4 Things Successful Consultants Can Do to Diversify and Make More Money

For many years of my nonprofit consulting practice, I lived a “feast or famine” lifestyle. Have you been there and done that as well? Then you know exactly how it feels to be snowed under with so many deadlines that you can hardly see straight OR you’re desperately cold calling every agency in town hoping they need what you have to sell. And – you’re willing to offer your services at a deeply discounted rate if they’ll just pay you something.

In 2009, after a long-term contract with a nonprofit that I dearly loved ended because the new board president felt that my job could easily be absorbed by the executive assistant (I know, right?!), I knew that I had to rethink my consulting strategy. I had become too self-reliant on just one revenue stream and I never knew where my next client was coming from.

In 2010 I launched my first website. I treated it not as just an “online brochure” but one built to make money for me in addition to my consulting jobs. Pretty soon, I was able to ditch the “done for you” service model of my consulting practice and now run the business coaching others how to do the work they were paying me to do instead of me doing it for them.

This model works so much better because it eliminates the income ceiling of trading dollars for hours, I can serve many more clients and I have much more freedom. This is considered more of a coaching model of doing business.

Want to turn your present model of consulting around on its head and make money a new, much more fun way? Here are four tips to help you make that transition:

Get clear on what it is you can do for people – Get clear on who you want to work with and what you want your client to have as a result of your coaching. Spend some time thinking about what it is you enjoy doing for people and the result that you always want them to come away with.

Instead of you trying to find clients to do a service for, you’re now concentrating on finding clients that instead want you to teach them what you know so they can do the job themselves.

Build a community – Find others that are wanting to learn what you know and build your own following to always have someone to market to. I continue to do this by offering something of value to my potential clients and marketing that through social media channels, blog posts, forum postings and articles. In exchange for them getting this valuable information I had to offer, I only asked for their name and email address on my website. This quickly built my list. It also gave me permission to market my coaching services.

Keep in touch – So, if you have a list of potential clients then the next step is for you to keep in touch with them. Continue to offer good information through a newsletter or the sharing of your blog posts. Show your community that you care about them.

Consistently make offers to your list – While all the while being of value to your community, you’ll also make offers. Instead of offering “done for you” services though you’ll be offering some sort of coaching package where instead of you doing the work for someone, you’re now training them how to do the work for themselves. You’re empowering them to do what you already know how to do.

What I just shared is really just the tip of the iceberg – so much to teach you, young grasshopper! In the resource box, you’ll find how to find out more and receive much more information. I hope that you’ll seriously consider a new way of doing business.

What Role Does a Sales Force Consultant Play Within an Organization?

A sales force consultant offers the best support to a business in increasing sales. For any business, the sales department has a major role in increasing profits. There is a need to adopt the best business practices to ensure profits for a company. A business should understand the requirement of customers. It is necessary to provide useful product to customers to increase sales, gain reputation and taste success. There is a good relationship between the sales force consultant, the sales department and a customer. This simple equation helps any business write their success story in today’s world. The consultant trains the employees within the organization in customer relationship management.

Collaborating sales force consultant with the sales department, a business is in a position to provide the required output necessary for targeted customers. A company can only reap benefits and enjoy a reputation when it is listening to its customers and serving them with needful products. The consultant will train the employees in customer relationship management. Customer relationship management is a procedure to register the feedback from the market. Attending to the query of a customer is important. Apart from improving the relationship with customers, there is a possibility of reduction in running costs. As the company will manufacture the right product, it spends less on reworks and eliminates unwanted procedures that altogether increase the investment.

Capital and costs are two parallel properties that a business should concentrate while marketing products. By establishing a good customer relationship management, a company is in a place to give right service or product that fulfills the need of a customer. Improving product quality or the service is a major advantage to a business to cut down undesired expenses. Sales force consultant registers all the unwanted practices related to the organization. He or she would then approach the management to offer the best solution. Implementing the solution and describing the plan of action is part of the strategy that helps develop quality products, meeting customer requirements.

The improvement procedure helps a business manufacture the right product that meets the requirement of the customer. As customers are pleased and satisfied with the product, a company builds a trust and ensures that it is listening to the needs of customers from time to time. A sales force consultant has a provocative role to play within an organization. The consultant also helps establish a good working environment by eliminating differences between employees. This is very important for any organization. A good work environment increases productivity and listens to customer needs. A good customer relationship management not only retains old customers but also adds new ones to the database.

