What Sort of Problems do Clients Have When They Consider Hiring a Business Consultant?


Aaron Hall: Michael, business owners often have a sales component to their job. Fund raising professionals are selling a concept and seeking, essentially, a sale through the donation. And then sales professionals, of course, are selling. What types of common problems do they have when they come to you?

Michael Cavitt: One of the key concepts that I work with in talking with all of these folks about follow-up, is the fact that when they go out and survey professionals in the field, they find that as high as 48 percent don’t make a second contact. So if you walk in a business, and you’re inquiring, and then you leave your contact information, it’s about a 50-50 chance that they will even contact you a second time, let alone further. And certainly if you’re out networking, and you meet somebody, and I say, “Hi. Well Aaron, it’s nice to know you.” And I’ve got your card, and we chat about what we do, I think the probability is even less than 50 percent that I’m going to follow-up with you.

Aaron Hall: So a business owner, sales professional, or fund raising professional, who knows they’re making a lot of initial contact, but they’re not sure what the best practice is for follow-up for their particular circumstances. How do you help them?

Michael Cavitt: Well what we’re doing is looking at the other piece of the equation, which is that you and I, and most people don’t take an action until after the fifth contact. So whether we’re buying a car or making a donation, we want to hear, we want to learn, we want to build that trust. And with all of the information that we’re getting today from multiple sources, we—that I think is even getting pushed out further—So what I’m doing is sitting down, and working to close this gap from no second follow-up to requiring 5 follow-ups. And we help people create systems. And within those systems, campaigns, to maintain contact with people that they’ve met, their prospects. And to be able to keep customers, because there’s a real issue of—I come in. I do business. And we’re fine. And you like working with me, and I like working with you. But there’s no contact. And so maybe it’s a year or two, years later, that I need the service that you’re offering or the product. By that time, you’re gone out of my mind. And so whoever’s top of mind at that time, I’m going to go do business. So the idea is to keep yourself on top of mind by staying in touch, and if it’s significant, showing some kind of an appreciation.

Aaron Hall: How do you do 5 contacts with a person without becoming annoying?

Michael Cavitt: First of all, you get permission to stay in touch. And so then all the un-subscribes and the opt outs help a lot. So you get permission, “Aaron can I stay in touch with you?”, and then I think about where you fit in as a prospect for the work that I do. And then I have a series of different things that I believe will be beneficial to you. So it’s not just a little touch key that I’m sending you a pen this month, then I’m sending you a calendar next month, but I’m sending you something meaningful about the work that I do so that you’re going, “Oh yeah, Michael. Now that’s interesting. When I met him at that networking event—“ or “When he came and did business—“ or “I did business with him.”, then—And the idea is to plan these campaigns ahead of time for different categories so that you don’t have to stop and think. I don’t have to say, “Oh. Aaron is this guy. I’m wondering what I should be doing for him.” I already know. And then if we do business, then I’ve already set up my appreciation, series of appreciations. So when you move from being just the buyer, first time, to somebody who renews a contract, multiple purchases as a customer, then I’m going to be doing some other things. And a lot of that is industry-specific. The financial services industry, for example, is more limited than I think attorneys are.

Aaron Hall: So for business owners, sales people and fund raising professionals, they contact you. You sit down and assess their situation. You talk about their market segments. And then you put together a appreciation plan, or a contact plan, for them. Do I have that right?

Michael Cavitt: All except the last step.

Aaron Hall: Okay.

Michael Cavitt: As an old management consultant, I believe that the answer is always with you. Now I’m going to bring knowledge, skills, and abilities to the table but that—I think that in dialogue with you, through that process, we’re going to be able to not only identify your markets and the customer segments within that market. I’m also going to be able to identify the things that are unique to Aaron vis-a-vis your clients. And so when they get that it isn’t, “Oh, look. Michael thought of something.”, it’s going to be, “Oh this resonates with who I know Aaron could be.” So it’s more of a process than my coming in with a prescription. I certainly bring ideas into the discussion.