🎙️Show Notes for Episode 057 of the IC PodcastApr 14, 2022
We all know that lead generation is extremely important to the health of an IC business. Without lead generation, it’s challenging to maximize growth and revenue as an independent consultant.
And so today, I share with you a powerful lead generation that leverages assessments to elevate your consulting lead generation. I’ll also share a software tool that will make this strategy incredibly easy to implement.
This strategic approach will kill two birds with one stone. It's a great way to get the attention of your prospective consulting clients and it's also a great way for you to keep creating more elevated conversation that helps them to see the value you're able to bring to the table in terms of the big picture versus them looking at you like more of a staff augmentation type of a consultant.
Tune in to learn how you're able to use this strategy for your own business, to generate leads and elevate the conversations that you're having with your ideal consulting prospects.
- [00:32] Celebrating 1 year of podcasting
- [01:50] Listener appreciation
- [03:50] Common concerns that using assessments will resolve
- [06:37] What is an assessment
- [07:53] Why should you use an assessment for your lead generation
- [11:39] How to use assessments to elevate your lead generation process
- [16:10] Examples of the types of assessments you can use
- [20:19] A specific tool that can be used to set up the assessments
- [24:34] Examples of process flows to use these assessments in
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**note: This is an automated transcript, so please ignore spelling errors and grammar mistakes*
Welcome back to the podcast. I'm so happy you're here, we are celebrating a year a little bit past a year, actually, by the time this goes live, of recording this podcast and producing it for you, and I just want to first give a shout out to my podcast, producer, Colette, for all of the hard work that she's done in the last year. And she's such a great partner in this podcast. So I have to say thank you to her. I also have to say thank you to you for listening, whether you're very first time listening, or you've been here for a while, just want to say thank you for listening. And I am just here to make it a really good investment of your time. I've heard from so many of you, personally telling me that these episodes are so packed with tips and strategies and resources for you that you've been able to implement and make a difference in your business. And that's why I'm here. That's what I love what I do. And I'm really grateful to those of you who have reached out. And to those of you who listen that I've never talked to, and to you if you're brand new listening, I'm just grateful that you're here and really passionate about elevating and expanding this independent thing we do as independent consultants. So thank you. The other thing I want to share with you just quickly before we dive into today's episode is I want to just say give a shout out to getting it done at four, they left me a review on Apple podcasts a five-star review I very much appreciate. It says Melisa is sharing a ton of great information in a quick and direct way. She's a pleasure to listen to. And I'm always learning something new and useful. So I really appreciate that. The other thing I wanted to mention though, as part of that is many of you have reached out to tell me that you put a review on Apple, and I haven't seen them. So I'm in a little bit of investigatory mode at the moment trying to figure out if there's some kind of a glitch or something going on with Apple. So if you've left a review, and you don't see it, they're not you know, if you've left a rating, you won't see that. But if you've left a review, if you could let me know, send me an email to [email protected] And I can just use that as a detail to continue this investigation. So with that troubleshooting in mind, let's dive into today's topic. I cannot contain my excitement over this topic. I'm so excited to share it with you, I will try to pace myself and really explain what I want to talk about in a non-auctioneer voice type of away, which is usually my mode when I get so excited. It's like an auctioneer. Okay, so with that the topic for today is how to use an assessment to elevate your consulting lead generation, I found a tool that I cannot wait to share with you. I've been using it for the last three weeks, and it's made, it's incredible. And I want to share with you how you're able to use it for your own business, to generate leads and to elevate the conversations that you're having with your consulting prospects. So with that, let's talk about how to use an assessment for your lead generation.
