Aligning Brands and Channels

People look like their dogs. I say this based on my non-scientific sample of fellow pet owners I have met while walking through Oz Park in Chicago with my own (handsome) dog, Kelsey. My informal assessment is supported by researchers at the University of California at San Diego. Dog owners, the researchers theorize, pick pooches that reflect the owner’s disposition–happy, moody, tough, etc.

What does this have to do with marketing? Well,Guest Posting marketers should foster the same type of match between their brands and channels as pet owners do between themselves and their dogs. If your company’s brand stands for “productivity,” that’s what your channel should deliver. If you promote your “inventiveness,” your channels should be similarly creative. If your company is known for its “high style,” your customers expect to see that cutting edge image when they meet your resellers.While this might seem intuitive, I am amazed by how few companies take proactive steps to ensure that their channels reflect the brand image the manufacturer is trying to present. In our brand implementation work with clients, Frank Lynn & Associates uses a detailed checklist to review all of the potential “touch points” between customers and the brand. While advertising, Web sites, product literature, and other media clearly play a role, the channel is frequently the most influential brand communicator on the list.One of our industrial clients is working hard to promote a brand image that stresses cost-cutting and efficiency (by promoting the use of its products in six-sigma manufacturing processes). The client has educated its salespeople, enlisted industry consultants, created an online knowledge base, etc. Unfortunately, most of the client’s distributors are primarily “order-takers.” The distributors’ salespeople do not know how, and are not motivated, to make a consultative, engineering sale. Having visited our client’s Web site, or hearing our client’s CEO speak, a customer would be significantly confused when they visit one of the distributors.The situation reminds me of the (possibly apocryphal) meeting between Albert Einstein and Marilyn Monroe. Monroe gushed, “Gosh what do you say, professor, shouldn’t we marry and have a little baby together? What a baby it would be–my looks and your intelligence!” Einstein then quipped, “Yes, but dear lady, it might be the other way around.”Fearing such a result, our industrial client is taking steps to rectify the situation. Before we get into the steps that any manufacturer can take to align brand and channel messages, we first need a sidebar on the issue of channel power. When I bring up the issue of brand/channel alignment, many clients complain they do not have the power to compel their channel partners to behave in a certain way. Sure, if you are John Deere, Lexus, Coca-Cola, or IBM you carry some clout in the channel relationship. But, even these companies cannot command adherence to a brand strategy. And, at the other extreme, manufacturers of tertiary products, those who might represent less than 1-2 percent of their partners’ business, sometimes feel powerless.I do not believe the situation is as problematic as some companies might believe. We have developed a significant list of tactics that can help. While each tactic might not apply to your company, or a tertiary-product company, I am convinced there is something for everyone in our list.Before pursuing any of these tactics, companies need to make sure they have a powerful brand message. Without going into much detail here, we tell clients to think about brands using an approach we call UCC–unique, compelling, and credible.With such a brand position in place, companies can create a strong brand/channel alignment by adopting some combination of the following tactics:1. Channel Selection. Perhaps the most powerful tactic to deploy is making brand alignment one of the criteria you use to select channel partners in the first place. If, however, you are already stuck with channel partners that do not exactly fit the brand message, then add even a few new partners that do fit, and promote them as a model. Competitiveness and guilt are wonderful motivators to the existing partners.2. Company-Owned Channels. While we do not generally advocate that manufacturers open up their own dealerships or distributors (especially in competition with existing channel partners), this tactic is sometimes necessary. When IBM launched the first PC, they opened up IBM Product Centers, in no small part to demonstrate to new, independent dealers what a retail facility should look like. Sony, Nike, Viacom, and other companies have opened up their own dealerships for similar reasons. Some of our clients have even opened up company-owned channels, on a temporary basis, to get across their brand message–then turned around and sold the business to an independent dealer who understood the value of the brand.3. Activity-Based Compensation. You may already know that Frank Lynn & Associates strongly advocates activity- or functional-based compensation, in general. You can tie some portion of the channel’s discount/rebate to performing activities that relate to brand alignment, e.g., training salespeople, using your promotional materials, or any of the other tactics in this list.4. Store-within-a-Store. If you sell through a retail channel, consider the store-within-a-store concept to bring a bit of your brand directly into the retailer. Perfume companies pay their own reps to work behind the counters at department stores. HP and Microsoft teamed up to create unique display areas within retailers, where customers could gain hands-on experience with products in a variety of applications. Industrial products manufacturer, Parker Hannifin, has established several hundred ParkerStores at its distributors. Kodak has placed thousands of its photo kiosks in retail locations.5. Point-of-Sale. If a store-within-store or even a kiosk seems a bit overwhelming, do not underestimate the power of basic point-of-sale materials. These may be small displays that surround your product, stand-alone racks, or simply hand-out materials. Regardless, they bring your message directly to the customer. They can also serve as training (see below) for channel salespeople. Make sure to coordinate with channel partners since each has its own perspective of what fits (and what does not).6. Channel Training. Partners may not reflect your brand message due to a lack of employee skills. Or, perhaps your message never filtered down to the individual sales or technical people that “touch” the customer. You can roll out a separate course just on branding and marketing your product, or you can combine it with product training. If you are on a budget, try webinars or CD/DVDs.7. Champions. If training does not get you far enough, consider building channel champions. These are channel employees that, for whatever reason, are, or could be, boosters of your brand. Maybe, they have had a good experience using or selling your brand. Maybe they are just really into your technology or style. Maybe they have a good relationship with your channel account manager. Whatever the reason, find these people and treat them right. Their enthusiasm for your brand can be infectious. This strategy works particularly well for manufacturers of tertiary brands. Maybe you cannot get the attention of your partner’s CEO, but the category manager or individual sales rep might care.8. Marketing and Sales Tools. Aligning manufacturers and channel brands requires repetition. You need to communicate your brand position to and through the channel on a frequent basis. One means of accomplishing this is by providing channel partners with tools that they can use over and over. (Proposal boilerplate, partner portal with product, ordering, technical information, sales checklist, product configurator, planogram, or FAQs on your website) While these tools are not conventional brand media, each of these tools can slowly, but surely, shape the way your channel partners act and communicate with customers.9. Account Plans. Partners often do not fully appreciate the strategic thinking behind your brand message. If so, I can guarantee that they do not appreciate the benefit of the various tactics I have described above. To help partners grasp your brand strategy, the importance of your tactical plans, and the financial impact on their business, you need to instigate an annual planning process with your partners. The plan, preferably developed by the channel’s principal or senior executive, should squarely address the issue of brand alignment. Channel principals/executives, especially in smaller firms, do not have anyone with whom they can discuss strategy. Your account manager becomes their business consultant. The plan should outline how you and the partner will achieve joint sales and profit targets. As such, it should cover all the activities that relate to brand alignment – training, promotion, advertising, customer targets, employee training, etc.In a world of increasing commoditization, manufacturers must create and reinforce brand messages that trumpet their differentiation. Channels are arguably the most important media for communicating with customers. However, customers simply do not want to buy from manufacturers and channels that are not in agreement about fundamental premises and promises. The good news is that you have a wide variety of tools and tactics to bring channels into alignment with your brand message.Oh, and don’t forget to take the dog out for a walk.

