Stand-Out Consultants: What I Learned from Linda Popky

:: As a consultant for many years, I like to think I have a handle on my business. But advice from WIC member Linda Popky at the November meeting really got me thinking.

Am I creating new intellectual property each week that I can share with my clients? Am I sharing that in at least 3 different communication channels each week to differentiate my practice?

According to Linda, too often we don’t have a plan for our work. We just accept the work that comes to us. That work may not be right for us or get us to our goals. So how do you stand out if your projects aren’t defining the future you want?

Be different.

That may be easy to say and hard to do. So ask yourself what makes you different from the client’s point of view. How is the client better after you worked with them?

Ask your clients why they work with you, why they bring you back. The answers will surprise you. Use these as testimonials. Also ask what you can do better. Own this feedback and thank them for it.

Know what you do best, but don’t be afraid of going after new opportunities with existing clients. Let them know of other types of work you can do. If you are known for X, get out of your comfort zone with Y.  The easiest way to expand your business is new products and services to existing clients.

Focus on value, not deliverables.

It is difficult to differentiate by price. You risk becoming a commodity. Do you want to be the low cost leader? Linda used an example from an audience member who is an educational consultant who advises on college placement. Do clients want to work with the Wal-Mart of college placement? Probably not, they want to work with someone who can help them get their child into the best schools. Focus on value instead. People will pay for value.

And here’s what I found most valuable: there is no sound unless you make it. Let clients know how you can help them. Make this your brand.

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