How To Turn Consulting Services Into Scalable Products With Eisha Armstrong: Podcast #326

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Struggling to scale your service business? This episode unlocks the secrets to transforming your services into profitable packages that deliver consistent value. Eisha Armstrong, co-founder and executive chairman of Vecteris, dives deep into how to productize your services for growth. Learn how embracing a product mindset and specializing in a niche can boost your profits and turn your service business into a success story. Subscribe to our podcast today!

In this episode with Eisha, you’ll learn how to:

  • Productize your services to make your company more valuable.
  • Shift your culture to embrace a product mindset.
  • Ensure there is a viable market for your product idea.
  • Boost profits by specializing in a specific niche.

Book your complimentary growth session call, Coaching for Consultants.

Visit Vecteris.

Connect with Eisha on LinkedIn.

Get a FREE copy of Eisha’s book, Productize.

Welcome back to another episode of the show. Joining Michael on the show is Eisha Armstrong, who’s the Cofounder and Executive Chairman of Vecteris, a company focusing on transforming B2B services into products. She has over 25 years of experience, particularly in launching data and information service businesses. She is known for advising executives on fostering cultures that encourage product innovation.

She is the author of several books, including Fearless and, famously, Productize: The Ultimate Guide to Turning Professional Services into Scalable Products. She is also a professional speaker who has contributed to various publications. Before we jump into this episode, are you ready to grow and take your consulting business to the next level? Many of the clients we work with started as podcast listeners just like you. A consistent theme they have shared with us is they wished they had reached out sooner about our clarity coaching program rather than waiting for that perfect time.

If you’re interested in learning more about how we help consultants just like you, we are offering a free no-pressure grow session call where on the call, we will dive deep into your goals, challenges and situation and outline a plan that is tailor-made just for you. We will also help you identify where you may be making costly and time-consuming mistakes to ensure you’re benefiting from proven methods and strategies to grow your consulting business. Don’t wait years to find clarity. If you’re committed in serious about reaching a new level of success in your consulting business, go ahead and schedule your free grow session call now. Just visit ConsultingSuccess.com/grow to book your free call now.

Now, let me tell you about what you’re going to learn in this episode with Eisha. First is how to productize your services to make your company more valuable. How to shift your culture to embrace a product mindset? How to ensure there’s a viable market for your product idea? How to boost profits by specializing in a specific niche plus so much more. Here to share with you her insight and story is Eisha Armstrong, enjoy.

Eisha, welcome

Thank you for having me.

I’m looking forward to our conversation and enjoyed our little conversation before hitting the record button. This is going to be fun. Why don’t we start off by having you share a little bit more of what were you doing before you cofounded Vecteris?

Sure. I spent twenty years of my career in product development management and leadership roles. First, a B2B information services company called Corporate Executive Board or CEB. It was acquired by Gartner in 2015. I spent three years in a product leadership role at the media company Scripts, creating digital data products for advertisers. Always on the products side. Always B2B but two very different industries.

You decided not only to continue working in two different roles where you’re involved in product innovation and also  beside of building products and productized services, which is more what you specialize in our focus on now, but you carry that into the current business, which is really all about productization and helping companies to develop productized services and offerings. What about that gets you so excited? There’s likely could have gone into many different paths or taken a different focus in terms of what your business is about today. What is it about products? What is it about productization that you vibe with or enjoy?

Yeah, I think it’s two things, Michael. The first one is I love to create and then a negative way of characterizing that is I get bored easily. The innovation side is, especially when you’re creating a new product, a new solution, or even a new feature, really lights me up. I always knew I wanted to stay in a place where I was able to create often and when just managing something into perpetuity.

The second thing is the business angle of product management, product innovation, what we call productization at our firm, which is trying to understand there are market opportunities. Where is there white space in the market? How can an organization bring their existing assets to win in that white space? I love the complexity of creating a strategy, figuring out a solution, creating something, and then moving on to the next thing because I won’t get bored.

Can you share with your company who are the main types of clients that you’re working with when you think of the IEO client, how you describe them?