This is why we're talking about this today a lot I have when it comes to lead generation, I get two common questions from solo consultants. The first question is, how can I get the attention of potential consulting clients just to get the conversation started with them? It feels a little bit hard, especially with cold-type prospects, it feels a little bit hard to get that initial conversation going. How can I do that? How can I get better at that? The second common question that I often get in terms of lead generation is how can I elevate my value earlier in the sales process? So maybe you get that first conversation? But how do you keep the conversation going and really elevate your value so that they see you as someone who's more strategic versus more of a doer, more of a staff augmentation type of a consultant. So with those two questions in mind, I'm going to share with you a technique that you're going to be able to use to solve these common challenges and really create conversations with potential clients that is in a much more strategic tone in a strategic way. approach. And so it's going to kind of kill two birds with one stone, it's a great way to get the attention of those prospective clients. And it's also a great way for you to keep creating more elevated conversation that helps them to see what you're able to bring to the table in terms of big picture versus you them looking at you as an extra pair of hands. So with that, the answer here is that we're going to use assessments, run, use assessments to create those strategic conversations and get the ball rolling, get the conversation started with those ideal potential clients, for your consulting business. So, specifically, we're going to talk about today how to use assessments to elevate though that consulting regeneration process, I'm going to walk you through why assessments, and then I'm going to give you some examples of types of assessments you can use. Depending on what type of consulting you do, then we're going to talk about really quickly a tool that I found that makes this so incredibly easy to set up the assessment to everything from soup to nuts. And then finally, I'll give you a couple of examples of process flows that you would use these assessments in as part of your business development process. So it makes it really, really tangible. This is going to be a packed episode of really how to implement this assessment strategy to start creating higher quality leads, and advancing conversations for your consulting business. So with that, let's start off with why even think about using an assessment, an assessment for lead generation. And even before I dive into why assessments, let me just say what I mean by an assessment. What I mean by an assessment is essentially you ask a potential client, or someone who even haven't met yet, maybe you don't even know if they're a potential client, but you think they might be asking them a series of questions that qualifies them to you to say, you know, what this person might be a good fit, or what they do might be a good fit for my consulting, and then secondarily, it helps them to understand by the answers that they give, and the results you provide, it helps them to better understand the problems that they might be facing and helps them to better understand the strategy they might be, you know, thinking of, of implementing. So it helps them to look at what they're doing in there, you know, in their day-to-day that you can help improve upon. So it's really a tangible way to help your prospects to see what their problems are, from a different vantage point. And helps you to engage in a conversation as a result of that. So why assessments, that gives you kind of a background of what an assessment is, right? It's just literally a series of questions and results,
then, so why assessments, you want to grab the attention of your economic buyer at the end of the day, right? You want to especially if you're at a place in your business, where you are not seeing as many consulting opportunities come in from your existing network. So you're at a place where you maybe you need to start expanding out from that and creating a larger network of potential clients. Or maybe you're at a place where you've created you have a really strong network, but don't really have a way to kind of keep them warm, keep providing value to them, these are some, the assessment can be such a great way to do that. Because it really grabs the attention, their attention is something unique, right? Just such a simple way to say hey, you know, I created this, this assessment or I created the scorecard, or I created this quiz, whatever you want to call it. And I think it might help you look at your business is a little bit different way, your business unit in a little bit different way or your goals in a different way. But I'd send it over and see what you think would be some of the messaging, right of how you might get the attention of an economic buyer that you've had some interaction with in the past, or it could even be you know, a brand new person that you haven't even necessarily met yet. As you start engaging in those conversations with them and getting to know them, it could be you know, something to the effect of well, I know we don't know each other yet. But based on what I'm seeing with other organizations