5 Reasons to Work with Small Clients and Projects

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Not all clients are the same. They certainly aren’t all worth the same to your business.

Yet consultants often pay little attention to this truth.

In the consulting business there are two core approaches to growth:

1) Focus on volume – where you take on as many projects as you can. The more projects the more income. To service those projects you need more staff, resources and infrastructure. Revenues can be high. Margins lower. This model often uses hourly billing or lower cost projects.

2) Focus on value – you work with fewer clients. Each project you take on is worth considerably more. Revenues may not be as high as the volume approach yet margins are much higher. Many consultants including myself have scaled our businesses this way above $500k and even $1M+.

The volume approach is the route the large consulting firms take. They bill high hourly fees and constantly need competent staff to execute and work with clients, who they pay a lower hourly rate to.

The value approach is chosen by most independent consultants and small firms. This has always been the approach I’ve used and one I’ve become an expert at helping others create as well.

Mix and Match?

Some consultants haven’t thought this through however. They run a small firm or are working solo, yet they operate their consulting business more like a volume based one.

They experience overwhelm, working long hours, lower profitability and have trouble figuring out what they are doing wrong. Why the success they want so badly isn’t coming their way.

The fastest way to fix this is to switch your approach to one focused on value. Continue Reading

The 8% Secret to Getting More Clients

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Each morning my alarm goes off at 6am.

By 6:30 I’m jumping up and down and moving side to side at my strength and fitness class.

After being in Europe for two weeks on vacation with my family I noticed a change at my class when I returned.

There were far fewer people than before.

In fact, one of the members said to the instructor “I guess New Year’s resolutions have worn off”.

The instructor replied “Yeah, too bad for those people.”

I laughed to myself and realized how true this was. I’ve seen data online (however accurate it may be) that only 8% of New Year’s resolutions are successful.

Put another way 92% of the goals people set never become reality!

I’ve seen it happen each year.

The gym gets packed with people in January and by mid-February or March it’s thinned out again.

Then just before summer people flood in again hoping to get their bodies in shape before they parade their glowing contours on the beach.

Easy and Hard

Showing up at the gym is easy.

Coming back the following week is easy.

Continuing to make it a habit week in and week out, month in and month out, year in and year out is WHAT counts. Continue Reading

Achieving Your Goals: A Simple 4 Step System

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At this time of year when the momentum of the New Year is still fresh many of us (especially all you motivated readers of this blog!) have set up some big and exciting personal and business goals that we’re working towards.

We change, our lives change, priorities shift and some of our goals get accomplished. Therefore continuous review is a good thing to really make sure you’re on point!

Goal setting is a popular topic and an infinite conversation, one that we’ve talked about many times before at this blog. The reason is obvious, goals are quite easy to talk about and set but the whole process from start to finish can get kind of tricky, therefore making our goals hard to accomplish.

Today I wanted to share with you a 4 step system that I’ve been using for the last couple of years to achieve the goals I set for myself.

1. Writing Down and Clarifying a Few Important Goals

4-Step-Consulting-SystemI didn’t used to write my goals down. I would choose a couple of goals that I wanted to achieve and then just work towards them in my mind. This style got a bit messy as I never really had a chance to clarify my goals using the power of writing.

It’s not that I didn’t achieve any of them, because I did, it just wasn’t nearly as effective and systematized as it is now that I write them down and review them regularly.

So what I do is I choose one or two important goals in the categories of health, income, business, personal development, travel, and relationships and write them down in my journal.

I try to only focus on one to two because I feel that setting more starts to get a bit confusing and I like to stay laser focused on a few goals that will have massive impact on my life.

2. Continuously Checking In and Reviewing Your Goals

After writing your goals down and organizing them into some key categories it’s good to keep checking in as often as you feel necessary to make sure you’re on track and also adjust where needed.

For me, I review and adjust often and a really great time to do this is during my morning success ritual that I shared with you all recently.

This step is crucial because as you keep working towards these goals it’s good to look at them and know how they are going, make sure you’re still on track, and also leave room to change them a bit where needed.

Remember shifting goals is not a bad thing and it shouldn’t be looked at in a negative way. We change, our lives change, priorities shift and some of our goals get accomplished. Therefore continuous review is a good thing to really make sure you’re on point! Continue Reading

How to Become More Productive By Doing Less

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I recently posted this on my Facebook page:

“Clarity comes from subtraction not addition. In my business and for so many of my clients the greatest growth has come from stripping away underperforming offers and getting focused on more powerful ones rather than adding more features or products which almost always complicate things.”

Consultants often think they need to add new services, new offerings, new products in order to succeed. The opposite is often true.

One day later on a group call with my coaching clients I went deeper on this topic. Many people found the concept very powerful and so I wanted to share it with you too.

You see, when I look at the growth my businesses have achieved over the years, the greatest growth has come as the result of subtraction, not addition.

Consultants often think they need to add new services, new offerings, new products in order to succeed. The opposite is often true.

Instead Try This…

Instead of adding more and more, I would encourage you to look at aiming for less.

Instead of ‘creating’ more, focus on one. The one core offering…

The one that your ideal buyers want most.

The one that will open the most doors to new conversations with buyers.

The one that is most profitable.

The one that you can leverage to achieve greater revenues without overwhelm.

It doesn’t have to be only ONE. But you’re looking for the ‘few’ activities that make the greatest impact.

Here’s a great way to think about this courtesy of Darren Hardy:

“We’ve all heard about the Pareto Principle, the 80/20 rule that 20 percent of your activity produces 80 percent of your income. Simply put, this means you should spend 80 percent of your time on the 20 percent of your activities responsible for driving your income. Figure out what your 80 percent activities are, and stop doing those so you can focus more time on the 20 percent activities that make the real difference in your results and income.”

Take Inventory

Here’s how to approach this:

  1. Make a list of all your products and services.
  2. Rank them by the most successful and profitable.
  3. Look at how much time you’re spending on each of them.
  4. Then commit to focusing on the few that have the biggest impact on your business.
  5. Stop working on, or completely remove the ones that are simply hanging around and not providing real value.

This approach is so powerful it helped Chris Garrett go from working 7 days a week down to just 3 while seeing no decline in income.

The clarity of a message is drowned out when too many other messages surround it.

Marketing Concept

This same concept applies to your marketing. If you’re trying to get your ideal buyer’s attention by communicating 10 different strengths that you have you’ll have little success.

Why? Continue Reading

How I Made Over $596,539 in 12 Months

Growing-a-Consulting-Business-Half-Million

In 2014 one of my businesses generated over $596,536. The actual amount is significantly higher as this figure doesn’t include speaking fees and other client payments received by bank transfer.

What’s important to remember is that a higher priced offer must provide exceptional value. If it doesn’t, the success of it won’t last long.

This was a significant increase from the previous year and the result of some specific actions that I’d like to share with you today.

Stripe
(Screenshot from our Stripe processing account)
 

PayPal
Screenshot from the Consulting Success Paypal account)
 

Higher Valued Offers

We introduced 2 new higher valued offers. Every time we sign a deal for one of these offers we generate between $5000 and $25000.

What’s important to remember is that a higher priced offer must provide exceptional value. If it doesn’t, the success of it won’t last long.

Finding a Mentor

I’ve worked with my own coaches and mentors for years. 2014 was no different. I worked with several mentors and coaches to help me get the most out of the business and ramp up growth for our company quickly.

Without the right systems in place you’ll drift wherever the wind takes you.

Sure, my team and I could have tried to figure out the right systems and processes ourselves and I’m sure we would have. But I rather invest in my business by learning from the best so that we can see results quickly. Our investment became a positive ROI in the first month.

Whatever area you’re looking to improve on in your life I’d encourage you to find a coach or mentor that can help you get there faster and with fewer mistakes than you would by yourself. Continue Reading

How to Turn IDEAS Into RESULTS Fast

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Damien Wilpitz is like many of the consultants I work with.

He’s smart, great at what he does, dedicated, and committed to getting results.

And yet he faced a common challenge – how to attract more clients for his business.

