Want More Consulting Clients Avoid This Marketing Mistake


I spoke with a consultant the other day that had it all wrong.

It’s not his fault. Many people make the same mistake he did.

He was blown away when I told him that 95% of my clients spend very little on ‘marketing’. Many spend zero. The most effective forms of marketing don’t cost much.

And it was costing him dearly in lost clients and wasted money.

He shared with me all the different types of marketing he was trying. From Facebook Ads to Google Adwords, print advertisements, direct mail letters and postcards.

After spending several thousands of dollars and several months of his time – he had no new business or clients to show for it.

I told Barry that there was nothing wrong with the types of marketing he was doing. It was his approach.

He was shooting blindly at a target he couldn’t clearly see. When your approach to marketing is ‘spray and pray’ the results tend to be lackluster.

Instead, I suggested to Barry that he stop thinking about ‘marketing’ and start focusing on his ideal client.

I asked him:

1) Who is your ideal client?

2) What is it that they REALLY need/want that you can provide?

3) Where can you most effectively reach them?

4) What message will cause them to take the next step?

Barry and I then went through a process of breaking each one of these questions down.

Things started to become clear.

And that’s when the next problem for Barry came up. Continue Reading

4 Conditions You Must Meet for Clients to Buy


How do you know if a prospective consulting client is ready to buy?

Andrew Sobel, in his book Power Questions, outlines four conditions that must be met in order for someone to be ready to buy your services.

The four conditions are:

1. Is there a problem or opportunity? These are the only two things that matter. Without a clear problem in mind or an opportunity to achieve a great result, a prospect will never buy. You must ask the right questions to determine if a problem or opportunity exists.

The consulting business comes down to relationships. A buyer won’t engage you because of your website or if you have a cool company name.

2. Does the person “own” the problem? This comes down to determining if the person you are speaking with is the real buyer? Do they have decision making and buying authority? Is this an issue that they are tasked with fixing? If not, you’re not talking with the right person.

3. Does the buyer have a healthy dissatisfaction with the current offering or the rate of improvement? Its one thing for a buyer to say they have a problem, they must also feel enough pain or discomfort in their current situation where they will commit to making a change. Continue Reading

Consulting Certifications Don’t Matter


I received an email from a consultant the other day asking me what type of certification they should get to help them become a more successful consultant.

I replied, “you don’t need any certification to be successful in this business.”

Then just yesterday I spoke with another consultant in Australia that told me he was part of two different consulting associations. His business is struggling.

Let me first explain the value of a certification:

  • Learn systems and processes to work with clients.
  • Speak with other consultants just getting started.
  • Gain confidence in doing consulting work if you weren’t confident already.

Here’s the problem with certifications, they don’t help you GROW your business.

I’ve said before, as consultants, we’re not in the consulting business. We’re in the marketing business.

It doesn’t matter how many certifications or letters you have after your name. And it doesn’t matter how good you are at the work you do. If you don’t have enough clients, you don’t have a business.

The consultant that emailed me and the other one from Australia both had spent great time and money on getting certifications believing that would allow them to be successful.

In both cases it didn’t. Continue Reading

Marketing for Consultants Survey Results 2014

The results are in…

We asked over 15,000 consultants how they market their consulting services as we do each year.

We’ve compiled the results and created an infographic that shows you what type of marketing consultants are finding most effective and what is the most ineffective.

See the full infographic with survey results below: Continue Reading

4 Steps to Get More Consulting Clients


Getting more clients doesn’t have to be hard.

It takes persistence and some work, but if you’re serious about growing your business that shouldn’t be a problem.

You must be able to get their attention and then get them interested and engaged so you can have a conversation with them.

Here’s what you need to do…

Identify who your ideal clients are – the ones that you’ll enjoy working with the most, the most profitable and the clients you can deliver maximum value for.

Find out where they are – do they attend specific events, seminars, read specific publications.

Get in front of them – once you know where they are, now it’s time for you to get in front of them. That might mean setting up a meeting, writing an article, giving a talk or something else. But you need to get in front of them.

Create attention and interest – your positioning, value proposition and messaging need to be on point and relevant to your ideal client. You must be able to get their attention and then get them interested and engaged so you can have a conversation with them.

Consultants that work through that process see significant results. The challenge many people face is that they don’t do this.

They often know they should, or have other ideas of what they should do, and they put it off, for one reason or another. Continue Reading

Do Consultants Really Need to Specialize?


This is a conversation I have with consultants I coach all the time.

It’s a topic I’ve written and talked about on several occasions.