in your industry, I noticed that you're facing you know, this type of a challenge and so I thought I would send over this assessment to you to take it takes five minutes and it might give you some insights into things that you might not necessarily be seen in your business at the moment, but in your business unit at the moment but that you might want to be keeping your eye out for right, that touches on so many things for a potential consulting buyer, it touches on, oh, there's something going on industry-wide that I might be missing, there's a trend happening that I might be missing, I can spend five minutes trying to figure out if that's if it's the case or not right. And you're also practicing proactively adding value to them, you're giving them some ideas of what trends might be through this tool, you're giving them some idea about what best practices, you know, what they might be kind of evaluating themselves against, from a best practice or scorecard perspective, it's a really quick and simple way for you to use when you're using an assessment type process to really give them some ideas of where they might be needing to focus on improvements for their organization that they might have missed. And, you know, honestly, it's already April, right, if you're listening to this in the real-time, what a great way to say, you know, as we're moving it, as we're starting out, you want to or moving on toward the second half of the year. So it's such a great way to take a moment and look at an a, you know, kind of assess where you're at, and I can help you move forward. So it's essentially that's why an assessment, can you see how those types of conversations, and I'll and I'll walk you through some examples here in a minute, but how those kinds of conversations could be so compelling, you're not asking anyone for a favor to talk to you, you're not like digging for what their problems are, you're literally proactively providing them with a tool they can use on there, you know, on their own in the five-minute little break that they have. And it can give them some insights about the business unit they're running or, or you know, the organization they're responsible for. So that's why an assessment can be so powerful because it's you leading with value. And it's you leading with, Hey, I just, I want to be helpful, versus Hey, can you do me a favor and talk to me. So that's why what I'm going to share with you today in more detail is such a powerful approach. So let me give you some examples to make this more tangible. Some examples would be let's say you're an agile consultant. So as an agile consultant, you're in the business of helping development organizations, engineering organizations, and technology organizations, create repeatable processes that move very quickly, right. I'm not an agile expert, I know enough to be dangerous. So hopefully I explain that clearly. But at the end of the day, when you're an agile consultant, most development organizations, software, and organizations, at this point have some form of agile in place, right?
Unless you're really working with late adopters, but you could go in and create an assessment to send to your ideal prospective clients and help that and it's set up, you would set it up in a way that helps them to assess their current agile process against agile standards. Because I think we all know, in the Agile world, there are very few, if any, companies that are using Agile very effectively, in they could all use some form of an improvement, right. And a lot of times is like check the box, we're agile when really they're still waterfall. So that's an example from an agile consulting perspective, where you're helping them to really see what that as is, is of their process and where they could help design an assessment that would allow them to figure out where their areas of opportunities are. Another example of creating an assessment is, let's say you're an HR change management expert, you could write an assessment, and I'm going to teach you how to do this in the easiest way possible in this software tool that I found here in a minute. So I'm not I don't want to lose you at this sounds really complicated, Melisa, because I can assure you it is not. I have one myself, I'll share with you the link. It's amazing. So let's Okay, so going back, you're an HR change management expert, for example, you could set up an assessment that helps companies assess the quality of their retention programs. How incredibly compelling is that right now, everyone's having issues with retention. Everyone's having issues hiring Effective People, they want to retain the people they have not to make the problem bigger. So create an assessment that helps them assess the quality of their retention programs against what you know to be best practices. Who wouldn't want to take that and really figure out where they're at. Another example, is that let's say you're a health care compliance consultant. You could set up an assessment that helps come to your ideal clients assess the effectiveness of their internal auditing processes, for example, they may already know that they're not doing well from it. client's perspective overall. And this you've picked out a piece of that process and created an assessment to help them really dive in and figure out where could my problems be?
