You obviously want to know how to start a consulting business.
Maybe you’ve even already started one!
Whatever the case may be, you might be feeling a mixture of excitement and perhaps, if you’re like most people, a little bit of overwhelm.
I get it. There’s so much information out there. But questions that most often swirl in one’s mind are,
“What should I really be focusing on right now?”
“What can wait for later?”
“Do I really have whatever it takes to successfully start a consulting business?”
If you have a limited amount of time to invest in starting a consulting business, you’ve come to the right place. This post details the most effective strategies you’ll find anywhere in the world.
I’ll provide simple steps that you can take to ensure you do things right from the start.
(Because who wants to go back and start all over again, right?)
The last thing you want to do is to waste your precious time trying a ton of different things. Trust me. Because I’ve been there and done that.
So without further ado, grab your favorite beverage (keep it sober) and
let’s dive in!
Why I'm Qualified To Explain How To Start A Consulting Business
A few years ago, before I really started diving into the online business space, I spent a few months thoroughly interviewing 350 online entrepreneurs. Most of these entrepreneurs were consultants, coaches and other online marketing specialists.
I spent hundreds of hours speaking with business owners that were making anywhere from as little as 50k to as high as 8 figures per year.
It was through these lengthy conversations that I figured out what many of these entrepreneurs were missing or would have needed in their early phases of business.
These in-depth interviews led me to begin mentoring consultants and coaches all over the world in sales. This was something that many were and, quite frankly, are weak in.
From there, I started working with a couple of consultants, then ten, then twenty and so on.
Over the past few years,
- I’ve literally worked with hundreds and hundreds of people all around the world, teaching them top lead generation methods, sales strategies and how to start a consulting or coaching business the right way.
- I’ve carefully learned what works and what doesn’t.
- Yes, I’ve virtually tried it all.
So I’m going to break it down for you, (minus the fluff of an internet marketer) because you’re here to learn HOW to start a consulting or coaching business.
We’re going to cover three main phases to focus on to ensure your business is profitable early on.
To additionally help you, these three phases will be divided up into step by step action steps you can begin to take right away. In fact, the sooner you take action, the better.
How To Start A Consulting Business Phase 1: Get The Facts
Most new consultants or coaches totally skip this step and pay the price for it later in much misery. They start out thinking they have a good idea for a business niche, yet fail to get the facts before moving full speed ahead.
You want to know how to start a consulting business successfully? First, get ALL of the facts.
What does "get the facts" mean when it comes to learning how to start a consulting business?
First of all, it means getting the “lay of the land” of your business.
In this phase, you’re going to be asking a lot of questions. Here are five you must be able to answer in detail, yet briefly. Meaning, in maximum 2 sentences. If you can’t do that, you’re still too confused on what exactly it is that you want to do.
1. What data do you have to support the idea behind the kinds of products/services you intend to sell? (In other words, don’t just make stuff up).
2. What are your price points going to be and how did you come up with that figure?
3. Who do you want to serve and how do you know they want it? Show me the data.
4. What facts do you have to prove that there is even a market and market share for what you want to sell?
5. Who are four other consultants that are already doing what you want to do successfully?
Being able to answer these questions is a very important part of getting started. While it might not be the most exciting activity, it is vital that you don’t skip getting the facts. Trust me, you don’t want to have to go back and do it later.
Warning: Don't Skip This
If you skip answering those five questions with bonafide research the market place will absolutely punish you later.
Even if you’ve been in business for a while but you’ve not gotten the data to support your business idea, you should take the time now to do it.
I can guarantee that without the supporting data, you’re leaving tons of money on the table and making your life harder than it needs to be.
Be as thorough as you can. Get as much data as you can. The more you know, the better off you’ll be.
A Lesson From History
To help you understand the point I am trying to make, I want to give you an example from history: When the American pilgrims sailed across the Atlantic in 1612 and arrived in, what we now call the United States, they set up the initial democracy system. The same system still stands today. These pilgrims touted the sovereignty of the individual and as a result, a mighty nation was birthed.
The United States is the country it is today because of the way the initial government was set up.
When these well- intentioned pilgrims touched down on American soil, they didn’t venture far out from their camp. They weren’t adequately prepared and, consequently, almost all died.
Historians have remarked that the pilgrims would not have even survived two years, had they not made a pact with the indigenous people of the land. These people taught them everything about the new country, including the seasons, what crops to plant and how to hunt.
The pilgrims were getting a “lay of the land.”
In order to survive, they had no choice but to understand the land they were in.
If it hadn’t been for the natives, the pilgrims would not have made it. They didn’t have the facts and the “know how” of the land that they were in.
You see, facts don’t care about your feelings.
You can have the best business idea in the world. But if you do not understand the land, or in this case – the industry that you’re in – your business is likely to die out there.
By reading this, you already have a much higher probability of staying alive in your business because you’re actually researching how to start a consulting business. Well done.
Next, you need to take some time to discover if your target niche is even profitable.
You’ll need to survey the land you’re thinking of inhabiting in order to discover if there truly is survivability and potential prosperity for what you intend to sell.
Speaking of your target niche, it is important that you also don’t get into the “niche ditch”.
If you decide on a very small niche, you’ll reduce your prospect pool to a very small number of people which won’t be good for business.
