How to Consistently attract high-paying consulting clients

Over 6500 consultants from around the world have used our training and coaching programs to become more successful...

  • Michael Zipursky
  • Consultant & CEO

The BEST Business Model for Consultants

In this episode, let’s talk about business models. What is the right type of business model for you to use in your own consulting business?

These days, I see advertisements all over the web and even in workshops and in seminars, of people talking about the “best” business model.


That you should be selling high ticket offers or you should be doing products or setting up passive income streams, or jumping on webinars or podcasts or Instagram or Pinterest.

All these latest ideas and models that people are presenting to you can get a consultant quite confused.

Depending on what your income and revenue goals are, that will influence what type of model, strategy, approach and tactics you use.

You can feel overwhelmed wondering, “Is this the right business model for me?” And because they often do such a good job of marketing the idea to you, you get excited about it.

I want to offer you the idea that you should just take a minute and step back. Cool off.

Find Your Model

It’s really important that you ensure that the model that you are using is the right model for you and your business.

  • What type of business do you want to have?
  • What size company do you want to create?
  • Do you want to be a solo consultant or an independent consultant?
  • Do you want to have a consulting firm that has two, three, four, five employees, or do you want a firm that has 10 or 20 or 50 or 100 employees?

Continue Reading

The Power HABIT of Successful Consultants

What kind of habits do you have in your life?

We have all kinds of habits – some good, some not so good, some may be bad.

As a consultant, if you’re focused on growth, if you want to grow your business, to grow your revenues, then you must have one very important habit as part of your business, a habit that you do almost without thinking of doing that it becomes so natural.


You’re doing it almost everyday if not everyday, and you’re doing it because it clearly helps you to grow your business.

What is that habit? Maybe you guessed it but that habit is working on your marketing and business development.

The most successful consultants, even when they’re at the top of the highest level of success, they don’t sit back.

You see, many consultants believe that as consultants we’re in the consulting business, but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.

Our Real Business

As consultants we’re not in the consulting business.

We’re in the business of marketing? Why? If we don’t have clients then it doesn’t matter how good we are at what we do.

It doesn’t matter what our expertise is. We don’t have the opportunity then to consult, to actually help our clients, to serve and provide value to them. The only way to actually have clients to consult for, to do consulting, is to get clients, which means we need to do business development and marketing in order to get those clients.

That’s why we’re really in the business of marketing even if you don’t consider yourself a marketer or a salesperson. These are strengths. These are areas that you must develop to be successful as a consultant.

The Referral Well

Even if you’ve found that maybe your business has coasted along for quite a while just through referrals in your network, that’s great for you.

That’s wonderful. Enjoy it and appreciate it, but also realize that that will not continue forever, especially if you’re newer to the business.

You might enjoy several years even of business like that. Continue Reading

Where 80% of Buyers Find Consultants

Eighty percent of buyers of consulting services and expert services are now going online to search for those experts.

That means they’re online right now searching for you. The question is, are you online? Can those buyers find you? Do you have an effective website?

Do you have an established online presence and does it communicate and does it present you in a way where you’re really seen as an authority, an expert, in the marketplace?


Let’s break each one of these down and explore them together, because if you want to grow your consulting business, if you want to attract and land significantly more clients you need to have all three of these pieces to the puzzle.

Professional Consulting Website

First, do you have a good website?

A good website needs to make you look good. It has to really communicate that your brand is a professional brand.

Again, this is the way it works these days and this trend will continue that over 80% of buyers are now searching online for a consultant, for an expert.

Do you have a professional-looking consulting brand? When a buyer goes online they’re not only going to be looking at your website.

They’re going to be looking at other websites as well and so they’re going to compare, and whether we like it or not first impressions are important.

How does your website communicate you?

Does it present you as a real professional?

Do you have a strong brand? Is it easy to navigate?

Do you have the right information on the website?

Is that information compelling?

Does it give a buyer a reason to engage with you?

Does it make it easy to contact you?

Do you have the right calls to action? Continue Reading

The 3 Stages to Consulting Client Project Updates

I was speaking with a client in Australia recently who told me about one of their largest clients.