I'll give you a couple more examples. And then we'll move on. Let's say that you're a fractional CFO, you could help create an assessment that helps companies assess a very specific, you know, process like, let's say, let's say fractional CFO, for example, a fractional CFO, you could create an assessment that helps companies really assess the effectiveness of their budgeting process because they're gonna start budgeting in q3, that's not that far away. Right? So if you're a PR expert, you could create a compliant assessment that helps them understand the compliance with PR strategies. What does adoption look like? Why aren't people being compliant with the strategies that are created? So I can go on and on, there are so many different ways you could take a sliver of what you do as a consultant, really think about what are the best practices, and then put those into an assessment so that your ideal potential clients take that assessment and really helps them to just figure out where their blind spots are, and where their areas of opportunity are, that they might be missing because they're so down in the weeds. So hopefully, that gives you some tangible ideas of how these assessments can work for you from a lead generation perspective. And I promise you, I'm going to tell you here in a minute how to make it easy, because I wouldn't be explaining how to do an assessment if there wasn't an easy way to set it up. Because it does take some tweaking, it could be clunky, if there's not a simple way. And I and I found this tool that I can't wait to tell you about. Okay, so once you really know what you're what you might, what problem, what problem is it that your ideal prospective clients might be experiencing? And I'm sure there's more than one, right? So just pick one, pick one or two. Let's start with one for you to create an assessment against. So I'll give you an example. I've created an assessment. I'll share with you the link here in a minute. And my assessment is about consulting business plans at the moment. It's a problem that I solve one of many of the, you know, what is your business plan, and what might it be missing, that then causes you to not make money as quickly as you could, it causes you to overwork, it causes you to kind of create a business with death by 1000 Nicks versus something you really enjoy and love. And it doesn't feel like such an uphill battle. That's I just picked out a really small sliver and said, You know what I'm going to focus on business plans, a consulting business plan. And the problem that I solve is that most consultants don't have a business plan. They don't know what needs to be in a business plan, or they've created one, but they're not complying with it, they're not using it, it was more of a check the box talk type activity, or they've created one, and it's really not fit for purpose. So I just picked that little sliver, because, as you know, for as consultants, if we don't have a really good plan of attack, a business model that we're trying to accomplish, then, you know, it's like, try to create something, but you don't know what the destination is. So for you, you want to think about like, what is one problem that I noticed over and over again, with my clients? And what is that doesn't need to be all the problems, right, there are 1000s of problems we could be solving, we're just picking one that we think might resonate with our ideal clients. So for example, you know, we'll just give that the example that I was given a moment ago about thinking about, you know, planning for next year, what kinds of questions could you be asking your ideal clients about? What is their planning process? Why hasn't it worked in the past? For planning for next year? What usually goes missing? Why? What usually goes awry? Why is that and really help them start thinking about that so much further in advance. Because really, now is the time to be thinking about 2023 plans so that they can start maneuvering the way they need to be maneuvering, effecting budgets, you know, all of those kinds of things that we know are happening, you know, coming up here at the beginning of q3 usually. Okay, so ask yourself, you're going to reverse engineer your assessment. So the first step of that process is to ask yourself, what problem is it that I want to help them solve? I gave you some examples, then you're going to ask yourself another, what are the indicators that your ideal client has these problems? So I gave you some examples of that. Like they might not ever make a plan. If we're talking about 2023 plans, we never make a plan or we make a plan in you know, in q4, and it's too late or, you know, those kinds of things, those are indicators of what you're that your ideal client has these problems. And then finally you create your assessment of that. So for example, kind of going back to my assessment, I know that the problem that I, one of the problems that I want to help clients solve through this assessment is to help them see what their business plan is missing. And so the indicators that my ideal client has a problem are I don't have a business plan, or it's missing, you know, I walk in this assessment, I walk you through, what are the components of a business plan, the four and a big, big component of an F A business plan, and then ask you questions about what are, you know, what does it involve, right? So, for example, if there are four big categories of a business, a consulting business plan, I'm asking you questions about each one of those categories, to figure out how mature your business plan is, if it's really mature, that I give you, the tool will give you a really good rating, and you know that that's an area that you might not need to focus on. And then when you see other areas that are less mature than you know,, the tool will give