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Become a Successful Independent Consultant: Relationships That Focus on Mutual Benefit

Become a Successful Independent Consultant: Relationships That Focus on Mutual Benefit

Would you like more flexibility in your career? Consider independent consulting as a viable alternative. Like most people, you might worry about how to attract clients and avoid slimy marketing.

You can achieve independent consulting success if you focus on your consulting "engine"—even before you start consulting.

Successful independent consultants use a continual loop, where the consultant addresses each of these problems:

• Which problems to solve with clients
• How to attract clients with content marketing (avoid the slime)
• Create relationships with the economic buyer and others across the organization.
• Learn from their engagements

Successful independent consultants enjoy all of these steps, and you can, too. In this interactive discussion, Johanna will lead you through your first iteration of this loop. And if you're not considering consulting, learn how to use these ideas to get a promotion or increase your salary.

Johanna Rothman

March 02, 2023

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  1. Become a Successful Independent Consultant: Relationships That Focus on Mutual

    Bene fi t Johanna Rothman @johannarothman www.jrothman.com
  2. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman In the Business: Your Consulting

    Engine • Create this loop: • De fi ne your unique value • Identify your ideal clients • Attract clients with content marketing • Build presence with active marketing • Build client relationships, starting with the discovery call • Create successful proposals with fair fees • Manage your intellectual property • Strengthen client relationships for more work and referrals 4
  3. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman 1. De fi ne Your

    Unique Value • What is your “superpower”? • What makes you different? • Potential clients want “same” and “different” • Review past experiences for: • Tangible bene fi ts (direct $ saved, time saved, acquired clients, increased revenue) • Intangible bene fi ts (Cost of delay) • Peripheral bene fi ts (emotional bene fi ts, such as no need for layoffs, people stayed) • Answer the question: “Why would people ask for you?” 5
  4. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Relationship Building Skills Matter Most

    • Consulting is a communications and relationship business, so those skills matter most • Build rapport • Built trust • Maintain self-esteem • Focus on outcomes • All about in fl uence 6
  5. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman 2. Identify Your Ideal Clients

    • Start with pain signals • What do people see and hear? • Which of those signals do you want to address? • See the client’s system • Other fi lters: • Industry • Function • Level • Anything else speci fi c? 8
  6. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman 3. Attract Clients with Content

    Marketing • Content marketing is NOT promotion or selling • Relevant and valuable content • You deliver regularly • That attracts and retains clients • Writing, speaking, networking for future bene fi t (not transactional) • Consistent content marketing works 9
  7. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman 4. Build Presence with Active

    Marketing • Robust online presence (LinkedIn and your site) • Network online and at meetups • Plan for three months of outreach while you create content • Add people to your network • Go to meetups (not transactional meeting for people) • Call people to let them know you’re a consultant • Help people realize you exist 10
  8. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman 5. Build Client Relationships with

    the Discovery Call • When clients want to talk to you, insist on a discovery call • Determine if you’re talking with the economic buyer or a technical, coach, or user buyer • Sets the context for trust • What is the client’s context? • What are the client’s boundaries? • Which options can you imagine • Decide when to respond and tell the client that 11
  9. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman 6. Propose Alternatives, Each with

    a Reasonable Fee • Three alternatives • Shows you understand the problems and desired outcomes • Offers you a chance to use anchoring bias • Fees • Project or value-based, never by the hour • Do not accept anything over net 30 days • Ask for full payment in advance for a 5-10% discount • 50% deposit, the remainder net 30 12
  10. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman 7. Manage Your Intellectual Property

    • Content marketing means you create all kinds of IP • Freely available: blog posts, newsletters • Nominal fee: books • Custom, higher-fee: custom workshops, custom articles, custom speaking… • Always read any contract (NDA, SOW, MSA, non-competes 13
  11. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman 8. Strengthen Client Relationships: More

    Work & Referrals • Even if you have to offer bad news, stay congruent • Beware of these traps: • The client does it “wrong” • You want to add more work • You try to work at a different level • Con fl icting client goals • Change the engagement underway • Triangulate interpersonal issues 14
  12. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman On Your Business: Systems for

    Success • How you will make money • Systems to manage your money, health, calendar • When and how to collaborate with others • What success looks like for you • Adapt and evolve your practice 15
  13. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman How Will You Make Money?

    • Your business model • Managing your money, health, and calendar • Adapting your offerings and how you offer engagements over time 16
  14. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Successful Independent Consultants • Create

    systems to do it “all,” one action at a time • Use content marketing to attract clients • Deliver valuable outcomes • Reassess what they want to do next • Create a business model that optimizes for their uniqueness • Learn and thrive! 17
  15. © 2023 Johanna Rothman @johannarothman Let’s Stay in Touch •

    Pragmatic Manager: • www.jrothman.com/ pragmaticmanager • Please link with me on LinkedIn • Writing workshop: https:// www.jrothman.com/freeinnerwriter • Book: https://www.jrothman.com/ books/become-a-successful- independent-consultant/ (almost ready to publish) 18