Published by Matt Church – Founder on 7 July 2021
There are lots of ways to do business. We teach two clear ways that a thought leader can be commercially smart in a practice: The first is going for a direct offering to individuals, (what we call a public offering) and the second, to offer organisations a service (something we call a professional offering). We distinguish them symbolically, not always literally, by the method of payment. A public offering has an individual paying by credit card and a professional offering has an organisation paying on invoice.
When you are dealing directly with a client, say in a public offering, the process is like any person-to-person relationship, often called P2P (person-to-person). Trust, rapport, connection, and alignment become core to the process. An example of a personal offering might be a doctor engaging you to help them develop emotional intelligence.
In the professional offering, you, as an individual person, are selling to an organisation or business, often called P2B (person to business). This is the process most thought leaders find themselves in when dealing with organisations. This approach has meetings, a procurement process, key relationships, and a sense of clarity around some discrete promised deliverables. An example of this may be a medical centre engaging you to help them improve the patient journey from a customer experience perspective.
In both cases, the ‘P’ part of P2P or P2B is you so we are still selling you, under ‘yournamedotcom.’ This is where it gets a bit weird because in a Thought Leaders Practice, we are always selling you.
Business-to-business (B2B) is a process much like a merger or acquisition. These deals have long lead times, procurement procedures, extended negotiations, promises and proposals and a series of critical milestones and tests of capability and measurement of promised deliverables. The thought leaders practice model is not a great B2B model. Be careful getting railroaded into this process.
Many thought leaders lose a sale because it’s just them. This solo stance then creates key person reliance as large organisations feel exposed and that the risk of reliance on just you is simply too big a gamble to take. This drives subject matter experts to create organisational names like XYZ consulting services and decrease the cult of personality a self-expressed thought leader exhibits. The shift depersonalises the P or the ‘you’ in the commercial process. Senior partners step back and associates charged out at a higher rate than they receive, get more involved in the service delivery. The logic of a consulting offer is valid but the experience is more akin to running a business than being paid to teach and write. This is not what we teach here at Thought Leaders. It’s a valid choice just not the one we support (at least initially).
The thought leaders practice mode is about you standing as you offering your subject matter expertise to the world. In other words and perhaps more directly, we are always selling you, people buy you, not just what you are selling. We suggest that you own that truth, don’t shy away from it.
But ultimately, be at choice.
Do work you love, with people you like, the way you want. Because in a practice model built around you, it has to be “a labour of love.”
Are you ready to make
a difference in the world?
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