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Show and Tell


Show and Tell


“Show and Tell” is more powerful than “Tell.”

When independent consultants ask what’s the one thing they can do to increase the conversion rate of leads into projects, my answer is:

Create a portfolio of your templates and sanitized samples of your work.

When a client hires McKinsey, Bain, BCG, Deloitte, KPMG, LEK, or any other top firm, the client has a good sense of what she is going to get.

The output will look like the decks from previous projects, with different words and numbers.

When a client who hasn’t worked with you thinks about hiring you, however, she isn’t sure what you’ll deliver.

Yes, you said very nice things in the proposal meeting.

And you have a resume that suggests you did work like this before.

But can you still produce pages? Have you done this on your own?

Some independent consultants tell me that because of non-disclosure agreements, they can’t share any client work, even sanitized.

In that case, hire yourself and produce some sample output. This is possible whatever type of work you do.

Example: Commercial due diligence
Pick a company that interests you and create pages of total addressable market, competitor overview, value chain, product comparison, voice of the customer insights (do a few expert interviews). Prepare interview guides and the 3-week workplan.

Example: Marketing
Pick a industry you are familiar with and create a customer segmentation, a brand launch plan, a product roadmap. Write the consumer survey, the brief for the focus group.

Example: Leadership develop or top team alignment
Write a case study, Harvard Business School style, using pseudonyms for the executives. Describe the viewpoints of each stakeholder and what they experienced during the strategy offsite that you led

Example: Change management
Invent a scenario (e.g., roll out of a new ERP to the whole global finance team) and write a set of communications materials – the announcement, the training PPT, the sequenced roll-out plan, the FAQ

I’ve found that only 10-15% of independent consultants have samples of sanitized work ready to share and that those consultants are about twice as likely to get selected by a client after an initial meeting.

More thoughts on this in Episode 121 of Unleashed.