087 Kevin Whelan on selling your expertise, not your labor

Kevin Whelan

Kevin Whelan was a philosophy major, but he had created a website about computer security in high school, just as a hobby.

Later, that experience led to creating websites as a freelancer and then a job in the marketing group at a law firm, where he saw how digital agencies operated from the client’s perspective.

He also started building an agency in his “spare time”.

Hear how Kevin:

  • Got his first clients
  • Moved from building 4 figure websites to 5 figure websites
  • Increased his productivity and effective hourly rate (without having to bill hourly)
  • Used specialization helped him get better, bigger projects
  • Moved from charging for implementation to consultation to advisory services (actor to director to producer)
  • Handles outsourcing pieces of project delivery, and why he doesn’t take a cut
  • Handles scheduling conflicts between different clients
  • Gives away as much of his expertise as possible, to attract people who appreciate the way he thinks

If you want to move from selling your expertise, to selling the results, don’t miss this episode, and connect with Kevin for more info.


The Wine & Whisky

Kevin is enjoying a Nikka Japanese Whisky (on the rocks).

Reuben has a glass of Youngberg Hill Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.


Where to find Kevin

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Where to find Reuben

@Sales4Nerds, @Mimiran, Mimiran.com.You can also  listen on Overcast, or Subscribe on Android, or Player.fm.

Want a way to make sales and marketing fun, without being “salesy”? Try Mimiran, the CRM for elite solo consultants who love serving clients but who hate “selling”.

It also has a “mad-libs” style wizard to help you lay our your mission and positioning, including your origin story and customer stories.


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085 Tom Jackobs on selling with storytelling

Tom Jackobs

Tom Jackobs never set out to be a sales coach. He started a fitness business because fitness had made such a big difference in his life.

Unfortunately, he almost went broke because he didn’t know anything about sales.

Learn how he turned sales from a weakness to a strength, without becoming “sales-y”, by connecting via storytelling.

Storytelling isn’t a new topic for Sales for Nerds, but you’ll appreciate how Tom guides you to find the right stories for you, and how to tell them.

Tom joins from Taipei, where a 2 day layover turned into 3 years and counting, thanks to COVID.

In this episode, learn:

  • How to make sales about solving people’s problems. (No one wants to exercise, they want to lose weight, get in shape, etc.)
  • How he became a sales coach for the company that he hired to coach him in sales.
  • How having a process let him sell without stress and much more effectively.
  • How to use your story and your clients’ stories to help prospects.
  • How you can succeed in sales as an introvert
  • How to pick a story and tell it the right way.
  • Don’t forget to have 3 versions of that story– from about a minute, to about 5 minutes, to a 10-15 minute version, for different situations.

P.s. Here’s part of Tom’s story that made him good at selling personal training:

And if you’d like to watch the episode, here’s the video:


The Water

Due to scheduling challenges between Austin and Taipei, we are both drinking water. ūüėČ


Where to find Tom

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Where to find Reuben

@Sales4Nerds, @Mimiran, Mimiran.com.You can also  listen on Overcast, or Subscribe on Android, or Player.fm.

Want a way to make sales and marketing fun, without being “salesy”? Try Mimiran, the CRM for elite solo consultants who love serving clients but who hate “selling”.

It also has a “mad-libs” style wizard to help you lay our your mission and positioning, including your origin story and customer stories.


Get alerted when there are new episodes (1x/month):

077 Jonathan Stark on Ditching Hourly Billing

Jonathan Stark is a former software developer turned consultant who hates hourly billing and helps people “ditch hourly” and do value-based pricing.

And somehow, I didn’t know about him until recently. (Jonathan made the observation that we’re climbing up the same mountain from different sides.)

If you’ve ever stressed about pricing a project proposal, don’t miss this episode, where Jonathan shares:

  • How he had an epiphany when he worked for a consulting firm about why hourly billing had to go. He spent weeks trying to figure out why his “best” consultant was the least profitable.
  • Why the problem was hourly billing.
  • How he started his own firm because he needed to get rid of hourly billing, and made more money in his first year.
  • How hourly billing transforms your client relationships.
  • Why hourly billing goes sideways (and why it tends to start sideways, because you ask different questions in the initial meeting)
  • How to do things in the right order– figure out the value first, including the success criteria (and can you even satisfy them?), then the price, then scope.
  • How to let people unburden themselves– let them brain dump, then ask the structured questions, as needed, to fill in the details.
  • How do paid roadmapping sessions to gather information
  • How to get 100% payment upfront (and what to do if you can’t)
  • Fixed price is not the same as cost-plus
  • How do deal with unknown scopes (and the real scopes are always unknown), v
  • How to use explicit guarantees to reduce risk for the buyer, without changing how you operate.
  • How to ask questions like a doctor. (Doctors don’t tell you to jump on the operating table when they first meet you.)

