How can I take my skills and experience in product development and turn them into a compelling offering to sell as a consultant?

== My Short Story == I am a generalist software engineer with 4+ years doing product development at a tech startup. I recently left a full-time job to pursue consulting on my own. My plan is to focus on 1 or 2 narrowly-defined types of projects and present them in the context of their business value (e.g. "do X to reduce churn") to justify a higher rate. I am struggling with how to analyze my broad experience doing product development and come up with 1 or 2 specific types of project to sell. == Bullets about Me == - full-stack LAMP developer for 6+ years - worked on many types projects (everything from building APIs to internal support tools to large single-page apps) - lots of experience discussing problems with internal users and external customers - comfortable talking through high-level business goals and then turning them into technical tasks


Seems to me that versatility is actually your greater selling point.

Yes, you could concentrate on 1 niche problem that you solve over and over again for various clients.

Advantage: That streamlined approach would be efficient in terms of presentation and actual work load.

Disadvantage: By promoting a very specific offering, you may be introducing yourself as the wrong tool for the job ... for most potential clients. If I stumble across you and find a landing page that stresses your ability to solve Problem X while I am dealing with Problem Y, then I assume you're less relevant than you might be. That does a disservice to your diverse skill set.

You can marry the best of both worlds. Here's what I'd suggest. Clients will discover you both passively and as a result of active outreach. So

1. For your active marketing efforts, identify prospects where the client really needs you for Problem X, in which you're specializing. Introduce yourself as a specialist in Problem X (which is true).

2. For your more passive, less keyword-targeted online footprint, showcase your versatility rather than your specialization. That's also true. This way, you'll seem like a better fit for a wider group of potential clients. Instead of writing you off as a specialist, they'll consider engaging you as an IT "renaissance man".

Narrow the focus of your presentation when you have narrowed your demographic. Widen that focus when the demographic is wider.

Answered 9 years ago

Go with your 2 best skills and find customers that you can immediately impact by one or two of those skills. Once you get in the door and make an impact you can then "cross-sell" some of your other skills and continue to bill out your time. Try to identify customers that might need, for example, lamp or api help (assuming many do) and start small to then grow your consultative skill sets to other areas of the customer's business. I made it sound easy as pie but narrow your focus and get your hands dirty!

Answered 9 years ago

Focus on your narrow and specific expertise, targeting a very specific type of client and just sell that. In time you may find that you can transfer your very specific functional expertise to other types of clients but do this in a sequential targeted fashion, not a broad approach. Be wary of cross-selling other services in which you are lesser qualified - in most cases it is a fantasy that will waste a lot of your time.

Good luck with your practice.

Answered 9 years ago

How about positioning yourself as an expert in building MVPs for (funded) startups?
Or as a software product expert who translates products wishes into great software (maybe inside the niche you defined for yourself)

Answered 9 years ago

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to help find your answer:

- What am I best at?
- What do I truly want to do?
- What client problems can I help solve with ease?

Once you know the answers to these questions, you can target your marketing message to specifc client pain points.

Answered 9 years ago

So, let me simplify your question a bit, you want to say that you have developed a new product using your skill and experience and you want to sell it as a consultant. My suggestion is to think as a salesperson.
Studies also show that salespeople who take the long view and have a learning mindset are better prepared to handle the frustrations inherent in the longer process. It’s a big problem, because it limits the return companies reap from their R&D spending. To put it simply, companies that have invested millions to dream up new-to-the-world innovations need to become more adept at selling them to customers. To understand why that is so difficult, we combed the academic literature, conducted numerous one-on-one interviews with senior sales leaders, and led several studies of our own. We found that successful companies recognize that the sales process for new products requires different allocations of time and must overcome different objections and barriers by comparison with the traditional approach. To better understand what makes the sales process for new products different, we surveyed 500 salespeople at B2B companies across a wide variety of industries, from technology to financial services to industrial products. We found that selling new products requires greater intensity and consumes much more attention. On average, salespeople spend 35% more-time meeting with customers throughout the sales cycle than they do when selling established goods and services. Since much of that time is spent educating customers on how the product will change their current business practices, these meetings are typically conducted in person, with 32% more time spent in face-to-face meetings.

And because committing to a completely new product requires broader consensus within a targeted company, salespeople spend 30% more-time meeting with customers’ cross-functional teams. Given that time is a salesperson’s most precious resource, that is a costly investment. Barriers to closing. Salespeople selling new products spend 32% more face-to-face time with customers.

One important finding is that resistance to the sale typically occurs later in the process for new innovations than for established products. That’s because customers are often curious about new products, so more of them will say yes to an initial meeting. One buyer who rarely accepts appointments with sales reps commented, “I will always listen if someone brings me a new idea. ” But as the process continues, customers become more hesitant to abandon the status quo.

The challenges faced in the sales process change over time. Similarly, in the next stage, evaluation, they often worry that they still don’t fully understand the product. At this point customers turn their attention to how their business practices would change if they decided to adopt the product. Similar concerns are raised in the decision stage, as customers continue to focus on risk and how people in the organization will be affected, worry that they will regret a decision to buy, and wonder whether they can accurately predict their switching costs.

From the sales organization’s perspective, this pattern is problematic and difficult to overcome. The initial customer enthusiasm is seductive and persuades the salesperson that his or her time is being put to good use. But as the process unfolds, it becomes clear that many of those curiosity-driven meetings were never real opportunities, leaving the salespeople with little to show for their efforts. In general, organizations don’t do enough to help salespeople navigate this complex process.

At the launch meeting, product development teams typically devote too much attention to the product’s bells and whistles, believing that their primary goal is to get the salespeople excited enough about the innovation to take it to all their customers. That involves establishing trust and demonstrating a deep understanding of the customer’s challenges. Later in the cycle, the salesperson must help the customer understand, assess, and manage the risks and the people issues associated with change. Too few companies help salespeople learn to do this.
Successful salespeople perceive barriers quite different from those that others see. They worry that the customer will see the switching costs as being too high, or that too many people will be heavily invested in the status quo. Although grit matters in most sales, it is even more important when selling new products. Setbacks often occur late in the process, causing salespeople to feel that the rug has been pulled out from under them.

As one senior sales leader told us, “Salespeople will never turn down the opportunity to sell new products. ” Those with a long-term orientation focus on the future payoff and develop coping strategies to deal with the obstacles they encounter along the way. Goal orientation also plays a role in success at selling new products. These individuals greatly value personal growth.

A recent study by Annie Chen of Westminster Business School and colleagues looked at how differences in goal orientation affected salespeople’s belief in their abilities and their motivation to sell new products. They found that those with a strong learning orientation were confident and eager to meet the challenge. They are knowledgeable, customer focused, and adaptable. We identified several other characteristics associated with success in selling new products.

And the pace of change means they need adaptability to adjust their internal processes and style quickly according to feedback from the team, other managers, and market influences. The salespeople thought they were adjusting quite well to outside influences, but customers saw them as stuck in their ways. It is clear from this analysis that sales organizations need to provide guidance and support for their team members’ improvement.
Besides if you do have any questions give me a call:

Answered 3 years ago

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