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- Michael Zipursky Consultant, Author, & CEO of ConsultingSuccess.com

Marketing for Consultants Survey 2015: Results Are In

We asked over 20,000 consultants how they are marketing their services and growing their business. The responses came flooding in. Below you’ll find an infographic with the results from the survey as well as a breakdown with some key insights.

MarketingforConsultantsSurvey2015

- On average consultants spend almost 40% of their time networking. Followed by 12% of their time speaking and giving presentations.

- The majority of consultants income comes from networking (30%) followed by referrals (28%).

- 80% of consultants spend less than $5000 each year marketing their business.

- 31% of consultants make less than $30,000 a year from consulting. About 23% make more than that but less than $100,000. 31% or so make between $100,000 and $500,000. About 4% make over $500,000

- Consultants making over $100,000 a year noted that Writing articles and creating reports generated significant revenue for them. Even more than speaking and presentations which many of these consultants said they spent time on.

- A higher percentage of consultants making over $100,000 a year are women compared to consultants making less than $100k each year. There was also a higher percentage of men that took part in this survey.

- Consultants making over $100,000 a year spend more on their marketing than consultants who earn less.

- The survey was taken by consultants of all different levels of experience. Over 20% of consultants have more than 10 years of experience as consultants.

- The #1 reason people became consultants was to “By my own boss” at 40% of respondents. Followed by “Flexible schedule” coming in at 22%.

- Over 50% of consultants work with 6 clients or less per year. 36% work with between 7 and 20 clients each year.

- Project fee is the most common way consultants are paid at 40%. Unfortunately over 21% of consultants are still using an hourly fee and just 3.4% know how to use an ROI based fee model.

- About 45% of consultants report that their average client project is valued at $5000 or less. 19.7% of consultants have projects valued at $10,000 to $25,000. Only 5% of consultants have client projects valued at $100,000 or more.

- Over 76% of consultants are solo independent consultants. About 20% of consultants have less than 5 employees.

Want help to improve your marketing and consistently attract your ideal clients? Get in touch here

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The ONLY 3 Activities Consultants Should Focus On

Consulting-Activities

There are three things and really only three that you should be spending your time on each day.

You may find that extremely exciting. No longer do you have to try and tackle a long and growing to-do list.

Proactively follow up with leads, set meetings and calls. Enter meaningful sales conversations. Done right this focus will grow your revenues like no other activity.

Or you may find that idea scary because it requires you to become even more focused and to remove all the distractions around you.

Whichever side you’re on it doesn’t change the importance of these three things.

And if growing your consulting business is a priority don’t underestimate the power of what I’m about to share with you.

Priority #1: Serve Paying Clients

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Your first priority should always be to serve your paying clients.

They deserve the most from you.

When you start your day always begin with your clients in mind.

Have a clear plan of what you need to do that day to serve them in the best possible way and provide them with exceptional value.

You’ll want to spend 30-50% of your time on this priority. Continue Reading

Why I Invested $10K When I Could Have Got It Free

Free-vs-Paid-Coaching

I recently decided to make another investment in hiring a coach.

I’ve worked with coaches for years and credit their place in my life and my own commitment to the success of my company and that which I’ve personally enjoyed.

But this time things were different. Let me give you some background…

So even though I could have possibly seen some results trying to do things myself – I knew from experience – that being penny wise, pound foolish is no way to grow a business.

I invest tens-of-thousands of dollars each year into working with coaches. In one of the mastermind groups I’m part of there’s a coach that specializes in webinars.

He’s so effective at them that he regularly brings in $40K, $75K even $100K per webinar. And unlike these big product launches you’ve likely heard about and seen that happen a few times each year…he runs webinars for high-end coaching, consulting and training in his specific market every 4-6 weeks. Sometimes more often.

You can get a sense by doing the math…but he generates well over a $1M each year.

Time to Invest

I know the power of coaching. I’ve experienced it and all the most successful business owners I know have coaches too. So I decided it would make sense for me to hire him.

My goal was to get his coaching so that I can improve my webinars. I setup a call to learn more about how he could help me and what the investment would be. By the end of the call I was confident this is what I needed. That it would benefit my business.

The investment: $10,000

It’s a lot of money. But the value is clear. It would only take 1-2 sales to make that back and turn the investment into a great ROI. But then something happened… Continue Reading

Is Your Consulting Website Mobile-Friendly Yet? Google Says It Should Be

mobile-friendly-consulting-website

Yes the Google Internet gods have spoken again. Starting on April 21st of this year Google will be penalizing websites that are not “mobile-friendly” or “responsive”.

Here are Google’s exact wordsStarting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.

Now I’ve been involved in internet marketing and SEO for many years now so this news doesn’t come as a surprise to me. All the websites that I’m involved in have been mobile friendly for a few years now, and you need to make sure your consulting website is as well.

The steps are actually pretty simple. You need to make sure that your current website or new website that you are having developed works on all devices.

I mean it makes perfect sense. For several years now people from all over the globe (especially in Asia and parts of Europe) have been increasingly using phones or tablets as one of the primary ways to access and use the internet.