Let’s say you are a business consultant, for example. You are already in a niche because business consulting itself is a niche. Consulting is a niche where you pay someone for giving you their knowledge in a specific industry and that industry is also another niche. Be careful that you don’t get too specific.
After having worked with hundreds of consultants and coaches, I can tell you that the danger these days tends to be being too far niched. Always be ready to put deals together for people by being, what I call, a “transactional engineer.”
SEO Research Required In Learning How To Start A Consulting Business
Before you freak out a little because it sounds complicated, let me reassure you that with the right tools, doing the SEO research is not that hard to do.
SEO stands for search engine optimization and you do it when you want to know what people want. The alternative is playing guessing games. But guessing is not what you want to be doing when learning about how to start a profitable consulting business.
Find out what people are searching for on Google, what pages people are clicking on and why. What do people need and want?
Find the right keywords to rank for. I’d recommend that you use a tool to help you with that.
Some of my favorite sites to use for keyword research are,
1. www.ahrefs.com This tool will help you do a lot of key research in figuring out what keywords to use and what your competition is doing.
2. You can find some more information and additional free keyword research tools at www.moz.com
3.You may also want to check out www.semrush.com for additional keyword and SEO marketing tools.
4. Another free tool you can use is to help you find keywords to rank for is Google Adwords.
Find out who’s ranking on Google via the tools I posted above and try to make epic content that is better than what your competition is doing.
Even though you may not initially start to try and get traffic from doing SEO work, it is still important to pick 15-20 keywords that you commit to rank for later. The SEO research will help validate your niche hypothesis.
Again, you want to make sure your business idea will work.
Don’t ever just start a consulting business without doing research first. You will save yourself a lot of pain if you commit to doing the work upfront and not running your business off of “hoping” it will work.
Blogs For More SEO Insights
Some additional tools and information regarding SEO research that would be helpful for you to study can be found at,
1. www.yoast.com – Yoast is a training and website integration for those who want to optimize their website. Its blog covers tactics for improving SEO and user experience.
2. www.moz.com –Moz blog focuses almost completely on SEO, simplifying the process and educating their readers on the latest trends in marketing.
3. www.searchengineland.com Search Engine Land covers all aspects of digital marketing, advertising technology and the martech landscape. They also cover the latest industry trends and provide great research for digital marketers.
Find Out Who You Want To Be: A VERY important step in learning how to start a consulting business
Find four other businesses that are closest to how you want your business to look like when it matures.
You can use www.similarweb.com to help you find out what other businesses in your industry are doing. Also, you should use the results from your SEO research to find out who the players in your niche are and stalk them on social media. (Keep it legal, of course.)
Find out as much as you can about these businesses. If you can, sign up for their email lists, go to their events, find out their offers and read their books.
By studying these people/businesses, you will gain valuable information from what others are doing and have done. They’ve done the research for you so you will save yourself a lot of time. (Plus, by paying attention to what they’ve done you won’t have to make as many stupid mistakes). It’s amazing what you can learn on how to start a consulting business just by paying attention to what other people have done.
How To Start A Consulting Business Phase 2: Get The Foundation
This phase should not and cannot be skipped. (Imagine skipping out on building the foundation of a house. Yeah, not pretty). It is such an important part of learning how to start your consulting business.
After you’ve gotten the facts and you know that your business idea is a valid one, you’ll be ready to start taking action and creating the foundation for your consulting business.
Let the true fun begin!
Have A Website
Okay, this sounds simple enough. However, a lot of people either don’t have a website at all or have a really crappy one that looks like it was made in 2004. (No offense.)
When explaining how to start a consulting business, I’d be remiss if I didn’t strongly emphasise your website to you.
Your site doesn’t have to be complex with a million pages and fancy graphics but it should be clean and professional.
If you are on a tight budget and need to create your own site, there are some simple website creating platforms, such as Squarespace or Wix.
If you want the most flexibility and complete site ownership, you can go with a WordPress.org theme, many of which are free.
The difference between using WordPress.org and something else is basically the difference between renting and owning your house.
The downside to using WordPress is that there is a steep learning curve. If you have some money, pay someone else to make it for you.
Some of the key things to have on your website are:
- An active SEO informed blog/Podcast (weekly post minimum)
- Professional photos
- An email opt-in form
- An About You
- Your products/services
It is highly important that your site is active and that you’re always adding new content to it. Aim to make it a place that adds a lot of value to people by creating epic content.
If you don’t like to write or can’t spell well, do a Podcast instead.
When it comes to prices, it’s best not to post them on your site.
(Unless you’re already widely known in your industry in which case you’d probably not be reading this post on how to start a consulting business.)
Until value has been established with someone, any price you give them will be too much – so it’s better not to have a potential client jump to conclusions about your prices before you’re able to build up the value of what you do.
Get Pro Pictures
Let’s talk about professional photography. (By professional I don’t mean selfies or cell phone pictures taken by your bestie. Sorry.)
Getting some great pictures taken does not have to be expensive. You can easily find someone on Craigslist to do it for you or maybe you have a friend who is a photographer and can take some photos of you at a decent price.
Your potential clients will judge you by your website before they ever decide to pay for your services as a consultant. By the time they get on a strategy or clarity call with you, (which should be your goal), they will already have a good idea of what you’re all about.