I’m a Brand, You’re a Brand

This article discusses the importance of personal branding in a career. Danielle Dayries, CEO and Owner of DMD & Associates, a premier career search firm, discusses how to build rapport with potential employers through personal branding. In a modern career search world, where social media matters, Danielle explores how to get your name out there.

The talented comedian,Guest Posting actor, writer, producer and singer Steve Martin once said, “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

This theory expands much further than the entertainment industry. Rather, it is an excellent goal for any individual who wants to grow their professional life and build a successful career.

You may think branding and marketing are for the public relations and communication departments; however, you will never be considered for a job opening or special project lead if no one knows your name. If people remember you, what they know about you and how they talk about you is all part of your personal brand.

Certainly having a resume and an accomplished work history is important, but your personal brand — how people identify you — is the selling point in your career success.

Personal brand expert Dan Schwabel gives one of my favorite definitions: “Personal branding is all about discovering what makes you special, and then communicating it to the right people, through the right channels.”

Building an effective brand, sharing your brand, and then continually strengthening and protecting your brand are the three steps to lead you on the path toward increased salary and personal job satisfaction.

1. Build Your Brand

Before you can build your personal brand, you must know what your existing brand is. You may ask yourself, “How can I know what it is if I have not built it yet?” While you may not know what it is, others have already been creating it for you. How you act, present yourself and treat others and how hard you work all reflect people’s opinions of you, which is in fact your brand. Ask a trusted superviser, mentor or colleague to describe how others perceive you.

Leverage this information and the following checklist to start planning how you will refine your brand.

• Define your professional goals and how you will accomplish them.

• Use this career map to identify the key elements of your personal brand.

• Create a brand statement that details how you want to be known and what you want to be known for.

