Would you rather be like Connie or Vin?
Constance Fidanse and Vincent Dohor are real people we work with (the names have been changed, obviously) and both have been running their small consulting firms for around five years.
Interestingly, Connie and Vin target the same industries with very similar services. However, Connie’s average project size, total consulting firm revenue and personal take-home income are almost ten times Vin’s.
And she’s not working any harder.
So, wouldn’t you rather be like Connie than Vin?
You can be.
The Big Contrast Between Connie and Vin
Winning larger, richer, more lucrative consulting projects results from a number of factors and is an approach we call “Same Rain, Bigger Drops.”
In this case, though, the difference between Connie and Vin is simple and quite striking:
Who they’re peering at.
Meaning, who, on the client side, they view as their peers—people that they approach confidently as equals.
Connie views herself and her consulting firm as the consulting equivalent of a Michelin-star chef. Vin sees himself more as the the cook at the local BBQ joint that has good ribs.
Connie believes her peers are C-Suite denizens in billion-dollar companies, whereas Vin identifies with mid-level managers in small businesses and feels out of his depth when he’s talking to senior executives.
As a result, Connie connects, cultivates, nurtures, and wins projects with individuals who control large budgets and who view Connie’s consulting firm as a high-value partner.
While Vin’s consulting firm delivers excellent work, they have a much harder time winning consulting projects, they’re often treated as a commodity supplier and their fees are modest. (“Modest” is a euphemism for too low.)
7 Steps to Peer at a Higher Level
You can elevate your consulting firm’s contacts and connections by committing to act on the steps below.
This isn’t a challenge your consulting firm will resolve overnight—you won’t wake up tomorrow with Connie’s golden Rolodex and platinum opportunities. On the other hand, in 90 days or less your consulting firm can experience a meaningful change in the level, size, status and perception of your projects.
Step 1: Define Your Consulting Firm’s New Peers
Who do you want to be your peer? Why? Take the 3-5 minutes to write down your answers. You have to be clear and concrete in your definition in order to make progress.
Step 2: Publicly Commit to Your New Target
Share your intention with at least one friend, mentor or contact outside your consulting firm and family whom you respect and wouldn’t want to disappoint.
Step 3: Identify Your Confidence Gap
Write down the experience, capabilities, insights and/or knowledge you think you need to have to confidently feel like you can converse with your new target at a peer level.
(While you’re at it, take your target off the pedestal—they’re just ordinary people who have reached a higher level of success than your current peers.)
Step 4: Create Your Confidence Plan
Now that you know the gaps you need to fill, create a 90-day plan to fill at least one or two of those gaps. You can research, read, study and develop insights yourself. You can also borrow experience and expertise from others!
Step 5: Identify Your Next Three Peers
Select three specific individuals in your targeted peer group that are within reach. “Within reach” includes people you already know and those your consulting firm could be introduced to by someone with whom you currently have a strong relationship.
Step 6: Map Out Your Cultivation Path
Detail your plan to meet (if necessary) and nurture a peer-level relationship with the three specific individuals you’re targeting over the next 90 days.
Step 7: Execute, Learn and Repeat
Work your plans for creating confidence and cultivating higher, peer-level relationships. At the end of 90 days review your progress. What went well? How can you raise your peer sights even higher?
Repeat the process every 90 days.
Have you ever changed who your consulting firm peers at?
Text and images are © 2023 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.