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Monthly tips to improve the business and practice of members of The Society for the Advancement of Consulting, LLC - Issue #45: June, 2007

Monthly tips to improve the business and practice of members of the Society for Advancement of Consulting, LLC
  • Try not to tell a prospect that what they're doing is WRONG. Tell the prospect that there are other ways which may suit him or her better. While they may, indeed, be wrong, your telling them that what they've been doing for six months is dumb after just ten minutes of listening is, well, dumb.
  • If you want to escalate options, tell the prospect, "This is the option our most successful clients choose," or "We've found that there is direct correlation between the maximum return and our collaboration option….
  • I can't emphasize this enough: DO NOT take important calls on your cell. Check your messages with your phone forwarded and go to a land line. The ambient noise, erratic connections, and dangers of being overheard are simply too severe with a cell. And, believe me, no one is impressed that you're so busy you're only reachable on your cell. For me, it's just the opposite.
  • Have an attorney skilled in professional services firms and/or solo practitioners review your corporate bylaws. You may have omitted certain justified and legal reimbursements from before-tax income which can be rectified by a shareholder resolution or directors' vote.
  • If a client drives a BMW it's permissible to mention that you have a BMW but not that you have a Mercedes unless you are specifically asked. Play one-ups-man-ship at your college reunion, not at a client meeting.
  • Question premises, don't defend yourself. For example, if you're asked, "Do you have experience in our industry?" reply, "Why is that important?" Or: "We need three years of experience in high tech," demands the response, "How did you arrive at that criterion?" Many of these demands are purely arbitrary and capricious. 
  • In a strictly business setting, men are NOT expected to help women with their chairs or stand when women arrive at or leave the table. In fact, such gestures may be resented among business equals.
  • Never assume that more technology is the answer, or that technology equals progress. The great steam locomotives of the late 19th Century and early 20th Century were far faster going from, say, New York to Albany, than their modern diesel counterparts. How many times could you have performed a sale or transaction much faster than the clerk struggling with the computer?
  • I don't know about you, but the very first question I'd ask of a professional coach who told me he or she could help me would be: "Have you ever performed at the level at which I aspire to perform?" Put simpler: "Have you ever done what I want to do?" If the answer is "no," head for the hills.
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