The consulting-niching paradigm is a concept I've been struggling with for a while. I came across some content by Ramit Sethi and he completely answers this for me.
Ramit has this concept called the value chain, and as you move up the value chain you deliver higher value to higher paying clients. Most of us want to move up the value chain simply because we should, and usually it is something we should do.
And to fully answer this question we have to understand the value chain, we have to understand our business, the industry, and where our goals are. Once we know that we can decide where we want to be.
For Ramit, he became one of the best at personal finance first. Then at that point he studied the value chain, and the skill ladder, he studied the top guys in the personal finance world and saw that there was a ceiling to developing that skill-set. So he had to very carefully decide where he wanted to move next. He could have gone onstage with Donald Trump, he could have recorded an infomercial that would have hundreds of thousands of dollars in recurring revenue, but he saw the bigger picture and decided that this wasn't his route.
Amazon always gives you the option of signing up for their credit cards so I decided to give it a try, and its a really good deal.
First I signed up for the Amazon Credit card which gives me $40
Then they offered the Amazon Visa Credit card which gives me $60
That's $100 in Amazon credit which is as good as cash since we all buy things from Amazon all the time. And there's no minimum spend requirement, no yearly fee, and the credit went into my account instantly. Plus sign up took like less than 5 mins.
I’ve written before about my confusion in understanding the balance between niching and consulting.
Okay a quick rundown of why they are so different:
Niching requires you focus specifically on one specialty.
Consulting requires you to learn a broad amount of skills.
I actually wrote in my journal:
One of the favorite parts of my job is meeting and talking with successful people. It’s not so much about picking their brain and getting advice, but being able to draw energy from them and feel how they feel – think how they think.
I was talking to this guy George, who is a multi-million dollar chiropractor and I remembered him saying “If I do something, it’s gonna make me a hundred grand, and if it doesn’t work, I’ll find a different way to make a hundred grand from it”.
This isn’t just the way he approaches money, this is how he approaches life.
You talk to these guys and you realize that these guys don’t lose, not because they’re really smart and business savvy, but because the thought of losing doesn’t really cross their mind. They don’t hold themselves back, or hesitate. They just find a way to win, find a way to make money, and if it doesn’t work, they look for a different way…and this is fun to them.
One of the things I struggle with is that I constantly evaluate my commitment with a reward-risk ratio, and I tell myself, “I don’t know If I should put this much effort into something that might not work”.
A lot of the times when I’m out networking there aren’t many people who actually need my services. But this doesn’t mean I should give up, a lot of them can act as connectors.
So, after a good conversation use this script:
“I don’t need anything right now, but I just want to let you know that I am looking for a few new clients for my video production services and I’d love it if you introduced me if you think of anyone who’s a good fit”
“John, great talking to you. I’m always taking on new clients, so if you know anyone who needs video production, feel free to give them my contact. And let me know if there’s ever anything I can do to help you too”
This is probably the most in depth guide to finding someone's email that I've read.
Bryan lists his top paid resources, but then goes in detail on how to find it for free.
He mentions popular tactics like the rapportive tactic, but goes on about many others as well.
"Building a successful business is rarely about executing on quick wins. Its about having a few good systems in place and running those systems over and over"
-Jake Hower, Founder of Fuzedapp
Recenlty I started using Yesware, pretty much an all in one email tool built straight into your Gmail.
Email follow ups are so important in business, and I needed a way to systemize this and remind myself. There are other good tools too such as contactually or followup.cc, but this is followup.cc with more features...and its free!
It even has mail merge (not for free).
We can almost all agree that niching is crucial in marketing and distinguishing your brand. While it’s important in sales to niche your business, it’s also important to frame yourself as adviser: someone who has the ability to pick from a variety of tools to solve a client’s problem.
Niching and advising seems to be two opposite things, which is confusing. Should I focus on having a wide knowledgebase or a specific skillset?
Personally, I think the answer to that question is to have a specific skillset and niche your abilities. But where I think many of us go wrong is that we get caught up in that niche, and we start to build, not only our business identities, but our personal identities in that niche.
As I niche, my business will become the video production house that produces lifestyle web commercials for tech gadgets, and I should promote myself as so. But I have to remember that this is my marketing strategy so I don’t get sucked into believing that this is all that I am, and become limited to this role.
This applies in the overall sense that we should be open to new projects and ventures. I’m not a web commercial director, I’m a creative, and I’m open to and confident about all creative projects.
"I don't think of sales as packaging a product for someone, I think of sales as building a relationship and having conversations with them about their video ideas" -Tom Kranzle, Creative Director at Venture Visuals
There's so much pressure I put on myself to make short term sales and close deals. I keep getting frustrated that clients don't respond or that I'm reaching the wrong person. But getting video sales takes a long time, and getting access to marketing directors take a long time.
Looking back at the last couple of months, our sales rarely came from cold outreach. Instead, where we really saw progress was meeting people in higher positions. Essentially, getting someone to introduce us to someone who introduces us to someone who needs video.
Because the sales cycle is so slow, I know we have to make the most of our upsells and referrals. And by referrals I mean if they could refer us to someone who could introduce us to who might be able to introduce us to someone else.
Other than that, I've learned a lot about client management. The most key insights I got were to always suggest ways to help the client. Give options to the client and recommend one of them. And always communicate what you have and will have delivered to the client.