Expert Consulting – The Next Level for Speakers

One of the keys to becoming a 7 figure or Million Dollar Speaker / expert is the ability to generate multiple cash flows based on your area of expertise and Expert Consulting for organizations is one of the ways that speakers can apply their knowledge for the benefit of clients “beyond the stage”.  If you are speaking to an organization, you already have them as a client and, as I’m sure you know, it is always easier to sell to an existing client than it is to find new clients … so let’s look at your first interaction, “The Expert Consulting Engagement Interview”.

 

Leverage Your On-Stage Credibility
into Expert Consulting

As a speaker, you gain credibility with every speech or workshop you give for an organization.  Clearly you cannot give that organization the full benefit of your years of experience in a one hour keynote speech or even a 3 hour workshop so it makes sense to offer them additional services including a consulting engagement.  It is up to you to figure out who is the right person to approach for this service since the person hiring a keynote speaker might not be the person who hires consultants.  The good news is that you can leverage your stage time and drop in subtle references to your consulting results with other clients each time you speak.  Key: Provide value with the stories.  Don’t come across as “Selling”.

 

The Key to Solving Problems
for our client organization

Let’s assume you are either being retained for a project or are meeting with someone at the organization to figure out what you can do for them.  This first meeting is critical to your success and that is why we put together some suggested questions to get you started.

Since each organization is different, it is important to find out what problems or challenges they are facing before you prescribe a solution.  Obviously they feel that your expertise can be applied to their situation or they would not have hired you as a speaker but don’t assume that your specialty is the only answer.  A doctor doesn’t prescribe medications without at least looking at you or maybe running a few tests and as an expert consultant you should not start with your prescriptions for your client without first learning more about them.

PDF of questions for Expert Consulting

 

The Initial “Exam”

Rather than “winging it”, you will be seen as more professional if you start your consulting engagement with some standard questions to help you get to the core of your customer’s challenges and identify what is holding them back.  This downloadable PDF Discovery Questionnaire was developed for use by speakers who are moving into expert consulting and each part of the questionnaire is explained below. Click here to download the PDF Discovery Questionnaire.

 

Q1 – GOALS

The first thing you want to identify is your client’s goals and what is important to them.  If you aren’t going to be able to apply your expertise to create a positive outcome, it is better to figure that out quickly up front and possibly use your network of fellow experts to  hook your client up with someone better suited to solving their problems.  You do know other experts, right?  If not, contact gps-SpeakerMarketing.com and will help you track down someone through our expert network.

 

Q2 – PERCEIVED LIMITS

By finding out what your clients sees as the primary challenges they are facing, you are able to bring a fresh perspective to their situation.  Granted you are an expert in a particular field (which brings with it a certain level of credibility) but sometimes all a client needs is an objective third part who can look at their situation with a fresh pair of eyes.

The other reason it is important to find their primary challenge or obstacle is that this is often what they will pay to have someone solve for them.  If you are able to figure out what is “the constraint on their system” and propose a solution, you will have earned loads of goodwill and probably a good amount of future work with that client.

* Suggested Reading #1: “The Goal” by Eli Goldratt
This book explains the Theory of Constraints through a story about a manager of a manufacturing company but the concepts in the book can be applied to many situations.  There are also additional books by Goldratt which address things like Sales/Marketing and more.  Highly recommended.

 

Q3. UPSIDE POTENTIAL

The greatest potential is found by focusing on our biggest opportunities or strengths** but most people tend to focus on their weaknesses or problems first.  If you can bring a fresh perspective to your client’s opportunities, you may get them to apply the resources that are needed to turn those possibilities into successes.  Since you will probably be meeting with your client’s management team on a regular basis during your consulting engagement, your presence may also bring a focus to the opportunities that might be lacking in the organization due to other competing priorities.

** Suggested Reading #2: “Made to Stick”, “Switch” and “Decisive” by Chip & Dan Heath.
These three books offer great ideas and insights into what makes people and organizations “tick” … all wrapped up in stories that will intrigue and inspire.  Another good book or series are the ones by Marcus Buckingham around Finding and Leveraging Your Strengths.

 

BONUS QUESTION:

If there is a chance that your client is stuck in a rut and they need to make a dramatic shift in their thinking patterns, these questions will help get them thinking in new ways.  The concept of “testing failures” is from one of the books mentioned above by Chip & Dan Heath and they provide an excellent example of how a company opened up a whole new aspect of their business (and substantial new revenue streams) by developing tests of some of their “sacred cows” or beliefs that they held but had not really tested.

 

THE THREE CIRCLES

This section is based on one of the concepts presented in the book “Good To Great” by Jim Collins.  In essence, Jim Collins found, through extensive analysis of public companies who went from “Good” companies to companies with “Great” results, that the great companies had a “Hedgehog Concept”.  I encourage you to read the whole book but, in brief, a Hedgehog concept is an strong understanding of what a company is passionate about, can be the best in the world and which they can measure to produce outstanding results.  To translate this into something you can use with your clients, just ask questions which will draw out what they are passionate about, what they feel they have the ability (or could develop the ability) to be the best in the world and how they might develop an appropriate metric.  Granted, they may have never thought along these lines so don’t be surprised if they don’t have a fully developed Hedgehog concept.  Your job, as an expert consultant, is to help them get the flywheel moving and gathering momentum for their organization.

 

Suggested Reading #3: “Good to Great” by Jim Collins.  There are loads of ideas in this book that can benefit any size organization including “Level 5 Leadership”, “Technology Accelerators, “Flywheel vs. Doom Loop” and much more.  If you like business books and have not read “Built To Last” by Jim Collins & Jerry Poiras, you need to add it to your reading list.

 

 RECENT / ONGOING INITIATIVES:

After all these questions, you probably have a pretty good idea of what types of changes might be most beneficial to your client’s organization but their is one more “box to check” and that is “What have they already tried?”  Clearly they are smart people (or they would not have recognized your value and hired you) so it is likely that they have tried to tackle some of their challenges before you arrived.  The question is … “What have they learned from their unsuccessful projects?” and “What did they do which was contributed to their current success?”  Even a brief rundown of their project list will give you some insight into what they perceive as the best strategic direction and, again, as a fresh pair of eyes you may see something that the company insiders are not able to see.

 

BOTTOM LINE:

Is this article everything you need to make loads of money by adding expert consulting to your speaking business?  Of course not.  Consulting is a much larger topic but hopefully you will recognize that the value you bring to each expert consulting engagement comes in many forms.  You have experience and knowledge in your area of expertise, you have the communication skills of a speaker and you are an objective third party who can give them feedback that would not be possible from someone inside the company.  You are also stepping into a “Trusted Advisor” role and depending on the value you create for your client, it should be a role that you continue to fill for many years.

  GPS-DiscoverSuccess

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