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Use DFY/DIY Combinations to Win More Projects for Your Consulting Firm

Some clients want the bare minimum of support from your consulting firm, which can be frustrating for you since big revenue follows big projects. By introducing more DFY/DIY combinations into your suite of offerings, you may open up lucrative new revenue streams for your consulting firm.

Let’s say that you’re lining up a celebratory dinner. Woo hoo! Should you reserve tables at a Michelin-star restaurant, cook for the gala yourself or, perhaps, invite your guests to bring their own food. (Is pot luck still a thing?)

The answer depends on quite a few variables.

Is your bash a wedding reception or a backyard barbecue? Are you an epicurean or ascetic? Are you an accomplished chef or do you burn water? Are you rolling in dough or rolling in, well, dough?

Carla Cannoli, your local restaurateur, endorses a tasting menu at her swanky eatery. She’s appalled at the prospect of your self-hosting virtually any affair.

You could ask Carla to set aside the ingredients and recipes for her best dishes so that you could prepare the meal yourself at home; however, she’s more likely to pepper you with insults than turn over her pastry secrets.

Dinner in Carla’s restaurant is a done-for-you (DFY) experience. In her mind, a home-cooked, do-it-yourself (DIY) soiree threatens her business.

However, by thinking of DFY and DIY as opposing, competing approaches, Carla is missing the boat kitchen.

There’s an entire industry now of combination DFY/DIY food. For instance, you can purchase pre-packaged meal ingredients that you assemble and cook yourself. They’re less expensive, less sophisticated and less tasty than dinner out at the finest restaurants. They’re also less work, less hassle and (if you’re an average cook) less risky than searching for odd ingredients and attempting to construct a fancy meal yourself.

Your consulting firm is a DFY business. You make your money providing consulting services, not books or products or prepackaged gougères.

As a result, prospective clients who suggest a primarily-DIY project can be frustrating for you. Like Carla, you’re apt to characterize those prospects as not worth your consulting firm’s time and, perhaps, mildly insulting.

Of course, you can attempt to dissuade those prospects from their ill-advised, DIY approach. In fact, I provide guidance to help you combat DIY thinkers in this article.

There’s yet another tack for your consulting firm to consider: a new, combination DFY/DIY offering.

What could your consulting firm offer that fits the following three requirements?

  • Less comprehensive than your current, full-bore DFY consulting services,
  • Reasonable revenue and high margin to your consulting firm
  • Compelling benefits and price point for DIY-minded prospects

In other words, what offering fits between the book you wrote (totally DIY) and your current consulting services (mostly DFY)?

What is your consulting firm’s equivalent of gourmet, prepare-at-home meals? (And, of course, is there a substantial market opportunity for a DFY/DIY combination?)

For example, instead of recommending your consulting firm’s standard, 12-week strategy project, could you can propose a three-week strategy boot camp that equips your client with the tools and guidance they need to tackle their strategic challenge?

This may be less powerful and profitable than your typical project, yet much better for you and your client than settling for an ineffective, low-fee, one-day workshop.

Or, if your consulting firm typically provides a premium, hands-on advisory service, perhaps you can offer an outstanding, two-day program that enables a cohort of clients to make significant progress under their own steam. (e.g., this program for Solo consultants.)

Whatever your consulting firm’s focus, you currently deliver a DFY service and you undoubtedly receive DIY-oriented requests from prospects that you walk away from or meet begrudgingly.

If you assemble a new DFY/DIY consulting package that you enjoy delivering and is compelling to DIY-inclined clients, you could enjoy a healthy new revenue stream for your consulting firm.

What do you offer as DFY now that possibly could be repackaged as a combo DFY/DIY engagement?

  1. Michael
    August 3, 2022 at 5:59 am Reply

    This was a mushrooming of the mind, David. I never would have thought of such a thing. Just when I think I have created services for most all possible client needs, I learn something new from you. Thank you. Opportunity awaits. Now, into the lab I go to think, theorize, create, test and examine.

    • David A. Fields
      August 3, 2022 at 9:13 am Reply

      You’re constant willingness to learn is an excellent trait for a consultant and entrepreneur, Michael. Set an alarm so that after a short time you come out of the lab and test your creations on the unsuspecting market. After all, it doesn’t matter what you think or I say; everything rides on how the market reacts. (Right-Side Up Thinking strikes again.)

