How to sell consulting services | secrets to selling high priced consulting services

hi everyone and welcome to another

podcast about building aka growing a

consulting firm or consulting practice

in today's episode I want to talk about

new clients but before I do that I also

want to mention that this entire series

is based on obviously the experiences we

have had helping numerous boutique firms

and even the offices of large firms and

based on our personal experiences as


now inside us our loyalty members there

is going to be an insider version of

this program that is probably already

launched by now and what we do in that

program is a little bit different while

we cover the same concepts in that

program we are going to case study one

fairly large depending on what you call

large but a firm with about a two

million dollars of revenue and how we

help them to significantly increase that

revenue change their client mix and so

on so in the insider version of this

program we're going to discuss one firm

and show you each of the tools and

techniques we used and how we took them

through each step and of course if you

are listening to this on itunes remember

there is a youtube version of this with

graphics right so you can go to our

YouTube channel so let's just talk about

clients aren't quite important we know

sales is important you can't do much

without revenue aka sales coming in you

can have the best plans you can have the

most noble intentions you can want to

change the world you want to maybe do

things that are important to the

well-being of your country but unless

you have revenue coming in all of that

is just an aspiration that will never

see the light of day so one of the first

things I always tell clients who run

with it's a firm way of eyes just one of

them or a group of people or even an

office of a large firm is you need to

find clients and do it in a way that

closes the sale fast and you have to

avoid what I call the layman's view of

the way McKinsey BCG and so on death

sales because the way they actually do

sales is very different but I'm not just

yet to talk you through how McKinsey

closes sales because a lot of the things

McKenzie o BCG does you cannot do as a

boutique firm so I'm going to talk you

through the things we've done with that

client in the insider program

similar clients that are suitable for

smaller organizations organizations

consulting organizations that are

different from the larger firms so as a

starting point right if you stick to the

basics finding clients is a not

difficult but you must follow the plan

of not acting like a large firm so what

I mean by this I'll tell you a little

bit of an anecdote yeah many years ago

when I was a partner I was sent into the

Latin American officers to help

stabilize one of the offices and I was

working with quite a few of the others

as a resource partner I had skills that

clients that this office could serve

would want and I remember arriving there

came off a long flight lost my clothing

so I went to the office the next day

wearing the same clothing from my long

flight which was about 17 hours not

feeling so good

and I'd met everyone and the partners

were talking me through an analysis that

they'd been working on for a fairly long

time led by some EMS and associates on

clients they should target sectors they

could target to rebuild the practice my

feedback to them is that we already have

a strategy it's called an MX card and

what I meant by that is that I'm not

interested in sectors we should target

industries we should targets clients we

need to get into because let's focus on

the claims we know take them out for

drinks and dinner and focus on those

clients that's a common mistake I see

most firms making and people trying to

build a consulting firm they focus too

much in clients they think they should

be serving and ignore potential clients

they have access to so in that situation

there was no market analysis and they

almost is no never a market analysis

I've never seen a market analysis ever

done with partners what we do is we work

on the relationships we have and we

start a vid so if you're thinking whoom

should i target which sectors which

industries you asking the wrong question

the correct question is whom are the

clients I know and whom are the clients

I can get a meeting with those are the

clients you target even if it's in a

sector that you don't want to sell in

fact there's no such thing as a sector

you don't want to sell every sector

matter what sector it is in the world is

gonna have some segment of clients

that's going to be attractive to you

you worry about clients the first part

is go for clients you can access go for

clients you know meet them in another

story when I was serving this is my

first major client and if you follow

rebuilding a consulting practice

partnership meant I talk about this

client a lot it's the client that made

me and around the most important

engagement at that client but anyway

they're officers they had a very very

simple office and they believed in it in

a low overhead structure small head

office anyway the head office a

resources client was in this luxurious

high-end building complex with these

fancy Italian and French restaurants on

the lower level so I would go and have a

meeting with usually it was the chief

financial officer of the chief operating

officer sometimes the CEO was involved

remember I was just starting out I was

still only an engagement manager at this

stage so I didn't have the excess I had

later on in my career but anyway I would

meet these guys 30-minute one-hour

meeting and then I would go to the Asian

restaurant on the ground floor so that

every time people from the client were

leaving they'd have to pass the

restaurant and they would see us I'd be

sitting there with another Engagement

Manager was running studies for me

and we'd be having a four hour lunch and

drinks I mean people from the office

would see me it didn't matter because

what would happen then is every time an

employee of the resources client would

leave that I wanted to meet I would

invite them along say hey you know it's

a Friday evening why don't you join us

for drinks and that's basically how I

did sales there was no I mean there was

some thinking involved and so on but

there was no powerpoints an analysis of

issues and so on because as someone

who's serving that client I know the

issues it's not as if I'm serving a

client I know nothing about and I gotta

do research I know the issues I've been

working with them on operation strategy

for good few months I've been being

exposed to their financial strategy

issues and all kinds of things so when I

see an employee I know when an employee

I want to meet I just pull them or say I

won't you have a drink with us it's

Friday evening I mean and someone say

well I gotta go home I promised my kids

I say just one drink we'll have one

drink and of course it turns in like 10

drinks but the end of that I can't walk

so I gotta sit there for another three

hours might have coffee and you know get

to the point where I can drive home but

my point is that

forgetting how you meet clients the most

important thing is meet clients you can

serve forget about everyone else

now this thing about offering to

demonstrate your skills for four days a

k3 is something we used as well you know

if you follow rebuilding and consulting

practice I moved to a badly performing

emerging markets office and had a chance

to go to London had a chance to go to

Boston I turned them all down and I went

to a pretty terrible office and I

remember that the associate principal

who groomed me to become a partner what

