Looking To Discover What Works When It Comes To Marketing Consulting Services. Free Guide – How To Grow A Six Figure Consulting Business…
If you are already a business consultant, or are considering becoming one, can you really build a six figure consulting business, and if so, how do you do this? Which forms of marketing consulting services work, and how do you implement them?
It is completely possible to grow a six figure consulting business and the good news is that how you achieve this has a lot of flexibility, depending on how you want your business to look and feel, and how you want your lifestyle to fit in around it.
The purpose of this article is to give you some ideas based on my experience of building a six figure consultancy business.
1. The rules are these: there are no rules.
You might see this as good news or bad news, but the big news is that when it comes to building a six figure consultancy business the rules really are that there are no rules.
When I started my consultancy business in 2003 I read many different blogs, books, articles and business magazines, and every consultant I read had a different method for building a six figure consultancy. You were supposed to say what they said to the letter, not my preference I have to say!
Some would say you have to get up at 5am in the morning, run 3 miles, drink 6 raw egg yolks, work from 7.30am until 7.30pm, take one our off, then work again until midnight, then do the same again for 7 days in a row until you get there. You may think that I am joking, but believe me, if you look around you will find someone advocating that view, and you do not have to look that hard either.
However, my personal view has always been that if I am going to run a six figure consultancy business, I want to do just that; and run it rather than let it run me.
I am by no means afraid of hard work and put in many more hours now as a consultant than I ever did as an employee, but that is because I choose to do so because I genuinely love what I do.
But please let me assure you, there really are no rules when it comes to building your own six figure consultancy business. You can build it in the way that works best for you. If you want to travel over the country and live from hotel rooms, that is completely possible, but if you prefer to be at home every night with your family, that is possible too.
You can do only face to face consultancy on client premises, or you can use online meeting software to run all of your client meetings with clients all over the UK or world-wide (as I do).
So the most important point, hence the reason is that it is at number one in my list, is that you decide on your rules. Never forget that, it makes life a lot easier, and also means you will reach your six figure consultancy business much sooner than if you decide to do exactly what someone else tells you to do to get a six figure consultancy.
2. Day 1.
I mentioned that you may already have started your consultancy business, or that you are just about to do so, but let’s take day 1 from now, today, as you read this message.
From day 1 you absolutely must have an email marketing database in place and start adding your prospects to it as quickly as is humanly possible. I didn’t really get started with my email marketing database until half way through year two, and it is no surprise that it was soon after that that I had a six figure business as a marketing consultant. I wish I had started it sooner. So start your email marketing database now, today!
I use Aweber and happily recommend it.
The benefit of using a cloud based email marketing system like Aweber is that it will have much higher deliverability rates than if you try and run an offline system yourself. Aweber has over a 99% deliverability rate for a good reason. If you try and send volume emails through your own email software it will soon be blocked, and you can only generally send around 20 at a time. I send 2,000 at a time, so email marketing software is vital for this.
The other advantage is that they will also include an ‘autoresponder’ element to them, meaning that you can offer a free guide or resource to prospects on the provision of their email address, and then once they have received it you can programme in several follow up emails promoting your services.
This is absolutely vital as you will rarely sell any type of consultancy service at the first time of asking. Consultancy is the type of service that someone takes a long time to decide to buy, so if you do not follow up with your prospects automatically each and every month you will not be in the right place at the right time (ie. when they are looking to purchase the services of a consultant).
I realise that I have immediately broken my first rule that there are no rules, as I have just told you that you must have an email marketing database when I said that there are no rules… that is known as poetic licence…and this is my blog so for me there are no rules, but ultimately I am giving you very good advice, free of charge I might add, that I have learnt the very hardest way possible. I have the scars and bruises to prove it.
3. One service, different services, products, or all of the above?
You are going to be running a six figure consultancy business soon aren’t you? It is why you are reading this after all. So how do you plan to do this? Do you have just one main service, a mixture of services, services and products or just products made from your consultancy expertise?
