Eventually I figured out two things:
- Forget about selling and think about helping.
- It’s much easier to sell a product than yourself.
I found that other consultants who had a product to sell found it much easier and did much better. By product I mean, something concrete I could work through with the client and leave with them.
I always have eight printed brochures (products) in my bag and after I have thoroughly diagnosed which is most appropriate for their needs, I pull it out and we sit side-by-side and go through it together.
There are several advantages to this approach:
- Asking questions means that the client talks about the issue, and in the process, takes ownership of the issue. They say why it’s important to them and whether it is worth investing to fix it.
- If the client talks about an issue that matches one of my eight products I pull it out and ask if I can sit beside them and go through it with them because it might help them.
- Sitting side-by-side is more successful than sitting opposite. It means you are working on this issue together rather than trying to sell something.
- People love to buy a product because when they look at the product it is much clearer what they will get and how it will benefit them. But you must have it with you when you are talking to them, otherwise the opportunity may not come back again. I usually say, “This has not been tailored for you and it needs to be; but, it will give you an idea of what we could do and how it might benefit you.”
- The brochure always includes comments from previous clients. I don’t focus on these but I know they are widely read after I leave the brochure with them. They see other people saying neat things about me; much more forcefully than I would ever say myself.
- Customer Intimate. How to make the organisation far more customer-centric leading to happier customers.
- Thought Leadership. How to make the organisation more creative leading to better and more innovative products.
- De-Silonisation. How to get people out of silos, working together and communicating for the benefit of the organisation with cooperation, collaboration and connectedness.
- Strategic Development. How to make the organisation become far more strategic and focused on what matters.
- Strategic Execution. How to implement strategies throughout the organisation with total buy-in, understanding and commitment.
- Organisational Architecture. How to structure the organisation so the Brand, Service delivery, Culture and Leadership are all pulling together towards the organisation’s value proposition.
- Empowerment. How to develop leadership throughout the organisation, including Tops, Middles and Bottoms. This liberates oceans of human energy at work.
- Team building and Communication. How to increase trust, understanding and communication in teams.
These products are now available to you and other consultants starting out or wanting to expand their consulting practice. You could develop them yourself; but, if you are like me it will take you 25 years. My aim is to short-circuit this and get you successful far more quickly and less costly.
Call to action
On the site CrackingGreatLeaders.com I have listed 23 modules (half-day workshops ) which are like building blocks. By selecting different combinations of modules you can construct each of the eight products listed above; and use them with your client straight away; saving years of work and thousands of dollars.
If you know anyone who want to make change but are not sure how to, please forward this message on. It will be particularly useful to new consultants, HR professionals, OD specialists and managers.