brand as business bit:  I recently had the opportunity to speak with a social media company about how it could better meet its clients’ needs.  It struck me that the company needs to stop thinking like a media company and start thinking like a consulting firm.  This would enable it to become more of a strategic partner to its clients, and therefore generate revenue beyond a traditional selling approach.

Among the things consulting firms do to position themselves as valuable strategic partners are:

  • Start with the client’s problem – Does the company need to create awareness?  Convert more prospects?  Increase value perceptions so it can command a price premium?  Inspire loyalty?  Many companies don’t know what they don’t know, so helping clients identify and clearly articulate their need is of tremendous value.
  • Productize the offering – Consultants make it easy for the client to buy what they provide — packaging services into products, attaching a name to each service, articulating a clear value proposition for each, and bundling complementary offerings.
  • Be solution-neutral – or, rather, understand that insight IS the solution.  Objective POVs and strategic recommendations are far more valuable than sales pitches – and they lead to trust and respect which often leads to a sale without a pitch.

Come to think of it, these are approaches that seem appropriate for most service providers.  What works for you?  Please share how you’ve positioned yourself as valuable strategic partner or how companies have positioned themselves to you!