A growing number of consultants and providers of services believe that mind mapping software is one of their “secret weapons” that enables them to differentiate their services, deliver more value to clients – and ultimately make more money.
Earlier this week, I had an opportunity to participate in a Mindjet webcast about the ways in which mind mapping can help boost business insight. In this fascinating session (click here to view an archived version of it – it’s entitled “Compete in a Challenging Economy”), Mark Monchek and Andrew Levine from the PerformXcellence consulting firm outlined a process that they use to help clients to identify and capitalize on the most promising business opportunities – a very timely topic, as the global economy begins to awake from its slumber of the last few years.
The power of the resource map
One of the mind maps they co-create with clients is a resource map, which helps them to understand the ecosystem of internal and external resources they have at their disposal that may be leveraged as part of the opportunity implementation process, including:
- People (connectors, trend-setters, mavens and salespeople)
- Sources of capital
- Communication channels
The resource map also includes a section for identifying and recording any resource gaps. It also contains links to all related information that the client needs to use these resources – including Linkedin profiles for key influencers, links to relevant websites, supporting documents and any other key information – which they described as the “fulcrum” of value to the client. I like that term!
Monchak and Levine explained that their philosophy is quite simple: We’re surrounded by an abundance of opportunities. The challenge for most leaders is that they lack a structured process to identify the right opportunities and turn them into a strategic advantage.Mind mapping software enables them to “create powerful pictures that provide insight and guidance.”
Monchak and Levine added that their clients are always amazed when they see the completed resource map – because they have never seen all of this information gathered into one place and presented in an engaging visual format.
Another example of successful differentiation
Their description of the client’s “a-ha!” experience reminded me of a discussion I had earlier this year with a financial services firm that utilizes mind mapping software to create visual reports for clients – such as at-a-glance visual summaries of their clients’ estates. Their high net worth clients have multiple investments and revenue streams, and in most cases had never seen a complete picture of their financial situation, capsulized in such an understandable and engaging format.
The result has been happy clients, and a powerful way for the financial services firm to differentiate their services from competitors. This is more important than you may realize, because the offerings of many service providers – such as management consultants, financial advisors, web development firms and ad agencies – tend to look the same to prospective clients.
The firm that can demonstrate that it has tools and systems in place to think differently and identify new opportunities will win. Mind mapping software is the catalyst that enables them to do that. In fact, it’s so powerful that some service firms don’t want to talk about what, specifically they’re doing with it.
An edge so powerful, no one wants to talk about it
One ad agency, which uses mind mapping software to do “narrative mapping” with its clients, has been very elusive. I tried for months to arrange an audio interview with the firm’s president, but it never happened. I think he fears that if I reveal their visual process for crafting advertising messages, their competitors will find out and will copy this powerful practice. Then he and his agency will need to come up with new ways to differentiate their services.
When you’ve got something really good, you don’t want to give it up easily. I understand.
Better thinking = more money
Ultimately, visual thinking and mapping can have a profound impact on the bottom line of firms that sell their thinking to clients. Offline, after the webinar, Monchek indicated that mind mapping software has emerged as an important “fulcrum” or lever that should enable them to charge higher fees to clients, because they perceive higher value from the insights and enhanced services they’re receiving.
The bottom line is that, applied intelligently to your business, mind mapping software can help you to make more money.