Most consultants are like cab drivers. Cab drivers run the meter. They throw the luggage in the trunk (that’s a $1.00 bag charge). They may or may not be personable. If you have extra passengers, that’s $1.50 each on top of the mileage. No smoking. And the radio is tuned to their favorite station – not yours.
Most consultants charge by the hour or the day. The meter is running. When you need a special report or their attendance at an onsite meeting, there’s your bag charge. They may or may not be personable to anyone other than the executive who hired them. If you need additional work or facilitation or expertise, there’s a fee “on top of the mileage.” And most times, you’re locked into their “radio station” – tuned to their methodologies, their licensed tools, their processes – not yours. Morristown taxi
What if you came across a dramatically different kind of cab driver? Let’s call him Ike.
1. Ike has his own business card with his personal cell phone number, a rocket logo and a humorous tagline, such as “Strap in. Hang on. Here we go!” One of his cab’s notable features is the Hot Wheels steering wheel cover. Your initial impression might be that he is direct and, most importantly, fast.
2. In addition, Ike is a great listener. This would be in contrast to some “real character” cab drivers, who are great talkers.
3. Ike takes credit cards and proudly displays the Visa and American Express decals inside his cab. A credit card transaction costs him between 2 and 4% of every sale. (The cab company does NOT subsidize this fee – it’s up to each individual driver to decide whether to accept credit cards or not.) But it also makes him easy to do business with – and, coincidentally, increases the likelihood of getting a nice tip.
4. Ike is proactive and offers suggestions. For example, when a passenger asks Ike for a good restaurant recommendation, he has a few of his favorite places in mind and a restaurant guide available right in the front seat of the cab. Ike will offer to take his passenger to the restaurant, and also to come back at an appointed time to save the hassle of tracking down another cab. He is never late. Does Ike profit from this? Sure. Does Ike’s passenger? Sure. Will some cab drivers refuse to come back at a set time for fear of losing a juicier fare or a longer ride that may or may not come along? You bet.
5. When picking up or dropping off from the airport, Ike always finds out a little bit about his passenger. Is this his first time in town? How long is his visit? If Ike discovers that his passenger has come for business and hasn’t any time to see the sights or experience the city, he offers to take the passenger on a 10-minute sightseeing tour of downtown. Pointing out the highlights, sharing a little history, and telling a few stories, Ike has his passenger back on his way with a real flavor of the city that he loves. Is this a gimmick to add 10 minutes to the meter? With some cabbies, it might be. But Ike’s passion and knowledge and eagerness to share it with his passengers cannot be faked. Would a friend do the same for you on your way out of town? Absolutely.
Let’s turn our focus to the lessons for consulting. Feel free to compare these consulting tips with the corresponding lessons from the taxi business above.
1. Successful consultants stand apart – both in form and in substance. Sales trainer, consultant, and author Jeffrey Gitomer uses a half-dollar sized coin with his image and contact information (and some clever slogans like “In Sales We Trust”) engraved on it as his business card. People not only remember it, they keep it and they show it to their friends. Your initial impression might be that he is successful, funny, creative, and different than every other “me-too” sales trainer wearing a nice suit and carrying sharp white business cards (yawn).
2. Successful consultants are not good listeners. They’re DEEP listeners. “Good” listeners use surface tricks and techniques like “active listening” and “matching and mirroring.” Deep listeners listen with no agenda. Your listening focus should be on empathy – literally “feeling WITH” the client – and understanding the issues behind the issues. This isn’t a trick you learn in “consulting school.” This comes from your heart and your genuine interest in helping the client improve their situation. Deep listening will help you understand the real value that the client seeks from you.
3. Successful consultants are easy to do business with. One of the world’s finest consultants, Alan Weiss, says in his book Million Dollar Consulting, “you have to spend money to make money.” Part of that money should be spent on things that will make you easy to do business with. Some of these things are almost trivial – being able to accept credit cards, having an 800 number, etc. And some of these things will be a major investment of time, effort, thought, and energy. Like designing a resource-rich web presence or moving to value-based fee-setting so people get you and your expertise without concern over when you punch in and out on the time clock.
