We get asked all of the time about what it takes to be successful at consulting. People want to know what business model works, how to price their services, how to generate leads, and how to turn leads into business, etc. All of these questions are important things to understand in order to build a successful business. However, getting the tactical components of the business correct is only 50% of success in consulting. We have written many past articles about the tactical components and how to get them right. We work with consultants every day on honing the tactical side of building a consulting practice.
However, in today’s article we are going to focus on the other 50% – you! We strongly believe that as a consultant you are the biggest asset in your business. The skills, expertise, and knowledge you bring to your practice are as critical as your continued commitment to your personal growth and development. Here again, we are not talking about tactical skills like how good you are at networking or proposal writing.
So let’s go! The first key to business success through personal development is visualization.
- Visualization is our mental image of something, a mental or physical picture of where we want to go, what we want to achieve, what we want to become, etc.
We can mentally visualize successful outcomes or accomplishments but research has shown that using physical pictures continuously help to trigger our subconscious.
Michigan State University did a study on over 200 emergency room patients who were given instructions on how to care for their wounds at home before being discharged. Half of the patients received text only instructions. The rest received the same text accompanied with images. The research team followed up 3 days later to see which individuals were more successful in following their home care plan. The results were interesting: 46% of the people who received the images along with the instructions were able to answer each of the wound care questions correctly; only 6% of the text only group did so successfully. Those in the image group were 43% better in terms of their adherence to the instructions than the text only crowd.
What does that mean for you? Adding pictures that represent what you want to achieve in your consulting practice and in your life can make attaining those goals easier than just writing them down. According to Wayne Dyer, what you are thinking about in the last two minutes prior to falling asleep stays in your subconscious mind for up to fours hours while you are sleeping. Right before going to bed is perfect time to look at your goals or vision board, screen saver, etc.
- Break the pattern – when you are in a mental or physical rut do something immediate and intentional to create a better pattern and therefore a different outcome.
Gary Vaynerchuk gives a great example in this 53-second YouTube clip. If you are not familiar with Gary’s speaking style know that there are no swear words in this 53 seconds. Happy viewing!
- Make deliberate choices – research tells us that 88% of what we do in a given day, the choices and decisions we make, are subconscious.
Create a mental mindset to work through each day in a more deliberate fashion. I met a gentleman recently that gets teased by his colleagues that everything he does is put on his calendar and is coded. The coding is linked to an app so he can see exactly how much time he is with his clients, how much he exercised, how much he is traveling, how much time he is spending with his wife or goddaughter in a given month, six months and so on. His process is extremely deliberate because as he says, “If it is important to spend time with my goddaughter and I am not scheduling that time and tracking for measurement, I am lying to myself and her as well.” His personal process is about making deliberate choices. What is your process?
- Do it anyway – business and life can be frustrating at times; however adopting a ‘do it anyway’ philosophy gives you the gusto to push through and helps you remember why you started your consulting practice and reminds you what you want to accomplish.
- Be impeccable with your word.
Speaking with integrity in business is a sure way to win friends and influence people. Say only what you mean, and you will prove to clients that you are trusted. People naturally want to work with those they believe they can trust. If you are impeccable with your word, you will be more likely to take on more clients. Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements.
These five keys may seem obvious and perhaps apply to any business – not just consulting. However we have had the privilege of working with many consultants and the ones that are achieving the business results they desire and living the lives they want, are consistently developing themselves in these five areas. Hope this article inspires action steps for you and your business. Successful consulting!