Sometimes we consulting firm owners make assumptions and those turn out to be wildly inaccurate. Like thinking our most recent project applies to the next client, presuming an uber-complex analysis takes only three days, or figuring no one will notice if we swap the chocolate covered cherries with brown marbles.
In my case, I made an assumption and I was wrong.
I have generally assumed that smart people like you who peruse the articles on this site have already read The Irresistible Consultant’s Guide to Winning Clients.
Apparently, for about half of you, that’s not true!
(I mean for half the readers that’s not true, not that half of you, personally, has not read the book or that you read half the book or that you half read the book while simultaneously watching reruns of The Simpsons.)
So, I’ve happily traipsed along, penning articles and referencing things like “Right-Side Up Thinking,” “Impact,” “The Context Discussion” and other terms that are explained in the book, thinking everyone here already knew what those meant.
Wrong. Wildly inaccurate assumption.
If you’ve already read the book, I apologize for a post that added no direct value to your firm. The indirect value is this: when more people share your understanding and language about how to succeed in consulting, the community expands with more people who can share relevant insights with you.
If you haven’t read The Irresistible Consultant’s Guide to Winning Clients, I apologize for assuming you had and for including terminology in my articles that may have made no sense to you.
If you haven’t read the book, read it now. Spend the few dollars and put it on the top of your list. I promise you’ll enjoy it and it will help. It’s available on Amazon.com and at most other booksellers.
If you have read the book, post a short comment below telling non-readers why they should pick it up or why you liked it. What you say to non-readers holds much more weight than what I say.
And yes, I cleverly timed this confession to appear while I’m on vacation, so I could hide (for a few weeks) from the fallout. Thanks in advance for your indulgence on this one.
Text and images are © 2023 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.
OK, I swear I am a real person and not a plant – email me for a photo of me holding today’s newspaper. But, I speak to a lot of people who want to get into consulting, and after congratulating them on the first step on their journey to freedom and independence, I tell them to go pick up The Irresistible Consultant’s Guide to Winning Clients. There are some other books out there, mostly written by jerks, who take an ultra-aggressive “here’s how I made a squillion dollars” tone which I found majorly off-putting. David’s book was one of the reasons I knew this was the right role for me – because other people in the space had been succesful while also being thoughtful, silly, and kind, sometimes all at once, and had succeeded bigly while doing so. That’s a great shadow to cast and one that I’d like to emulate in my own work. I also send people to this blog, but yes, to the point above, you’re going to get a lot more out of being here if you’ve already read it.
You’re very funny, Paul. That comment made me (and my wife) laugh. Thank you for the kind endorsement and for your support.
I started a consulting and business coach business in 2014 and found David A Fields around that same time. Since then, I have worked with well over 100 companies, many of which are clients to this day. Like many of the business owners I help, my career has been in operations – but not marketing in sales. As my coaching model is a part of a franchise system, David’s book helped an operations professional build the 5th largest franchise out of over 350 global franchise units. I’d say his advise was both effective and teachable.
Many company owners share my profile. They start a company leveraging their operations expertise and gain initial customers based on that reputation. We all tend to favor our strengths, so the business initially thrives, but by neglecting (or avoiding) to build a business development process – eventually sales and revenues streams lag.
David’s book, “The Irresistible Consultant’s Guide to Winning Clients” solves this.
The “Context Discussion” prepares operations people how to share a sales discussion with a client like an accomplished sales pro. What to ask, how to ask, how to go deeper to establish a meaningful value proposition for your offering and why the ROI for your offering makes sense. For most, this is not a natural skill, but with David’s approach, it is a teachable skill.
The “Perfect Proposal” guides the reader on how to reflect the learning from the “Context Discussion” with the prospect to gain their agreement to move forward as a client. After all, what good is it to have a solid value proposition if you don’t know how to close the deal?
Finally, “Right Side Up Thinking” is about re-framing your thinking and language so your conversations with prospects (and clients) is not focused on what you do and how you can help but what your customer needs and how you help them attain it. It is a subtle but powerful shift that will make a tremendous difference in your success and brand strength.
I not only found David’s book helpful for my own business, I promote it to all the business owners I work with who desire a better business development process (what business owner doesn’t want a more effective business development process?). The feedback I receive from my clients about the book are very favorable. They appreciate the “inside baseball” insights on how to share a sales conversation with prospects and also comment on David’s style of writing and use of humor making the reading (and learning) not just productive, but enjoyable.
Perhaps David’s next book will be on dealing with personnel issues – the second most popular topic in board meetings…
Holy shmoley, David, that’s quite a testimonial. Thank you! The next book is actually about winning bigger larger, more lucrative projects (vs. winning more clients); however, the personnel issues is on the docket for book 4. (Yeah, I’m late and slow with book writing. Apologies on that one.)
Thank you for your extraordinary review, David.
David, you the man!
One man amidst an amazing community, Doc. Thank you for being an active, engaged, supportive consultant who uplifts so many (including me).
It was Samuel L. Jackson who said “when you make an assumption, you make an ass out of you and umption.”
Your assumption, that everyone has read “The Irresistible Consultant’s Guide to Winning Clients”, is far from being egregious. If anything, I see your content as a way to pull new readers in. Having digested your book from cover to cover three times, its been instrumental in helping me shape my practice. Attending your Solo Accelerator helped too!
If I had a dollar for every time I recommended people read “The Irresistible Consultant’s Guide to Winning Clients” *before* going out on their own, I’d have at least twenty bucks.
The two key concepts I got from David’s books are ‘Right Side Up Thinking’ and the ‘Fishing Line’. Implementing either of those concepts (or both!) will put a newbie consultant far ahead of the pack.
If a reader is wary of investing the $15.23 cents on Amazon to buy the book, then go to your local library (they’ll have it) and read the book. Then buy your own copy so you can mark it up.
Read the book, figure out what your fishing line is, then go fish where the fish are. It works.
That Samuel L. Jackson comment totally cracked me up. A real gem. Your comment was also very kind and generous Michael, and I’m grateful you took the time to post it.
It is very difficult to make something seem simple. Fields does just that in his book by guiding you step-by-step in how to develop your consulting business. Before I was overwhelmed and confessed to my aunt, a veteran independent innovation strategy consultant that I felt lost in how to sharpen and communicate my offer to prospective clients. She recommended Fields’s book and it has become my veritable consulting development Bible. He not only shows you how to talk about your services but also teaches you how to best out competition and become a trusted advisor. When I question if I’m on the right path, I consult this book for a refresher. It will and should take up prime real estate on your desk.
Wow. That’s a very, very lovely endorsement, Kevin. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with other prospective readers.