Tell your story

“Without any intentional, fancy way of adjusting yourself, to express yourself as you are is the most important thing.”

Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki

Assuming that you work for yourself or a small consulting firm, when you first meet a prospect, you’ll eventually have to tell a little story about your business. You’ll need to talk about the services you provide, and hopefully you can share some success stories. You should also highlight anything that makes your company different from the competition.

The important point here is that you should be prepared to tell the story of your consulting business and service. Just like any other public presentation, you shouldn’t make this stuff up on the fly. It’s a presentation, and it should be well rehearsed.

At Mission Data, my story was very simple, and went like this:

“I got a degree in Aerospace Engineering from Texas A&M University, and after working on DoD and NASA projects, I realized that I loved computing. I moved to Kentucky in 1993, worked for another consulting firm for three years, and then started Mission Data in 1996 to focus on software development.”

At that point I’d talk about the advantages of our firm, the people we hired, and other projects I thought were relevant to the current prospect. (As a funny side story, I intentionally never told people why I moved to Kentucky, and to a person they almost always asked why. This was a method I used to see if they were really listening.)

If your company is involved in your local community, I recommend saying something about that. For instance, we used to offer free seminars on the newest programming techniques, so I often told prospects about those, and invited them to an upcoming seminar if we had one planned. Can you imagine why I thought this was a good idea. If so, take a few moments to jot down your reasons.

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