You can explain your consulting firm’s work to prospects in language that is far more fascinating, exciting and, ultimately, more compelling than your standard, dull descriptions.
Before we dive in, I invite you to glance at the clock and give yourself permission to focus on this for 15 minutes. Reading the article will take only a couple of minutes, then there’s a 10-minute exercise I’d like you to try.
Go ahead and set the 15-minute mental clock for yourself.
There’s a funny game you can play with your friends or family (not now), in which you accurately summarize a hit movie’s plot into a one-line description that is boring and/or misses the point.
For instance, the three movies described below are all related to the shipping industry… very loosely.
Movie #1: Disgruntled employees disrupt a business trip.
Movie #2: Worker at next-day freight company delivers package years late.
Movie #3: Cat-lover clears pests off her ship then takes long nap.
Can you guess what each movie is? Give it a try—you’ve probably seen all three.
Based on the description above, would you shell out $12 to see any of those films?
An advertising pro charged with describing those same films would concoct quite different summaries of those same three motion pictures:
Mutiny on the Bounty reenacts the harrowing tale of 18th century sailors who risked everything to escape their cruel, oppressive captain.
Castaway follows the sole survivor of a FedEx plane crash and his increasingly desperate efforts to survive alone on a tiny, remote island.
In Alien, the crew of a spaceship encounters a mysterious spaceship on an undiscovered moon, then fight for their lives against an aggressive and deadly extraterrestrial.
Traits of Compelling Descriptions
- Convey important details while remaining concise.
- Employ colorful adjectives and verbs.
- Highlight the underlying conflict.
- Emphasize the high stakes at risk.
- Zero in on the emotional experience.
Consulting firms often eschew those characteristics when describing their work. They communicate their projects in enormously boring, unmemorable ways. Either single-line summaries that are devoid of energy, or overly long case studies packed with too much detail and too little color.
We helped Big Bank grow profit by leading a digital transformation. (Flat, dull, boring.)
We aligned the leadership team at Bikeorama around a common goal and a clear vision. (Vanilla, milquetoast, snoozer.)
You can do better. Add energy, pizzazz and punch when you recount your consulting firm’s work.
There are two important differences between your consulting firm’s project descriptions and movie writeups:
- You want your consulting prospects to relate to your work. (Your typical consulting firm client isn’t fighting for their life.)
- You give away the ending.
Nevertheless, you can dramatize the situation a bit and tap into the emotional impact.
And remember, the hero is always your client, not your consulting firm.
A quick example to give you the flavor of where we’re headed:
After three years treading water, an ambitious consulting firm founder from Iowa faced a defining decision: continue to struggle against the hidden constraints chaining her firm down, or accept help to find and escape them. She enlisted us, and two years later she’s a millionaire poised to chase a billion-dollar vision.*
Please try this exercise now:
Write down the normal, boring description of a recent consulting project. Then, develop a spicy, exciting, advertising pro’s version. Avoid technical industry jargon, and employ language that plucks at your prospects’ heartstrings.
Two rules for this exercise:
Rule #1: Give yourself 10 minutes.
Rule #2: Share your 10-minute results—good, bad or terrible—in the comments section. There’s no downside. No one is judging you, and MANY people will benefit from your efforts as long as you share them.
Work on it for 10 minutes now, then come back.
Your hyped up project description may feel over-the-top or disingenuous. If so, dial it back one half-step and try it out with your consulting firm’s audience.
When you craft a project description that conveys the emotional struggle and benefits, you will have created an enormously interesting, compelling summary of your consulting firm’s work.
What did you come up with?
Text and images are © 2022 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.