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Monthly tips to improve the business and practice of members of The Society for the Advancement of Consulting, LLC - Issue #41: February, 2007

Monthly tips to improve the business and practice of members of the Society for Advancement of Consulting, LLC
  • Cite to a gatekeeper your "process" for going forward, so that it isn't personal, e.g., "My process is to meet first with the person who will be making the investment decision to hear his or her objectives personally, then…."
  • Don't throw good money (or time) after bad. If someone isn't returning phone calls or email, send a cordial letter regretting the fact you couldn't make contact and move on.
  • Using clients for a reference has an interesting by-product. It enables you to call them, gives you an excuse for another contact, by asking permission for the release of their name.
  • Anything that a prospect or client sees or hears must be first rate. It doesn't matter if your phone is held together by duct tape (assuming no one comes to your office), but it matters a lot if your briefcase is held together that way.
  • Be bold in explaining yourself. When your asked if you can handle an assignment when you're "only" a sole practitioner, reply, "It didn't bother Avon (insert a recognizable client) or Citibank, so I don't see why it should matter here."
  • Don't pander. Letters that begin with "Thank you so much for your time," or, "I so much enjoyed meeting you at your office" are not from peers but from supplicants. Get to the point: "I'm confirming our agreement to meet again on March 14 at noon…."
  • Don't spend money on the ridiculously expensive article reprints they try to sell you when you're published somewhere. Get permission to reprint the material yourself, in advance (a quid pro quo for no fee for the article, for instance). You can always put a copy of an article on your web site or in your press kit without breaking copyright laws.
  • Beware of doing research using "Wiki" kinds of sources. There is absolutely no guarantee that submissions are accurate nor that what is presented as fact is anything other than supposition.
  • Surveys don't have to be scientific. They can be anecdotal, simply reporting responses from your chosen constituency. Here's a hint for credibility: Make sure you have a relatively high response rate from a significant sampling of people. A 90% response from 20 people isn't impressive, nor is an 8% response from 2,000.
  • When is the last time you updated your bio, photo, case studies, references, client list, etc.? These things get out of date much faster than you'd think. Try to do it at least once a quarter.
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