3 Ways to Compete with Larger Consulting Firms

Video Transcript

Hi. It’s Michael Zipursky from Consultingsuccess.com. Welcome back to the Consulting Corner, where consultants learn how to consistently attract their ideal clients and significantly increase their fees.

I received a question from a consultant who asked how they can compete with larger competitors and with larger consulting firms in their market.

Compete-With-Larger-Firms

This is a question that affects a lot of consultants – especially a lot of independent and smaller consulting firms where, in many markets and many industries, the vast majority of business is captured by larger firms.

However, there is always opportunity for you if you know how to compete. There’s always enough business for independent and smaller consulting firms – even when it appears that the large consulting firms have the market cornered.

Instead, focus on the areas in which you excel; these will be seen and appreciated by your ideal clients and buyers.

If you accept the idea that they already have all the business and that you should just give up or abandon your goals and cause, then they’ve won and you’ve failed.

And I don’t want you to fail.

So what I want to do is offer you three tips – three ideas to shift your thinking into seeing how you can actually compete and win business away from larger consulting firms and show you how many consultants have been able to do this successfully.

1. Focus on Your Strengths

The first thing to do is to focus on your strengths. There’s no point trying to compensate for your weaknesses because you can’t fix your weaknesses quickly. Instead, focus on the areas in which you excel; these will be seen and appreciated by your ideal clients and buyers.

2. The Speed Advantage 

The second thing I want you to consider, is that as a smaller consulting firm or independent consultant, you can move much faster than a larger consulting firm can.  You can make decisions quicker, you can take action, and you can move your schedule and be more flexible. That’s an advantage. Make sure that you communicate it.

3. You Care More

Which leads me to my third point: because you are a smaller consulting firm or independent consultant, you care more about winning larger clients. At a larger consulting firm, winning a project – in the scheme of their whole business, one client isn’t going to be a big deal because they have so many other clients.

You want to take all of these advantages and make sure that you communicate them not only in your conversations, but on your website, in your marketing materials, on your LinkedIn profile…everywhere.

As a smaller entity, you care more because winning that business from that buyer equates to a significant part of your business. You don’t work with as many clients, and because of that, you care more. You try harder. You can provide a level of attention to detail and care those larger consulting firms simply can’t.

And, where larger consulting firms might pass work down to junior or less experienced consultants, as an expert, you work directly with the buyer.

That’s important.

Make sure that you communicate it. You want to take all of these advantages and make sure that you communicate them not only in your conversations, but on your website, in your marketing materials, on your LinkedIn profile…everywhere.

Don’t try and compensate for your weaknesses. Instead, focus on your strengths.

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  • Kent Vincent

    A related, but different question for technical consultants serving iarge clients is how to avoid being shoved under a prime contractor or staffing firm at the last minute with a capped rate that assures some fixed margin for the staffing firm. Many large clients will not contract engineering or IT resources without funneling them through a staffing firm with whom they have a long standing relationship. They will even threaten to protract your fee collection if you insist on deviating from the arrangement. Any suggestions on handling this obstacle would be welcome.

    • Kent – this is why it’s so important to build a relationship with the decision maker and not get shoved into some department where this can be an issue.