While the relationship with that client was very strong, they felt that maybe they weren’t doing the best job of conveying and communicating the real value that they were providing to that client.

We talked about the situation and I asked them what were they doing? What was their communication with that consulting client like?


When they told me about what they were doing, or really what they weren’t doing, I clearly saw an opportunity for them to use a three-stage approach to communicating around the project, updating your client so that they know exactly what’s going on, and I want to share that with you here today.

What are you doing at the moment to help your client reach the goals that you have both set together?

Setting The Stage

There are three stages to this client communication update approach.

Let me set the stage. Before we even jump to that, the first thing that you want to think about here is coming into your meetings with a document. It can be a simple one-page printout and there’s going to be three sections to that document.

The Past

The first section in that document is where you’re going to talk to your client and share with them what you have done for them in the past.

This is really where you share with them what you’ve accomplished, what steps you’ve taken, what you’ve implemented, what results have been achieved over the past week, the past month, whatever that time interval has been since you last met or spoke with that client about the project.

You review and you make bullet points and you share one by one everything that you’ve done that is worthwhile that the client should know about that is important for them to know about – things that are going well, things that aren’t going well, what results have been achieved.

You want to ideally communicate everything so they can see the progress that has been made. That’s really important for a client to see because they’ve made an investment in hiring you.

To confirm for them in their mind that they made the right investment, it’s important that they are seeing progress consistently. This is a great opportunity for you to do that, to share what you have accomplished in the past. Continue Reading

Thinking BIG: How to Grow Your Consulting Practice

How big are you thinking – about your business, about your revenues, about the number of clients that you want to attract?

I see far too often that consultants are thinking too small. They’re looking at an incremental growth. They’re looking at what step, what small steps can I take that would make a difference in my business?

While that is not a flawed way of thinking, it won’t allow you to reach bigger goals faster.


A Clear Revenue Target

Look at what your revenue target is right now. What would you like your consulting income to hit within six months on a monthly basis?

Now, picture that number in your mind and double it. If your goal is to reach $10,000 in monthly income, what would it look like to generate $20,000 in monthly income?

If your goal is to hit $50,000 in monthly income, what would it look like to turn that into $100,000 in monthly income?

With that new number in mind, with that 2x number in mind, figure out what do you need to do to reach that goal? How many clients do you need?

Number of Leads

How many leads do you need? What types of services and products do you need to provide to enable you to reach that level of income?

I see far too often that consultants are thinking too small. They’re looking at an incremental growth. They’re looking at what step, what small steps can I take that would make a difference in my business?

What you’ll find by doing that is that you actually have a clear target that you’re working towards, and even if you don’t hit that target you’ll most likely surpass your initial target.

Hitting Your Target

In many cases, now because you actually have clarity around that new number and you’re working towards that new number – you’re taking actions, you’re reaching out to the right number of clients, you’re following up on leads, you’re working to offer new services that will allow you to hit that new level – what happens? Often, you’ll actually get very close to hitting that new level, if not actually attain it. Continue Reading

Follow Up Strategies for Consultants: What Really Works

Let’s talk about follow up.

Are you following up enough with your ideal clients? Do you have a pipeline of potential leads that you’re not in touch with as often as you should be?


80% of Sales

Eighty percent of sales and of business comes between the fifth and the twelfth contact with your ideal client.

Yet most consultants will attempt their marketing – they’ll use some tactics, they’ll make contact with their ideal clients, they might send an email or even pick up the phone and give a call – but they’ll take one, two, maybe three interactions with the client and if it doesn’t work, if they don’t hear back from that client they give up.

They don’t continue to follow up with that ideal client.

Based on so much research and data, between the fifth and the twelfth contact is where 80% of the business is made.

Every time that you speak with an ideal client, with a potential buyer, whether it’s on the phone or an in-person meeting, make sure that every single time you don’t leave that phone call or leave that meeting without booking or scheduling a next step with that client.

Consistent Growth

That means that if you’re not being consistent and following up with your ideal clients on a consistent basis, that you’re leaving a lot of money on the table, that you really are letting a lot of opportunities slip through your fingers.

