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December 21, 2008

Are you a commodity?

Consulting, at it’s core, is a commodity business. In the end it is an exchange of skills for revenue.

As with any other time of economic hardship, the ranks of independent consultants swell as laid off workers try to leverage their knowledge to get through the hard times. And this adds to the commoditization of consulting.

Unsure of their worth they charge cut price rates, placing pressure on everyone else to do the same. And in a commodity business the only way for you to differentiate between you and your competitors is on price.

The problem with competing on price is that you might win. We have all worked on projects that were under-quoted in some way. It hurts doesn’t it?

The difference, the thing that will allow you to charge as the valuable resource that you are, is your brand.

Are you really the person who can help them?

Is there an obvious difference between you and your competitors?

Are current and former clients willing to line up to tell about your proven track record of results?

Your actions, Intellectual Property, and client history need to clearly answer these three questions.

Your articles, books, reports and speeches need to leave no doubt that you are the person with the experience and clarity of thought they need – right now.

Your track record of success needs to have delivered so much value that referrals will happen without your intervention.

And you need to be able to point to clear examples of phenomenal returns on investment achieved by your clients because they hired you.

If you are going to be in consulting, and you want to be wealthy, then you need to pay close attention to personal branding.

If you do not then you are just a warm body delivering services – like everybody else.