There’s a gap between what most clients are looking for from consulting firms and what consultants tend to talk about. Close that gap, win more clients. Fortunately, this one’s an easy fix.
Let’s examine the case of Mimi Manilow at Yummycakes Corp. Mimi’s casting about for a consultant to help her improve customer satisfaction with Yummycake’s rugelach.
Mimi considers three consultants: Tinkerton International—a global consultancy her company has used previously; Mochenbach Consulting—a firm her new COO recommends; and, Charleston Group—Mimi found them through a quick Google search. Mimi checks the three consulting firms’ websites…
We’re experts in food manufacturing. Our process is best-in-class and uses proven approaches to maximize profitable production of delicious goodies.
Our consultants have more than 9,000 years of experience working in baked goods. Our clients include Hostess, Cinnabon, Dunkin Donuts and the original Betty Crocker—back before she started milling flour, she was a client of ours.
Our consulting staff is a unique blend of food scientists, jujitsu manufacturing masters and a specially trained dachshund. Tell us a bit more about your challenges and we’ll work together to surpass your goals.
Those statements sound like innumerable consulting firms’ marketing language. You (and Mimi) read it on their websites and hear it from consultants trying to secure projects.
Unfortunately, typical consulting firm marketing that’s crafted to establish credibility is upside down. Remember Right-Side Up thinking: Consulting isn’t about you, it’s about them—the clients.
Mimi’s not impressed. She wants consultants who talk about her problem and, most importantly, instill confidence that they can solve her challenge. Consulting firms consistently bolster their reputation with the wrong supports—that’s the common mistake.
Your wellspring of credibility doesn’t flow from your years of experience, marquee clients or even your unwavering interest in building a relationship. Those are all important. But they miss the most important factor that reassures clients you can deliver the goods:
Proof of worth.
You must be able to articulate the actual value your interventions produce, with evidence; i.e., what your contributions were to your previous clients and how they advanced because of your input.
Your marketing must be loaded with case studies and testimonials oozing tangible results.
If you want to win Mimi’s business, your marketing—whether on your website, sprinkled in your speeches or mentioned during your conversations with her, should sound like Serra Leigh Consulting:
We’re experts in creating tastier treats. When Cricket Crumpets wanted to increase market share, we analyzed the gustatory profile of their dough and their seasonings supply chain. Because of our work, they switched from stale additives to fresh Zanzibarian spices. As a result, they’ve dramatically increased the flavor impact of their products.
That statement incorporates some “us” language; however, it primarily reflects a client’s problem and the tangible, valuable results the client received. Would a claim about market share gains have boosted the power of that case study? You bet. However, even without a quantitative benefit, Serra Leigh’s marketing instills more confidence (and Trust) than the marketing from Tinkerton and the other consulting firms.
Your proof of worth doesn’t have to be quantitative (though it helps). It does have to be tangible and demonstrate how your clients were substantially better positioned when your work was completed.
Does your marketing drip with proof of your worth?
This is your chance to brag. Literally, right now I’m asking you to show off a bit.
What’s an example of a specific, tangible result you’ve created for a client?
Please share a (brief) case study in the comments section.
Text and images are © 2018 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.