The Wine

It’s a California Pinot Noir kind of episode, with Jonathan enjoying some La Cream and Reuben having a glass of Grevino.

Books

Hourly Billing Is Nuts, by Jonathan.

Value-Based Fees: How to Charge and Get What You’re Worth, by Alan Weiss. (Catch Alan’s Sales for Nerds interview here.)


Where to find Jonathan Stark

  • LinkedIn (he doesn’t really do LinkedIn)
  • valuepricingbootcamp.com— 6 day free email course
  • JonathanStark.com (by the way– check out this website not just for the awesome info, but the awesome example of how to create a great consulting website.)
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Where to find Reuben

@Sales4Nerds, @Mimiran, Mimiran.com.You can also  listen on Overcast, or Subscribe on Android, or Player.fm.

Want a way to make sales and marketing fun, without being “salesy”? Try Mimiran, the CRM for elite solo consultants who love serving clients but who hate “selling”. It tracks referrals and helps you grow and nurture your network. And it can help you implement Jonathan’s ideas about offering different options, crafting a value-based story in your proposal (you can get a free proposal template, too).


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076 Corrie Loguidice on starting a new business

Corrie has a “very expensive piece of paper that says she can draw well.” An art degree. So instead of waiting tables, she came to join the family electronics reseller business as a graphic designer.

Instead of getting disintermediated by the internet, Corrie was able to use her graphic design skills to promote her customers, the mom and pop electronics dealers.

Corrie realized she was in an abusive marriage and got a divorce with a 5-month-old. Then she realized she was commuting 20 hours per week and paying someone to watch her son part time, just for the commute. Then, she lost her post-divorce partner to suicide.

At this point, she knew she was strong enough to keep going, but she decided to reevaluate her life.

She knew she had to leave the family business, but this was harder than all the other trials.

But Corrie got clients, a social media following, and, within a year, was on a TEDx stage. So now she teaches other people how to start their own consulting businesses.

In this episode learn:

  • That websites don’t get you leads (I disagree!), conversations get you leads (I agree!). “Conversations are what lead to revenue.”
  • How to set yourself up for financial success and handling the stress of starting your practice.
  • How to figure out who you help, what you do for them, and why they should care, including how to hone your niche, and even how to pivot from one niche to another.
  • How do this with conversations, because if you can’t do it in a conversation, how will your website do it for you? (And stop worrying about colors and brands and logos– focus on the real conversations.)
  • Why you shouldn’t discount, and what to do instead.
  • Why the gold is in the follow up.
  • How to feel confident when having conversations with prospects and partners, including sales conversations.
  • Why you don’t need to waste time and money on expensive marketing campaigns.

The Wine (& Vodka)

Corrie enjoys a cocktail of vodka, water, and watermelon juice.

Reuben enjoys a Contina di Montelcino sangiovesi. Yumm, tastes like Italy.


Where to find Corrie

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Where to find Reuben

@Sales4Nerds, @Mimiran, Mimiran.com.You can also  listen on Overcast, or Subscribe on Android, or Player.fm.

Want a way to make sales and marketing fun, without being “salesy”? Try Mimiran, the CRM for elite solo consultants who love serving clients but who hate “selling”. It tracks referrals and helps you grow and nurture your network.

(Including the more powerful than ever Free Edition.) Mimiran can help you implement a lot of Shaily’s ideas not only more efficiently, but more effectively, including telling your Origin Story, coming up with your Superhero Name so you’re unforgettable and more referrable, and much more.


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071 Melisa Liberman on going from an employee to owner mindset

Melisa Liberman loved working at a Big 4 consulting firm, but life had other plans and she ended up starting out on her own. (Listen to what happened and why “no one should have sympathy for me”.)

Even as a successful, hard-charging corporate consultant and executive, it took years for Melisa to make the mindset shift to being a business owner, with all the different hats that involves.

Fortunately, she learned a lot on the way, and found people asking her to help them transition to independent consulting, for more freedom, better work-life balance, more impact, and more money. She realized that a lot of the issues she struggled with started with mindset.

