How to Consistently attract high-paying consulting clients

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  • Michael Zipursky
  • Consultant & CEO
  • ConsultingSuccess.com

VIDEO: Small Consulting Projects and Clients: Are They Really Worthwhile?

Video Blog Summary:

The question today is should you ever take on a small project?

Does it make sense? Is it worthwhile? Is it a good strategy?

Small-Consulting-Projects-Clients-Are-They-Really-Worthwhile-Final

Well, let’s explore this together.

In the vast majority of cases, I would suggest against taking on smaller projects. Why? Because when you work on larger projects you have the ability to create greater value for your clients.

Create Greater Value

And as you’re creating greater value and working with larger clients on larger projects it also allows you to earn greater compensation.

You can make a lot more money by working with larger clients on larger projects than you can with smaller clients on smaller projects.

There are certain situations where taking on smaller projects really does make sense and can be a very effective strategy.

Going back to what I shared in the previous video around value versus volume, if you’re working with significantly smaller clients on smaller projects you’re really creating a volume-based business because you have to work with a lot more clients in order to earn the same income that you could achieve with working with significantly fewer clients at higher fee levels.

There are certain situations where taking on smaller projects really does make sense and can be a very effective strategy.

When You’re Getting Started

The first is if you’re just getting started as a consultant. You have expertise but maybe you haven’t put that expertise out into the marketplace yet, and so by working and taking on smaller projects it allows you to start getting results for clients that you can turn into testimonials, create case studies around.

You can then take that consulting expertise and that experience that you’ve now developed as a consultant into the marketplace and start to use that to land more clients and to build up your track record and experience as a consultant. Continue Reading

4 Proven Steps to Overcoming Client Objections

Overcoming-Client-Objections

Objections from buyers of consulting services are commonplace.

Yet most consultants find themselves shutting tight like a clam and hoping they don’t encounter a buyer’s objection.

That’s a bad move and won’t get you anywhere.

In fact, if you want to win more consulting business you’ll want to do the exact opposite.

You’ll want to be prepared to deal with objections. Learn how to respond and handle them so you can turn a ‘no’ equivalent into a resounding “Yes.”

In this article I’m going to share with you and together explore four of the most common client objections.

Client Objection #1

No-Budget

One of the most common objections consultants hear is “We don’t have the budget allocated for this.”

When a consulting client or buyer says this don’t accept it and end the conversation.

Prepare to ask the buyer questions and explore the situation with them.

Every company, unless they are deep into bankruptcy has costs. They are spending money.

The question isn’t if they have the budget. The question is, will they direct that money towards and invest it in and with you?

1) Redirect the budget – The first recommendation I have for you is to redirect the budget. Our role as consultants is to demonstrate to buyers that they will be better investing with us. Show them that they will receive greater value and ROI with you than they will by investing in other areas. When you do this effectively they will want to redirect their budget from other areas to invest it in your services.

That doesn’t mean you give up. Instead, ask your buyer the right questions.

2) Where is the budget going? – In order for the buyer to redirect the budget you’ll need more information. Find out where their current budget is going? Where are they spending the money? Can you show them how to direct their budget in a more effective manner? If you can, they’ll often move their budget to you.

3) Is it a priority? – If your offer isn’t a priority for the buyer there’s little reason for them to take action on it now. Probe to find out what their current priorities are. Do they make sense? Is your offer going to solve their biggest problem? Will it help them achieve a result that they see as a priority? If yes, make sure you communicate that to them. If it doesn’t, and they are already focused on the right priorities, encourage them to keep taking action on that. You can always work with them at a later stage. Continue Reading

6 Steps to Consistently Attract More Consulting Clients

Free-Webinar

Does This Sound Like You?

  • Most of your business comes from referrals and you’re not getting enough of them?
  • You don’t have a marketing process in place to bring you qualified leads consistently?
  • You’d like to earn higher fees but aren’t sure how to make it happen?
  • You’d like to become an authority in your marketplace and be seen as an expert?

If you have any of these problems, then you need to be on my training, 6 Steps to Consistently Attract More Clients.

