A little patience and a lot of value are all it takes to prove your high-dollar consulting worth.
On this episode of the Consulting Success Podcast, I’m joined by Dauwn Parker. She founded Precision Partners in 2013 with a focus on helping healthcare and higher education organizations take their fundraising to the next level by streamlining, optimizing, and using the right technology for their operations. Prior to her work at Precision Partners, Dauwn worked for various consulting firms in customer relationship management software. From her work with the financial industry and high tech companies, Dauwn saw that non-profit companies were missing out on some of the benefits of building relationships and using information to strengthen relationships with constituents. At the turn of the century, she made the transition from the private sector to UCLA, where she began to implement the structure and methods into the university space. After her successful time at UCLA, she made an impact with City of Hope, a cancer research center. From there, she realized that she had tools for success that many companies and organizations could benefit from, and Precision Partners was born.
On this episode, we talk about ways to find an underserved market, the benefits of a healthy work-life balance, and the question everyone wants answered — how to land a six-figure deal with your dream client. You’ll hear the answers to it all in my conversation with Dauwn Parker.
Identify an Underserved Market in Need
An underserved market is undoubtedly the best market to direct your expertise toward. Dauwn recognized that there was an underserved market in the healthcare and higher education sector, and she wasn’t afraid to take on the challenge of fulfilling that need in a way that others hadn’t done before. She shares how she first recognized the gap and then capitalized on the true catalyst, which was the pull from the industry to share her expertise.
Dauwn had already put herself out into the industry and in early 2013 she was contacted by what would become her first client. Having recognized the work she had already done with UCLA and City of Hope, they were requesting her help to best utilize a hard-earned budget. That phone call confirmed what she already suspected — that there was a gap in the industry and that an ideal client would benefit from the skills she had to offer.
Taking the Leap into the Consulting World
I’ve heard it too many times to count — taking the leap into the unknown of the consulting world is a very scary idea. It can be paralyzing to even think about leaving the security of your position with a successful corporate business to venture out and start your own consulting firm. Dauwn describes herself as a conservative person by nature. She’s willing to take risks, but the risks are always calculated ones. The decision to venture out away from the corporate world to start her own business was a very difficult one for her to make. Although it wasn’t an easy decision, Dauwn did her research and found materials that helped her gain confidence in her choice and overcome her fears.
Like many consultants, Dauwn found that pricing was one of the most difficult aspects of business to pin down. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The materials you will find at Consulting Success such as the Accelerator Coaching Program and the
Consulting Success System 2.0 are available to consultants like Dauwn — and you — to help you learn all about better pricing, what can be charged in the market, and how you can increase your fees.
By taking advantage of the programs and materials at Consulting Success, Dauwn also found herself surrounded by a network of people who could teach her lessons they had already learned. In those conversations, Dauwn recognized that there were consultants who were successfully running consulting businesses. When she combined that fact with her skills and market expertise, she found the courage to take the leap.
Staying Focused on Success
Precision Partners has now enjoyed nearly five years of success. In our conversation, Dauwn shares ways that she remains focused on success. First, she is staying committed to having conversations with existing clients about the value that they are receiving from the work that they are doing. By doing this, she continues to understand the value that they are bringing to businesses, their story continues to build out, and they have more opportunities to connect with their ideal clients.
In addition to having conversations with existing clients, they are taking the time to connect with new clients whenever possible. By picking up the phone and contacting businesses that have never heard of Precision Partners, their network grows even more. Partner organizations and other consulting firms in the industry are ideal connections to make for growth, brainstorming and sharing best practices. Your name and your expertise will continue to become more well known within your industry when you make these connections.
The Secret to Your Consulting Success
You’ve seen it all over the Internet — promises of the one single secret that will guarantee your company’s success. Some ideas are helpful, and some are unbelieveable but there is just one secret that will truly help your business grow — and we talk about it on this episode of the Consulting Success Podcast.
It’s all about conversations.
Whatever else you may be focused on, all of your effort and all of your success come back to the conversations that you are having with your clients, with your peers, and with your competition. The conversations you have with other people in every aspect of your network are the single most important key to growing your business. I’ve said it before and I said it again on this podcast — as long as you are taking the time to have those conversations, your business will continue to be a successful one.
Dauwn’s Lessons Learned
When I asked Dauwn to share some of the lessons she has learned along the way, she was quick to answer, “I wish I would have started sooner!” That’s not the first time I’ve heard that response. Successful consulting brings with it a level of freedom that can’t be experienced when you are working for someone else. Dauwn explains that the level of freedom and creativity that she now enjoys as a successful consultant is so much greater than what she had in the corporate world, and she didn’t even realize how much she missed it before.
