What if you could get more consulting work from clients & prospects WITHOUT doing any “sales”?
You probably hate the idea of doing traditional sales–cold-calling, prospecting, and all the rest. I hate it too.
But how do you get more consulting work without being sales-y?
The trick isn’t to pitch the client something that they probably don’t want or need. That’s exactly what comes across as sales-y.
Instead, get the client to tell you want they want, and–at the same time–convince themselves that YOU are the right person for the job.
This isn’t a Jedi mind trick. But it’s the closest thing I’ve found so far.
I do this all the time–it’s a part of my routine now–and it’s the easiest, most reliable way to get more consulting work and grow your consulting business.
The first step to more consulting work: pain points
Here’s the secret:
When I’m on the phone with a client or a prospect, I pay close attention for pain points. Don’t know what a pain point is? A pain point is a source of frustration, irritation, stress, or desire that someone wants to fix.
And, the bigger the point point, the bigger the opportunity. Big pain points might not turn into big projects, but they can certainly turn into big wins.
And big wins get clients who love you and are happy to give you work again and again.
How to identify pain points
Now, people almost never say, “Listen up: here’s my biggest pain point!”
Instead, you need to be attentive to what clients say and how they say it. You can also identify pain points by watching how clients do their work (I’ve done this lots of times to identify tedious processes that I can automate).
Be on the lookout for frustrations and inefficiencies. Ask what their biggest, most urgent, or most important problems are. Ask the client if they have any wishlist items that they’d love to take care of or fix.
Listen to their emotion when they talk about the issue.
What get’s them riled up or fired up or excited?
Sometimes if you pay more attention to the emotion rather than the words, it’s easier to hone in on those pain points.
When you hear some emotion, ask questions about the issue. Get the client to elaborate on it. Paraphrase your understanding of the issue.
Make it clear that you truly understand the issue and why it’s such a big problem.
This is a HUGE part of the process: make absolutely clear that the client knows that you understand the problem.
Have the client describe their ideal solution
After you’re sure that you completely understand the problem, ask the client what their ideal solution would look like.
Sometimes the client may not even know. In these cases, you can suggest some options. You could say, “What if we did something like _____?” or “I wonder how doing _____ might work?”
Throw out a few ideas. Brainstorm with the client.
Narrow down the solution so that it’s fairly specific (you can get even more specific after the client says they’d like you to work on the project).
If the client already has an idea of how to fix the problem, fine. But again, make sure you understand their solution, how it’d work, and how it’d address their pain point. Make sure you understand the specifics of the client’s solution.
You also want to make sure the solution is feasible.
Magic elves who do your accounting reconciliation while you sleep isn’t feasible. But it might be feasible to create an automated accounting reconciliation process. And that almost as good as magic elves.
Again, you’ll want to make sure that the client feels like you completely understand what a realistic, feasible solution will look like–and how it addresses their pain point.
Why YOU are the best person to do the consulting work
- listened closely to the client’s pain point,
- made sure the client feels like you completely understand the problem,
- have explored specific solutions with the client,
then the client will intuitively feel like you’re the best person to do the consulting work.
Once the client knows you understand their problem and the solution, there’s no need for them to shop around.
At that point, it’s a simple matter of closing the deal. You can say something like, “It sounds like we just need to nail down a few details, and then get started.”
How it looks in practice
In reality, the process is usually a lot simpler than what I’ve laid out–at least for the type of consulting work I do.
Typically, either the client or I will identify a pain point, we’ll talk briefly to figure out a solution (usually I’ll give the client a few options for the solution), and then the client will either ask for an estimate and/or ask how soon I can implement the solution.
See? More consulting work–without having to be sales-y.
At its most basic, it boils down to:
- understanding the client’s pain point, and
- exploring the solution with the client,
- while making sure the client feels understood throughout the discussion.
It’s really less about sales and more about being empathic and educating the client about what’s possible for fixing their problem.
I hate sales, but enjoy educating people, so this approach is a much better fit, and best of all, makes getting consulting work easy.
I’ve talked before about treating your clients and prospects like an orchard–where you plant seeds, nurture them, and then enjoy the fruits of your labors. This is one more way to tend your orchard. Understand your clients and their needs & wants, and show them how you can make their problems go away.
And guess what? You’ll eventually have an on-going stream of business–without having to use Jedi mind tricks. Although at some point, you will wish you had magic elves to do all your work.
The discount means you get BOTH the Launch Checklist and Start-up Blueprint for essentially the price of the Start-up Blueprint alone.
Why am I giving you a 1/3 discount? Simple: I want your feedback on both the Launch Checklist and Start-up Blueprint, so I can continue to improve them to make them even more useful.
Of course, if you really WANT to, you can buy either guide separately, and pay full price. But you’d really prefer getting a deal, right?