I’ve literally seen people’s business change overnight from getting professional pictures taken as opposed to using cell-phone selfies.
What the hell is a Pixel?
Well, in short, Pixels will help you track the activity on your website. It will collect important data for you. The sooner you can embed this to the back-end of your website, the better.
Pixels create a perfect profile of who your key audience is by tracking things like hobbies, interests, income, etc., of your visitors.
You can learn more about the pixel and how to install it here.
How To Start A Consulting Business Using Social Media Branding
Ah yes, finally. You want to know how to start a consulting business so I definitely cannot skip the social media.
A very important part of laying the foundation of your consulting business right is to have your social media platforms optimized for people to find you.
In the very beginning phase, most people will find you here because you immediately have access to people all around the world.
So in order to make it easy for people to recognize the products or services that you offer, you need to have active accounts with cohesive and coherent branding.
Essentially this means that you keep your profile photos professional across all platforms and your style and branding consistent. You also want to be posting regularly.
If you’re broke or you haven’t chosen a designer yet, (contact me and I’ll refer you over someone reliable), you can use your own photo editing tool, such as Canva
or Be Funky.
Social Media Bios
On every platform, there is a small “Intro” or “About” section where you have a limited amount of space to describe what you do. This is a great place to put a clear and concise one-liner of who you help.
An good template to follow is, “I help _____ do or be ______ so that ______”
Keep in mind people will look for the result that you can give them. What problem do you solve? Nobody buys anything from anyone except to solve a problem.
Don’t be that girl or guy who puts something like this in their bio;
“Husband to Tina, Dad of 4, Dog Lover, Gun-Loving Grateful Dead Fan”
(Sorry, not sorry. This isn’t about you, it’s about your prospects.)
Let your prospects know what you can do for them.
Focus on posting helpful and relevant content to your social media daily or, at the very least, a few times per week.
You must become part of groups in the industry that you’re in and search for ways to add value to the community.
Beware, however, of spending too much time scrolling through newsfeeds. (This can become a giant waste of time and a huge distraction!)
Try to be a content creator and not a consumer.
Spend 80% of your time contributing and 20% consuming.
Let's Talk About Your Packages
By now you are probably wondering how to structure your packages. (If you haven’t already figured this out.)
I teach my students a basic structure by which to create their consulting or coaching packages.
- When starting your consulting business, don’t have too many packages. Try and stick with one premium package and perhaps one at a lower price point. (If you want to start out with just one, that’s fine. In some cases, you’ll have an easier time selling if you don’t have options.)
- The length of your consulting package depends on what you are offering. Generally, I don’t recommend charging for one-off sessions. One time sessions make it hard to scale your business and are less valuable to your client. Usually packages ranging from 6 weeks – 12 weeks are a good place to start.
- Charge premium prices. This means you should not charge anything below 2K for a 12 week program. I’ve worked in all types of price ranges and anything below premium will undervalue your offering and draw in clients that are not truly committed to following your program.
When mapping out your packages and services, make sure you are 100% sold on the results that you can get for your clients. If you are charging $2500 for your services, offer value that makes you feel like they are getting $5000 worth. You want to be so sure that they are receiving much more than they are paying for.
How To Start A Consulting Business Phase 3: Get The Flow
If you’ve been creating stellar content on your site, using the data you obtained from the SEO research you’ve done, you should be starting to rank on Google. (If you haven’t started creating content yet, that is fine. But hopefully you still got the facts to have the certainty that your business idea is a solid one.)
Your social media should also start to draw some attention and create opportunities to have conversations with people that might need your consulting services.
Relying solely on SEO and social media to send people to you is not a good idea in this early phase of starting a consulting business.
That is why you must go out and hunt to ensure you get food to eat. Let’s get into that.
How To Start A Consulting Business via Hunting
When the pilgrims first arrived, they had to learn new ways of hunting. Waiting on a harvest would’ve been the death of them and besides, they arrived in the dead of winter so that would not have ended well for them.
When you’re starting a consulting business, (and any business, for that matter), you’ve got to learn how to hunt. If you wait on the harvest to get food, your business dreams are going to die a sad death.
While you will see some traffic via Google and a few potential clients will reach out to you via your social media posts, it won’t be enough to sustain your business.
The sales process
Many consultants and coaches that I’ve talked to over the years do not like sales. In fact, they resist it. Selling to them is associated with “pushyness”, “hard-selling” and perhaps the old-school, sleazy car salesman image of sales.
I understand. However, having this type of idea about sales will not only hurt your business, it will also keep you from actually serving and helping people that need exactly what you do.
You must form a new mindset around what selling actually is.
Take a moment to look around you. Everything that you see has been sold at one point or another. The chair you’re sitting on, the desk in your office, the floor, the ceiling, you name it.
Selling is a service. It’s something you do for someone and not to someone and it is the holy grail of your new consulting business.
Prospecting is a form of hunting.
When you’re prospecting, you’re actively looking for people to help, i.e, people that need your services. It essentially means you are having conversations with people. There are many ways to do this. Some of the most used methods or tools to use to prospect are,
- social media
- networking events,
- cold calling,
- sending out emails, etc.
