Monthly Archives: May 2009

We want it, but we have no budget….

Rob Novak, a member of my Mentor Program and Million Dollar Consulting® College grad, posted this video reference on Alan’s Forums. I wanted to share it with a wider community, so that you can keep in mind the next time a buyer says, “Can we do it for less?” or “Think of the exposure you’ll get,” or “Let’s just test it.”

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Posted in Business of Consulting | 40 Comments

Six Figures to Seven Summary Gems

Here are just a few of the gems, personal observations, regrets, and improvement points in the summary reports from the participants in the Six Figures to Seven Workshop just concluded in Newport:

• I’ve worked much too hard at “not failing.”
• I’m going to stop working each day at 4, because I now work until 7.
• I have to fuel my work, my life, and my soul.
• My business is filled with latent profit.
• Rewarding myself is something I almost never do.
• My “quality family time” revolves around questions such as, “Why are you working so much?”
• Relationships lead to wealth.
• I’m my own bottleneck. I have to get out of my own way.

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The King of Social Media (Episode 33)

Click Here for entire series table of contents

© Alan Weiss 2009. All rights reserved.

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Posted in The Movies: The Writing on the Wall | Leave a comment

Is There Consulting Potential Out There? Oh Yeah….

Here are some of the issues that major, for-profit organizations are facing today. These are gathered from my various communities, mentoring, ongoing client work, and trends seen in business publications. They are in random order.

• Productivity after cuts, resource reductions, and freezes.
• Retaining key customers and clients.
• Maintaining client service with fewer resources.
• Complaints about outsourcing, particularly overseas service lines.
• Managing cash flow, credit lines, receivables, accounts payable.
• Using technology efficiently, not only effectively; ROI on technology.
• Market share in competitive markets; value vs. price competition.
• Branding, consumer loyalty, word-of-mouth, reputation.
• Employee loyalty, commitment, and innovation.
• Reduction in costs while providing equal or better service levels.
• Pragmatic strategies that can be implemented short-term.
• Non-financial reward systems.
• Adherence with regulatory, audit, and ethical criteria.
• Objective, firm evaluations of performance.
• Global presence and penetration; sales beyond borders.
• Being viewed as environmentally friendly, sustaining, “green.”
• Successfully managing press and media relationships and image.
• Employee theft.
• Reducing customer theft: inappropriate returns, complaints, etc.
• Lowering costs of acquisition.
• Evolving a work force which mirrors the customer demographics.
• Being attractive to investors; pleasing shareholders.
• Finding and appointing high quality board members.
• Succession planning and “bench strength” with reduced staff.
• Collaborating with and managing external venders and resources.
• Rapid product commercialization.
• Creating, disseminating, and exploiting knowledge internally.
• Rapid problem solving and avoidance of repetitive problems.
• Decisions made once and avoidance of failure work.
• A bias for action over planning, meetings, and analysis.
• Making tough and often painful decisions about people.

Some of these vary by industry, but surely you have the value, competence, inclination, and passion to address many of these issues.

This is a great time to be a consultant if you find people who have the ability to pay for your value, and you can demonstrate dramatic and rapid ROI.

© Alan Weiss 2009. All rights reserved.

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Posted in Business of Consulting, Consulting Opportunities | 2 Comments

Beware of “Offers”

Vistage is an operation that pays peanuts to presenters for “exposure.” Here is a “personalized” message I received today:

Dear Alan,

I recently came across your material and thought there was tremendous synergy with our Vistage community.

We are recognizing the top 30 Master Chairs (independent contractors working as executive coaches under the Vistage umbrella) and are looking for a dynamic workshop presenter who can provide both content rich material in an interactive workshop format.

I am preparing a short list of possible candidates and would like to consider you. Please let me know as soon as possible if you would like to be considered further.

Date: 10/16/09
Time: 3hrs in morning
Format: Interactive Workshop
Location: La Costa Resort, Carlsbad CA…..just north of San Diego
Audience: 30 top performing executive coaches
Budget including expenses: $5K

Warm regards,
Michael Schultz
Director of Learning and Development

Vistage International, Inc.

I’m a $25,000 keynoter, with a strong brand and in no need of artificial exposure. They are offering $5,000, INCLUDING EXPENSES, which means it would be about break even!! These are the kind of mindless, unfair, “offers” that are going out to take advantage of speakers and consultants. They don’t care whom they contact, and pretend to make this “personalized.” This guy knows nothing about me.

