Tag Archives: Consulting

In The Land Of The Blind The One-Eyed (Wo)Man Is King!

One of the downsides of the exponential growth of information is that it’s hard to know who to trust.

Most people go through the five stages of grief when they have to deal with information they don’t really want.

  1. I don’t need to go on Facebook.  I don’t want to read what someone ate for breakfast on Twitter. Who would hire somebody just by looking at LinkedIn?
  2. I don’t have time for this!
  3. I’ll try it but I’m going to hold on to my Yellow Pages ad.
  4. This is the only way to get new customers and I don’t know how to manage all the time and money this is going to cost.
  5. Okay. I’m getting on board.

The most dangerous step for businesses is Step 3.  You’re not really committed.

When you don’t know what you don’t know all advice sounds good.  So it’s not a hard decision to throw money at the first person you meet who says s/he is an expert, guru, consultant.

Often what happens is that you immediately head back to Stage #1. Stage #2 hits you a lot harder when your scarce resources have returned nothing.

In the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king!  Don’t agree to anything you don’t understand unless you actually have two eyes open.

Have You Become Simply Proficient?

It’s become difficult to find anyone who thinks “No Child Left Behind” turned out well.  We expected our kids to become proficient.

The payoff to the school was so important that subjects not on the proficiency tests were dropped from the syllabus.  In at least one local high school in Toledo the physics class deleted the chapter on simple machines like pulleys, cranes and wheels. I didn’t know you could learn physics without that!

But, alas, it’s not on the test.  Art and music?  Why waste time on something so tangential to real learning?

Mark Edmundsen’s piece in the New York Times The Pink Floyd Night School is a reminder that we need to do other things than simply increase our facts base.

Are you learning more and more tactics for your particular niche?  Are facts and figures your stock in trade?  Is the information you’re sharing with clients findable elsewhere online?

By themselves these tasks are fine.  But how are you adding to the knowledge base? That requires original thought.  The ability to synthesize unrelated parts of the world.  A tremendous amount of looking at things other than your specialty.

Pass the proficiency test and you’ll find clients who need your services.  Get a reputation for creative problem solving using your technical skills and clients will find you.

Two Meetings And Out

It took me a long time to stop focusing on potential clients.  I mean the clients I met, had a meaningful conversation or two, sent the proposal, considered the project a slam-dunk.  Like a summer camp romance I never heard from them again.

Oh my gosh. It’s demoralizing to think how much time I spent waiting for someone to call.  Or I would call and leave a perky message.

Yes it would have been better if the other person said, “I’m just not that into you/your company/your offer”.  Actually the silence was deafening but like most entrepreneurs I thought it nearly impossible to get turned down or they were busy or they needed to get the cash together.  Sigh.

So I took the advice of a member of my Mastermind group.  He never has more than two meetings with a potential client.  Then it’s go or no go.  He doesn’t spend any time worrying about it.

I am not doing this perfectly – one characteristic of an entrepreneur is eternal optimism.

Why does he have such success? He closes a large percentage of these deals.

His ability to sit down with the people who will really benefit from his expertise and to close the deal makes all the difference.

I’m working on that too.

It’s What They’re Thinking That Matters

Ever find yourself at party talking to someone who appeared to be a Stepford Wife?

Ever worked with someone who didn’t have the skill set to really do the job they were hired for and you had to manage them or maybe worse be on his “team”?

Ever tried to convince someone of your product’s or service’s value and simply got a blank stare?

These situations rarely end well.

One of the hardest things we have to do is step outside ourselves and try to think like the other person in the conversation. The great thing about parties is you can excuse yourself and simply move on.  An employee or customer is an entirely different story.

Most of us believe if we simply keep talking the light bulb will go on and we will get exactly what we want from others.  That only works if we are speaking the same language as the other person.

It’s a difficult lesson.  Keep at it.  Your entire world will change if you do.

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Accountability – It’s Not Just For Finance Experts

We seem to be moving into a new era: Accountability for everyone in the business world.  No longer are we allowing advertising and marketing to take our dollars in exchange for hope.

I love internet marketing, search and social media optimization.  I take the greatest pleasure in helping business owners increase their exposure →their business→their sales→their profits.  If I can’t do that I am just another consultant, another person who took money in exchange for nothing.

I can’t work like that.  I have a pay for performance philosophy now.  I am going to start demanding it of the vendors and suppliers who work for me.

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