“How You Can Consistently Attract (And Win) A Steadier Stream Of New Business” Presented by David A. Fields

Zintro Webinar

Presented by David A. Fields, Managing Director at The Ascendant Consortium. Author, speaker and consultant specializing in maximizing the ROI from consulting engagements.

Presenter’s Note:
“This webinar is for you if you are an independent consultant and are looking for a steadier, more consistent stream of clients. Don’t miss the great tips and techniques that will be tackled in this webinar, like the “magic language” that converts your Rolodex of friendly relationships into high value prospects, or a simple practice that creates massive momentum in your pipeline.
Look for an easy, low-pressure approach to radically increase your market presence. Find the “Revenue Truth” behind your current level of success, and what it means for your future potencial, and much more”

About David A. Fields:
David A. Fields is one of the world’s leading authorities on using outside experts such as consultants, coaches and agencies. He is author of the highly acclaimed book, The Executive’s Guide to Consultants (McGraw-Hill, 2012), writes monthly columns for IndustryWeek and Consulting Magazine and has contributed to CNN Money, USA Today, Investor’s Business Daily, and dozens of other leading publications. Both sides of the client/consultant relationship love David’s work – he is regularly hired by savvy corporations including Time-Warner, Abbott Labs, ITT and dozens of others to help them get the most out of their investments in outside experts. He also works directly with hundreds of consulting firms every year to help them win more projects that are highly lucrative for their clients and for them.

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Enrique: Hello and welcome. My name is Enrique Levin, Co-Founder and VP of Product at Zintro. Zintro is a global online marketplace that helps connect companies with highly specialized consultants and other expertise providers for projects that range from one-hour phone consults, all the way to [inaudible 00:00:18] onsite engagements and even full-time jobs.

Today’s webinar, “How You Can Consistently Attract (And Win) A Steadier Stream of New Business” will be presented by David A. Fields. We had over 500 Zintro experts register for today, which isn’t a huge surprise because of the topic and the presenter. Most of you are familiar with David A. Fields; however, for those of you who haven’t seen David’s presentation, let me fill you in for just a moment.

David is a true thought-leader in the world of consulting. He is a multi-million dollar consultant who runs a very interesting practice called The Ascendant Consortium. Where he sells consulting services to corporations and brings in consultants to do the work. So basically, everything he’s going to talk about with us today is what he does all day with clients just like the ones you target. David is going to do an extended Q&A session at the end of this presentation, so please submit your questions during the webinar by using the “Chat” feature on the GoToWebinar panel on the right side of your screen.

Without further ado, I would like to introduce David A. Fields.

David: Great, thanks, Enrique. I appreciate that. Welcome, everyone, who’s on the call. Welcome to the folks who are on the replay. We know from experience that a huge percentage actually watch this on the replay, so that’s great.

I’m going to jump right into content. I sometimes call this “Clients, Clients & More Clients!” because that’s what this is about. This is just all about how you win clients and more clients over time.

So here’s the plan for today. We’re going to…first, basically, I think what I’ll do is I’m going to show you your revenue TRUTH. In that, I’m going to lay out a framework for creating a steady stream of business. Then, I’m going to give you, basically, as many concrete, actionable, specific techniques for attracting clients as I can and we’ll call it 40 minutes-ish. So after I go through some tips, I’m going to invite you to take all of this to the level of real-world application for your own firm.

Originally, Zintro and I were going to offer something called the Client Acquisition Formula. However, we’ve decided to set that aside for the moment and I’ll touch on that later. Then at the end, we’re going to do an extended Q&A. I’ll stay on for as long as folks have questions. So that’s the plan for the session. It’s value-packed. It’s totally built to help you grow your firm.

By the way, if some of you were on the webinar back in July, this is very similar content. This is the same content that was presented back in July, but I’m also offering some bonus content in here that you’ll see that wasn’t available in July. Of course, the Q&A at the end which is always the most fun part. It will be totally different because people’s questions are always different. Enrique, why don’t we actually get started with the polls? Put that first poll up there and we can get a picture of what business is like for independent consultants.

Enrique: The first poll question is up. So guys, please take a minute to respond. The question is “Which phrase best describes your consulting revenue over time?” The options are “I always have TONS of projects and revenue.” Option two, “It feels like ‘feast or famine.'” Third, “It’s almost famine!”

David: Okay, so let’s see what the results look like.

Enrique: Basically, 3% of our audience says “I have tons of projects and revenue.” 53% says “Feast or famine.” 44% says “It’s almost famine.”

David: Yeah, that’s really typical. That’s pretty standard. For most independent consultants, it tends to feel like “Feast or famine,” more often “Famine.” It’s like “Famine and famine.” And maybe with just enough business trickling in to kind of keep you pushing forward.

Consultants are constantly talking about how hard it is to feel secure as an independent consultant when the pipeline of business is so unpredictable. Then as a result, what happens is you end up taking whatever comes your way because you feel like you need the business. Or you feel like you don’t even know where to turn to to find more prospects and clients or better clients. That’s just the reality for a lot of consultants and the data you just put up there, Enrique, bares that out.

It makes sense because consultants are experts in whatever their area of expertise is. That area is not generating clients. So as a Zintro expert, you are an expert in operations or you’re in expert in marketing or IT or something very specific. Your expertise isn’t new business for consulting firms.

It is not just true of small experts. I work with mid-size firms that are making agencies. So ostensibly, their whole business is about helping their clients win more business. But they still need help [inaudible 00:05:47] clients themselves.

So it’s very typical, it’s very understandable. But as you know and I know, we’ve both seen them, there are consultants who have an incredibly reliable, steady, secure influx of clients. There’s a consultant I’ve been working with up in Toronto for about five years and his business has exploded. He’s actually bringing on people to help him because there is so much business coming in. What makes it really great for him is it’s totally clear that this boom in business is going to continue. He’s going to continue winning client after client, he’s got it figured out.

So what we’re going to talk about today is how to get you in that position. So you’re feeling great about the future, you’re feeling great about your pipeline, all of that. So we’re going to go through a bunch of content, we’ll go through it pretty quickly. If at any point you’re thinking “You know, David, I already knew that,” that’s great. No worries at all, I hope that’s the case.

One of my favorite quotes is from Samuel Johnson. Samuel Johnson said “People more often need to be reminded than educated.” So if any of this serves as a good reminder, I think that’s awesome.

Okay, so with all of that, now understand where the group is. Let’s dig into the Revenue TRUTH. Your Revenue TRUTH determines how much revenue you, as an expert, as a consultant, bring in every year. In this case, TRUTH is very simple math. Your financial success as a consultant is based on the number of clients you attract times the number of projects you do with each client times your revenue per project. It’s as simple as that.

What I have found is that consultants, especially consultants who are independent and are bringing in, under, say, $300,000 per year. If you’re in that range, you’re below $300,000, where you tend to need to focus is right here. You need more clients.
So what does it take to win more clients? Before that, how do you get more prospects that turn into clients?

So let me show you six steps that are a path from where you are now, to a richer, healthier pipeline. One that gives you financial security, one that gives you lots of money, on top of just what you need to feel secure.

The first of these six steps is gaining visibility. It’s becoming known. One thing I can tell you with total confidence, is there’s no consultant that’s ever won business from a client that has never heard of them. You have to be visible to your prospective clients.

Then the next step is developing more prospects. So in other words, what we need to do is if we can create some visibility, we then need to move this giant pool of folks right here into a smaller group of executives who can actually buy services from you.

Step three is generating interest. Just because they can buy from you doesn’t mean they have any interest in you at all. So we need to get you into the consideration step by generating interest.

Then they need to become the obvious choice. Before you’re in the consideration set, but so are a lot of other alternatives or a lot of other consultants or experts. In this step, you’re becoming the consultant that clients want to work with.

Then step five is submitting killer proposals that make clients say “Yeah, I totally want to do that and let’s jump in. Where do I sign.”

Then, finally, you negotiate high client fees (?) and you close a deal. Those are the six steps that will take any consultant from struggling, from mostly “famine,” to having more business coming in than you can handle.

Now, my guess is that you have some idea how you’re doing on each of these steps. But it would also be helpful to have some way of looking at it and some benchmarks, so that you can compare your performance to “What’s a good benchmark for this?” I understand that most folks want that. But I also realized in putting this together for today, that we don’t have time to go through benchmarks in each area.

So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to give you access to a presentation that’s inside the client acquisition formula. If that presentation has benchmark data. Chris, could you go ahead and put up poll number two? If you would like access to that benchmarking information so you can judge how well you’re doing at each step, just click on “Yes” and after the webinar, I’ll send you an e-mail and I’ll get you set up so that you can have access to that benchmark.

Also, if you’re not part of this live, if you’re watching this on a replay, you don’t get the play in the poll, just send an e-mail to support @davidafields.com. Put “Benchmarks” in the subject line and my team or I will personally hook you up. We’ll get you set up with this. So for now, let’s keep going.

I created a video that I posted online a while ago about this and about those six steps. In that, I called them, the six steps, “Pipeline Booster Engines.” Because the more energy and thrust and power that you have in these six, the better your consulting practice is going to take off. Easy as that.

Again, going into all of these six steps in depth is probably more than we cover in one webinar. But we can cover a handful of very tactical, practical techniques that you’ll be able to use immediately and those techniques will pour rocket fuel, if you will, into some of these engines. They will have an instantaneous, positive impact on your pipeline. I’m going to give you very simple techniques, they work for every consultant.

So let’s just jump into “Practical Techniques.” The first technique was taught to me by the VP of Sales for Philip Morris. We worked together on number of projects and he would say to me “David, you don’t know where you stand with the prospect. And if you don’t know where you stand, then you could be wasting all sorts of time. You could spin your wheels or chasing them down or developing proposals, even if there’s no chance if they’ll become a client.” Obviously, that’s pretty good advice.

So how do you figure out where you stand? Actually, that’s a great question. There’s an easy way to separate out the folks who I call the “Pennies,” they’re not really going to deliver much and get them out so you can see the quarters, that adds up pretty quickly. Here’s how you do it.

At the end of a conversation with a prospect; whether it’s on the phone or in person, try some variation of the “1-10” question and I found this to be highly effective. What I’m going to do is I’m going to give you an example using a clip from a video of a consultant called “Bob Jenkins” and his client “Mr. You See Me (?).” So just listen to this clip of the “1-10″ question.

[Video clip]

Bob: This has been a great discussion, Mr. You See Me. Out of curiosity, on a scale from 1-10, where 1 is you just being polite and you have no interest at all in ever doing this project. 10 is you just want me to shut up and hand you a pen so you can sign a contract, where are we? How interested are you in moving forward at this point and time?”

YSM: Honestly, Bob, I’d say we’re at a 2 or 3 at this point. I appreciate you coming in, but your offering just doesn’t connect to my priorities right now.

Bob: Wow. Thank you for being honest, Mr. You See Me. I really appreciate your candor in this. If it’s okay with you, I’d like to keep in touch and send you those couple of articles I referenced earlier. Who knows? Maybe we can help down the road at some point.

[End video]

David: That’s how the “1-10” question can run. Let me just do one other quick example of the “1-10” question using the actors.

[Video clip]

Bob: This has been a great discussion, Mr. You See Me. Out of curiosity, on a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 is you just being polite and you have no interest at all in ever doing this project and 10 is you just want me to shut up and hand you a pen so you can sign a contract, where are we? How interested are you in moving forward at this time?

YSM: I’d put us at a 7 or 8.

Bob: How do we move from 7 to a 10?

[End video]

David: Okay. That’s the “1-10” question. You might have to adjust how you phrase it for your own culture, for your style. But don’t be afraid to ask. In fact, if you’re thinking to yourself “This is something I can’t do,” then my recommendation is at least try it a few times in safe situations. Try it with clients you know well or even try it with a friend. Because the hardest part is just getting comfortable with the technique.

What I’ve found is that most clients actually like this question. They like being asked because they appreciate that you’re giving them the option to say they’re not interested. That’s technique number one, that’s the “1-10” question and it helps you narrow in on high-value prospects in your pipeline and then disregard everybody else. It might feel foreign at first, but I promise you, if you try this, you use it on a regular basis and you become familiar with it, you will experience a significant improvement in your pipeline and probably your wallet.

Okay, let’s move on to the second simple, practical technique. You can put this also into play immediately and it will create momentum throughout the entire pipeline.

Once a prospect has shown some level of interest, you’ll use this next technique. It’s going to vastly improve your odds of moving this through to the end which is where they’re actually signing deals. This technique is simply to never finish any conversation, whether it’s in the phone or on person, without setting a precise date and time for your next conversation. A typical conversation might sound something like this example I’ll play for you right now.

[Video clip]

Bob: I’ll be able to shoot the revised document over to you this afternoon. Then, can we talk on Wednesday at 3:00 or 4:00? Which looks better for your calendar?

YSM: I’m not sure how Wednesday afternoon is going to pan out. Why don’t you send me the document and I’ll give you a call by the end of the week?

Bob: If you don’t mind, let’s try to get something on the calendar. I know how busy you’d get and my schedule gets pretty crazy, too. So it always seems to work better if we can find a time up front that works. How does Thursday at 9:00 a.m. work?

YSM: That should work. We’ll talk then.

Bob: Great.

[End video]

David: Okay, so the second part was getting a precise date and time. The consultant did a good job there and that’s the practice that I recommend you follow. Once you start discussing a specific potential project, you always nail down a firm next date and time before you finish the conversation.

This is literally…if there is one technique I could get consultants to do more that would instantaneously double their business, it would be this. I know you can put this into play.

If you ask someone and they say “Well, I need to talk with someone else” or “I need to think about it” or some other excuse, just don’t let that throw you. You can always say something like “No problem. I know your calendar’s busy. Mine’s busy, too. Let’s just get a next date locked in and then we can see where we are.” Even if all we do at that point is set up another date. This way, we’ll know it’s not going to slip through the cracks. That’s it. It’s very simple.

Except for some reason, most consultants don’t do this. But I know you can do it. It’s very easy. At the end of the year, you’re going to look back if you do this and say “Holy cow, I got twice as many clients, twice as many…but my prospects actually went all the way through to close” and it will be because of this.

Okay, time for practical technique number three. For a lot of you, this is going to be very helpful because I’m going to show you a way of doing something you know you should be doing, but you might not be doing as much as you know you should. That’s asking for referrals.

So now…when we talk about referrals, we’re really talking all the way back here about the visibility-building engine. You’re trying to become better known. Have more people know who you are and referrals are a great way to increase your visibility.

Some of you know me personally and so you know I’m very active in my community. Every year, I attend one of these big annual events with a group I’m involved in and there’s this huge crowd. At the event, people are always looking at the folks who walk in the door and thinking “Oh, I know this person” or “I don’t know this person.” They’re talking to each other and saying “Who’s that that just walked in the door? Do you know her? Do you know him?”

Then, there’s also these folks who walk through the door and everyone says “Oh, look, there’s Ken. We’re so glad Ken’s here.” You want to be Ken. You want a bigger crowd to know your name. Because when you have more people knowing your name, you will get more business. One way to get people knowing your name is asking for referrals and introductions. This isn’t news. You already know you should be asking for referrals.

But if you’re like a lot consultants who I talk to, that’s uncomfortable for you and I totally get that. So I’m going to make this very easy. I’m going to give you a comfortable way for doing it. First, though, what I’m going to do is I’m going to give you the exact language to use and it’s very different language than you’ve read or heard in other places. Then I’ll explain to you why this language works.

Before we jump in, let me actually address a question that always comes up when I do this. The question is “What was that language? Can you tell me again?” If you want to know can you have the script, the answer is yes, you can. You can just listen. You don’t have to write down the language. If you would like the scripts for the referral language, you can let me know. Actually, Chris, will you put the poll number three up? That will give people a chance to…you can just tell me right now that you like the language that we’re going to use in this example. Then you can use it or not use it or you can adapt it as you see fit.

If you didn’t have a chance to vote or you just couldn’t decide or you’re watching this on a replay, shoot an e-mail, support@davidafields.com. Type in “Scripts” and we’ll get you set up with those scripts.

Okay, so let’s start with…we’re actually going to start this with language you’ve heard before. This is language you’ve heard others recommend. It’s a very traditional way of asking for a referral. It sounds something like this.

[Video clip]

Bob: Mr. You See Me, you know that we improve the efficiency and profitability of manufacturing facilities. You could really help out folks you know at other companies who need the type of work we do by connecting us.

[End video]

David: Okay, that sounds familiar, right? That’s the old way of doing the referral request. I haven’t found that it’s the most effective. Also, I’ve found that most people aren’t comfortable with that sort of language. It just feels wildly sales-y.

So what I’ve done is I’ve tweaked the language a bit. Again, all this will be in those scripts that I sent you, if you asked for them. What I say sounds closer to this and I’ll do it myself so you can hear it a little bit more slowly. “Mr. You See Me, you know that meeting people, building relationships is at the heart of what I do. So who do you know that might be interesting for me to talk to? I’m not looking for someone to sell to. Just anyone who’s smart, capable, someone like you and you think would be good for me to get to know.”

That’s a much softer request. I’m not going after business which can feel very threatening. It can feel uncomfortable for you and awkward for them. At this point, I’m just looking for connections. It turns out, this is a much better strategy, which I’ll explain why in a moment.

First, though, what if the person you’re talking to is struggling to come up with a name? What if they just say they want to think about it for a little bit? A lot of folks just say “Oh, yeah, I’ll get back to you. Let me think about it.” Don’t say “Okay. Fine” or “Never mind.” Stick with it for a little bit.

If you give them a frame of reference, that will usually help them out. Because it’s so much easier to deal with a “Who do you know in a particular group?” than a wide open “Who do you know?”

For instance, you might say something like “Well, I know you’re active in a group that brings in foreign exchange students. Who in that group is smart like you and would be interesting to chat with?” Again, I’m not looking for someone I’d sell to. I’m just looking to build some new relationships.

By saying something like that, by giving them context, you’re practically hand-picking a small group of names for them to consider. You phrase it as a choice among that group. Not a “Yes” or “No.” The words in that example were very carefully constructed. I said “Who in that group?” Not “Is there anyone in that group?”

Then I reinforced this is not a threatening request. Sometimes, I’ll even suggest a person and I’ll say “What about Ari Shapiro?” They’ll say “I don’t know. I don’t think Ari Shaprio would work. But you know who’s better?” If you give them a person, then they can react to it and give you a few people back. So that’s the written part of the script.

Here’s the unwritten part and it’s just as important. It may even be more important. It’s called the “expectant silence.” You pause and wait. Don’t get nervous, don’t jump into the breach. Just be quiet. Seriously, you just ask them for the name of someone they know and then you pause and you wait. You don’t let them off the hook and they will come back to you with a name or two.

Sometimes, you’ll get a little bit of resistance and it’s no big deal. You just respectfully sort of go towards your goal. I actually had the actors do an example of how to handle it when the person you’re talking to is resisting a little bit. So let me do that whole interplay for you.

[Video clip]

Bob: Mr. You See Me, you know that meeting people and building relationships is at the heart of what I do. Who do you know that might be interesting for me to talk to? I’m not looking for a client or someone to sell to. Just anyone who is smart and capable like you and you think would be good for me to just get to know?

YSM: I’m not sure, Bob. No one is coming to mind right now. Let me give it some thought.

Bob: I have a minute. If you don’t mind, it would be great to spend a few minutes on this. I know you’re very active in the foreign exchange student programs and have a monthly meeting. Who in that group is smart like you and be interesting to meet? Again, I’m not looking to sell anything. Just form some new relationships.

YSM: You know, one person who would be worth talking to is Ari Shapiro who runs the engineering team over at the other fab about a mile from here. Let me look up his contact info.

[End video]

David: That was pretty good, right? Here’s why it works. Obviously, part of it is it’s an easier request because you’re not asking for a sale. You’re just asking for connections.

The reason you ask for connections is you actually never know who’s connected to whom. What string of connections is going to lead to your next piece of business?

Now, this whole approach requires a fundamental mind shift. Which is, the way you build your consulting business is not by making sales. It’s by building relationships. Relationships in and of themselves have value. That idea is absolutely core to my approach. It’s true of virtually every independent consultant who’s reached a high level of success. We’re not going after sales. But any time we create a new relationship, it creates value.

There are some people who will tell you you need to bring something to every discussion with a prospect. You don’t. Simply nurturing a relationship is in and of itself, a value-building activity.

Okay, so I know you can put this technique into play. Just ask for interesting people you can create relationships with. Some of those folks you meet are naturally going to have problems you can solve or they’ll know people who have problems you can solve. At that point, you’re good to go.

That’s what’s so great about doing this, is you don’t have to chase business. If you talk with people and they have a need for what you do, they will bring it up. You don’t need to push for business because it will come to you.

We’ve already covered three practical techniques. You can put them into place right away. You can put them into place tomorrow and they will have an impact on your pipeline.

We talked about getting a firm next date and time which creates some momentum. So once people are in your funnel, you use firm next date and time and that gets you sort of pushing people along. The “1-10” question actually sort of sorts you out back here, which allows you to be more effective in all these areas. Then I gave you this referral language which is, I mentioned, referral language is going to help you in visibility.

Okay, so let’s keep going. We have more time and I want to give you some more techniques that are going to help you build your business and rapport, fuel (?) entities, these rocket engines.

Where I want to focus right now is here, generating interest. Because there are a lot of consultants who are out there sending e-mails and blogging or speaking and waving their arms around trying to create visibility. But they’re not generating interest. So let’s take a look at that. What we’re going to do is we’re just going to focus on that, that generate interest pipeline, boost your engine.

In some ways, this is really simple. The fact is, if you don’t have enough interested prospects that are clamoring for proposals from you, then there are only four things that could be going wrong. Either you’re not talking to the right people or you’re not solving the right problem or you’re not articulating the problem and your solution in some way that’s compelling or it’s just bad timing. Because the reality is, sometimes, you’re totally nailing the first three, but your timing is off and you need to wait six months and that happens.

But that’s also the reason why you have to have a lot of opportunities pouring into your pipeline. Because a lot of opportunities smooths out any kind of hills and valleys of timing issues. But that’s it. If you don’t have enough solid leads that are turning into business, you either have a problem with who you’re talking to and what you’re talking about and how you’re talking about it, or your timing’s off. Of those four, if you want to make a change quickly that will have a huge, powerful impact on your ability to generate clients, do you know where you should start?

Well, rather than me telling you, I’m actually going to play another little clip. Because I was chatting with a friend of mine, Marshall Goldsmith, about programs he’s running and I’m running. Keep in mind, by the way, Marshall Goldsmith gets paid up to $70,000 a day to work with executives. This is one of the highest, if not the highest-paid consultant right now.

As we were talking, I asked him what advice he would give to consultants who are trying to build their practice. Listen closely, because I’ll play a short clip of that recording on what he had to say.

[Video clip]

Marshall: Piece of advice number one: Have a clear mission, a clear focus, a clear identity of who you are and drive that and be the world’s expert at that. You should be able to communicate it very clearly and succinctly. It shouldn’t be fuzzy.

[End video]

David: That’s pretty good advice, right? He is basically telling you the same thing that I am in some ways, which is regardless of who you’re talking to and regardless of your timing, you have to be an expert at a single problem, the right problem and be able to articulate it well. So great advice.

Another question is how do you, as a Zintro expert, put that into practice? How do you put it into practice right now? So I’m going to tell you how.

The first thing you need to do is what I call “Flipping your thinking right-side up.” You see, your business is not about you. You may think it’s about you, but it’s not. I call that kind of thinking that my business is about me, I call that “Upside Down Thinking” and here’s an example of upside down thinking.

A consultant called me a while ago. This was a consultant that was part of a two-person firm in upstate New York. They’re bringing around $150,000 a year doing advertising-related projects. So I asked him to tell me more about his business. I said “Let’s just role play. Pretend I’m a potential prospect and I ask you what your firm does. What would you say?”

He said something like “Well, David, we help with media strategy and media buying and just about everything having to do with getting good advertising.” Then I asked him why anyone would buy from his little consultancy as opposed to a big consultancy? He said “Well, because we’ve been doing this for 25 years. We have far more experience. We’re really good at this.” That kind of thing.

That is upside down thinking. That’s a great example of someone whose language makes it seem like they’re thinking about themselves and there’s nothing surprising about that. That’s how we all think. We tend to think about ourselves and our own business is first.

But to be successful as consultants, we need to flip that around, we need to flip it upside down. Rather than looking first at ourselves and what we do and what our needs are, we have to start with what’s in our clients’ heads. So that media consultant’s explanation about what he did was all about himself and his firm. It was “We do this” and “We do that.” There was nothing about client needs.

When I asked why anyone would choose him, again, he talked about himself. “We have 25 years of experience, we’ve got lots of credentials” and that kind of stuff. That’s all upside down and that’s not going to generate interest or attract clients.

So how do you get out of upside down thinking? What can you do immediately that will help you turn your thinking right side up? That’s a great question. Because of course, there are things you can do right now. I’m going to give you three techniques and we’ll call it five minutes, eight minutes. You’ll be able to use them, they’re very straightforward. They will turn your thinking right side up.

The first is a very easy way to shift your perspective from your current point of view to your client’s view of the world. The client’s view of the world is what right side thinking is, right side up thinking is all about. What I tell you is going to sound very intuitive. However, most consultants actually make a mistake when they do this, a little mistake. But that little mistake creates tons of frustration, it does not create a full pipeline. So I will tell you what that mistake is and then how to avoid it.

This technique…which again, you can do this tomorrow. Certainly, you can set it up and do it next week, is going to require you to make a few phone calls. First, you’re going to call prospects with whom you have any sort of decent relationship. You’re going to ask them the following question. “What problems have you found so pressing and important, that you’ve actually spent money bringing in outside help to solve them over the past few years?” That’s the question. “What problems have you found so pressing and important, you’ve actually spent money bringing in outside help to solve?”

So you see, the mistake that most consultants make, is they ask whether clients are interested in what they have to offer. Or whether they would spend money to solve a problem. That’s the wrong question. You don’t want to know what clients say they will spend money on. You want to know what they have already spent money on in the past.

Sure, maybe you’re going to talks and those specific folks who say they spent money on it won’t need to spend money again. That’s not a big deal. Because what I can tell you is if you run into 100 clients who have all brought in consultants to solve, say, the way they buy telecommunication services. There are at least 100 more companies who are going to bring in a consultant to solve that same problem.

So I’m far more interested in what clients actually do, as evidenced by their past behavior and what they say they might do in the future. Maybe that’s not visionary, it makes money and it gets clients.

In fact, my entire practice, the Ascending Consortium, is based on responding to client problems that they say they had rather than trying to take some solution and market it just because I happen to think it’s cool. That little bit of market research is going to help you out immensely. That will be a great start.

The next technique I’ll go over is going to help you also increase your ability to attract clients and it will do it by another order of magnitude. What you can do is take all those problems that you’ve just identified with the market research and you run them through the “Problemeter.” I love saying that word, “Problemeter.”

So here’s our Problemeter and you’re going to run this list of problems that you’ve just developed with your market research. You’re going to run through the Problemeter. At the end, you’ll have a very tight, focused practice that will generate higher levels of interest and it will get you more prospective clients than you’ve ever had before.

The first metric you want to look at is pervasiveness, “pervasive.” When you look at your list of problems, then maybe you’ve just done this market research. Then ask yourself “What are you hearing that’s one-off issues that only one client had and what problems are coming up over and over again?”

So a problem with integrating a new CFO from Bulgaria…that maybe comes up one time. Whereas inter-departmental strife or leadership issues or misaligned goals; these are problems that every company faces.

The next metric you’re going to look at is urgency or how urgent is each of these problems? When a client is facing this problem, how urgent is it for them? If they’re struggling to expand globally, that probably has moderate urgency. If their headquarters is on fire, the putting out the fire is very urgent. That’s the top of the priority list.

The third metric is expensiveness. In other words, this is from the client’s point of view. Remember, right side up thinking. Often, the client’s point of view, how expensive is it to leave this problem unsolved? To leave this issue un-taken (?) care of?

Some catering issue call with the annual sales meeting that’s next month. That may be very urgent because it’s next month. But it’s not that expensive if you don’t leave it unsolved.

On the other hand, if you have some FDA compliance issue and you don’t resolve it, that could cost millions of dollars every day. What you’ll notice is all three of these metrics are right side up thinking. They’re all about the client. They have nothing at all to do with you.

The fourth metric is where you finally start connecting prospects to you. At this point, you can start asking yourself “How good am I at solving each of these problems?” Most consultants start here. They start with what they’re good at. They start with what they’ve done. But this is actually the least important. Because the fact is, you can always build your skill set. What you can’t build is client problems.

So once you apply those four metrics, you look at all the potential problems where you could play and then you find ones that rate highly across the board and you pick one. You pick one problem that’s pervasive and urgent and expensive and you focus on it. You become, as Marshall said, you become the best in the world at solving that particular problem.

That’s the Problemeter technique and the Problemeter exercise. It’s going to help you move from being some kind of vague generalist, which doesn’t generate any interest or excitement, to a powerhouse problem solver where you’re solving a problem that’s totally where their clients need help.

Okay, great. So now you know what to talk about. You know what your clients are interested in. You just need to know how to talk about it. So we’ll do one more technique and we’ll move on. The final technique is called the “Fishing Line.”

Your fishing line is a handful of words that you toss out there in pretty much every possible situation just to see whether it generates nibbles. It’s just to generate interest. This is not an elevator pitch. An elevator pitch implies pitching and we do pitch as consultants.

The goal of the fishing line is simply to get someone to say “Oh, that’s interesting. Tell me more.” That’s it. Not to sell business. Remember, we’re in that rocket engine that was all about generating interest. You don’t rush over to closing business. That doesn’t work.

Anyway, the fishing line. The fishing line should be roughly seven to 15 words that answers two questions. The two questions people always want to know about when they talk to is “Do you work with people like me? Am I the type of person you work with?” and “Can you actually help me?”

So a fishing line has two very tightly articulated pieces. Who your target is and the narrower, the better and what problem do you solve? We just did a whole bunch of work. We just went through a rational client’s bind and going through the Problemeter exercise to figure that out.

So when someone says “Tell me a little bit more about your business, what do you do?” You respond with your fishing line. “I work with a specific client base that has a specific problem.”

So let me give you an example of what I mean. Here’s a fishing line from one of the consultants in my “Irresistible Consultant” program. Someone says “What do you do?” and they say “I work with heavy goods manufacturers whose innovation processes are taking too long.” That’s a great fishing line. Anyone that consultant talks to knows immediately whether they’re on-target, whether they are the target. Whether they have that problem.

If someone’s a heavy goods manufacturer, they’re going to go “Oh, that’s me.” If they have a problem with innovation, they’re going to say “Wait a second. That’s really me. Tell me more.” That’s what you’re looking for.

Let me compare that to what most consultants sounds like. I’m going to give you a fishing line from a consultant I worked with for a couple of years. She’s actually not in the U.S., she’s in the Pacific region. I would say to her “Jill, tell me a little more about what you do?” She would say “I’m a marketing consultant. I help with companies…I help them with their marketing strategy and effectiveness.” That’s what 95% of consultants sound like. It’s very generic. It has no client attracting power. It basically includes anyone and everyone and so therefore, no one has any interest.

But now, that same consultant has a great fishing line. Now when someone asks, she says “I work with software and IT companies who are under-performing in the Asia-Pacific region.” That’s a game-changing fishing line and it changed the game for her completely. Remember, the whole idea is just to get people to say they’re interested and want to know more.

So there you have it. We just went through a bunch of great techniques. They’re going to get you exactly focused to where you need to be, to generate interest. And in true East Coast fashion, I just jammed in about probably eight hours of content in about 40 minutes.

I really enjoyed sharing all this with all the Zintro experts. I’m sure you can hear…I love this stuff, I’m passionate about it, I think for good reason. Everything I just shared with you, all these techniques have helped me build my business. They’ve helped a lot of other consultants, too and that’s why I did this in the first place. Because in my consortium, I sell for other consultants, but I know I can’t sell for every consultant.

On the other hand, I can show consultants how to sell for themselves and that’s what I’ve been doing and it’s been great. So I really encourage you, the Zintro expert, to use these techniques that I’ve laid out for you. Every single one of these will help you transform your practice. They’ll help you attract more of the right prospects in the first place. That helps you attract more clients and when you have clients, it helps you attract more prospects and it becomes this kind of virtuous circle. This is just scratching the surface.

So if all of this…if this is everything you need to take your pipeline anxiety away forever, that is awesome. What I know from experience is that a lot of consultants are thinking “Hold on a second there. These techniques are great. You gave me some techniques here and that filled me up a little bit and a little bit across the board. How do I get everything full? How do I get all of these to the top and overflowing so a business totally takes off?” There are a few answers to that and I’ll give you one answer and then we’ll go into Q&A.

If you really want to master all six of these areas and put them to work for you, you could try to just kind of bootstrap it. Do it alone, do reading and do it on the cheap. The truth is, you probably already have been doing that. Alternatively, you could seek some outside help and guidance from someone who’s already made it and has been and is where you want to be and understands this whole path down to the most minute detail.

If outside help/guidance sounds like a good idea, I offer a number of mentoring programs and I’m actually not going to go into them here. I’m not going to go into any kind of sales pitch here. What I’ll do is I want to offer you just a couple of factoids to consider. I would like you to get more information and then we’ll go into Q&A. Just a couple of factoids to consider if you want to win more projects. You’re thinking about “Well, should I use a mentor or this data [inaudible 00:46:24]?”

First factoid, I’ve worked with over 100 consultants this year alone to win more projects from more clients at higher fees. That’s everyone from startups to consultants who are bringing in $5 million a year. This has become a big part of the practice.

Factoid number two. The average consultant who’s gone through 12 months in my “Irresistible Consultant” program has had a revenue increase of over 80%. Which is what makes it so exciting. Because this really works. All this stuff actually helps people bring in business.

Okay, one more factoid. I really debated putting this up here. It’s going to sound like a sales ploy and it’s really not meant to be. It’s just a fact and I figured if I didn’t let you know, then folks would be upset with me later. So factoid number three is that the fees in all my programs are going up by at least 35%, some of them much more than that starting in November. That’s based on feedback I’ve been receiving from all the folks I work with. Again, not meant to be a sales ploy. It’s just the reality of the world. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to do this webinar before November.

So if you signed up for any programs prior to October 31st, you get current pricing, it is what it is. Later prices will be up and again, it is what it is.

I’m sure that many of you want to know more about the programs. So instead of going into it here, we’ll just the poll feature one more time. Chris, could you just poll number four? Great. Of course, because there are some folks who can’t do the poll because they’re not live; if you want to know more, very easy, just send an e-mail to support@davidafields. Put “Mentor” in the subject line and we’ll direct you to more information and then we’ll go from there.

That’s it. Enrique, if this is anything like most webinars, plenty of questions came up through the chat. So I’ll stay here as long as we have questions, I’ll just keep answering them. If you have a question, just submit it using the GoToWebinar “Chat” button. Of course, you can always e-mail my team for a presentation on benchmarks or the scripts or getting more information on mentoring. At this point, let’s do Q&A.

Enrique: Sure. Thank you very much, David. Yes, as usual, we have a lot of questions coming in. I’m going to try to go through them. Guys, again, feel free to use the “Chat” section of your GoToWebinar control panel on the right section of your screen to send any questions. David will be taking care of most of them and if not, there will be followup after the webinar.

So I’ll start with the first one from David. The question is “I’m stuck in step one. I could use some ideas on how to gain visibility. I’ve had limited success on getting speaking engagements. What other ideas do you suggest?”

David: Visibility, okay, great question. A lot of consultants are stuck there. First of all, let me give you an “It depends” answer. I know that there are plenty of folks who will say “These are the visibility tools.” What I have found is not everybody is great at everything. So I actually have a…if you e-mail and ask for this, I’ll send it to you.

I have a little page that says “Here are the visibility tools to use if you are good at different things.” Depending on what you’re good at, you’ll try different things. You brought up, David, you brought up speaking. Speaking is interesting. There have been a lot…I’ve had a lot of consultants talking with me about this recently. Let me just bring that up and mention it for a moment. I don’t want you to feel too frustrated or badly if you’re having trouble getting speaking gigs.

Speaking is the fastest way to cash once you have the gig. When you get a speaking gig, it always turns into clients, always. If you do the right followup and you know how to use it correctly.

The hard part is getting the speaking. That has become more and more difficult. I would say it is way more difficult now than it was five years ago or ten years ago to get speaking gigs. So if you’re having trouble getting speaking gigs, don’t worry about that. Speak for small groups…speak wherever you can. Speak for anybody who will talk with you and in practice.

But there are a lot of other things you can do. I will tell you the number one way to get visibility and we already went through it. Absolutely, it’s referrals. What I like to say to folks is “The phone is your friend. Talk to people. Talk to people.” Remember, you’re not selling. When you’re asking for a referral and you’re asking for an introduction, you’re not saying “Hey, who do you know who could use me?” That’s that old traditional way. You don’t want to do that because it’s incredibly painful.

What you’re saying is “I like meeting people” and “Who else would be great to meet? I’m not going to sell them. Who else would just be interested?” When you do that, what you’ll find is your pool…your visibility is going to build kind of exponentially.

I did this when I was first meeting CEOs. I started with basically two CEOs in my Rolodex and I talked with them, I said “I would love to just chat with some other CEOs. Who do you know?” Now, I’ve got this amazing Rolodex of CEOs and it all came from just straight-out referrals. Other visibility, there’s all sorts of ways you can build visibility.

I’m going to tell you one technique now that almost no one tells you to do. I’m going to go beyond all the obvious blogs and blah, blah, blah, okay?

You should do some sort of event with competitors. This is highly underutilized and it’s a great way to build visibility. You want direct competitors…I know that’s going to make some of you squirm, but it’s the right thing to do. So if you can find four other consultants who offer exactly what you offer and solve exactly the problem you solve, then you can put on a breakfast, you can put on a summit, you can put on a webinar, you can put on some sort of discussion and invite–and everybody invites their list. Now, you’ve got three or four or five times the exposure.

Now, the reason you do this with competitors as opposed to just folks who have sort of adjacent [inaudible 00:53:14] is when you say you solve a problem, it has a certain amount of weight or a certain amount of credibility. When five people stand up or even four or three people stand up and all say they solved the same problem, then the listener starts to think “Wow, there are a lot of people solving this problem. Obviously, this is a problem that I should be solving.”

You don’t have to worry that you’re all competing. Because let’s say there were ten people on your list and one of them was interested in having you solve their problem. What you’re going to do instead is you’re going to go from one out of 10 to now, there’s five of you. So you’ve got a 50-person list and obviously, hopefully, you guys are doing better than that. But it’s not going to be five out of 50. Because you’re all talking about this same problem, it generates interest and now, it’s ten out of 50. If you just get your fair share–don’t worry about competition, just get your fair share, be good at what you’re doing–you just went from one to two. You just instantly doubled your business.

So that’s a visibility technique. There are lots of them. If you want more, you want the e-mail, just shoot me…that thing that shows you visibility techniques by your personal strengths, shoot me an e-mail and just send an e-mail here and I’ll send it to you. Enrique, what else have you got?

Enrique: Sure. We have a question by Louis. The question is “Do you believe that game-shared deals are good opportunities to pursue with clients? Example, if you make money, then I make money. If you don’t, then I don’t make anything?”

David: Yes and no. Let’s talk about fee structures really briefly. I can’t go into a long thing on this, but we’ll do it really briefly. Think of fee structures on two axes. One is cost versus value. So here, you’ve got…if you’re doing your fees based on the time put in. The other is before the project is done and after.

What this gives you is variable time and materials. That’s just a plain day rate. Over here, you have a fixed fee that’s based on time and materials. You say “I’m going to give you…this [inaudible 00:55:22] is going to cost five weeks, so I’ll charge you $50,000.” Up here is value-based fees and over here is success fees. What you just brought up, Louis, is what about success fees? Where we just get paid so it’s not determined until afterwards. And the amount we get paid depends on the value.

The answer is the best fee structure is actually a hybrid. It’s right here. Where you’re being paid on value, but part of it is up front and part of it is based on success. You don’t want…remember, most of my business comes from corporations and I’m helping them bring in consultants. So I advise them how to contract with consultants. I tell them “Do not do a contract where you’re going to pay them 100% based on success.” That’s a bad idea for everyone involved.

The only worse idea is right down here, a variable fee contract with a cap. As a matter of fact, I’m going to put an article I think in the industry [inaudible 00:56:21] in a week or two talking about that, why it’s such a bad idea. You want to be here, never here and you don’t want to be here either, okay?

So that’s the really quick version of fee structures and where you want to be with it. Partly success-based, partly fixed. All based on value. All right, what do we got?

Enrique: Okay, we have a question by Jack. “We drive consulting innovation that meets collaboration with conventional consultants in the construction industry. How to deal with this issue with then the client trusts his consultant?”

David: Read that one more time. I’m trying to understand it. They collaborate with traditional consultants in construction? Read it again.

Enrique: From what I understand, the client has his consultant and this, Jack, his company leads innovation, consulting innovation and he needs to collaborate with a consultant that has already gained the trust of the client. So how to best deal with that.

David: Okay. There’s another consultant involved and the issue, sometimes, is the consultant is basically “I’m all elbows. I don’t work very nicely with other consultants.” Bummer.

I love working with other consultants. What you need to do…remember, this person’s concern, another consultant’s concern is that you’ll make them look bad or you’ll in some way hurt them. That’s everybody’s concern. That’s what trust is about. There’s something called the triangle of trust and the triangle of trust, one big piece of it, it applied mostly to clients, but it applies to other consultants, too. One piece of it is “Are you going to make me look bad?” “Are you going to hurt me?” “Are you going to make me look good?”