In this training I will show you how to finally SOLVE the problem of not having a proven marketing process so you CAN start consistently attracting your ideal consulting clients.

UPDATE: The training has now finished. You can get help with landing more clients through our Marketing for Consultants Program.

The training is on Thursday, July 23rd at 3pm PST (6pm EST). I’m expecting a full house and I only have 500 seats available. So make sure you GET YOUR SPOT now.

Look forward to seeing you on the training and speaking with you then.

To your success,
Michael

PS. Here’s the type of results consultants are seeing with the strategies I’m going to share with you:

“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

Register for the 6 Steps to Attract More Clients Webinar Training

VIDEO: 2 Types of Consulting Retainers and How to Use Them Effectively

Consulting retainers are one of the most effective pricing models you can use. In this video I share the 2 types of consulting retainers and how to use them effectively with clients.

What you’ll learn in this video:

  • The two types of retainers consultants use
  • Why retainers are one of the most effective way to model your consulting fees
  • Why ONE of the two retainers is far superior to the other
  • How to structure consulting retainers with clients

If you enjoy the video please let me know and click the share button to share with your social networks.

2-Types-Consulting-Retainers

You can find additional resources on consulting retainers in these articles, as well as much greater detail on consulting fees INCLUDING consulting retainers in a step-by-step guide in the Consulting Success System.

Consulting Retainers

Today, I want to talk to you about the two types of consulting retainers. Before we actually get into the retainers and what they mean and how to use them, let’s actually explore what consulting retainers are. Continue Reading

Improving Your Consulting Brand: No More Excuses!

Improve-Your-Consulting-Brand

It really amazes me.

In fact I’m actually quite surprised.

Once you have a good logo it can be the base for your visual identity.

At the amount of consulting “professionals” I deal with and come across that don’t have a nice looking and professional logo or visual identity to represent their brand.

It’s not that they don’t run a successful business or aren’t good at what they do.

In fact it’s most often the opposite. They are experts and great at what they do.

The problem I often see is that their logo and overall visual identity really haven’t been designed properly and that gives a mixed message to potential clients.

What is a visual identity?

Let’s take a step back for a moment and just make sure we’re all on the same page here when I talk about having a professional logo and visual identity.

Your visual identity is a small but important part of your overall business or personal brand. It’s the visual side of things. It’s the way you present yourself to the world.

At the forefront of this you have your logo, and then the colors you use, your website, the fonts you use, any print material like business cards and brochures, etc.

Why is it important?

In this day and age it’s more important than ever.

We are visual people and receive thousands of messages each day.

In order to stand out among all the “noise” out there we need have a visually appealing brand.

Not only that, whether we like it or not, people do judge a book by its cover, it’s just human nature. Continue Reading

9 Ways to Get More Consulting Clients

9-Ways-To-Get-Consulting-Clients

So you want to get more consulting clients?

Okay, let’s explore that together. But before we do it’s important that we get clear on WHO your ideal consulting clients are.

To get more clients you want to get your message in front of them.

Because if you don’t know WHO they are how can you market to them? Makes sense, right?

Who Is Your Ideal Consulting Client

So who is your ideal client? What type of client do you want to attract? At this stage you want to figure out the criteria to identify your ideal client. Once you’ve done this properly you’ll be able to effectively move the marketing process forward.

If you rush this part and don’t go through the steps the right way you’ll lack clarity on whom your ideal client is or you’ll have the wrong ideal client in target. This is so important it’s the first step I take consultants through in my coaching program. I call this process “Ideal Client Discovery.”

All of your marketing – your value proposition and marketing messaging – will be based on this. So it’s critical that you have your REAL ideal client in sight.

The More Focused the Better

To get more clients you want to be focused. In fact, the more focused you are on who your ideal client is, the better.

You’ll be able to identify exactly who your ideal client is, what their title is, their industry, their location, etc. And that allows you to target your messaging and marketing exactly to them.

This can be very hard for many consultants.

They feel that narrowing on a specific ideal client is restrictive. That they’ll lose opportunities because of their focus on a specific ideal client type.

I get it. Yes, this process can be a hard shift to make in your mindset. Yet, it’s a very important one.