In addition to wishing she had started sooner, Dauwn has learned to let go of things in order to let her business continue to grow. In the beginning of the company, she called herself a one-person show with an attachment to the services she delivered. That process worked for a little while, but as the company continued to grow, she had to be more diligent about strategically bringing others into the company’s processes. By letting go of some of the aspects of business and bringing other employees in, she has been able to remain focused on the most important work that only she can do.
Six Figure Consulting Projects Can Be Yours
What goes into landing a six-figure project? From both a mindset perspective and a tactical approach, Dauwn shares the key factors that go into securing a dream project.
The key tip to landing high-value projects is patience.
Her first project was $250,000 and the second one was nearly double that amount, but it didn’t happen overnight. It required persistence in continuing to have valuable conversations with her clients. Truly listening to the challenges each client was facing and offering immediate and valuable advice helped her to gain trust and secure future business. She put herself in a valuable position as a resource to potential clients. By connecting them with other companies that were having similar struggles, Dauwn became a trusted advisor even before any contracts were laid out.
That single point validates the point that I have said over and over again — consulting is not about transactions, it’s about relationships. Successful consultants have a patience, focus, and commitment to serving their clients. As you maintain those three key components, you provide more value. This places you in a position of trust. Everyone prefers to do business with someone that they trust, and your clients are no exception. By proving your value to your clients, you are securing future success for your consulting business.
You Don’t Have to Face Consulting Challenges Alone
Every consultant faces challenging days. You may lose a project, or be dealing with a difficult project. It’s important to remember that you’re not alone. In our conversation, Dauwn shares her coping mechanisms for overcoming the challenges of difficult days. She shares the benefits she has gained by expanding her business to include her husband, Mario Houston, both with business operations and as a sounding board to help her through the difficulties the company is facing.
Dauwn has also found support through her challenges as a member of the Consulting Success community and by attending and connecting with people at Mastermind events. Even though people rarely want to share their failures, Dauwn says she has benefitted by sharing her difficulties with other successful consultants in her network. She shares a recent example in which she reached out to gain perspective and support from her network, and you’ll want to listen to the specific ways that her network helped her get through a trying time in her business. Any consultant may feel lonely when challenges arise, but just as Dauwn’s experience proves, you don’t have to face it alone. By relying on your network, you can work through challenges and find greater success along the way.
The Benefits of a Healthy Work-Life Balance
Chances are you became a consultant so that you could enjoy a greater work-life balance than the corporate world ever offered you. As your business grows, it can be a real challenge to keep your priorities straight and not commit too much time to your company. Dauwn shares the ways that she and her husband and business partner Mario have achieved a work-life balance that works for them. In addition to their non-negotiable commitment to tennis, they have also decided to share their business challenges and triumphs with their two teenage children. By integrating their work with their family, they have both taught their children about the non-traditional career paths that entrepreneurs enjoy, as well as shared the pride that comes with being part of a successful consulting firm.
The lessons that Dauwn shares in our conversation can be applied to anyone. If you want to get more done, you simply have to prioritize what is most important to you. The non-negotiables in your life will take priority and help you achieve the work-life balance that is necessary for real consulting success. I know you’ll be inspired by her message, and you can hear all of the details of the keys to success that really work on this episode of The Consulting Success Podcast.
[:28] Introducing Dauwn of Precision Partners.
[3:55] How to identify an underserved market.
[6:53] Surround yourself with a network that will give you the courage to take the leap.
[9:07] What is the secret to successfully growing your business?
[11:33] Lessons Dauwn has learned, including regrets.
[13:58] Landing a six-figure project starts with patience and trust.
[17:28] Facing challenges with a support system.
[21:58] Work life balance for Dauwn and Mario.
[27:32] Staying committed to non-negotiables will protect your priorities.
[30:07] Connecting with Dauwn.
Mentioned in This Episode:
Tweetables:“What helped me make the leap was to know that there are other people out there doing this successfully.” — Dauwn Parker
“It’s all about conversations.” — Michael Zipursky
“I knew I would enjoy it, but I had no idea I would enjoy it this much.” — Dauwn Parker
“In the consulting business, it’s not about a transaction. It’s about a relationship.” — Michael Zipursky
“If you want to get more done, prioritize what is really important to you.” — Michael Zipursky