Our ideal client profile is a B2B services company, so there could be a law firm, an accounting firm, a consulting firm, ad agency. We’ve got a bunch of engineering and architecture firms we’re working with right now, IT services, but organizations that have historically made their money by selling time or expertise rather than a product. Services native, not product native tend to be lower on technology maturity and they want to tech-enable the delivery of what they’re doing. They want to create products to be sold alongside their services and we help them do that.

Is there a typical size of organization you tend to focus on? For example, you mentioned an ad agency. Is it a certain through that needs to have typically 50 employees or 500 employees? What does that look like in terms of the real focus?

Where we’re prospecting and targeting is mid-market up to large enterprises. We have clients that are billion dollars in revenue. They could be services arms of larger companies and then we’ll work all the way down to probably 50 employees. We have worked with smaller organizations. The caveat is that in order to be successful in the strategy of productization, you have to be willing to invest and really dedicate like a full-time employee to its success. It’s very difficult to do off the side of one’s desk or with minimal investment. That naturally will crowd out a lot of people at the smaller end.

To be successful in the strategy of productization, you have to be willing to invest and dedicate a full-time employee to its success. Click To Tweet

That makes sense. I definitely want to spend a bit of time diving deeper into productization and getting some of your good best practices around what consultants need to look for. Before you do that though, if we could just get a better picture of the company now, size, how many employees or team members, what’s maybe an average project value, and annual revenue? Just anything you can share to  help people get a sense of where you’re at now.

We’ve got a dozen employees. About half of us are in Cincinnati Ohio, which is where my cofounder and I live. Then the other half are distributed, including we have a digital nomad who moves somewhere else every quarter. I love her life. That’s where we are in size. We have two revenue streams. One is traditional consulting, where we will work with a client, we’ll create the market and the strategy for them, we’ll design the product, and we’ll help them figure out how to go to market. That’s classical consulting services. Those are usually high 5 figures and low 6 figures.

We’ve drunk our own champagne and created our own productized service, which is a will teach you how to do it for yourself program. Our customers there go through a series of accelerators to teach them a new product innovation process. They get coaching. They get peer groups and data information, and then that is sold on a subscription basis and, depending on company size, that can be as little as low five figures all the way up to high five figures depending on how many licensed holders they have for the solution.

For both of those two service offerings, what is the revenue attribution to each other or the share of your total revenue? Is it 50/50 or is one the majority what does that look like?

We started five and a half years ago just doing strictly consulting so we could learn the market, and test our hypotheses. Our product went into beta in 2021 when our first book came out and so less than 5% of revenue that year and then it’s consistently grown. For 2023, we ended at 40%  productized service revenue and then 60% consulting. We want to continue to grow the slice of the pie that is productized services.

Is the goal to get that to 100% or 90%? What do you think about the future of where you want to take that?

Yeah, I think the larger, the better from a valuation standpoint, but all so from the employee engagement standpoint. Nobody at our company came from consulting. Most of us used to work for the same company that I did corporate executive board CEB. We all came from a productized services background and never wanted to do classic bespoke customized services as our profession. The strategy has always been to migrate away from that to more productized services. I think what we’re coming up against is we’re self-funded. It’s just Nicole and I, two funders, obviously, the cashflow from the consulting is what’s been funding the investment and product.

That means that there’s a limit on how quickly we can change that mix. Also, there’s an opportunity, too, which is most of our customers on the productized services side, the goal is to be working with them for many years as they go through this transformation on their own. It’s a multi-year journey. Across that time you see a lot of cross-sell opportunities for consulting. It’s a debate we’re still having I think we naively said we think that we can go to zero consulting. I don’t know if that’s true anymore

She talked about making investments and funding the development of the productized offer through cashflow profits of the business. What are those investments when you talk about, like investing in the product as an offer or building that out? Could you share a few examples of what does that look like? Is it going towards a designer? Is it going to be an instructional designer? Walk us through what those investments might look like.

Codifying Intellectual Property

The first one was codifying the intellectual property. The process that we used and what we had learned working with all of our clients and first was codified in the two books that we’ve written. That was my time and a little bit of a researcher ghostwriter. Instructional designers create the learning experience in a way that uses adult learning best practices. There’s also a data component to our subscription product because there’s an assessment and then there’s ongoing benchmarking that happens. For that, we had to hire a data scientist on a contract basis as well as make some software technology investments. We’re making a bigger technology investment now because, on the lower end of the market, those lower five-figure products that we offer are more self-service. We just rolled out our first version of our platform so people can self-serve and assess the learning, the content, and the benchmarking data themselves without needing the person to do it for them. It’s been a mix of that research, that writing, that instructional design, the data scene, the technology, and ongoing IP creation.

A lot of questions around this. You have a business that is growing. There are twelve people. Historically, the business was the revenue and profits were coming through the consulting work. You’ve sold more products as an offering each year up to about 40%. You’re taking money from consulting work to fund that.

What’s the conversation in your mind and maybe with you with your partner, Nicole? You both talked about shifting away from something that is lucrative being consulting to developing adventuring into something that early on was only sucking money, not necessarily creating money. How did you all think about that? For some people, that might be a bit of a challenging position to be in because you’re giving up short-term cash flow and revenue for longer-term potential growth. What did that look like in that conversation?

It’s such a good question, Michael. It’s one that we have to talk to our clients about all the time if we don’t think that they’re making adequate investment in product decisions to be successful. It’s nice that we have personal experience with it, you know, perhaps on a smaller scale. I think we got lucky. We got lucky in a couple of ways. The first one is that Nicole and I have always had a shared vision for where we wanted to take the business and how we didn’t want to create a consulting business where we were selling time for money.

We even mapped out very early on, using EOS as our tool, what that ten-year Journey might look like to change the mix of revenue and how we might grow the business. We’ve come back to that every quarter, again using the EOS process. That’s the first thing that we shared that vision. We mapped it out. We keep coming back to it. I think the second thing that’s been really helpful is that we haven’t had the lifestyle needs to take distributions out of the business because we both have full-time partners.

We’re not the only ones in our households who are on the hook for paying the mortgage and the kid’s school tuition and all of that. That gives us a little bit more flexibility. You’re so right. I could have been taking some really crazy vacations for the last few years if I was taking big fat distributions out of the business instead of plowing it all back in. I have the flexibility not to do that. Plus, I’ve designed my life in a way where I’m not relying on that money in order to fund my family’s lifestyle. We’re in both the same situation so that helps.

You mentioned earlier that you made the decision to continue to invest in the growth of the productize offer, but that you only have so much that you can invest. Have you ever thought about bringing in an investor, taking on debt or bringing in another partner just to accelerate? You can talk about it there and I’m wondering if that’s something you’ve considered.

Yes. When the first book came out, we started getting unsolicited offers. Both questions around are you interested in selling the business? Also, are you interested in an outside investor? At the time, the answer was no absolutely not. We’re doing great, the book was flying off the shelves, and we didn’t need your money. Go away. We got to the point where we had to start making larger investments. The technology investments and how you go to market with a product is very different from how you go to market with a service.

We chose to hired a chief growth officer who had a background in B2B SAS and that was a very significant investment. It’s like this is starting to pinch. How could we go farther faster if we had an outside investor? We had someone at the time who had a lot of experience in our domain who was willing to write us a seven-figure check. The problem is, Michael, the strings that are associated with that. Again, Nicole and I had a shared vision for what we wanted the company to be and part of that shared vision wasn’t just productizing ourselves.

Part of that shared vision was being masters of our domain and not having to answer to people other than our clients and employees. Yes, we could go further faster if we had more capital, but at what cost to my psychological well-being and the balance that I’ve created in my life? What cost to my employees and the value proposition that I’ve given them for coming to work with me?

Part of the shared vision wasn’t just productizing ourselves. Part of the shared vision was being masters of our domain. Click To Tweet

Every time we’ve looked at it we’ve looked at this multiple times, it just doesn’t make sense because of what the investor expectations might be. Could we do a lot more work and maybe find an investor whose values and investment thesis align perfectly with ours? Maybe, but then that’s a risk right that their needs may change. It hasn’t been worth it right now.

