News Consultants

News

1. Excellent example of a concise, deeply informative industry overview: “Why is the Nuclear Power Stagnant” by Austin Vernon.

2. After I shared a link to VesselFinder last week, Jeff Christiansen pointed me to LeoLab’s low earth orbit space debris tracker. So cool.

3. Great list of free / low cost design resources.

4. Just finished A Gentleman in Moscow, will definitely make my list of best books read in 2022. What should I read next?

22 Business development ideas for 2022

1. Craft a memorable fishing line. Video.

2. Identify your core network. Podcast.

3. Make your LinkedIn profile a client magnet. Podcast and template.

4. Create a project list. Podcast and template and sample..

5. Create a portfolio of sanitized sample work. Podcast.

6. Avoid common resume mistakes made by independent consultants. Podcast.

7. Start a newsletter. Podcast.

8. Start a podcast. Podcast.

9. Create the 5 types of content every consultant needs. Video.

10. Create a plan for the year. Podcast.

11. Craft winning proposals. Template.

12. Clarify your personal brand. Video.

13. Organize a thought leadership event including potential clients. Video.

14. Build a website in one day. Video

15. Create consistently excellent client experiences through defined processes. Video.

16. Hire your first associate. Video.

17. Set up a CRM system. Podcast.

18. Make outbound calls. Podcast.

19. Talk less and ask clients more of these questions. Podcast.

20. Engage a PR professional. Podcast

21. Work with a coach who serves independent consultants. Consider David A. FieldsMelisa LibermanAmanda WrightDeb Zahn

22. Level up by listening to podcasts focused on your functional area. Curated set of shows.

Subtraction can also be powerful, and is often overlooked.

What’s one thing you will leave behind and do less of (or quit entirely) in 2022?

Josh Spector (website) publishes one of my favorite newsletters, For The Interested (25,000 subscribers), which features ideas to help creators produce, promote, and profit from their creations.

I’ve been reading every issue for over a year, so it was a lot of fun to have Josh as a guest on Episode 459 of Unleashed.

This episode is particularly valuable for anyone who is thinking about creating some kind of regular content with the goal of business development.

Key takeaway that shifted my thinking:

When designing the content for a newsletter, you don’t need to focus on the insights you have to offer (which is what most consultant newsletters do.)

Instead, think about what would actually be valuable to the audience you want to target.

For example, if your practice focuses on a particular industry niche, you could send out a short, weekly newsletter with links to five news articles and a 1-2 sentence summary of why each article is relevant.

That could be more useful to your audience, more likely to get shared, and easier to create than an essay with insights from a project you just completed.

If you’d like help developing a content plan, consider reaching out to Josh. A 90-minute “Creator Clarity Consulting” call is one service he offers. Email: josh@joshspector.com

 

Thanks to Umbrex member Robyn Bolton for this tech tip:

Krisp provides “awesome noise canceling for Zoom calls.  The free version only gives 240 minutes per week which is plenty for me but other may need more depending on their environs and whether or not they use headphones.”

Loom is a great tool to quickly record a short video of both your screen and you talking on the webcam.

To send a message to a colleague or client when you aren’t able to connect live on a Zoom or Teams meeting, or to document a process.

Particularly in an initial discussion with a potential client, it can be productive to flip the question:

1. Client: “Tell me about your relevant experience.”

Flip the question: “To help me identify which experiences may be most relevant, do you mind if I first ask a few more questions about your project?”

Comment: Clients aren’t actually that curious about our experience. They care about their problem. So try to spend time learning about their problem, not talking about your past.

2. Client: “Tell us your recommended approach.”

Flip the question: “There’s a whole spectrum of ways we could think of addressing this matter. At one end of the spectrum, we could think about just a day-long workshop. At the other end, a three month effort, five days per week, with a team of two or three. What’s your mental model for the role you’d expect a consultant to play?”

Comment: It’s much easier to sell a client the service they want to buy. So don’t guess, just ask them what they are hoping to get.

More tips on how to have an effective Context Discussion in The Irresistible Consultant’s Guide to Winning Clients by David A. Fields

Here’s an exercise I found challenging.

Picture yourself in ten years. Who you are then. What skills you have. Your relationships with friends and family. What you own. What you’ve accomplished and how you spend your time.

Now, speaking as that person, that “you + 10 years,” talk about yourself (try doing it out loud):

“I am….
“I’m friends with…
“I own…
“I know how to…
“I’ve traveled to….
“I’ve built….
“My typical day involves…
“Over the last ten years I have….

I like to set long-term goals. I strive to maintain a five-decade time horizon. Still, I felt presumptuous saying out loud that I’ve already done things that I’ve only dreamed of doing.

A good workout to strengthen the audacity muscle.

Over the past few weeks, two consultants told me that DocuSigns they receive always go to their spam folder, and they couldn’t figure out how prevent that from happening.

With most email providers, you can set a filter so that emails from a given sender always go to your inbox, never to spam.

Or if you want to get emails from a given sender out of your inbox but you don’t want to unsubscribe, you can set a filter to skip the inbox and apply a label.

Instructions for Gmail/G-Suite. And for Microsoft.

On their LinkedIn profile, about 90% of the members of this community still have the default, greyish banner.

This is a missed opportunity to communicate a visual and emotional message about you or your practice to potential clients.

Here are a handful of ideas to serve as an inspiration for your profile’s banner image.

It does take some thought and some effort to get a banner selected and perhaps designed, so the meta-message is: “I’m a person who takes the extra step in the way I present myself to the world, and I’ll go the extra mile when I work on your project.”

Susan Drumm promotes her podcast with a URL and a clear call to action (“Subscribe Now”). Note how the colors of the background of her photo so nicely match her brand colors.

 

You immediately know that Sean Brazier‘s work has something to do with data.

 

Robbie Kellman Baxter shows you right away that she gives keynote speeches.

 

Guillherme Bcheche‘s banner radiates a sense of calm – it just whispers.  As a potential client, I feel that we’ll sit chatting in low voices in a quiet room while he intently listens to what I have to say.

 

The city skyline is a popular motif. If you engage Nidhi Chadda, you’re getting a New Yorker.

Allen Cheng’s banner made me stop and think. The image suggests that Allen is playful and fun to work with. Not sure exactly what the image is, but on first glance it looks like a three dimensional abacus designed by a six-year old with an IQ of 180.

Another popular motif is the outdoor scene. Anna Engstromer suggests here that she loves to sail.

During Week One (Report the Facts) of the annual planning process, you may ask yourself questions such as:

What are my best sources of project leads?
Which sources of leads convert at a low rate?
When I lost proposals, what was the reason?

While a CRM system such as Pipedrive can help you answer those questions, it’s also possible to use Excel.

For years, James Black has tracked every proposal he submits using an Excel spreadsheet. He tracks

  1. Point of contact
  2. Client company
  3. Type of project
  4. Total revenue (estimated in case of a loss; actual in case of a win)
  5. Win/Loss
  6. Reason code for losses

You might track other data points such as your initial estimate of the likelihood any given opportunity converts or the number of hours you invest in a proposal.

Start now, and finish in time for the December holidays:

In Episode 445 of Unleashed, David A. Fields walks me through an eight-week annual planning process for consultants. Should take just 90 minutes per week.

In the podcast, David goes into some detail and provides examples. If you want the core message in written form, read David’s post “8 Weeks to Get Juiced – A Better Strategic Planning Process for Consulting Firms.

Also in Unleashed this week:
Episode 446: Vijay Mehra on Agile Methodology
Episode 447: Michael Wise on Healing, Psychedelics, and Executive Coaching