GlobalWebIndex has found through research that “80% of internet users own a smartphone”. Continue Reading

How I Doubled My Consulting Business In Less Than 12 Weeks: Case Study with Sonaya Williams

Sonaya-Williams-Double-Consulting-Business

The Sonaya Williams Group helps small businesses streamline their teams, so the owners have more time to make money and enjoy their lives. Sonaya Williams, President of the Sonaya Williams Group, works with entrepreneurs who have been in business for over three years and are making over $350,000 a year, but have come to a point where the ideas they’re throwing at the wall just aren’t sticking. These entrepreneurs want to do more—launch a new revenue stream or create a new program, for example—but realize they need better teams and better infrastructure in order to do so.

Challenge

All the coaching programs Sonaya had previously tried were better suited for different businesses and business models, whereas she needed specific coaching aimed at her consulting business. She was trying to find a better way to get new clients and work with existing clients, but was never able to get a lot out of the coaching programs or grow with the coaches she previously had around her. In several cases, the coaches she worked with would try to force her into using a business model that didn’t work with her consulting business.

She went to her ideal clients and interviewed them, an exercise she learned through the coaching program, and was able to pull in more clients based on the information gathered during the interview process.

When Sonaya came across Michael Zipursky’s coaching program at ConsultingSuccess.com, she saw it as an opportunity to finally work with someone dedicated to consultants. The main challenge for Sonaya was figuring out how to create consistent income, as her income was always fluctuating, leaving her in a constant state of uncertainty. The root cause of her problems was that she wasn’t clear on who her ideal client was, and wasn’t speaking the language that current or prospective clients wanted to hear.

Actions

Working with Michael has allowed Sonaya to really get clear about who her ideal clients are. She went to her ideal clients and interviewed them, an exercise she learned through the coaching program, and was able to pull in more clients based on the information gathered during the interview process.

Sonaya even gave the profile of her ideal client a name: Kayla. Whenever the Sonaya Williams Group writes articles, they do so with Kayla in mind. Whenever the company is looking at attending events, they make sure to see if Kayla will be there. Sonaya knows who Kayla is, what Kayla’s thinking, what Kayla says, and what Kayla wants in life.

Results

“I’ve doubled my business in less than 12 weeks. Michael helped me to re-package my offerings and improve my pricing structures which lead to a 40% increase in my fees and I’ve already landed 2 new projects at my new rate and I’m confident many more to come.”
– Sonaya Williams, President
Sonaya Williams Group

The targeting is specific to the point where Sonaya now gets on sales calls with people, and if they’re not “Kayla”, then Sonaya refers them to a different company, or redirects them to someone else internally. Prior to working with Michael, Sonaya would take on any client. Sonaya now says “yes” to the right clients, and “no” to the wrong ones.

The precise targeting and working with the right people has made Sonaya feel confident in increasing her prices, and confident in knowing how to increase fees with existing clients as well—knowing how to communicate the true value of her services so clients agree to the price changes.

In the past, Sonaya would throw marketing initiatives out there and see what would work. She had a profile on every social network, and spent a lot of time being active across all these networks—even though prospective clients may not have been using any of these networks to begin with. Now, she’s being more targeted, taking the time to focus her efforts, review the results, and make changes accordingly. And it’s working. She’s doubled her revenue and no longer spends time or money on marketing campaigns that don’t serve a purpose or produce results.

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Marketing for Consultants Survey 2015

Do People Really Know What You Do? 4 Examples of Consultants with Clear Brand Messaging

Clear-Brand-Message

Do people really know what you do? This may sound like no brainer and obvious question and answer but it’s really not, let me explain further.

We recently launched a new side of the business and we now offer brand strategy and professional websites for consultants. Through this program I’m getting the chance to work with and chat to more and more business people about their websites and brand strategy.

So the solution is actually quite simple. On your home page you need to tell visitors what you do in 1-2 sentences. Make sure this text is clearly designed and easy to notice and read as soon as users arrive on your website.

These consultants and coaches are high level experts in their field that understand the importance of branding but they simply don’t have a website yet or the one they do have is really out of date and often needs a complete re-design.

As I work with these professionals I’m starting to realize something very interesting that I’d like to share with you today, read this twice if you have to as it’s a game changer.

A lot of consultants really get and understand what they offer and specialize in but they don’t communicate it well to people that visit their website.

This is huge because if people are arriving on your website and don’t really know what you do then there’s a great chance they’ll just leave and you’ll lose them, most likely forever.

Remember they don’t leave your website because you aren’t offering what they need; in fact you and the services you offer may be exactly what they’re looking for.  They leave because they don’t know what you do and don’t want to spend their limited time to try to figure that out.

So the solution is actually quite simple. On your home page you need to tell visitors what you do in 1-2 sentences. Make sure this text is clearly designed and easy to notice and read as soon as users arrive on your website.

Below I’ll share with you 4 websites of consultants that are using the power of concise text and clean, simple design to instantly tell all visitors what they offer and what they specialize in.

