Oct 06 2014


The definition of a consultant: someone from over 100 miles away who jumps hurdles and carries a briefcase—but it’s, oh, so much more!

Leaping Consultant

The Way to Get Consulting

  Clients is to BE a Consultant!


• Ask any sales pro! It’s the truth! You want to be a great baseball player? Stop thinking contracts and play baseball! You want to be a great consultant? Stop thinking contracts and BE a consultant!

• Oh, and don’t bust a gut trying to be a lawyer. (Great lawyers are great actors, not great thinkers!) You’ll grow old fast trying to draft a contract for every prospect. Besides, odds are that even if you make the sale, the contract will be broken, which creates the need for lawyers!. [Save contracts for major corporate and airhead government clients.]

Smart rule of thumb: If a handshake’s not acceptable to a prospect, the prospect’s not acceptable as a client, even (and probably “especially”) when you’re broke!

Pull-ease: STOP WRITING PROPOSALS! Don’t be a proposalaholic! It NEVER pays! You’ll waste a gazillion hours. Everyone wants a proposal so she or he can decide if you’re worth it, and to use as a guideline for hiring someone else who’s closer or less expensive. Some will take it and follow it and do the work themselves, or hand it off to a staff person to do it in-house. “BAM” (with thanks to Emeril!)…screwed again!

• “Well, I charge for proposals,” a consultant once told me. Seriously? Good luck with that. Yeah, seriously.

• Don’t waste time sending out emails trying to schedule in-person appointments. Just get on the damn phone and make the appointment!.

Okay, now that we’re past the preliminaries, consider this: The only efficient and surefire way to get clients is to start from the very first minute of discussion to serve the decision-maker AS IF YOU WERE ALREADY the consultant. In other words, BE a consultant.

Don’t worry about giving away your services on a first/second visit. Worry about not getting the business because you failed to demonstrate how much value you can contribute (which btw, does not translate into overwhelming your prospects). Focus instead on making pinpoint airstrikes.

Ah, and remember there are always three decision-making entities involved (sometimes one person with three different hats): The CEO, the CFO and the COO, or (depending on your expertise) the VP of Sales and/or marketing. A “sold” CEO may yield to the money-manager. And, the purpose of every first sales call is not to make a sale; it’s to get another sales call!

Great consultants (and great salespeople) listen 80% of the time. They suggest with questions–have you considered…? Great consultants call on practical and directly-related examples of experience or knowledge-base. Great consultants ask for examples and diagrams and opinions, and then weigh it all before offering recommendations.

When you demonstrate your thinking approach and knowledge base, and do it in a passionate but gracious and understanding manner, you are clearing a path for a prospect to experience how you’ll work and what you’re all about right from the git-go. Consider it a “test drive.” Consider how different the consultant model was just five years ago!

Instead of asking endless stupid questions, ask enough to find out the biggest surface problem and make simple, straightforward, practical (but not know-it-all attitude) suggestions. Express these as what you BELIEVE (not “think”) might be the most productive or meaningful or rewarding solution direction (What has the prospect suggested as a goal or pursuit direction?)

Here’s the thing. If you can’t sit on the same side of the table physically, sit on the same side of the table mentally. And you may not like hearing this because you may think it’s “old-fart” stuff, but you should know it is the truth: What all of us buy all of the time is TRUST. So put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Period.

Happy Consulting!

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 Hal@BusinessWorks.US or 931.854.0474 or comment below


Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You!

Make today a GREAT Day for someone!



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Jul 28 2011

Kill The Frills!

Economy-crunched small businesses, stampeding to reduce payroll, need first to pull back the bells and whistles.

S C A L E   I T   B A C K.

Ideas, Proposals, Recommendations, Products, Services



Stop to think about it: If YOU are having trouble affording employee costs, your CUSTOMERS may be having trouble affording your product and service “extras.” [Restaurants have been scaling back since 2008 by offering better quality in smaller portions on slightly smaller plates!]

Let’s say you’re a consultant, and know in your heart of hearts that a client organization you work with needs to develop three new levels of consumer goods and services to stay competitive, but you also know that their naive management has failed to get its arms around the budget stranglehold that White House pressure has put on them.

You can lay it all out for them , knowing they will never pay your fee, and go down with the ship . . . or chunk up your recommended action plan to address just one new level, leaving the other two to simmer until the first of these can produce enough revenues to cover the investment and your fee, setting the stage for a level two proposal.

It’s worth the reminder that, as my father was known to exclaim and as Giovanni Torriano was first credited with recording the phrase in his Second Alphabet in 1662, “You can’t get blood out of a stone.”  And while we’re on the subject of hard subjects and difficult feats, you may want to accept the inevitable and just agree to “bite the bullet.”

In other words, when you can see that your proposal carries with it the hand-wrenching anguish that forces your client to back away from the table, scale it back. What can be accomplished by eliminating the bells and whistles and still manage to develop a new first level that’s acceptable, that can be expected to perform adequately?

Does this put a burden on you? Of course. When you may have been thinking you could do a $15,000 fee project, you find yourself settling for a smaller $4,995 fee project. What’s the answer? Do it with a $15,000 fee attitude, and use the extra time to get out and sell another client or two on projects that total $10,000.

So, now what? You lose $5? Ah, but now you have three clients and can more safely hedge your bet. If you work at it you may also generate $45,000 total a short way down the road, instead of just the opening effort for $15,000.

You can do this. The point is that everyone in business has reached a point of struggle (or at least substantial concern). How much further can this go? Will we have to go belly up? How can we pay the bills? 