And she’s here to help you get your head in order the easy way, including:

  • The differences between consulting and coaching.
  • How to think like a strategic business owner, while you’re also an employee (of your own firm).
  • How to be proactive about client acquisition– you have much more control than you think– and avoid becoming staff augmentation for someone else’s business.
  • How to create a 3-year vision for your practice that gives you practical things to do today.
  • How to think about your own thinking, so you can get out of your own way.

(This episode builds on Liz Steblay’s wonderful advice on leaving the corporate world for independent consulting in episode 70.)


The Wine

Reuben is enjoying some Chateau Graves de Pez Bordeaux from St. Estephe (aren’t we snooty?), while Melisa enjoys some “house red” pinot noir.


Where to find Melisa

listen-on-apple-podcasts-sales-for-nerds

Where to find Reuben

@Sales4Nerds, @Mimiran, Mimiran.com.You can also  listen on Overcast, or Subscribe on Android, or Player.fm.

Note, speaking of stories, a good proposal is a story, not a brochure– get your “Fill in the Blank” Consulting Proposal Template.

Want a way to make sales and marketing fun, without being “salesy”? Try Mimiran, the CRM for elite solo consultants who love serving clients but who hate “selling”. (Including the more powerful than ever Free Edition.) Mimiran can help you implement a lot of Shaily’s ideas not only more efficiently, but more effectively, including telling your Origin Story, coming up with your Superhero Name so you’re unforgettable and more referrable, and much more.


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036: Craig Elias on Trigger Event Selling and More

Craig Elias

Craig started as a computer science major and ended up one of the top sales people in Canada, with a best-selling sales book to his name.

How did this happen? And what can you learn from this for your business (and your life)?

In this episode, learn:

  • What’s considered a mild winter in Calgary.
  • How he jump started his sales career, even though he didn’t seem qualified on paper. (And how he reflected on this later and the realization it led to.)
  • Craig’s primary sales philosophy: How do I become the first person people call when they have a problem?
  • Where to look for great sales reps.
  • Why he had a lot of price objections when he started, and what he did about it.
  • What he did after he joined WorldCom just as 9/11 was happening, and then, after he became their top sales rep, what happened when everyone realized the execs had committed accounting fraud. It was the first time no one would buy from him.
  • Craig’s 3 big epiphanies about sales:
    • The Window of Disatisfaction
    • Trigger Events (and typical examples)
    • Analyzing wins (and why it’s more important than the typical sales advice of “even if you lose the deal, don’t lose the lesson”)
  • Why you need to use verbs instead of nouns (with some great examples from trucking companies to marriages), and what you want to hear as a response.
  • Why you want to ask “how?” and “what?” rather than “why?” questions (speaking of advice that can also apply to marriages).
  • Why Craig ended up living on Yerba Buena Island in the middle of San Francisco Bay (I always wondered who actually lived there whenever I drove over the Bay Bridge).
  • And much, much more. Even though I had read Craig’s book, I learned a ton, and I think you will, too.

The Wine

After my forced experiment with ros√© in the last episode, I’m back to reds with Parducci True Grit Reserve Petite Syrah 2014 from California, while Craig enjoyed some Tom Gore 2016 Cab, his favorite California Cabernet Sauvignon.

Where to find Craig:

Craig’s Book:

Shift! Harness the Trigger Events that Turn Prospects into Customers

Other books mentioned in the episode:

Consultative Selling, by Mack Hanan.

Spin Selling, by Neil Rackham. Craig says that chapter 4 in particular is the best 30 pages written about sales.

And, my weakness in Russian literature is obvious. The quote about happy families is not from Dostoyevsky. It’s Tolstoy– in fact it’s the beginning of Anna Karenina:

“Happy families¬†are¬†all alike; every unhappy¬†family¬†is unhappy in its own way.”

listen-on-apple-podcasts-sales-for-nerds

Where you can find Reuben: @Sales4Nerds, @Mimiran, Mimiran.com (the easy CRM for people who are awesome at serving clients but would love some help getting more). You can also  listen on Overcast, or Subscribe on Android, or Player.fm.


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How to Nail Your Proposals (on the Predictable Revenue Podcast)

I had a lot of fun talking about proposals with Collin Stewart, co-CEO of Predictable Revenue (along with Aaron Ross, author of Predictable Revenue, who did an interview¬†on Sales for Nerds earlier to talk about that and his new book From Impossible to Inevitable). Collin was a good sport about me beating up on his proposal (he had sent me an example before the interview, and I had taken out my proverbial red pen). I hope I was as good a sport about my poor outbound sales skills. ūüėČ

Anyway, check it out.

