consultant sales

Thu 30 May 2024
When building trust and engaging with potential new clients, executive mastermind groups are one of the most powerful tools small business consultants can implore. These mastermind groups bring together various small business owners to facilitate high-level discussions of the real-life problems they face. Together, small business owners can share insights, discuss problems,  and develop innovative solutions based on their experiences. By facilitating a mastermind group, small business consultants can have a seat at the table. 

Small business owners may be more hesitant to receive consulting services because outsiders do not know the intricacies of their business and how it operates. Building trust with small business owners through mastermind group sessions can break the barrier of unfamiliarity preventing these small business owners from seeking consulting services. Furthermore, these small business owners may be wary about using such services simply due to unfamiliarity with the process. Allowing them to become familiar with the collaborative problem-solving processes used in mastermind groups can work to create an open mind about reaching out for consulting. 

Other concerns small business owners may have with consulting services include a lack of understanding and the perceived value of implementing consulting services. Small business owners may be unfamiliar with the available consulting resources specializing in tackling challenges that small businesses face. Even small business owners who are aware of these services, may not recognize the value of consulting services and think they can solve all problems on their own. Introduction to a mastermind group can help to break down these preconceived notions that all problems must be solved within the company and help them recognize how collaborative consulting can truly revolutionize their business. 

How do mastermind groups function? 

In determining whether facilitating a mastermind group will be a positive addition to one's current small business consulting initiatives, it’s crucial to understand what exactly mastermind groups are. Mastermind groups comprise a group of peers collaborating to provide support to one another through shared experiences. For the purpose of building a mastermind group comprised of potential clients, a mastermind group can include strictly small business owners. During regular meetings, each group member can discuss recent challenges or problems they are struggling with and receive guidance from other group members who have faced or are facing similar challenges. 

As a facilitator, advice can also be provided, however, this also presents an opportunity for offering more in-depth consulting services. Group members who are struggling, for example, with how to improve their company’s credit rating, may need more individualized recommendations to properly resolve this issue. Being a facilitator of these mastermind groups allows knowledge about which small business owner is struggling with this problem and may need more specialized help from a small business consultant. Facilitating these mastermind groups gives direct access to potential clients and current challenges they are struggling with. 

How does the creation of mastermind groups work? 

Acquiring small business owners to join a mastermind group without experience facilitating such groups can be a daunting task. This is where utilizing the help from companies with existing mastermind groups is beneficial. Some companies currently specialize in leading mastermind groups and have processes developed to acquire members of mastermind groups and resources on how to structure these meetings. Ambition in Motion (AIM) currently leads many mastermind groups and has recently launched services catered specifically to small business consultants interested in facilitating their own mastermind group. 

Investing in a license to utilize AIM’s executive mastermind groups, not only provides access to a network of potential new clients, it builds trust and meaningful relationships with small business owners. After licensing AIM’s mastermind group, the business development team will conduct client outreach through LinkedIn and other channels to build a mastermind group consisting of small business owners who are excited about this new opportunity. After the initial outreach, communication with potential mastermind group members will be handled directly and connections with these small business owners will begin to develop. 

Why is licensing AIM Mastermind Groups unique?

Licensing AIM’s Mastermind Group provides many benefits, primarily through the initial establishment of the groups. As mentioned previously, AIM will work directly on the mastermind group member reach out. It can be overwhelming to determine where to start with outreach efforts, so assistance from AIM’s business development team helps to guide these initial steps and set the mastermind group up for success. Additionally, AIM’s small business roots can provide a connection with these small business owners who may trust other small businesses but shy away from the word ‘consultants’. 

In addition to mastermind group member acquisition and the small business connection that AIM provides, overall more affordable licensing packages are a significant benefit of utilizing these services. Oftentimes, small businesses don’t have large budgets that can be used for mastermind groups or consulting services. A more affordable option will attract small business owners who were turned off in the past from such services due to their higher costs. Not only is the pricing attractive to small business owners, but the licensing fee for anyone interested in starting their own mastermind group is cost-effective. 

