mentor? It’s funny that I sometimes hear this from the consultants that I coach and mentor. Robbie has, too. They get so caught up in their everyday “grind,” that they lose focus on when to get help. To that end, Robbie and I have come up with 50 reasons to call your mentor. That should keep you, and us, busy!
From Robbie Kellman Baxter – website
1. To prioritize your next steps
2. To role play an important conversation
3. To figure out what went wrong, after the event
4. To review your new website
5. To review your book proposal
6. To review your plan to market your book
7. To figure out how to package value at different price points
8. To increase your value and decrease your labor intensity
9. To think bigger
10. To figure out how to fire your worst clients
11. To review your Objectives, Measures, and Values before you send out the proposal
12. To make sure that you use subcontractors effectively
13. To figure out when and if you should collaborate with another consultant
14. To price a project
15. To strengthen your value proposition
16. To plot how to reinvent yourself
17. For practical tips on technology
18. When you’re ready to start building your brand as a thought leader
19. When you need a little push
20. When your project hits a major bump
21. When your client hasn’t paid you
22. When you need language to ask a client for a referral
23. To help you get organized
24. To prep for a speaking engagement
25. To share your successes!
From Dan Weedin – website
26. To help you manage your time
27. To answer question on how to maintain good life balance
28. When you need a confidence boost
29. To get a second opinion
30. When you’re feeling anxious or scared
31. When something worked and you want to learn how to replicate it
32. To review your demo video
33. To help you get better referrals
34. When you need something clarified or defined
35. To learn how to get past a gatekeeper
36. To learn how to overcome objections
37. When you need to vent
38. When you need a sounding board
39. To review your articles, white papers, and executive briefs
40. To help you create intellectual property
41. To review your marketing material
42. When you need the right answer to your biggest concern fast
43. To gain confidence before you walk in the door to a new prospect
44. When you need to hear the truth
45. When you need to learn how to run a webinar or teleconference
46. When you don’t know the answer
47. Before you send the email response to make sure it’s good
48. To help you learn how to effectively network
49. To help you create press releases
50. To guide you towards valuable resources
© 2012 Robbie Baxtter and Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
Alan Weiss is the author of Million Dollar Consulting® and is the foremost authority on solo practitioner consulting. He’s also a really smart guy and my mentor! I follow his weekly memo that gets sent out on Mondays. Yesterday’s was really good and I want to share it with you…
This week’s focus point: No matter what your politics, the first Presidential debate showed that the camera is always on you; preparation is vital; energy is essential; rules are almost always broken at some point; and this is an age of instantaneous communication and viral opinion. What does that mean for us? Be careful about your non-verbal behavior, stay in the moment, frequently express interest, be physically and emotionally fit, and manage the messages you need to send. If you want to stand out in a crowd, you had better plan to look good while you’re standing there.
© 2012 Alan Weiss. All Rights Reserved
A great lesson for all of us in business and life…
© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
All throughout my career, I’ve been told I need an “elevator speech.” You know, that 30-45 seconds that you might spend on an elevator pitching someone as to what you do and how you do it. Enough time to sound like those fast-talking voice over guys who tell you everything that can go wrong with you if you use their erectile dysfunction medicine, as the other guy in the elevator sprints off a floor early to get away from you.
Elevator speeches are mostly about pitching. It’s your opportunity to bore the other person quickly about what you do so well and how you do it. Here’s a memo. They don’t care about what you do and how you do it. All people generally care about is how you can improve their condition. Instead of pitching, I prefer accumulating at bats. “At bats” for me means a next meeting. And, contrary to popular opinion, you don’t have to rush to get it. In fact, if you do rush through an elevator pitch, you’re unlikely to make the connection you need to begin to gain trust.
Most elevator speeches sound something like this…
“Hi, my name is John Smith and I sell insurance. I have programs for all businesses and can really save my clients money by doing all the shopping for you. I have 20 years experience and know what my clients need. Here’s my card.”
That’s a pitch. The other person didn’t get a word in. In fact, they are now briskly walking away to get some spiked punch. Here is creating an “at bat…”
You: Hi, my name is John Smith. It’s a pleasure to meet you. What do you do?
Other Guy (OG): Hi, I’m Skip. I own a manufacturing company. How about you?
You: Skip, I dramatically enhance peace of mind for my clients so they can effectively operate their businesses.” (Now shut up…I know it’s hard, but don’t say a word)
OG: I’m not sure what that means. How do you do that?
You: It is a pretty vague response, isn’t it? Instead of being theoretical, why don’t you tell me a little about your business and what your biggest challenges are. Then I can give you more specific ideas on how we might work together.”
You now have a situation where the OG is talking. You now need to listen. In reality, if you’re at a function, this may not be the time or place to discuss it, or he wants more information. This is where you suggest a meeting (an at bat) to discuss his situation in greater detail.
The difference between a straight elevator speech and a value proposition is that the other person will do the majority of talking in the latter. Elevator speeches are just that…speeches. We get so caught up in our methodology…in this case, selling insurance…that we forget this is about improving our client’s condition. If you’re in any type of professional service profession (real estate sales, consulting, banking, financial planning, architect, etc.), you must avoid talking about the “how.” You need to concentrate on the output for the person you are speaking with. By doing that, you secure the opportunity to set up a meeting (which you do right then and there), rather than wasting everyone’s time by following up by email for weeks. Remember, nobody wants to be “pitched.” They would much rather buy something from someone who genuinely wants to help them improve. That’s you!
So get a little exercise. Don’t take the elevator. Jump on the stairs and take the slower and more deliberate route. It will end up getting you business faster!
© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
I enjoy watching professional sports on television, not only for the pure enjoyment of the sport, but for the great parallels and lessons it teaches us. Last weekend’s Wimbledon Tennis Championship is an excellent example.
In the Women’s Championship match between Serena Williams and Agnieszka Radwanska, Williams found herself in a precarious situation. She had easily won the first set, stumbled in the second, and now had lost focus in the third and decisive set. Down 2 games to 1 and serving, Williams decided to just focus on her strength…her serve. Throughout the tournament, she lapped the field in aces. In this pivotal game, she served up 4 straight aces. Radwanska never recovered and Serena cruised to her 5th Wimbledon title.
How often do we get caught up in minutia and lose focus? How many times do events derail us and we panic or lose direction? In my experience, the answer is too many. In a world where we desire self-help books and looking to improve our weaknesses, we should instead focus on our strengths.
Athletes over-think in pressure situations. The true champions actually turn pressure into an ally by simplifying the situation and going with what got them there. For Serena Williams, it was her dominant serve. What is it for you?
Where do your strengths lie and what can you do to enhance them? Your focus should be on making what you do really well even better. Don’t spend time and effort on weaknesses. Delegate, subcontract, or simply don’t worry about them.
As an example, one of my strengths is public speaking. One of my weaknesses is setting up and organizing speaking events. So, my focus is on making myself a better speaker. I like it and it’s what I’m good at. I hate making arrangements and doing the heavy lifting of administration. I delegate this to my assistant who likes to do it and it’s her strength. This produces a win-win situation.
Your time is valuable and finite. Your energy level and passion needs to be focused and strong. You can only be passionate about what you like and what you’re good at. Build on your strengths. It will come up aces for you!
© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
The final episode of the recent Libby & Dan event for consultants and entrepreneurs in Seattle.
© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
Libby Wagner discusses the concepts that are required to have a successful career as a consultant and entrepreneur.
© 2012 Libby Wagner & Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved