Wowzers! That’s my general response to a controversy that has been brewing over the last several weeks among marketers responsible for promoting architecture, engineering and construction professional services.
Consulting is, in my opinion, one of the most noble professions that exists. Sadly, too many freelancers, subcontractors and outsourced laborers have diluted the meaning of the word “consultant.” For the purposes of this article, let’s agree that the true definition of a consultant is a professional who leverages many years of experience, knowledge, and training, often applying their own unique intellectual property, in order to improve their client’s outcome in a given situation.
So without clients, a consultant is actually just a pundit.
One of the biggest challenges when it comes to being successful as a consultant, therefore, is attracting clients and winning assignments.
Merilee Kern, writing for the Innovation Enterprise Strategy blog, observed the following:
But, even in a trade that’s rife with profit potential, actually earning that pot of gold can be extraordinarily difficult given there are two-plus million consultants, coaches, trainers, and similar professionals all fighting to find clients, win projects and make a living. Roughly half of these consultants are solo practitioners or in boutique firms—and the sad reality is most boutique consulting firms are perpetually six months away from bankruptcy. Their ‘new business procurement’ engine sputters along resulting in a persistent struggle to grow larger, while solo consultants capture average annual revenue under $70,000 (compared to $250,000 per consultant across the entire industry). To explore this disconnect, I connected with David A. Fields, author of ‘The Executive’s Guide to Consultants,’ and the soon-to-be-released follow-up title, ‘ The Irresistible Consultant’s Guide to Winning Clients .’ Himself a multi-million-dollar-earning independent consultant, this ‘expert’s expert’ has some sage advice on how people can realize success in the consulting trade—a profession, he concedes, that can be ‘as problematic as it is profitable.’ Since Fields has coached hundreds of successful consultants and other independent practitioners around the world on how to ‘make it rain,’ I asked him the obvious question: ‘Why do so many struggle in this field?’ Quite unequivocally, he asserted that too many consultants—the majority, in fact—are completely missing the mark with respect to their baseline approach and overarching mindset. To help give independent consultants a clearer path to that coveted yet elusive goal of financial freedom through what ‘could’ be a lifestyle-friendly career, here are six of Fields’ pragmatic, eye-opening tips:
- Think Right-Side Up
- Maximize Impact
- Build Visibility
- Connect, Connect, Connect
- Become the Obvious Choice
- Propose, Negotiate & Close
Make sure to read the full article for detailed explanations of Fields’ tips for closing more business as a consultant.
Stephen Manlove is managing principal for the Washington, DC office of the award-winning HDR Architecture group. Their new office building, located in the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington, VA, was just awarded LEED Platinum certification under USGBC’s LEED for Interiors, under version 2009 of the program.
Such a pursuit is not for the faint of heart. Manlove wrote a great piece for the HDR blog that tells the story called, Our Journey to Platinum and How it has Shaped Who We Are. So, why did HDR go to such great lengths for their new facility? (more…)
Whether you are in a formal marketing role, or if you are a consultant or small business owner, the only way to continue to connect with clients/prospects is to make sure that your marketing outreach is as effective as it can be. Since marketing best practices are constantly shifting, that means that we as professionals must continue to invest in learning from the successes and failures of other marketers.
Josh Steimle, CEO of marketing agency MWI, and author of a book called Chief Marketing Officers at Work, has published a list of 10 books he recommends reading in 2017 to improve your marketing game. Here is the list:
- “They Ask You Answer” by Marcus Sheridan
- “Non-Obvious 2017” by Rohit Bhargava
- “SEO for Growth” by John Jantsch and Phil Singleton
- “Hug Your Haters” by Jay Baer
- “Pre-Suasion” by Robert Cialdini Ph.D.
- “Get Scrappy” by Nick Westergaard
- “What Customers Crave” by Nicholas Webb
- “Invisible Influence” by Jonah Berger
- “Hacking Marketing” by Scott Brinker
- “Digital Sense” by Travis Wright and Chris Snook
Check out Josh’s post at Mashable for descriptions of each book, and why it is relevant to your ongoing professional development.
Over at Adweek, Jason Snyder has a great piece on who the real target demographic might be for marketing: robots.
Whoever is closest to the consumer controls the conversation. But it’s not you who’s closest—it’s the machines. The good news for marketers is that unlike fickle, demographic-defying consumers, robots are consistent—staying true to their programming. For now anyway. And talking to them requires speaking their language—and increasingly that language is less about understanding 1’s and 0’s and more about simple, normal words.
The more things change, in some way, the more things seem to stay the same. One of the constants in my ongoing education as a marketer in the legal industry is the sage advice of Ed Poll’s LawBizBlog.
A recent post of Ed’s tackles the perennial subject of technology’s impact on labor markets. Specifically, as a legal professional, he focuses on the impact of technology on the legal profession combined with the economic climate of the most recent recession. (more…)
Mission statements are like press releases—there are established writing conventions that apply. If you don’t nail the format just right, it will stick out like a sore thumb, and all your hard work will be for naught.*
Whether you are CEO or president, in marketing, or were drafted to your company’s official Mission Statement Committee, your best bet is to play it safe. That means using plenty of jargon to impress upon others that your company “gets it.” (more…)
A short while back, I had a chance to meet an extraordinary young man named Brandon Andrews. As he was transitioning out of the Navy SEALs, he launched a new company called Trident CM LLC, with the brilliant idea to recruit former SEALs to provide construction quality management on DOD projects.
In the built environment, from the Northridge earthquake, to Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, and other disasters, resilience has become an imperative. But what does that even mean? (more…)
The folks at Source for Consulting have been publishing insight on the consulting industry since 2007. Unlike a lot of firms that focus on the industry, Source for Consulting insists on a global perspective.
So this is satire, just to be clear… John Frank Weaver, writing for the always hilarious McSweeney’s, offers a wonderfully hand-crafted glimpse into the imaginary life of an Artisanal Attorney.
Weaver opens his piece with the question, “Are you tired of large corporate law firms making the same cookie cutter litigation?” (I know that I am not alone in the construction defect industry that immediately thinks of one law firm in particular upon reading that question.
How is an artisanal attorney different from any other attorney? Like other artisans, I pay close attention to my ingredients and process; I am intimately involved in all stages of creation. Other attorneys print their documents on paper they buy in mass-produced boxes, tens of thousands of sheets at a time, using ink that mechanically jets onto the page. I make my own paper by hand, using the traditional methods of 14th-century book publishers, who printed their works on linen and vellum. The flax for the linen grows along the sides of a nearby swimming hole, and the plants’ growth is influenced by the laughter of children in the summer, when I pick it by hand. The vellum comes from the grass-fed cows of an area farm; to give the cows more agency in the vellum-making process, I let them choose the pumice I will treat their hides with after slaughter. I also make my own ink, using the ink of squid I raise myself in a PETA-approved salt-water aquarium in my office. You can meet all my squid during our initial meeting and pick which one you want for the ink on your will or healthcare power of attorney…
Don’t be lulled into a complacent life filled with more cheap, manufactured goods than you’ll ever need and lawsuits that don’t reflect your uniqueness. Insist on a life well-lived with food, experiences, and litigation that reflect people and skills, not factories and automation. The next time you need to settle a boundary dispute with your neighbor, consult with me – I’m your artisanal attorney. You can find me on Bedford Avenue, in between Ruby’s Fluoridation-Free Fire Sprinkler Installation and Otto’s Mustache Groomery.