Once users understand that, they can dig into the website to see more specific information on products, services, and other information that is being offered.

Rory Vaden – Self Discipline Expert

Rory Vaden is an author, consultant, entrepreneur and self-discipline expert. As you can see in the below design (his homepage) he has a clean design and some large text that sums up who he is and what he specializes in.

Rory-Vaden

Brent Purves – Internet Marketing Expert & Coach

In this next example with Brent Purves you don’t see a photo but you do see a large text block explaining what Brent specializes in. Not only does he sum it up nicely he makes his exact specializations stand out using a different color text that is in bold which makes what he does even more clear to the visitor. Continue Reading

5 Reasons to Work with Small Clients and Projects

Working-With-Small-Consulting-Clients

Not all clients are the same. They certainly aren’t all worth the same to your business.

Yet consultants often pay little attention to this truth.

In the consulting business there are two core approaches to growth:

1) Focus on volume – where you take on as many projects as you can. The more projects the more income. To service those projects you need more staff, resources and infrastructure. Revenues can be high. Margins lower. This model often uses hourly billing or lower cost projects.

2) Focus on value – you work with fewer clients. Each project you take on is worth considerably more. Revenues may not be as high as the volume approach yet margins are much higher. Many consultants including myself have scaled our businesses this way above $500k and even $1M+.

The volume approach is the route the large consulting firms take. They bill high hourly fees and constantly need competent staff to execute and work with clients, who they pay a lower hourly rate to.

The value approach is chosen by most independent consultants and small firms. This has always been the approach I’ve used and one I’ve become an expert at helping others create as well.

Mix and Match?

Some consultants haven’t thought this through however. They run a small firm or are working solo, yet they operate their consulting business more like a volume based one.

They experience overwhelm, working long hours, lower profitability and have trouble figuring out what they are doing wrong. Why the success they want so badly isn’t coming their way.

The fastest way to fix this is to switch your approach to one focused on value. Continue Reading

The 8% Secret to Getting More Clients

Secret-To-More-Consulting-Clients

Each morning my alarm goes off at 6am.

By 6:30 I’m jumping up and down and moving side to side at my strength and fitness class.

After being in Europe for two weeks on vacation with my family I noticed a change at my class when I returned.

There were far fewer people than before.

In fact, one of the members said to the instructor “I guess New Year’s resolutions have worn off”.

The instructor replied “Yeah, too bad for those people.”

I laughed to myself and realized how true this was. I’ve seen data online (however accurate it may be) that only 8% of New Year’s resolutions are successful.

Put another way 92% of the goals people set never become reality!

I’ve seen it happen each year.

The gym gets packed with people in January and by mid-February or March it’s thinned out again.

Then just before summer people flood in again hoping to get their bodies in shape before they parade their glowing contours on the beach.

Easy and Hard

Showing up at the gym is easy.

Coming back the following week is easy.

Continuing to make it a habit week in and week out, month in and month out, year in and year out is WHAT counts. Continue Reading

Achieving Your Goals: A Simple 4 Step System

4-step-goals-system

At this time of year when the momentum of the New Year is still fresh many of us (especially all you motivated readers of this blog!) have set up some big and exciting personal and business goals that we’re working towards.

We change, our lives change, priorities shift and some of our goals get accomplished. Therefore continuous review is a good thing to really make sure you’re on point!

Goal setting is a popular topic and an infinite conversation, one that we’ve talked about many times before at this blog. The reason is obvious, goals are quite easy to talk about and set but the whole process from start to finish can get kind of tricky, therefore making our goals hard to accomplish.

Today I wanted to share with you a 4 step system that I’ve been using for the last couple of years to achieve the goals I set for myself.

1. Writing Down and Clarifying a Few Important Goals

4-Step-Consulting-SystemI didn’t used to write my goals down. I would choose a couple of goals that I wanted to achieve and then just work towards them in my mind. This style got a bit messy as I never really had a chance to clarify my goals using the power of writing.

It’s not that I didn’t achieve any of them, because I did, it just wasn’t nearly as effective and systematized as it is now that I write them down and review them regularly.

So what I do is I choose one or two important goals in the categories of health, income, business, personal development, travel, and relationships and write them down in my journal.

I try to only focus on one to two because I feel that setting more starts to get a bit confusing and I like to stay laser focused on a few goals that will have massive impact on my life.

2. Continuously Checking In and Reviewing Your Goals

After writing your goals down and organizing them into some key categories it’s good to keep checking in as often as you feel necessary to make sure you’re on track and also adjust where needed.

For me, I review and adjust often and a really great time to do this is during my morning success ritual that I shared with you all recently.

This step is crucial because as you keep working towards these goals it’s good to look at them and know how they are going, make sure you’re still on track, and also leave room to change them a bit where needed.

Remember shifting goals is not a bad thing and it shouldn’t be looked at in a negative way. We change, our lives change, priorities shift and some of our goals get accomplished. Therefore continuous review is a good thing to really make sure you’re on point! Continue Reading