New to Consulting – Do You Really Need a Website?

This may seem like a silly question, especially if you’ve already started your consulting business and have a website.

The question really is, does your website draw clients to you? Or, does it confuse them about your services?

All too often professional websites pontificate about the principles of consulting and do little to “educate” potential clients about the problems the consultant specializes in solving.

Marketing is a Consultant’s Real Full-Time Job!

From our viewpoint, which is all about marketing, anything you do that doesn’t move the potential client along the road to hiring you is a waste of resources. As a consultant, your “product” is an intangible service – difficult perhaps to describe and equally difficult for the client to grasp. Regardless of your consulting expertise, your real job is marketing it and yourself.

And, since you get paid for doing work for clients, you need dedicated marketing assets that work for you even in your absence.

Planning Your Website So It Plays a Key Role in Your Marketing Process

A well-designed website will serve as a collection point for inquiries, some of which should eventually become paying assignments. All your other marketing activities: social media, email marketing, direct mail advertising, networking and publishing should drive the potential prospects to that website. There they will learn about the problems you solve, your process, your credentials, your connections. There they will decide whether or not to move to the next step in the buying process.

So before you pay a designer to make an “attractive” website for you – or you attempt to create your own site – here are some things to think about:

How will prospects find your site?

Will your home page be all about you, or will it be about the prospect, giving examples of problems you solve?

Will you know who views it, and when they did?

Will you know what visitors to your site were most interested in and what they would like to know more about?

Will your website be so comprehensive and complete that potential clients will be left with the impression that they know everything there is to know about your services?

Are your clients more likely to use a mobile device than a PC to search for information?

Do you plan to add information to your website on a regular basis in the form of a blog or updated case histories, etc.?
These are only a few of the questions you should be addressing before designing the site if you expect it to really produce inquiries for you.

The Website Is a Critical Component of The Consultant’s Sales Process.

There’s no substitute of course for the face-to-face meeting. But there may be a number of touch points of communication before you actually get to that point. Together, all of your marketing efforts should work in concert to move potential clients smoothly through the funnel of your sales process.

Some Consulting Assignments Are Really a Minefield

Consulting Assignments Often Have Concealed Objectives.

If you’re new to consulting, don’t be surprised if some assignments turn out to have hidden agendas.

You sign on to tackle one set of problems only to find that they are symptomatic of the real (and often much bigger) problem. When this happens – and it often does – you will be faced with going back to the well and re-writing the rules of engagement. Here’s where your tact and skill at negotiating (often something of a hallucinatory ballet) will come in handy.

Finding The Real Problem Is Not Unlike a Scavenger Hunt!

In fact, based on over thirty years of high-level consulting, I can say with confidence that most clients either don’t understand their real problem or are reluctant to expose it openly. Whether it’s out of embarrassment or ego, managers will couch their explanation in terms that feel safe to them, not necessarily accurate. Oddly enough, the higher up the management ladder you go, the less likely your contact will be to have all the facts or even be aware of just how serious the problem really is.

Have you ever read the parody, “In The Beginning Was The Plan?” It is a classic description of how problems get reported on the line and how they change as they work their way up the chain of command. It’s absolutely hilarious, not so much because it is cleverly couched in biblical prose, but because it is oh, so true. You can read the piece on Inc. Magazine’s website.
Sometimes The Consultant’s Real Job Is To Expose The Elephant in the Room.

Yes, it’s often the case that you will be retained as the consultant to ferret out the actual problem – the real elephant in the room – that no one in the organization wants to “own” by being the bearer of bad news. And by the way, if this is your assignment (should you choose to accept it) you will be walking a fine line as you dig in. Don’t expect to be loved in the process.

Sometimes you will be expected to outline a solution in the form of bitter medicine – a solution that everyone knew all along. They just want the consultant to legitimize it and actually define it for all to see. Meeting expectations this way will challenge your writing skills, so be prepared for some creative prose in your report as well as in other deliverables, including your invoice.

Sales Consultancy Services: Helpful, Inexpensive and Sturdy

A consultant is a person or body that provides expert advice on matters related to various issues and subjects. From security of home, office management to issues related to engineering, finance, sales, public relations, they are always there to provide expert advices regarding almost everything.

