Consulting Success by Michael Zipursky

One big myth about consulting that you’ll hear from many people is that you can enjoy this kind of flexibility from day one . The people who suggest this are only telling you part of the story . While you do have complete control of when you work, in reality, if you want to succeed in this business, it takes consistent and focused effort . ( Location 162 )

I often find it helps to just get out . Set as many meetings with clients or prospective clients as possible . Schedule meetings with other consultants in your city . Getting out and talking with others usually restores your motivation and brings back the drive to succeed . ( Location 206 )

Updated: Jan 21, 2022

One of the greatest characteristics that a consultant can possess is motivation . You must be able to motivate yourself because, without a doubt, you will question why you’re doing what you’re doing . ( Location 199 )

Answer the following: When do you feel most passionate or excited? What does the environment around you look like when you feel happiest? What do friends, family, and colleagues praise you for? What do people always ask for your advice about? ( Location 216 )

It’s not always easy to figure out what you’re really great at, but only you can decide what is right for you . You owe it to yourself to at least entertain the idea of doing what you feel passionate about, even if it might make your life more difficult in the beginning . ( Location 228 )

So, what helps? Always be honest with yourself and your clients . Understand that when these challenges arise, it’s better to deal with them right away rather than hiding and hoping they’ll go away on their own . ( Location 245 )

Implementing as you learn on an ongoing basis is an extremely powerful combination . ( Location 274 )

“A business is the best investment you can make . ” That has been my experience over the years, so I was happy to hear him say it . While investing in your own business can often present risks, the huge growth potential you get makes it worthwhile . ( Location 294 )

As a consultant, you control how many clients you work with at any particular time . ( Location 302 )

Now, I can imagine what you’re thinking . “Yeah, but having multiple clients to work with all the time is hard . ” It’s only hard if you structure your consulting business the wrong way . ( Location 305 )

In order to keep your consulting income stable, you have to set up ongoing work with your clients . That way, your projects aren’t limited to a day, week, or month . I’ve used this structure successfully for years . In the Fees and Pricing chapter of this book, I’ll go into detail about how you can make this work for you . ( Location 306 )

There’s no good reason to kill yourself with work or neglect your family . However, I will say this: in the early stages of your business, the more focus and commitment you make, the more momentum you will generate . Getting traction in the early stages can be tough, so you can’t afford to be too laid back or complacent . ( Location 320 )

I’d also read several blogs and other sources of industry information to make sure I was up to date . ( Location 329 )

Updated: Jan 21, 2022

All I will say is be sure you have a passion for the area of consulting you choose . ( Location 474 )

A better approach is to specialize . For example, I specialize in working with consultants to help them develop marketing systems that consistently attract their ideal clients, increase their fees, and win more proposals . ( Location 479 )

make that the focus of your efforts . Your website and marketing materials, even your elevator pitch ( I’ll talk more on this later ) , should communicate your specialty . As soon as you start focusing, you will see potential clients open up; they will be much more interested in your area of expertise than they would be in general skills . ( Location 487 )

Nothing could be further from the truth . Most industries only apply the strategies and principles that everyone else in their industry applies . When you bring in a different set of strategies, they often provide significant results because they stand out so much from what everyone else in the industry is doing . ( Location 500 )

Always be on the lookout for successful campaigns in other industries that you can bring to your clients . Most often, because no one else is doing it outside of that specific industry, bringing it into another industry could produce spectacular results . ( Location 511 )

Another option is to put all of your energy into one industry . If you help dentists with their marketing and patient communications, you may choose to become known as the “dentist marketing guru . ” This focus allows you to hone your skills in a specific area, so you can develop a name for yourself in that one industry . ( Location 513 )

Updated: Jan 22, 2022

Once a client sees that you can help them, they will want to pass you more and more work because they feel comfortable with you and trust you . So, pick your focus, communicate it, and watch the magic begin . ( Location 523 )

Updated: Jan 25, 2022

Becoming a certain kind of consultant because you think it has bigger income potential is a bad move . You’ll most likely find that you’re unhappy because you aren’t as passionate about the work . Becoming a successful consultant requires a lot of ongoing education and training, so you don’t want to get stuck studying and learning about something that bores you . ( Location 537 )

Updated: Jan 25, 2022

It could be increased sales, more leads, decreased costs, improved satisfaction rates, improved manufacturing speed—you get the point . ( Location 547 )

But if you structure your work so it’s a one-time project, you’ve made a big mistake . It’s not the end of the world, but you have to correct the situation . ( Location 560 )

Professional communications . Be professional . It’s amazing how many consultants call themselves professional yet fail to return their clients calls on time or follow through as promised . ( Location 624 )

Being excellent isn’t about being the best—it’s about being better than most of the others around you . Most people know they could be doing better . ( Location 644 )

By taking action, I mean picking up the phone and setting up meetings with prospective customers . Getting out of your office and meeting with potential buyers . Spending money on actual marketing and advertising . ( Location 659 )

