5 Reasons High Consulting Fees Don’t Lose Business

High-Consulting-Fees

If you’ve ever entered into a conversation with your ideal buyer only to have your proposal declined because your fees were too high, I feel for you.

Unfortunately, it’s not your buyers problem, it’s yours.

There are many other reasons your proposal may be declined and the buyer will tell you your fees are too high.

If you’ve followed the right steps your proposal shouldn’t be a surprise to your buyer, it should be a welcomed invitation to start working together.

Here are the most common reasons consultants lose business when a buyer thinks the fee is too high…

  1. You failed to ask about the buyer’s budget. If you had, and if your buyer stated a budget that was unrealistic you could and should have addressed right then and there.
  2. You haven’t clearly explained and communicated the ROI that will be created as a result of the project. Your buyer likely sees your fee as an expense, not an investment.
  3. Your relationship with the buyer is weak. Ultimately buyers want to hire people they like and trust. If you haven’t developed the relationship to that level, it’s unlikely you’ll win their business.
  4. Your proposal attempted to sell your services, when it should summarize what you and the buyer have already agreed upon. Remember, the proposal doesn’t win you the business, the business should have already been won and the proposal is what you use to make it official and get things started.
  5. You mistook the buyer for an ideal buyer. Meaning that they never had the intention to actually buy, or at least not anytime soon. They simply wanted to collect information and you failed to ask the right questions upfront to confirm this.

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Attracting C-Suite and Corporate Buyers

C-Suite-Peeps

C-Suite, as in C-Suite executives (CEO, CFO, CTO, etc) aren’t the most responsive to cold calls and general advertisements.

When a C-Suite exec has a problem they are looking to solve or to get help from someone to lead a new initiative they look for experts.

Once you have the right strategy setup however, your phone can start ringing, your email box filling with inquiries from C-Suite and other ideal buyers that are interested in hiring you.

They’ll pick up the phone and call their own contacts, people they trust, and ask for a recommendation.

They’ll also think about who they know or have seen that they believe is an expert in the area they are looking for help in.

Now, who do you think their contacts will recommend? Of course, they’ll suggest someone they know personally – that’s IF they have a personal recommendation. More often, they’ll suggest contacting someone they have heard about or seen.

That means 2 out of 3 opportunities are created by being visible in the marketplace. Continue Reading

4 Steps to Get More Consulting Clients

Steps-To-Get-More-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

Taking Time Off Is a Business Priority

Taking-Time-Off

The idea that the more you work the more successful you’ll be is absurd.

It’s like the person that earns $250,000 a year and has no savings or investments. Ridiculous at best.

Working flat out and delaying holidays and breaks doesn’t help your business, it hurts it.

Some of the most successful consultants I’ve worked with take off at least 12 weeks for holidays each year.

You don’t have to match that. Just get started…

If you’ve been putting off taking your family or spouse on a holiday, plan it, put it on your calendar and do it.

It doesn’t have to be a round-the-world trip. It can be as simple as booking a hotel in your own city, arranging a half day off to take your kids for a hike, or treat yourself at the spa.

Running on all engines and working flat out can only last so long. Your mind, body and soul need time to rest.

Time to re-energize.

Some of your most creative and powerful ideas will come to you when you’re not working.

The most common objection I hear is, “But Michael, I just need to make an extra $15,000 and then I’ll take my family on a trip.” Continue Reading

How to Get Paid on Time

Get-Paid-First

The graveyard is filled with businesses that had cash flow problems.

If you’d like to avoid ending up with the same fate, make sure you’re not committing this classic consulting sin.

The reason most consultants don’t do this is because they are too scared to ask their clients.

Consultants ask me all the time, “my client was supposed to pay me a week ago, and they haven’t what should I do?”

That “one week” becomes two, sometimes three, six or more…

There’s a simple way to make sure this doesn’t happen to you – get paid up front.

That’s right; tell your client that you take payment at the outset of the project.

If you can’t collect 100% of the payment at the start, take no less than 50% (or 1/3 paid out evenly over the project at minimum).

The idea here is that you shouldn’t be doing work unless you’ve been paid for it. Continue Reading

Do Consultants Really Need to Specialize?

Choosing-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

Shortchanging Yourself on the Road to Success

Shortchanging-Yourself

Too often consultants make poor decisions when it comes to growing their business and becoming more successful.

Society pounds us with sayings like “every dollar counts.”

Your decision should always be based on value. What is going to help you to get where you want to go as quickly and effectively as possible.

And it’s true, it does.

Yet this saying is dangerous when it comes to investing in your personal development, business and success.

This saying pushes us to the lowest dollar option. To the cheaper solution.

Let’s say you’re thinking of improving your skills in a specific area this year. You find two programs that can help you. One is for $500 and the other is for $750.

That’s a $250 difference. Does it matter?

It shouldn’t! Your decision shouldn’t come down to a difference of $250, or even $500 or $1000.

Your decision should always be based on value. What is going to help you to get where you want to go as quickly and effectively as possible. Continue Reading

Bad Clients Don’t Get Better

Bad-Consulting-Clients

If you’re dealing with a prospect that is giving you the run around it’s unlikely that they’ll ever become a client. So don’t waste your time on them.

Don’t spend your time thinking that bad clients or prospects are suddenly going to get better.

The tell-tale signs of this include:

  • They say they are too busy and that you should check back in a few months
  • They want to think about how to present the idea of hiring you to their board
  • They ask for a proposal without wanting to meet you first
  • They tell you they’ll call you back on a certain day or reply to your email and never do.

Am I suggesting that any prospect that shows the above signs will never become a client? No. What I’m suggesting is that you figure out as quickly as possible whether or not a prospect is actually serious about doing business with you.

If you see signs that they are, take immediate action to move things forward and setup a meeting with them.

If you’re getting the run around and feeling like things are going nowhere, it might be best to move on to the next. Continue Reading

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

Stay-on-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).

image-1

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

When to Offer Consulting Services for Free aka. Pro Bono

Consulting-for-Free

Don’t shoot the messenger though let me tell you, you can and sometimes should offer your consulting services for free, also known as pro bono.

The singular goal when it comes to your marketing in the early days is to get noticed.

That’s right. It’s not for everyone and should be avoided by most consultants.

Yet there is a time when offering your services for free not only makes sense, it can pay big dividends.

“I’m not offering anything for free” yells the consultant in the back.

I hear you. In fact, I’ve written many times that you shouldn’t do work for free.

However, there is a specific time when it’s a good idea.

And that time is when you’re just getting started.

Multiple Directions

When you’ve just launched your business, in addition to going after paid projects, you should also consider throwing some pro bono work into the mix.

The reason is simple. The singular goal when it comes to your marketing in the early days is to get noticed.

If your ideal clients don’t know you exist, they can’t hire you.

Strategic Offers

Think about approaching: Continue Reading