2. Communicate Your Brand

Although you might have built a great personal brand, it is only useful if you are able to effectively communicate it to the professional world. To communicate your brand, you need to:

• Ensure that your supervisor, boss and other executives in the company are aware of your unique talents as well as the value you add to the corporation. Do this by maintaining regular communication on your progress on projects and the results that you deliver.

• Start paying attention to your daily interactions with those around you, including colleagues, clients, and even friends and family, consciously aligning these interactions with your personal brand goals.

• Remember the timeless saying that your actions speak louder than words. At work, volunteer for extra projects and take on new responsibilities that are in line with the talents and traits you want to showcase.

• Social media has enhanced the way companies market their brands and connect with their customers. You can implement this same technique to network and market yourself to employers. The key to creating a strong brand image through social media is consistency. Use the same name, picture and personal tagline when registering for different sites to assure people recognize your profile. About.me is an excellent way to link your different profiles, blogs and websites. You can personalize this page to reflect your brand image as well as track activity.

• Consider starting a blog or creating a personal website to showcase your work. This allows you to build your reputation as a subject-matter expert, which is important to maintain after you have landed your dream job. Link your social media profiles with automatic cross posts to make this easier. In addition, reaching out through blogs and other communication outlets opens the door to grow your professional network with other bloggers.

• Update these other communication tools to help you highlight the brand you want to communicate: business cards, résumé and cover letter, work portfolio, and wardrobe.

3. Strengthen and Protect Your Brand

To climb the corporate ladder you need to market yourself and your brand image. This includes maintaining a professional appearance and behavior at all times. As a result of increased technology, especially social media outlets, the lines between your personal and professional life often blend together. “There is no professional or personal anymore,” says successful entrepreneur and businessman Peter Shankman. “There’s simply your brand, and it’s up to you to determine whether your brand is affected positively or negatively.”

The following steps will help you strengthen and protect your personal brand:

• Continually update your brand, and your professional achievements will grow. Maintain records of projects you have worked on, as well as the quantifiable results of these projects. This proof is what you will need to present when you are ready to ask for a promotion or raise.

• Protect your reputation by regularly monitoring your social media accounts, website, blog posts and other communication outlets. Review pictures, comments and posts to assure they are appropriate and professional. Your brand should be a positive reflection of you.

Building, improving and maintaining your personal brand takes a great deal of work. Managing your brand is a continuous process. It is not easy, however; taking the time to align your career goals and how you want others to perceive you is a proven way to help you confidently ask for a raise or bravely go outside your comfort zone to pursue a new opportunity. Ultimately, your personal brand will help you achieve your career dreams.

The Importance of Brand Metrics and Company Brands

This article discusses the Importance of having a set of Brand Metrics. It also discusses how a good brand can do wonders for a company and how it can propel a company further.

Brand name is an important strategy when it comes to product marketing. Well known brands are those that have lasted over the years and it usually follows that the longer a brand has been standing the higher the quality it offers. This is viewed as so because of the logic that: No Brand Can Last if it is Not Well Loved by Its customers.

Companies have either one brand under them or multi brand that they monitor closely. The brand could be the name of the company itself or it could be something different. An example of this is that of a famous car company that has been around practically since the time cars were invented. They market their cars under their brand name which is the same name as the company itself. They have lasted as long as they have because people associate their name with experience and quality,Guest Posting and of course, the company has never faltered in the quality that they offer their clients.

The company also has several other products that they sell with different brand names. The brand names of their other products have become well known in their target markets because of their association to the company name. In short, this company has marketed itself not only with the use of their long years of experience, but also with the strength that their main brand name has built.

Like Brands and product Brand Names, Brand Metrics are also a very important strategy in marketing. Brand Metrics can be made to measure how a certain company brand is doing in general or how it is fairing with the competition. Most of the time, companies neglect the importance of brand metrics. Brand Metrics often melt into the Company Performance Metrics as a whole. Some companies think that their general performance would be enough to gauge their success. What they don’t see is the fact that different brands under the same company can perform differently.

An example that presents the need for the implementation of brand metrics is one of a Publishing House. This Publishing house can have several brand names under it. These brand names may cater to different demographics. One brand could be that of a women’s magazine while the other is a sports magazine. These are two completely different markets and the company’s performance cannot be quantified as a whole. Each Brand has to be reviewed in order to get a good idea about how that brand is performing. Brand Metrics could also be established to compare one magazine brand to competing brand names in the same market.

Brand names and Brand Metrics should not be taken for granted. A good brand name could be made to sell itself. But, no matter how good a brand name seems to be faring, performance reviews for it should never vanish into the computation of the company’s performance as a whole. It should have its own set of Brand Metrics in order for the company to have a specific view of its strengths and weaknesses.

How to Build Increased Credibility As a Consultant

When a client goes all out to spend thousands or even millions of dollars to hire a consultant, they aren’t just doing so because they have so much money to spend or because they don’t have enough employees to assign extra tasks to; consultants are seen as seasoned experts with exceptional skills which are considered rare.

Clients believe that such skills, knowledge and experiences which consultants possess are required to help move their businesses forward or solve some of the challenges they may be facing. Consultants hold very delicate positions; clients rely on the information they provide to make significant business decisions. It is therefore understandable that the average client would be quite picky on their choice of a consultant.

A lot of people parade themselves as consultants these days and it makes it increasingly difficult for potential clients to sieve the wheat from the chaff and separate the seasoned professionals from the want to-be’s. It is even more difficult for new-comers in the consultancy profession to get clients as they haven’t been tested and may not be trusted.

Therefore, to stand out as a consultant, whether as a newbie or as a seasoned professional, it is important to build your credibility. This article would show you some unique strategies you can adopt to build your credibility as a consultant in your field so that instead of running after clients; they’ll be the ones chasing you around with job offers.

Building credibility as a consultant involves establishing your expertise- making people know that you are an expert in your field. Just about anyone can claim to be a consultant but the real questions that your clients would want answered before they hire you are:
• Do you have extensive knowledge of the field/industry/business?
• Have you achieved success consulting for similar businesses in the past?
• Can you be trusted to handle their business i.e. Can they rely on the information you’ll provide?
• How long have you been in business?
You have to position your consultancy business in such a way that these questions are easily answered and your expertise/knowledge is rarely questioned.

According to Larina Kase, credibility can either be:
• Presumed-: This is when people hold assumptions or ideas on your credibility.
• Earned-: When you have established credibility based on your performances overtime.
• Reputed-: In this case, a lot of people can attest to your credibility. There are lots of testimonials and reviews that prove your credibility.
• Surface-: People generally hold a first impression on your credibility as a result of your looks and appearance.

To establish any of these types of credibility, you should-:

Share Information
The fastest way to convince someone that you know much about something is to actually share some of what you know with them. People would easily trust your skills when you are able to proof to them that you have extensive knowledge of the topic. It is quite easy to put out information these days; you can do so through either of the following ways:
Write books on specific subjects/topics within your field.
Create a blog and start sharing valuable information.
Talk to your local newspaper/magazine editor about starting a column in their newspaper to discuss topics related to your field.
Write guest posts for credible, high-traffic blogs and online magazines.

Offer Free Services
To get reviews and testimonials, you actually need to have performed some jobs. But how do you do that when no one is willing to offer you a job without reviews? That’s simple; what you should do is to seek out some non-profit organizations that you can offer your services to for free. In turn, you would get the reviews you need to get bigger, well-paying clients.

Organize Seminars
This is not only a way to build credibility; it is also a very effective marketing strategy. When you organize your own seminars or serve as guest speaker at other people’s events, it gives you a platform to showcase your knowledge and skills and of course, get some clients for your business. It’s even easier to organize seminars using the internet, internet-based seminars known as webinars allows you to speak to thousands of people from all over the world without moving an inch.

Television/Radio Programs and Interviews
One of my clients who was looking for ways to market his newly established auto-mechanic workshop was referred to me and I told him what we were going to do- we were going to start our own 30-minute radio program where we would discuss different car problems and how people can solve them. He actually said I was crazy and wouldn’t accept the idea until I offered to pay for the first two sessions. The conversions were so crazy and let’s just say I got my money back in several multiples.

A whole lot of people watch television and listen to the radio daily. I’m talking about people who don’t even visit the internet regularly. When you share your knowledge using such medium, it’s very easy to gain a reputation quite fast and establish credibility.

Dress Properly
A lot of consultants make the mistake of thinking that their sense of fashion has nothing to do with their professional skills and expertise. This is wrong. It is not uncommon for people to judge you based on the way you appear. This is what is known as perceived credibility. If your wardrobe isn’t screaming ‘professional consultant yet’ then it’s time for a new wardrobe.

Be seen in the right circles
Lastly, make sure that you start networking and hanging out with the right people. Imagine that you had the privilege to start hanging out and be seen with someone like Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg; of course, people would generally assume that you are either a billionaire too or you have some unique potential to be able to hang out with such people.