The most successful consultants and companies have a very clear focus early on. It’s how they make a name for themselves. It’s how they establish their brand and became known as authorities.

Finding Consulting Clients

Once you’re clear on WHO your ideal client is and you’ve really FOCUSED down to ensure you’re going after the right ideal client it’s time to find them.

Marketing isn’t about choosing a popular tactic. Just because one type of marketing is working for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for you.

If the same marketing tactic worked perfectly for everyone, there’d only be one marketing tactic. Right?

Start with Questions

So before you dive into deciding what marketing tactic you’re going to ask yourself, “where are my ideal clients?”

Where can you get in front of them?

To get more clients you want to get your message in front of them.

What events do they attend?

What blogs and websites do they visit?

What publications do they read?

What associations or groups are they part of?

These are just a few of the many questions that can guide you to getting in front of more ideal clients.

9 Tactics to Get Consulting Clients

There are many ways to promote your consulting services. The tactic you choose will depend on who your ideal client is and where you can most effectively and efficiently reach them.

Here are 9 (of many) tactics consultants can use:

1. Webinars
Webinars are a great way to educate and provide valuable information to buyers and ideal clients. Done effectively not only can you demonstrate your authority live on the webinar you can do it in front of many people at one time. Most webinars are a series of presentation slides (think PowerPoint or Keynote) that you take attendees through. It’s a great way to identify the problems prospective clients are having, offer possible solutions, and ultimately make a clear offer. The offer is where you’ll provide an opportunity for the attendee to work with you. Too many people use webinars strictly as a way to present information. The most effective webinars are the ones that engage the attendees making them part of the conversation. Continue Reading

How to Build Rapport and Make More Consulting Sales

The-Consulting-Sale

Have you ever felt uncomfortable asking for the sale?

You were speaking with a buyer, your ideal client, and for some reason it slipped out of your hands like a wet bar of soap. You thought the sale was coming and then it was gone.

Your first focus should be on building rapport with your buyer. People don’t buy from people they don’t like. So job one is to establish a foundation for the relationship. One that you can build on.

Consultants often become frustrated in situations like these. They know they can help the buyer and yet they can’t seem to win their business.

Has this ever happened to you?

Let’s explore why this happens and how to deal with it so that you can start winning more business.

Opportunity to Make the Sale

Entering into a conversation with your ideal consulting client is essential to make the sale. It’s your best opportunity and without the conversation your chances of winning the sale are slim to none.

But you don’t want to start the conversation with the focus on making the sale. Why?

Because before you enter the conversation you don’t even know if you can really help the buyer. Are you the best person to do so? If not, there’s no point in making the sale, right? As consultants we’re not in the business of just selling our services. We’re in the business of providing value and results for our clients.

Since we know that every sale starts with a conversation here’s how to get it started…

1. Build Rapport with Buyer

Your first focus should be on building rapport with your buyer. People don’t buy from people they don’t like. So job one is to establish a foundation for the relationship. One that you can build on.

Your initial conversation can be about a variety of things: the weather (yes, I know that sounds sooo boring but people love talking about the weather), your location or where the buyer is from, anything you have in common, specifics about their industry, hobbies, etc. The important thing is that you want to start the conversation with a topic that the buyer wants to talk about. Not something they will find boring and certainly not about selling something to them.

Note: This initial conversation topic shouldn’t take up your whole meeting. Even a few short minutes to break the ice and build that rapport and friendly feeling is sufficient.

Another note: Be genuine. This isn’t a show. You’re not an actor. Don’t make things up. Be honest, transparent and real.

Now that the conversation has started on the right foot it’s time to move to the next step… Continue Reading

How to Win More Consulting Business by Giving More Advice

Giving-Advice

As consultants we are paid for our knowledge and advice.

Truly we are paid for what our knowledge and advice CREATES.

The PROBLEM it solves.

The RESULT it enables.

On Client Acquisition

Consultants often find themselves holding back information from a prospective client.

Afraid to give away too much…

Yet, if you don’t demonstrate your expertise and HOW you will help the buyer you won’t win their business.

