As a B2B consultant, your ultimate goal is to have a highly profitable consulting business with dream clients asking to work with you.
Achieving this goal is easier said than done.
You may find yourself perfecting your craft, becoming an expert in your field, and yet still struggle to attract the kind of clients you desire.
It's a frustrating cycle, one that I am all too familiar with.
I remember my early days as a consultant. Filled with enthusiasm and confidence, I was certain that my expertise alone was my ticket to high-paying clients.
However, despite years of honing my craft and accumulating knowledge, I found myself struggling. I had a hard time securing consistent, high-paying clients, leading to periods of financial uncertainty and self-doubt.
But why was this the case?
Why did expertise not translate to business success? I needed to find the answer.
Like many of you, I was was like a badly equipped archer - an expert with perfected skills but lacking understanding of my target's movement. It was as if I was trying to hit a moving target with a blindfold on.
I could aim in the general direction, but without the crucial knowledge of where my target was going, my chances of hitting it were slim. It was clear that something was missing.
What was this missing piece?
After much trial and error, I discovered that it was two-fold:
- A clear value proposition and Point Of View (POV)
- And a focused niche specialisation.
These two elements were the game-changers.
It was only when I started to incorporate these elements into my business strategy that I began to see the results I had longed for - consistent, high-paying clients and a thriving business.
But don't just take my word for it. A study from the Rain Group lends weight to this argument. The study found that the most successful professional services firms had a strong focus on their target market and a unique point of view - in other words, Success Factors 1 and 2.
The Visible Expert Model
With this newfound understanding, I was able to categorize B2B consultants into four quadrants, each representing a different combination of Success Factors 1 and 2. The goal, of course, is to reach Quadrant 1 - 'The Visible Expert.' My model was born:
- 'The Visible Expert is the consultant who is high on both Success Factor 1 and Success Factor 2. They have a clear value proposition + POV and are focused on a specific market pain. These consultants understand their clients' needs deeply and can communicate their unique value effectively, resulting in a highly profitable consulting business.
- 'The Incoherent Communicator is the consultant high on Success Factor 1 but low on Success Factor 2. They may have a unique point of view and be doing plenty of marketing and communication, but if it's not targeted at a specific niche, it's unlikely to yield results. They struggle to reach their ideal clients and communicate their value effectively, leading to missed opportunities and low-paying clients.
- 'The Invisible Expert is the consultant who has a compelling value proposition + POV (Success Factor 1) but lacks a problem focused niche (Success Factor 2). Despite their skills and expertise, their services go unnoticed due to a lack of effective marketing, and they struggle to attract high paying clients.
- Finally, The Unfocused Generalist is the consultant who is low on both Success Factor 1 and Success Factor 2. They struggle to differentiate themselves from their competitors and fail to communicate their unique value to potential clients. As a result, they often settle for low-paying clients and have difficulty growing their businesses.
Recognising where you currently stand in these quadrants is the first step to understanding the changes needed to propel your business towards Success.
Or, of course, patting yourself on the back for a job well done.
Let's dive deeper into these quadrants and identify the symptoms that may indicate where your consultancy is currently positioned.
Quadrant 1: The Visible Expert
The Visible Expert has hit the sweet spot. These consultants have managed to carve out a niche for themselves, where they are recognised for their unique value proposition. They have an engaging Point of View that resonates with their ideal clients, creating a robust demand for their services.
Symptoms of The Visible Expert include a steady stream of high-value clients, the ability to command premium prices, and a reputation as a thought leader in their field. They enjoy high client retention rates and receive excellent referrals, leading to a sustainable, profitable business.
Quadrant 2: The Incoherent Communicator
The Incoherent Communicator might have a strong Point of View but struggles with Niche Specialisation. This means they are talking a lot, but not many are listening - mainly because they aren't communicating a value proposition that resonates with a defined audience.
The symptoms here include a sense of being 'stuck' in your business growth, despite significant investment in marketing. You may find yourself struggling to differentiate from competitors and failing to attract your ideal, high-value clients. Instead, you're left grappling with missed opportunities and settling for low-paying clients.
