Did you hear the funny joke about the Life Coach/Author who called in a Marketing Consultant and said “I need a brochure”?
HaHaHa… Hilarious, right?
You don’t think that’s very funny? OK, let me explain…
So, business is down, this entrepreneur decides she needs a brochure to bring in “more business” and calls in a marketing consultant to write it, have it designed, printed and mailed. And they do it. Right?
Absolutely hilarious! LMAO! What? You still don’t get it?
OK, let me put it this way, it’s like going to the doctor and saying, “Doc, I need a kidney transplant. And the doctor says OK! HaHaHaHaHaHa Get it?
Why on earth would the patient be telling the doctor what he/she needs? A kidney transplant is; very expensive, intrusive and life-threatening, it’s the solution to a pretty bleak problem. And, by what means did the patient ever come to that solution?
Can you see how ridiculous it is now?
A marketing consultant is a business advisor in a very similar context. So, why would this entrepreneur, whose expertise is coaching business executives, and knew she needed someone with marketing expertise, be telling the marketing consultant exactly what she needed? Is she a control freak? A know-it-all?
OK, the joke’s not so funny when I have to explain it.
Unfortunately, this is a daily occurrence in many businesses. And the sad part is, most of the “marketing consultants” and Marketing Agencies will do the project, rather than talk themselves out of a job.
Talk themselves out of a job? I know, I know – more explaining is still needed.
A “marketing consultant” will make a bigger fee creating the brochure (which, by the way, will probably look very professional and the coach will love it), rather than taking the time to explain a few basic principles.
A basic principle like this: Chances are, most Business-to-Business company’s – B2B’s (businesses that market to other businesses) have customer make up’s consisting of a few larger clients – that, probably, represent something like, 80% of their income.
Inversely, they have a longer list that, probably, represents only 20% of their business income. It’s the classic 80 – 20 Rule or, Paretos’ Principle, which is a statistical probability, like a bell curve. Like a carpet where 80% of the traffic wear is only on 20% of the carpet.
If, instead, the marketing consultant were to ask questions about why and who and what for, they would, more than likely, soon find out this entrepreneur, like so many others, has a client make up very similar to that 80-20 rule. (What a surprise.)
They may also find that this entrepreneur doesn’t really want more of those lower tier, less profitable and time-consuming clients but, would actually be pleased to get just one or two more very good clients, just like her current best clients.
So, if in fact, she really only needed one or two more really good clients, why would she self-prescribe herself a brochure? It’s because, she doesn’t know the right questions to ask. (Besides, everyone needs a brochure, right? Wrong.)
I call this process, Ready. Fire! Aim. Because entrepreneurs like this, who do everything themselves, just fire something off without knowing how to aim.
Actually, in this case, it’s more like Fire! Fire! Fire! And, guess what they’re always doing?
Right. Putting out fires.
And who helps you put out fires? A Fireman.
This particular entrepreneur was all ready to spend several thousand dollars to design, write, photograph and print up a bunch of brochures and mail them to anyone and everyone, when, she could spend a fraction of that amount and find a few new “higher-quality” accounts with profiles very similar to her best existing clients! (Mmmm..)
I have seen this happen so many times before. If you were the consultant, what would do? Take the project, collect a few-thousand dollar fee and have another nice product sample? Or, would you explain to her how she could actually do a better job herself if she only had some better information? And talk yourself out of that job? Perhaps. A trusted advisor position will last much longer, however.
So, what’s the answer? Think differently.
Why would someone tell a consultant what they need and not a doctor? Simple. Because the doctor would not let that happen. And neither would an ethical marketing consultant.
First of all, like a doctor, a relationship needs to be developed and trust established. The doctor makes his/her income by building a practice. By having a fairly large number of regular patients that he/she cares for over a long period of time.
The only way for the Business Coach to move ahead is to develop a longer-term marketing strategy. A single isolated tactic like creating a brochure is not only an ill-advised tactic, but simply, a “Band-Aid” – not a strategy. The coaches’ symptoms of needing “more business” are the effects of a bigger problem. The doc would be asking, “How did this happen?” or, “When did you start noticing the symptoms?” The first things to determine are, what is the history and what was the cause. There could be a whole host of issues that caused her need for “more business”.
My point is, you have to ask many more questions and get much more history.
Only then, will the consultant begin to see the bigger picture and recognize the events that caused her practice to be in the position of needing “more business”.
Unfortunately, the “patient” was not under the “doctor’s” long-term care and wasn’t getting yearly check-ups to see how everything was going – and to be able to spot potential problems.
The marketing consultant, like a doctor, has a lot of experience, a bag full of remedies and an entire industry to draw from. He/she can easily spot where there’s a problem and has the background and analytical skills to ask the right questions to isolate causes.
The professional marketing consultant stays on top of their field by reading and constantly learning about the latest techniques, best practices, case histories and trends. As with each new discovery, the information combined with their previous background knowledge and experience, creates a much deeper understanding of the newest material that they can assimilate into their current mix of clients.
So, next time you’re ready to dial 911 to react to a situation that involves getting more clients, getting clients to spend more on each purchase or, trying to get them to come back more often, “who you gonna call?”
Are you looking for a Fireman to put out a fire or, do you need a Doctor – I mean, a professional marketing consultant?
Don’t wait until there’s a problem. Make an appointment now, for a complete physical check-up. Get a health plan. Develop a strategy. You’ll be glad you did. Not only could you save yourself a lot of time, aggravation and money, you could be making more money a lot sooner.
Remember the profound words of Henry Ford:
“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”
So, do something different – start asking better questions.
Professional Consultants don’t cost you money – their job is to help you make more money.
If your business had a strong Brand, you would not have to deal with these issues at all.
When you understand your customer, what your brand is and what your differentiation is, you will use it as the focus behind everything you do, your business will prosper and stand head and shoulders above your competition.
© 2015 Dennis Kunkler All Rights Reserved. This article may only be republished in its entirety and, as long as the signature information is not changed or removed. If re-published, kindly send a copy to [email protected].