      I appreciate your feedback and your enthusiasm, Michael. Keep me up to date with your DFY/DIY experiments.

      • Michael
        August 4, 2022 at 8:35 am Reply

        An absolute: “After all, it doesn’t matter what you think or I say; everything rides on how the market reacts.”

        And thank you for, “set an alarm so that after a short time…”

        • David A. Fields
          August 4, 2022 at 9:25 am

          You betcha, Michael. Right-Side Up Thinking is at the root of successful consulting. (Easier said than done, of course.)

  2. Steen Iver Andersen
    August 3, 2022 at 6:23 am Reply

    A client of mine initially manages the material and technical aspects of their cases and I subsequently manage the formal and regulatory aspects of the cases before the cases are submitted to various authorities. I don’t need to have profound knowledge of the technical aspects and I charge the client only for value which the client can’t provide.

    • David A. Fields
      August 3, 2022 at 9:15 am Reply

      Outstanding, Steer. It sounds like you’ve found a terrific combination of DFY and DIY that meshes perfectly with your clients’ desires and abilities. Well done.

      Thank you for contributing that perfect case study!

  3. Tony Rodriguez
    August 3, 2022 at 7:57 am Reply

    Good advise David. Its better to get a piece of the pie than no pie at all. Plus if you provide value during the DIY project, you would certainly have a client for years to come.

    • David A. Fields
      August 3, 2022 at 9:18 am Reply

      Well said, Tony. To build on your point a bit: often when you give your client the DIY option they requested, they look at the big mess of Lego blocks and instructions you’ve handed them then decide, “You know what? I’ve decided it might be best for you to build the Jurassic World scene.”

      I’m glad you highlighted that point, Tony! Thanks for joining the conversation.

  4. Julie
    August 3, 2022 at 9:03 am Reply

    Long-term lurker, first-time poster, David (though I love your book and bought it for my colleagues in our very small practice 😉 )

    It’s kismet; we were just talking about this type of offering today. We thought the idea had promise and what you’ve said here will really help propel our thinking. Cheers!

    Thanks again for another

    • David A. Fields
      August 3, 2022 at 9:21 am Reply

      Fortuitous serendipity! It sounds like your team is on an excellent track toward creating compelling new offerings. Please keep me up apprised of what works for you and what doesn’t.

      Thank you for being a long-time reader, and welcome into the commenter’s pool, Julie! It’s great to see you having fun in here with the rest of us. 😊

    • Michael
      August 4, 2022 at 8:58 am Reply

      I didn’t know David had written a book. I now see that page and the books. Thank you for mentioning it, Julie. I just bought the book written specifically for consultants.

      • David A. Fields
        August 4, 2022 at 9:26 am Reply

        Well there’s a good piece of information for my marketing team! Somehow, me and my team assume most article readers have also read at least one of my books. Silly assumption on our part! I’m very glad you replied to Julie, Michael.

        • Michael
          August 4, 2022 at 9:38 am

          If it’s helpful, for me at least, I learned of you from the Patina (?) webinar you conducted. That was my personal introduction to David A. Fields. So followers of your work coming from different directions. 🙂

        • David A. Fields
          August 4, 2022 at 9:50 am

          Perfect, Michael. There are a lot of smart folks in this community who come from all sorts of places and have widely varied backgrounds. Some even don’t like chocolate! (Odd, but true.)

  5. Tina
    August 3, 2022 at 10:29 am Reply

    Great explanation, David. I started doing this a few years ago when I seemed to be inundated with self-published projects. Since most of my clients are traditionally-published authors with large platforms, it took some rethinking to help these folks. But a combination of coaching – showing them how to DIY and me doing some specific things – DFY has worked well. I love helping more people, bringing in more revenue, and the nice surprise: getting even more referrals for my services.

    • David A. Fields
      August 3, 2022 at 10:48 am Reply

      Hooray for an inspiring case study, Tina! Your experience is a perfect example of what can happen when you open yourself to your market’s needs rather than stubbornly insisting on what your consulting offer “should” be.

      Thank you so much for sharing how your combination DFY/DIY engagement has helped your business. Kudos to you, Tina.

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