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.
Golden fishing line!
Expensive info-products & enterprise SaaS can be tough to sell. My firm creates “conversion cartoons” and our virtual sales team has visually valuable conversations with your best buyers. You only pay for results.
Great example, Eric. You certainly collapsed a lot of information into a few words and conveyed many of the key points in less than 30 seconds.
Industry (info-products/SaaS) and problem (sales) are clear. Your Core Model is implied, and it’s possible your overview is more effective (and less “salesy”) if you make it explicit.
Thank you for contributing a terrific example of a 30-second overview, Eric!
Appreciate your framework and feedback!
More Explicit/less salesy is my goal—so would it work better like this?
“Expensive info-products and enterprise SaaS sales can be tough. We illustrate interviews with your best buyers so they SEE the value for themselves. Simple visual stories make your offer unforgettable, and you only pay for results.”
Definitely give that a try in the marketplace. Now, in addition to a clear market and problem, you’ve stated the way the world works, according to Eric: visual stories convey abstract products’ value. While you don’t specifically say what the results are, the implications are strong. Nice work, Eric!
David, this article is so well organized and clearly presented. You make it easy to learn from you.
Personally, in addition to the simplified (I can hear the Einstein quote in my head) structure you recommend for this particular scenario, I find the graphic for pitch presentation choices, arranged by relevance to be a very helpful guide fo clarity and priorities.
Outstanding, Michael. If you’re presenting to a prospect, glance at your palm (where you sketched a copy of the illustration) and realize you’ve reached Belt Sander, you know it’s past time to sit down. 😉
Thank you again for joining the conversation today and moving the discussion forward!
Thank you David! You’re a phenomenal teacher and crackerjack consultant.
*Blushing* Thank you for the kind words, Eric. And keep hold onto that “crackerjack” reference. We’ll be launching a new channel of content with that name shortly.
The 30 seconds tip makes giving the 60 seconds at BNI groups every week more important. Be brief, be impactful with solution statements, ask who you are looking to meet for an introduction, and be gone! Sixty seconds is a long – time, and I need to continue to refine this company over for these situations. Thanks for the tips today.
Jeff, the BNI statement is important practice. It’s a bit different situation, though, and I haven’t found it to be as applicable to most consultants. In part, because in your 30-second overview you’re talking to interested prospects, not looking for introductions.
That said, you can be memorable in 15-30 seconds. The extra 30 seconds of information can make you less memorable unless you use it very wisely. (Illustration, not more information, in the second 30 seconds.) thanks for bringing up that point, Jeff!
“ That said, you can be memorable in 15-30 seconds. The extra 30 seconds of information can make you less memorable unless you use it very wisely. (Illustration, not more information, in the second 30 seconds.) ”
Iain, my team often likes the comments more than the articles because, as you said, sometimes deeper learnings pop out in the interactions with readers. Thanks for your feedback!