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

How to Get Past Your Failures and Become a Great Success

Get-Past-Failures-to-Success

Revlon, GE, FedEx, Microsoft all share something you may not know…

Put any excuses that are holding you back aside. They’re not doing you any good.

While they are all successful companies, they also were all started during a recession.

Proof that great companies can arise from times of hardship.

Maybe your last business didn’t succeed or you were fired from your job.

It doesn’t matter.

Stop feeling sorry for yourself.

If you hang on to the past too long it begins to dictate your future.

Clients care much less about your past position or failed business than they do about what you’re doing now.

Put any excuses that are holding you back aside. They’re not doing you any good.

Identify who your ideal clients are.

Figure out how to get in front of them.

How to show them that you are an authority and expert in your area. Continue Reading

Are You Losing Clients Because of This Technology?

Technology

You can use all the technology in the world yet it can’t replace the power of meeting with your ideal clients face-to-face.

I’ve heard from many consultants, “why would I get on an airplane or drive 100 miles to meet with a prospective client when I can just email them or give them a call?”

What matters is the result. If spending $600 leads to landing a $60,000 project who cares about the cost of the ticket.

Because it raises your chance of winning their business, that’s why!

I know it’s easy to sit behind a keyboard or tap out a message on your phone. It’s comfortable and convenient. It’s what most people do.

None of that replaces a face-to-face meeting.

Business is still and always will be about relationships. People want to work with you because they like you. Because they trust you. And because they believe that you can provide value and results.

Two scenarios:

a) You meet someone at an event and have a conversation with them
b) Someone sends you an email trying to initiate a conversation

Now, which scenario results in greater trust between the two people involved?

That’s right, without a doubt it’s the first one.

If it’s so clear that meeting your ideal client face-to-face is so much more effective why don’t more people do it? Continue Reading