Consultant Marketing 4 Proposals
It has been a long week here at the south end of the sidewalk. Wasn’t feeling particularly well and editing video always tuckers me out.
The bright spot in the week came when one of my clients challenged my thinking. I thoroughly enjoy that sort of interchange because I work with elite consultants who got that way by thinking outside the box.
For years I’ve defined a prospect as:
- Someone with a problem you can solve
- Who has the funds to pay you
- Is willing to talk to you
Yes, I’m well aware of how the best consultants build solution proposals. There are a few that go beyond that to what are known as value-based proposals.
Getting outside the box
A value-based proposal is one step outside the familiar box we all operate in. My client forced me to think about proposals that don’t have a visible problem. What if you, as a CEO ,have the glimmer of a disruption or an opportunity on the horizon? No visible problem. What about when there is a solution but no visible problem. You have to think outside the box to deal with those possibilities. See the 3-minute video: https://vimeo.com/356539908
Here are the four kinds of consultant proposals I’ve concluded must be in the leading consultant’s toolbox.
1. The Solution Proposal All of us have been trained to work in this box. The process is to identify the problem, look at alternative solutions to include resource requirements and expected outcomes and then to implement the chosen solution.
2. The Value-Based Proposal To do this you have to think outside the box. Experienced consultants demand a sit down with the woman or man in charge. They start with an open mind, candidly discuss the visible problem as well as he alue that will accrue to the company with a solution. Then they take it one step further. They add recommendations above and beyond the requested solution to add value to their engagement.
3. The Quantification Proposal A CEO’s job is to keep the company ahead of the curve, see into the future and sense the possible disruptions out there. What if she or he just has a niggling feeling about a potential future problem, or better still an opportunity that is on the horizon? The CEO wants to get a resolution on the uncertainty. She or he wants to quantify it and then look at the actions required to achieve it or defend from it.
Not every consultant is qualified to handle that assignment. Together, you and the CEO must assess the perceived discontinuity. Two concerns drive the selection of the consultant to handle this kind of engagement:
- A successful track record with this client (to include a couple flashes of brilliance and out of the box thinking).
- Experience in an industry or credentials in science or engineering that is perceived to have knowledge to bring to this research.
The reason you are in the room should drive how you build your proposal. Your proposal must identify the objectives, how they will be satisfied and a specific time frame to do so. If you believe that expertise you don’t have is required you must explain how you will find it and how you will engage it. To the degree possible, you must provide a statement of how the information obtained will be evaluated. You may also want to consider how to implement or oversee implementation.
4. The Shared Passion Proposal This is for when you have a solution without a problem. In all likelihood you have developed it out of your experience. You need a way to describe it and a way to convince CEOs to just have a conversation about it.
This idea was outside my comfort zone. For starters the urgency of the problem is not inherent in this situation. You don’t even have a niggling possibility causing concern for the CEO. But, I strove to build a product description more meaningful and to apply the techniques of 30-Second Marketing TM. In this case, the key to greater profits, even in a down economy, is hidden in plain sight in every company that has employees. Employees, approached properly can, in a relatively short time, develop a passion for the business that builds profits long term. The essence of that proposal is, for the moment, a trade secret but I’ve interviewed the men and women that have applied the process in their organizations. Greater dollar profits are only the tip of the iceberg in the world of the Millenials.
And so it goes.
Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com
His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for on and off-line Trust-based Consultant Marketing and Brand development advice that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy.
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