Quiet, I’m Consulting With the Spirits

I receive a lot of questions about how to determine if someone is the buyer or not. People reveal to me that they look for certain signs and listen for certain signals. This is the scapulimancy of the modern consultant. Here’s my response, to ask the other person: “Will this come out of your budget, solely through your approval, or will a superior be involved?” That’s it, two seconds. Save yourself two weeks of consulting your horoscope.

Talk to Me

When you’re delayed in an airport with no communication from the airline, you become increasingly angry. However, when the airline informs you frequently of the cause of the delay and expected departure, you can do other things, make other plans, and take positive steps (Jet Blue is very good at this). Things go wrong. Explain to your clients and friends. Don’t try to hide them and don’t “go dark.”


Superb marketing is reliant on “reach.” Reach has two elements: The amount of names you can readily access (lists) which are relevant to your value. The ease with which you can get on those radar screens (they read what you send, respond to you). This is an off-balance-sheet asset. Develop it and safeguard it.

Give Me an Example

I stage mock media interviews with people to improve their presence and ability to stay in the moment. Here’s a question that is unusually difficult for many: “What two or three companies would you name that are doing a good job in terms of your approach, and what two or three are performing poorly by not using your approach?” Be prepared to give examples of organizations that validate your positions (about leadership, strategy, sales, whatever) either by exemplifying them or …

Gloomy Gus

My late handyman—he was older than I—frequented the same coffee shop that I take the dogs to in the morning. The owner runs a nice place, but he’s always complaining. My handyman gave him the sobriquet, “Gloomy Gus.” If it’s raining it’s bad for business because people will go to a Dunkin’ Donuts drive-through, rather than get out of their cars. If it’s sunny it’s bad for business because people will go to the beach. You get the picture: Business …

Speaking of Business

I’d suggest you consider a speech—whether paid or pro bono—a marketing opportunity. You have the forum to meet others before and after, perhaps interview key people in preparation, provide handouts and contacts, and most of all, show how expert you are on stage. Don’t see an event, see a process, which leads to the express lane for marketing. Increase your speed, don’t take the exit ramp.

You’re Agile. I’m Resilient

Don’t try to be merely different, show that you’re better. If someone were to say, “We’re all about agile, agile is the hot topic today.” You say, “Well, I’m about resilience. Here’s the difference: An agile fielder might avoid a ball that’s difficult and dangerous, but a resilient fielder adjusts to the bad bounce and still makes the play.” Or: “Agility helps you to bounce around in place, but resilience carries you forward into the future.” Find a way to make …