I am a marketing consultant, so the one thing I have always known to be true, since I started work many, many years ago, is that it is much easier to sell more services or products to existing clients than it is to recruit brand new clients to purchase your one and only product or service.
This is fact. This is as true a marketing statement as you will ever see in print. There is much nonsense and noise out there on the internet about marketing, but the statement above is completely accurate. 100%.
So why then did it take me about three years to move from selling one consultancy service to selling different versions of that consultancy service, at different price points to suit people with different budgets, alongside some cheaper products I created?
Those who are reading closely, and if you are not tsk tsk to you, will notice that this is my three year time period cropping up again as mentioned in point number 1 above.
So the same year I got my email marketing database working I also started offering a choice of services and products and that’s the same year I suddenly had a six figure consultancy business. I am sharing these points (my mistakes) with you to save you the pain of making this harder than it needs to be for you to build your own six figure consultancy. Life is too short to make it harder than necessary, so please don’t make the same mistakes I did.
My problem was that I was just too close to my business to think about what else I could offer or sell, so rather than do the sensible thing of simply looking around me at other consultancy business models, I just sat still, like a rabbit blinded by the headlights.
So if you are up and running already as a consultant, what other services or products can you offer right now to your clients?
The same applies if you are just starting. Don’t make the mistake of only offering one service, offer the service packaged in different ways and at different price points to give you much more chance of success.
Apply the Starbucks model to your business! What is the Starbucks model? Think about their coffee; they don’t just offer one sized cup of coffee, instead they offer three different sizes because they know that the majority will plump for the middle price (not the lowest price), but more importantly 20% of them will choose the highest priced service.
If you only offer one priced consultancy service your clients only have one choice to make; that of ‘yes please’ or ‘no thank you’.
Offer two or three different packages of service and your clients suddenly have two or three chances to say yes, and only one chance to say no. That is a much better position for them and definitely for you too.
4. Automate your marketing.
The next point to make is that whilst you might not have much budget available at the beginning of this process, as soon as is humanly possible you need to outsource the marketing of your consultancy business so that it takes place with or without your input.
When you do this right you are going to be so busy looking after your clients that you do not have time to do the daily or weekly tweaks to your marketing that are required to make it successful.
When you couple to this the fact that you can engage a specialist outsourced supplier for most aspects of marketing for less than £50 an hour (and you should/will be charging more than that for your own time), it makes absolutely no sense to do all of this yourself.
You need to outsource your marketing and to do so as quickly as possible. You should only be in charge of monitoring your consultancy business KPI’s on a monthly basis to ensure your suppliers are doing exactly what is expected of them, but otherwise you will be busy working on your clients’ businesses as their consultant.
5. The most dangerous number for your consultancy business.
The next important point is that you should never fall foul of this rule:
The most dangerous number for your consultancy business is number 1!
Never rely on only one of the following:
- One form of marketing delivering all or most of your new business;
- One supplier having too much control over your business;
- One client providing most of your income; or
- One employee generating most of your sales or profits.
Look at your consultancy business now and check that you are not making this mistake. If you are, make sure you fix this as quickly as possible. There is nothing more certain than the fact that this will come back and bite you firmly on the bottom at some point (again, I speak from the school of hard knocks).
6. Be the go to expert in your field.
The fastest way to guarantee that you can command high priced consultancy fees is to be seen as an expert in your field. This does not mean that you must instantly write a 30,000 word book, as so many ‘so called’ experts out there will tell you.
It is perfectly possible to do this without writing a book, and let me assure you from experience that writing a book will not provide you with a six figure consultancy business. It might be useful, it is nice to have as something to push people over the edge from being a maybe to a yes in terms of a client of your consultancy business, but it will not be the thing that gives you a six figure consultancy overnight.
