How to Win Consulting Projects That Make You Feel Like a Rockstar
“It’s too expensive, could you adjust your price, please?”
“I don’t like this solution, it needs way more work.”
“I don’t always respond to emails.”
Ever regretted working with a client who frustrated you?
When you’re a freelance consultant or have a small consulting team, the biggest challenge to growth is finding quality projects.
So, what exactly is a quality project?
Well, it’s a project in which the client agrees to pay whatever you charge without trying to negotiate and decrease the price, it’s a project in which you’re welcomed by your client’s in-house team, it’s a project in which your advice and recommendations as a consultant are taken seriously—that’s a quality project!
If you’ve been busy working as a consultant for even a year, you already know the aforementioned scenario is almost impossible. Some clients will pay you really well, but they may be difficult to deal with, and some clients may be really nice and cooperative, but they’d expect you to work for half the price you quote.
Even though there is no such thing as a “perfect client”, there are some companies out there who really value consultants and treat them with the utmost respect.
Let’s understand how to find such clients.
1. Prospect Like a Prospector
The literal meaning of a prospector is someone who drills and excavates the ground to find the good stuff, like gold! Sales prospecting is kind of similar, the only difference is that instead of working in the sun all day, you could work in an air-conditioned room. But the final goal is the same in both cases, and that is to dig deep and find the good stuff!
Here’s how to prospect like a pro:
Create an ideal client profile
Who is your client? For example, are you targeting CEOs of Fortune 500 companies or marketing directors of ad agencies? You have got to know as much as you can about your potential client, like their salary, interests, frustrations, hobbies, lifestyle, ambitions, etc.
Define a client budget
This is a very common procedure and consultants sometimes mention this on their websites. For example, it can be presented like this: Budgets we work with: $10,000+. If you have decided not to undertake projects for which the client's investment is less than $10,000, then stick to that decision and don’t settle for less.
Create a list
You need a list, period! There’s no point randomly approaching prospects and hoping to find the right one. Create a list of prospects who are highly likely to offer you exciting projects.
So, these are the basic elements of prospecting. Of course, you could have your own prospecting process and add more items to it, such as asking for referrals or only using social media for prospecting. But, the main aspect of prospecting is knowing exactly where to look and who to target.
2. Sell the Results, Not Your Consulting Services
Clients don’t pay for consultants or consulting teams, they pay for their problems to go away, whether that problem is a high churn rate or a decrease in sales. Clients are aware that out of many possible solutions to their problems, working with consultants is one of the solutions. Your job, as a consultant, is to persuade clients to consider working with consultants as the ONLY solution.
And why should they do that? Why is working with consultants the best solution? Let’s consider an example to understand this. Suppose that a company needs a new sales strategy to enter a foreign market, and they hire a full-time senior sales manager. After six months, the sales in the new market take off and the in-house sales team is well-acquainted with the new market. So, is there really a need for a full-time sales manager now? Probably not. If you’re in such a situation, you should explain to the client why hiring a consulting team or a freelance sales consultant on a temporary basis is a better option than hiring a full-time employee.
You see, sometimes, hiring consultants or small consulting teams really is the best option. Some other scenarios in which bringing consultants on board is the best option are as follows:
- When an external expert is needed to bring changes in an organization
- When no one in the company is well-versed in a topic, a consultant who specializes in that subject can be hired temporarily to bridge the skill gap
- When a professional problem solver, who has successfully solved a similar problem before, is needed to address a problem
As a consultant or someone who is working in a consulting team, you should know the value you’re providing as a consultant. So, remember to advertise the value your clients will get by hiring you instead of advertising the fact that you’re a consultant.
3. Sign Up With an Online Consulting Platform
If you read points 1 and 2, you already know it’s going to be hard work! But what if you can skip the queue and straight-up reach a client who’s ready to pay? Yes, that can be done with the help of an online consulting platform.