Sometimes in the consultancy profession, you have to fake it until you make it and one of the ways to do that is to start hanging out with credible professionals, not necessarily in the same field as you but people that are known as experts in their own field. That way, some of their credibility would rub off on you and clients would start to feel more comfortable hiring you.

Why Use a Logistics Consultant?

If you’re looking to improve your supply chain, you may have considered using the services of a logistics consultant. You might be worried, though, about whether it will be worth the cost or bring any real benefits to your business. Here are some reasons to seriously consider using a consultant.

Product Knowledge

Working with a logistics consultant who has a broad knowledge base and experience working through similar issues to those you are experiencing brings a number of advantages to your team.

You’ll probably have received loads of literature from sales people, for example, telling how great their products are, but how can you possibly choose between them? An independent logistics consultant is not selling products and does not get any financial incentives from the products they specify, therefore they can give objective advice.

A project run internally can often get sidetracked by everyday management issues. Bringing in a consultant who can focus on delivering results will ensure that the goals are achieved quicker.

Consultancy does not need to take project ownership away from the management. However, as long as management is clear about its objectives and is able to select, direct and manage the consultants carefully, real added value can be seen.

When Should I Use a Consultant?

All organisations at some time reach a point when they are aware that they could be doing things better or differently. It may be one or several areas of the operations that are not achieving their goal or not functioning as efficiently as they might.

The main reasons for using consultants usually focus around:

o Complexity
o Timescales
o Expertise
o Resources

Efficient Staffing

The issue or problem may be short-term. To manage the change effectively and maximise the benefits will require an intense effort, potentially jeopardising the performance of the rest of the operation. Permanently increasing the headcount to handle a short-term project will increase operating expenses. A consultant can assist in managing the change until the introduction is complete and the operation has stabilized.

Often specialist knowledge exists within the company but a secondment cannot be arranged in the required timeframe. Consultants are ideally suited to providing the skills that are not available from permanent staff.

Decisions which result in a large change or financial commitment from the company will frequently involve consultants to review any analysis before a decision is made. An outsider can ensure that an objective approach and attitude are taken and that all potential alternatives are known and explored. Often the consultant will know of additional alternatives which were not even considered previously. At other times just having the consultant confirm competent and thorough analysis can add additional weight to the business case.

If a project has lost momentum or is not delivering the expected results a consultant can quickly provide the input required to get it back on track.

Working With a Logistics Consultant

The use of consultants is unlikely to bring benefits if you dismiss the consultants’ involvement as an expensive distraction from everyday operations. However, if you chose the right consultant or consultancy, clearly define the project objectives, provide the consultants with the information they require and set aside time to review progress and buy into their ideas, the benefits will be seen.

What’s the Difference Between Consulting and Consultative Selling?

How Do You Close a Consultative Sales Conversation?

I asked that question the other day on LinkedIn.com under the category of small business development.

I was looking for an exchange of ideas about sales skills. Unexpectedly, I heard from a number of consultants (not sales consultants) saying they would never “close” in a consultative conversation at all. Some sounded offended that I would suggest it. To them, “closing” meant proposing that a client purchase a particular brand. The implication was that a consultant stays above brand identification in order to stay independent.

I agree 100% that a consultant should stay independent. That’s exactly how I would consult…recommending a particular brand only if I thought it was the best solution, and offering multiple brands if all other things were equal.

So how, then, does someone sell consultatively?

Selling consultatively resembles consulting in some regards, but ends with presenting a single brand as the best solution. (This is somewhat different from the original Consultative Selling, as coined in the early 1970′s by Mack Hanan–in a book well worth reading.)

Selling consultatively, like consulting, involves diagnosing the prospect’s situation to discover what his problems are, what he’s already tried to do to solve the problems, what is at the root of the problems, what is holding the problems in place, etc. It’s using skilled and intelligent influence to help the prospect view his situation through new eyes. It’s asking the right questions at the right time to move the thought process forward to new insights and inspiration.

Not Selling Consultatively

Selling consultatively does not mean merely “educating” or “giving the prospect information so the prospect can make an informed decision,” or “finding out what the prospect needs so you can pitch your solution using their words.” Good consultative sales DOES all these things, but usually much later in the sales conversation than most salespeople think.

Openhanded Selling

Think of the sale as an hourglass. While the sand is at the top of the hourglass, be a consultant. Spend enough time exploring their situation so that they’ve fully developed the problem and told you how and why the problem exists. Understand the flow of the conversation so you can ask questions that help them think about their problem from your expert perspective. Notice how this process dissolves concerns and objections. Don’t leap on opportunities to present a solution. Mentally catalog such opportunities and set them aside for now.