Want to be excellent? Take out a piece of paper right now and write down all the things you KNOW you should do for your business that you keep delaying for one reason or another . ( Location 664 )

Look at the most successful people around you . They tend to speak their minds and have their own unique characteristics . Put simply, they are different than others around them . In consulting, you’re after the same thing . Position yourself as different from the competition . Being different is not enough by itself, however . You also need to deliver results and value . ( Location 821 )

To justify the value of my fee I might ask him how much each client on average is worth to him? I would then ask how many new clients the company brings in each month? I may also ask how much they currently spend to bring in those new clients? By the way, you should get all of this information before discussing your fee with clients . ( Location 909 )

Knowing what I now know, I tell the president of the company that I believe I can lower their marketing and advertising costs by 50 percent ( to $12,500 per month ) through testing and tracking, and they’ll still see the same results in terms of new business . I also believe that improving their current ads and lead handling system will bring in an additional two clients each month ( worth an additional $20,000 each month ) . ( Location 917 )

The result is that I have shown the president how his company can make an additional $32,500 each month with my help . I clarify that this won’t happen right away, but suggest that perhaps we agree that within four months of working together, these will be the results . Now, if I’m making this company an extra $25,000 each month, or $300,000 a year ( gains minus my fee ) don’t you think they would be more than happy to pay? ( Location 922 )

Just remember, business owners think in terms of money . ( Location 927 )

Here’s what you need to do to make it work: 1 )     Have a plan for what will be accomplished each month, or a clearly defined set of deliverables that both you and the client have agreed upon . 2 )     Each week or, at minimum, each time you meet with the client, show them what has been achieved or completed prior to the meeting . That way they can see the progress and feel the momentum . 3 )     Always plan ahead . At each meeting, don’t simply review what you’ve completed . Also, discuss what you plan to accomplish next . ( Location 941 )

income to making an amazing income? Partner with a client . Not in the legal sense of becoming joint owners in the business, but in regard to sharing the revenue or savings generated as a result of your work . ( Location 984 )

I recommend that consultants work at least one or two projects successfully to completion with the client first . If all goes well, you’ll be in a much better position to entertain the idea of partnering and sharing in the profits . ( Location 1001 )

Remember, it all comes down to value . Show your clients how they will get more value, explain why your fees will be increasing, and then communicate it clearly with your clients . ( Location 1068 )

When I’ve consulted for companies in Japan, I often charge fees that North American companies would never consider paying . Why? Because to Japanese companies, I am a specialist . I provide a skill set and level of expertise that they couldn’t find in their own market . They had the funds, faced a challenge that required a solution, and were willing to pay for it . I simply filled their need by providing the solution they were looking for . ( Location 1122 )

A big mistake many new consultants make is replying to toxic questions from clients too quickly . I call them toxic because if you answer them too quickly, they can be the death of your project, even before you get started . Two of the most common questions that clients ask consultants are: How long will it take to complete? How much will it cost? Simple questions . Innocent as they may seem, they are actually quite loaded . ( Location 1130 )

Your best course of action is to tell your client that you’ll review all the information and get back to them very soon . Ideally, tell them you’ll be in touch the next day . This allows you to regroup and gather your thoughts . Review your schedule . Go through the budget, and work out the best way to charge and proceed with the project . There’s nothing wrong with taking a day to get back to your client . ( Location 1146 )

So, if you ever find yourself feeling pressured to answer your client, take a minute to breathe and make sure you have all the facts before you commit to a timeline and budget . ( Location 1153 )

The proposal and contract shouldn’t be used to persuade a prospective client to become an actual client . By the time you deliver them these documents, they should already be sold on you . You should have already engaged in a sales conversation and received the go-ahead . ( Location 1196 )

Consultants who create proposals and send them all over town whenever someone asks for an estimate are just wasting their time . Again, the proposal shouldn’t do the selling . That’s your job, and you can only do that by meeting with the prospective client . Only when they’ve shown you that they are genuinely interested in moving forward should you send a proposal . ( Location 1203 )

By this time, the client should have already asked you what your fee is or how much the project is going to cost, and you should have already told them what to expect . The proposal’s job is to distill the conversation you and the prospective client have had so that both of you are on the same page . ( Location 1207 )

The purpose of your proposal is not to win business, but rather, to seal the deal . The business should have already been won when you met with your client . The reason you are providing the proposal and agreement is to clarify and re-state the issue that your client is facing and that you will help to solve . ( Location 1215 )

Updated: Feb 09, 2022

Remember, the buyer should already know what to expect by this point, so don’t include any surprises . ( Location 1228 )

Your goals can be listed as bullet points and might look like this: Increase sales compared to last year . Improve the company’s website conversion rate . Reduce time to market by at least 25% . ( Location 1242 )

Updated: Feb 09, 2022

Research indicates that providing your client with three options is the best way to go . Offer a basic, standard, and advanced package to meet a range of needs . ( Location 1271 )