Feel free to say no to answering this question, but I wonder, have you also considered debt, line of credit or any other creative funding sources? Any thoughts on that or experience with that?

Yes, and we do have both. We have a decent line of credit from our bank and then we also have an SBA loan that’s just sitting in a money market account right now as like additional cushion and it’s given us the confidence to when things feel a little risky or tight, to go ahead and make that leap. Yeah, we’ve used both debt and line of credit.

You talked about one of the benefits of adding a subscription-productized offer to the business model. You mentioned one is evaluation. For those that might be wondering, that’s companies that have recurring revenue or subscriptions or are more productized, especially in the recurring revenue side, can sell at a much higher multiple. Aside from that, are there other reasons that you feel having a productized model or offering is really beneficial for you specifically? We’ll talk more generally about just other consulting firms in a moment, but for you and your firm, the decision to do that, what else was that player or on your mind when you made that decision or continue to invest in it?

Yeah. It’s a lot easier to grow because you don’t have to add expert consultants at the same rate that you’re growing revenue.

Just explain that for those of you who aren’t as familiar with why is that the case with the prioritized offer, you don’t need to have as many senior people or in many cases, even as many people in general to grow.

Productize Your Service

When somebody is productized, you’re doing the same thing over and over again. Rather than having something highly custom like I said before, bespoke, be very one-to-one. You’re taking something you’re creating at once and you’re selling it multiple times. It could be something as simple as a book. Writing a book is a product. It could be a training course. It could be data as a service, learning as a service or it could be software.

It could be what we’ve done where we still have educators and coaches involved. There’s a human element but the humans delivering it don’t have to be maybe as strong in their expertise as they would if everything was bespoke and custom because they’re following a playbook. It can be sold by a professional sales force. It doesn’t have to be sold by the same person who’s delivering it because you’re selling the product. You’re not selling the person or their expertise. Those are a lot of reasons why it’s just easier to grow.

It’s easier to grow when you’re selling the product and not the person or their expertise. Click To Tweet

I’m with you. Everything you’re saying, I completely agree. We also have productized services as part of our business. We have for many years. We’re big believers in this and I do want to ask to explore and get your thoughts, perspective and opinion on how this can apply to other consulting firms. Before you do that, though, I would be remiss if I didn’t ask because you talked about you wrote these books, and I think you said after the first one it’s flying off the shelves. People want to acquire you or at least there’s interest and you’re getting inbound inquiries.

Our audience is probably going like, “How do you do that?” There are a lot of people who have written books and don’t necessarily see that level of interest or inquiries come in. Is there anything that you can identify or that you saw that you believe created the book to fly off the shelves and to have people inquiring in terms of how you marketed it or promoted or anything to do with that?

The first thing is when I was writing the book, I had to make a decision about was I going to write about productization or product innovation for everyone or was I just going to write about B2B services. All of our clients now had been B2B Services, all of what we were marketing was B2B Services and all the benchmarking data was B2B. What held me back from easily making what should have been an easy decision was fear that I was narrowing my niche because there’s this like if I make it for everybody, it will sell more.

The opposite is true. By making the decision to know this is written for leaders B2B services firms. It says on the cover The Ultimate Guide to Turning Professional Services into Scalable Products. That was another thing. Are we going to put it on the cover in the book and the title because then, not as many people will buy it? That’s not true. I think because I was very clear on who the audience was, it was easier for people to buy and helped it stand out from all the other books out there on product management and innovation.

If there is anything that you did with us, I understand that you were very intentional on who the reader should be and who’s going to get the most value from the book. How did you actually get it into the hands of those leaders? Of course, readers go to bookstores and they look around from time to time, but that’s not going to necessarily hit as many of those people that you would like. What did you all do to actually get this in the hands of those people?

Probably three things. One is we heavily marketed it to our existing list. We already had a pretty strong newsletter list.

Do you sense of how many people were on that list at that time?

