In today’s world of smart-phones, texting, and in-car wifi, the 1970’s CB radio craze hovers somewhere between quaint and weird. Yet, one aspect of that short-lived fad will help your consulting firm win more clients and, importantly, deliver higher perceived value to your current clients.
In the parlance of CB radio fanatics, your handle was your short, memorable on-air nickname. A CB-er would refer to herself with a moniker like “Big Tuna” or “Boombox” or “Sir Burpsalot”.*
The genius of handles for a consulting firm was revealed to me over 20 years ago. I had developed a sophisticated, market ranking methodology for one of my clients, and the approach delivered excellent results.
However, my algorithm would have been a one-time, geeky solution had my boss in the consulting firm not said, “David, this methodology needs a handle.”
We named my approach the “VQ Model” and our clients contracted well into seven figures worth of VQ consulting projects.
Clients loved the VQ Model and perceived the results as robust and valuable. Simply having a name made the model far more sellable and higher value.
Where to Apply Handles
- Points of differentiation
Has your consulting firm developed a standard process, approach or deliverable? Assign it a handle. For instance, mid-size consulting firms often engage in our “Firm Growth Activator” or our “BD Lab.”
Avoidable Handles Mistakes
- Over use. You’ve undoubtedly witnessed consulting presentations so loaded with jargon and handles that they are incomprehensible. Don’t construct the consulting firm version of the 1970’s hit song Convoy.
- Naming run-of-the-mill concepts. Puffing up small ideas with big names marginalizes your consulting firm’s real work and positions you as a snake oil salesperson.
- Renaming well-named concepts. Calling a quadrant chart a Four Factor Grid makes your consulting firm look out of touch and buffoonish.
Quick Tips for Developing Handles
- Walk the line between flippant and overthinking. Brainstorm a half-dozen ideas then commit to the one you like best. If a company named “Google” can rule the world, whatever goofy handle your consulting firm dreams up will work fine.
- Shorter is better, but not mandatory. Shaving your handle down to a word or two is great (e.g. Fishing Line or Context Document); however, tacking on an extra word often makes your consulting firm’s handle more memorable and powerful (e.g. Solo Practice Accelerator).
- Strive for unusual, distinctive and catchy. Run a few ideas by your consulting clients and you’ll quickly discover when you’ve developed a superb handle.
- Include a conceptual tie, if possible. Pharmaceutical companies have proven that successful product’s names can be utter nonsense.* However, your consulting firm’s handles for concepts and models benefit from an obvious link.
What handles have you developed for your consulting firm?
Text and images are © 2023 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.