he would do is would call up people he

knew in the executive offices of

resources clients clients he wanted to

serve they were not here at our clients

they were clients of the firm but not

that this particular branch of that

client was not being served that office

so it called them up and sometimes it

was the head office as well because

there's a lot of resources companies in

the area and say you know what we know

it's Christmas time why don't we send

one of our top people to work with you

think through issues and you know see

what happened it's free but he would

never say that you'd quite a second

mentor whatever he wants you know

because we're trying to work with

clients and see what could happen and I

would be deployed and later when I

became more senior and become a partner

I would do that resolve my top people

the point is that it's basically five

days continuous access to clients you're

doing work for free but what is the

alternative sit in an office and send

them emails send them proposals no so at

the end of this I've never been in a

situation where it never led to some

work maybe the work came immediately

sometimes the work came three months

later sometimes it led to a significant

improvement in the relationship but it

always led to us doing work and what we

were doing those four or five weeks we

would do one of two things we're gonna

sketch out an issue that's required us

to do an analysis or we'd identify an

issue and say you know what we think we

know what we need to do to fix this but

why don't we do a short two-week pilot

with just two people obviously it's paid

and then that would lead to billable

work and then that would lead to

implementation so whenever I look at

firms and they talk with how they're

gonna do the studies and this analysis

that's what clients you do not know

never clients you do not know easiest

thing in the world is to do a survey of

supply chain issues in their SEC to

anything do a study right firms invest

in intellectual property do some kind

study for this of the sector do an

analysis doers and a summary develop a

new approach do some benchmarks or

whatever it is and then use it as an

opportunity to meet an executive to talk

about what you find in the sector that's

how you meet clients you do not know all

of this can be done cheaply and quickly

yes interesting thing in the insider

version of the program we're going to

talk about that one client we work with

which is representative of other clients

as well but the interesting thing for

them is that this area of work generated

eventually over 50 percent of their

revenues when we were done with them

because we wanted them to diversify away

from revenue that was purely generated

from billable hours it was difficult

because quite a few them X McKinsey and

so on so they had this view that

consulting is pio it must only be

billable hours so focus on clients you

know that's the most important thing

right now if you watching this video

listening to us on iTunes and you want

to see some of the more advanced stuff

we do go to firmsconsulting comm fi our

MSC o NS ult ing comm and if you

register for free I'll put your name

into the opt-in to pop up we will send

you sample videos of some of the

advanced stuff we do now as you go

through this program remember this right

it's all about going after the clients

you have access to even if you've sent

them from a long time notice what I

always tell firms serve larger clients

because if you finish one engagement to

them there's always a chance something

else will be coming up if you serve a

smaller client the odds are they're

going to be doing less consulting work

and there's less for you to move on to

so how are you approaching your current

clients how many meetings have you

arranged how will you lower resistance

what are you going to do to get them to

speak to you and then the other category

which is for later down the line but you

got to start pursuing now is how do you

get to clients you do not have access to

but you want to know so let's do a bit

of a wrap-up here right so let's tie

this together and some of the lessons

now it's applies to new young small

consulting office small offices but it

also applies to large offices these are

techniques I used when I was at the firm

and I had to go after big multi-billion

dollar clients when here to turnaround

offices with 70 people 120 people

first thing is that you should not spend

your days and weeks developing a

strategy for how you're going to serve

client and how you're gonna grow the

firm because you just don't know enough

about the market and you cannot afford

to burn so much hours on something

that's really an expense you gotta go

out there meet clients and as you talk

to them you will find out what the

issues are having two associates

Sigyn offers a reading annual reports to

find out the company's issues is really

a hit and miss if you sit with a client

for an hour you're gonna find out more

than anything anyone could ever do in

the office to prepare you for that

meeting don't get bogged down with

complex sales presentations this is

something that people tend to forget

about the major firms we don't really

didn't have complex presentations

because of our reputation we get to put

together very simple presentations and

get the work but because you usually

don't have a reputation as a younger

smaller office and smaller firm you

should position yourself as someone who

can get bankable results don't talk

about implementation it's such a cliche

don't talk about implementation

implementation is not the same as

bankable results you can implement

something and not get the results you

promised bankable result says you hire

us you will get this but if you talk

about implementation it doesn't mean you

can get bankable results a lot of

implementation fails folks and the

clients you know offer to you know

basically even if they don't agree to

free work go to them four days five days

in a row and talk to them help them

develop issues I've been in situations

where I remember the CEO of a very

important client lady wanted to work

with us don't really like the firm so

much but she liked me and she would call

me and I would go every damage to see

her for something like a week

I obviously didn't bully for anything I

would sit in her office she had a nice

lounge and I do work for her help her

things through issues when meetings came

up should go for the meeting should come

back we talk about things that led to a

incredibly important mandate for the

firm to work for a client that we really

wanted to work for because it was a very

prestigious client that is the same

thing as working for free but you can

see you can be creative in the way you

do it

meetings five days in a row were you

thinking through issues providing

updates and that's free work but we

don't talk about it we don't

call it free if you want to meet new

clients and you have a great reputation

it's gonna be easy but if you don't have

a great reputation then do some kind of

free work analyzing the section present

the results and finally the goal is

always to create sustainable revenue

streams and not follow traditional

consulting models I may talk about this

more but in the insider version we

definitely talk more about breaking the

revenue streams because it's just tiring

and demoralizing to go through these

sales lumps whereby you don't have

revenue coming in for billable work

right and of course you've got to ask

yourself how you're spending your day

because it should be in front of coins

so if you have any questions or comments

post a response on iTunes or YouTube as

always I look forward to seeing you in

the next episode