As a consultant, it can be difficult to obtain small business clients due to their resistance to change and outside help. Through licensing mastermind groups, consultants will gain access to various small business owners seeking to solve business problems while also building relationships with these owners. With this unique mastermind group connection, small business consultants can gain insights about current problems small business owners are facing and transition group members who need additional consulting expertise into clients. 


Thu 30 May 2024
Initiated by the COVID-19 pandemic workplace changes, there has been a major influx of professionals leaving their workplace industry to begin their careers as executive coaches. The number of executive coaches have multiplied consistently over the past five years, but the demand has not changed. Now, the introduction of these executive coaches has overpopulated the supply, with minimal change in the demand for their work. 

With these recent industry changes, executive coaches heavily compete for business and therefore must find creative methods to set themselves apart from competitors. Coaches have clients across industries and commonly offer one-day training on focuses that provide great value to teams in building culture, productive workplace habits, and creating a comforting environment for professionals along with a variety of other focuses. 

However, industry leader, McKinsey and Company has published an article sharing their findings that leaders prefer a group of peers to relate to and discuss with than a lecture style training. Once professionals reach executive levels in their organizations, coaching and training for growth is challenging. The ability to openly learn from other executive leaders is an amazing opportunity that encourages training, learning, and development in a non-conventional manner. 

Rather than focusing on day-to-day trainings executive coaches could consider leading an executive mastermind group to build a more impactful connection with the participating professionals. These groups meet for discussion on a regular basis for peer collaboration and advising. Coaches can lead and organize these groups and purchase materials and content to assist in leading mastermind groups to provide the most benefit to all participants. Inviting individuals to join an executive mastermind group can be a great way to spark business connections, encourage networking, and learn from industry peers and leaders. Additionally, professionals may find benefit in the cost-effectiveness of executive mastermind groups rather than a more costly executive coaching or consulting agreement. 

The value of peer collaboration and feedback add great benefit to executive mastermind groups for both coaches and participants. Executive mastermind groups provide a pivotal opportunity for coaches to refine their leadership skills and provide a platform that promotes learning from diverse perspectives and gaining peer insights. Furthermore, mastermind groups create a comforting environment for growth and support in making mistakes. Through mastermind collaboration efforts, leaders are enabled to achieve team goals, stay attuned to industry changes, and cultivate a community of support and psychological safety for learning and growth.  

In leading an executive mastermind group, executive coaches are given the opportunity to build relationships and a trust-based culture with leaders across varying industries. Providing a welcoming platform to facilitate networking and building relationships is a crucial aspect of developing a quality, focused mastermind group. In building this platform, individuals create a space of psychological safety and embrace mistakes that promote collective growth. 

Through executive mastermind sessions, executive coaches enhance their skills and contribute to the continuous evolution of professional education as a whole. Here are the top 6 reasons that executive coaches should consider starting an executive mastermind group:

  1. Business Development
By having an executive mastermind group, coaches are able to create a safe place for prospects to begin discussing their challenges. Executive coaching and training are intimate relationships built on high trust. An executive mastermind group creates an environment for coaches to build trust with their prospects who, when the time is right, will come to them seeking higher value engagements.

2. Networking and Relationship Building
Executive mastermind groups create a valuable environment to build long-lasting relationships and network with other executives across different industries. Through mastermind groups, coaches can learn more about specific industry measures that impact individuals, and, coaches are able to build their network and demonstrate their knowledge and ability. 

3. Expanding Impact
Through executive mastermind groups, coaches are able to further impact the professionals they advise. However, in a mastermind group, the executive coach is not the only individual leading towards team growth. Participant engagement and collaboration provide incredible benefits to professionals that cannot necessarily be gained through basic trainings. Executives face unique challenges and the solutions to these challenges cannot always be found in a textbook. Executives guide each other through continuous discussion and collaboration using their past experiences. Through executive mastermind groups, coaches are able to reach a larger audience with impactful guidance to leave a lasting impact on participants. 