Maybe like 2,500. Not huge. For a boutique consulting firm, pretty decent. My partner and I, between the two of us, we maybe had 4,000 LinkedIn followers each, so we tried to squeeze as much juice out of that as we could. We created what’s called a street team. We had people sign up and a lot of them were former colleagues, friends, clients and things like that to sign up to promote it on their LinkedIn and social media. We gave them all the artwork and language and things like that to use. We probably had about 50-plus people on the street team for the first book.

Was there anything that they were getting, like any compensation or benefits or swag or they’re doing it because they like you? That’s a great thing, okay.

I think it also gets to the point in time when Nicole and I launched the business. We were both in our 40s each, so we had 20 years of work experience and networks each that we could capitalize on. I think that came into play of people who already know and I can trust because they had worked with us makes it easier to be like, “I’ll be on your street team.”

The third thing was Amazon ads. We spent a significant amount of money advertising the book on Amazon and plowing almost 100% of our royalties back into that. That continues to be a critical way that people hear about it because it shows up as a sponsored book or you might like it. We pay a professional to manage that for us because the Amazon algorithm is always changing. New books are coming out that we might want to advertise again. It’s a very dynamic advertising process.

Thanks for sharing that. That’s great to hear. Let’s shift to the actual productization and about how you build a business. I know you mentioned you and a bunch of your team have come from this other conference board organization before, but when you started the business, where did your first 2 or 3 clients come from?

They were all former colleagues.

Do you just reach out to them and say, “I’ve left this or I’m launching this?” How did you remember what you actually said or did to get those conversations going?

Nicole and I had been on a two-year journey to launch something, anything together. We had a couple of different ideas of what we were going to do and how we might be able to launch the company of our dreams. The first summer of 2018, we actually went out and just interviewed a bunch of people, interviewed business executives and interviewed former colleagues. We were like, “We do good work. We’ve left our day jobs. We’re starting our own company. We’re thinking of focusing on three different areas. We’d love to get your feedback.”

Those conversations were invaluable because that’s where we got the advice to focus first on mid-market companies, not small businesses, large enterprises, and not startups. That was great and it also really started to confirm our hypothesis that more B2B services companies are trying to productize and didn’t know how to do it. All of our first clients came from those conversations.

You mentioned something that I think people are going to probably want to hear a little bit more about. You said you got really great advice. When you’re launching the business, do not go for the large companies, the startups or small businesses, but to really target the middle market. Why did you get that advice? Why do you feel that was important for you know, specifically in your company, to target the middle market and all those other two?

The advice was large enterprise, as I’m sure a lot of your listeners know the sales cycle can be really long and when you’re just starting, you need to get quick wins. You need to get those first case studies quickly. You need to get money coming in the door. That was part of it and it’s easier to get to the decision-maker. Usually, you can talk to the CEO or the CEO they can make the decision. It’s much faster.

The sales cycle can be long. When you’re just starting, you need to get quick wins, secure those first case studies quickly, and bring in much-needed revenue. Click To Tweet

The advice to stay away from startups was also important because we thought like product innovation, creating your product management function. A lot of startup companies, especially post-Series A, need help with that. They hire fractional chief product officers and product coaches to do that. The problem is they have a hard time paying their bills. They run out of money, they don’t pay, they don’t have a lot of budget. Even though there was a need, the willingness and ability to pay were lower. That’s why it was really good advice.

If we now fast forward, let’s say to now, how are you generating leads? How are you building the pipeline? I know you’ve already talked about the book. That clearly has been a good one. What else would you say is working really well for you to, aside from referrals, although you can mention referrals if that’s one, but is there anything else that you’re doing just those two of the book and referrals?

Generate Leads

Two books now that we’ve written, Productized and then a second one, Fearless, about culture change, they both direct people to a website where we capture leads and then referrals. I will say it’s not just those two because we do have a pretty active social media. That’s all organic. We’re not doing any paid LinkedIn ads. We don’t do cold outreach. Every twelve months, we should do cold outreach and then try it for a month. That doesn’t work. Maybe we need to try it for more than a month, but what we’re doing right now is working.

