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Industry focus : Independent Consultants

11 MINUTES TO READ
Industry focus : Independent Consultants
Summary: I was wondering how independent advisors / consultants (like us) were adjusting to lockdown ending – so I asked a few…

As part of our Blog Series focusing on how various industries are adapting their marketing activity coming out of lockdown, I have asked some independent advisors / consultants (like us) how they are adjusting.

Our respondents own and run a mixture of consultancy types and there are some notable similarities and contrasts between the sectors – suffice to say that all agree that reputation, referrals and networking are the common critical success factors and that they can’t wait to be able to interact more face to face. On the other hand, it’s interesting to see that the supporting technology and marketing tools which have emerged over the last 18 months are being adopted quite differently.

Thank-you to our guest contributors – Paul Armstrong – Founder of Here/Forth (Technology), Paul Young – Co-Founder and CEO of V2R Ltd (Technology), Andy Fosterjohn – Career Coach and Partnerships Lead at FutureFit Al and Owner of Andy Fosterjohn Career Works, Eliot Hibbert –  Founder and Co-CEO at Nexa Law, Terry Abra – Owner & Principal consultant at JLC Solutions (Logistics) and Trevor Jones – the Owner / Director of Bispham Gate Business Solutions (Logistics).

1)Let’s start with introductions – describe your business to me in 10 words

2) And what problems do you solve for your customers?

PY – Relieving the need for multiple applications and to help save money as well as streamline your entire process. Unified Remote Workplace offers 30 tools in one convenient interface – this way you can address the different needs of your operations without needing to implement numerous software platforms.

EH – We offer lawyers a better way to work by freeing them from the constraints of a traditional law firm environment. Each of our lawyers is supported by nexa to deliver legal services when, where and how they wish with all of the administrative work of running a legal business taken care of by the nexa team. That ensures our lawyers have the time and attention to really get to know their clients and build long term relationships of trust.

AF – Starting a Career, Redundancy and Unemployment, Fragile Employment due to automation and pandemic, Managing a change of career, Guidance on areas where there are jobs and local labour market, information, Support for self employment or freelance work, CV and Interview preparation

TA – We find customers suitable candidates, with high retention rates

TJ – We’ve seen a healthy requirement for project and logistics skills to help customers into new ways of working

PA – Oh crikey, lots. No two clients have ever come with the same issue which is still motivating and keeps me constantly devouring information, finding new sources and creating new products.

3) Why do people buy from you rather than your competition?

 PA – Oh this is an easy one, it’s the brutal honesty. I have been told multiple times that my style and approach aid them in figuring out the first or next step to take. The policy is – advisor not consultant – nothing against consultants but that’s not where I add most most value. I am on your side and I help you make the right decision for a myriad of factors and not just the bottom line.

TA – Better quality and personal service

AJ – I have good listening skills, I provide good after sales service, I have excellent networks within the fields of skills, jobs and adult learning, I’ve been in the careers business since 1984, but have reinvented myself several times, added new skills and qualifications, and always
try to look ahead, for example I’m currently working for a Career Tech company.

TJ –  Being in the project delivery space, we are highly adaptable. We have Consultants that have worked at all levels of Logistics delivery roles; therefore, we are an experiential biased team that can show great empathy and understanding when working with sensitive change situations.

PY “Communicate with All Stakeholders Instantly” – Transparency with your stakeholders is important if you want to make smart business decisions as quickly as possible. Luckily, Unified Remote Workplace can serve as your social network. It supports real-time communication so you can easily get in touch with employees and investors when you need to make a decision about certain aspects of your operations. Be it group chat or video conferencing, this tool can support your preferred channels of communication.

EH – Our commitment to delivering evolved legal services means that we always focus on being imaginative, flexible and collaborative. These aren’t values which are usually associated with a business in the legal sector, but at nexa they guide everything we do. We’re imaginative because we’re always looking at better ways of doing things. We’re flexible because we never dictate to our lawyers and our clients how they should work together. We’re collaborative because we work as one with our lawyers and clients as a partner in their success.

4) From a marketing perspective, what’s the difference between your business now and your business pre-covid?

