Secret 7 deliver stunning results your most potent marketing weapon

When you buy a dishwasher, you want your purchase to reflect an informed decision. Once again, you tap your network for information. You consult knowledgeable friends, relatives, and colleagues; read promotional material; look at some Web sites; and talk to salespeople. Armed with the facts, you pick the dishwasher you like best.

Once that dishwasher is home and hooked up, you have the right to expect perfect, maintenance-free performance. If it doesn't live up to your expectations, you won't say good things about your experience. And, you probably won't buy the same model again. People are much more likely to tell others about bad purchasing experiences than good ones, so everyone in your network will likely hear about it if the dishwasher leaks and ruins your oak floor.

A common criticism of consultants is that they oversell their capabilities and underdeliver results. Your marketing program may get you an audience and your analytical and selling skills may land the project. But delivering consistently stunning results is the only way to keep clients coming back for more and praising you to others.

Tb build a successful consulting practice, you must deliver the goods with competence, speed, and minimal disruption to your client's operation. You must master every aspect of the consulting process, including how to plan a project, manage communications within a client's organization, and influence clients to accept your recommendations.

The premium fees that have evolved in professional services have produced sky-high expectations. Clients hire consultants to solve problems they can't solve for themselves and to come up with ideas that hadn't occurred to them. And they want their money's worth.

Clients scrutinize everything you do, from communicating effectively with staff at all levels of their organizations to defining, executing, and wrapping up projects. They observe how you work under the stress of deadlines, how you recover from stumbles and whether you admit mistakes. With every move you make, the client is watching you.

If your work is substandard, clients will bash you at every opportunity, blame you for their failures, and never forget. By contrast, when your performance is excellent, it speaks louder than any other marketing tool, and your clients will provide you with glowing references. As industrialist Henry J. Kaiser said, "When your work speaks for itself, don't interrupt."

Performance—the results you deliver—is a recurrent theme in the following pages. Doing merely acceptable work is not good enough for guerrillas.

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