Consult This! 62 Tips for Consulting Success by Michael W. McLaughlin Principal, MindShare Consulting LLC

By Michael W. McLaughlin Principal, MindShare Consulting LLC Coauthor, Guerrilla Marketing for Consultants

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Phil Knight, Nike's founder, wasn't particularly fond of the logo but he needed something fast, so he went with it. In the thirty-plus years since, the company has spent unimaginable amounts of money drilling it into our heads that the now-famous swoosh stands for Nike. The Nike swoosh, the stylized Coca-Cola signature, and the ubiquitous UPS logo have meaning for consumers because those companies have spent a fortune getting us to associate specific symbols with their enterprises. While a logo may look cool on a Web site, it won't help get your company's message through to the customer.

3. What are the risks of the project? Some consultants downplay a discussion of risk for fear of jeopardizing the sale. Risk is always on the client’s mind, so get the subject on the table as early as possible. 4. How will the consultants interact with us? Client decision makers want to know how you will work with their people. Clarify the roles, expectations, and time commitments for the client’s team members and your own team. And explain your working style. 5. Can the consultant keep fees under control?

Think of exploratory client meetings as test drives. Don't waste time telling clients how great you are. Get to the heart of the issue they face, and be prepared to prove how you can help them. Clients are braced for consultants to launch into the hard sell, so surprise your prospective client. Don't tell them about the great services you offer, but show them how you can help by suggesting ideas about project objectives, how to organize the project, and how to get it done. You'll sell more work by letting clients buy from you, rather than trying to sell to them.

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