There’s a rich, hidden vein of project opportunities for your consulting firm—projects that your consulting firm may not have been in the running to receive. With the proper outlook and actions, you can reveal and win them.
Usage of certain consumer products such as toothpaste and toilet paper are fairly constant—you’re unlikely to persuade consumers to use more of them or to use them on more occasions.
However, manufacturers of other types of fast-moving consumer goods, such as tahini, cheese and chocolate chips know that the right marketing and promotion strategies can increase usage and purchases.* Manufacturers call this “expandable consumption.”
Can your consulting firm tap into expandable consumption, or is consulting a fixed-consumption product?
Logical answer: Consulting is fixed consumption.
Consulting isn’t an impulse purchase like chocolate bars, parmesan crisps or Teslas. You can only win a consulting project when a client has a need for your consulting firm, and needs aren’t expandable or discretionary.
Experience-based answer: Consulting is expandable consumption.
Clients hire your consulting firm when the client is aware of a need, urgently wants to solve it, considers consulting as a viable solution, and qualifies your consulting firm as the best solution. Awareness, urgency, consideration set and qualification are all expandable!*
By far, the easiest way to tap into expandable consumption is to enter the consideration set more often.
Clients are not thinking of your firm as a solution when they’re thinking about their problem. But they could, and they should.
Surprisingly, perhaps, consulting is a “squeaky wheel gets the grease” proposition. Clients’ squeakiest problems commandeer their attention and budgets, and squeaky consulting firms win a disproportionate portion of the projects that are up for grabs.
Your consulting firm needs to be squeakier
And by squeaky, I mean your consulting firm needs to be communicating more often and in more ways to your clients and prospects. Your consulting firm should be top-of-mind when your client is thinking about their problems.
3 Tips to Expand Your Consulting Firm’s Market
Actively Build Visibility
More touchpoints with more prospects leads to more calls about potential projects. Said simply, engage in marketing. Frequently, consistently, and in ways that maximize your consulting firm’s reach and exposure.
Not every marketing activity will produce an ROI or obvious consulting client. Accept that fact and commit to investing your consulting firm’s time, money and energy into the Five Marketing Musts.
Focus on Hot Buttons
Your consulting firm will receive more inquiries if you focus your marketing efforts on the issues that your prospects are most concerned with.
This tip seems almost too obvious to mention, yet many consulting firms’ articles, whitepapers, webinars, podcasts and other marketing efforts highlight what’s interesting and important to the consulting firm.
Impose a litmus test for every marketing piece you send into the world:
Is this marketing piece addressing a hot topic that our clients are already talking about?
Create High-Touch Engagements
When you construct your consulting approach, opt for interactive, high-touch approaches with long tails.
You’d think that your consulting firm would be top-of-mind with your current, active clients. And you’d be wrong. They’re not thinking about you when you’re not across the table (or internet).
Therefore, build more interactions into your consulting projects, such as regular, non-project-related calls, opportunities to literally or digitally “walk the halls,” work sessions and post-implementation check-in sessions.
By the way, the wrong way to tap into expandable consumption is to try to communicate that you solve many, many, many problems. That’s counterproductive.
You should, of course, also take steps to ensure your consulting firm stands out as a credible, reliable, easy-to-adopt solution.
Increasing awareness of the need your consulting firm solves and agitating the urgency can expand consumption too. Consider those as secondary strategies—since they’re not Fishing Where the Fish Are, they require much more work to achieve less results.
In your experience, have you found the consumption of consulting services to be expandable? I’d love to hear a quick example, case study or other ideas from you.
Text and images are © 2023 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.