2 Time-Tested Keys to Becoming a Successful Consultant

I have never considered the option of failure in anything I’ve done.

Whatever I have set my mind to, and really wanted, I have achieved.

I remember one day back in university I faced an interesting challenge. I had enrolled in the Asian Studies Program. Unfortunately, many of the required courses were as dry as a camel’s tongue after crossing the Sahara Desert without water.

Many consultants believe that just because they can consult they will be successful. The reality is that your ability to consult doesn’t mean you will be a successful consultant.

To graduate, we had to take specific courses according to a set curriculum. Trouble was, I did not want to take them. Instead, I wanted to learn about business, law, and marketing and then combine that knowledge with opportunities in Asia.

Therefore, I did what any persistent, hardheaded student would do – I went straight to the Dean’s office.

“This is a great program,” I said. “But wouldn’t it serve the students better if the program gave them the opportunity to apply their passion for particular courses that would enable them to put what they learn into practice in the real world?”

The Dean looked at me bewildered. We talked some more, and finally he said, “Well, write a letter about why you want to change the program so you can take other courses, and I will review your request with our committee.”

So that’s what I did. The rest is history, but I got what I wanted and ended up taking classes in international law, marketing, and economics to support what I was learning, and the Asian Business Studies Program was born.

“Michael, what does this have to do with consulting?” you may wonder.

Success

Your success as a consultant is not just about what you know; it’s not even just what you do… no, your success is dictated by doing the right things required to get the results you want.

Here’s an example…

Many consultants believe that just because they can consult they will be successful. The reality is that your ability to consult doesn’t mean you will be a successful consultant.

To become a successful consultant requires some key attributes: the ability to provide value to your clients, deliver results, and ensure a strong ROI. It also requires you have a consistent way to attract corporate and business clients.

I’m going to break down each of these attributes to fast-forward your chances of getting clients:

1. Serve Your Client at the Highest Level

When it comes to being a successful consultant, you must be able to deliver real value and results for your clients.

If you lack that experience, go out and get it. Do whatever you need to (intern, take free or discounted projects, work for a company) to develop true expertise.

Once you have it, here are a few key observations to consider:

It’s Not About You

Consultants often forget why consumers want to buy something. It’s not because you have a great model, a wonderful methodology, a set of great slides, or sharp attire.

Identifying how your client perceives success and how he can achieve it by creating value is critical, because it allows you to focus on how to create value for him and ensure he achieves his targets.

No, buyers will engage with you if they believe you can truly help them. To do that, you must speak the buyer’s language.

Outputs vs. Inputs

Far too many consultants speak to buyers about Inputs. The things they will do for them. The deliverables, the work that goes into the project.

Sure, buyers want to know what you will DO for them. But far more important is, what RESULT and OUTCOME you will create for them. Those are Outputs.

Focus on the outputs, not the inputs.

Commitment to Results

It’s also important that you’re focused on delivering results. Sure, you can do many things for your clients, but ultimately, what they want is value and results.

Clients will remember how you helped them, what problem you solved for them, the revenue you created for them. Not the details of how you did it.

Identifying how your client perceives success and how he can achieve it by creating value is critical, because it allows you to focus on how to create value for him and ensure he achieves his targets.

Sharpen Your Skills

To deliver the highest level of value for your clients you must work constantly at honing your craft – sharpening the skills that mean the difference between failure and success. The keyword is initiative; think out of the box, as I did at university, and bring innovative thinking and dynamism to your interactions with your client

The more knowledgeable you are, and the more persistent you are in identifying your client’s needs and working on them, the more successful you and your client will be.

Great consultants invest in themselves and their business to stay at the top of their game. If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse.

Some people believe you can stay where you are. The problem with that idea is that it relies on the market and the competition staying exactly where they are.

That is rarely, if ever, the case: the market and the competition are changing continuously, and if your competition gets ahead of the game, even slightly, and you’re staying where you are, then it could be game, set, and match – with you playing ball boy.

Avoid complacency.

Knowledge Isn’t Enough

Studying and knowing what to do is not enough. The most successful consultants practice their craft.

They have first-hand experience. They’ve done it before, and create opportunities to test what they’ve learned. That’s called initiative. You can have all the knowledge and information in the world, and although knowledge may offer great potential, if you don’t take active steps to implement what you know, your knowledge will be worthless.

Focus on action and implementation.

2. Attract High Value Clients

As the recent Consulting Fees Study we published shows, there are plenty of consultants who struggle.

Can they consult? Probably. Can they add value for their clients? That isn’t enough. In order to succeed, you must be able to attract ideal clients consistently.

To achieve this, start by focusing on these areas:

Know Your Ideal Client

The effectiveness of your marketing will depend largely on the level of clarity you have on your ideal client.

The more clarity you have, the more efficient and effective your marketing strategy will become.

Once you know who your ideal clients are and where to find and reach them, you can develop your Magnetic Message.

You’ll want to consider your clients’:

  • Industry
  • Location
  • Title
  • Company Size
  • Specialization
  • Market potential
  • And other criteria

Know How to Reach Them

Once you’ve identified who your ideal clients are, you can find and reach them.

This is why our clients find the Ideal Client Discovery Process to be so beneficial. Because having real clarity on the ideal client makes it much easier to find them (the exact company and decision maker) you want to target.

Develop Your Message

Once you know who your ideal clients are and where to find and reach them, you can develop your Magnetic Message.

This is the core message you will use in all your outreach and marketing on your website and LinkedIn profile.

The sole purpose of this message is to grab the attention and interest of your ideal clients. Get them to raise their hands and say, “I’d like to speak with you.”

Marketing and Outreach

Once you have a compelling message that resonates with your ideal client you will need an efficient way to put that message in front of them.

We help our clients develop a Marketing Engine that puts them in front of ideal clients consistently. This engine leverages automation, so you have a marketing system in place that continues to work for you all the time.

Whether you’re busy delivering on client projects or want to take some time off with loved ones, once your own Marketing Engine is in place, it will continue to put your Magnetic Message and outreach materials in front of your ideal clients until they respond.

Many marketing tactics are available these days. Some work, some don’t, but what is most important is that you’re using the right tactic, strategy, and approach that will align and resonate with your ideal clients.

Beat the Rollercoaster

The key to a successful consulting business is a full pipeline. That’s why marketing is so important.

When you have an effective marketing system and plan in place, you will always have new leads and opportunities coming your way.

You will be able to beat the rollercoaster. While there will be months when there is work and income, there will be others without either, which is when self-doubt and failure can take their toll.

Instead, when your marketing is working for you, and you’re consistent with it, you will go from famine to feast. Your business will continue to grow as your confidence and enjoyment of the business and new levels of success and income grow.

Ready for Success?

If you’re committed to success and want to grow your consulting business you may qualify for the Accelerator Coaching Program.

This program is for people who can confidently deliver results for their clients, who have years of experience in their area of expertise and want to learn how to attract more clients, earn higher fees and scale their consulting business. If you’re ready to grow and want to enjoy greater success and income, get in touch and let’s talk.

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