People are most likely to act when what they want is within reach. You can leverage that bias to win more clients for your consulting firm.
Motivation is a funny thing. You think to yourself, “Self, this is the year my consulting firm is going to put millions of dollars into my pocket. Also, I’m going to exercise and diet until I look like that svelte YouTuber.”
And, for a moment, you’re inspired; motivated to set aside the delicious plate of brownies, sweep the crumbs off your lap and leap into action.
You experience a surge of vim, vigor and excited anticipation.
It passes quickly. The gulf between your current reality and your desired end state crushes your motivation like a 10-ton brick of chocolate—appealing at first glance, but the sheer immensity of it overwhelms your impetus to take action.
Your consulting firm’s prospective clients feel the same thing, but with decidedly less cacao sensibility. Their problems and aspirations constantly threaten to overwhelm them.
When a prospect talks with your consulting firm, they’re admitting that they may not be able to tackle a problem they’re facing or a dream they’re trying to realize. However, talking with your consulting firm is a different kettle of potatoes than engaging you for a project.
The leap from pondering to paying only happens when your prospect believes they’re in a narrow, Goldilocks zone of feasibility.
If an issue seems easy to address, your prospect will tackle it internally. If the problem appears overwhelmingly difficult, they’ll set it aside in favor of other, more easily accomplished priorities that deliver the same value.
Your consulting firm operates in the world of the Small Gap, where a client’s challenge can’t quite be addressed using internal resources.
Therefore, in your consulting firm’s conversations with prospective clients, strive to create the perception that the your client is facing a Small Gap that your consulting firm is extremely qualified to close.
The sense you want to impart is, “You’re almost there! You’re so close. With just a little bit of help (from us), you can achieve your dreams.”
Consulting firms that try to magnify the size of their prospect’s gap, perhaps out of fear that the client might not see the need for a consultant at all, often diminish their opportunity to win an engagement.
Emphasizing a client’s inability to achieve their goals can trigger delays. The prospect decides that perhaps they should investigate more, possibly approach the issue differently or interview more consulting firms.
If that’s the case, then what should you do when the gap between a prospect’s current reality and their desired state is, legitimately, gimongous, and they’re light years away from closing the chasm on their own?
In those situations, identify the Small Gap. What’s the next step on the way to Nirvana that’s achievable with a little bit of help.
When you position the next success as being within reach, you boost your prospective client’s motivation to hire you; i.e., you increase Want.
And linking that next, achievable-with-help success action to your prospect’s ultimate dream increases your consulting prospect’s perception of Value.
Have you found you’re able to close projects more easily when there’s a Small Gap?
Text and images are © 2023 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.