4. Successful consultants are proactive and offer suggestions. Flexibility is a great source of strength. So is forward movement. When consulting with large organizations, it is easy to fall into their trap of “analysis paralysis.” Especially with all the hype around “getting close to the customer.” The danger for consultants in getting too close to the customer is that you’ll get mired in the same quicksand you’ve been brought in to rescue them from! Keep moving, and always offer options. It could be as simple as “Plan A or B or C,” but giving choices always enhances collaboration and provides a sense of shared responsibility for outcomes. And it’s harder to say “No” when asked “Chocolate or Vanilla or Strawberry?” Ideally, your clients will say “Wow, they ALL sound delicious.” Then you are in a position to make a recommendation based on your deep listening (See #2!)
5. Successful consultants work from passion, knowledge, and eagerness to help. The irony of this is that the more easy and effortless the work for the consultant, the greater the value it has for the client. For the consultant, the intersection of joy and business is called profit. Marketer, speaker, and author Seth Godin believes that in any business relationship, the sooner you ask for money, the less you will get. This has interesting implications for the consulting business, where knowledge and expertise (and to a certain extent, even conversation) has monetary value.
I happen to believe in the concept of value-first selling. In other words, you should give clients valuable information and point them to resources they need, even before you’re hired. You should work to make prospects think, “Wow, this guy is a goldmine. Imagine what we’d get if we actually HIRED him.”
Now a lot of sales and consulting experts call this “spilling the candy in the lobby” and they advise strongly against it. And I would advise against it too – if you’re only carrying one bowl of candy. But without bragging, I can safely say that among great consultants (people who work at the intersection of passion and knowledge and eagerness to help), we’re a veritable candy store and are not likely to run out anytime soon by sharing our gifts with clients that are hungry for what we have to offer.
Would you help a friend with your knowledge and expertise? Sure you would. Perhaps clients are simply friends that pay you money? Think about it.
Beep, beep. “Hop in!”
Travel health insurance is a temporary policy that provides coverage while you’re on vacation or in transit. It either works in conjunction with, or independent of, your regular major medical coverage. Travel health insurance is commonly offered if you use a travel agent, book a cruise or go on a package tour. more information……myhealthidea.com
Here are four reasons to buy travel health insurance even if you already have a major medical plan:
Most travel insurance is cheap compared to the cost of your trip. Although we’d all rather spend our vacation money having fun, if something does happen it will be worth every penny in most cases. Typically, coverage costs no more than a dinner out on a trip. more information……myhealthidea.com
Out of network coverage
While most major medical plans will offer some protection anywhere in the world, under many circumstance, they won’t offer coverage at their full amounts. For example, if you get sick on a cruise ship you might find your basic co-pay plan will only cover 50 percent of a doctor’s visit on board the ship or– perhaps even none. The travel health insurance policy, however, will cover this and a whole lot more. Out of country travelers, too, find this coverage very beneficial for covering them when nothing else will.
In most cases, some form of travel insurance is available to people without medical examination required. It may not cover preexisting conditions, but it can make dealing with a crisis away from home a whole lot easier.
Peace of mind
Just having this low-cost coverage while away from home can give you a certain peace of mind. Since vacation is about relaxation, ensuring this can really help make a trip.
While travel insurance can be a huge perk for those who need it, not everyone does. If your major medical coverage will remain in full force during your trip, there’s probably no reason to go to this extra expense. Check with your regular health insurance to find out for sure, before you turn down coverage.
Although this type of coverage is usually offered through a booking agent, you can buy it on your own. Just Googling “travel insurance” will turn up many competing vendors for this type of policy.
Vacationing is about having fun, relaxing and doing new things.
