As a consultant, you can putter along, earning a reasonable income if you’re blessed with innate charm, passion for your practice or considerable chutzpah. But what truly allows some consultants to consistently succeed in winning projects, in attracting clients, and in commanding higher fees?
Take 60 seconds to watch the video below and share the vital lesson I learned one Summer in North Carolina.
The water-skiing story obviously wasn’t meant to teach you techniques; rather, I want to underscore the importance of learning them. You can improvise and use natural ability up to a point. But those who use good technique will always shine brighter, earn more, and ski a shorter rope.
And skiing closer to the boat not only wins you competitions, it’s more fun. You know you’re stretching to your limit, and succeeding. You’re winning larger projects from more clients than thought you could.
What’s required? A disciplined approach to learning and improving.
- Identify what technique you want to learn (and why)
- Find someone who has mastered the technique and learn from them, directly or indirectly
- Listen to coaching as you implement the technique, succeed, tweak, and succeed at an even higher level
An example: I knew I wanted to improve my writing. Writing is one of the Five Marketing Musts that attract clients. Plus, I know from the movies that if you jot the correct words on a piece of paper and hand it to a bank teller, you’ll receive thick bundles of cash. Wow! Now, how to learn?
Two of the best business writers I know are Chip and Dan Heath. Since they weren’t likely to teach me directly, I painstakingly deconstructed a few of their articles and identified a handful of lessons. Then I carefully studied the lessons, practiced, sought feedback, and practiced more. Every week I solicit coaching and improve a bit more. The same goes for speaking, and virtually every other aspect of my practice.
What techniques should you be learning to ski closer to the boat in your consulting business? I quickly thought of a dozen critical techniques just on the business development side, but I’m going to start the list with only six. Please tell me the techniques you think are essential to master (by adding to the comments below), and I’ll add them to the list.
What else? What did you expect to see on the list of business development techniques that wasn’t included (yet)?
Text and images are © 2021 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.