Prospecting doesn’t mean you vomit your services on anybody who will listen. (Please don’t do this. Be tactful). It is much more about finding out what problem a prospect has and coming up with a potential solution to the problem. Asking good questions is key to becoming good at prospecting.
In this phase, you’ll need to have the one-on-one with approach people. Get comfortable being the initiator and looking for people to help. Take proud of your business and how you can add value to someone in need.
As a consultant, it is highly recommended to offer free strategy call or “clarity call” to a potential client.
This interaction will give you the opportunity to understand their situation and if your consulting services will help them. Furthermore, you’ll be able to build rapport and establish a connection with a prospect, making sure that your values align and you are a good fit for each other.
One of the services I personally use and recommend to set up appointments in an orderly way is Schedule Once.
With Schedule Once, you’ll be able to send a prospect your calendar link so that they can set up a time to chat with you. The service also sends out reminders to keep your show rate high.
If possible, always set up an official time to have a strategy session with a prospect. It will increase your credibility. I highly suggest that you refrain from attempting selling via a text message or in a social media chat scenario. This undervalues you and comes across as less professional.
Step By Step Sales Process
- Start a conversation with a prospect with the intent of finding out what problem they are experiencing and if you are able to help them.
- Ask leverage questions. Find out what pain they are experiencing as it pertains to your industry by asking great questions. Uncover their pain points and offer some tips. However, it is important to keep it as brief as possible. Your goal here is to get them on the phone with you.
- Book a Strategy Session. This is the goal of your prospecting conversations. Your strategy or “clarity” call is where the bulk of your sales presentation will happen. Remember to build rapport and lead the conversation. Listen more than you talk and keep the topic around the problem they are hoping to solve.
- Close the Sale. If the prospect is a good fit for you and your consulting services and you know that you can help him/her, your goal will be to enroll them into your program on the call. Have a way to send an invoice to get paid on the call. In order to do that you’ll need to have a merchant account and a service that sends invoices.
Some of the services that we recommend are:
- Square. Square is easy to set up and quite simple to use. It allows you to send invoices to your clients immediately or at a later date.
- Freshbooks. Great tool to send invoices with but needs to be linked to a merchant account, such as Square or Stripe.
- Stripe. Merchant services.
There are many other services that provide ways to send invoices, however these are just a few that we’ve used.
Another thing I want to mention briefly is the importance of having a contract to send to your newly- enrolled clients. This does not have to be complicated but having them, and you, sign an agreement will protect you against unwanted disputes that might arise.
My best advice is that you check with a lawyer to be sure you are legally covered.
Best Social Media Practices
The best two social platforms to use in establishing your consulting business (at the time of this post), are:
If you really enjoy using any other platform, such as Instagram or Pinterest, you are welcome to do so. But in most cases the two mentioned above are the most likely to get you in front of the best prospects, in the least amount of time.
Now, if you’re just getting started with your consulting business and you’re new to social media, you’re probably wondering how and what to post in order to get people to engage with you.
Let’s take a quick look at these two platforms.
How To Start A Consulting Business Using Facebook Posts
Facebook currently allows you to have 5,000 friends and unlimited followers.
First off, make it your goal to connect with people who look like could be your ideal clients. We already went over discovering your target niche, so you should have an idea of who these people are. Join groups and communities where your ideal clients might be hanging out.
You want to be able to have conversations with these people later on, so begin to add value by showing up and posting on “your wall” regularly.
There are three types of posts that usually work best on Facebook to encourage engagement:
- The Question Method. This means you ask questions on your wall that spark conversation in your followers and friends. The questions don’t have to be related to your field of expertise but they can be. Questions such as, “What was the first job you ever had?” Or, “What is your all-time favorite food?” can be great conversation starters. Basically, you want to get people talking to you. This gives you a reason to reach out to them!
- The Celebration. Are you celebrating something in your life? Did one of your clients experience a win? People like to see celebrations on social media. Posting a celebratory moment in your life every once in a while will keep your audience engaged.
- Longer Form Content. Offer value to your followers by posting meaningful and helpful content that will improve their life. You don’t need to write a longer post every day but doing so a few times per week will let potential prospects know what you are about and how they connect with you.
Doing Facebook Live Videos is another GREAT method of doing longer form content. It allows for your followers to see you and connect with you in a more visual way.
How To Start A Consulting Business Using LinkedIn Posts
Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn is a professional platform. Most people on LinkedIn are not there to socialize or to read the latest personal news update, or a political opinion about the latest news article.
Keeping that in mind, use LinkedIn posts to talk about your business and how your services can help people.
When having conversations with people on LinkedIn, it is okay to get to the point and be upfront about what you do as most users are business owners and do not readily engage in small chit-chat.
There are some great LinkedIn tools that can help automate your lead generation but I won’t get into those here as this post is already so full of action steps. I’m trying not to overhwlem you! But if you want to know what we recommend, reach out to us here.
Sales: The "god" of Business
At this point you should be,
- Talking to 30 -50 or more people per day on social media or in person and
- booking 2-3 appointments per day via your calendar link.
I understand that you might be concerned (aka freaking out) about the high number of people to talk to every day.