Unfortunately, sometimes bad things happen to travelers. When they do, travel insurance can provide an extra level of comfort and peace of mind.
Travel Health Insurance Coverage
Health insurance while traveling to foreign countries is an often-neglected area. Falling ill or getting injured during international travel on business or pleasure can be an extremely traumatic affair. You are far away from home in an alien land, unsure of the medical facilities available and probably not carrying enough money. You may want to be evacuated and taken home. The potential financial burden could be overwhelming and worrisome.
To avoid this dilemma, wise travelers are prepared by carrying health insurance coverage. Check to see whether your regular health insurance takes care of medical costs in other countries. If it does, what is the extent of your coverage?
You can purchase travel insurance with global coverage or coverage for specific countries for a period of five days to three years. There are no age restrictions, and single trip or multiple trips can be covered. Multi-trip coverage includes all of your travel plans. For a nominal increase in the fee, your coverage can include hazardous sports activities. Coverage for children may be free in some plans.
Decide what type of coverage you require. If you are traveling alone, there is no point in taking out a family policy. If you are not intending to participate in hazardous sports you will not need that coverage. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, it is essential to check that it is covered.
Carry your medical records with you if possible. Hospitalization, ambulance services and prescription drugs should be included in the package. If you have a serious pre-existing medical condition, the evacuation policy may be advisable. For travel to Canada, insuring with a Canadian company has advantages. Also, remember that international travel health insurance does not cover health insurance in your country.http://www.myhealthidea.com
If you’re planning a road trip, a little pre-planning goes a long way toward making your journey pleasant and safe. Before you head out on the road, take the time to go through this travel checklist to be sure you’ve covered all the bases.
A. Car Safety Checklist
– Check the fluids
Check the oil, and top up if necessary. Better yet, have an oil change if you’re traveling any long distances. When adding oil, always use the weight recommended for your vehicle.
– Check all your belts for wear, cracking or tears. Have any that show signs of wear replaced.
– Check the wiper blades. If it’s been a year or more since they’ve been replaced, do it. Trying to peer through smeared raindrops is a recipe for disaster.
– Check your tires. Make sure that they’re inflated to recommended PSI, and that the tread isn’t dangerously worn.
B. Emergency Kit
Being prepared in an emergency can spell the difference between inconvenience and tragedy. You can purchase a roadside emergency kit with most of these items in it then add to it, or put together one of your own from scratch. In either case, keep all the items together and easily accessible so that you’ll be able to get to them if you need them.
– A flashlight is a must – most experts suggest two. Do yourself a favor and opt for the best LED flashlight you can find. LED lights tend to be far more durable and can take being knocked around in the boot of your car. They draw less power from the battery, so are less likely to run out of juice just when you need them most. A handheld torch and a lantern are both good ideas. Tossing a couple of inexpensive LED penlight flashlights in the glove can prove handy for map reading and lighting the way to the john if needed.
– A first aid kit is another must. A prepackaged one with bandages, gauze, tape, antibiotic, antiseptic and other basic first aid necessities should be fine.
– Emergency roadside flares can save your life by making you easy to see from a distance. Standard roadside flares can fail to work if they’re damp, and can be dangerous. A number of companies make LED safety lights and roadside LED safety flares that can mark your position on the road shoulder, or serve as an emergency beacon if you’re lost.
– A multi-tool or utility knife will come in handy. A fixed blade hunting knife and pocket knife will give you all the cutting edges you need for most emergency situations.
– Aerosol tire sealant can get you to the next service station in the event of a tire puncture.
– A blanket to wrap up in if need be.
– Jumper cables
– Bottled water
– An extra gallon of engine coolant. While you’re at it, tuck away an extra quart of oil and a pint of transmission fluid.
C. First Aid Kit
– Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and aspirin tablets
– Anti-nausea/motion sickness medication
– band-aids and gauze
D. Health and Comfort
– Pack a cooler of healthy snacks, juices and water and keep it stocked.