Anyone related to sales, in any kind of industry, is generally looked upon as a “salesman”, whose intention is to sell the goods. But it is high time that people come out of this assessment, because there is more about ‘sales’. The sales department of any company works as a unit to uplift the position of the company by endorsing its products fruitfully into the market. But one might ponder as to what exactly is the job of a sales consultant? A position in the sales team will be financially rewarding, but it also involves a risk factor and lot of effort. Herein begins the role of sales consultants. They form a liaison between the company and the customer and help in the forming of a successful business relationship. The preliminary role of a sales consultant is to identify the need of the customer and to meet those needs or expectations through appropriate service. They are also vested with the responsibility of maintaining a cordial relation with the customer even after the sale is over. In other words, the goodwill of the company rests much on the shoulders of the sales people.

Generally, sales people are hired by the companies on a full-time basis but now-a-days, this trend has received a back-seat as newer and more efficient consultant companies are widely available. These companies have an efficient team that provides detailed and efficient analysis of the customer before making any dealings. These consulting companies also educate and train the sales personnel to become more efficient and knowledgeable about the products and service they are going to market.

Along with the progressive technology, the market has also progressed a lot. Now-a-days, for hiring any sales consulting agency, one need not go or call-up and arrange meetings. Audio-visual online support is given to the clients by many agencies and this has been proved to be a blessing for the companies. Some companies have even developed efficient software which contains all of the important guidelines and formula, only the data of the company’s product or service has to be entered. They also prepare the team to compete with difficulties and face the challenges with ease. A list of FAQs is also made available on their website, which can help even the not-so-computer-friendly person to go about it quite easily. It is a one shot application that helps one to know everything about the customer before proceeding with the business dealing.

Dealing with the customers, in most of the cases, is looked upon as an upheaval task. On top of it, a great risk factor is also involved. These consulting agencies, with experienced team can be of great help to compete with these difficulties and make the experience of selling much better.

Is Your Consulting Firm Your ISO Business Partner?

ISO Makes a Strong Business Case

Whether you manufacture a product or are in the service sector – a private organization or a government agency – ISO is a fundamental business model. It is the foundation from which to build an enterprise. It focuses attention on organizational processes, your customers (internal and external), competency-based training, and continual improvement. That translates to improved business results.

ISO-based standards rely on eight quality management principles that can be used to lead and improve any organization. A pragmatic approach, however, is essential. It should ensure needed checks and balances, and a framework for operating efficiently and effectively. When your ISO initiative is integrated into your strategic business plan, it links strategy to execution. Attention is focused on doing the right job – right the first time.

ISO Benefits Abound

ISO helps an organization see itself from the customer’s perspective. And it makes a strong business case. It provides the framework for discipline and a formal, strategic approach to continual improvement. “So what,” you say. Consider this. Surveys have conclusively proven that organizations that adopt a formal and strategic approach to quality management:

  • Outperform their industry sectors in profitability
  • Outperform their industry sectors in shareholder value
  • Enjoy higher levels of customer satisfaction & loyalty
  • Experience reduced operating costs
  • Enjoy lower rates of staff turnover

A recent five-year study conducted by UCLA, University of Maryland and Universidad Carlos III in Madrid concluded: US publicly held companies, traded on the NYSE that received ISO 9000 registration, show significant improvement in financial performance, compared to those companies that have not pursued the Standard. Not only did the ISO registered firms improve their performance, but the Study further concluded that the firms which failed to seek registration experienced substantial deterioration in return on assets, productivity and sales. Registered companies avoided such declines.

This presents an interesting paradox. There are typically three primary drivers for ISO 9000 registration. The first is customer and regulatory demand (about 45% of survey respondents). The second is the resultant quality benefit (about 30% of survey respondents). And the last significant driver is securing a competitive advantage – increased sales and market share (about 15%). Other categories account for the difference. Draw your own conclusions.

Marketing Overview

Although you may have embarked upon an ISO initiative because of external pressure, or simply to improve quality, leverage the certificate to improve business results. Since the “competitive advantage” driver is a distant third behind “quality benefits,” any organization that earns this registration should market it aggressively to accelerate growth of sales.