Remember that you must get to the right and RIPE (Ready, Interested, Positive, Eager) prospects. Sometimes this means weeding out a number of suspects before getting to a prospect. This is what it takes in the very early stages of starting a consulting business.
You obviously don’t want to remain in this phase forever. Farming and then harvesting is a better way to get food, right? (More on that later)
Why You Need To Learn How To Sell
One of the things that a lot of new consultants and coaches don’t consider, is the importance of sales. You can have a great service and be the best at your industry but if you are not able to sell or close a sale, you won’t get very far.
I’d be doing you a disservice if I didn’t tell you that, ultimately, the success of your consulting business will come down to you getting in front of people and selling. Selling is serving, right? Selling is guiding someone to make the best choice even when they are not yet aware of what that is. And that’s where you come in.
Even if you have a lot of traffic on your website and people “like” you on social media, you will still need to be able to close the sale on your strategy or clarity calls.
Everything you do should be optimized for sales. That is your focus as you start your consulting business. Don’t fall into the trap of setting up a detailed business plan or adjusting and tweaking your services every week. You can do that as you go along but if you are serious about starting a consulting business, follow the steps outlined for you in this article. I can promise you, that if you take this advice, you’ll be ahead of 99% of all other new consultants out there.
The purpose of this article is to show you exactly how to start your consulting business the right way.
We covered the basic steps you need to take to get your consulting business off the ground and profiting. We didn’t get into the scaling phase because this would be a whole entire article by itself.
Hunting is inevitable in the beginning phases of having a new business. While it is possible to, and you are able to do quite well staying in the hunting phase, you should not make it your goal to remain there. (Have big goals!)
What To Focus On In The Harvesting Phase
- Automation via SEO. You won’t always have the time to manually reach out and talk to 30-50 people per day. There are a lot of fantastic automation tools out there to help you generate leads. Having an optimized website with great SEO strategy will be of huge help to drive traffic. This is why we touched on this already in the first phase. Be consistent in putting out epic content.
- Paid Traffic via Advertising. Paying for ads on social media platforms, such as Facebook, is a great automated way to get leads. You obviously need money to pay for testing and running ads which is why this is a Harvesting method. There are many Facebook Ad Strategists out there that can help you out when you’re ready to get into that.
- Hiring. You can only go so far alone. Hiring a great team will be essential in the harvesting phase of your business. If you want to be able to work on your business and not in your business, you’ll need people to help you achieve the next level.
These are topics for another in-depth article. Keep in mind that starting a consulting business is like caring for a brand -new baby. It will require a lot of time, consistency and care in order to flourish and grow. But it will be worth it.
Summary Of How To Start A Consulting Business
We’ve covered a lot of information in this blog post on how you can start a consulting business, and hopefully, you not only read it but also take action on the outlined steps provided to you here.
If you’ve gotten this far, it’s a sign that you mean business and I want to encourage you to take the necessary action to ensure your success. If you do, you will be starting WAY ahead of most other new consultants out there.
Let’s go over a quick review of the steps you need to start taking immediately in order to start your consulting business the right way:
- Get The Facts
- Get the lay of the land by asking yourself the right questions
- Do in-depth SEO research using the tools provided to you
- Find out who you want to be when you grow up by searching for businesses that offer similar services as you would like to offer when your business matures.
- Get The Foundation
- Get a good website (with great photography)
- Embed Pixels
- Brand your social media platforms and update all platforms with a clear one-liner of who you help
- Get The Flow
- Learn the sales process (get set up to take appointments)
- Prospect (talk to 30-50 people per day)
- Book appointments and start making money
Follow those three phases step-by-step and I guarantee you will be making good money and helping a lot of people within just a few weeks time.
If you do this phase correctly and you will be ready to scale your business within a few months.
If you’re serious about starting a hyper-successful consulting business, check out this masterclass on how you can start to get an abundance of clients online, even if you’re new and don’t have a lot of of experience. We’ve received a lot of great feedback about this training.
How To Get Consulting Clients Fast
Now that you know exactly how to start a consulting business, you’re ready to start taking on clients.
Hopefully, you have followed the step-by-step directions in the section above so that you have everything set up to start making money.
This is the fun part!
You’ve done your research, created a website, optimized your social media platforms and designed your packages, right?
So let’s dive into the very best way you can get your first, second, third and twentieth client by following my proven method of client acquisition.
As I mentioned briefly in the above portion of the article, there are two phases to client acquisition.
The first phase is hunting and the second phase is harvesting.
In the hunting phase we wear our hunting shoes and go out to find prospects. This is what we do in the beginning of any business. After all, not many people know about us just yet.
The harvesting phase focuses more on automated methods to get clients, such as paid ads, content marketing, etc. If you want to immediately go this route, you need to check out this article.
In it I show you exactly how to set up your advertising campaigns in a way that will bring you an abundance of clients on autopilot every month.
But let’s talk about hunting. You ready?
In the hunting phase, you have a lot of control over the outcome.
You don’t need to depend on the weather to be just right for your crops to grow so you can harvest them. Not everything has to be just right in order for you to make a profit.
It is up to you to kill what you eat.
In other words, the hunting phase requires you to take action and get out to find the people that need your help.
Let's take a look at what the steps are to getting consulting clients fast:
Step 1: Find Prospects. There are many ways to find prospects. But in this article, we’re going to focus primarily on how to use social media to do this.
