Why Clients Buy
Harry Beckwith is the author of Unthinking: The Surprising Forces Behind What We Buy. His books also include the modern marketing classics, Selling the Invisible, The Invisible Touch, and What Clients Love: A Field Guide to Growing Your Business.
I asked Beckwith how we can use his latest insights about buyer behavior to rethink our approaches to business development.
How to Become a Great Consultant
“We look for people who are smart, who are humble, and who are nice.”
In this podcast, I talk with Mark Birzell, co-founder of consulting firm, Loft9, which was named one of Consulting magazine’s Seven Small Jewels of 2012. Since the launch of Loft9 in 2010, the firm has grown its client base, revenue, and its group of consultants. One of the firm’s keys to success: hire extraordinary people and be proactive in the growth and development their careers.
I talked to Mark about what personal attributes he believes makes for a great consultant, how his firm is approaching the market, and how he thinks about getting the right price for his firm’s services.
How to Manage a Professional Services Firm
Maureen Broderick is the author of The Art of Managing Professional Services: Insights from Leaders of the World’s Top Firms. In the book, she draws on more than 130 in-depth interviews with top firm leaders to create a roadmap for building a high-performance practice.
How to Take the Pain Out of Marketing
“We’re not good at bringing in completely new leads from cold.”
Most consultants, and I’d include myself in this, would probably admit that they could do a better job marketing their practices.
We all face one or more of the familiar barriers to effective marketing—not enough time, not enough interest, or not enough patience to stick with it when you don’t get quick results.
Everyone’s situation is different, but there are good answers to the toughest questions about marketing. To help answer those questions, I asked UK-based marketing consultant, Ian Brodie, for his views on our common marketing challenges.
Ian has worked as a consultant—and with consultants—for years. And I think he’d tell you that he’s tried lots of things that worked really well for his business and some that didn’t.
How to See the Future
Daniel Burrus is the author of the bestselling new book, Flash Foresight: How to See the Invisible and Do the Impossible, and Technotrends. Burrus is one of the world’s leading technology forecasters and business strategists.
We asked him how we can use the futurist’s tools to guide our businesses and help clients find those new opportunities.
How to Start a Consulting Firm From Scratch
“After years and years of working in a large management consulting firm, I felt there had to be a better way.”
If you’ve ever thought of launching your own consulting firm or wondered how it’s done, then have a listen to this podcast with Dan Calista, founder of Vynamic, a health care industry management consulting firm. Dan started the practice with a lap top in his living room in 2002.
Today, Vynamic is a practice of more than 60 people who serve health care industry clients and continue to build an extraordinary place to pursue their careers.
In this podcast, Dan talks about the defining moment that led him to launch Vynamic, what he learned as he grew the business, and what he’d do differently if he was starting over again.
How to Run a Great Webcast
“People don’t usually need more data; they need story, and meaning, and application.”
Like me, you’ve probably attended many webinars or other virtual presentations. Overall, the sessions I’ve seen have been, at best, uneven in quality. Given that, I thought I’d ask Roger Courville, one of the most articulate experts on this subject, what it takes to stage a great webinar.
Roger wrote the book on virtual presentations–literally. He’s the author of The Virtual Presenter’s Handbook, which helps virtual presenters develop and deliver content that engages audiences. He’s also the co-founder of 1080 Group, a firm that helps clients design and optimize web seminar programs.
In this podcast, Roger and I talk about the common characteristics of a great webinar, how speakers can hold an audience’s attention, and how to approach the creation of presentation slides. Roger also offers his perspective on the market for paid webinars, why webinar programs are an untapped opportunity, and what the future holds for virtual presentations.
How to Become a Top-Performing Seller
In this podcast, I talk with Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson, co-authors of The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation.
Based on their extensive survey of more than 6,000 salespeople, Dixon and Adamson have identified the profile of a seller who is four times more likely than others to be a top performer.
This powerful research, which skewers some of the most sacred cows of selling, is full of lessons that you can use now.
How to Use Your Emotional Intelligence at Work
In this podcast, I talk with Daniel Goleman, author of the groundbreaking book, Emotional Intelligence. Goleman’s recent research on brain science suggests new ways to use our minds to be creative when we need to be, to build rapport more easily, and to stay focused and productive for longer periods of time.
His new findings are included in his eBook, The Brain and Emotional Intelligence: New Insights. He shares some of those insights with us in this podcast.
How to Become a Trusted Advisor
Charles Green and Andrea Howe, authors of The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook, the successor to Green’s classic work, The Trusted Advisor, talk about new ways to build trust with clients, colleagues, and others.
How to Create a Great Client Experience
Jim Gilmore is the co-author (with Joseph Pine) of the recently-updated, groundbreaking book, The Experience Economy.
I talked to Gilmore about how we can create the experiences that will help us serve clients more effectively, attract new ones, and build our businesses.
How to Make Your Content Compelling
Ann Handley, author of the fast-selling book, Content Rules, How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business, is a veteran of creating and managing digital content to build relationships for organizations and individuals.
She is the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, which provides strategic and tactical marketing know-how for marketing and business professionals through a full range of online media.
How to Set Your Price
You can offer great services, be an amazing marketer, and know everything you need to sell your services. But if you don’t get your price right, you can find yourself working harder and longer than you planned.
In this podcast, I talk with Michael Katz, founder of Blue Penguin Development, about pricing for professional service providers.
We talk about how you should price your services, the role of measurable value in your proposed price, and the part of the pricing process that most service providers should try to change now.