Here are the show notes, including iTunes link, etc, on PredictableRevenue.com.

And here are the resources mentioned in the episode (including a discount on the    Sales for Nerds Proposal Online Course).

032 Michael Zipursky on the Elite Consulting Mind

Michael Zipursky

Michael Zipursky didn’t mean to start consulting with giant Japanese corporations in his early 20s. It just happened. Hear how he pulled it off, and how he started multiple businesses, including his most recent venture helping consultants learn from his mistakes (this should sound familiar to long time listeners). Plus, learn to improve your results by improving your mindset, from the author The Elite Consulting Mind. In this episode, learn how:

  • Michael set himself up for success in his early 20s before he got on a plane for¬†¬†Japan. (He found a niche for helping Japanese companies market to the North American market.)
  • Why he’s fascinated with languages and cultures.
  • Michael learned how to sell, sometimes the hard way.
    • Why people try to rush sales before relationships, and what to do instead (and a time Michael made a bad mistake in this area).
    • How many consultants make the opposite mistake, and never try to actually sell anything. (‚ÄúNo one buys consulting, unless someone makes an offer.‚ÄĚ)
    • No one wants to buy what we‚Äôve created. They want to buy a solution to their problem.
    • The only way to solve the problem is to understand it by asking questions.
    • When you understand the problem, you can charge a lot more.
  • What’s holding people back? Usually fear. Fear of making a mistake, the unknown, and being rejected.
    • The Catch-22 is that confidence and competence come from taking action, while people don’t take action because they’re afraid.
    • Taking action gives you the only feedback that really matters– from the market.
  • When we do “take action”, a lot of the things that make you feel productive, because you‚Äôre spending time on them, are not actually moving your business forward. Drop those things, and spend more time on the smaller fraction of things that actually create lots of value. We often do things that are easy or comfortable, rather than the things that are hard and actually productive. For example, spend time to meet with people, or, at a minimum pick up the phone and have a two way conversation. Don‚Äôt fall into the trap of sending the quick email.
    • Think you don’t have time? Follow the 80/20 rule. Document your process and pinpoint where you are really required. Offload repeated tasks (and your ego).
    • What you can‚Äôt outsource‚ÄĒ marketing! You have to define your audience and your message.
  • Bonus tip: If you really want to build a thriving practice, stay in touch and make introductions when you *don‚Äôt* have the solution they need right now. This is a great way to build trust.

Books

EliteConsultingMindCoverThe Elite Consulting Mind: 16 Proven Mindsets to Attract More Clients, Increase Your Income and Achieve Meaningful Success, by Michael Zipursky.

 

Other books mentioned:

Other Tools:

 

The wine

We were on a Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir kick for this discussion, without any coordination. Michael was drinking some Patz & Hall 2014 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir (which is amazing, if you like Pinot like I do). I had the also delicious but less amazing (but much more affordable) Sean Minor 2014 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir.

Patz and Hall

Sean Minor

 

 

bottle_0002_oban-14yo

Where to find Michael:

Where you can find Reuben: @Sales4Nerds, @Mimiran, Mimiran.com (the easy CRM for people who are awesome at serving clients but would love some help getting more).

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You can also  listen on Overcast, or Subscribe on Android, Player.fm.


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030 David A. Fields on Building an Irresistible Consulting Business

DavidAFields

David A. Fields shares his journey from a teenager trying to save up money to buy a computer, to becoming a consultant, to helping other consultants with the business of consulting. He recently wrote one of the most useful books on consulting I’ve read, The Irresistible Consultant’s Guide to Winning Clients: 6 Steps to Unlimited Clients & Financial Freedom. (Seriously, read this book, it’s not the typical 20 pages of content and 200 pages of filler.)

In this interview, David shares his story, and advice from his book, including:

  • The critical lesson he learned selling shoes: it’s not about the shoes, it’s about the feet. (This sound really simple, but it’s not easy to pull off in practice, even for some of the 8-figure firms David helps.)
  • How he “fell into” consulting, then got worried because his partner had to quit 4 weeks later, and how “on a lark” he started working with other consultants.
  • Why he loves consulting.
  • Why you don’t have to be super smart, innovative, or even better than the competition. (And why attempts at differentiation probably lose more business than anything else.)
  • You have to show the client that they can trust you to solve the problem without hurting them. (And what you have to do with your approach to build trust.)
  • Why consulting is bought, not sold.
  • How to perform “The Turn” from marketing and relationships (social norms) to an actual sales opportunity (market norms) with 7 simple words: “are you open to a separate conversation?”
  • How to structure and set fees, including using the “heart attack question” to bound the budget discussion.
  • Some encouragement on building a consulting practice:¬†“This isn’t a business about doing things perfectly, it’s about doing the right things.”
  • Plus, David and Reuben get into details on structuring proposals.

