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Monthly tips to improve the business and practice of members of The Society for the Advancement of Consulting, LLC - Issue #1: October, 2003

Monthly tips to improve the business and practice of members of the Society for Advancement of Consulting, LLC
  • There are "economy-proof" industries, such as pharmaceuticals, pet products, alcohol, and so on. How many are you consciously including in your marketing plans?
  • You must include in your budget maximum funding for your retirement plan beginning with contributions in January, whether an IRA, SEP IRA, 401K, etc. Too many independents are cheating themselves and their families out of long-term security.
  • Start a data base on media contacts, including local newspaper editors, talk show hosts, radio hosts whose shows you've been on, etc. When you have a press release or other publicity opportunity, simply use this list for immediate distribution.
  • Don't "nickel and dime" clients, such as charging for duplication or a few automobile miles. If your monthly expenses for a client are less than $250 (or whatever limit you wish to set) consider sending an invoice with "expenses waived" or a similar notice to show your largesse.
  • Clip Art may be fine for icons on your computer, but many of the images are in common use and if they find their way to your graphics or presentations you'll look unimpressive. I've seen people use these on their letterhead and web sites. Use more originality. (SAC has a discount arrangement with a graphics artist for all members.)
  • Some organizations have internal policies that require acceptance of any discount terms extended. That mean that if your proposal is accepted and you've offered a discount for full payment in advance, that payment arrangement will automatically be accepted. That is the best non-cancellation policy I can think of.
  • The two key components of a web site, brochure, and/or collateral material are: What's in it for the buyer, and who says so? In other words, you must have an example of client results and testimonials from credible third parties.
  • When you "cold call" a prospect and reach the buyer, ask questions which require simple answers to begin the dialog and increase engagement. Those questions can include, "Is this Robert Jackson?" and "Are you the individual who is in charge of the call center?" and "Is it true that you have been having retention problems among call center management?"
  • Never, ever allow a meeting or conversation to end without a definitive and committed next step. For example, "Call me when you need more information" is dreadful; "Let's talk next week" is mediocre; "Let's talk Wednesday morning" if good; but "What's best for you, Monday at 10, Wednesday at noon, or Thursday at 9?" is excellent.
  • Carry a photocopy of your passport in a safe place when you travel overseas. This will expedite your getting a replacement if your passport is lost or stolen.

Suggested reading: The Capitalist Philosophers by Andrea Gabor. Profiles of seminal thinkers in organizational America, from Mary Parker Follet to Peter Drucker.

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