It’s important that you look at right now, are you following up with your ideal clients? Are you doing it consistently?

If you’re not then you want to put a strategy and a structure and a process in place that allows you to follow up with your ideal clients on an ongoing basis, but also to look at your marketing and realize that marketing isn’t just a short term activity.

It’s a long term plan. It’s something that you start and that if you don’t see results from it right away, you don’t stop. You don’t give up. You don’t say, “Oh, this type of marketing doesn’t work,” and just jump to the next hot trendy thing.

The Right Strategy

If you have the right strategy in place – if you don’t that’s a whole different topic – but as long as you do have the right strategy in place you want to work it consistently, just because if you don’t get those results you’re looking for right away doesn’t mean that it’s not going to work.

It simply might mean that you haven’t been consistent enough with it, or you haven’t gone through all the potential followup that is required. Continue Reading

Consulting Fees Too High? Here’s How to Respond

One question a lot of consultants have is what should they do when a buyer says that their fees are too high?

It’s an interesting question because when a buyer says to you that your fees are too high, it’s not actually an issue of price.


It’s Not Price

Rarely does a buyer make a decision strictly on price.

The real issue if you’re hearing that from a buyer is that they don’t yet see the real value that you can provide to them.

If they’re only looking at the price as a number, they see it as an expense. They’re not actually seeing it as an investment.

There are three things that you want to consider if you are encountering buyers telling you that your fees are too high.

Ask The Right Questions

First, you want to make sure that you really know how to ask the right questions and what the right questions are during the sales conversation so that you can really discover the value that your buyer and that ideal client cares most about.

Communicate Value

Second, that you can then use that information that you’ve discovered to communicate the value so that the buyer clearly sees how you can help them and what value they will be able to receive.

If we think about it this way, if you invest one dollar with me and you’re confident that you’re going to be able to make back three dollars for every one dollar that you invest, how much will you invest? Of course, as much as you possibly can.

But if they’re only looking at the price as a number, they see it as an expense. They’re not actually seeing it as an investment.

What you want to think about and what I would encourage you to consider is how to shift their mindset from seeing your fee as an expense to rather seeing it as an investment.

The fastest and most effective way to do that is to ensure that you’re actually communicating the value and the ROI that the buyer will be able to see by engaging you in that project.

There’s always a cost and a loss that happens or occurs when action is not taken.

We talked about step number one which is being clear and making sure that you know the right questions to ask during the sales conversation. Step two is to ensure that you are communicating that value to the buyer.

Gain and Loss

The third step is to look at and to discuss with the buyer so that they can clearly see not only what they stand to gain by engaging you in terms of ROI, value, results, but also what the potential loss is for them.

If they don’t take action right now to move forward, if they don’t engage you, if they don’t fix the problem that they’re having. Continue Reading

Growing Your Consulting Business Using Inbound Marketing


I was having a business check-in and accountability call the other day with a client who is part of our coaching program for consultants.

As we were chatting away the term “inbound marketing” came up.

But remember with inbound marketing you’re mostly creating your content so it’s less expensive or even “free”

The client who I’ll call Jake (to protect his privacy) was excited, as he had just finished attending a small seminar. It was on how to write and structure blog posts for his new blog and website which we recently designed, developed, and launched for him as part of our “websites for consultants” program.

I mentioned to Jake that I thought blogging was a great idea for him and that it could be a solid part of his overall Inbound Marketing strategy. He interrupted me for a second to explain further, as he didn’t know what I meant by that term.

Now Jake’s a smart guy so if he didn’t know what it meant I thought others might not either. So today I want to introduce this important and relatively new marketing concept (Been around since 2008) to all of you all so you can start using it to grow your consulting businesses as well, sound good?

What Is Inbound Marketing?

As Wikipedia puts it “Inbound marketing is promoting a company through blogs, podcasts, video, eBooks, enewsletters, whitepapers, SEO, physical products, social media marketing, and other forms of content marketing which serve to attract customers.”

Below is a diagram (via BIGSHOT Inbound) that explains the concept in a visual format


In a nutshell inbound marketing is the strategy of creating and publishing various types of valuable and useful content related to your expertise that is targeted at potential customers and people that are already searching for that information on the Internet.

