Phil Erful, CEO of Zeppelinnovation needs your consulting firm’s expertise. His company’s results have bobbed along uncertainly; however, with your advice, Zeppelinnovation’s fortunes would rise steadily. There’s only one problem:
Phil doesn’t realize he’s tethered to a poor approach and that your consulting firm could release the restraints on success.
Drats! Your target market is filled to bursting with prospects who need your consulting firm’s help… if only they would wake up and see it.
Unfortunately, no amount of yelling, gesticulating or launching fireworks will convince clueless sufferers to contact your consulting firm for assistance.
How do you attract Phil, who has the cash to hire your consulting firm, has the need for your services and is only lacking awareness?
A well-crafted diagnostic pinpoints your prospect’s current state and highlights the optimal next step. And their optimal next step is to work with your consulting firm!
It’s fairly straightforward to develop a powerful diagnostic that will inflate your consulting firm’s client portfolio. You merely need to tackle the three, underlying elements of every diagnostic:
Distinctions and Implications, Communicated Simply
If you were an aeronaut, you might use an altimeter as a diagnostic tool. It shows your elevation on an easy-to-read scale (feet). If your altimeter displays 2000, you can enjoy the view. If it reads 20,000, you better call for rescue. It you see -287, you landed in Death Valley… oops, climb out and feign ignorance.
Step 1. Brainstorm Distinctions
Distinctions are a way of saying, “You are here, not there.” Or, “The world is this way, not that way.”
For instance, we often need to point out the difference between a founder/owner mindset and an employee mindset for consulting firm leaders to understand why the “emulate me” approach to training typically fails.
The following questions will help you generate a list of distinctions:
- What separates clients who soar from those who don’t?
- What do your high-flying clients know that run-of-the mill clients don’t?
- How are the clients who will succeed in five years different from clients who are succeeding today?
- What steps did some clients take to overcome an issue?
- What’s the #1 indicator that a prospect has a problem you can solve?
Step 2. Assign Implications to Important Distinctions
Look at your list from Step 1. Which distinctions are most likely to make Phil exclaim, “Aha!” and give him the direction he desperately needs?
The most important distinctions are those your consulting firm’s prospects haven’t considered in advance but are blazingly obvious in hindsight.
Every result from your diagnostic should have an associated step forward. If the altimeter says you’re too low, fire the burner. If it says you’re much too high, you may need to open the parachute vent.
Step 3. Develop a Simple Communication Framework
You can always fall back on the classic, 2×2 matrix to convey your distinctions. They’re easy to draw and explainable in about 15 seconds. But there are plenty of other possibilities.
For example, the oft-used Myers Briggs assessment assigns four letters that are surprisingly straightforward to understand. (Whether they’re right or not is a separate conversation.)
Once your consulting firm has a proven, effective diagnostic, expand its effectiveness by making it:
Self-Administered with Benchmarks
Phil may treat your consulting firm’s assessment of Zeppelinnovation as blowing smoke, particularly if your diagnosis was unsolicited.
Phil is much more likely to believe the findings, when he self-appraises his company’s position using your consulting firm’s framework.
Even so, he may have no urgency to rectify his situation. That’s where benchmarks, which attach emotionally-laden meaning to specific points on your diagnostic scale, work magic.
Employ competition, internal goals or other standards to create effective benchmarks.
When your diagnostic reveals Zeppelinnovation has risen only halfway to the mark competitive businesses have achieved, suddenly Phil’s deflated and realizes he needs your consulting firm’s guidance.
Share your experience with diagnostics—either ones you’ve encountered or diagnostics your consulting firm administers.
Text and images are © 2023 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.