Outreach to consulting clients, prospective clients and influencers is still the core of your consulting firm’s efforts to grow.
Why? Because pound for pound, outreach (a.k.a. network building) is the most reliable, consistent, effective vehicle for driving new consulting business.
Then, why don’t you or your consulting firm conduct outreach as regularly, reliably and enthusiastically as you should?
For the same reason you freeze when your Aunt Genevieve kindly offers you a chocolate-covered fish stick: you’re just not sure what to say.
Okay, saying “No” to fish sticks is easy. On the other hand, lack of clarity around outreach calls engenders all manner of anxiety.
You need two, outreach-simplifying techniques:
SCRIPTS and PRODS
When you’re unsure how to open a discussion with a consulting contact, you expend anywhere from a few minutes to half an hour pre-planning voicemails and conversations. What a waste of time and energy.
You waste that time and energy because you’re confronting two levels of anxiety:
- General concern about the outreach situation: “I’m not sure what to say to someone I’ve only met once.”
- Specific concern about the individual: “I’m not sure what to say to Beatrice Butterscotch.”
The combination of general and specific concerns is absolutely brutal: “I sure as heck don’t know what to say to Beatrice Butterscotch, the CEO of Bittersweet, whom I’ve only met once.”
So, do you reach out to Bea? No, of course not.
We can fix that.
SCRIPTS stands for, well, nothing. Scripts are scripts. They are pre-written word tracks that guide you during consulting outreach activities. Scripts will address your general, outreach anxiety.
You could script out every individual consulting conversation, of course, but that would be inefficient. You’re better off curating a portfolio of general scripts that prepare you to succeed in 90%+ of your outreach scenarios.
For instance you may want scripts for contacting a new introduction, an old flame, or a past client.
Fortunately, if you search the library of articles on this site, you’ll see it’s littered with scripts you can adapt for your own use.
PRODS stands for Perfectly Remembered Outreach Discussion Starters. They provide conversation topics for your outreach to a specific person, like Bea Butterscotch. PRODS will address your specific outreach anxiety.
Without PRODS, the time preceding each consulting networking activity is tough. You review old notes, try to remember what was important from past discussions, and rack your brain in search of some sort of valuable subject. Often, you just give up and skip the outreach opportunity altogether.
But there’s someone who knows exactly what to talk about:
To be more precise, historical you. The you who, after completing a conversation with a contact, jotted down the topics you should talk about during the next outreach occasion.
Every time you hang up the phone, finish an email exchange or walk out of a meeting with one of your consulting contacts, write a note for future you and put it in your CRM. The note looks something like this:
Ask how the global project went. Did she go to Mexico? Did she like the fish sticks in mole sauce?
Then, the next time you’re scheduled to reach out to your consulting contact, no thinking or digging is required. Your notes offer you Perfectly Remembered Outreach Discussion Starters.
This technique seems simplistic, and it is. PRODS are a simple, massive gift you give to yourself.
With your anxiety handled, you conduct more outreach, surface more opportunities and sign more consulting projects. Tada, life is good!
Quick question: do you make notes for yourself that ease your outreach efforts?
Text and images are © 2021 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.