This is how you can be seen as the go to expert in your consultancy field of choice:
- Be found
- Be seen
- Be heard
- Be quoted
If you enjoy what you do (and if you don’t, stop it), then you will be happy to talk about it or write about it. Do this. It is a good thing. Blog if you like writing, take videos if you prefer filming, prepare podcasts or voice over presentations using Camtasia if you have a face for radio or just do not enjoy filming, but do at least one of these things and do them consistently.
Success will not come overnight, but if you do one of these activities constantly and consistently and publish the results on your website, you will achieve success.
I once heard sales training expert Frank Furness say that the key to success for even a rubbish salesman is to keep talking to people about your product or service as eventually someone will buy.
Well, in building your six figure consultancy business you must keep proving your expertise by writing or talking about it, and eventually more and more people will find you, believe you and buy you.
Be seen as the ‘go to’ expert in your field, so that when people start finding you as they will do when you follow the steps above, they then need to be able to quickly see that you are an expert.
So what would an expert have on their website? They will have free guides, membership badges for organisations they belong to, relevant qualifications (not vital), white papers and anything else which sets them out as a person of expertise and integrity.
Be seen as an expert by making sure that anything you have achieved of note is visible on your website.
The next thing an expert has to be is to be ‘heard’. Whilst this always used to mean speaking at conferences, thankfully this is so much easier now. You can now prepare seminars from the comfort of your desk, in the form of webinars or teleseminars. What is even better is that you can record them and have them visible on your website to prospects looking for your services (after providing their email address of course).
Now if you are a client looking for a consultant in your field of expertise who would you choose? A consultant who has a five page website with a list of services, or a consultant who has a website featuring all of their articles, free guides, white papers, webinars and teleseminars? Who looks more like an expert?
The beauty of being seen as an expert is that when you do as advised above you are very quickly presented with opportunities (and many of them), to be quoted.
If your potential clients are finding you, the press from your sector will also start to find you and ask for your opinion and for quotes on topics of interest.
This is very useful for tipping clients over the edge. PR is never the ‘be all and end all’ that PR consultants might have you believe when it comes to client acquisition*, so don’t spend thousands of pounds on it, but when it happens naturally in this way it is a useful tool for improving your conversion rates.
* I know this to be the case from having spent tens of thousands of pounds on it.
7. Be stupendously consistent.
The next point is that you must be stupendously consistent in all that you do. Don’t chop and change all of the time. What do I mean by this? Well, so frequently I see consultants or other business owners making these mistakes:
- Changing their marketing tactics before they have a chance to work (unless their only tactic is relying on social media which in 99% of cases will simply not work);
- Changing the nature of their service to a completely unrelated one;
- Changing their business name or logo because they become bored with it;
- Changing their business partners for a new, more exciting business partner; or
- Changing something, anything, just for the sake of it.
This is like shooting yourself in the foot. People need to see your message time and time again before they fully understand it. So many times I see business consultants or other entrepreneurs coming up with new partnerships, new business models, different services which each time are unrelated to the previous service that they provided, and failing fast.
How can a client who may be interested in your services keep up with all of these changes? The truth is that they can’t, and more importantly, they won’t be. They will see you as flakey and you will lose any chance of being asked to help them. Who wants a flakey business consultant to help them?
Remember what I said at the beginning of this article that selling consultancy services is not a one hit trick. It will take some of your best clients weeks, months or even years to decide to use you. If you really want to be a six figure business consultant, you absolutely and completely must be stupendously consistent.
If you apply these fundamental rules to your consultancy business I know that you can achieve a six figure consultancy business. They are the bedrock I have used for my marketing consultancy, and I would advise you to incorporate them into your own consultancy if you are serious about growing your practice.
Free Guide For Consultants
Download this free guide to discover:
- How to generate leads for your consultancy, week after week.
- The secret to winning repeat client business
- How to price your services to guarantee success
- How to leverage your time to ensure that you are paid over and over again for work you do only once
- Easy ways to keep in touch with your clients
- Automating your business so that you can enjoy more time with your family or to enjoy your hobbies, ensuring you always stay fresh and focused for your clients
- The one mistake that could derail your consultancy (if you do not know about it)