Step 2: Have Conversations. We’ll cover the exact phrases to use when reaching out to prospects and how to add value to them.
We will also cover the steps to getting potential clients to book a free strategy call with you.
Step 3: Get Prospects On The Phone. In this step, you’ll learn how to structure your call to make the most out of it. I’m going to walk you through exactly how I have taught my students to handle each part of the 30-40 minute session.
How To Get Consulting Clients Fast Step 1: Find Prospects.
The first step to getting consulting clients fast is to find the right prospects that need what you have to offer.
The fastest way to do this in 2019 is to use social media.
But the same methods apply to networking, meetups, and any in-person connection.
I recommend using Facebook or Linkedin to get in front of the right prospects.
However, if you prefer Instagram or Snapchat, go ahead and use them.
For example, let’s say you are a health consultant or coach who is looking to help entrepreneurs and business owners get healthy, regain energy and lose weight.
If entrepreneurs are your target niche, you’ll want to aim towards filling up your “connections” or “friends” with these people.
You can do this by finding relevant Facebook or LinkedIn groups to be a part of.
There are dozens of entrepreneur groups out there that contain thousands of potential prospects for you.
Now, once you are a part of these groups, it’s important that you don’t try and pitch your consulting services in the group.
Your goal is to provide value, answer questions and connect with potential prospects in the group.
Another way to find prospects is to use the search bar to find people that match your description.
Simultaneously, it’s important that you are posting daily on your newsfeed.
Your posts must encourage engagement out of your new connections and friends.
I talk about what type of posts to create in this section above.
When you are seraching for potential prospects, keep an attitude of service.
It will help you tremendously.
Consider yourself to be out on a rescue mission.
There are people out there that need exactly what you have to offer, yet are unaware that you exist.
Without you, these people might drown.
So you’ve got to go out and serve.
Keep a positive and healthy mindset around prospecting and you’ll be a hundred times more successful.
So, as a recap:
- Find connections and friends that match your ideal target niche and add them to your list of contacts
- Provide value in groups and connect with prospects
- Post daily on your social media feed
- Use the search bar menu to find ideal prospects
- Keep your attitude RIGHT
How To Get Consulting Clients Fast Step 2: Reaching Out To Prospects
By now you should be finding and adding potential prospects into your prospect pool.
But you’re still not sure if they are people that you can actually help.
So it’s time to start a conversation with them to see if they are a suspect or a prospect.
In addition to looking for prospects that fit your niche description, you also want to make sure they are RIPE.
RIPE stands for Ready, Interested, Positive and Eager.
If any one of these characteristics are missing, you are not talking to a prospect.
You’re talking to a suspect.
As soon as you realize that someone isn’t RIPE, just move on to the next person. You’re not trying to force anyone to listen to you.
Furthermore, keep in mind that you are going for the low-hanging fruit.
You’ll be able to identify if a prospect is RIPE within a few minutes of having a conversation with him or her.
That being said, there are ways to reach out and talk to people that increase your chances of getting to RIPE prospects.
How To Reach Out
Initially, you want to establish a connection with your prospect.
The best way to do this is to send out a hello message that ends with a question.
The question should be light and simple to respond to.
For example, you could say: “Hello Sally, it’s a pleasure to connect with you. What line of work are you in?”
Another example could be, “Hey Tom, thanks for connecting. I see you’re a business consultant. How long have you been in this line of work?”
The goal is to start a natural and casual conversation.
You don’t want to immediately pitch your services.
That’s a turn-off and will get you nowhere quickly. Don’t do that.
Remember that you are talking to real people even if you are using a messaging app.
Treat people how you would enjoy being treated.
How To Continue The Conversation
So you’ve reached out to prospects with an initial hello. Some of them have responded and others have not. This is normal and okay.
Some will. Some won’t. So what. Someone’s waiting.
Keep in mind, you don’t need everyone to respond to you or book a call with you.
In other words, go into these conversations with healthy expectations.
You truly only need a few people to buy your services.
So, let’s say Sally responded to your message of, “Hey Sally, pleasure to connect. What line of work are you in?”
Sally: “Hey! It’s a pleasure to connect with you too. I am an Accountant and work with online business owners. How about you?”
We can tell that Sally is friendly and open to a conversation by the way she responded.
This is a good sign.
One of the things you want to remember is to keep the conversations about them and not about you.
This means that you want to be the one asking the questions.
Because the person leading a conversation is usually the one asking the questions. (We’ll get into this later).
As a response to Sally’s question, you could say: “Oh, great! I’m sure you’re keeping busy this time of year, as tax season is right around the corner.
As for me, I am a health consultant for entrepreneurs and business owners.
I help them increase their profit by showing them how to have more energy, lose weight and be more productive in their work. How long have you been in business?”
Notice I ended the message with a question that redirects the conversation on her and off of me.
I am asking questions that will help me identify if she is a prospect or a suspect.
We identify if the person we are talking to is someone we can helping by asking leverage questions.
What Are Leverage Questions?
Leverage questions are questions that uncover the prospect’s pain.
These questions also help you identify if you are talking to a prospect or a suspect.
Good leverage questions vary depending on the niche that you are in.