Within a short 8 week period Damien went from having a lot of IDEAS on how to market his business to clarity and RESULTS.

He landed 3 new client projects worth over $30,000. The best part? He’s just getting started. In his words “I anticipate making so much more throughout the year.”

Damien took action and now is on track to significantly grow his business. All good, right? Well, he did have one regret…

When Damien posted a recommendation on my LinkedIn profile ONE sentence really caught my attention.

He said “…stop wasting time, like I did. I could’ve made more money a lot earlier in my venture. So don’t make my mistake.”

His mistake? As you’ll see in Damien’s writing below, getting coaching and help to grow his business was instrumental.

Like Damien I have my own coaches that help me stay at the top of my game.

If you’re looking to attract more clients and learn a proven system and process to do it consistently get in touch here: Marketing for Consultants Program

Here’s what Damien said:

“If you’re a consultant and starting your own practice, struggling to get more clients and increase your revenue, or just finding the mental courage or know how, then I highly recommend you connect with Michael at Consulting Success.

I’ve been following Michael’s amazing Consulting Success program for a couple years now. I first started applying his free content and instantly saw results.

I then immediately purchased the Consulting Success System which had propelled me into being considered a viable and reputable consultant in my field. It was such a boost to my confidence which translated into great leads and contracts.

I saw so much success, I decided to level up again by investing in the 8 week coaching program. I was able to land $30K in client contracts which easily was more than my investment. I anticipate making so much more throughout the year with the tools that I invested in.

It’s a no brainer…if you’ve seen and experienced results after applying any of the Consulting Success practices from his articles or products, then hire Michael as a coach and stop wasting time, like I did. I could’ve made more money a lot earlier in my venture. So don’t make my mistake.

If you’d like to have a dialog about my experience, please feel free to reach out to me. I’d be more than happy to share.”
– Damien Wilpitz, Laboratory Research Consultant
Experimental Designs Consulting, Inc.

Information about coaching to improve your marketing and attracting more clients available here.

4 Ways to Handle Buyer Reference Requests

Buyer-Reference-Requests

A consultant was looking for help to attract more ideal clients and wanted to join my coaching program the other day.

We got on the phone and had a conversation to decide whether the program would be the right fit for them.

So if someone wants to ‘just call up a few of your clients’ I say “No” and explain why.

They were excited and wanted to move ahead.

A couple of hours later I got an email from a former coaching client that this consultant had reached out to them.

My former client shared with the eager consultant how joining my coaching program was “one of the best investments I’ve made in my life” – his words, not mine.

This got me thinking however…

How do you handle when a buyer wants references before making a buying decision?

I’ll share with you how I handle this…

1. My Duty, Not Theirs

I’ll first tell you that I don’t do this. If a buyer wants me to connect them with a current or former client I don’t – except in one case (I’ll explain in a minute). You see, it’s my job to communicate the value of working together to the buyer. Not my clients. I have great admiration and respect for my clients. I value their time and the last thing they need is to be getting calls from inquisitive folks. So if someone wants to ‘just call up a few of your clients’ I say “No” and explain why.

The only time I suggest that you make an exception, and I’ve done this in a few cases, is if the buyer is 99.99% ready to move forward. The only thing holding them back is speaking to a live person about their experience.

In that case, I’ll email the client and ask their permission with no obligations. I’ve never had a client say no. Most are delighted to share their experiences. Once they’ve given the okay I will introduce both parties by email so they can have a conversation. Every time I’ve done this and the buyer speaks with one of my clients they have signed up and became a client.

2. Be Prepared

An effective way to remove the need for a reference call is to have plenty of case studies, interviews and testimonials. For example, before I get on a call with a consultant to determine if they would be a good fit for the coaching program they receive an email. In that email they get:

  • Several in-depth audio interviews where they can hear about the real experiences others have had in the coaching program
  • A very long list of results and testimonials from consultants. These are all REAL people that with a quick search of their name or company you can find and confirm.
  • A link to my LinkedIn profile (in case we aren’t connected) where they can see not only my full background and experience, more importantly they get a long list of recommendations from clients.

