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On transitioning to the 'alien' corporate world...
June 17, 2014 12:35 PM   Subscribe

My background is touchy feely/health based. I've been developing a business idea that has relevance to the corporate world and could offer this in a training/advisory type capacity. I've been advised to start meeting with representatives of organisations to explain how I could help them. How do I do a good job of this?

A few pointers:


* I understand the focus now in marketing and sales has to be on helping someone solve a problem.. so how do I say enough to interest them without 'giving the goods away'.. I have a tendancy to go the extra mile but think this might not be a good thing when trying to sell something?

* Do I need to change my personal style? I like to think I'm quite stylish/smart but it's in quite a vintagey/slightly hippy-ish type of way

* Any good words/phases?

* I've worked hard on a powerpoint I'm pleased with but have been told powerpoint is 'very last decade' etc and that ideally I need moving images and a corporate level one specially made? I can't keep paying out for all this stuff with nothing coming in!

Basically how do I meet them in their world and not crap or impoverish myself too much? Am I overthinking this?!
posted by tanktop to Work & Money (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I would read up on starting a business, and how to make a pitch to clients and show your value proposition. Find some books at the library about this. You are looking at being a consultant. There's got to be books about that.

As to changing your style - if you carry yourself professionally then your work & credentials should speak for itself provided you are not TOO out there. In some cases they may welcome the touchy-feely, it depends on your target audience and your product.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 1:53 PM on June 17


* I've worked hard on a powerpoint I'm pleased with but have been told powerpoint is 'very last decade' etc and that ideally I need moving images and a corporate level one specially made? I can't keep paying out for all this stuff with nothing coming in!

In the "corporate" world (big companies, not small tech startups), PowerPoint is 100% current. No need to worry about moving stuff. I'm not sure what "corporate level" means here - is your current presentation in some way not corporate-appropriate?
posted by Tomorrowful at 2:33 PM on June 17


* I understand the focus now in marketing and sales has to be on helping someone solve a problem.. so how do I say enough to interest them without 'giving the goods away'.. I have a tendancy to go the extra mile but think this might not be a good thing when trying to sell something?

If you want companies to pay you for training or advice, you need to show how what you are offering will either save or make them money. Have a case study to illustrate how your services can do one of those two things. When selling training, you can offer an outline of the training without the detail or give a sample of the class materials. Enough to allow them to judge whether it is professional and appropriate to their needs, but not enough that they could just do it without you. If what you're actually selling is consulting, read some consulting references. Flawless Consulting is a classic. You'll need to be comfortable with the consulting process to be credible.

* Do I need to change my personal style? I like to think I'm quite stylish/smart but it's in quite a vintagey/slightly hippy-ish type of way

This depends on the potential client. Some won't care/notice. In other places you might look enough out of place that people take note. You want to look trustworthy and competent, and being stylish/smart are really secondary concerns. Vintagey like the 40s sounds appropriate for most work environments. Hippy-ish does not. If I were you I'd probably wear a pantsuit or blazer and skirt combo to client presentations.

* Any good words/phases?

This REALLY depends on the potential client, and what you are selling. What are the best practices and common concepts related to the thing you're trying to sell? How do other people who are trying to sell the same kind of thing describe it and its potential impact? There are no magic words - you can't walk in and "synergy" or "pivot" your way to a sale.

* I've worked hard on a powerpoint I'm pleased with but have been told powerpoint is 'very last decade' etc and that ideally I need moving images and a corporate level one specially made?

I laughed out loud at this. PowerPoint is ubiquitous in organizations of all sizes in all sectors. Your presentation should be clear, concise, and not look like it was done by a child (you're using a readable font and there aren't any Frozen gifs, right?). If you incorporate some basic best practices for slide design, even better. This does indicate that you are getting advice from someone who isn't very experienced or knowledgeable, or has you targeting potential clients that aren't appropriate for you.
posted by jeoc at 4:04 PM on June 17


In my city, there are several consulting companies providing advice for small business and entrepreneurs like yourself. I would also suggest checking out adult education institutes, industry associations etc., for seminars and training courses. You might also be able to find a meetup group that would offer some support.

Bottom line: you seem to be asking the right questions, and that puts you ahead of many people.
posted by rpfields at 11:29 PM on June 17 [1 favorite]


Watch the TV show, "Shark Tank".

You may well have to 'give the goods away' so you have some customers who'll vouch for you. Many people suggest that the risk of being ripped off is less than the risk of being ignored.
posted by at at 5:01 PM on June 18 [1 favorite]


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