Life Saving Effective Communication Guidelines

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Have you ever hit a communication stumbling block when working with a client that resulted in everything coming to a HALT? I know I have.

As a consultant, a solo entrepreneur, a HALT can be devastating. Here is a TRUE short story highlighting what I mean by a communication stumbling block plus easy and effective communication guidelines an entrepreneur can implement.

Necessary data and information needed by a consultant (think contractor, freelancer, and independent worker) to complete an assessment suddenly disappeared. The consultant discussed the situation and the impact of the missing data and information on the assessment with the…

Five Suggestions to Help You MARKET YOU and Stand Out

It is always good to revisit books lined up on your bookshelves because you never know what you will find. Recently I picked up a marketing book that was gathering dust. I had no idea why I kept it but thought I would peruse it and then decide if I should keep it, toss it, or donate it. Tucked in the book was the 1997 Tom Peters’ Fast Company article, The Brand of You. An interesting fact is in 2018 I had found a copy of the same article in…

An Often-Overlooked but Powerful Exercise!

Jill, a management consultant, hung up the phone. What went wrong? What did the buyer mean by “We don’t believe you understand our problem?”

As Jill stared at the wall, she thought about the discovery meeting. At first glance she thought the meeting went great. But, did it? She thought she heard the economic buyer and knew EXACTLY what he wanted. The proposal was well crafted with just enough detail. Charts were included that explained her approach. She had felt good about the opportunity and was positive it was a go.

But the economic buyer REJECTED the proposal! He wasn’t…

Or in Other Words, What is All this “Relationship Management” Stuff About?

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During a conversation with an independent business professional, I was asked how to “go about this relationship management stuff.”

As I listened to why she was struggling, I heard the spinning of wheels and time spent with nothing to show for it. The person was meeting with people who fit her ideal client criteria and trying to sell what she could do for them. However, she wasn’t taking the time to display credibility or show reliability. She wasn’t getting to know them and they weren’t getting to know her. She hadn’t invested in deliberate relationship building.

Much of a service…

You’re Awesome! You’re Amazing!

Don’t Doubt Your Credibility! Find it with the Help of This Short Exercise!

On more than one occasion I’ve heard, “I can’t be a consultant (contractor, independent worker, freelancer or fill in the blank). I don’t know why anyone would hire me! I have nothing to offer.”

Over the last few months, I’ve watched people start doubting themselves. It is easy to get down. Even though there is a vaccine for Covid-19, Covid-19 is still looming and for many of us it will be several months before we are inoculated. The economy around the world is shaky, there is political unrest, and…

The list goes on.

Don’t doubt yourself. Don’t let doubt…

Do You Have the Entrepreneurial Mindset Like Charles Dickens?

This is the time of year filled with festive traditions. One of my favorite traditions is watching a film adaptation of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol with my husband.

A few years ago I stumbled upon the movie, The Man Who Invented Christmas, starring Dan Stevens as Charles Dickens and Christopher Plummer as Ebenezer Scrooge. It is a fascinating and well-done drama based on the book How Charles Dickens’s a Christmas Carol Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits by Les Standiford. The book clearly articulates Dickens’s struggle to create and write A Christmas Carol. I believe Dickens’s journey…

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We are constantly reminded that people hire consultants, freelancers, and independent workers that they trust. But what is trust? Or a trusted relationship?

As I put pen to paper for this blog, I remembered a conversation I had years ago with a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) partner. After meeting with a client, the partner asked for a few minutes of my time. He was concerned that “I was a little too honest.” He felt I needed to be more aware of what it took to maintain a positive relationship with a client.

I apologized to the client, however the client explained to…

The Hidden Value Behind a Client-Consultant Relationship

It wasn’t until leaving Big 4 consulting for an international start-up that I truly understood what was meant by managing a Client-Consultant Relationship. Understanding meant changing my mindset because relationships are not process oriented. Relationships are two-way personal affairs based on trust and creditability with both parties giving and taking. Understanding requires clarity as to the “value” each receive by nurturing a relationship — value beyond a client satisfied with the results and a consultant receiving a “paycheck.”

This blog doesn’t discuss how to nurture relationships. Rather it discusses the value, value beyond…

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“People influence people. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message.” Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook

How does a consultant attract new clients? One approach is to ask for referrals from people you know to people who might be interested in meeting you. Obtaining referrals is an active marketing approach and a must do task for every consultant. It is one of the top strategies I recommend to a person starting out as a consultant because everyone knows people and people like to help others. …

Before I start a presentation, my habit is to walk around the room closely listening to the pre-session conversations and observing attendees. When possible, I ask attendees what insight they hope to gain. During a recent presentation at PMI’s 50th Anniversary Global Conference, one attendee was extremely talkative. As she asked questions, people around her lifted their heads listening to her and chiming in with comments. Her questions started with…

“I work within a company right now, but I’m thinking about my future. I want to become a consultant, an independent professional, but I’m not sure if there is anything…

Laura Burford

Advisor to independent workers-consultant, contractor, freelancer | Founder of Consulting JUMPSTART Blueprint |

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