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

On Growth and Stagnation

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If you want to be great, stop focusing on your weaknesses.

Each and every one of us has strengths and weaknesses.

Focusing on your strengths establishes a confident mindset filled with possibilities and opportunities.

Focusing on your weaknesses turns something weak into something average.

Focusing on your strengths turns something strong into something exceptional.

Our minds can only think one thought at a time.

Focusing on your weaknesses establishes a weak mindset filled with doubt and negativity.

Focusing on your strengths establishes a confident mindset filled with possibilities and opportunities. Continue Reading

Freedom and Lifestyle of Consulting

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I took half of August off this summer and it was one of our company’s best months ever. That’s a great feeling.

During that time I had a good friend in town visiting from Europe. We went to a cabin in the forest for 3 days. Then camping in the mountains near Whistler with my wife, and a few days later we took a boat up the coast to spend four days at a beautiful suite we rented right on the ocean.

Another important factor is how you structure the way you work and how you set expectations for the project with your client.

Lifestyle of Consulting

The reason I’m telling you this is not to boast. It’s the lifestyle consulting can provide you with.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t always like this. I put in many long days and still do sometimes when we’re gearing up for a big launch or new client program. Yet I’m able to work when I want, with whomever I want, and most of the work can be done from anywhere.

Earlier in the year I spent two weeks in Japan. And while I had two days I got up at 4am for client calls (because of the time change) the rest of the days were spent as they would be at my office.

Once you’re hired by your client, in the majority of cases you can do the work from anywhere, anytime, as long as the results and value produced are exceptional and that it’s all completed on time.

Freedom and lifestyle is one of the many reasons consultants get into this business. Yet, a great deal of them struggle to earn a significant income and they end up working far more hours than they would have at a 9-5 JOB.
Continue Reading

Inside the Diagram to Success

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One of my coaching clients earned $823,000 last year. He has no employees or contractors working for him.

Another did $1.2M before we started working together and in one year grew the business to over $2.3M.

You’ll notice that people Chasing Success spend the majority of their time talking about their ideas.

Not all of my clients have revenues at that level. Many are doing $8k to $25k a month.

I’m honored to work with such dedicated professionals (here) to help them grow their businesses and achieve greater lifestyle and freedom.

One thing that I’ve noticed about the most successful consultants, regardless of their industry or country, is their approach and the way they take action.

It’s not so much about the marketing tactic they choose, it’s how they think about business and the mindset and habits they have. Continue Reading

7 Best Questions to Ask Consulting Clients

In my last video I shared 3 Questions NOT to Ask Consulting Clients.

In this video I share 7 of the Best Questions to Ask Consulting Clients.

Here are the 7 questions. Watch the video to find out why these questions are so powerful and how to use them:

“What is your number one priority for this business unit during this fiscal year?”

“What do you believe needs to be strengthened in order to support achieving this?”

“What options have you looked at to achieve this…?”

“Is there anything that you or your employees are doing that may be getting in the way of achieving this result?”

“What is unique about your business compared to your competitors?”

“What was the main reason that you wanted to meet with me?”

“Who will be making the final decisions on this project and who will be in charge of implementation?”

What questions have you found effective to ask clients? Share them in the comments below.

How to Gain Insight Into What Ideal Consulting Clients Really Want

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I was sitting at the edge of a long dock that extends from the suite I was staying at all the way to the ocean.

(I took the above photo when I walked back up the ramp to my suite…)

It was then I had the idea to launch a new service for consulting firm owners.

I learned many years ago that the worst thing I could do was jump right into the project. Instead I needed to find out whether the idea I had for this new service is what the market really wanted.

If you’re not reaching out to your ideal clients to learn what they really care about, you’re missing a great opportunity.

Did they care, or was simply something I thought was a good idea?

To answer that question I decided I’d send out a survey. I’ll share the results and what happened with you in just a minute.

This story is relevant to you even if you don’t have a list that you can send a survey to right away.

  • You can setup phone calls with past or current buyers.
  • Have phone calls with prospective buyers.
  • Run paid traffic to a survey.

When creating the survey it’s important that the questions you ask are the ones that will prove if your idea is worth pursuing or not.

I asked questions to find out what the biggest challenges this market was having and had them rank them in order of greatest importance.

Then I asked information that would give me a better picture of each response so that I could put their answers into context and segment them. This is important because not everyone’s response will carry the same weight – you have potential buyers and ideal buyers. Continue Reading

5 Types of Bad Consulting Clients and What To Do About Them

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We’ve all had bad consulting clients. It’s part of being in business. What’s most important is that you know how to identify the situation as quickly as possible, and resolve it.

Here are 5 types of bad clients consultants encounter:

1) The Line Crosser Client:

You know the one. The client that believes since they are paying you that they own all your time. They call you at all hours of the day and night and send you a barrage of emails and expect a response as soon as they’ve hit ‘send’.

