Back to the List

How to Win Consulting Clients Fast!

Your consulting firm need clients fast. As in right now. In fact, yesterday would be preferable. Which marketing vehicles will help you most when you’re in a hurry?

Winning clients is a bit like securing a loan: if you already have a lot in the bank, it’s easier to get more.

But let’s say that recently the winds of fortune have blown against your consulting firm, your current clients are tapped out, and your firm’s cupboard of money, morale and muffins is depleted.

What’s the quickest path to new clients?

Unsurprisingly, the answer is: it depends.

A quick reminder: winning any consulting engagement requires all Six Pillars of Consulting Success to be fully established; i.e., Know, Like, Trust, Need, Want and Value.

Know and Trust are the most relevant pillars to speed of sale.

Know determines the raw number of opportunities available to your consulting firm. The more Known you are, the higher the likelihood that at least one prospect that is aware of your firm is seeking outside help and will share their muffins with you.

More interested prospects 🢡 faster sale

Trust reigns as the ultimate, gating factor in winning a consulting project and can be the most difficult pillar to establish. Therefore, if you have pre-established Trust or your offering is designed to lower Trust barriers, you can win clients faster.

More belief in your consulting firm 🢡 faster sale

Now the challenge is clearer: how can you become Known and Trusted fast?

My team and I reviewed the 35-40 most common marketing vehicles and the success rates experienced by firms employing those vehicles.

We found that four “Sources of Strength” influence which marketing tactics win clients fastest.

Fastest Marketing Vehicles for Consulting Firms,
by Source of Strength

Network Strength

Network Strength measures the number of active relationships your consulting firm has with executives who have budget authority over the specific offering you want to sell. (a.k.a. decision-makers.)

If you accept the rule of thumb that any given time, roughly 3-5% of your target market is actively looking to solve the problem you address, then for each consulting engagement you want to close quickly, you need high-Trust relationships with 20-30 decision-makers in addition to your current clients.

If you have high Network strength, then the fastest paths to cash are:

  • Outreach to your network
  • Webinars for your network
  • Self-hosted gatherings
  • Limited-time offer of foot-in-door engagement

Brand Equity

Brand Equity encompasses how well your consulting firm and/or key individuals in the firm are known and respected among your target prospects.

If you have high Brand Equity, many prospects Know and Trust you even though you don’t know them.

Your goal is to surface the prospects who, unbeknownst to you, already Know and Trust your consulting firm, identify those who are interested in acting soon, and encourage them to contact you.

Therefore, supplement your current marketing with vehicles that create better direct-connections and with powerful Calls to Action (CTAs).

The fastest marketing vehicles for you include:

  • Lead magnets
  • Contests
  • Quick collaborations with marketing partners whose tribes overlap with yours
  • Social media with a strong CTA

Offer Productization

Offer Productization describes how “in a box” your consulting offering is; i.e, to what extent your offer is easy to explain, easy to understand, repeatable and concrete, with clear, easy-to-display results.

If you have very high Offer Productization, Trust is built quickly through the offering itself, especially if the fee is relatively low.

Therefore, you can focus almost exclusively on Know, and the following marketing vehicles can produce rapid results:

  • SDRs/BDRs (i.e, appointment setters)
  • SEO
  • Lead generation agencies
  • Paid advertising

Channel Preference

Channel Preference exists when your target market exhibits particular receptivity to a type of marketing vehicle.

Most target markets don’t have a strong channel preference, however there are a few that do.

For instance, if you’re targeting digital marketing executives then you can concentrate on digital marketing vehicles, including social media posts, online contests, etc.

If you’re targeting sales professionals, you’ll have more luck than other consulting firms with “salesy” vehicles such as cold outreach, SDRs, etc.


The marketing vehicles recommended above will prove ineffective and, in some cases, counterproductive to producing new business quickly if you don’t have the requisite Source of Strength.

Don’t invest in marketing campaigns that require a Source of Strength your firm hasn’t yet established.

The two exceptions to that rule are outreach to your Network Core and collaborations with marketing partners.

Fast Marketing for Consulting Firms Without a Source of Strength

It’s typically difficult to win business quickly if your consulting firm rates low on all four Sources of Strength.

As a general rule if you’re in that situation, your fastest paths are:

  1. Outreach to your current network and clients.
  2. In-person, live speaking (if you can quickly arrange speaking gigs in front of your prospects).
  3. Collaborations, particularly webinars with partners whose Know and Trust are already established.

Plus This, No Matter What

No matter what marketing vehicles you dial up to find prospects, you must employ excellent, rapid follow-up.

Without good follow-up discipline, all your other efforts are wasted.

I’m curious about your experience. How have you been able to quickly generate business (from new clients, not follow-on from current clients)?

  1. Barry Witonsky
    February 21, 2024 at 3:05 pm Reply

    Quickest path to revenue for me has been when acting as a sub-contractor. I am routinely in touch with 3-4 firms where I am a good fit for a gap in their portfolio. Since they each have active deals, and active deals in pipeline it has served me well. Can’t say I’ve gone to them with a desperate need but when they do have a need, its a very fast sales process. Some disadvantages in that they own the client relationship however.

    • David A. Fields
      February 22, 2024 at 7:39 am Reply

      Very fair point, Barry. While subcontracting might not fall under the category of new client, it’s definitely a fast (and highly recommended) path to bring in revenue quickly.

      I appreciate your adding a different spin to the conversation, Barry!

  2. Olga B Lopategui
    February 22, 2024 at 9:17 am Reply

    Thank you for the article, David – very timely!

    Testing out the impact of outreach to current network – let’s see if that can stir up some projects fast. I went through my CRM yesterday and found some 50 A-grade weak contacts whom I apparently gave up on touching a while back. Emailing every single one today.

    Also, will redirect my next batch of LinkedIn posts to promoting an easy, entry level priced packaged solution that IMHO many prospects need (we’ve sold that half dozen times, so probably the demand is there).

    Will let you and Maria Isabel know whether anything falls out from shaking those bushes!

    • David A. Fields
      February 22, 2024 at 10:23 pm Reply

      Good on you, Olga. You’re in action and you’re tapping your network, which is always the best way to start. Definitely keep us up to date with your progress.

      Thank you also for sharing your actions with me and other readers. Much appreciated!

Leave а Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Prev Article

How to Maximize the Exit Value of Your Consulting Firm (And Why You Should Plan Now)

Next Article

The Art of Reconnecting… Or, Is It Time to Walk Away? [Consulting Firm Success Practice]


Subscribe to receive insiders’ access to information and resources that will help you grow your consulting firm.

Note: By subscribing you are confirming that you have read and agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. You are also confirming your consent to receive emails from David about his articles, programs and recommendations.

Firm Type