We’ve had great success with this ‘pre-call package’. You can do something similar in your business. Continue Reading

The Optimal Landing Page for Consultants

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I was recently asked “what does an ideal landing page look like for someone offering consulting services?” It’s a great question.  For over 15 years I’ve been a consultant and built successful consulting companies. I’ve also co-founded several online businesses. So this is a topic I’m familiar with and passionate about. Let’s get right into it. Here’s what you need to know about creating a landing page if you’re a consultant marketing your services.

The relationship the buyer and consultant will create and have is critical. For that reason, the buyer of consulting services will look to quickly gain a sense of what it will be like to work with you as soon as they land on your page.

You Are the Product

As marketers when we create a landing page to drive leads or promote our product we work hard to position it in a way that it grabs the attention and interest of the buyer. That makes sense because the buyer (user) is most interested in whether or not the product will help them overcome the challenge they’re facing? Will it help them get closer to the result they are after? And are the benefits of using the product clear and believable?

When you’re offering consulting services, YOU are the product. The user, in this case the buyer of consulting services, asks slightly different questions. Questions your landing page must answer in order for it to be successful.

These questions include:

  • Who is the person or company offering these services?
  • Do they have the expertise to help me solve my problem or reach the result I’m after?
  • Put another way; are they a specialist and expert?
  • Do they have a track-record of success and results?
  • What makes them better than any other person or company in this industry?

These questions are driven by the nature of the buying process in consulting. Consulting services involve human interaction. They are unlike signing up for an online service or buying herbal supplements. When a buyer hires a consultant they know they’ll be interacting with them on a regular basis.

The relationship the buyer and consultant will create and have is critical. For that reason, the buyer of consulting services will look to quickly gain a sense of what it will be like to work with you as soon as they land on your page.

In just a few moments I’ll share with you the specific elements to include on your landing page to achieve optimal results. First, let’s talk about your personality. Continue Reading

How to Increase Your Consulting Fees By Communicating Greater Value

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Below is my chapter from the bestselling book Creating Business Growth. Within 1 day of publication Creating Business Growth became an Amazon Bestseller in 8 countries.

The fastest way to grow your business is to increase your prices. (<< Click to ReTweet This) This is hands down the most direct and effective way to grow your revenues.

No longer is the conversation centered around “Buy this because it’s your only choice.” It becomes, “which option would be best for you?” That’s a simple yet powerful difference.

To increase your prices and make more money than ever before, your focus must be on providing value.

And the more value you deliver, the more you can charge.

Once you adopt this approach, your revenue and income can skyrocket. Many of my clients have doubled and even tripled their revenues in months, not years, as a direct result of increasing their prices.

Tip #1-It’s Not About YOU

Okay, we’ve established that to charge more you need to provide greater value. So how do you do that?

First, you need to learn how to demonstrate and communicate the value you are delivering. The most successful business owners do so by following the approach below:

  1. They start by listening. To successfully communicate the value you deliver, you’ll need to discover your buyers’ biggest problems and the desired results they hope to achieve in choosing your product or service.
  1. They ask the right questions. To learn exactly what your buyer cares about most, you should ask as many questions as you can to discover the business impact caused by the problem they are experiencing. Use these questions to guide the conversation, and you will receive valuable information that helps you better communicate the value you are delivering. For example:
  • What is the main area you’d like to improve in your business/life?
  • What is its current impact on your business/life?
  • How long have you been dealing with it?
  • Why have you decided to deal with it now?
  • Tell me more about your current situation (income/weight/health/happiness/morale, etc.) and how you’d like it to change?
  • What are the greatest challenges holding you back from achieving your goals?
  • What is the value of one new project to your business, and how much will dealing with this problem help you achieve stronger business growth?
  1. They determine real value. Once you’ve asked lots of good questions and have plenty of information, you’ll be able to determine the real value of your offering to the buyer. If your buyer wants to attract more clients, and one new client is worth $35,000, that’s critical information to know, and I’ll show you how to use it shortly.
  1. They understand the cost of standing still. When it comes to communicating the value you provide to clients, it’s easy to overlook the cost of staying where they are. In your buyer’s case, not only do they stand to gain from the benefits they’ll receive from buying your product or service; they’re also losing money every day, week, and month that they don’t change their situation and solve the problem they have. If your buyer wants better health, every day they don’t improve their health increases their risk of additional health problems. If they want to attract more clients and increase their revenue, every day they don’t take action constitutes lost revenue for them. If they are currently earning $20k a month and want to increase that to $50k a month, they are losing the difference with each and every month that goes by without action.
  1. They think and speak in terms of value, not cost. As you begin to understand the true value you are providing, make sure it’s in line with your pricing; i.e. if your product or service will save your buyer $12k (the value), you’ll have a hard time selling your solution for $41k.