The key is to gain market visibility. Broadcast it to the world and they will come. The more clients and prospects who are aware of your achievement, and what it conveys in terms of product or service quality, the better your odds of capturing new business. And by its very nature, ISO registration is like the “Good Housekeeping Seal,” but better, since it is recognized around the world.

Respect ISO Guidelines

Be careful to follow ISO guidelines for promoting your registration. The ISO logo itself cannot be directly used in marketing promotions. Ask your Registrar if they have a logo you can use, or create one yourself. Be sure it includes the full ISO designation, such as “ISO 9001:2000 Certified.” And remember, only your quality management system (QMS) or environmental management system (EMS) is certified, not your entire organization – or your products/services.

Marketing Activities to Promote your Registration

Here are some proven ways you can get marketing mileage from your ISO registration:

  • Display your ISO certificate in your lobby. Also, hang a banner inside your building, or fly an ISO flag. Your Registrar can also provide you with multiple copies of the certificate.
  • Promote your ISO registration in all communications, such as email signature blocks and stationery. And let your customers and prospects know of your ISO registration via direct mail or email campaigns.
  • Modify your organization’s logo to include reference to your ISO registration, and create a graphic promoting your ISO QMS or EMS registration.
  • Write a press release about achieving your ISO registration. Send this to local and industry publications. Distribute it online, too, for maximum visibility, and don’t forget to include a link back to your Website.
  • Publish an article about how ISO registration is expected to benefit your organization, and your concerted effort to gain customer loyalty. Later, prepare a case study about how ISO registration has benefited your organization or helped you grow your customer base.
  • Promote your ISO registration in newsletters and on your Website. Likewise, promote your ISO registration in print, or online pay-per-click advertising. Make sure your marketing collateral materials contain the proper ISO designation.
  • Use banners to promote your ISO registration at tradeshows, and include your ISO graphic in handouts.
  • Train your sales people about how to leverage ISO registration to win more business in competitive situations.

If you think about it, you can probably identify other opportunities to let your marketplace know that your organization takes quality and/or the environment seriously. Also, clarify how this translates to direct benefits for those choosing to do business with you.

Marketing Assistance is Available

A few customer-centric ISO Registrars now offer marketing assistance and guidelines to help customers promote their registration. Some management consulting companies take marketing assistance even further. Change Management Consulting (CMC), for example, develops a free press release for each customer who earns ISO registration. Strategy sessions, to leverage the ISO certificate, are always part of the ISO implementation process. Additionally, CMC offers exclusive access to discounted marketing services through an affiliate company.

Be Proactive

One thing is clear – you must be proactive in promoting your ISO registration. Unless you develop and implement a marketing plan, your organization will not gain the full advantage of this strategic initiative. So, incorporate ISO registration into your brand identity and broadcast it to the world. Make ISO part of your organizational culture.

Once you begin to promote your ISO registration to the marketplace, you will be surprised how quickly the word spreads. Organizations just feel more comfortable working with a company whose QMS or EMS meets rigorous ISO standards. And satisfied customers give the best referrals. In short, ISO registration gives you a unique value proposition.

Choose a management consulting firm that not only has practical implementation experience, but also, an established firm that has a proven track record in helping organizations leverage their certificates. The hand that guides must be steady and sure. Change Management Consulting has helped hundreds of organizations accelerate short and long-term growth of sales, and build a sustainable competitive advantage. That’s the CMC difference.

The good news is that leveraging your ISO registration for competitive differentiation doesn’t cost a lot of money. All it takes is your imagination and staying within ISO guidelines. With the right consulting partner, and a little creative work, your organization can enjoy improved earnings, enhanced customer loyalty, and a sustainable competitive advantage.

Dress Better And Land Your Dream Job With Fashion Consultancy Firms

Today, we sometimes see smart people who are struggling to look fashionable. A good example would be the characters on a hit television series, The Big Bang Theory. Actually, there are a lot of shows that feature people who are fashionably challenged, and could have found a good job or succeeded in their career if they knew how to dress for their profession.

You would think that because they’re smart, they would know how to dress well. However, nobody can have everything and though this is a big issue, it’s not exactly impossible to solve. It would be great if they have friends around them who can give tips and advice when it comes to fashion. In the absence of such advantage, you can always consult with fashion experts that not only temporarily help in fashion but also give basic and innovative training programs on style so people can dress to impress all the time.