4. Risk Aversion 
Through executive mastermind groups, coaches can benefit from a risk-averse strategy to expand their business. Rather than enacting a change across a team, department, or company, these individuals work with just a few leaders. By working with fewer individuals, coaches reduce the risk to their brand image and reputation. Additionally, for coaches still developing their businesses, mastermind groups provide an opportunity to network with leaders across industries which is crucial for expanding brand image and recognition. 

5. Scalability
An incredible perk of leading executive mastermind groups is the ability to easily scale groups. With flexibility benefits, coaches leading mastermind groups can guide a larger audience without sacrificing the quality of the session. Rather than a one-day training course on a specified topic, leaders can meet for 2 hours every other week and achieve similar results for personal growth because many executives are contributing to a group effort of guiding each other rather than the coach alone guiding the group. 

6. Brand Enhancement
By leading an executive mastermind group, coaches are able to enhance their leadership skills, industry knowledge, and brand image simultaneously. Partnering or using a specific company's mastermind group content is a great tool for coaches to start with, followed by adapting the materials for their specific client group. Through a reliable and well-designed mastermind course, coaches brand image and credibility will continuously increase.

Building an executive mastermind group cohort can be an incredibly strategic step for coaches to grow their businesses. Investing in mastermind group content offers a variety of benefits to both the leader and participants who collectively learn from each other. Through utilizing curated materials, mastermind group leaders can provide executives with a psychologically safe, supportive environment to share diverse experiences and learn from peers. 

If you are an executive coach and are interested in setting up your own executive mastermind group, schedule a conversation with Ambition In Motion to learn more.


Thu 30 May 2024
IT Consultants often spend countless hours networking, attending events, and following up with leads to secure contracts. This process, while necessary, can significantly detract from their core work and limit their capacity to take on new projects.

The landscape of IT consulting is full of challenges, especially when dealing with high-stakes projects for CIOs, CTOs, or VPs. These executives often face the daunting task of delivering critical software solutions with significantly reduced teams due to layoffs or budget cuts. In such scenarios, the pressure mounts to meet deadlines without compromising quality. 

The emotional toll of this process cannot be understated. IT consultants frequently find themselves juggling multiple tasks, striving to meet tight deadlines while simultaneously trying to expand their professional network. This relentless cycle can lead to burnout, frustration, and a sense of isolation. However, the path to success isn’t merely about securing the contract; it’s about forging strong, strategic relationships with key executives.

For IT Consultants, the task of developing and maintaining professional relationships can be a daunting and time-consuming endeavor. While there are other methods to find contractors and consultants for IT projects, they often come with significant drawbacks. Traditional hiring through agencies can be prohibitively expensive, with high fees and lengthy processes that delay project timelines. Additionally, these methods lack the personal touch and trust that come from direct relationships cultivated within a mastermind group.

Executive mastermind groups offer a streamlined and effective solution to these challenges. By deploying an executive mastermind group, IT Consultants can simplify the process of building and nurturing valuable relationships. These groups bring together like-minded executives and consultants in a structured environment, fostering collaboration and mutual support.

What is an Executive Mastermind Group?
An executive mastermind group from Ambition in Motion (AIM) is a facilitated gathering of top-level professionals who meet regularly to discuss challenges, share insights, and support each other's growth. AIM provides a proven process for these groups, ensuring that each meeting is productive and focused on achieving tangible results. By licensing AIM’s executive mastermind group processes, IT Consultants can leverage a well-established framework that has been refined for maximum effectiveness.

AIM's executive mastermind groups are designed to create a safe, supportive environment where executives can openly discuss their challenges and collaborate on solutions. The groups are carefully curated to include individuals with complementary skills and experiences, enhancing the value of each interaction. This structured approach ensures that every participant benefits from the collective wisdom and support of the group.

The emotional and professional benefits of participating in an executive mastermind group are profound. These groups provide a sanctuary where consultants can share their challenges, gain strategic insights, and build meaningful connections with peers and potential clients.

8 Benefits of Licensing and Running an Executive Mastermind Group
Licensing the AIM executive mastermind group process allows IT Consultants to create their own groups with ease, saving them time and opening up numerous opportunities. Here are some compelling benefits:

  1. Time Efficiency: With a structured and facilitated approach, consultants can quickly build strong relationships with key executives, bypassing the lengthy traditional networking methods.
  2. Business Development: AIM does the work for licensees of building the relationships and filling their schedules with prospect conversations. 
  3. Access to High-Level Executives: Mastermind groups attract top-tier professionals, providing consultants with direct access to decision-makers who are likely to need their services.
  4. Enhanced Credibility: Leading a mastermind group positions consultants as thought leaders and trusted advisors, enhancing their reputation and credibility within the industry.
  5. Strategic Insights and Support: Participants in mastermind groups share valuable insights and strategies, helping consultants stay ahead of industry trends and challenges. Mastermind groups provide a safe space for executives to share challenges and solutions, fostering an environment of mutual support and innovative problem-solving.
  6. Cost-Effective Networking: Compared to traditional networking events and strategies, mastermind groups are a more cost-effective way to connect with potential clients.
  7. Access to Skilled Talent: Mastermind groups often include members who are adept at sourcing and placing consultants to fill critical gaps, making it easier to find the right talent quickly and efficiently.
  8. Improved Cost Efficiency: By leveraging the collective knowledge and resources of a mastermind group, consultants can find cost-effective solutions that might otherwise be prohibitively expensive through traditional hiring channels.

Beyond the tangible benefits, it’s essential to recognize the human element that mastermind groups bring to the table. Executives at the top of their game often experience isolation and the pressure to always have the right answers. An executive mastermind group provides an environment where leaders can connect with peers who understand their unique challenges. This camaraderie not only enhances their professional lives but also contributes to their personal well-being.

By deploying an executive mastermind group, IT Consultants can significantly streamline this process, saving time and unlocking a wealth of opportunities. These groups offer a blend of professional growth, strategic insights, and invaluable networking that can transform the consultant’s role from a service provider to a trusted advisor. Licensing AIM’s executive mastermind groups not only enhances networking efficiency but also establishes consultants as leaders in their field, paving the way for sustained success and growth in the IT consulting industry.


Fri 31 May 2024
Over the past month, I have been obsessing and diving deeper into research from Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky – specifically Daniel Kahneman’s Prospect Theory (of which Kahneman won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2002) and their research on loss aversion.

Despite this research being out for 20+ years, I believe that most sales and business development professionals are practicing outdated methodologies. Up until now, these professionals were able to achieve some semblance of results with brute force tactics. They still race to the bottom to see who can provide a product or service cheapest, or cycle through business development representatives instead of building relationships with prospects and then pass that prospect to someone else and potentially other people on the team to try and get a deal signed. Or they are spending money on Google Ads or other ads with the hope of booking conversations. 

With the tightening of spending by companies and increased private equity scrutiny around how budgets are spent, I believe that a gap is widening between business development professionals who understand this information and those who don’t.

And business development isn’t just isolated to professionals in sales. It includes anyone looking for a job, or trying to convince dotted line team members to get their work done in the manner they want it, or any behavior change that one may want to see in another person.

Loss aversion is the concept that people will do more to avoid pain than gain pleasure. 

From a business perspective, this means that professionals would rather do more to avoid getting fired than to do something that could make them a hero and swiftly work up their company’s organizational hierarchy.

Here are some examples:

Getting a company to purchase your consulting services

A company has decided that they need consulting services to improve their performance and operational abilities. They have a $100,000 budget for this service and have appointed a leader in the organization to decide which consulting company to go with. 