A quick recap of the 6 Steps from David’s book:

  1. Think “right side up” (client first)
  2. Maximize¬†impact with the prospects you have (the right people, the right problem, the right solution, at the right time, with the right fishing line) As consultants, “we don’t hunt, we fish”.
  3. Build visibility, with 2 of the 5 channels (speaking, writing, networking, trade associations, digital presence). However, 1 of the channels must be networking.
  4. Connect, connect, connect
  5. Become the obvious choice (“Discovery” is the key here, and will be the title of one of David’s upcoming books)
  6. Propose, negotiate, and close (including how to offer different options and how to handle price objections).

Books

Irrestible Consultants Guide to Winning Clients

The Irresistible Consultant’s Guide to Winning Clients: 6 Steps to Unlimited Clients & Financial Freedom

The wine

Reuben had some Marquis de Calon (Bordeaux, Saint Estephe 2010)  53% Cabernet sauvignon, 38% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot. Plum, red current, coffee, earth. Yum.

David does not drink alcohol (despite trips to Bordeaux and Italy), but here’s his recipe for irresistible¬†iced chocolate:

1 tbs cacao powder*
1 tbs carob powder*
1 handful unsalted cashews*
1 frozen, ripe banana for sweetener
20 oz water

Blend all ingredients in a high-power blender (Vitamix or Blendtec) for 50 seconds on high. Pour over glass of ice cubes.

*David uses raw, organic ingredients, but it’s not required.

bottle_0002_oban-14yo

Where to find David:

Where you can find Reuben: @Sales4Nerds, @Mimiran, Mimiran.com.

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You can also  listen on Overcast, or Subscribe on Android, Player.fm.


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029 Stella Orange on Authentic Marketing

Screen-Shot-2018-01-30-at-2.30.56-PM-768x857

Stella Orange talks about her strange path to marketing and copywriting via Japan, school teaching, bike riding, and writing copy to raise money for an arts nonprofit in Montana.

This includes the books she read to teach herself direct marketing, how she got her first clients (a great strategy for people who don’t have a sales engine when they start), and the mistakes business owners make in marketing.

[Extra props to Stella for taking time out of her vacation to record this episode, which I had to reschedule not once, but twice. This did leave her without whiskey, which was quite unfortunate. And then her dog threw up during the call, which she cleaned up on the fly. Thanks for being a trooper.]

Check out this episode to learn:

  • How working for a nonprofit and writing and performing plays gave Stella a great perspective on the performance of marketing. (Everyone has an interesting story about how they got into sales and marketing, and this might be one of the most interesting stories I’ve heard.)
  • How she turned her passion for writing into a “career”, despite being “unemployable”.
  • How she got her first clients, and how she taught herself sales. (And what her coach said to her when she said, “I’m a writer, I want my work to speak for itself.”)
  • Why she cried when she was starting her business, and why she cried after it took off.
  • Her stress over charging $450 for a 5 page website (she now charges much more, and has a great way of dealing with price objections).
  • “Old marketing”, focusing on pain, versus “new marketing”, focusing on desires, which can attract more qualified leads for many businesses. (Stella spent way too much time on unqualified leads early in her career.)
  • The biggest mistake people make in marketing (and of course, what you should do instead).

Books (if you don’t want to spend the money on the Amazon link, you can go to the public library like Stella did):

The wine whiskyOban 14 Year Old

Reuben had some Oban 14 year old Highland whisky. It’s got a little bit of sweetness to it, with hints of vanilla and caramel. Nice for people who don’t want all the peat, but also want a bit more flavor than the Macallan.

bottle_0002_oban-14yo

Stella wished, for just this one moment that she wasn’t on vacation, and was at home with her bottles, preferably the Yoichi Japanese whisky.Yoichi Single Malt

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Where to find Stella:

Where you can find Reuben: @Sales4Nerds, @Mimiran, Mimiran.com. (Looking for a way to turn more visitors into leads, leads into conversations, conversations into clients, and stay in touch with the people who matter? Start a Mimiran free trial.)

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You can also  listen on Overcast, or Subscribe on Android, Player.fm.


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