What do you imagine when you think of a consultant? Someone who was lucky or had to work hard and sweat to get to where he got? The author Alan Weiss will demystify in the book "Million Dollar Consulting" all the concepts behind consulting.
It is certainly not an easy career, but with the right tactics, it is possible to get along.
This does not happen overnight; To consult with someone, you need to know very well what you are doing and teaching. After all, no one will pay a professional for nothing, is not it?
Definitely worth to spend some time to check out this Pocketbook carefully and get to know the precious tips from the world of consulting, given by the book. Stay with us in this summary!
"Million Dollar Consulting" was written by Alan Weiss. The work was revised and updated for its fifth edition in 2016.
Divided into three parts, with 18 chapters in total, the book takes us on a journey of knowledge about the world of consulting. If you are a consultant or wish to be one, this book is for you!
Owner of a consulting firm, Alan Weiss is a speaker and author of books. He holds a PhD in Psychology and has taught advanced management courses and consulting skills for MBA and PhD candidates at the University of Rhode Island.
For anyone who dreams to have a career as a consultant, or consultants who need new strategies to improve their performance and evolve their business. This book is a truly practical guide for those who want to thrive in the world of consulting.
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The first step for anyone who wants to be a consultant is to know what that means. According to the author Alan Weiss:
"A consultant is someone who provides value through knowledge, content, behavior, skill or other specialized resources."
A common contractor implements a specific job and performs assigned tasks. A consultant's interventions should be based on objectives, outcomes, and consequences, not activities and tasks.
A consultant provides unique skills and talents that will improve the client's condition. Moreover, such activity alone can bridge the gap between unconscious skills and putting new skills into practice.
This route can be two-way too, as the consultant can not only add money to his or her profession but also learnings, experiences and the opportunity to impact people.
The first step is to be ready to deal with any potential customer in an assertive, timely and professional manner. Treat every interaction with a customer as the personal "time of truth", always thinking about the sale upfront, not just the immediate one.
When providing a consulting service, the options presented to the client should be "how to" move on and not "whether" to move on or not. But to do so, you must educate the customer and their expectations subliminally through conversations, materials, conduct, resistance, and other dynamics.
Focus on the broad nature of the work you can do, the reputation is built, and the longer-term results. It is important to have predetermined, long-term non-financial goals, always keeping them in mind, and being able to achieve them.
As a result, your business will grow larger over time. For your firm, keep in mind that choosing the ones that can add value to your business is as important as identifying potential customers.
Take good care of your business's financial health through tools such as a ledger and a monthly balance sheet. According to Alan Weiss:
"You don't grow a business by reducing expenses, you grow it by maximizing revenue."
There may be instances when such a person will refuse or cancel your service. At these times, it is critical that you discover and reflect on what details caused your proposal to be declined and learn from mistakes to improve on future opportunities.
The book "Million Dollar Consulting" rebounds the idea that every business is a good business and that payment should never be refused. The author explains some reasons why he goes against this mindset:
"Million Dollar Consulting" admits that by raising its fees or refusing to make concessions to close a deal, the consultant loses 15% of the bottom of its market.
However, the book argues that "million-dollar" consultants often set aside 15% as a growth strategy to expand the upper reaches of their market.
But that doesn't mean leaving customers shaking hands, scorning them or treating them with disdain. It is possible to refuse service and at the same time be helpful and courteous, providing justifications, suggestions for solutions and indications, for example.
You will not be able to add value to your customer if you have no customer. And you won't have a customer if you don't advertise yourself. Alan Weiss gives a series of actions that you, the consultant, can take right now:
The book doesn't get excited about social networking as a tool to attract interested and potential customers.
"I researched and experimented with these alternatives since the posts on my blog questioning their marketing effectiveness brought the wrath of the fanatics", reports the book's author.
He said he even found tools, such as LinkedIn, very effective for keeping in touch with people and finding traditional jobs. However, he classified them as largely unsuccessful as a marketing device for consultants wishing to reach corporate and economical buyers.
Hence, Alan makes a recommendation:
"Limit your time on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and anything invented between the time I write it and you read it, because that's not where real buyers walk or look for resources. As marketing tools, these are a very low priority and often painfully stupid."
Alan believes that the image of a consulting firm has a strong impact on a client's choice of whether such a firm is best suited to provide services to them and their organization.
The book "Million Dollar Consulting" lists some tools that are important for building the image you want to convey about a consulting firm. They include:
Creating a good brand is important, but it is also essential that it is not forgotten.
Include the brand image in all of your materials, including your email signature. Design products around the brand and use the internet and its search engines to promote the brand globally. You can build a newsletter around the brand, for example.
Real stories are a great tool for connecting and attracting new customers. Get testimonials from customers who are satisfied with your service. Set up a newsletter around the brand.
When presenting your customer service, the consultant may hear objections. But this is not the end. The important thing is that you know how to circumvent such obstacles. Want to know how? Well, the author has separated some of the most common situations you may face:
Alan Weiss advises:
"You have to be dealing with the economical buyer. That is, with the person who can sign the check and make the final decision. If you are not, then no betting."
The book suggests some techniques that you can use when closing a business that is very useful for the survival of a consultant.
For financial issues, always require half of the advance payment and try to get paid in full before the end of the service by offering a customer discount.
Document everything very carefully. Keep minutes of meetings, create business reports, and always have proposals and contracts properly signed.
Don't accept barter, exposure or referrals as the primary means of payment. Also, do not create customer friendships as this may compromise your efficiency and ability to demand payment, support, and other required resources.
Finally, value your service above all. If someone fails to make the payment, for example, do not continue your project until the problem is resolved.
In the book "Vicente Falconi: What Matters is the Result", the author Cristiane Correa recounts the thoughts of one of the biggest names in the world of consulting in Brazil. Falconi always said that "managing is solving problems and achieving goals." So always expose the problem, do not want to hide anything.
Already in "The McKinsey Way", author Ethan M. Rasiel reveals that McKinsey relies on three conditions to solve a problem. First, you must be factual, your solution must be rigidly structured and hypothesized.
Finally, on negotiation, author Mitch Anthony, in his book "Selling with Emotional Intelligence", says that many negotiators make the mistake of trying to reach the best deal by thinking only of their side. They fail to consider the long-term impact that business can have on customer relationships.
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