Quadrant 3: The Invisible Expert
The Invisible Expert is a classic case of a tree falling in a forest with no one around to hear it. These consultants have a unique value proposition and Point Of View, but they lack a Multi-Channel Marketing and Sales Strategy. They may be experts in their field, but they fail to make their value visible to potential clients.
Symptoms include a feeling of being the 'best kept secret' in your industry, where people who know you value your work, but you struggle to reach a broader audience. You may also find it hard to attract high-value clients despite your expertise and high-quality service.
Quadrant 4: The Unfocused Generalist
The Unfocused Generalist is low on both Success Factors. These consultants struggle to stand out from the crowd due to a lack of a clear value proposition + POV and a targeted multi-channel marketing and sales strategy.
Symptoms of The Unfocused Generalist include a high churn rate of low-value clients, difficulty differentiating from competitors, and a struggle to communicate your unique value to potential clients. Consequently, they often have difficulty growing their businesses and feel like they're always competing on price.
The Plan To Move To A Visible Expert
So, now that you understand the four quadrants and their symptoms, how can you move towards being a Visible Expert?
The journey starts by intensifying your focus on Success Factors 1 and 2: Having a clear value proposition + POV and specialising in a specific market pain - mainly focused on a known market pain.
Incorporating these success factors into your business model can transform you from an Incoherent Communicator, Invisible Expert, or an Unfocused Generalist into a Visible Expert.
But how do we start?
Success Factor 1: Develop a Clear Value Proposition and a Strong Point of View
Your value proposition is the unique value you offer to your clients - it's what sets you apart from your competitors. It's your 'why.' Why should clients choose you over others offering similar services? Developing a strong and unique value proposition is crucial to differentiating yourself in the market and attracting high-value clients.
To build a strong value proposition, start by identifying the unique skills and knowledge you bring to the table.
How do your services improve your clients' businesses?
What results do you create?
How do you solve their problems better than anyone else?
Reflect on these questions, and craft a value proposition that clearly communicates the unique benefits you offer.
Once you have a clear value proposition, develop a strong point of view.
Your point of view is your unique perspective on your industry, your services, and the problems you solve. It's your 'how.'
How do you approach problem-solving differently?
How do your methods and techniques set you apart?
What are your strong beliefs on the Industry and/or pain?
Having a strong point of view helps to establish your authority and credibility in your field.
Success Factor 2: Focus on a Specific Market Pain
Choosing a niche allows you to focus your efforts on a specific market pain. By narrowing your focus, you can become an expert in that area, making you the go-to consultant for that specific problem.
Specialising doesn't mean turning away other opportunities. On the contrary, it means attracting more of the clients you want to work with and less you don't. It means better understanding your clients' needs and being able to provide solutions that are tailored to them.
To identify your niche, consider the types of clients you enjoy working with and the kinds of problems you're most effective at solving. Look for a niche where you can leverage your unique skills and expertise.
Move from The Unfocused Generalist to The Visible Expert
Action Plan: From the Unfocused Generalist to the Visible Expert
Identify Your Unique Value Proposition (UVP):
The first step towards becoming a Visible Expert is identifying your UVP. Reflect on the unique blend of skills, experiences, and passions you bring to your work. Ask yourself: What problem can I solve that no one else can? What sets my services apart from others?
Once you've identified your UVP, articulate it in a clear and concise manner. Remember, your UVP should communicate the unique benefits clients can expect when they choose your services.
Develop a Strong Point of View:
Next, develop a compelling point of view. This is your unique perspective or approach to the services you offer. It should reflect your beliefs, values, and methods. Consider: How do I approach problems differently? How are my solutions unique?
Your point of view should challenge the status quo and provoke thought, setting you apart as a leader in your field.
Specialize in a Specific Niche:
To become a Visible Expert, you need to become an expert in a specific niche. This means focusing on a specific market pain. Ask yourself: What types of clients do I most enjoy working with? What problems am I most effective at solving? What is a common thread that ties my most successful projects together?