If you are a health consultant, some good leverage questions might be:
“Are you currently working on any health or fitness goals?”
“Does your work cause you to feel stressed out on a regular basis?”
“How is your overall health? Are you happy with where you’re at?”
You get the point.
The better your questions are, the more likely you are to book an appointment.
Asking great questions takes practice.
But you can become better at it as you learn about your prospect’s struggles.
Also remember that you want to have built up some rapport in the messages prior to the leverage questions.
Without rapport, you are likely to lose a potentially good prospect and they will become a suspect.
Booking The Appointment
Okay, you’ve asked a couple of leverage questions and if Sally is a prospect, she’ll be grateful that you messaged her.
That’s the fun part about prospecting.
When you come across someone who needs exactly what you have, you’ll be like a God-sent to them.
So don’t worry about bothering people. Someone out there is waiting for you.
Now it’s time for you to uncover her pain so she is aware of the urgency in getting her health under control and taking action on it.
After you’ve asked a leverage question and she responded in a way that let you know that she needs and wants help, you must establish yourself as an authority.
There are only three ways that a prospect will respond to you:
“I’m good. Everything is going well right now”
“It’s okay. Could be better”, or
“It’s not going well. I need help.”
The words won’t be those exact words, necessarily.
But you get the point.
If a prospect responds to you with, “I’m doing good. Everything is fine”, you can politely move onto the next conversation.
Remember, you’re looking for the low-hanging fruit.
If they are in categories 2 or 3, you have someone that needs your services. They are potential prospects and you’re going to want to keep the conversation going.
The key here is to build trust as an authority figure in your industry.
The way you can do this is to use this phrasing, “I have found, that….”
or, “I understand what you might be going through. I once had a client, that…”
You want to speak from experience and let them know that you can help them.
(However, make sure that what you are saying is actually true).
It’s important that you don’t message back and forth for too long.
Your goal is to get the prospect on the phone with you so you can really dive into their full situation. (And potentially sign them as a client, obviously).
So this is where you’ll transition to inviting them on a call with you.
You can say something like, “The best thing to do would be to jump on a call with me to see if there’s a way that I can help you. I have some time slots available over the next 48 hours. Let’s book a call to see how I can be of service to you. Would you like me to send you the link so you can find a time that suits your schedule?”
Once again, I end it with a question because I want to make sure they are reciprocating.
In most cases, if you've asked good leverage questions and have uncovered their pain while adding value, a prospect will be happy to book a call with you.
When you send them the link to book a call, it’s important to confirm with them that they will actually book a call.
The reason to do it is that people are busy and will forget if they are not reminded.
You can do this by asking in a playful way, “Besides a natural disaster, would there be any reason you wouldn’t book a call?”
This is called a tie-down and it’s very effective.
Again, remember that you don’t need everyone to book a call with you. You only need some RIPE prospects to book a call.
Don’t spend time on people that are not booking an appointment, just move on to talk to more people.
A Numbers Game?
Let’s talk about the amount of people to talk to every day.
When I used to be in door-to-door sales, we were required to walk through a certain amount of doors every day.
That number was 30.
Now, these didn’t have to be new doors every day but it had to be 30 doors in total.
So walking through 30 doors every day would result in 2-3 appointments per day.
In a messaging scenario you are obviously not face -to-face with a prospect.
So I recommend reaching out to 45-60 people per day to get 2-4 appointments booked.
As in a door-to-door selling scenario, you don’t need to talk to 45-60 NEW people every day.
However, you need to reach out, or “touch” that amount of people daily if your goal is to get clients fast.
A little side note here: Don’t freak out about the number.
It shouldn’t take more than an hour or two of your time to send out that amount of initial messages.
Also remember that you are in the hunting phase.
If you want to get consulting clients fast and you are just starting out, there is no better way to do it.
How To Get Consulting Clients Fast Step 3: Get Prospects On The Phone
I like to call it the Strategy Call.
Other people call it clarity call or sales call.
It doesn’t matter what you call it.
But what matters is how you structure the call so it’s effective and valuable to your prospect.
A good call structure will determine the number of sales you make.
I came up with a way that I like to structure my strategy calls after having worked with hundreds and hundreds of business owners across the world.
So I’m going to tell you exactly what I do and why I do what it that way.
If you follow this system you’ll close more sales and be on your way to getting clients fast.
1. The Frame
At the time of the scheduled call with your prospect, you’re going to give them a call.
You can do this using your phone, Zoom or Skype.
Next, it’s very important that you establish rapport with the other person before moving on to the strategy call.
You can do this by making small talk for a minute or two. However, don’t go on too long.
You want to make sure and make good use of your time together.
After building rapport for a couple of minutes, it’s time to set the frame of how the call will go.
What does “setting the frame” mean?
Essentially, it just means that you establish the tone of the call in such a way that let’s the prospect know what to expect during the 30-45 minutes of talking with you.
Controlling the frame is VERY important for you to be able to close a sale.
If you do not have frame control, you’ll most likely not get the prospect to buy from you.
Why? Because he or she doesn’t trust that you can lead them and help them.
Frame control has nothing to do with controlling the other person.
But it has everything to do with creating space where you can provide leadership and direction.
Don’t forget that selling is a service.
