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How to Win More Follow-On Business [Part 1]

This is Part 1 of a seven-part series in which I show you how to win more follow-on and pull-through business by consulting at the “enterprise” level. In each article (other than this one), I discuss how to adapt one of the “Six Pillars of Consulting Success” from winning individual projects to winning an ongoing string of lucrative projects.

Let’s start with a story about a restaurateur named Raffaele Gallo. This isn’t based on a true story. It is a true story. In fact, here’s a drawing of Raffaele.


Years ago, when I was new in town, I stopped into Raffaele’s restaurant. Yummy! I brought my family the next time. Universal consensus: 1) Scrumtialicious, 2) Raffaele’s nice (he had stopped by the table to say hello). Fast forward to a big, family event with many guests. Where should we hold it? Raffaele’s restaurant. When a civic organization I belong to needed catering, whom did I recommend? Raffaele.

Is Raffaele’s place the best food in town? No. The #1 rated restaurant in Connecticut is less than a mile away. Is it the least expensive? The best value? The only Italian place? No, no, no.

Yet, Raffaele masterfully converted my single meal 15 years ago (one win) into a large, ongoing stream of business with my family, friends and associates (ongoing, enterprise win). And his story with me isn’t unique, which is why Raffaele recently opened his third restaurant.

The rest of this series of articles is about how you can accomplish the same results with your consulting clients. Graduate from one-and-done projects with a single buyer to a steady stream of initiatives from decision-makers across the client organization.

For example, we’ll explore how a single project from a long-time contact blossomed into requests for $875k of work over the past 3 years, even after my original contact left the client.


Let’s go back to Raffaele and me. When I ate dinner at Raffaele’s, we happily exchanged some cash for a delectable meal. But that was only one meal of three I ate that day. One of 21 I ate that week, or roughly 90 I ate that month. When you factor in my family’s meals, that was one of 360.

Plus, since I have friends with whom I dine frequently, that dinner at his restaurant was like one pine nut in a whole pesto bowl of opportunity.

The whole pesto bowl is what I call Total Customer Value Opportunity. It’s thinking beyond the immediate sale and buyer. For you and me, it’s all the dollars a single company could spend on any consultant over, say, the next three years.

That pine nut—the one meal I ate at Raffaele’s place—is the Total Captured Customer Value, or TCV. It’s the consulting work you or an associate of yours actually wins from the company.

Your job is to maximize TCV

Eat the most pesto. At every client. That’s how you end up fat (financially speaking).


There are three ways to increase TCV:

  • Breadth – Sell to more decision makers inside the client.
  • Depth – Win more projects from your current decision maker.
  • Duration – Win more projects over time. (i.e., Breadth and Depth, over and over.).

How do you increase breadth, depth and duration at a client? Fortunately, you already have a model for winning consulting business. It’s called the Six Pillars of Consulting Success.


Every time you win a consulting gig, those six pillars are in place. Whether it’s follow-on work, pull-through business or a totally new client, you seal the deal when all six pillars stand strong and you lose when any pillar crumbles.

Now expand that thinking from the individual decision-maker to the organization level. It’s Raffaele transcending the effort to get me into the restaurant for the first time and thinking about my whole family, my circle of friends and all our eating occasions.

In the next six articles, I’ll explain how to adapt each pillar from the project level to the enterprise level so you can maximize your TCV. Grab a bowl of pasta, and let’s dig in.

Read Part 2: 8 Strategies for Finding the World’s Easiest Buyers


  1. Lisa Hamaker
    July 22, 2015 at 7:46 am Reply

    Thank you David for making learning (and re-learning) fun! This post shows me why I am somewhat naturally successful at consulting, I really enjoy 5 of the 6 pillars. Ensuring that my clients see the value is something I need to remind myself about all the time. I am oft to get ready for an important client meeting this afternoon and this is the perfect way to start my day. Thanks again! (PS: the chef’s hat is classic!)

    • David A. Fields
      July 23, 2015 at 5:49 pm Reply

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Lisa. I hope your client meeting went well! It sounds like you enjoy establishing all six of the pillars, and you just need to keep Value top-of-mind. At the enterprise level, the Value pillar is fascinating and there are at least seven strategies for introducing more value to your clients. (Stay tuned!)

  2. Tom Borg
    July 22, 2015 at 10:02 am Reply

    Great start to this process on gaining more business from the same clients. Looking forward to the book as well.

    • David A. Fields
      July 23, 2015 at 5:40 pm Reply

      Thanks, Tom. I’ll definitely let you know when the ebook is put together. There’s always too much content to include in a short blog, so the ebook format provides a format to cover the topic in more depth. Your feedback as I post the series will help make the end product better – and is much appreciated.

  3. Tom Kubilius
    July 22, 2015 at 10:56 am Reply

    Great topic. It’s so much easier to get business from existing clients than new ones. You should already have the first three pillars in place and will be clued into the fourth, if you are keeping your eyes open and asking good questions.

    • David A. Fields
      July 23, 2015 at 5:39 pm Reply

      That is exactly on the right track, Tom. We already have a big step up when we’re inside a client. On the other hand, what we sometimes forget is that under the same roof there are may be OTHER potential buyers who don’t yet Know, Like or Trust us. In this series we’re going to explore how to play effectively in this middle ground.. where we have a foot in the door, but the rest of our body may still be hovering outside.

  4. Todd Ordal
    July 22, 2015 at 3:06 pm Reply

    Great analogy, David. Smart, witty writing with a great point. Well done!

    • David A. Fields
      July 23, 2015 at 5:35 pm Reply

      Thanks,Todd! I’m glad you found the post useful. As we go through the series, please share your own examples of winning follow on business too. I know many consultants will find the additional case studies helpful.

  5. Thom O'Leary
    July 22, 2015 at 3:41 pm Reply

    Love the concept of TCV as illustrated through the restaurant. That’s exactly how it happens!

    • David A. Fields
      July 23, 2015 at 5:33 pm Reply

      Yes, when I was thinking about the whole topic of follow-on business, restaurants immediately came to mind. As consultants, we can definitely learn lessons from other industries and other entrepreneurs. Thanks for your comment.

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