When it comes to styling needs, a lot of people from different walks of life have been helped by fashion consultancy companies. These firms not only deal with people who are rich and have the resources to buy expensive and stylish clothes, but also with people who have been referred by some charitable institutions. These people are those that need to dress better in order to land good jobs. Aside from the assistance given by these companies to come up with outfit ideas, they also provide their clients with a list of shops that sell quality and affordable pieces of clothing.

Aside from developing their client’s sense of style, fashion consultancy firms also personally deal with them to improve their public image, especially if they are among those important personalities. These companies give their clients a personal image consultant who will teach them social manners and other personal development training programs.

Last but not the least, there are lots of fashion consultancy firms nowadays that offer an array of fashion training for individuals who want to stand out in the fashion, designing and styling. They always provide courses on fashion along with fashion workshops and trainings. They also visit universities, make fashion discussions in which valuable tips on having a good impression for job interviews are being provided by their fashion consultants.

Looks may not be the only important thing in the world, but it is the very first thing that people will use to judge you. It can even be the deciding factor on whether you’ll get hired for your dream job or not. To avoid getting rejected because you don’t know how to dress and how to look professional, seek the help of professionals before it’s too late.

The Consulting Brochure – A Waste of Money?

You’re new in business and new to consulting as a professional pursuit. You may not have even one client on the books. So, you may ask, “If I only had a brochure to give to people, wouldn’t it serve to legitimize my business?”

The answer is, “No, it may even hurt you.”

This may surprise and even disappoint you, but it’s true. A printed brochure probably isn’t what you need to help people decide to hire you, at least not at this stage.

In fact, it may actually do the opposite, especially if it looks cheap or homemade. And let’s be clear. A brochure is a selling document. When you’re just starting out you may not have a clear picture of what your niche market (or niche markets) actually expect of a consultant – and therefore, you don’t know what they expect in the way of a brochure.

To Succeed in Consulting, You Need to Appear Successful.

I don’t believe that you overtly sell consulting as a service. People do make the decision to engage your services, usually to solve a problem — a problem that isn’t likely to be described in a selling brochure. More often than not, for example, you won’t know what the real problem is until you conduct a Needs Analysis.

So the most effective brochure may well be a simple typewritten list of your services on a single sheet of second sheets to your stationery. If you provide a range of services, a separate sheet devoted to each one may be sufficient.

Flexibility In the Beginning Can Be Beneficial.

As you gain clients and experience and become comfortable with your “style” of consulting you will develop a better understanding of your target market’s expectations. At that point you will have a better idea of whether or not you need a printed brochure and, if so, what form it should take.

Be wary of flamboyancy!

There are well-established rules for the use of type styles, sizes, art and colors. Most non-professionals who decide to do their own design work choose the wrong type styles and use too many different ones (no more than three to a document is a good rule) and tend to use flashy color combinations laid out in ways that not only defeat the purpose of the communication, but actually detract from it. Unless you have professional training or talent for graphic arts, you’re best off to stick to the basics.

EB-5 Visa Consulting Firms – To Use Or Not to Use?

With such an economic decline in the United States in recent years, foreign capital is becoming increasingly sought after. The ability to rely primarily on domestic investment and funding sources has put businesses and corporations in a difficult situation. Developers want to know how they can become a government approved EB-5 Regional Center and attract this foreign capital, all the while foreign EB-5 visa-seeking investors want to know exactly which Regional Center they should be investing in and how – what is the safest investment with the least risk and best expected results? – That is the question.

The $500,000 investment into a USCIS approved Regional Center conditionally provides the foreign investor and the investor’s immediate family (unmarried children under 21) with an EB-5 visa green card. Provided that the investment either directly or indirectly creates 10 jobs, issuance of an EB-5 visa administers permanent U.S. residency.

Though it sounds simple enough – with more than 100 approved Regional Centers in the United States – the actual process of selecting the right one can be a difficult decision for any foreign investor, especially when the investor’s knowledge on each and every Regional Center and the entire EB-5 process as a whole is much less than distinguished. Given that the investment is fully at risk there is a chance that the chosen center may not meet the requirements. In this case, the investor not only loses their chance of obtaining an EB-5 visa but also loses their money.

