Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Interview with business writer David A. Fields

In today’s hot seat is David A. Fields and he’s chatting with me about his new business book, The Irresistible Consultant’s Guide to Winning Clients.

Bio:
Best-selling author and acclaimed speaker, consultant, and mentor David A. Fields works with individual consultants and consulting firms across the globe that are eager to accelerate growth, increase profit and create lucrative, lifestyle-friendly practices. He has guided consultancies ranging from one-person startups to the consulting divisions of some of the world’s largest companies.

David still advises corporate clients too. After climbing the ranks to become a partner at a prestigious consulting firm in Connecticut, David co-founded Ascendant Consulting, where he has attracted clients such as Abbott Laboratories, Church & Dwight, FMC, Warner Home Video, and many others.

He also leads the Ascendant Consortium, a unique, “general contractor” model in which David acts as both a client and consultant on the same project. The consortium now includes more than 150 consultants whose clients are a Who’s Who of the global business world. The Ascendant Consortium was a breakthrough for David professionally, and in this model high-dollar, high-margin projects are the norm.

David received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Carnegie Mellon. (Go plaid!) He is a hockey fanatic and eats egregious amounts of chocolate.

Welcome, David. Please tell us about your current release.
The Irresistible Consultant’s Guide to Winning Clients demystifies the process of creating a sustainable, reliable, lucrative new-business engine. While the book was written for consultants, other service professionals and salespeople have found it to be an invaluable resource.

Many sales-related books sound good in theory, but somehow the techniques don’t work for the average reader. Especially if the reader doesn’t view himself as a salesperson. My goal with this book was to pack it with practical techniques that every consultant could successfully implement to build their own practice.

Importantly, the book also distinguishes between selling and winning business. Classic sales gambits have little place in the world of building long-term client relationships. On the other hand, there’s a proven, six-step process to attracting clients who will pay handsomely and stay for a lifetime. That process is detailed in The Irresistible Consultant’s Guide to Winning Clients.

What inspired you to write this book?
Independent consulting—be it in solo shops or boutique firms—is a fabulous profession. I believe independent consultants are an extraordinary resource for businesses of all sizes and I have a passion for helping those who choose to lead small firms.

My expertise is the business of consulting and how to create high-value projects. I built a business around that expertise, and for years I sold projects for other independent consultants in my role as leader of the Ascendant Consortium. However, there’s a limit to the number of projects I could sell for others consultants, so I started teaching other professionals to win large, high-value projects on their own.

If the principles I taught hadn’t resonated or worked for other consultants, I would have dropped the coaching piece and continued focusing 100% on my own, successful practice. That exact opposite happened. My writing, coaching and mentoring helped other consultants break through the limits of their practices and achieve their aspirations. With that backdrop, I wrote The Irresistible Consultant’s Guide to Winning Clients so that far more practitioners can experience the success that those I’ve worked with directly have enjoyed.

What exciting story are you working on next?
My next book is Same Rain, Bigger Drops. After you learn how to win projects, also called “making rain,” the next step is to learn how to make every project you win more lucrative and higher value

My intention is to follow Same Rain, Bigger Drops with a book called Discovery. One of the underpinnings of my approach to business is that we are successful only to the extent we attend to other people and strive to understand them. To understand others, you must master the art of “discovery,” and I believe that deserves a book of its own.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Am I a writer? (jesting) I was a consultant who writes until I found I had produced a fresh, enjoyable article every week for over two years. At that point, looking back, I realized that perhaps I’m not simply a consultant who writes; perhaps I am a writer.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Gosh no! I’m a full-time consultant, coach, and mentor. I do write quite a lot, though. I have to write a certain amount every week because my “tribe” expects a new article weekly, and the only way to get a new book out is to treat writing like a precious client.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
For a “serious” business writer, I’m fairly irreverent. I like to pepper my articles with puns, silly food references, and my hand-drawn illustrations. (If you can call stick-figures illustrations)

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I don’t recall wanting to grow up. The entrepreneurial spirit was alive in me pretty early though, and I happily sold homemade cookies from a roadside stand with my sister.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Let’s see.

Two, core principles I teach my clients may be surprising to your readers who aren’t business-oriented. The first is that business isn’t about you, it’s about them. The second is that wealth isn’t a function of how much money you have, it’s a function of how many rich, vibrant relationships you enjoy.

Links:
Website | Twitter | Book site

Thanks for being here today, David!

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