Happy New Year!
It’s the first week of the year and one thing you’re probably wondering is what you and your consulting firm should do first. Right now.
Your consulting prospects are asking the same question. What should they do now? What should their priority be?
Unfortunately, their list could be topped with challenges that your consulting firm doesn’t solve—penetrating the blacklight market, designing an office layout that houses 200 employees in a 50-employee space, or inventing new uses for leftover holiday yams.
Where does that leave you?
Without a consulting engagement.
Your consulting prospects’ investment decision doesn’t only occur this week. It happens every week. Every day. And many consulting prospects prioritize their resources and attention based on the WIN question:
What’s Important Now?
In fact, there’s an entire management philosophy built around that question.
I’m a fan of the WIN approach, especially for consultants and consulting firms that are feeling overwhelmed or are struggling to prioritize.
But let’s go back to your consulting firm’s prospects. If the problem your consulting firm solves is important to them, and they recognize the tremendous value your consulting work could create for them, then why are they still not awarding you a consulting engagement?
Because in answering What’s Important Now? you’re focused on Important and your consulting prospect is obsessed with Now.
People—consultants and clients alike—rank urgency above importance. Immediacy trumps long-term impact.
Hence, your consulting project that could deliver extraordinary wins in 12 months or a couple of years constantly loses to pressing demands.
Prospects will respond to dozens of fire drills without ever investing in your long-term, conflagration-prevention consulting.
If time pressure is constantly over-weighted, how can you win consulting projects that feature long-term benefits?
By ensuring every consulting project and every one of your proposals contains a VIP:
Valuable, Immediate Progress
What’s the VIP for your consulting project? For your consulting offering?
If your consulting work delivers soft, long term benefits, the VIP may not be obvious. Even if you’re addressing something as tangible and concrete as top-line revenue by offering sales training, the impact of your training may not show up for many months.
Many months is not immediate. You need VIP that creates impact now.
Let’s say you’re working on a culture issue or a leadership question or organization design. How do you create immediate value or solve an urgent issue as part of your work?
Fortunately, the value your consulting firm delivers in the short term needn’t be huge. Just measurable. You’re goal is to create a justification for elevating your consulting proposal to the top of the priority list.
Three Questions to Identify Your VIP
How can your consulting project demonstrate a measurable change for your client within the next 30 days?
How can you tie your work to a burning fire—something that may not be overly important, but is urgent to the client?
What small thorns can you remove for your client in the short term, on your way to delivering the larger win later?
How have you been able to create immediate wins in your consulting projects? Please share below, so that other consultants can learn from your experience.
Text and images are © 2021 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.