Rich Sloan

Rich Sloan is chief startupologist and co-founder of StartupNation and host of StartupNation podcasts. He is also co-author of the acclaimed how-to book, StartupNation: America's Leading Entrepreneurial Experts Reveal the Secrets to Building a Blockbuster Business. Rich encourages you to make a comment under his blog posts or send him a personal message at member nickname, "Rich," here at StartupNation.

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The producers at The Big Idea called asking if I’d make myself available to help out one of their viewers in need. His name was Tony, and here was his situation: He’s a dad of four kids, got let go from one job accepted a new one and that company went bankrupt right before his employment was to begin. Now what? He started a consultancy built around his skillset. But nobody’s contracting with him.

Here’s his site:

He seems like a great guy. But he can’t find his groove in business. And there’s no time to waste.

So, here’s what I advised the folks at CNBC I’d recommend for him right off the bat:

  • If you can’t close deals, here are the reasons why that might be the case:
  • Not a clear value proposition
  • Not building confidence that you can deliver
  • Trying to change the way things are done
  • Not a clear “win” for the specific person who would contract with you within the larger manufacturer
  • Priced wrong
  • If you’ve got time on your hands and you’re not able to close business immediately, do some “test” projects at no charge to prove your value. If you can get them addicted to you – believing in you – you’ve got a shot to expand the opportunity and convert it into a paying contract.
  • Website: Never leave your website incomplete. The empty “news” boxes show inactivity. Nobody wants to take a risk they don’t have to and the fact that there’s no news, in this case, is “bad news.”
  • Testimonials: instead of making vague references to what you did at a previous employer or for a recent client, GET SPECIFIC. You talk about “measurable results” as one of your consulting strengths, but there’s nothing measurable about what you claim on your website. Add meat to any claims. Best recommendation: Get Reference Accounts, which is a fancy term for testimonials from previous clients or employers about what you’ve been able to achieve for them.
  • For your personal photo – BUTTON UP! You need to step up the image. It’s not enough to be a “friendly” looking guy. You need to be crisp, orderly, professional looking, anything that builds an aura for you that you can be relied on with multi-million-dollar responsibilities.
  • Play the numbers game. How many accounts do you talk to or meet with on a daily basis? What’s your follow up procedure? What’s your specific tactic to move an introductory conversation toward a closed deal? Are you asking what the stumbling blocks are, the issues you have to address in order for the deal to become a go?

How would you add to advising Tony based on his situation and his website?

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