Consultant Marketing Eye on the Money
It has been a long week here where the sidewalk ends.
Getting ready to get ready
I agreed to part company with a client that has been on and off multiple times over the last three months. He is brilliant, one the elite kinds of consultants I prefer to work with. But he keeps putting off taking action preferring instead to “look at alternatives and make sure every 't' is crossed.” This is the fault I call: getting ready to get ready.
I find it amazing that extremely well-paid consultants who counsel clients to take specific actions in relatively short time frames don’t follow their own advice!
Take your revenue stream up a notch
Wouldn’t you be more comfortable if you had an ongoing revenue stream that let you:
- Serve the kinds of clients you enjoy working with
- Do the kinds of engagements that are satisfying
- Have time to enjoy life a little more.
Over about 50 years consulting and coaching I’ve learned to improve the stats you need to know to sort out the mundane stuff to make the shift. Here’s what you need to do:
1. Track your current engagement data
2. Target prospects similar to your preferred clients
3. Take action to be seen, heard, remembered and perceived as a trusted expert.
Tracking ain’t easy
If you are not in the habit of tracking what you’re doing it can prove to be surprising. I got in to the habit of tracking my time in quarter hour increments abut 1969. It was the only way to keep track of the time I was spending working on multiple client accounts and projects in an ad agency.
I guarantee you are spending more time on tasks that do not generate revenue than you might imagine.
Get real about recording your time
At lunch tomorrow or while you’re shopping this afternoon get yourself a cheap wind-up timer. Once you are in front of your computer, set the timer for 15 minutes. (After a while you won’t hear it ticking.)
Start your word processing program. You are going to build a simple time tracker. Here’s how:
- At the top of the sheet type in MY TIME TRACK’R
- Drop down a line or two and type Date:
- Drop down again and put in these words across the page
Start Stop Elapsed Client/Prospect Activity
- Go to about 5 lines from he bottom of the page and put in these words:
Totals Elapsed Client/Prospect Activity
How long did that take you?
Check the timer. Enter the time on the tracking sheet. Before you do check out these tips that come from years of practice
Tips to make this work for you:
1. Enter time in quarter hour increments. (I know lawyers use 6 or 10-minute increments but if you do this right you won’t be billing for time with new clients.)
2. Enter time in digital format. For example:
Start Stop Elapsed Client/Prospect Activity
1:00 1.25 .25 Practice Time Tracker
Why? Because it will make totaling the elapsed time by client and/or activity much easier. (and if you decide to put together an excel spreadsheet to accomplish this it will make addition much easier particularly if you optimize it for that purpose.)
3. Not everything you do will be client related. You will spend some time each day performing administrative functions for your business. As you can see from the above you can use Practice to identify those items.
4. I suggest using initials for current clients and prospects to speed up the recording. These days I use “Z” to identify the practice and “JG”, “WBH”, “WT” “LN” “ST” to identify clients. By having the ability to indicate Prospects as well you’ll be able to record the time you use in the never-ending search for new clients.
5. Activity tracking depends on how granular you want to be. The items I use for the practice currently are: Admin, Education New Biz, Speaking, Personal. The ones I use for clients are: Persona (Gyro), 30-Second Marketing TM, Website, Video, Automagic Marketing TM, Social Media
Yes, it is about the money
Periodically you need to review the time spent and the revenue generated by the activity. That means plotting your actual revenue against what it took to earn it. If you don’t track both, how are you going to know?
Look hard at the clients you like working with that pay their bills on time, provide referrals and you’d like to clone. Before you go charging off after new business be sure you have a complete profile of both the individual prospect and his/her company with a complete comparison to your preferred client/company profile.
How do I know this works?
Every time my own practice shows signs of weakening revenue I go back and review the time tracking for the last six months. There have been multiple reasons through the years, some outside, some inside but the knowledge of what has been going on versus the revenue has quickly become apparent. So I make the necessary shifts and do the one thing that is more important than anything else…I take action.
I give the same advice to clients and often assist in the analysis. A printer client was on the verge of firing Mark, one of his sales people. Then we looked at revenue he produced which was over 60% of the business! A candid conversation with the owner and the sales guy revealed different views of selling. The owner had won his spurs prospecting for business. The sales guy operated on the basis of a client once is a client forever doing everything he could do to assure retaining the business project by project.
His expense account showed infrequent but relatively high charges for first class restaurants. He revealed that he only dined in those places when a current client was introducing him to a prospect.
The owner asked me to help him find a couple more like Mark!
And so it goes
Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com
His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for on and off-line Trust-based Consultant Marketing and Brand development advice that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy.