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One Surprising Tactic That Will Grow Your Consulting Firm

What if there was one simple mindset shift that could improve all aspects of your consulting practice and virtually guarantee you’d win more clients? Better yet, what if the approach was not obvious and would reduce your stress? That mode of thinking does exist, and it can be summed up in two words:

Be prolific.

George Gershwin, unquestionably one of the greatest American composers** wrote an astounding number of hit songs and enduring classics, despite dying at the tender age of 38. Gershwin said he wrote six songs a day so that he could “get the bad ones out of the way.”

gershwin-botswana

Two precious gems glitter in that example:

1) Success is, at least in part, a volume game. The more you do, the more you try, the more you put yourself out in the world, the more likely you are to achieve your aspirations.

2) Not everything you produce has to be great. Or even good. My sense from many, many consultants is the greatest impediment to ramping up their marketing efforts is their overwhelming desire for excellence or success at every turn or, perhaps more importantly, the fear of failure at any turn.

When your internal critic insists every blog or article or white paper has to be Pulitzer Prize material, picking up the pen (or keyboard) can be daunting. If every conversation with a prospect has to wow them with value, you’ll be reluctant to pick up the phone. For that matter, if any conversation that doesn’t lead to new business is considered a failure, then outreach is an understandably scary endeavor.

In contrast, when your entire goal is to be prolific, and you don’t concern yourself with whether the song you’re pounding out at the moment is worthy of praise, you free yourself from the painful shackles of overly high standards. You eliminate the stress of performance anxiety.

Take Gershwin to heart. What are some of the ways you could be more prolific in your consulting practice? Let me offer a few thought starters:

  • Writing – Blogs, articles, whitepapers, reports and books are a staple in your marketing diet. Write more. Much more. Isaac Asimov, the great Science Fiction writer, comes to mind. He penned or edited over 500 books. Plus hundreds of short stories and over 90,000 postcards and letters.**
  • gershwin-lyrics

  • Speaking – Speak more and don’t be as judicious about the venue, the audience or the quality of your delivery. Tony Robbins says he became an excellent public speaker because rather than booking one gig a week, he booked three a day. Was every speech a tour de force? Of course not.
  • Titles and Teasers – The two most important parts of any article, blog, speech, or similar marketing vehicle are the title and the teaser (or hook at the beginning). Rather than writing one title for your piece, write a dozen. Get the bad ones out of the way and find that Rhapsody in Blue.
  • Product Ideas – You don’t need to nurture every idea to the market-ready stage. Companies and individuals famed for their innovation are unremitting idea generators.
  • Metaphors, Infographics and Instagraphics – Metaphors are the spoonful of sugar that make your consulting advice tasty.**  Develop new metaphors constantly. Occasionally a chestnut will emerge. The visual companion to metaphors are infographics and “instagraphics.” Create a killer portfolio by generating a vast number and selecting the best.
  • Outreach – The core of most independent consultants’ business-development efforts is direct outreach. Make this tactic decidedly more effective by increasing the number of one-on-one contacts by an order of magnitude and, importantly, worrying less about the outcome of each.
  • Research, Polls and Thought Leadership – Become a recognizable voice of authority in your field by turning up the volume on your visibility and credibility. Polls are insanely easy to field and provide fodder for compelling insights. How often can you poll your industry? Quarterly? Monthly? Weekly? Daily? Not every poll has to yield fascinating results.

These are just a few examples of how you could write six songs a day. How else could you be more prolific? Please post your thoughts below. Other readers will appreciate your input.


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22 Comments
  1. Charles Wilkinson
    April 1, 2015 at 8:48 am Reply

    This is probably one of my biggest challenges. The key point you make is that getting it RIGHT (perfect) consistently gets in the way of getting it done. Thanks for the kick in the pants.

    I am very intrigued by your suggestions on polling and metaphors. I probably have notes in files and in my tablet that I need to put to use. The content is there I just need to put the practice in place today.

    • David A. Fields
      April 5, 2015 at 9:18 am Reply

      You’re welcome, Charlie. You are very likely correct in assuming that you already have plenty of content, you just need to leverage it more. Most consultants who have been around for any length of time have closets full of concepts, frameworks, metaphors and approaches. Glad the “kick” was what you needed. Let me know how putting the practice into play works out for you.

  2. Luda Fedoruk
    April 1, 2015 at 9:56 am Reply

    Love the Gershwin’s story (and the sketch!) – very inspiring. He is my top favorite composer too.
    Regarding polls, are there suggested tools or rules of engagement?

    • David A. Fields
      April 5, 2015 at 9:23 am Reply

      Great question, Luda. There are a ton of tools available for running polls and which one you choose depends on how you are going to administer the poll (on your blog? via email?), how you want to present the data and who your target is. A quick Google search will reveal plenty of possibilities. Re rules of engagement, here are a few that should help you start in the right direction:

      • Keep your questions simple and straightforward. Simplify each question and answer… then simplify again.
      • Keep your questionnaire short, pointed, and on subject
      • Do NOT use your questionnaire as a thinly-veiled promotion vehicle. Promote with the results, if you are simultaneously delivering value, but not with the questionnaire itself.

      Send me a link to your first poll when you do one.

  3. rick maurer
    April 1, 2015 at 10:27 am Reply

    I haven’t heard A Parisian in Botswana, could you whistle a few bars?
    I love the idea of six songs a day. Thanks for this post. – Rick

    • David A. Fields
      April 5, 2015 at 9:24 am Reply

      You’re welcome, Rick. Thank you for joining the conversation!

  4. Tristram Coffin
    April 1, 2015 at 11:46 am Reply

    Excellent post … great advice… and thank you David! Tris Coffin, CMC

    • David A. Fields
      April 5, 2015 at 9:25 am Reply

      You’re welcome, Tristram. I’m glad this post hit home for you! Let me know what you put in place and how it works out for you. Thanks for posting.

  5. Tom Borg
    April 1, 2015 at 1:57 pm Reply

    These are solid ideas that must be put into action. Simple to understand and worthless unless implemented.

    • David A. Fields
      April 5, 2015 at 9:27 am Reply

      Right you are, Tom. The difference between inspiration and success is hard work! Please let me know how you’re putting the ideas into action. Thanks for posting.

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