Outdated perspectives would assume “If I can deliver more than what they are asking for in my proposal and come in way under their budget, they would have no choice but to choose me and my consulting firm.”

That perspective would be wrong.

Why?

Because the decision-maker in this scenario didn’t choose to pursue this consulting. In fact, if it were up to them, they likely wouldn’t change anything about the way the business operates. Why? Because change represents time and energy and as long as that decision-maker continues to get paid by their company, they aren’t exactly incentivized to change the way the company operates. 

However, because the company appointed them to make a decision, they are essentially forcing this decision-maker’s hand. They are essentially saying “if you don’t make a change in this area, we will make a change for you.”

This decision-maker also doesn’t see a dime of savings from the budget allocated for this service. Therefore, if you are a consultant and you come in $1,000 under budget or $50,000 under budget, this doesn’t really affect the decision-maker because as long as the project is under budget, that is all that matters to them.

The number one factor that the decision-maker is contemplating in terms of who to hire for this consulting work is “who represents the least likelihood of getting me fired.”

That is it! And if they can get away with stalling the decision and ultimately get to no decision without putting their job at risk, that is their number one option. 

When people share the adage “nobody ever got fired by hiring Deloitte (or KPMG or Ernst & Young or whoever the largest, most dominant competitor is in your market)”, they are referring to the simple fact that they represent the status quo. If Deloitte does a bad job and the executive team is dissatisfied, can you really fire the person who hired Deloitte knowing their reputation? Not as likely. Or, if you go with a smaller, lesser-known consultant and they do a bad job, when going with a Deloitte was an option for them (and within budget), is it easier to justify firing the person that decided to make that hire? Much more likely. 

Landing a job

This can also be applied to people seeking a job. If you are a candidate with a lot of experience AND you fall within budget*, you are much more likely to land the position compared to someone who doesn’t. Taking a risk on a candidate you like but who doesn’t have the qualifications creates risk for the business. If that candidate fails or leaves, in a post-mortem, we can observe “were there flaws in our hiring process?” 

*Caveat on falling within budget. From a hiring perspective, this is oftentimes subjective based on assumptions as to how much a person will cost to bring in. Some candidates have heard the feedback “you are just too experienced for this role” or “this role would be beneath your capabilities”. This is oftentimes HR speak for “we assume we know how much you are going ask for in terms of salary and we don’t have the budget to afford it so as opposed to going through fruitless negotiations in which we think we know we can’t meet your salary demands, we might as well end the interview process short.”

Getting a dotted line team member (a team member who doesn’t directly report to you, but you need their work to get your work done) to change their behavior

The same holds true for getting a dotted-line team member to change the way in which they behave so then you can get your work done more effectively. If you are waiting on another team member or entire department to get work done in a specific way and they consistently come up short, elongating the time and energy it takes for you and your team to complete the work, your respective mid-level managers might jump in and try imploring their respective teams to be more amenable to the change, but this oftentimes doesn’t work. 

Why?

Because a mid-level manager isn’t going to fire one of their teammates for not adjusting their work output to make it easier for a team in a different department to get their work done. As long as the incentives and metrics they are being measured against are consistently achieved, it is really hard to achieve a behavior change.

However, if the person who wants to see the behavior change from the other team can quantify the financial impact this extra time and energy has on the bottom line (perhaps they can say that they wouldn't need to fulfill an additional headcount because they are that much more efficient) and then take that information to the CFO and the CFO determines that this minor behavior change from the other team is a much less painful adjustment than the financial costs of hiring an extra team member to account for this, you can bet that the behavior change is about to be permanent.

Therefore, if we are business development professionals, we need to think differently about how we make ourselves more attractive to our prospects. This starts with understanding who feels the pain that you can relieve the most. It is then followed up with having high proximity to those decision-makers in an environment that shows off our knowledge and capabilities but not in a way that seems braggadocios but rather a humble way. I will be writing a second part to this article to elaborate on solutions, but if you are interested in this topic in the meantime, send me a message on LinkedIn.



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