Sole reliance on a Regional Center’s advertising or expectant results is a risky business and a lot of Regional Centers encourage the investor to work directly with them in investing into their program. This can prove to be a strong disadvantage to the investor and the investor’s best interests. If a Regional Center fails to report or misrepresents information it can leave the investor in an unfavorable position. Therefore it is very important to research and compare all options. One way, in particular, is by utilizing a consulting firm. The most esteemed consulting firms play a huge role in acting as a type of unbiased counselor in the EB-5 process; providing due diligence reports, financial projections, assessing risk, reviewing all legal documents and most importantly monitoring the project until completion, the consulter essentially helps to remove most burdens of the investor.

The best consulting firms consist of a team of not only expert consulters but also include financial specialists, economists, SEC attorneys, immigration attorneys, business attorneys, industry researchers and even marketing directors. Clearly, this type of task force possesses the professional background and skill necessary to aide the foreign investor in making the wisest decision on which Regional Center to choose. Unless the potential foreign investor encompasses the education and skills of a lawyer, businessman and marketer, collecting and assessing all relevant data can be a distressing task.

When inquiring about using a potential consulting firm it is important to confirm their credentials; verifying the firm’s success rate, especially by way of requesting personal testimonies from previous clients and also discovering what nationalities they have worked with are useful types of information when questioning the firm’s practice. Questioning how they are being compensated can provide evidence to the firm’s validity as well; if they are being paid by just the client or if they are also receiving kick-backs from certain Regional Centers in an effort to advance all referrals. Another source of credibility is finding out how many Regional Centers their clients have used, the higher the amount – provided they have a high success rate – would generally be a key sign that the consulting firm is legitimate and has experience, which is ultimately what any investor would want.

Expert consulting firm, Exclusive Visas, works with clients whose nationalities range from Indian, Chinese, Venezuelan and even Russian. It comes as no surprise that they are the leading consulting firm pertaining to EB-5 visas on the market today. A useful tool for simply researching the EB-5 program is www.eb5exclusive.com where there are resources to all the latest EB-5 news, press releases and blogs.

Choosing the Right Business Intelligence Consultancy

In the right environment, Business Intelligence (BI) enables faster data analysis and more effective business planning but getting an organisation to the point where BI can work for them can be a complex process. It is absolutely essential that the right consultancy is employed to facilitate the change. Always look for a reputable consultancy with a verifiable track record and demonstrable implementation experience before making any decisions.

Don’t Take Business Intelligence Likely

Business intelligence is definitely not something to be taken lightly. No matter what your reasons for making the decision to change the way you run your organisation, the ultimate goal is that a new BI system should integrate seamlessly with all your legacy applications and without impacting on your day to day operations. This means days and sometimes weeks of painstaking work making sure that all the legacy systems comply with the new BI system requirements. Experience is the only way to be sure an implementation will be trouble free.

Making your choice of business intelligence consultancy will not be easy. Many consultancies look the same on the surface so bear in mind that you will require tailor-made solutions, delivered on time and to budget. Your new consultancy must provide experts in leading technologies from Microsoft and Business Objects who will work with you to design, develop and deliver business intelligence, performance management and portal solutions that will add real value to your business. But how and where will you find them?

The Internet Search

You could start out with a basic internet search for business intelligence consultants but the number of listings could threaten to overwhelm you. The trick is to think smart. Work out exactly what you need your business intelligence system to do for you and then search for providers. Make a short list then search again using other criterion. Business Intelligence (BI) is all about getting things right first time, so begin the process by doing your initial research properly.

The Business Intelligence Consultancy Marketplace

If you check out the business intelligence consultancy marketplace in this way you will quickly realise that there are actually very few genuine ‘players’. The reason is simple: there simply aren’t that many consultancies with the capability to evaluate all the business critical issues affecting your operation; design a business intelligence system; provide performance management and portal solutions to suit your specific needs and add real value to your business.

You need your ideal business intelligence consultancy to help you to implement solutions that process data and present it in ways that can be used immediately, without hours of tedious interpretation and cross analysis. Most important of all they should be able to provide you with the confidence that your specific objectives are being met by experienced and professional consultants, giving you the power to get back in control of your data.

Take time and make supreme efforts to get your consultancy choice right first time as the business intelligence route can provide amazing benefits for your operation, but you only want to do it once!