There’s a particular type of individual who can help your consulting firm stand out from the pack and garner the praise you richly deserve.
Like Clark Kent or Diana Prince, this superhero for your consulting firm disguises their ability to lift you to new heights beneath their modest appearance.* This analogy is particularly apt since the person who will help your consulting firm shine is, in fact, “SUPER”.
Your consulting firm’s messaging dominates your efforts to attract clients.
Your marketing materials, articles, speeches, website, capabilities decks, proposals, cover notes and every other communication with a prospect or client factors into your consulting firm’s ability to gain renown, credibility and consulting engagements.
It is, therefore, paramount that your consulting firm’s messaging soars. And, while you don’t need every work your consulting firm releases to evoke comparisons with Shakespeare or da Vinci, you’ll definitely fare better when your messaging effortlessly instills confidence, generates interest and arouses admiration.
Since you’re smart, you can generate very good, B-level content yourself. (You may think your content emerges as an A; however, most consulting firms’ “very good” content is actually average. At best.)
You might also enlist others to upgrade the quality of your consulting firm’s messaging. Folks such as an editor, copywriter, designer, baker and, especially, some bright, well-spoken colleagues and mentors.
However, there’s a notable and unusual addition to your team who can elevate your consulting firm’s materials to the rare air where you truly stand out and you experience obvious benefits:
A Slow Uptake, Positively Engaged Reviewer; i.e., a SUPER man or SUPER woman.
A SUPER person is committed to your success and willing to evaluate your materials, and, importantly, also struggles to make sense of your content.
If you compiled a list of the smartest, sharpest people in your consulting firm’s orbit, your SUPER person wouldn’t immediately come to mind. In fact, ideas and expressions that make perfect sense to you, leave your SUPER person befuddled.
However, this isn’t a question of intelligence. Rather, it’s a matter of speed and ease of comprehension.
Remember, how well you communicate is as important as what you intend to communicate.
Most of the people your consulting firm turns to for help in crafting your materials are bright. They’re quick on the uptake and they understand what you’re saying even if you don’t articulate it clearly. That encourages your consulting firm to be lazy or mediocre in your messaging.
Your SUPER person forces you to step up your quality level. He or she scrawls “I don’t get it” in the margins of your proposals and “This seems inconsistent” across the pages of your website.
And your SUPER person is usually right.
When you rework your proposal, website, and other materials to the point where your SUPER person gives the thumb’s up, your messaging is inevitably far superior to where you started. Higher impact, more persuasive, clearer, and more likely to win you clients.
There is a downside to including a SUPER person on your team. Working with one can feel like you’re pushing maple syrup through cheesecloth. Slow, frustrating, and necessitating a lot of cleanup. The output, though, is verbiage that’s far superior to what your consulting firm produces alone or in collaboration with other smarty pants.
Have you ever worked with a SUPER person? How do you ensure your consulting firm’s content is truly outstanding?
Text and images are © 2023 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.
Love this concept of somebody who is NOT an expert on the detail being the final review, to make messages clear and strong.
I often use as a reminder ‘in a way that my mum would understand it’
She is super-smart, well read, and knows NOTHING about what I actually do for my clients.
So if it makes sense to her, the it makes sense
Exactly, Ben. We all suspect our parents and grandparents were SUPER people. Turns out that’s often the case! If your messaging is so strong that “granny” gets it, you’ve put in the hard work to achieve extraordinary clarity.
Thanks for sharing your experience, Ben.
In my experience as a marketing communications professional, I’ve found I can be much more effective as an independent contractor than as a staff person in fulfilling the role you describe. Rather than look for the SUPER internally, I would recommend considering retaining a qualified outsider to upgrade messaging and not only call out opportunities for improvements to messaging but make those improvements with skillfully crafted proposed revisions.
The right independent contractor can certainly be an effective SUPER person, Kerry. Of course, you can’t just “appoint” a person to the role–whether they’re internal to the consulting firm or external. A SUPER person has special powers–the power to not understand unless a message is exceptionally crafted.
Your point, is well taken, though. An outsider is the best place to turn for a reliable SUPER person for most firms. I’m glad you pointed that out, Kerry!
Hi David – so how do you find this person?
Look up in the sky, of course. Or, perhaps, you have to shine a special flashlight against the clouds. (Or was it the magic ring that summoned mine…I’m trying to remember.) Ben and Kerry had good suggestions: try a relative who doesn’t understand what you do; or, look for a talented editor who is very good at writing but doesn’t connect the dots when your content lurches from idea to idea. Upwork, Indeed and Fiverr are all decent starting places.
Thanks for posing the question, Christopher. Other readers may also have suggestions for where to find a SUPER person. (We’ll see!)
Maple syrup through cheesecloth! Lol. Great (and sticky) visual!
Not that I’ve ever tried such a thing, of course. Pouring chocolate through cheesecloth though…..
Great to hear from you in the comments, Dan.
Great advice! When I wrote my book, I had three people check it before I sent it to copyediting: one who was an expert in the field (to make sure the ideas and statements were correct), one who was a grammarian (to make sure the language was correct) and a SUPER-type person (to make sure that the whole thing was understandable, digestible and interesting). The result was a far shorter publishing cycle (and lower costs on expensive copy-type people!) and a much better book.
Excellent case study, Len. We took a similar approach to my second book (and also added a score of beta readers for good measure) and it made the book at least 2x as readable as my first book.
Sometimes a SUPER person can lengthen the cycle just because you’re forced to put in more writing work; however, you’re right that it cuts down on the number of copy edits needed if you’re using a commercial publisher.
Thanks for adding your experience into the mix, Len!