I’m gazing out at the sea on my final morning in this glorious room. As I often do, I’m also trying to synthesize what I’ve learned over the last few days at the Million Dollar Club. Here are some ideas—a checklist, if you will—for focusing on growth in your professional practice:
1. Instantiate your learning. You can’t allow good ideas to merely hang out in your head. Express them, apply them, and improve them. Make the conceptual and theoretical tangible and concrete.
2. Turn your intellectual capital into intellectual property. As you express, apply, and improve, convert your ideas into products and services that result in value for the client, and equitable compensation for you. Evolve IC into IP.
3. Create diagnostics for your marketing. Engage the prospect in a conversational analysis of where they are and where they want to be using your value and methodology. Very simple charts and process visuals will do this. Don’t hold the diagnostics until after the project begins, because they are very strong marketing tools if applied to “whet the appetite.”
4. Discipline yourself to be diagnostic in the marketing phase but prescriptive in the implementation phase. You’re the consultant, and the client needs you for something that can’t readily be accomplished internally. Don’t give away your technology in the front end and then allow the client to tell you how to consult!
5. A primary line of demarcation in marketing is “what, not how.” Help the prospect to understand what’s to be achieved (outcomes) but don’t provide detailed descriptions of how to do it, or you’ll give away your value and/or prompt the client to believe you’re not needed (but thanks for dropping by and giving me all this)!
6. Eschew the poverty mentality. You are not enslaved to the client’s dates or time frames. No one wants a consultant sitting around doing nothing who can answer a request like a fire house responding to an alarm. Don’t accept inconvenient dates or business that subordinates family and vacation time.
7. Never tell people everything you know, whether in consulting, professional speaking, coaching, or even casual conversation. Just tell people what they need to know. This reduces labor and makes you an object of interest, not a bore.
8. Reducing labor intensity and paying down debt should be very close priorities to bringing in new revenues. The more successful you are as a consultant, the more they are co-equal.
9. Spend time with very successful people (NOT people who merely claim to be successful) and understand that you can always learn. Stop trying to prove how good your methodology is, or trying to find weakness in someone else’s position, and just listen. You can always ignore them. But if you’re not talking, you may just learn something new.
© Alan Weiss 2009. All rights reserved.