you a rating around that. And then you're able to see this is an area that I might need to be focusing on. So hopefully that gives you a couple of different examples of how to make an assessment by reverse engineering it from the problems that you're helping your clients to solve. Okay, I promised you I would tell you about this tool that I found, that's absolutely insane. If you're in the software world at all, I just can't even I'll just as an aside, I cannot get over how amazing this tool is from a usability perspective. And just like a very fit-for-purpose set of features. It's absolutely incredible how they've been able to distill it down to the exact features that someone would need in In this workflow. But that's a software kind of an aside as a software development geek. So this tool is called score app, I'll put the link to it, I have an affiliate link, I'll put it in the show notes, you're welcome to use the affiliate link, it gives you a 30-day trial, I most certainly would not be recommending this, even if I wouldn't be recommending I'll say it that way if even if I wasn't an affiliate, but the but my link will give you an extra I think a couple of weeks for the trial. So that benefits you. But this is a tool that I'm super excited to tell you about regardless, which is this, it helps you to essentially create the end-to-end workflow of this assessment. So we just talked about how you reverse engineer and assessment that would get the attention of your ideal potential clients. So you just go into this tool, literally, name your assessment, and write out the categories. So I just described to you there are four categories in the assessment I created there the business plan, demand generation plan, capacity plan, and delivery plan, those are my four categories. And then under those you just put out, put some questions. So for you, for example, you would just figure out what your categories are, how many, you could have two or five or whatever. And then what are the questions that could allow me to figure out how this organization is scoring against what I believe to be the best practice. And so you put in your questions and what you do, and you kind of rate and score that answers, the potential answers are incredibly simple. And then and then essentially, it sets up your assessment. It took me a couple of hours, probably to just figure out what kinds of questions I wanted to ask and what categories and what the, you know what the answers would mean when someone answered it. Like if they said, I have a business plan, for example, that's for the next three years, and I would rate it really high if they said what's the business plan obviously, I would rate that really low. And so you just use this tool to essentially break out the whole assessment amazing, super easy. And then it also gives you the ability to create a website so literally you just create this page it you put all the information about why should someone take you know, very benefits-oriented, why should they take time to you know, answer the questions and do this assessment. So that will be targeted to your ideal clients. And so you don't need a website you don't need anything this does it all for you. And then they would be your ideal client would put in their name and their email address. So you're capturing knows from which is such an asset for your business, and then it just and then once they enter that information, they answer all of your assessment questions. Then they get a results page that you've created, that gives them insights into you know what if I if you got read for In this certain area of your organization, what does that mean? And what can you do about it? If you've got a green? What does that mean? And what can you what should you keep doing? If it's orange, the same thing, right? So it gives them some really the ability for you to give some really valuable takeaways. And then to encourage a call, which would be you just saying, You know what, let's talk for 30 minutes and talk about your results. And I can give you some guidance about where to focus and where to take your results from there. So it just naturally leads into that conversation. So ultimately, you just have a link that you would share to people, they would fill out your ideal prospective clients, they would fill all of it out and takes literally, I think my questionnaire is 25 or 26 questions, it takes three minutes, and then you're able to create those, the system creates those results on the fly very graphically, and gives you there the contact information. So you've got those leads, it's, I can't even tell you how amazing it is. So with that, I'm going to walk you through a couple of ways that you can use. And look, if you don't want to use this software, you could certainly do some kind of a, you know, like, a simple spreadsheet or something like that. This just makes it so much easier for you to administer and looks so much more professional, so highly recommended. Let's just wrap up today with me sharing with you a couple of ways that it would look for you to use this assessment for your in your lead generation process. So I'm gonna give you two flows, essentially, the first would be how do you use an assessment like this? Oh, I just Yeah, I told you a score app, it just I was thinking, I didn't tell you the name of the tool. It's called the score app, again, I'll put the link for you, for my affiliate link for you to get that in the show notes, no obligation whatsoever, it will give you extra time on your trial. So that's a benefit to you. Nonetheless, the first flow that you might think about, so let's just say you go through this process, and you set up the assessments as I said, it took me about half a day to get it all set up all of this kind of from the beginning of thinking about what I wanted my assessment to be to design it to get all this tech setup. So to create something so powerful and half a day is, is in a credible good use of your time. Okay, so the first way that you could use an assessment like this, once you get it set up, is for you to create use it to like I was saying at the beginning to create the first meeting. So you could reach out to those potential clients, or even people that you know, that might refer you to other people that are your ideal clients and just talking about, you know, connecting with them, right, I was thinking about you, or I noticed your company was recently in the news and thought you might be facing this certain challenge. Like if there was an acquisition or something like that, or so and so mentioned, you might have this type of a challenge, I thought I would reach out, or I noticed this industry trends, those kinds of reading, you know, conversation starters. And then and then you're offering them, you know, look, I don't know if this would help you or not, but I created this assessment, and I would love to send it to you and see, you know if it gives you some insights into best practices or patterns that you might not be noticed, you know, may not that might be blind spots for you right now. And that way, you're, you're essentially setting them up this assessment to create the first meeting, it's helping them to measure, you know, in your results against industry best practices, or their blind spots are helping arm them for a planning purpose. And then at the same time, you're saying, You know what, let's meet for half an hour and just talk about your results. So that you can really have that online, you know, that conversation, real-time conversation and figure out what resonated with them and what didn't and what they might need be needing help with that you can you provide your expertise. So that's the first example of how to leverage these assessments is creating that conversation and ultimately the first meeting with them. And the second way is to advance the conversation, that you might have already even started into a statement of work. So let's say you're in a conversation with potential consulting clients. And then you can use this assessment tool, good leverage an assessment tool to as part of your processes part of your business development process. So if you were to create assessments and the tool I was describing to you, you're allowed, you can create more than one. So you might create some assessments and say, You know what this company can you know, As I'm talking with this company, and they're having issues with so going back to our retention issue example, right, they're having issues with retention. And so you could design an assessment or a couple of different assessments to say, You know what, I hear that you're having challenges with retention, let's do a little bit of initial fact. But you've told me that you think the reason is X, Y, or Z, let's do a little I have a really a powerful assessment that we can use to evaluate whether or not
different parts of your organization to figure out what's going on. And so you can use the assessment in that way to really figure out pockets of their organization that require a deeper dive, it can help you with scoping, it can help you collect organizational data points or sentiments, it can help you figure out just areas of the organization that might be ripe for change or resistant to change. So this, this assessment process I'm sharing with you today can be such a powerful way for you to advance a conversation from, you know, initial conversations to maybe I need help too, like really getting the nuts and bolts that you need to create a high-quality proposal and statement of work. And ultimately, that can be unpaid, because it's part of your sales process. Or it could even be paid as part of phase one, sort of really, you know, strategy setting type of scope for a phase one. So hopefully, that makes really good sense to you. I'm so excited about this. And sometimes I'm so excited about things. I skipped over some of the details as I'm explaining it. So hopefully, that walked you through in a really methodical way, I'm gonna share with you my assessment, so I would recommend that you go take it, obviously, it's and I got a URL for it. So it has its own, it has its own address, it's at ICbizeval.com. So the letters I see for an independent consultant, obviously, and then bizeval EVALIC. Bizeval. So that's the website you can go to the link will be in the show notes, you can go take my assessments and see what I'm talking about for yourself, and put a visual to it all that's going to help attend to. And then if you want some help, beyond the assessments, reach out and go to my website and look at the independent consultants boot camp. It's an amazing three months that we work one on one together to really dive into your business and the inner workings of your business. So that you are at a, you end at a place where you've got a really solid business model. Even if you've been working in your business for years. This is such a valuable process to really align your business model to your marketing, your business development process and to your delivery process, and the way that you manage your capacity. So I would love to talk with you about that in more detail if you want my help in deep diving into your business so that you can make more money and have more free time. Okay, so you can find that at consultmelisa.com. You can find a link to my calendar to talk about it more. Thank you for joining me today. I hope you can share my passion for this amazing assessment tool which can be a really good tool in your tool belt for the business development and the growth of your consulting business. Thanks for tuning in and I'll see you again next week.