News & Articles
To help consultants crack the code, pre-conference workshop presenters Henry DeVries and Mark LeBlanc will take the mystery out of business development with pragmatic advice in three areas: money, focus, and marketing.
“Follow the nine best practices in this trio of areas, and you will succeed,” advises LeBlanc.
Here is a quick overview of the book, Build Your Consulting Practice: How Successful Independent Consultants Grow their Business and Deliver Value to Clients, that every attendee at the pre-conference will receive:
- Track Your Numbers Properly. “There are many tips in this book; this is the only demandment,” says LeBlanc.
- Know Your Numbers. What gets measured gets managed. If you are unwilling to consider going on QuickBooks and reshaping your profit-and-loss statement, you should probably quit reading now.
- Create a Profile of Your Ideal Week. Good news, everybody. You don’t control much in life, but you do get to control your time. Isn’t that why you became an independent professional, solo consultant, or small business owner in the first place?
- Maintain Your Daily Focus. Mighty castles are built one brick at a time. All we ask is nine minutes a day to make a call, send an email, and mail a card. One a day, one a day, one a day.
- Develop Your Will-Do List. Scrap those traditional “to-do” lists. Instead, what three accomplishments will you complete in thirty days, ninety days, in one year, in five years, and in ten years? These are the stars you guide your ship by.
- Execute a Mix of New Contact Strategies. There are no bad marketing strategies. Everyone is unique, and everyone needs a mix that works for him or her. “One size fits all” is one of the world’s three great lies (the other two are “This won’t hurt as much as you think,” and “I’m from the government, and I am here to help.”)
- Leverage Your Database. Next to cash, this is the biggest asset your business has. The time has come to whip your lazy database into shape.
- Navigate Your Internet Game Plan. It is a brave new digital world. Beware: does your web presence make you look old and outdated?
- Listen Carefully, Respond Appropriately. At last, you are having a meaningful conversation with a prospect. Most independent professionals and solo consultants can increase their closing rates by 50 to 100 percent based on how they ask and answer questions.
“The more prospects you inform how to solve their problems in general, the more will hire you for the specifics,” says DeVries. “In the words of the late motivational speaker Zig Ziglar: ‘You can get whatever you want in life if you just help enough people get what they want.’”
The opening and closing minutes of your presentation are your greatest opportunities to create an impact for the audience, advises conference Sunday morning October 22 kick off speaker Kathy McAfee.
“These minutes can make or break your outcome,” says McAfee, author of the new book Stop Global Boring: How to Create Engaging Presentations that Motivate Audiences to Action.
McAfee is a professional speaker, executive presentation coach, and the owner of Kmc Brand Innovation, LLC, which helps executives and entrepreneurs improve presentation and networking skills.
“You must grab the audience immediately with your opening and, when you leave them, change the audience in some way,” says McAfee. “Your opening and closing are so important to your outcome that it is critical you spend time crafting them.”
Here are her five keys to ensure your opening and closing are as powerful as they can be:
- Avoid palaver or idle chatter. Resist the temptation to waste precious minutes of your opening with a general greeting such as, “Good morning, everyone. I hope you all slept well and you are as excited as I am to be here for this meeting.” While civil and polite, such an opening is boring, seen as meaningless chatter, and a waste of your time and theirs. They know it is morning. It’s up to you to make it a good one. I advise my clients to know the first words they’ll say. The first sounds out of your mouth should not be “Umm” or “So” or “Thanks for that great introduction.”
- Move the good stuff up front. In reality, you have little time to capture and hold your audience’s attention. Don’t bore them with logistics or the agenda. Don’t save the most important information for slide fifty-eight in your PowerPoint deck. Figure out what is mission-critical and put that information at the beginning. By doing so, you won’t risk that it might get lost and never heard. Opening with the word imagine is a powerful way to begin a presentation because it triggers the visual senses of your audience. Try it.
- Begin and end without PowerPoint slides. Even if you are using some slides during your presentation, you should always start and end “naked.” That is, it’s just you and the audience. You don’t need a title slide to open your presentation. You are the title slide. You are the closing slide. Your live presence in the room is all they need to see, hear, feel, and experience. Take center stage and fill the room with your energy, ideas, and passion. Develop a short and compelling speaker introduction. Hand this to the person who will introduce you and let them position you for success.
- Avoid the weak wind-down. The close is the second most important section in your presentation. Because it’s at the end, many presenters forget to think about how they’re going to close their presentation. They simply let it happen by running out of time or asking a throwaway question such as, “Are there any questions?” Don’t let your presentation close by itself. End solidly and with purposeful intent. Demonstrate one more time that you are an expert in your field and clearly in charge of your presentation. I share some possible closings at the end of this chapter.
- Your energy will make the difference. There is no substitute for genuine enthusiasm and belief in your topic. The energy you bring through your voice, your movement, your passion, and your creativity will go a long way toward creating a more powerful, lasting impact for your audience. You control the volume of that energy by choosing the intensity level based on the response you want and your preferred presentation style.