When the time is right, the sand has dropped to the bottom of the hourglass, and the prospect will discover that he/she wants to hear your solution. You can now present a solution that exactly fits his/her needs (if you have one), and you will have developed a lasting relationship that you can nurture for future business.

Don’t Educate Your Prospect

The approach that captures the consultative sales process and intelligent influence needed to make it work is called Openhanded Selling, and one of the first principles of Openhanded Selling is this: DON’T educate your prospect. As soon as you start talking, you lose control of the conversation. Instead, deliver just enough information to keep the conversation moving forward, but confine yourself to asking questions until either you’ve decided together that you don’t have a solution, or they’re practically begging you to present. Then educate just enough to get to a close.

How to Know When You Need a Consultant

A consultant is someone who’s an expert, specialist, or has a wealth of experience and knowledge in their field of specialization.

Consultants can be found everywhere and in every field imaginable. Consultants come from all types of backgrounds, such as education, social work, business (corporate, medium, and small) government, politics, law, technology, science, and so on.

Over the years consultants have become more wide spread and more respected. Formerly, consultants were only used amongst the rich and the famous – today that is no longer the case. Consultants are a highly sought after class of professionals, who are quick to be called upon when an individual or a company needs their area of expertise.

The Internet birthed the information super highway. As a result, the knowledge age originated, which requires knowledge workers and lots of them. Just as knowledge has increased, there’s an increased need for knowledge workers, of which consultants fall into that professional category. Knowledge is still power, and those who use knowledge to advance their thoughts, ideas and inventions, know its importance and are willing to pay for it.

Using the services of a consultant is beneficial to all parties. As a consultant, it’s a way to use their knowledge, experience and expertise to expand their business and services. For individuals or companies who need the consultant’s expertise, it’s a way to hire someone temporarily and save on paying a large salary with benefits and retirement packages. It’s a win – win situation for both parties.

With the expanse of knowledge now available to the average person, no one has a monopoly on certain information, but individuals and businesses need specialists who can use knowledge to advance their organizations’ plans and strategies.

Ten ways to know you need a consultant

  1. When you have a passion to provide services or products to a targeted group, but don’t know how to file the necessary paperwork to become a licensed for profit or non-profit business, you need a consultant.
  2. When you have a passion to provide a service or product to a targeted group of people, but know nothing about starting a business, you need a consultant.
  3. When you have a project or business venture requiring a certain level of specialized skills and knowledge that takes your organization to the next level, and you have no one on staff with those skills and experience, you need a consultant.
  4. When you have a major project or task, and you have a drop-dead deadline; you’re understaffed, and you need someone temporarily with specialized knowledge and skills to join the team until the project is completed, you need a consultant.
  5. When you are working on a major funding campaign; there’s a fundraising goal and deadline to meet, yet you’re short of staff and overworked, you need a consultant.
  6. When you are a new start-up (non-profit or for-profit) business with limited knowledge or time to run the day to day operations of your business, and you need to grow the business to succeed, yet you need an administrative system in place to maintain it and keep it growing, you need a consultant.
  7. When you are a new or fairly new non-profit or for-profit business and you need to establish an organizational system, which requires extensive business documents, such as business plans, strategic plans, employee manuals, departmental manuals, a cadre of marketing and promotional documents that include brochures, fliers, advertisable business cards and postcards, direct mail/email announcements, website content, etc., you need a consultant.
  8. When you have a major business problem to solve and you need someone with great analytical, critical thinking and problem solving skills, you need a consultant.
  9. When you or your company are planning to enter into a new market (local, regional, national, or global) to expand your goods and services, and you need a cutting edge, sophisticated or grassroots public relations and marketing strategy to make it happen, you need a consultant.
  10. When you need specialized information within a very short span of time, and you want your staff to implement the new knowledge and skills, hire a consultant to come in and train you, your staff, and your board of directors. Based on the level of knowledge needed, the training may consist of a 2 – 4 hour seminar, a 6 – 8 hour (all day) seminar; a 2 -3 day conference, workshop, or staff retreat, or a longer training time. You need a consultant.

How to Build Increased Credibility As a Consultant

When a client goes all out to spend thousands or even millions of dollars to hire a consultant, they aren’t just doing so because they have so much money to spend or because they don’t have enough employees to assign extra tasks to; consultants are seen as seasoned experts with exceptional skills which are considered rare.