We already touched on the benefits of productization. What would you say or maybe some of the downsides or if somebody’s evaluating, should I look to productize, what would be your recommendation advice when somebody maybe shouldn’t productize?

The first thing is new products have a very high failure rate. Depending on the research that you look at, it’s somewhere between 40% to 90%, whether it’s like a B2B or B2C product. That’s because you really don’t know how something is going to do until it’s in the market. You can do all the market research, but you really don’t know until the buyer is faced with that buying decision and then starts to use it and then sees whether this really solves my problem or not. You have to be willing to fail and to have some money not result in anything other than what we call learning.

I think that’s very important that failure is going to be a part of this process, which means that the investment required probably has to be bigger than what you initially thought. If you know new products have a 100% success rate, then your investment would need to be lower because you would just have to invest however much until you started to get a return on that investment, but you’ve got to account for failure. That’s the first thing.

The second one is that this is for B2B services companies. This is a very significant behavior and culture change because I’m going from, “Eisha Armstrong creates value through my expertise,” to like, “No, it’s this product that creates expertise.” As I mentioned earlier, that’s a different way of selling. It’s a different way of compensating people. It may not be motivating to a lot of people that you already have on your team and the idea of being comfortable with failure may be something that most people are really uncomfortable with.

Put on top of this all the change that’s required. This isn’t just about innovation for productization to be successful, usually changing your business model, how you make money, you’re doing digital transformation. All these things that are expensive, wrought with failure and require people to change, which people don’t like to do.

I’m a very big believer especially the first part of before rushing to launch a product as an offer just because you hear that’s what’s popular to do these days or that it increases the value of your company. You need to test. You need to be actually doing the work to know what you can or is worthwhile to productize and what maybe isn’t. I think that’s really great advice. What would you say is the most expensive product offer you’ve ever seen?

I’ve asked that because some of you have this idea that productization is for selling online courses or something. That’s not that expensive. You make money while you sleep, and obviously, it’s very different from the reality, especially when you’re selling to organizations. Just from your own experience, whether it’s an offer that you yourself have launched or maybe you helped one of your clients launch or maybe something that you see in the marketplace, what stands out of maybe the most expensive product as an offer?

Most Expensive Productize Offer

Anything that’s software with custom coding because you’re talking about seven figures. I have had multiple CEOs. In fact, one told me I spent seven figures building something that nobody wanted. It’s just like, “Did you talk to anyone? Did you do any MVP?” Did you use any of the lean startup, lean product design thinking principles? No, because they were either copying what somebody else had done or had one or two clients ask for something and so they just assumed that the rest of the market would want it and then spent all this money.

Would you call that a product an offer like the software company? Let’s say or that whoever developed it without a product an offer that they made to that CEO or to that company or was that more of a custom offer in that scenario, do you think?

Usually, it’s like building a platform. We’re going to build a platform and our clients can access this data. It’s a workflow tool. There’s some algorithm that’s embedded in it. They can use it to schedule. It’s just like okay. These are great ideas. Let’s go test them before we write a seven-figure check to a dev shop to build it for us.

Unfortunately, we get brought in far too often and the problem that our client is trying to solve is we built this product, and nobody will buy it. Will you help me figure out how I can change my messaging in the market? Changing your messaging is not going to help. You shouldn’t have built this product in the first place. Let’s teach you how to de-risk new product investment choices so that this doesn’t happen again.

We just talked about a challenge that a CEO shared with you. I’d love to hear from you. Maybe what’s one big challenge that you’ve faced or the company is faced?

Where should I start? You name it, we’ve made a mistake. Mis-hires. You think somebody has the right expertise and it turns out that they really don’t or wrong fit because they don’t move at the pace that you need when you’re creating a new product, which is you have to learn and iterate quickly. You need people who have a bias toward action and can move quickly. I would put that all in the mis-hire bucket. I think as much as we preach to our clients, you’ve got to get market feedback.