A true buyer will engage you in a conversation because they are looking for help. Not because they are looking to take your ideas, boot you to the corner, and implement themselves.

No, don’t hold back. When you discover something that can help your client be in a better place, see an even greater result…even if it’s not in the scope or area of your current project let them know about it.

Sure, you will encounter dishonest buyers. Those who have no REAL intention of hiring you. Who are casting a net to see what they can pull in.

They are few and shouldn’t be of concern.

When engaging in a conversation with a buyer don’t hold back.

Make it clear to them that YOU are and EXPERT and that YOU CAN help them.

The value you provide them should create a feeling of “Wow, if they are giving me so much value for free imagine what they will provide when I hire them.”

There is an important distinction I’ll make. And that is that you will talk about HOW you will help them. SHOW them what the general process will look like.

Provide them with a HIGH LEVEL view of what they can expect and how you will enable the result they want.

Don’t go into every minute step of the process. Don’t paint the conversation in such detail that the buyer holds your blueprint and no longer needs you.

On Working with a Client

As you begin working with your client the next question appears: How much should you  help them?

Should you stick to focusing solely on the scope of the project you have been engaged for…even if you discover other areas of the client’s business that can be improved?

The answer is…yes and no!

Yes, you should keep the scope of the project. Do the work you have agreed to and provide exceptional value and results for your client. If the client directly asks you to do additional work beyond the scope of your agreement – let them know you’ll be happy to – and that you’ll put together a proposal to cover that.

Avoid scope creep. If you allow a client to make a ‘little’ addition here and then a little addition there…they add up. Continue Reading

3 Reasons to Push Past Your Fear and Become an Authority

Become-A-Consulting-Authority

It comes down to confidence.

I was speaking with a new client in the advertising industry. He wants to grow his business and attract more clients.

Focus on finding and getting in front of the decision maker. They are the ones that can hire you. That can write you the check.

One recommendation I offered is that he should start speaking at conferences and events in his industry.

He agreed the idea would help him to win clients.

And that it would further position him as an authority.

But he had a concern…

“Michael, the thing is…” The tone in his voice changed. “The people at these events will be VP and C-suite level and the highest position I’ve held is a Senior Manager.”

“And…?” I asked to have him share what he really wanted to know.

“Well…” he continued “I feel a bit uncomfortable, will they listen to me? Is it right for me to speak in front of people at that level?”

“Of course it is…” I said.

I went on to explain:

First, it’s natural to feel uncomfortable. If you always feel comfortable in everything you do it means you’re not leaving your comfort zone. You’re not pushing yourself. Passing boundaries and entering new growth stages.

Know that feeling is natural. Embrace it. Know that though it will feel hard as soon as you TAKE ACTION on the thing you feel fear about, that fear will melt. You will have conquered it. You will have grown.

Second, remember that your ideal clients don’t have your EXPERTISE. If they did, they wouldn’t need you. While they may have a higher position and title than you have had…though they may be older and have more years of work and life experience…they don’t have your LEVEL of experience and expertise in your area of specialization.

They look up to you. They may know the general landscape in your industry. They may even have some detailed knowledge. But most aren’t specialists and don’t have the DEPTH that you have. The expertise you’ve cultivated and developed. Continue Reading

Lessons from a Coffee Brand: Showing Your Important Clients the Love!

Brand-Coffee

A couple of days ago I was downtown and had just finished up a small brainstorm and business meeting with a good friend of mine.

Before heading home I stopped by a local department store to pick up a new suitcase and an interesting thing happened.

You don’t have to go build them a million dollar coffee lounge but if you have a consulting client that you really appreciate there are many things you can do to show them you care.

While I was browsing around for some luggage I looked up for a second and saw a lively looking coffee bar. The café had an amazing design and aesthetic to it and was filled with happy looking people and a few baristas all deep into conversation.

For anyone who knows me, I’m a BIG coffee lover so I walked over to further investigate what was going on, and hopefully get myself a nice espresso and into the enjoyable looking conversation.

As I approached I saw a nicely designed sign reading “Nespresso” and asked one of the sharply dressed baristas if I could kindly get a cup of java but I also asked what this was all about. Continue Reading