strategic consultant to:  

~ serial CEOs & CTOs in software, Internet, technology & digital media
~ experienced consultants in all fields to maximize their practices

This article is one of a series on the 12 characteristics that are required to succeed as an independent consultant, based on my work with experts optimizing their consultancies.  Here is the link to the entire series.

Your expertise is not enough to ensure your success as a consultant.  You must be clear what is unique about your approach, your depth of knowledge, and (more important) your results, to differentiate yourself from all the other consultants who say they do what you do, or sound like they do what you do.  These other consultants may or may not have your expertise, or even be successful, but they are noise in your marketplace that you must overcome.

So, key to rising above this noise is defining your expertise as a unique value proposition that distinguishes you from the crowd.  This is not a simple task.  In fact, defining your value in short, simple phrases is one of the most difficult tasks, especially when you try it on your own.   I always find it easier to achieve my client’s unique value proposition than I do defining my own.  If you have 5 minutes to say it (rather than 10 seconds, or 30 seconds) you can do it.  But you don’t.  You must be succinct.

Here are some tips:

  • Start by writing 3 short, simple sentences.  Not compound sentences, with extra defining clauses — only simple (Subject – Verb – Object) sentences.  Yes, you can have one adjective.
  • Use simple language — no “corporate-speak,” no acronyms, no academic tone.
  • State what is different about your work from others’ work.
  • State the result of your work for your clients.
  • Use figures, numbers, facts to define your results.
  • Use active verbs and the active (not passive) tense.
  • Declare your value; use “I” or “we” with confidence.
  • Try it out, test it, see what responses you get, refine the message, then test again.
  • Repeat this until it works.

Here’s one of my own examples:

“I’m Joey Tamer.  I consult to expert consultants to improve their consulting practices.  I have 15 unique strategies I have developed over more than 25 years in practice.  My clients generally double their revenues by Year 2, attract and close better clients, and get paid in advance.”

Of course, there is more to it than the first statement.  The system for defining your expertise and its value when prospecting or writing, or speaking in public, includes at least two more steps that are similar, that dig deeper into your value.  But each step follows these basic rules.

Good luck.