Clients believe that such skills, knowledge and experiences which consultants possess are required to help move their businesses forward or solve some of the challenges they may be facing. Consultants hold very delicate positions; clients rely on the information they provide to make significant business decisions. It is therefore understandable that the average client would be quite picky on their choice of a consultant.

A lot of people parade themselves as consultants these days and it makes it increasingly difficult for potential clients to sieve the wheat from the chaff and separate the seasoned professionals from the want to-be’s. It is even more difficult for new-comers in the consultancy profession to get clients as they haven’t been tested and may not be trusted.

Therefore, to stand out as a consultant, whether as a newbie or as a seasoned professional, it is important to build your credibility. This article would show you some unique strategies you can adopt to build your credibility as a consultant in your field so that instead of running after clients; they’ll be the ones chasing you around with job offers.

Building credibility as a consultant involves establishing your expertise- making people know that you are an expert in your field. Just about anyone can claim to be a consultant but the real questions that your clients would want answered before they hire you are:
• Do you have extensive knowledge of the field/industry/business?
• Have you achieved success consulting for similar businesses in the past?
• Can you be trusted to handle their business i.e. Can they rely on the information you’ll provide?
• How long have you been in business?
You have to position your consultancy business in such a way that these questions are easily answered and your expertise/knowledge is rarely questioned.

According to Larina Kase, credibility can either be:
• Presumed-: This is when people hold assumptions or ideas on your credibility.
• Earned-: When you have established credibility based on your performances overtime.
• Reputed-: In this case, a lot of people can attest to your credibility. There are lots of testimonials and reviews that prove your credibility.
• Surface-: People generally hold a first impression on your credibility as a result of your looks and appearance.

To establish any of these types of credibility, you should-:

Share Information
The fastest way to convince someone that you know much about something is to actually share some of what you know with them. People would easily trust your skills when you are able to proof to them that you have extensive knowledge of the topic. It is quite easy to put out information these days; you can do so through either of the following ways:
Write books on specific subjects/topics within your field.
Create a blog and start sharing valuable information.
Talk to your local newspaper/magazine editor about starting a column in their newspaper to discuss topics related to your field.
Write guest posts for credible, high-traffic blogs and online magazines.

Offer Free Services
To get reviews and testimonials, you actually need to have performed some jobs. But how do you do that when no one is willing to offer you a job without reviews? That’s simple; what you should do is to seek out some non-profit organizations that you can offer your services to for free. In turn, you would get the reviews you need to get bigger, well-paying clients.

Organize Seminars
This is not only a way to build credibility; it is also a very effective marketing strategy. When you organize your own seminars or serve as guest speaker at other people’s events, it gives you a platform to showcase your knowledge and skills and of course, get some clients for your business. It’s even easier to organize seminars using the internet, internet-based seminars known as webinars allows you to speak to thousands of people from all over the world without moving an inch.

Television/Radio Programs and Interviews
One of my clients who was looking for ways to market his newly established auto-mechanic workshop was referred to me and I told him what we were going to do- we were going to start our own 30-minute radio program where we would discuss different car problems and how people can solve them. He actually said I was crazy and wouldn’t accept the idea until I offered to pay for the first two sessions. The conversions were so crazy and let’s just say I got my money back in several multiples.

A whole lot of people watch television and listen to the radio daily. I’m talking about people who don’t even visit the internet regularly. When you share your knowledge using such medium, it’s very easy to gain a reputation quite fast and establish credibility.

Dress Properly
A lot of consultants make the mistake of thinking that their sense of fashion has nothing to do with their professional skills and expertise. This is wrong. It is not uncommon for people to judge you based on the way you appear. This is what is known as perceived credibility. If your wardrobe isn’t screaming ‘professional consultant yet’ then it’s time for a new wardrobe.

Be seen in the right circles
Lastly, make sure that you start networking and hanging out with the right people. Imagine that you had the privilege to start hanging out and be seen with someone like Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg; of course, people would generally assume that you are either a billionaire too or you have some unique potential to be able to hang out with such people.

Sometimes in the consultancy profession, you have to fake it until you make it and one of the ways to do that is to start hanging out with credible professionals, not necessarily in the same field as you but people that are known as experts in their own field. That way, some of their credibility would rub off on you and clients would start to feel more comfortable hiring you.

Why Use a Logistics Consultant?

If you’re looking to improve your supply chain, you may have considered using the services of a logistics consultant. You might be worried, though, about whether it will be worth the cost or bring any real benefits to your business. Here are some reasons to seriously consider using a consultant.