By specializing in a niche, you can tailor your services to the needs of a specific group, making you the go-to consultant for those clients.
Develop a Multi-Channel Marketing and Sales Strategy:
Once you have a clear UVP and a specific niche, it's time to make your value visible. Develop a multi-channel marketing and sales strategy that communicates your UVP to your target market. This could involve social media marketing, content marketing, email marketing, networking events, speaking engagements, and more.
The key is to ensure your marketing efforts are targeted at your chosen niche. This increases the chances of your message reaching the right audience.
Build Thought Leadership:
Thought leadership involves sharing your unique insights and perspectives with your target audience. This can be achieved through blogging, podcasting, public speaking, publishing research, etc. The goal is to position yourself as a leading voice in your field, thereby building trust and credibility with potential clients.
Continuously Refine and Adapt:
Becoming a Visible Expert isn't a one-time task. It involves continuously refining your approach and adapting to changes in your industry and market. This means staying updated with the latest trends and developments, seeking feedback from clients, and improving your services based on that feedback.
By following this action plan, you can transition from an Unfocused Generalist to a Visible Expert. Remember, the journey to becoming a Visible Expert isn't an overnight process. It takes time, effort, and consistency. But with a clear plan and persistent effort, you can achieve your goal and enjoy the rewards of a profitable consulting business.
Move from The Invisible Expert to The Visible Expert
Action Plan: From the Invisible Expert to the Visible Expert
Identify Your Communication Gaps:
The primary difference between an Invisible Expert and a Visible Expert is communication. Invisible Experts are highly knowledgeable and skilled, but they fail to communicate their value effectively. Identify the gaps in your current communication strategy. Are you reaching the right audience? Is your message clear and compelling? Are you using the right platforms to communicate?
Develop a Clear Marketing and Sales Strategy:
Having expertise is not enough; you need to make your value visible to your potential clients. This means developing a clear marketing and sales strategy that effectively communicates your unique value proposition (UVP). Think about how you can reach your target audience, what marketing channels will be most effective, and how you can use these channels to articulate your UVP.
Build Your Online Presence:
In today's digital world, having a strong online presence is crucial for visibility. This involves building a professional website, being active on social media platforms where your target clients hang out, and regularly sharing valuable content that highlights your expertise and point of view. Remember, consistency is key. Regularly post content that aligns with your expertise and point of view, and interact with your audience to build relationships and trust.
Establish Thought Leadership:
One of the most effective ways to become visible is by establishing yourself as a thought leader in your field. This can be achieved by sharing unique insights, writing articles, participating in industry forums, speaking at events, and more. As a thought leader, you don't just share knowledge; you shape conversations and influence the direction of your field.
Networking is a powerful tool for increasing visibility. Attend industry events, join professional associations, and connect with potential clients and other professionals in your field. When networking, remember that it's not just about promoting yourself; it's about building relationships and adding value to others.
Ask for Testimonials and Referrals:
Positive reviews and referrals can significantly enhance your visibility. Don't be shy to ask your satisfied clients for testimonials. You can showcase these on your website and social media platforms. Additionally, a satisfied client is likely to refer you to their network, thus increasing your visibility.
Continue Learning and Adapting:
The journey from being an Invisible Expert to a Visible Expert is one of continuous learning and adaptation. Keep updating your knowledge and skills, and stay abreast of the latest trends and changes in your field. Be open to feedback and ready to make changes to your strategies as needed.
Move from The Incoherent Communicator to The Visible Expert
Action Plan: From the Incoherent Communicator to the Visible Expert
Identify Your Niche:
As an Incoherent Communicator, you may have a strong point of view, but it's not honed in on a specific market pain or niche. Take the time to identify a niche where your expertise can truly make a difference. Ask yourself, what specific problems can I solve? Who can benefit the most from my expertise? The narrower and more specific your niche, the easier it will be to become a Visible Expert.
Develop a Unique Value Proposition (UVP):
Once you've identified your niche, you need to articulate your unique value proposition. This is a clear, concise statement that explains how you solve your clients' problems, why you do it better than anyone else, and why your audience should care. Your UVP should be the backbone of all your communication.
