When did ‘consultant’ become a dirty word? About the time the current economic woes started. Businesses began to view consultants as overpriced, and discretionary. And in many cases it’s difficult to disagree with that assessment. Provided that the company has the resources and expertise internally to fill the knowledge and process gap.

Consultants need to adjust their means of going to market to accommodate this shift. The method? Helping their clients bridge the knowledge and process gaps with existing resources. Teaching them to fish, rather than doing the fishing. True, the level of expertise – and associated results – will not be as high, but making this economically feasible can produce wins for both sides.

Traditionally, consultants are not well set up to teach skills. While many already deliver seminars, they are often little more than extended sales pitches for their services. And this leads to the basic – ill understood – difference between seminars and workshops. Seminars deliver information, usually at a high level, which indicates subject matter expertise. They can be a great introductory tool to developing skills, but almost never impart enough information for this.

Workshops slice out a piece of the subject matter expertise, and explain how to implement this into the current workflow of attendees. And they need to be interactive, with lots of questions on implementation details, and real life examples.

Workshops and seminars, can be an excellent way for consultants to showcase their expertise, and build confidence in their clientele – which ultimately leads to other consulting engagements. It also provides an entry level offering into a market space which may have become difficult to crack.

Next time out we’ll look at developing a program – a series of related workshops which match entry level products with the need for sustainable cash flow. And we’ll examine how to start transforming your subject matter expertise into seminars and workshops. And how to sell them. Hmm… sounds like a lot of ground to cover – it may take a few blogs.

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