Force yourself to take a good hard look at what you’re selling and to whom. Can it be streamlined and priced lower without losing value or impact or safety? Can the excess packaging be eliminated or relaced less expensively without risking damage? Can you use 2-day Priority Mail instead of more expensive overnight shipping? 

Can you make arrangements to package the cars you sell with a gas or routine servicing giftcard? Some lawyers are doing reduced price packaging of basic family and couple’s wills. Some chiropractors will do basic 2 for 1 adjustment visits. The travel and hospitality industries constantly offer discount incentives that strip away luxury cost extras.  


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Hal@Businessworks.US 302.933.0116 

 Open minds open doors

 Thanks for visiting.   God bless you. 

  Make today a GREAT day for someone! 

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Jun 06 2009


Mind Your Own Business!


     . . . Not bad advice for consulting professionals. Why? Because the tendency we all have who are working with and helping other businesses and organizations is to get so caught up in our clients’ affairs and activities that we easily overlook many of our own needs. And we forget how to sell!

     If you’re a consultant in the first place, it’s because you thrive on some form of problem-solving and probably have a wealth of experience to share. You’ve no doubt heard the definition of a consultant as  someone with a briefcase from more than 100 miles away.

     And perhaps you’ve heard about the engineering consultant who charged the gas company $20,175. for his one hour of services, explaining the invoice breakout as $175 for the hourly rate, and $20,000 for knowing where to mark the X on the pipe that was leaking.

     Anyway, what matters in the end is that you remember to mind your own business because—like being able to manage stress (http://halalpiar.com/2009/05/4-steps-in-one-minute-zero-stress/) and remain calm in a catastrophe—you can’t be much help to your clients if your own house isn’t in order!

     This means you need to take periodic inventory (perhaps weekly, or even daily or hourly with some critical consulting specialties… surgery, nuclear fusion, e.g.) that spells out clearly where you are and where you’re going with each client and project. Where you’ve been is almost never important to anyone but you!

     So, scheduling is critical because you can’t afford to be meeting with one client when you’re supposed to be getting work done for another. Going from one meeting to another inevitably takes longer than originally anticipated, and needs to be factored into your travel plans. Telephone and email time needs also to be estimated and booked with time padding to prevent overload.

     With 30+ years of consulting under my belt (management, marketing, sales, leadership, communications, personal and professional growth and development, family business, and business start-ups), I have learned (now getting back to the subject of consulting service sales) that the best way to get consulting clients is to DO consulting!

     In other words, instead of talking about how great you’ve been and how much you know and how great you can be, stop with the BS and simply BE a consultant! Companies don’t hire consultants who are tangled up with contracts and invoicing and credentialing and who dwell on past performances.

     If you’re already talking with a prospect in the first place, it’s because there’s an immediate problem. Roll up your sleeves, get into the trench and start giving away your valuable assessments and advice for free!  Show what you can do instead of talk about what you can do.

Solve or shed light on an immediate problem

on the spot

and odds are you’ll be hired… on the spot. 

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Input welcome anytime: Hal@TheWriterWorks.com (”Businessworks” in the subject line) or comment below. Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals, good night and God bless you! halalpiar  # # # 

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Dec 02 2008


Be kinder than necessary


because everyone


you meet is fighting


some kind of battle!

     I know, I know, I promised more today on listening skills.  Well the number one rule of listening for many people and many professions is to use empathy, and that’s what this heading is all about. 

     Empathy is mentally putting yourself in another person’s shoes.  It is a step up from sympathy, or feeling sorry for someone, because empathy implies active involvement.

Of course there’s more, a lot more, to active listening skills than being empathetic, but I relate strongly to the message of the heading, so I’m leaving it there while I take you down another listening skill path: paraphrasing!

“If I understand you correctly, you are saying that . . .” or “What I think I hear you saying is . . .” or “Do I understand you to mean . . .? are three excellent lead-ins to use when paraphrasing (putting your “take” on a statement into your own words) something someone else has just said.  Why would you do this?  To make SURE that you got the opinion or information or directions right!

This paraphrasing device, by the way, when it’s delivered in a persistently unemotional, understanding tone of voice, has great value in defusing moments of conflict.  It forces a person who’s just tossed out an emotional barrage of complaints to hear how their words have come across to someone else in a non-threatening and non-confrontative way.

  Paraphrasing serves to slow down the rush of upset, and often prompts the other person to reconsider or at least to better explain the issues.  It sets a stage for the upset person to talk more, and often to be more careful and reasoned.

   We’ve all heard that (especially in sales, customer service, counseling, consulting, and marriage ) we need to try to speak 20% of the time and listen 80% of the time.

This may be a challenging prescription, but speaking and listening are behaviors.  We choose our behaviors.  We also choose to be challenged or we can choose to be accepting.

Water flows best downhill.  Choose the easy route.  Just tell yourself to “Listen up!” [Taking notes ALWAYS helps, and flatters as well.  “Would you please speak a little slower (or repeat that) so I can jot it down; I want to make sure I get it right!” works wonders in terms of ensuring full understanding and in boosting the other person’s ego.]

On the flip side, ask someone who’s just unloaded a barrage of concerns to help you sort them out by writing them down, one at a time, and assigning a #1 for most important and #2 for next most important, etc. to each item — and then proceed to address (chew and digest) each issue separately and exclusively, beginning with #1.

Odds are pretty good you’ll never get past the first two or three items on the list before the complainant withdraws the remaining ones or backs off the initial sense of fury, or both.  Either way, you have nothing to lose by trying, except miscommunications and upsets.

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Hal@Businessworks.US or 931.854.0474

 “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals. God Bless You.

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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