 EH – Covid has shown lawyers and clients alike that legal services no longer need to be delivered from an office by someone in a suit! 18 months ago it was sometimes hard to convince lawyers that it was even possible to deliver legal services in a different way. But now there is much greater recognition that being a lawyer can actually be a really flexible career choice. It means that our marketing to lawyers has become less about what it’s possible to achieve outside of a traditional law firm environment and more about why nexa is the platform of choice for entrepreneurial lawyers. Interestingly, our clients never questioned the way in which our lawyers worked. It simply didn’t matter that our lawyers weren’t sitting in swanky city centre offices or that they didn’t have a team of secretaries to field their calls. So our messaging to clients remains that we’re aligned with their success and we can help them achieve it by staying true to our values.

 PY – Customer face-time activities such as speed-networking events. You deliver content marketing and customer experience to 100 clients in 30 minutes in a single day instead of 3000 minutes during the entire quarter.

PA – Very little. New business is still 80% referral and a lot of digital content to drive enquiries. TBD Conference (technology, behaviour data) was virtual in January for the first time ever thanks to Groovy Gecko and was a roaring success, thousands of viewers and lots of inspiring speakers who spoke about resilience at a time when it was really needed. Find out more over at thetbdconference.com.

AJ –  Not much really, it’s mainly digital and through networking.

TA – We’re attracting more applications from people who have lost their jobs and are struggling to find work.

TJ – We’ll focus less on website activity and more on networking

5) Are you planning to trial any new marketing techniques, or even bring back any old favourites?

EH – We’re actually quite excited to start hosting real life events again. Whilst our lawyers have always been adept at working remotely, it’s always great to mix that up with some face to face time with clients and colleagues. We’re planning to host a New Law Summit in London later in the year and will be inviting those with an interest in the growth and development of the legal industry to listen to a panel of speakers from across the sector.

TA – No – there’s insufficient ROI

TJ – We will continue to update our website and case studies – we are also moving towards more video. Our team are looking forward to the people interactions returning and a calming of the logistics waters.

PA – A bit of both. I started ‘Mouthwash’ – the TBD audio space on Twitter Spaces – during lockdown and it was really well received so season two was a no-brainer. Ecologi plants a tree for every live listener and Shell’s innovation arm sponsors the show. I am proud of the talent and the listeners the show attracts because of its fresh, confident chat style (see what we did there?!). Check out the guest and find the podcast of the first season over at mouthwashshow.com

PY – Well, it seems the good word-of-mouth is more effective than online advertisement or click funnels and is propagated faster among our typical ideal customers who share value with like minded people.

AJ – Not really, other than a new website

NMcK – Contact us when you are ready & we’ll see if we can help!

6) Personal question – what things are you likely to buy more online than you did a year ago?

AJ – Fresh food packs, like Hello Fresh

NMcK – I completely agree on this one – Mindful Chef has been a revelation to us!

PY – Hand sanitizer? Antivirus? Flat curve 32 inches monitors? Remote Work Home Office furniture? Comfortable Office armchairs? bluetooth light headsets?

PA – Experience kits. I have been exploring how to make people engage and feel things over Zoom etc. I have tried escape rooms, live interactive theatrical performances, poetry workshops etc. All offer something new, but I was impressed by a great example of a kit from Diageo that featured QR codes which opened up multiple experiences from platforms like Pinterest to an augmented reality cocktail class featuring Talisker and Johnnie Walker. Not only did it show how to pour new cocktails, but there was also a voice tech element that helped to learn more about how to experience whiskey. Diageo also used a technology from a company Threedium too that showcased their bottles in 3D which was a smart and engaging move. The work involved was clearly significant, but the impact it had was impressive.

EH – Big bags of dog food are much easier to buy online! With a hungry pooch to feed it’s handy to have this delivered to the door… and the dog always knows when it’s arrived!

Thank-you to Terry, Trevor, Paul, Paul, Andy & Eliot for taking the time to share their insights – here are the links to their websites if you’d like to find out more about what they do and how they can help :

Andy Fosterjohn Career Works : https://www.linkedin.com/in/andy-fosterjohn-864977118/

Terry Abra  JLC: https://jlc-solutions.co.uk/

Trevor Jones : https://www.bisphamgate.com/

Paul Young :  http://v2r.work/

Paul Armstrong : https://www.hereforth.com/

Eliot Hibbert  Eliot Hibbert: https://www.nexa.law/

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