“I also recommend that you commit your opening and closing remarks to memory,” says McAfee. “Never wing it. Practice your opening and closing remarks over and over. Starting and ending strong will enhance your presentation performance.”
Consultant marketing authors Henry DeVries and Mark LeBlanc will return to offer a no-cost pre-conference workshop from 12:30 to 4:30 pm on Friday, October 20 titled “Accelerating Your Growth from Top Line to Bottom Line.”
Everyone in attendance will receive a copy of the pair’s new book: Build Your Consulting Practice: How Successful Independent Consultants Grow their Business and Deliver Value to Clients. This book is a how-to guide that takes the mystery out of business development with pragmatic advice and case studies in three areas: money, focus, and marketing.
“Based on our research, the code has been cracked,” says DeVries, the chair of the IMC USA Conference for the second year in a row. “There is a group of successful independent consultants who no longer struggles with the ups and downs of the revenue roller coaster.”
Much of the book’s content will be highlighted at the four-hour workshop.
“Getting the Money Right: Menus, Models, and Margins” and “The Nine Best Practices for Growing a Practice” will be covered by LeBlanc, author of Growing Your Business and Never Be the Same, and past president of the National Speakers Association.
“Persuading Prospects with a Well-Crafted Defining Story” and “The Secrets of Goldilocks Pricing for Consultants,” will be covered by DeVries, CEO of Indie Books International, continuing education dean emeritus at the University of California San Diego, and author of Persuade with a Story! and How to Close a Deal Like Warren Buffett.
Being a powerful, persuasive presenter is no longer simply a nice skill to have for a consultant, says conference opening keynote speaker Patricia Fripp.
“It can be the difference between business and career life or death,” says Fripp. “If your audience is one, five, fifty or five hundred you want your message to be memorable for all the right reasons.”
Nobody is better than Fripp at helping you increase your presentation knowledge and impact.
Fripp is a Hall of Fame award-winning speaker, sales presentation skills trainer, in-demand executive speech coach, and on-line training expert. Meetings and Conventions magazine named her “One of the 10 most electrifying speakers in North America.” Kiplinger’s Personal Finance wrote that “. . . the sixth best way to invest in you is to learn presentation skills from Patricia Fripp.”
The 3,500-member National Speakers Association elected Patricia their first female president. Patricia is now virtually everywhere with her highly interactive, learn-at-your-own-pace, on-line training at www.FrippVT.com. This is the best way to learn presentation skills easily, conveniently, quickly, and cost-effectively. Patricia is also a subject matter expert for Continuing Education at XTRACredits.
Her clients include Genentech, Concur, First American, Cisco, Visa, Microsoft, SAP, and American Payroll Association.
At her 5:30 pm Friday, October 20 opening keynote titled “Under the Magnifying Glass: Good to Great Presentations! you will learn specific techniques that will guarantee that both you and your presentations build credibility and business, including the following:
- Take your client conversations and presentations from good to great
- Add small, specific techniques that impact your message positively
- Present information in the right order for retention
- Understand the number one secret of a great speech
- Dramatize your stories and client examples
- Add the power of specificity
- Emotionally connect to every audience
On Saturday October 21 Fripp will offer a breakout session with the title “You Are the Star: Take Your Good Presentations and Make Them Great.”
In this completely interactive session willing volunteers deliver a segment of their content, story or sales conversations. Patricia Fripp adds her legendary razor-sharp “mini-coaching. Both volunteers and audience members will see the principles from her keynote in action in their presentations.
“As a consultant yourself you realize this is the best way to demonstrate your advice,” says Fripp. “I promise if you attend this breakout you will improve your communication skills.”
We hope to see you in Atlanta this October at the 2017 Institute of Management Consultants USA Conference. Here are ten reasons why you should attend:
1. Meet Experts and Influencers Face-to-Face. The conference is the right size to allow the time and space to actually meet the experts and leaders in attendance.
2. Find Potential Partners. Many consulting projects require a team approach, and the conference is a great place to connect with potential partners.
3. Make Networking Connections. Networking meals and breaks are designed into the conference so you can meet speakers, attendees and sponsors.
4. Learn New Tips and Tactics. The business of consulting is evolving and you will get a chance to learn from the leaders.
5. Achieve Greater Focus. A conference like this is a great way to rethink your approaches and find how others are finding more focus.
6. Share the Energy of Like-Minded Individuals. Consulting can be lonely for the independent, and at the conference you can get your batteries recharged.
7. Invest in Yourself. If you want to build your practice, then invest in the knowledge provided by others who have done just that.
8. Have Fun. Atlanta is a top tourist destination, so make some time to enjoy the fun and history the city has to offer.
9. Solidify Personal Contacts. Meet with established partners and make new connections from North America and beyond in just one weekend.
10. Decide on Next Steps. Finish the fourth quarter strong and generate momentum for 2018 by using the conference to develop your personal action plan.
Don’t miss your chance to save on admission prices. Prices go up on May 31st. Register today!
Conference Begins In
For the last decade, this conference has been a time just for me – to reconnect to colleagues, to meet new people, to listen to top-notch speakers, to learn about trends – it’s a perfect way to recharge my practice!Loraine Huchler
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