What if you’re closing consulting deals, but not enough of them?
If a healthy percentage of your consulting firm’s prospects flow down your funnel to a signed deal, then your fundamentals are working. (Right People, Right Problem, Right Solutions, Right Time.)
But what if you’re closing every lead in your funnel and still falling short of your consulting revenue target?
Big funnels lead to healthy, lucrative consulting businesses. Small funnels yield unsatisfying trickles of business. Clogged funnels usually have too much icing stuck in them, but that’s a different issue.
How do you expand your consulting firm’s funnel? You already know that your goal is greater visibility. You may also be aware of the Five Marketing Musts. (If not, definitely read Chapter 8 of this book.)
For a quick lesson on this topic, let’s turn to a rock ‘n roller.
Adam Levine, lead singer of the rock band Maroon 5, isn’t a consultant; although he did offer advice on a long-running TV show, “The Voice.”
Interestingly, Levine’s band was faltering when he landed his high-visibility TV role. Then the show exposed Levine and his music to millions who previously thought Maroon 5 must be a new color of crayon, and the band enjoyed a wave of hit singles.
What can you learn from Levine’s story? It helps to have a good singing voice and be devilishly handsome.
Okay, that’s not terribly useful. Try this instead.
Commit to activities that fit your own, unique talents.
I’m guessing Levine would have enjoyed considerably less success if he had been tapped to host Monday Night Football (which has a much larger audience than The Voice).
The Five Marketing Musts all work, but not all five work for every consulting firm.
When you choose strategies that fit your personal strengths (or those of your firm), you radically increase the likelihood that you’ll enjoy the visibility-building activities, do them well and stick with them.
Below is a list of marketing tactics broken down by personal strengths. Even though you’re good at many, pick just one or two of your “super strengths.” Then, refine (or create) your personal contribution to your consulting firm’s marketing plan by incorporating the tactics listed for your super strengths.
If your strengths include WRITING
- Publish a book (commercial or self-published)
- Write articles for publications
- Write position papers / white papers
- Write newsletters
- Write a regular blog
- Write posts for LinkedIn
- Leverage Twitter and other social media
If your strengths include COPYWRITING
- Draft advertising
- Write press releases
- Create passive listings in directories
- Produce leave-behinds for audience members
- Post a killer web site
- Develop a press kit
If your strengths include EXTEMPORANEOUS SPEAKING
- Get quoted by reporters in their articles
- Become a guest on podcasts
- Join panel discussions
- Solicit radio interviews
- Appear on TV
If your strengths include PLATFORM SPEAKING
- Speak to as many audiences as possible
- Lead seminars
- Host breakfasts and lunches
- Teach at a local university or other learning venues (e.g., libraries)
If your strengths include TEAM LEADERSHIP
- Take a leadership role in a trade association
- Join a trade association committee
If your strengths include ONE-ON-ONE INTERACTION
- Generate referrals
- Network face-to-face and via telephone
- Walk the halls! (Face-to-face in person)
- Build alliances with influencers and connectors
- Secure third-party endorsements and testimonials
If your strengths include EFFECTIVE, EFFICIENT WORK
- Take on pro-bono projects (for associations, non-profits and civic associations)
If your strengths include PRODUCT CREATION
- Self-publish a book, booklets and/or ebooks
- Record teleconferences; create audio products
- Create video products
- Create online programs
- Develop subscription services
- Publish syndicated research
- Offer online assessments and tools
If your strengths include RESEARCHING
- Collect data and e-mail addresses for outbound marketing
- Catalog effective visibility-building tactics employed by competing consulting firms
Undoubtedly you can think of other vehicles that leverage your core strength. In fact, I want to hear what they are—that will help everyone who reads the blog.
What else has successfully generated visibility for you and your firm. (If you’ve produced a new, hit music video, please post that in the comments too.)
Text and images are © 2023 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.
Even when you’re lacking talent, you can still have fun. (Ericeira may be one of the world’s most famous surfing spots, but little time was needed there to prove that riding waves doesn’t leverage any of my skills.)
You may want to save your zero-talent moments for vacation rather than business-building!
Thank you David! Another excellent article that excites me to re-read your book. I’ve shared it with a number of coaching and consulting clients! Thank you for all you do.
What a nice comment to see at the end of my vacation, Jerry! Thank you for your support and for being part of the consulting community.
Hi David – i would like to take on more pro-bono work but I want to know the best way to go about it. I have your book and i also see that you have recommended doing pro-bono for associations/non-profits. Do you advise against doing pro bono for for-profit organizations? And if not, what is the best way to ask a for-profit org without looking desperate?
Interesting question. Yes, I typically advise against doing pro-bono work for for-profit organizations. Why shouldn’t they pay you for the value you’re creating on their behalf? Both sides benefit. Now, if you’re piloting a new service line or going into an unknown area and your risk of failure on the project is high, you may offer to run the project at-cost.
In general, the best way to not look desperate is to not feel desperate! If you have no clients and your bank account is dwindling, that can be difficult. However, try to maintain some emotional distance from your financial situation.
If you want to get any sort of project going so that you’re busy, offer a pilot–which is an excuse for offering something at a greatly reduced fee. I don’t love offering projects at reduced fee, but that’s one way at it.
Does that help?
Thank you so much for taking time to respond on this post from a while back. I did not think you would but I thought it was worth a try. And yes, this response is super helpful! Thank you a bunch!!!
You betcha. We’re here to be of service!
Portugal is one of my favourite holiday destinations. Looks like you’re having fun.
Portugal is great (it was my first time there), and it’s easy to have fun when you’re spending a month traveling around a country filled with generous, welcoming people. Plenty of lessons learned, too!