On the other hand, if your offering produces $250k in value for your buyer, charging $41k is right on the mark. Later, I’ll share how to set your pricing to ensure the right pricing-to-return-on-investment ratio for buyers. Continue Reading

21 Productivity Tips for Consultants

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Do you want to become more productive? Who doesn’t, right?

The idea of getting more done in less time is what so many of us strive for. In fact, there’s a huge industry and thousands of books written on how to become more productive. There is a problem with all of this however…

The problem my friend, is that learning how to become more productive has been made too complicated. The very act of following specific lists, keeping organized plans, charts, using special programs – makes being productive a job in and of itself.

So today I’d like to offer you 21 productivity tips that are easy to implement in your life. When I say easy that doesn’t mean change on your part isn’t required. It means they can be put into action right away and results that you can see instantly.

Picking up calls every time the phone rings doesn’t help you to be more productive.

1. Be Specific About Email Times

Most people open their email program every few seconds anticipating the next email. Worse yet others have notifications that go off on their phone or computers to notify them of new email. This may be one of the deadliest productivity killers. Don’t do this! Instead, have set times during the day that you check and respond to email. If that’s too big of a shift to make, start by closing your email program and only opening it between finishing and starting other priority tasks. If you’re only checking email once or twice a day a great tip is to setup an autoresponder that people will get that notifies them that you check email at certain times during the day and that you’ll respond then. The autoresponder isn’t critical and it’s more for your peace of mind then for the person that emails you. Who really can’t wait 4-5 hours to get a response?

2. Quit the Phone

I’m on client calls, coaching calls and sales calls making deals almost every day. I initiate those calls and they are scheduled in advance, sometimes many weeks in advance. I don’t pick up the phone. Why? Because it’s a disruption. It takes me away from my core work, my priority, the area I can add the greatest value in. If the person calling feels it’s such an emergency to get a hold of me they’ll call again, probably repeatedly. Seriously, how often is a phone call a real emergency? You may have heard of a technology called voicemail? It’s where people can leave you a message so you can return it later. Remember that? Use it! Picking up calls every time the phone rings doesn’t help you to be more productive.

3. Don’t Get Too Cuddly With Social Media

Like checking emails many people have an obsession with social media. They check their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (fill in other social media platform) several times throughout the day. Often they do this several times an hour. And what happens when you do this? You end up reading an article, watching a video, clicking around to other sites. Unless you’re taking a break these actions aren’t helping you. When you’re ‘working’ on social media be clear that the actions you’re taking are helping you to make a sale or grow your business.

4. Focused Not Unfriendly

I’ve written about How to Get Better at Saying No and this is a skill and decision that impacts your productivity. It’s not always easy to turn down an invitation from a friend to meet for coffee. But when you know you need to get other priorities done for your business saying ‘No’ is critical. You’ll find as you become more successful more people will want access to you, they’ll want to take your time. And that’s great. Be honored and appreciate that. However, you can’t allow what others want to take you away from your goals and the achievements that you’re working towards. I remember when I was launching one of my first businesses many friends would invite me to join them for drinks or to hang out. I said ‘No’ almost every time. Not because I didn’t value them as friends but because I had set my priorities. Did they think I was crazy? Probably. Did they say I wasn’t ‘social’? I’m sure. Did I care? Not really. Once you’re clear on what you want you need to keep your head down and focus on it. That doesn’t mean you don’t socialize or have fun. Just balance your priorities so you’re not being taken off course. Continue Reading