Solution: Set clear boundaries from the outset. Let the client know what they can expect of you and what you expect from them to make the project a success. Establish a relationship as a trusted advisor, not servant at their beck and call. If you’ve failed to do this from the get go, let your client know that everything as agreed is moving forward with their project and that they don’t need to worry. And let them know that you have other clients and a business to run as well. Clarify the expectations.

One meeting they are thrilled with the work you’re doing and everything is going great in their business. The next time you walk into their office they act like the walls are falling down.

2) The Spellchecker Client:

These types of clients are such a nuisance. They are typically small minded and don’t see the bigger picture. They spend all of their time looking for the negative in every situation. They often mean well, their issue is that they are simply focusing on the wrong things.

Solution: If a client makes a comment, thank them for it, and let them know that you’re glad that 99% is where it needs to be and that both of you should stay focused on the most critical areas of the project. Because at the end of the day, a better result will be seen when everyone is focusing on the areas where the greatest value can be created. Not on small edge cases that don’t impact the project in any significant way.

3) The Mood Swing Client:

These kinds of clients are often uncomfortable to be around. You never know what they are going to say or do. One meeting they are thrilled with the work you’re doing and everything is going great in their business. The next time you walk into their office they act like the walls are falling down. These are the same type of clients that will say one thing and then do another. They make it hard to complete a project successfully, not for your lack of skill, rather because of their lack of focus and consistency. Continue Reading

Why This Consultant’s Workout Failed…

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I’m in the gym by 6am most days.

Not too long ago I saw one of my neighbors come in a few minutes after me.

I said “good morning!”

He looked surprised that I was there so early.

Don’t get caught up thinking a fancy plan with several pages is what you need.

At that time in the morning I’m focused on my workout. ‘Chatting’ isn’t on my list of priorities so I went back to my workout.

At about 6:30 I said “see you later” on my way to leave.

The following day I saw my neighbor again at the gym. And again he came in a few minutes after me.

This time as I was getting to leave around 6:30 (yes – my workouts are usually about 30 minutes long) and said “see you later” to my neighbor. He looked up and said “You’re done already? That’s quick.”

I responded, “Yeah, gotta keep it moving” and then got going.

My neighbor continued to come for a few more days and then he stopped showing up.

He’s around, there’s nothing wrong with his health. He simply ‘gave up’ on his routine.

This event reminded me of how consultants approach marketing…

Some show up, plan a big ‘workout’, do it for a short period of time and then give up.

You need to learn exactly what to do to get from where you are now to where you want to get to.

They fool themselves into believing that having some elaborate plan will help them be successful. Continue Reading

How Great Leaders Excel

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Have you ever felt that your lack of knowledge in a specific area is holding you back from attaining success?

I’m going to share with you a fascinating story on this point in just a moment.

Start learning everything you can about the area you want to improve in. Talk with people that have successfully achieved what you want to achieve.

Have you ever had an opportunity, a project you really wanted to take on but didn’t, for fear that you weren’t knowledgeable enough?

Well then, let me introduce you to Joe Jimenez. Joe is the CEO of Novartis, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies.

I read about his story in a great book “Future Thinkers” published by McGraw Hill and authored by Stuart Crainer and Des Dearlove.

Mr. Jimenez faced a huge challenge when he took a leadership role at the giant pharma company – he wasn’t a scientist.

Now, just imagine that. Here is a man with no science background tasked with leading the strategy of a global $220 Billion science based company.

To become successful in his position, here’s what Joe Jimenez did:

He clearly understood it was critical that he learn as much as possible about the science part of their business, from medicines and molecules to mechanisms. Continue Reading

3 Critical Questions for Consultants & the Must Have Skill Set

What is the most important skill that a consultant most possess?

I’ve just created this video to share with you why this skill is so critical to your success.

And I’ve offered you three ways to ask your ideal clients better questions – you’ll see why this matters in the video : )

If you enjoy the video and would like more videos let me know in the comments below. And please share it with your friends and colleagues.

The most important skill you must have as a consultant is…

Watch the video to find out.

In the video I also share with you three 3 questions consultants often ask clients and why they should be avoided.

I provide you with alternative questions that are far more effective.

Breaking Past Boundaries

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This lesson was painful.

I literally had to stretch and feel discomfort to learn it.

I’m talking about my yoga practice. But the lesson has profound impact on your business and many aspects of life.

Three evenings a week I head to the local yoga studio. One of my favorite practices is called Yin.

Where you stretch and hold a position for 5 minutes.

The first few seconds are fine. Then as the seconds tick away and the stretch deepens I start to hit my edge.

This is the point where my mind is telling me to give up. That it can’t go any further.

Don’t let the boundaries that first appear to be in your way slow you down or stop you from getting to where you want to go.

Yet, my mind is trying to fool me. Because as I persist, relax, breathe and hold my position my mind realizes it has lost and my body eases deeper into the pose.

Ask any serious runner and they’ll tell you that it isn’t only about speed. It’s about endurance and knowing how to deal with the thoughts that besiege you as the pain of running kicks in. As your body feels like it’s shutting down. But it’s not. Because as soon as you push aside those thoughts and keep going, the pain you felt seems to disappear. Continue Reading