So what you need to do is have direct, open conversations, if I’m answering the right question here, with the other consultant. Basically say “Let’s make sure I don’t make you look bad. As a matter fact, what I want to do is I want to make you look excellent. If we can work together in a way that makes you look excellent, then everybody’s cool. We all come out winners. Here’s some thoughts. I have some thoughts. Tell me what your concerns are. Tell me what makes you nervous about this. Let’s put stuff in place, the two of us, that allows us to set aside any of those anxieties and together, create something better than either one of us would alone.”

I, personally, am very collaborative. I have to be because my old business is built on bringing in other consultants. So I’m always about “How do we make the other folks look good? How do we make them win?” You never worry about making someone else look like a winner. The more you make other people win, the better it is for you. Do you think that answered that question? If you asked that question and I didn’t answer it, just type in the question again and we’ll get to it.

Enrique: Great, thanks, David. We have another question by Alvaro. “If you’re a truly cross-functional, i.e., strategic planning for multiple sectors, how do you revise your value proposition in order to be more powerful and specific?”

David: Okay. I think the question is around avoiding being what I call a “chameleon.” If you are a strategy consultant and you are a strategy consultant that’s across sectors, that doesn’t mean you are a chameleon. Because there are strategy consultants that have worked across sectors and they’re known as strategy consultants.

What’s important is when you define your target, it does not have to be by industry. It can be by situation, it can be by position. So it could be…I work with C-Suite execs in companies over $100 million who need and then whatever the strategy problem is. Who don’t know the direction to take to double their sales in the next ten years. That’s a strategy issue.

Remember, folks, on the problem…strategy is you thinking, but think about what the problem is. That’s fine. That’s nice and tight. You’ve got a nice, tight, strategic problem. You just need to find what that problem is that you want to focus on. Then your definition of the client, of the target, it doesn’t have to be an industry. It can be across sectors. What it should be is a similar circumstance.

So one consultant I work with…where we headed him was, for instance, we realized that he works with, basically, newly-installed CEOs. That was the sweet spot. That was the circumstance. It didn’t matter about the industry. But as newly-installed CEOs who can’t afford a misstep in the first 100 days. That’s a fishing line. It’s nice and tight and let me tell you, that generates some serious interest. All right, what else do we got?

Enrique: Okay, we have a question by Howard. “If you feel like you have vast knowledge in a specific project, how do you stop the intimidation factor?” It sounded interesting to me.

David: “Intimidation.” I’m going to say something just…so Howard, don’t take this in any way, the wrong way, but stop focusing on your vast knowledge. That’s really not what’s important here. What’s important is the client. What is the client’s problem? And…as we both know, anybody who has been in this business long has seen pretenders. I’ve seen people who don’t really know what they’re talking about, but they speak with tremendous amounts of confidence. Some of them can be very intimidating. So I’m not sure intimidation and level of knowledge are linked.

I think what’s linked is intimidation and kind of personal style. So it’s not really about your knowledge. That’s not the case. What it’s about is your style of interaction.

The overall style…everybody’s style is different and you are who you are. What I would encourage you to do is always be in a mode of inquiry. Always be honestly, consistently curious about what other people know and about what the situation is.

When you’re curious about that and when you’re showing that “I’m interested in you, as a client and who you are and what you know,” you won’t be as intimidating. If you’re a very bright person and Howard, chances are you are, everyone listening is bright. People who are insecure themselves might feel intimidated. There’s not a lot you can do about that, that’s their issue.

But what you can do is adjust your interpersonal style in a way that’s…it has to be inside you. You have to honestly be curious about other people and thinking about them as opposed to you. You’ll be less intimidating. Hopefully, that helps.

I know someone who phoned for hours a day with consultants. One of the reasons is and people…I’ve worked with people for so long, is I engage with them. When I’m working with consultants, I don’t get them off the phone quickly. I’m about building relationships. If you’re about building relationships, you’re not going to be intimidated. Great question, I haven’t heard that one. That was really good, I liked that. What else, Enrique?

Enrique: By the way, Howard was really thankful for your response. We have another question by Conrad. “Do clients normally want to see what you have done before in consulting as opposed to work? How do you navigate that when starting out?”

David: Do clients want to know what you did before you were a consultant? Is that what he asked, Enrique?

Enrique: It says “Before in consulting,” so I assume it is about other clients you’ve worked with, other projects you’ve worked with besides actually showing them…versus actually showing them what you can do for their business.

David: Yeah, both. It would be great if all you had to do is talk about benefits. Part of building trust…there are six pillars. I call the six pillars of consulting success that must be in place to win any project. They are “Know,” “Like,” “Trust,” “Need,” “Want” and “Value.” “Know,” “Like,” “Trust,” “Need,” “Want” and “Value.”

Of those six, the ones that actually drives a choice of what consultant to work with and a decision to work with you is trust, okay? Trust, the research shows, is built partly…this is built interrelated with credibility, is built on what you’ve done in the past. Your ability to demonstrate that you’ve actually solved this issue before.

Yeah, it actually is important to be able to show you’ve done it before. Now, if you haven’t done it before, then you need to…you’re either not going to win that client who is dead set on finding someone with experience. Or you’ll have to generate trust and credibility in another way.

Sometimes, you might say “Look, I have not done this before. What I’ve done is very similar and I think this ports (?) over well.” However, this would be a little bit of an experiment in applying this technique which I know works in the forestry industry to see whether it also works in mining. So open and honest.

That level of curiosity tends to intrigue clients. Again, hopefully that answers that your question. If it doesn’t, just let me know and we’ll dig into it more, okay?

Enrique: Okay. Next question by Paul. “David, what’s your view in LinkedIn, etc. for promoting fishing line statements? Or is face to face, phone a prerequisite for promoting a consultancy?”

David: So LinkedIn called social media versus phone versus in-person? Great, okay. In terms of promoting a fishing line, I think fishing lines…I’m not sure you promote your fishing line so much. I mean, you do put it out there, but it tends to be…if people want to know what you do or you have it on your website, it’s a very clear statement of what you do.

LinkedIn, social media, in general. My answer right now is different than it was 18 months ago, even. 18 months ago, I would have said “Don’t bother with social media.” I am starting to see consultants get business through LinkedIn, specifically, not through other social media, per se. But I am starting to see some get business through LinkedIn.

What I will tell you is it’s nascent, it’s very small, it’s still formative and there are very few people who have figured it out. Most of the people who say they figured it out or want you to spend money with them have not, have not for consultants.

I can really count on one hand, the number who have gotten business through LinkedIn. But that’s more than I can count 18 months ago.

Now, we get to…let’s put one more in here which is e-mail. Most consultants rely way too much on e-mail. Cut back on your e-mail and put time into the phone. The phone is your friend. The phone is, I think, the best sort of marriage of richness of the message because you can hear tone. You can hear the expression and the emotion and efficiency. Because in-person is unbelievably expensive.

Now, this is all for visibility building. Once you get to the point where someone has some interest, you want to be here. In-person will increase your odds. So I have won…had inquiries, fielded the inquiries, won the project and delivered the project having never met the client. So it’s absolutely possible to do it with the phone.

But more often than not, once someone has expressed real interest…if it’s a sizable project, if it’s a six-figure project, it’s worth going in person. For small projects, use the phone. E-mail is simply a way to get yourself a phone conversation or an in-person conversation. What’s next, Enrique?

