Back to the List
26 Comments

The 10 Best Ways for Your Consulting Firm to Add Value

Half the spinning cycle of consulting is creating value for your clients. (The other half is winning engagements.) If your consulting firm can add more value, you can win more projects from more clients at higher fees. So, let’s cover the ten best ways to add value to a consulting project.

In consulting, as in desserts, layering on the sweet stuff ensures your product will be snarfed up and produce satisfied smiles. Sure, a brownie is good, but my grandmother’s seven-layer dream bars were divine.

Similarly, a consulting project that delivers one type of value is good, but seven layers of value are going to make your clients swoon. (And sending dream bars to your clients could make you consulting firm of the year.)

The intrinsic value of a consulting project depends on the problem you’re solving for your client. Problems that are bigger, juicier and more urgent intrinsically are more valuable and will allow you to command higher fees.

The extrinsic value of your consulting project reflects the benefits you add on top of the client’s initial request. These benefits also affect the size, scope and margin of your consulting project. Generally, it’s obvious how to offer one or two classes of benefits in your consulting projects, because your client asked for them.

The question, though, is whether you can layer more extrinsic value on top of what your client asked for.

If you had a checklist of the best ways your consulting firm could add value to a consulting project, then you could quickly scan down the list and craft additional tiers of gooey, sweet, benefits.

Fortunately, we have that list!

The 10 Best Ways for Your Consulting Firm to Add Value

Solve

One classic use of consultants is identifying solutions to problems. Typically, this is top-of-mind when clients hire your consulting firm.

On the other hand, even if a client didn’t ask you to solve anything, is there a problem you could eliminate?

Represent

Clients also hire consultants to access a voice of experience in a certain industry or function. In this case, you are lending perspective as a representative of a certain class that the client is interested in—oncology physicians, or lean operators, or brownie bakers.

Highlight your expertise as a source of value in your proposal.

Advise

Enhance your value to your clients by stepping into the role of advisor and suggesting a specific course of action.

Offer go/no-go recommendations, counsel on improving leadership, strategic direction, or any of a thousand other ways you can point your clients to a better future.

Clarify

Frequently, your clients are so tangled up in the minutiae of their problems, that they’ve lost focus and direction.

Consider simplifying and prioritizing your consulting client’s efforts. That’s often perceived as enormously valuable.

Implement

Implementation on its own is staff augmentation, not consulting. However, many clients view a consulting proposal as weak or hollow if it only offers advice or a solution without any hands-on implementation.

Even though you should generally avoid “end-to-end” consulting, you can probably add value to your proposals by including some level of implementation.

Customize

IT consultants, in particular, are familiar with projects focused on customizing a particular application or software platform to meet a specific client’s needs.

If you’re not in IT consulting, take this source of value to heart. Is there a way you could boost the value of your consulting project by customizing a standardized approach or idea for your client?

Train

You can easily raise the worth of your consulting project by offering to transfer skills and knowledge. Generally this takes the form of instructing, coaching, and mentoring in a plethora of formats.

Whether it’s in-person classes, online materials, facilitated peer-groups, or some other modality, try layering some training into your projects.

Advance

Are you on the vanguard of thinking in your field? Have you developed a breakthrough approach?

You can promise to step up your client’s approaches and operations, setting them ahead of their competition and positioning them to be at the forefront of important trends.

Insulate

Sometimes, clients need an impartial voice to explain a strategy or choice to their troops.

Your consulting firm can fill that role, creating separation in an emotional situation, reducing the perception of bias, or diffusing an apparent conflict of interest. While this may not seem like consulting, it’s definitely a layer of value you should consider.

Other?

I have four other layers of value on my checklist, but I bet you can come up with even more. I’m leaving this space open for you.

What other ways can your consulting firm add value for your clients?


26 Comments
  1. Edmund Mackosindeh ( Managing Director- Giovani Enterprises - Certified Management Consultants)
    November 9, 2018 at 2:11 am Reply

    Well in different perspectives projects come in two folds and it is upon the consultant to be able to identify the plus points and minus points in any engagement. Clients also represent a multifaceted perspective and ability to comprehend the concepts but with understanding the clientele Organizational history and doing some due deligence initially can add value to both your initial and further engagement on the same. I do concur with the above perspective that narrowing down on your core business adds value and improves sales and increase revenue and also costing in terms of projects. Am very much enlightened on the same and this discussion give a wider perspective in terms of expertise

    • David A. Fields
      November 9, 2018 at 5:23 am Reply

      You’ve surfaced an important point, Edumund, which is well worth keeping in mind: clients are responsible for the value of their project.

      In the course of conducting your Context Discussions (i.e., discovery), you and your prospective client can jointly identify the highest value problem that warrants your intervention.

      Excellent job bring that to the fore, Edmund.

  2. Steven Bonacorsi
    May 31, 2019 at 10:47 am Reply

    Metrics: The ability to identify measurable indicators of a process that allows the key stakeholder to easily evaluate the performance of the process that will allow for a data driven decision to be made is invaluable. Most companies I consult for have airline cockpits of data (to much info or noise) and what they need is a simple dashboard like we have in our car to quickly see if the speed is just right or make it easy to make the decision to add more gas or step on the break.

    • David A. Fields
      May 31, 2019 at 10:53 am Reply

      Helping clients sift through the noise is hugely helpful. Good point, Steven. By the way, using metrics to provide concrete evidence of the value you’re creating is also a worthwhile endeavor.

      Thanks for contributing to the conversation!

Leave а Comment

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

Prev Article

How Ed Sheeran Will Make You a Wealthier Consultant

Next Article

Wow! It’s Easy to Improve Every Part of Your Consulting Firm

NEVER MISS A GREAT ARTICLE ON CONSULTING

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.