Hold your head up, demand that you be paid for your value, and don’t become an indentured servant to anyone for “exposure.” This stuff is just reprehensible.

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Posted in Business of Consulting | 6 Comments

You Need to Be Proactive to Sell

We are looking for a new truck. We’re probably one of the few couples around buying three top-end vehicles within six months, when it just so happens all our leases come up. (I’m going to name-drop to make my point. If that bothers you, don’t read on.)

We looked at an Escalade today. When the salesman who was next “up” saw the Bentley pull into the lot, he just about met us before I closed my door. He was personable and polite. He pulled up a truck, which took a long time, and it needed gas, so we had to stop. The rear seats weren’t fitted properly. The brakes smelled (he said from “newness”). He had no information yet on the 2010 models. Why isn’t this dealership prepared to show its best side? Why aren’t they acting as if they expect customers?

Earlier we looked at the top Audi model, which we like. We’re waiting for 2010 information on that. The salesman doesn’t have it. When we returned for a test drive, he had forgotten which truck we were interested in. He doesn’t follow up with us. Why doesn’t he realize that you need to be more than simply polite?

I’m writing this from the Hyatt Regency Goat Island in Newport, RI. I’ve returned here with my business (I’m running Six Figures to Seven tomorrow, and the Workshop Workshop in June) after a hiatus because I was unhappy with deteriorating service. The entire hotel staff had been told about my return and the care has been incredible. I was greeted by name at the door by the front desk manager, who had cones prepared to save a place for my car in front. Everyone has inquired about what they can do for me. They’ve put me in the presidential suite, and even the spa manager told me, “We are all so glad you’ve returned, we had a management meeting, and everyone was put on notice.” The Hyatt had reached out to me to return, and given me a special tour months ago to convince me.

There aren’t many people running the meetings I’m running these days, and there aren’t too many people buying the top-end vehicles, either. You have to do more than take orders, or respond to questions, or be polite. You have to be proactively assertive and accommodating.

We all have control of that. And we all need good business. What are you doing to proactively reach out to those who can pay for your value?

© Alan Weiss 2009. All rights reserved.

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Posted in Business of Consulting | 11 Comments

Metric This

I was talking to someone the other day who actually told me his metric for success was that his clients were calling him for help with the processes he implements in their organizations. That is the WRONG metric!

Imagine if I kept calling my car dealer for help because I couldn’t understand the owner’s manual. That means I haven’t been equipped with the information to use it; or that I’m not all that bright; or that the manual is lousy. Moreover, it’s immensely labor intensive for the customers to keep using staff time.

Getting back to my consultant, he asked me what would be the metric if he didn’t hear from clients with problems. I suggested:

• Unsolicited referrals
• Unsolicited testimonials
• Repeat business
• Expanded existing business
• Promptly returning your calls and email
• Calling you for advice on other matters

You get the idea. When clients call you because you’ve not enabled them to do something themselves adequately, you’re disempowering them AND yourself, since you’re eroding your discretionary time.

I once worked with a consulting firm in New York which had a metric of how many proposals were submitted each week. Not proposals accepted. Not proposals requested. But proposals submitted! “Okay,” I told the owner, “let’s start right here.”

A quiet client is often a happy client. You need legitimate and effective metrics to determine the extent of their happiness and how you can further capitalize upon it.

But if you’re sitting there waiting for them to complain, you’d better take two aspirins an call me in the morning.

© Alan Weiss 2009. All rights reserved.

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Posted in Business of Consulting | 4 Comments

The Dog Star

(The Dog Star is a symbol of power, will, and steadfastness of purpose, and exemplifies the One who has succeeded in bridging the lower and higher consciousness. – Astrological Definition)

The pool is open for the season! Koufax enjoys resting amidst the Hostas, while Buddy Beagle prefers a good Yucca.

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Adventures in Babysitting

With the Great Grandparents

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Posted in The Best of Life | Leave a comment

Holiday Gift

This link was forwarded by one of my Mentor Program members, David Lahey, who runs a business in excess of $2 million. While it’s a bit “Successories” in part, it does prove the point that I’ve long made in my speaking: The horse that wins the race by a nose wins ten times the purse. Yet it didn’t train ten times as hard, or ten times as long. It merely needed the extra effort to win by a few inches. Take a look:

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