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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.”

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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.**
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  • 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. Christina Rusnak
    July 14, 2015 at 10:42 am Reply

    I love the composer reference!

    I work in two worlds – I’m a Cultural Planning and Creative Placemaking consultant who also works with arts and culture organization in the areas of planning and organizational development. When work gets very slow, I will work on blogs, search out people who want to know more about what I do (cultural planning is an emerging field in the U.S) or find an “opportunity” project that has not been identified and develop a proposal. If you don’t keep the skills well oiled, they’ll rust.

    I’m also a very active Northwest composer. While I cannot begin to compose six minutes, much less six songs a day. But I do actively work on music EVERY DAY – even if its just writing a few measures, or a fragment I want to insert somewhere.

    Whether it’s consulting or composing, I find the joke “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” Practice, Practice, Practice! very applicable.

    • David A. Fields
      July 23, 2015 at 7:29 pm Reply

      Well said, Christina. You’re also a shining example of the value of bringing all your assets to the party, not just those handful where you’re “the best.” Thanks for contributing!

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