How to Win a Complex Sale
Jill Konrath is a leading sales strategist and the author of Selling to Big Companies, and SNAP Selling: Speed Up Sales and Win More Business with Today’s Frazzled Customers. In this podcast, Jill offers practical strategies to help you reach the right client, with the right offer, at the right time.
How to Become a Great Leader
In this podcast, I talk with James Kouzes, co-author with Barry Posner of the international bestseller, The Leadership Challenge, and the new edition of Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand It. For more than 25 years, Kouzes and his colleagues have conducted extensive research around the world on the traits and behaviors of effective leaders.
Kouzes and I talk about the four top traits that people admire most in their leaders (competence doesn’t top the list, by the way) and how emerging leaders can develop those skills.
The Competitive Advantage Most Organizations Miss
“Though I can’t be sure, I suspect that at some point about thirty years ago, a cleverly sadistic and anti-business consultant decided that the best way to really screw up companies was to convince them that what they needed was a convoluted, jargony, and all-encompassing declaration of intent.“
Patrick Lencioni is a consultant, best-selling author, and president of The Table Group, a consulting firm dedicated to building healthy organizations. He speaks and consults to a wide range of companies, including multinationals, start-ups,and non-profits.
His latest book, The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business, is the culmination of Lencioni’s full body of work. And in the book, he lays out a strong case for why organizational health offers the greatest opportunity for competitive advantage.
How to Create Breakthrough Ideas
Mark Levy is the founder of Levy Innovation, a marketing strategy company, and the author of Accidental Genius: Using Writing to Generate Your Best Ideas, Insight, and Content. Levy’s book shows us how to use a tool called freewriting to explore our ideas, solve problems, and create marketing and thought leadership material.
In this podcast interview, we asked Levy to explain what freewriting is, why it works, how to get started, and how to apply it in our businesses.
How to Change Anything
“We’re surrounded by influences that we don’t even see–we’re blind to them.“
In this podcast I talk with David Maxfield, co-author of the book, Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success .
Maxfield and his team studied the science of personal change through their work with over 5,000 people. The result is a comprehensive framework for making and sustaining personal change.
How to Give Your Best Speech Ever
Nick Morgan is the author of the eBook, 7 Steps to a Great Speech. Morgan, one of America’s top communication theorists and coaches, is also the author of Trust Me: Four Steps to Authenticity and Charisma, and Give Your Speech, Change the World: How to Move Your Audience to Action.
How to Have a Tough Conversation
In this podcast, I talk with Kerry Patterson, co-author of the landmark book, Crucial Conversations. The first edition of the book, which sold 2 million copies, changed how we communicate at work and in our personal lives. Now, the book has been completely updated, with new research, case studies, and tools that you can use to make your high stakes conversations go more smoothly.
Patterson and I talk about why crucial conversations can be so tough–part of the problem is the hard wiring humans are born with. And we discuss how to keep a crucial conversation on track, especially when emotions run high.
How to Sell Your Ideas
“We have become so enamoured of our ability to talk that we often delude ourselves into thinking that, if we can talk about an idea, we understand it well.”
In this podcast, I talk with Dan Roam, author of BLAH, BLAH, BLAH: What To Do When Words Don’t Work. Roam’s mission is to help us solve problems and sell ideas more effectively–not just with words, but by tapping the power of visual communication.
He’s written two other bestsellers on that topic: The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Picture, and Unfolding the Napkin: The Hands-On Method for Solving Complex Problems with Simple Pictures.
Dan gives us some great (and easy) pointers for clarifying complex ideas and finding workable solutions to tough problems–using pictures!
How to Become a Rainmaker
In this podcast we talk with Mike Schultz, co-author of the book, Rainmaking Conversations: Influence, Persuade, and Sell in Any Situation, and of Professional Services Marketing. Schultz is the publisher of RainToday.com, and president of the RAIN Group.
He talks about the skills–and mindset–you need to become a rainmaker, why curiosity is an essential part of the sales process, and how you should think about the objections that arise during the sales process.
How to Use Power Questions
Sometimes, the best questions you could ask your clients in interviews, sales meetings, or casual conversations don’t occur to you until after the encounter. That’s happened to me more than once while driving home from a meeting.
Now you can be ready before your meetings with help from the new book, Power Questions: Build Relationships, Win New Business, and Influence Others, by Andrew Sobel and Jerold Panas.
The book highlights 35 conversations with CEOs, clients, and friends to illustrate the impact of thought-provoking, incisive questions.
In this podcast, I ask Andrew to share his best power questions, especially those that can help you through a sales process. We also talk about the questions you shouldn’t ask.
How to Become a Great Boss
Most people have at least one horror story about a bad boss. If you’re lucky, you’ve also experienced a really good boss.
Our guest, Robert Sutton, has a thing or two to say on the subject of bosses. Sutton is a professor of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford, and the author of Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best…and Learn from the Worst.
Sutton’s previous books include the bestseller, The No-Asshole Rule, Weird Ideas That Work, Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths & Total Nonsense, and The Knowing-Doing Gap.
I asked Sutton for his take on what makes for a good boss and a bad one. I also asked for his opinion on some famous bosses like Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, Steve Ballmer, and Tony Hayward.
How to Get a Book Published
A common question I hear from consultants is, “How can I get a book published?”
In this podcast, I’ll ask our guest, Glenn Yeffeth, that question. Glenn is publisher of BenBella Books, a boutique book publisher with a great track record for finding high-quality authors and publishing bestselling books.
Glenn isn’t a stranger to management consulting. Before founding BenBella Books, he was managing director at the consulting firm, CSC Index.
I’ll also ask Glenn what publishers look for when evaluating a nonfiction book proposal, what book topics attract publishers, and how to work with a literary agent.