Book Yourself Solid has for a long time been an invaluable system for consultants looking to book more and better work. A new illustrated edition adds another layer to the useful guide -- offering a visual roadmap to a much more profitable consulting business.
Here are some of the highlights of the book:
The book is split into four modules that focus on the following areas that many consultants struggle with: developing a solid foundation through knowing who you are and the value you offer, building trust and credibility through a well-established "sales cycle" process, the eternal question of how to price effectively, and how to market and promote your business for maximum visibility. Each illustrated section has a number of exercises aimed at helping you apply the lessons to the unique parameters of your business.
Many consultants can do a great job bringing business to clients, but struggle when asked to market themselves. Book Yourself Solid offers instructions on bringing forth your most unique qualities (and market differentiators) in the services of creating a powerful personal brand. You'll learn to clearly articulate what you offer -- and more importantly, how those offerings connect to needs that your clients have.
The "Red Velvet Rope" Policy
When many consultants and freelancers start out, they believe that they should accept any and all work. Book Yourself Solid argues that creating a "Red Velvet Rope" policy is essential to making yourself a highly sought after consultant. Port believes that having only "star clients" that inspire and energize your work will help you do the caliber of work that will help you attract more star clients. The solution is to separate your clients into three groups -- duds, mid-range and stars. Cut loose your dud clients, and decide if you can develop your mid-range clients into stars. Within the book is a series of exercises on deciding what exactly constitutes a "star" client for you.
In keeping with a focus on delivering value, Port's pricing recommendations also ask you to focus on the value you are delivering to a potential client. His guidelines take the pain and guesswork out of the process of pricing -- always a significant hurdle for consultants, especially those just getting started.
Best Foot Forward
Port is not a fan of the "elevator pitch," saying that when he does talks and asks the crowd whether they enjoy giving or hearing elevator pitches, very few hands go up. Instead of hogging those precious few seconds of elevator time, he advocates a more relaxed and flexible approach to talking about what you do that naturally puts your conversational partner front and center -- and is much more likely to grab attention. More on sales tactics to get you in the door.
Do you network mostly to gain clients? Port argues that's a mistake, and your networking should be evenly split between talking up potential leads and other members of your profession. Why? Because in order to do more business, you need to be constantly expanding your network, and that means sharing valuable information, contact and business with professional cohorts. Networking shouldn't just be a self-interested pursuit therefore, Port argues. Being human is essential for business success.
Many Varieties of Promotion Strategies
The growth of web and social media have in turn spurred the amount of ways consultants have available to promote themselves. This book offers a simple roadmap to six of the most important, including:
- Networking: Building a stronger network
- Direct Outreach: tips on pitching
- Referral: Get more and better referrals
- Writing: How to turn yourself into a thought leader
- Web: Using the web to market your business
More from About on promoting your business.