For the last two years as Smallbizlady, I have conducted interviews with small business experts on my weekly Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. April 27th was the 100th episode of the show and in celebration if that milestone, I had the honor of interviewing small business legend Alan Weiss, PhD, President of Summit Consulting and Author of the classic bestseller Million Dollar Consulting. For more information on http://www.summitconsulting.com Alan’s Twitter handle is @BentleyGTCSpeed. In honor of my 100th show Alan has offered a special bonus. His audio training session on 10 different key moments in the sales process which are critical in securing business. For the next 7 days for this audio normally sold for $150 will be available for just $10. (Alan Weiss’s materials are NEVER this affordable.) Grab 10 Key Moments in the Sales Process Today!
SmallBizLady: What is the biggest thing holding back most small businesses?
Alan Weiss: More than one thing holds back small business owners: A lack of self-esteem of the owner; an underestimation of the value they provide; a focus on price instead of value; a disregard for the real power of small business, customer relationships.
SmallBizLady: You are known as America’s most well- respected consultant. How did you land your very first customer?
Alan Weiss: I landed my first customer from a referral. It was someone who knew me in a former life and a client employee who knew me in that former life.
SmallBizLady: Why do most consulting businesses fail?
Alan Weiss: Firsts, most consultants don’t realize this is the marketing business. They focus on their methodology instead of on their results. And second, they content themselves with low level, HR people instead of finding true, economic buyers. Add that to the self-esteem issue I mentioned before, and you have a cocktail for failure.
SmallBizLady: What is the hardest thing about building a million dollar solo practice?
Alan Weiss: Changing your mindset so that you actually work less and less while making more and more. Becoming a thought leader with a very strong brand that attracts people to you. Having zero fear of failure.
SmallBizLady: What are some ways for consultants to leverage themselves so that do not feel like a hamster on a wheel in their business?
Alan Weiss: Understand that your presence is not your value, but your results are. Streamline your methodology, delegate tasks to your client, and subcontract things that don’t rely on your unique expertise (more than you think).
SmallBizLady: What has surprised you most about running your businesses?
Alan Weiss: That I could leverage it so much and create such strong marketing gravity.
SmallBizLady: Pricing is always a challenge for business owners. What’s your advice on getting it right?
Alan Weiss: Charge on results not “deliverables,” charge based on your value not your methodology or delivery, and stay far away from trainers and HR people.
SmallBizLady: You has said that small business owners under utilize their existing customers. How so?
Alan Weiss: They don’t build solid relationships that lead to referral business, which
is the platinum standard. They treat customers like annoyances. I can get
better service in many “big box” stores than in small businesses.
Smallbizlady: What are some ways to increase the value of an existing customer?
Alan Weiss: Elicit referrals, include them in the design process of new products and services, give them discounts for repeat business.
Smallbizlady: How do you measure success?
Alan Weiss: I don’t. That’s one of the silliest things people try to do. If you have to be convinced by a metric that you’re successful, then you aren’t.
Smallbizlady: What’s your must-read resource for small business owners and Why?
Alan Weiss: Peter Drucker on strategy, which he invented in all reality; my own Million Dollar Consulting, which has been on the shelves for 20 years and four editions; and Atlas Shrugged, which, no matter what you think about Ayn Rand and her politics, tells you that you can’t allow crazed political correctness to undermine true talent.
Smallbizlady: Complete these sentence: If standing on a rooftop facing crowds of aspiring or struggling small business owners, I would shout:
Alan Weiss: How many of you would like to buy my special techniques for getting up here on the roof?
If you found this interview helpful, join us on Wednesdays 8-9pm ET follow @SmallBizChaton Twitter. Here’s how to participate in #Smallbizchat http://bit.ly/S797e
For more tips on how start or grow your small business subscribe to Melinda Emerson’s blog http://www.succeedasyourownboss.com.