Alzay Calhoun is a business coach and founder of Coveted Consultant, a firm focused on helping experts design the perfect consulting business. He regularly publishes articles on leadership, time hacks, and revenue generating systems for passionate leaders of entrepreneurial, service-based companies.
Jane: I’m here with Alzay Calhoun who helps companies uncover their compelling message and uniqueness, which helps them create the most profits for themselves. Morning Alzay.
Alzay: Hey, good morning Jane.
Jane: How are you?
Alzay: Hey, I’m pretty good. Today is a good day. How are you?
Jane: Great. Let’s get started. Alzay, your work with consultants and companies is a deep exploration into a company’s why, their compelling reasons for being in business. Can you explain why you feel this is critical to their success?
Alzay: We live in a world of hyper competition. There are more and more competitors entering your industry every day, and your reason why is your fingerprint. It is the unique stamp that you put on your business and the unique stamp you put on your client base. So even in those situations where you offer the exact same service as your competitor, they don’t have your unique fingerprint, they don’t have your same reason why. Your why is your instant differentiation.
Jane: Great. What kind of consultants or companies need to do this work?
Alzay: Frankly, all of them. It’s necessary for every business. But this is specifically challenging for those that sell consulting services because there isn’t a physical object being sold. Some of the reason why type questions are answered automatically when the prospective client can see, touch, and feel the object being sold. Because services are intangible it’s more difficult for a prospective client to understand the immediate benefits. Therefore it becomes even more important to clearly explain what the service is, what benefit it provides to the prospective client, and why the client should choose your firm over a competitor.
Jane: Okay, that’s great. I can see how there is a difference between consultants and other companies that actually have a tangible physical product they are selling. So, I’m curious, isn’t this exploration into a company’s why something they would have already defined before they started their business?
Alzay: They should, but most companies simply haven’t. The short story for most high-level consulting companies is the leader has worked for a company, built up their expertise, build up their network and then at some point decides to step out and do the exact same work as a private company.. Where their expertise has been highly refined there typically isn’t enough time spent on thinking strategically about their business. So, their expertise is highly refined but their business strategy is typically much less refined.
Jane: they have basically hit the ground running before they have laid their foundation?
Alzay: That’s right.
Jane: Okay. So, what’s the risk to companies or a consultancy not knowing their why?
Alzay: The risk is, you end up becoming what I call conventional. You sound just like everybody else, you look just like everybody else, you don’t have a unique fingerprint like we discussed earlier. So you end up sounding like every other look like every business coach, lawyer, doctor, financial consultant, etc. You just blend in with the mix and in the world of business that’s the kiss of death.
Jane: So you’re a “me too” and you haven’t given prospects any compelling reason to choose you over the competition.
Alzay: Exactly right.
Jane: Okay. Can you give me an example of a consultant or company that didn’t know their uniqueness and what happened once they discovered it?
Alzay: There was a client I worked with who basically was winging all of his prospective clients’ conversation. Meaning he managing each meeting off of the top of his head and making up his script as he went along. He didn’t have a structured way of explaining and delivering his services. As a result, he was overwhelming his clients using too many words, too much jargon, and his clients never really “got it”. So we had a conversation that allowed him to better structure what he did, how he did it and why it was valuable. The first light bulb moment for him was when he was able to see “wow what I do is a really high level; the second lightbulb moment was when noticed the relationship between simplifying his presentation and getting more opportunities to close sales.
Jane: That’s awesome. And it sounds so straightforward.
Alzay: The after always is Jane. The after always seems straightforward. The process is what makes things difficult; that’s where it’s easy to fall down.
Jane: And that’s why consultants and companies would want to work with an expert like you.
Alzay: Yes. And the analogy that I use is, even the best surgeons do not do surgery on themselves. So even if you are a high quality, world class heart surgeon, you wouldn’t hire yourself to do your own heart surgery. It’s incredibly dangerous. So you would want to hire another surgeon and that’s the process that we’re looking at here. This is hiring another world class surgeon to conduct the procedure for you.
Jane: That’s so well put. Thank you. So to wrap this up Alzay, what’s are the top things that a consultant or a company must understand, or must do to understand their why and be more profitable?
Alzay: Well, the very first thing is you have got to stop. Right now you are extremely active running your business and that day-to-day responsibility doesn’t allow enough time to stop and reflect. So the first thing is to stop. The second is to ask a series of why questions. Why do you put up with all of the daily frictions to offer your services to clients? Why do you believe your services are so valuable? What would happen in the life of your clients if you stopped offering your services? And what big benefit do your best clients receive from you? Those simple questions walk you down a path of discovering your unique fingerprint for your marketplace.