Enrique: Okay, we have another question by Richard. “I work with a few companies such as Zintro. The advice, in general, is to keep my hourly rate low. I find that the higher prices I charge, the better demand I get. Is that normal?

David: Yes. First of all, depending on what kind of business you’re doing, I don’t recommend you use hourly rates. I don’t allow my clients to buy consulting that way for the most part and I don’t recommend you sell consulting that way.

The price imputes value. The fee imputes the level of expertise and credibility. What you found is what most people find. There is a nature of what’s called…it’s not exactly [inaudible 01:10:50] per se, but there is a nature of this attribution between fee and credibility.

When you charge more, you will get more business. I charge far more now; of course, I’m much more established than I was ten years ago and I’m well-known especially among elite consulting firms. So what I get paid now to come in is…I wouldn’t have dreamed of five years ago. It’s crazy fees.

The more I charge those high fees, the more I have found…especially at the top level, people go “Oh, you’re the one I want.” Don’t cheapen yourself. That’s not the business you want. Bad business crowds out good business.

As I said to someone…one of the consultants I work with in one of my programs this morning, if you let your business net get filled up with minnows with little projects at low fees, you will have no chance at catching a tuna. So let the little stuff go away. Go for the big stuff.

Enrique: Okay. We have another question by David. “When asking for referrals, what is the best approach when you know the potential customer that is about to engage in a project that you could really help him with, but you do not have the necessary contact details?”

David: This is an introduction you’re looking for. An introduction, you could say, pretty much straightforward, if someone knows…you’re trying to get into a client…here’s the prospect. The prospect knows this person over here and this is the person you know. This is the introducer.

When you talk to the introducer, you can simply say “Hey, did you know that this prospect is going through a leadership change? I know you know these guys. Would you be open to making an introduction just so I can chat with them? If there’s a way I can help them, that would be awesome. If I can’t, that’s no big deal. But I would love the opportunity to at least have a discussion.” Very straightforward language. In the Americas, it tends to work. If you’re in Asia, let me know and I’m going to revise that slightly, parts of Asia.

But in the Americas and in most of Western Europe, a really straightforward “I’d love an introduction” works. What’s important about that is that you’re not asking for business and you’re not saying “I want to sell to this person.” What you’re saying is “I’d love the opportunity to just have a conversation with them and if I can help to [inaudible 01:13:54]. If not, that’s fine also.”

People are okay with that. They’re okay as long as you’re not doing hardcore selling. Okay, Enrique?

Enrique: Okay. We’re running out of time, so I’m going to go for one last question and David is going to follow up with any other questions after the webinar. Also, fell free again to contact him directly through e-mail to support@davidfields.com.

The question is by six ventures. “What needs to be modified and what is different when seeking clients in South America? Any tips that may be culturally different?”

David: In South America? You know, you should chime in on this one also, Enrique. This is what I found. In Latin America, business is actually fairly similar, I have seen, in Latin America versus the U.S. and Western Europe. It’s certainly more similar than in…when you’re going to parts of Asia.

What I have seen though, is, that in South America, you want to focus even more on the qualitative and the…what’s the…the soft benefits and even more on the relationship.

The business that I’ve seen and worked with folks in Latin America have been…there is just much more of a belief in the relationships and relationships driving business and be at the heart of things in South America. In other parts of the world…in the U.S., for instance, well, we think relationships are important and we tend to be fairly open in expressing things. We’re a pretty bottom-line business.

Parts of South America, the relationship is even more important just in terms of your expression of it and building it and wearing it a little bit on your sleeve. Enrique, let me turn to you also.

Enrique: Yeah, sure. I mean, basically, I carried most of my business in Latin America until a couple of years ago when I joined Zintro. I think the point you brought up is really important. In Latin America, we have more, let’s say human relationships that are correlated to business. So businesses are expecting kind of a more personal relationship.

There’s also a lot of credibility problems in Latin America because there are a lot of people that are offering services that they’re not prepared to offer or that they don’t really have the experience. So I think you will find in Latin America, a lot of different competition from what you see in the U.S. You have people that sell extremely well, but that don’t deliver.

So delivering and showing facts of previous successes becomes extremely valuable and also, there’s this whole personal aspect where you need to take a more personal approach from the beginning to establish a relationship. Then, you can move on to trying to understand what the problems of the company are and how you can help them.

But again, I guess the most important difference is that Latin America and in general, not only South America, but a Latin American business owner or business manager or director is expecting this personal relationship to happen before you can move on to business. I think that would be kind of the key difference.

David: Again, so as I said, it’s always good to get someone from the region saying “Yep, you’re right.” That’s really what I’ve seen. There is this relationship focus. That credibility and the willingness to do business is [inaudible 01:17:41] that you can’t actually deliver on is a funny comment.

Unfortunately, we see that everywhere. That’s why it’s so important to be good at what you do. To find something to focus on and be an expert, be the best in the world. When you do that, you will find your business grows. That’s excellent.

Enrique, if there’s more questions, I’d like to continue. If not, we can to wrap it up

Enrique: Yeah, we have a couple more. I’m going to squeeze one more in before we close the session. It’s from Conrad and the question is “How can you unwind a contract when you know you’re in over your head to save your reputation?”

David: Wow. How do you unwind a contract? I guess…my first question is why would you unwind it instead of getting help? The first…if things are in danger, you’re not alone, so not go alone. I would call in some help. You’re part of Zintro, Zintro is 100,000 experts. You know folks and you can always reach me because you have my contact information and my whole business is bringing in experts that are the best in the world because that’s the niche I play.

You can get help and there’s nothing wrong with that. Now, if things are really at risk of going south, you have to let your client know and you have to have a discussion with them and say “I have some real concerns about this” and be open and be collaborative. “Here’s some thoughts I have on how we could move forward. What thoughts do you have?”

So the worst thing to do in any of this is just to assume you know and to go barreling ahead. If you are truly in a situation where you cannot create value and you can’t even bring in an expert, then you need to talk with your client and come up with a situation. Usually, you’re going to have to…if they paid you, you’ll need to pay that money back and rightfully so because they’ve gone through a lot of trouble and expense to bring you in.

But I wouldn’t go there. Where I would go is rather than…how do I unwind it? I would say “What’s the way to success here? Who do I need to bring in?” That may cost you money out of your pocket, don’t know. But the best thing you can do is make the client successful. Get them to the outcome they need.

Enrique: Thanks, David. We do have a couple more questions, but I think we’re running out of time. So I’ll follow up with those with you after the webinar so you can get in touch with the attendees.

On behalf of Zintro and our over 160,000 members, thank you so much for sharing all your insights. I’m sure that our experts will find your presentation extremely valuable.

Guys, feel free to reach out to David anytime. Again, his e-mail is support@davidafields.com. If you want access to any of his papers or his benchmarks, his scripts or if you are interested in hiring him as a mentor, reach out to him.

This closes today’s presentation. We’ll be sending the recording of this presentation through e-mail in the upcoming week, so stay tuned. Thank you very much for attending and I wish you all a very nice day. Thank you very much.

David: Thanks, Enrique. Bye, all.