We are definitely guilty of launching features without knowing if somebody really wants them or needs them just because we’ve seen a competitor have the same thing or we saw it in a former life. We’ve definitely made that mistake. What are some other mistakes that we’ve made? Here’s one. When you go from services to products, you change the way your revenue. You both recognize revenue perhaps when cash comes in the door.

Usually, with a 12-week consulting project, you’re getting a lot of money in a 12-week time period maybe a a third, two-thirds or something like that. If you’re selling a subscription-based product and the client has asked for monthly or even quarterly invoicing, you’ve got something that’s at a lower price point and now the revenue is spread out across a longer period of time. It can create a cash squeeze, which again is why that line of credit, debt that we took on that we parked in a muddy market, has been really helpful.

Great things to point out fields to give thought to or prepare right in advance as they as they look at that. Before we wrap up, two questions. One is, you’ve talked throughout on the importance of feedback and getting validation, whether it’s early stage before you even launched the business or as part of your process with clients before they build products to have those conversations.

For somebody that might be a little bit earlier stage in their business or maybe this earlier stage in their marketing, even if they’ve been consulting for some time, but they’re looking to make changes to their messaging, pricing strategy, or offers. They want to build something. What advice would you give them on how to go to the market to get that feedback?

The one caveat there is, what if they don’t feel like they have a really strong network? They don’t have years of experience that you have or maybe it’s just been they’ve moved countries. Let’s put a challenge in there. What advice would you offer to them if they need to go out and actually reach executives or potential future buyers to get that feedback? How might they see the best results in going to those people?

The thing I always like to emphasize, whether I know the person or not, is to make sure that they know I want to have a non-commercial conversation. I’m doing market research. I’m trying to make a decision as a business owner where to focus where to invest and I would really value their feedback.

Do you use that language like those specific words?

Yes. Non-commercial conversation is always language that I use and we encourage our clients to use it because it opens people up. It’s like I want your advice. I don’t want to try to sell you something. Now, you may decide through the course of the conversation if this is something you really would love. That’d be great. This is a non-commercial conversation to help me make a business decision. I found that works very well.

Do you talk much about or do you bring into that the email or message putting out any research that you’ve done, like homework you’ve done on them and like why you’re reaching out to them specifically or you don’t have to go that personalized? What do you find there?

This is an area where I have less experience because I came in with such a strong network, and when we are working with clients who need to talk to prospects. We’re usually using a panel building service that’s paying them to talk to us. Certainly, based on anecdotal experience here and there, always saying why you’re reaching out to the person. What is it about their role, their background, and their company I would imagine would help?

I think more important is that this is a chance to get their advice. Also, a chance for them to influence where you go. Your advice will really help me shape what this looks like. People love to be part of the creation and the design process. We underestimate how generous people are willing to be if you ask them to help you build something.

You talked about your two books. Aside from your books, what’s one book that you’ve read or listened to in the last six months? It could be fictional nonfiction, something you really enjoyed that you think others might as well.

I read Erik Larson’s The Splendid and the Vile about Winston Churchill. Not business-related all but leadership-related. It’s about the first year that Winston Churchill was prime minister and where it was really every day they thought that Germany was going to invade Great Britain. Obviously, the wonderful leadership lessons from Winston Churchill, but also the amount of uncertainty that they were living through on a day-to-day basis is just really mind-blowing. I found it to be very inspirational. I’m always looking for blueprints for good leadership lessons, and I thought that was a good one.

Eisha, thank you again so much for coming on. I want to make sure that people can learn more about you and your company and everything that you have going on. What’s the one place, the website, for them to go and check out?

Vecteris.com is the company and then Eisha Tierney Armstrong is my LinkedIn. I reply to every LinkedIn message I get. Feel free to DM me.

Thanks so much for coming on. I really appreciate it.

My pleasure and this was a great conversation. Thank you, Michael.

There you have it for this episode between Michael and Eisha. If you enjoyed this episode, then be sure to hit that subscribe button. If you want to help support the show, I’d encourage you to share this episode out with a friend or colleague. Also, a quick reminder to book your free growth session call. Head over to ConsultingSuccess.com/grow. That’s the end of the line for us. We’re going to be back next time with another episode.

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