5 Stages to Measure the Growth of Your Consulting Business

Growth-of-Your-Consulting-Business

As a kid I despised math. It wasn’t interesting and I never thought I’d really use it.

Why? Because at that point in my life the only thing I really could see myself becoming was a professional athlete.

You see, there are certain numbers that you should understand if you want to have a successful and thriving business.

After a month long trip to Thailand and Vietnam at the age of 15 I realized I couldn’t see myself continuing to train 6 days a week and living the athlete‚Äôs life.

Instead, I became much more interested in the arts, creativity and business.

Fast forward years later and I discovered that I actually liked math and numbers. Just a different kind…

What I call ‘Business Math.’

You see, there are certain numbers that you should understand if you want to have a successful and thriving business.

Things like your cost to acquire a customer, customer lifetime value, your margin, and so on.

I’m not going to go deeper into these in this article – if you’re interested let me know and we’ll cover them in an upcoming post.

Today I’m going to share with you the 5 stages that every consultant should be tracking in their business and how understanding the numbers connected to these stages can give you tremendous insight into how to improve and grow your business.

So let’s get right into it…

Here are the 5 stages every consultant should measure and keep track of:

  1. Outreach
  2. Follow ups
  3. Conversations
  4. Proposals
  5. Sales

I’m going to explain each one, why it’s important and what tracking it will tell you.

Outreach

This is the number of emails you send, calls you make, direct mail pieces you put in the mail, etc.

Broken down into its simplest form this is the number of times you get in front of your ideal clients before they respond to you.

Point to measure: If you’re not doing enough outreach your pipeline will lack new opportunities. You want to consistently be feeding this front end. If you’re doing a lot of outreach and not getting into conversations your messaging, value proposition, focus, and/or positioning are off. Focus on fixing those.

Follow Ups

A study by Ovation Sales Group found that it used to take 3.68 calls to reach a prospect. Today it takes 8. (See my earlier article on this topic here)

Another study found that 80% of sales are made on the 5th to 12th contact.

The more conversations you have, the more proposals you’ll send out, the more business you’ll win.

Doing outreach is necessary. But if you’re not doing follow up you’re leaving the vast majority of the opportunities on the table.

There are two types of follow up to think about here:

  1. Follow up with people who you haven’t spoken with yet. You keep reaching out to them until you get a yes or a no. Or until you have enough other qualified prospects in your pipeline.
  1. The second type of follow up is with people that you have had a conversation with yet and who just aren’t ready to buy at the moment. This is often the majority. Don’t forget about them.

Point to measure: By measuring the number of follow ups you’re making each week you’ll stay on top of the prospects in your pipeline and be able to nurture and build a relationship with those that may not yet be ready to talk with you, or buy from you just yet.

If you’re doing a lot of follow up and it’s not resulting in more conversations your follow up strategy, messaging, offer, call-to-actions, emails or scripts are not effective. Get help with them.

Conversations

Every sales is the result of a conversation. You can’t win business without having one.

This is by far the most important activity that consultants should be focused on – having deep meaningful conversations with ideal clients.

The more conversations you have, the more proposals you’ll send out, the more business you’ll win.

Point to measure: If you’re not having enough conversations focus on the first two stages above. If you’re having a lot of conversations and not getting to the proposal stage you’ll want to improve your sales conversation skills, how you engage in a conversation, ask the right questions, and your approach or lack of communicating value to the buyer.

Proposals

Most consulting engagements require a proposal or simple agreement. Track how many you send each week and each month.

If you’re noticing that you’re not sending enough proposals you’ll want to work on the above stages to get yourself into a position to create more proposals.

Now, an important distinction to make. I’m not talking about just sending a proposal at the first opportunity. Rather, you should only be sending proposals when the buyer is in agreement and tells you they are interested in moving forward. For a more detailed breakdown of consulting proposal best practices see this article.

Point to measure: If you’re sending out a solid number of proposals and not winning enough of them there’s two things likely going on. First, you don’t have a good structure for your proposals (see our Consulting Success System for help with that) and two you haven’t done a good enough job communicating the value, the opportunity, the danger of not moving forward with the project to the buyer.

If you’re half way through the month and your numbers aren’t looking good, go back and review the other stages to see where you’re slacking off and need to step up.

I just spoke with a consultant in our Accelerator Coaching Program who has averaged 70% success rate on his proposals. Depending on your industry, the type of project and how you’ve engaged with the buyer you should be closing minimum 1/3 if not 1/2 of your proposals.

Sales

This one is pretty straightforward. You want to keep tracking each week and each month of how many sales you’ve made.

If you’re half way through the month and your numbers aren’t looking good, go back and review the other stages to see where you’re slacking off and need to step up.

That’s the power of measuring these five stages. You’ll always have a pulse of where you’re at. Based on the numbers you’re seeing you’ll know where to spend more time, more focus, and more energy.

You’ll know what areas to work on and which ones especially to see out help for.

If you’re not tracking these numbers you’re flying without valuable data.

Imagine an airplane with no sense of its elevation, speed, direction, or fuel status. Crazy to think, right?

Don’t fly and command your business without this.

Point to measure: If sales are lacking you can always track it back to one of the above areas.

If you’d like to attract more clients and win more business join our Accelerator Coaching Program. I’ll take you through all of this in much greater detail and help you to build a custom marketing, outreach and business plan so that you can start achieving the results you want faster and more effectively. Get in touch here

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