It’s the complete opposite of the older style of marketing that is also known to some as “outbound marketing”. This is where you put out information to the masses (like a TV or Newspaper AD) and hope that some of the people that see your message will be the right fit and respond.

There’s a Cambridge based company called HubSpot who are on the forefront of Inbound Marketing and they put together this chart below to show some clear examples of both inbound (permission) and outbound (interruption) marketing methods:


Is Outbound Marketing Bad?

The answer to that is no and I’ll explain why. TV ads, cold calling, direct mail, online advertising and other forms of outbound marketing still definitely have their place in an overall marketing strategy. If you know what you’re doing they can be very effective and profitable as well. Continue Reading

2 Ways to Grow a Consulting Business: Volume vs Value

There’s really two ways to build a consulting business. You can do it based on volume or you can do it based on value.

The approach that you take will really determine and influence many factors in terms of how you go about growing your business, what strategies you’ll use, what type of marketing you’re going to employ, how you’re going to structure your pricing.


First, let’s just look at an example.

$500k Example

Let’s say that you want to earn half a million dollars this year as an independent consultant or a small consulting firm.

We’ll just use that number as an example. Your specific situation might be a lot higher or it might be lower.

Do you want a hundred clients or do you want to only need to have ten clients?

Whatever it is that doesn’t matter, but let’s say to generate $500,000 in income. One approach is that you could have an average sale, an average project, be $5000.

In order for you to generate that $500,000, that half a million dollars in income, you would then need to get a hundred clients at $5000 over that one year period for you to generate amount of money.

How Many Clients?

Do you want to work with a hundred clients within a 12-month period? That’s question number one.

The other factor or the other approach would be what about if you had an average sale, an average project of $50,000?

Now you only need to have ten clients over the period of 12 months for you to still generate that exact same number.

Do you want a hundred clients or do you want to only need to have ten clients?

That question is really what influences the volume-based value approach and should influence how you decide that you’re going to build your consulting business.

If you take the volume approach, you would need to get a hundred clients at $5000 for you to generate that half a million dollars.

Key Differences

The volume approach requires that obviously you have a lot more marketing to support landing a lot more clients. It also requires that you have a lot more infrastructure.

You typically need to have a lot more processes, systems, even people in place to help you to grow to that level.

The volume-based value approach, in terms of how you want to grow your business, is one that you should really think about.

Because not only do you have to win a hundred projects, you have to be able to service and deliver on those hundred projects.

If we flip to the other side, the value-based approach is one where in this case if your average project size is only $50,000 then you only need ten clients at that level. Continue Reading

Consulting Proposals Don’t Win Business, This Does…


Would like to win more consulting business?

If the answer is “YES!” read on…

Have you ever felt like your proposal is what helps you to win the business?

Well, if you’re relying on your proposals to win business…

Everything starts with a real conversation. Your #1 job is to get your ideal client’s attention and engage them so they want have a meaningful conversation with you.

If you even believe that your proposal plays a significant part in landing that business you’re in for a surprise.

Proposals aren’t meant to win business!

They’re not.

It’s as simple as that.

Far too many consultants rely on proposals.

They’re like proposal writing machines.

The first chance they get they send off a proposal.

They believe the more proposals they send out the more business they’ll land.

It doesn’t work like that.

Instead follow this approach:

1. Meaningful conversation

Everything starts with a real conversation. Your #1 job is to get your ideal client’s attention and engage them so they want have a meaningful conversation with you.

If you can’t do this there’s no way you’re winning their business.

2. Ask the right questions

During that conversation you’ll want to ask them the right questions. This is important. If you ask the wrong questions you’ll have no way to position your offering in a powerful way.

When you ask the right questions you’re able to communicate greater value and ultimately make the right offer. You get to position your offering so that your ideal client is ready and WANTING to buy from you.

3. Communicate your offer

As mentioned above once you’ve asked all the right questions you can communicate that value to the buyer. Failure to do this means you’ll likely lose the business.

And even if you do win the business you’ll almost always receive far lower compensation than you could have…if you knew the right questions to ask and communicated greater value. Continue Reading