Align Your Communication Strategy with Your Niche:
As a strong communicator, you likely have multiple channels you're comfortable with. Now, you need to align your communication strategy with your newly identified niche. Tailor your message to speak directly to your ideal clients and their pain points. Remember, the goal is not to communicate with everyone, but to resonate deeply with the right people.
Building authority in your niche is key to becoming a Visible Expert. This can be achieved by sharing high-quality content, conducting webinars, speaking at conferences, and contributing to industry publications. You want to be seen as the go-to expert in your niche.
Leverage Testimonials and Case Studies:
Nothing speaks louder than success. Gather testimonials from satisfied clients and create case studies that highlight how you've solved problems in your niche. These serve as social proof and can significantly boost your credibility.
Engage Your Audience:
Regularly engage with your audience. This could be through social media, email newsletters, webinars, or comments on your blog. Engaging with your audience helps you build relationships, gain insights into their needs, and fine-tune your offerings.
Keep Learning and Adapting:
Becoming a Visible Expert is an ongoing journey. Stay abreast of changes in your niche, continue learning, and keep honing your expertise. Be adaptable and ready to change your strategies when needed.
By implementing these steps, an Incoherent Communicator can transition to a Visible Expert. Remember, the goal is not just to be seen, but to be seen as a valuable resource for your target clients.
And If You Are already The Visible Expert Then Make Sure You Stay There
Action Plan: Maintaining the Position of a Visible Expert
As a Visible Expert, you're known for your expertise in your niche. Maintain your status by committing to continuous learning. Keep up with industry trends, new technologies, and changing market conditions. Your continued growth will reflect in your insights and keep your point of view relevant.
Innovate and Adapt:
A visible expert is a thought leader, and thought leaders are innovative. Never stop looking for new, more effective solutions for your clients. Be open to new methods, tools, or concepts that could enhance your services and offer fresh perspectives.
Stay Engaged with Your Audience:
Even as an expert, it's essential to stay connected with your audience. Regularly communicate with your clients and wider network, not just about your services, but also about their challenges and needs. By staying engaged, you'll be able to anticipate and respond to shifts in your niche, and it will keep you grounded.
Invest in Building Relationships:
Don't neglect networking. Building strong relationships with other professionals, industry influencers, and potential clients will not only keep you in the loop about new developments but also reinforce your reputation as an expert. Attend industry events, contribute to relevant online communities, and nurture existing relationships.
Consistently Create High-Quality Content:
Your content is a key channel for sharing your expertise. Regularly publish high-quality content that provides real value for your audience. This can be in the form of blog posts, webinars, podcasts, or social media updates.
Seek Feedback and Reflect:
Even as an expert, there's always room for improvement. Seek feedback from clients and peers to learn what's working and where you can improve. Reflect on your own performance and identify areas where you can increase your value to clients.
Regardless of your status, never let success go to your head. A truly visible expert remains humble, acknowledges the efforts of others, and is always open to learning from anyone.
By staying proactive and humble, continuously learning, and always keeping an eye out for ways to deliver more value, a Visible Expert can continue to maintain their status and be the go-to authority in their niche.
Becoming a Visible Expert
Becoming a Visible Expert isn't an overnight process. It requires reflection, strategy, and consistent effort. It involves understanding and communicating your unique value, specialising in a specific market pain, and continually refining your approach based on feedback and results.
As you move towards becoming a Visible Expert, you'll find that your business becomes more profitable and fulfilling. You'll attract high-paying clients who value your services and respect your expertise. You'll stand out in a crowded market, not as a generalist but as an expert in your field.
So, if you're a B2B consultant seeking a profitable consulting business, don't just perfect your craft. Instead, aim to become a Visible Expert. Understand your target's movement, combine it with your expertise, and you'll hit the bullseye every time.
To quote Jim Rohn, "Success is not to be pursued; it is to be attracted by the person you become."
The journey to becoming a Visible Expert starts now.
Are you ready?
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