Ever since I became an entrepreneur, over 10 years ago, I've been asked how I've continued to sell out consulting services.
I've had requests from other top consultancies, journalists, and leading corporate agencies. I'm going to share with you today how I broke the rules and became a sold consultant without even having a website at the time.
Whether you are brand new to consulting or an established consultant, it is essentially important to look at your mindset before ever trying to sell your services. If you have a block, limiting belief, or blind spot around selling your servicing to others, then address this before ever moving forward. I would include mindset work around selling your consultancy services and your pricing.
Are you charging what you are worth? Are you proud, honored, and comfortable to ask for your rates? Also checking that you are not frustrated with the rate that you are charging.
It's important to remember that if you aren't confident in selling your prices, then it is unlikely that someone will be confident to buy from you at those rates, too.
At the very beginning of my consultancy journey, I often got asked for my advice. Could people “pick my brain”, or could they just ask me a question.
For consultancy calls, it can be really difficult for a client to understand when a conversation is a conversation/"just asking", and when it becomes a chargeable interaction.
I would recommend creating your minimum viable entry point, which could be for one hour of consulting for people to ask you these questions.
I'm not a big believer in having an hourly consulting rate, rather working on a project by project basis. However, this one-hour session that someone can book with you, enables them to have a taste of what it is like to work with you at an entry-level.
I would also recommend creating a standardized template for when people ask you to pick your brains or ask a simple question.
An example could be:
Hi [name]. Thanks so much for reaching out. Yes, we will be able to talk through [whatever they've asked] and I would love to hop on a consulting call with you to discuss this further.
My rate is [amount], for an hour if that works.
The email should include the price for the consulting call, which can vary but is generally higher than just your hourly rate as they are booking a one-off.
You do want to make sure that you are pricing your consultancy services in such a way that makes the transition from a single one-off session to a full package or project basis, congruent.
When you become a consultant or high-level coach, you will spend a variety of time on two types of calls; business development and client creation, and servicing and fulfilling existing clients.
Your diary will become key to the management of your success. To facilitate a smooth transition for this I would recommend using a scheduling tool that you can send out to people to book their one-hour session.
I recommend using Calendly but there are a bunch of other alternatives out there too. There is a free part to Calendly but there are also paid-for add-on options if you want to sync directly to calendars and to do extra tasks.
When focusing on the smaller offerings such as the one hour, we want to reduce the barriers to a client booking with you.
We've already addressed one of them is the ease of which that they can book in a relevant and suitable time for them using the Calendly app.
However, we also want to make sure payment is not a barrier also.
An example of how payment can be a barrier is when you send them an invoice, they then have to set up the transfer in their bank account and pay you by BACS or something similar.
To reduce the barriers to booking this first session with you use an online payment system such as Stripe, PayPal, Google Wallet, or there are many different apps available with a one-time purchase for a smaller amount of money.
These options offer very limited barriers and with just a couple of clicks the client can have paid and booked on with you.
Often when I'm working with established coaches or consultants, they have grown their consultancy practices organically. This has been done through word of mouth, emails, and fluid onboarding systems.
However, as your consultancy practice grows you need to include systems for every part of your business so that you have maximum time to work on your business, not in your business.
Paperwork and onboarding for consultancy clients can also reduce your margins.
Set up an onboarding system that triggers from the catalyst. For example, once the client has paid via stripe and booked in using Calendly a set of automated emails could be sent to them before they have their call with you.
Make sure to set up your client journey after their one-off call for the next steps to becoming a project or retainer client. Setting up an onboarding system for clients is especially important if you do relevant work that requires any health questionnaires, non-disclosure agreements and contracts to be signed.
Obviously, in this post, we don’t discuss how to convert people from a one-off session to a high-level project consulting fee, but I will be covering this in an upcoming post.
PS >> If you are interested to find out how to work with me to grow your consultancy business, here are 2 options.