There are times when a robust, in-depth presentation about your consulting firm is warranted. However, that’s not always the case. For instance, if you find yourself presenting to a group of prospects with varied knowledge about your consulting firm, how much should you expound on your practice?
Let’s say that after a few weeks of discussions with Rod Bolton, UK Division Head of Michst Nuhts, you submitted a proposal for an attractive consulting engagement.
Thirty minutes before your scheduled meeting to review (and, you hope, close) the proposal, Rod informs you that he’s invited a few other players to the conversation.
Because of the potential size of your consulting engagement, Rod explains, the owner of the company, Teiter Klipsch, will call into your meeting from Berlin. Teiter’s mother founded the German fastener manufacturer and you suspect Teiter, not Rod, is the decision maker on your project.
Susan Cheyr is the second in command in the UK, and she’ll be at the meeting. A representative from Procurement is also sitting in.
The players at the meeting, and their familiarity with your consulting firm are:
- Rod Bolton – Knows your consulting firm well from work you did for him at his previous employer.
- Teiter Klipsch – Has talked with Rod about your consulting firm and skimmed your proposal.
- Sue Cheyr – Is familiar with your consulting firm since she sat in on your Context Discussions with Rod.
- Turner Bukkel – Doesn’t know your consulting firm at all.
Do you present your standard, 15-page overview of your consulting firm, including past clients, case studies, testimonials and bios of the team members who will be on the project?
Do you take the opposite approach and suggest Rod can fill the others in on your consulting firm outside the meeting?
The answer is: Neither.
As a steadfastly Right-Side Up consultant, you know that this meeting isn’t about your consulting firm. It’s about the client.
Ask Rod and Teiter what their preference is with an inquiry like the following:
“Would it be helpful to have a a few seconds of background on our consulting firm?”
In all likelihood, their answer will be, “Yes, please.”
It’s possible they’ll decline (“Rod has told us about you and we have limited time to go over the proposal) or they’ll offer more direction (“Yes, and please tell us about other fastener projects you’ve conducted.”) It’s their call, and you can adjust.
In most cases everything you need to say can be covered in a 30-second overview of your consulting firm.
Thirty seconds is enough time to present your Fishing Line, your Core Model and the outcomes you typically deliver.
It is not enough time to mention your clients, talk about case studies, explain your offerings, give background on yourself, explain your consulting firm’s mission, or comment that your favorite type of nut is a pistachio.
Unless the client specifically asks for that information, none of it is necessary.
In many, many situations, a 30-second presentation is all you need.
(*Not in every situation, of course.)
Remember, clients are simply looking for reassurance that your consulting firm can competently solve their problem. Your well-constructed Fishing Line demonstrates that you work with businesses like theirs on the problem they have, and your Core Model communicates deep experience and expertise.
The fact that you can crisply, concisely articulate exactly the information they need, without unnecessary fluff, compels even greater confidence in your consulting firm.
This meeting is where your hard work crystallizing and practicing your Fishing Line and Core Model pays off in spades.
Actions to Master Your 30-Second Consulting Firm Overview
Action: Nail down your consulting firm’s Fishing Line. Solicit help if you’re struggling to narrow your target or the problem your consulting firm solves.
Action: Fine tune your Core Model; i.e., how the world works, according to your consulting firm.*
Action: Identify the high-impact benefits your work delivers for clients, and condense them down to a few words.
Action: Practice delivering the three pieces of information described above. Time yourself. Can you express all three in less than 30 seconds? If not, tighten your descriptions and try again.
After your 30-second overview you can ask,
“Does that help? Is there any other background you’d like to know about, or should we jump into your questions about the proposal?”
Most clients will be totally satisfied with your uber-brief consulting firm overview and will want to turn to the more important topic—themselves. Or, in this case, the proposal.
Have you used a 30-second overview in a meeting at which some attendees are familiar with your consulting firm and others don’t know you at all?
Text and images are © 2023 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.