Positioning yourself as a specialist doesn’t put you in a corner. That’s a concern I hear all the time and it’s off the mark.

And it’s one of the biggest areas of misunderstanding for consultants.

The question I get is “do I need to specialize?”

My answer is YES, however, there’s more to it than that…

The Goal of Specialization

If your goal is to land more clients and you’re getting started in the consulting business, than yes, specialization will help you.

Why? Because once you’ve decided who your ideal clients are, what industry they are in and in what way you will help them – your marketing becomes more focused.

If you’re new to this business, or simply want to get more clients you need to market your services.

That means you must be clear on who to target your message to.

Let’s look at two examples…

In the first, a consultant wants to get clients. They don’t know who their ideal clients are and they haven’t decided what service offerings to focus on. They go do some networking. They try to get some speaking opportunities or write some blog posts.

In the second example, a consultant decides they will use their experience in online marketing to position themselves as an online marketing consultant. They will help companies to increase their online sales. Their ideal clients are e-commerce businesses. They write articles for e-commerce publications and speak at their associations. They go to events related to that topic.

Now, which consultant do you believe will see greater success?

Which will spend less money trying to reach their ideal clients? Continue Reading

5 Ways to Get More Consulting Clients and Stay Top of Mind


When you don’t turn that prospect into a client right away, what do you do?

One of the most common reasons consultants fail to land more clients is because they lack a clear follow up plan and strategy.

The incorrect assumption people have is that if you don’t win a client early in the relationship the chances of winning them decrease over time (as shown in the diagram below from a study by Marketo).


The truth however is the exact opposite (as seen below). The longer you nurture a relationship and stay top of mind with your ideal clients, the greater the chance you’ll have to win them as a client at some point. It might take, weeks, months or years. Continue Reading

Asking for Referrals: How It’s Really Done


Most consultants misunderstand the referral process.

You see, there are two kinds of referrals:

a) The ones you initiate;

b) The ones that come to you.

The vast majority of people think about referrals as the ones that come to you.

That’s fine if you’re business is well-established, you have a pipeline full of business and a busy schedule. If a referral comes to you and it’s a good fit, you accept it and follow it through.

However, if you’re just getting started or don’t have enough clients it’s unlikely you’ll be getting referrals that simply come to you.

If you want more clients you can’t sit back and wait for referrals to come to you.

It’s up to you to initiate those referrals.

How can you do that?

Here’s the secret sauce…

Make a list of all your friends and colleagues. Your past employers, clients and contacts.

Now one-by-one call them up and ask them for a referral. Continue Reading

Get More Clients By Getting the Word Out


Would you like to get more consulting clients?

How about more people mentioning your name?

If you sit back and wait for the phone to ring you’ll be waiting a long time.

Would your business be better off if people were calling you and telling you that they heard about you from someone else or that they were referred to you?

If you said “yes” to anyone of these, you need to step up your game and start telling more people about what you do.

From a young age many of us are told not to ‘promote’ ourselves. In many cultures, this is frowned upon.

There’s a Japanese proverb Deru kugi wa utareru which is the English equivalent of “The nail that sticks out gets hammered down.”

If you want to succeed in the consulting business you need to be “the nail that sticks out”. And I can assure you there’s no hammer coming.

Start promoting…

The best place to start promoting what you do is with all your family, friends and colleagues.

Most consultants don’t take the time to connect with all of their contacts and let them know what they are doing.

Friends and family often think you’re a ‘consultant’ or a ‘business owner’. That doesn’t help you attract clients.

You need to have a conversation with every contact you have to let them know what you do. Continue Reading

Become a Standout Consultant

I just finished watching Seth Godin walk off stage.

He gave a great presentation.

Parts of it I’d seen before yet it’s always great to see him speak in person.

One of the lessons he shared that stood out in my mind isn’t a new one. In fact, he wrote about it in his 2011 book “We Are All Weird.”

It’s an important concept and one that continues to become more and more relevant with each year.

I believe it’s especially important that consultants take notice of it.

As the above chart shows (via 27gen.com), back in 1955 the vast majority of people would be considered ‘Normal’.

This includes your ideal clients and most buyers of consulting services. If you were marketing back then you would focus your efforts on this great ‘normal’ majority.

As time went on the bell curve start to flatten out and by 1975 the ‘normal’ majority was seeing a significant decrease. As Seth Godin put it, there were more “WEIRD” people.


This increase of smaller market segments made marketing to each segment a lot more attractive. The market was growing…and still is.

By 2011, the original ‘normal’ group has gone from majority to minority or close to it. Marketing is no longer about muscle and forcing messages on people. Continue Reading