Product Knowledge

Working with a logistics consultant who has a broad knowledge base and experience working through similar issues to those you are experiencing brings a number of advantages to your team.

You’ll probably have received loads of literature from sales people, for example, telling how great their products are, but how can you possibly choose between them? An independent logistics consultant is not selling products and does not get any financial incentives from the products they specify, therefore they can give objective advice.

A project run internally can often get sidetracked by everyday management issues. Bringing in a consultant who can focus on delivering results will ensure that the goals are achieved quicker.

Consultancy does not need to take project ownership away from the management. However, as long as management is clear about its objectives and is able to select, direct and manage the consultants carefully, real added value can be seen.

When Should I Use a Consultant?

All organisations at some time reach a point when they are aware that they could be doing things better or differently. It may be one or several areas of the operations that are not achieving their goal or not functioning as efficiently as they might.

The main reasons for using consultants usually focus around:

o Complexity
o Timescales
o Expertise
o Resources

Efficient Staffing

The issue or problem may be short-term. To manage the change effectively and maximise the benefits will require an intense effort, potentially jeopardising the performance of the rest of the operation. Permanently increasing the headcount to handle a short-term project will increase operating expenses. A consultant can assist in managing the change until the introduction is complete and the operation has stabilized.

Often specialist knowledge exists within the company but a secondment cannot be arranged in the required timeframe. Consultants are ideally suited to providing the skills that are not available from permanent staff.

Decisions which result in a large change or financial commitment from the company will frequently involve consultants to review any analysis before a decision is made. An outsider can ensure that an objective approach and attitude are taken and that all potential alternatives are known and explored. Often the consultant will know of additional alternatives which were not even considered previously. At other times just having the consultant confirm competent and thorough analysis can add additional weight to the business case.

If a project has lost momentum or is not delivering the expected results a consultant can quickly provide the input required to get it back on track.

Working With a Logistics Consultant

The use of consultants is unlikely to bring benefits if you dismiss the consultants’ involvement as an expensive distraction from everyday operations. However, if you chose the right consultant or consultancy, clearly define the project objectives, provide the consultants with the information they require and set aside time to review progress and buy into their ideas, the benefits will be seen.

Solve Your Repairing Needs With Expert Assistance

With time, boiler finance and boiler repair covers have become popular amidst users as it helps in maintaining the boilers with ease. Electrical appliances like boilers demand care. If it is a problem for you then contact the Boiler Repair Manchester experts. It the job of such people to keep a check on the condition of appliances time to time and fix up any repair schedule. All you have to do is pay to them. Quick does not mean quality work. Please make sure to check the turn-around time and quality of response. Make appointment with a couple of companies via their customer care centers for comparison.
Benefits of availing services of preventive maintenance experts

• Machines may need repair even at the time they are least used. Wear and tear need to be examined time to time. Lubrication check is also necessary. These prevent any sudden breakdown.

• It saves time; a stitch in time saves nine. If a smaller repair is catered to at an early stage, a bigger problem may not appear later.

• It saves on the cost. A bigger and immediate problem will always cost more than what a small tune up might. A tune up may save some parts from being replaced. It also saves on

• Safety of equipment usage is enhanced if we are sure it is in good condition.

• Quality of performance of the appliance is enhanced. They work better for longer.

Heating is an essential part of our daily work. If boiler repair is on mind, here are some things that need to be checked:

• Oil level of the boilers must be checked, if it works on oil. Fuel is most essential checkpoint in boiler repair.

• Check power supply if it is central electric heating system.

• Check the thermostat; make sure it has not been disturbed.

• Check for any fuse, if not so remove and reset it.

• Turn off system and remove thermostat. Clean its contact point. They may become rusted or dirty depending on the weather.

• Keep the air filters clean. Dirty filters make heating or cooling ineffective.

• Look for signs of overheating. Burned wire insulation or scorched paints. This is a clear indicator of an accident to happen.

• Make sure there are no obstructions just in front of the heating system. Airflow or heat flow must be free.

If these still do not help call for professional help with Boiler Repair Cover Manchester. Ask your family and friends for any recommendations. Always learn from others experience. You do not need to make the same mistake as they did. You may choose for a home service. They will send in experts at your doorstep. They come at the time you decide. Before you call them, enquire for charges, which can be covered under Boiler Finance Manchester. Ask for insurance policy of the company in case any damage occurs during the repair. They should not just run off free saying it was just an accident. Confirm the qualification of the expert they are sending. Also, ask for weekend charges.