Here’s an example of what I have taught a lot of my students to use when setting the frame:
“Let me tell you what I do on these calls. Basically, I’m going to ask you a lot of questions, kind of like a doctor. I do this so I can best see how to help you. Your job is to open and honest with me so that I can see if there’s a way that I can help you.”
2. The Pain
A good way to make the transition into the pain portion of the call is to say, “Okay, now let’s get into your situation. Tell me a little about yourself. What is working? What’s not working? The good, the bad, the ugly, just go ahead and “puke” on me.”
(You can obviously use a word that you are comfortable with. However, the goal is to get into their situation).
During the pain portion of the call, you’re going to uncover the prospect’s pain.
But you don’t need to do a lot of talking. If possible, let the prospect do most of the talking.
Your job is to guide the conversation by asking great questions.
Because you want to know what they have tried, what has worked, hasn’t worked and the real reason they are talking to you.
When you feel like the prospect has given you sufficient information and you have discovered and uncovered their pain points, it is time to transition into providing a solution.
The best way to transition into telling someone about your program or service is to have them ask you about it.
A good way to do this is by simply asking if they have any questions for you.
In most cases, (granted, they trust you by now and want to know more), the prospect will want to know how you can help them and/or what your programs are.
Also, put emphasis on the importance of being decisive.
What do I mean by that?
In most cases, if you don’t close someone on the call, you won’t close them at all.
I am not against follow-up but from what I’ve learned and seen over the many years of experience, the best clients are the ones that are decisive and make decisions fast.
One way you can get them to be decisive is to say,
“At the end of the call, if you think that this is not something that you need or want; are you able to give me a no?” (Let them respond). “However, if this is something you need and want, are you able to give me a yes?”
(Again, let them respond)
Then say, “Great. I am okay with no’s, I love yes, but I don’t like maybe’s.”
You can explain to them briefly why you prefer to work with decisive people.
Once you’ve established the need for the prospect to be open and honest, you can move on to getting into their specific situation.
3. The Brain
As humans, we’ve evolved to be sold on something through emotion. But we buy things based on logic.
So after having told you all about their pain, the prospect will be ready to be presented with a solution.
They are not feeling great at this point because you just spent 10-15 minutes talking about and focusing on the problem.
Plus, you’ve done a good job in uncovering their pain by asking great question.
Now is the perfect time to present a solution.
Keep it brief and to the point.
The best way to present your program to them is in bullet points.
If you go on and on here, you’ll lose them.
Because they’re likely to get caught up in the details and will start to feel overwhelmed.
Keep it simple and only talk about what they are going to get from your program.
Don’t bother getting into the HOW. People don’t care about the how at this point.
Right now, they care that they are going to get out of the situation they find themselves in. And you are the one to help them do that.
After presenting your program outline to the prospect, follow up by asking them if they have any further questions about what you just told them.
In most cases, there will be some questions regarding your program, etc.
You want to make sure all questions and concerns are answered.
In addition, you should ideally wait for them to ask you about the price of your package or program before giving it to them.
Think of how you shop.
If you’re not interested in an item, you don’t bother to turn over the price.
The same is true here.
Let them ask you what your prices are before moving forward in closing the sale.
4. Win The Game
Winning the game means enrolling the prospect into your consulting or coaching program. If they area good fit, of course. That means closing the sale.
If you are new to sales, you might want to consider getting some sales training.
As I already mentioned earlier, your goal needs to be to get paid on the call.
Because if you don’t, uncertainty will creep in and the prospect will begin to doubt their decisions.
Remind them of the importance of being decisive and encourage a “yes” or a “no” on the call.
If you effectively set the frame, went through the pain and on to the brain, the getting paid part shouldn’t be hard.
(If your prospect has the money and is a good fit, that is).
It is important that you have an invoice ready to send to the prospect.
You can also take the credit card details over the phone.
However, sending an invoice is often the better option.
It’s best if you can remain on the phone as they are filling in the details.
Another great option is to have a checkout page with your program details on it.
This is my recommended option and it is also the easiest way to get paid on the call.
In addition, you must get your new client to sign a contract at this time or right after you hang up the phone.
The method above is truly the quickest way I know to get clients.
Some of my students followed these exact steps and made 15-20K in under 3 weeks.
This method really works.
But you must be willing to do the work, which I trust that you are.
Otherwise you wouldn’t be starting a new consulting business in the first place!
Let’s briefly summarize what we talked about in this article:
- Increase social media friends and connections by adding people that fit your ideal prospect niche
- Post daily on your social media platforms, engage in groups that fit your niche description, add value to people.
- Reach out to people by starting friendly conversations. Be real and helpful in these conversations. Always be intentional about serving people. Remember that you need to aim to talk to 45-60 people per day to have 2-3 appointments per day.
- Ask leverage questions and guide the conversation. See if there’s a way that you can help them. Invite them on a call with you. Share your calendar link.
- Execute on the strategy call. Follow the system I laid out for you: Set the frame, to the pain, to the brain and then win the game. Do your best to get paid on the call.
- Rinse and repeat.
Business Tools Every Consultant Needs
- How to start a consulting business, and
- How to get consulting clients fast.
In this next section, I want to give you a list of tools I’ve compiled that will help you start your business right and get clients. I mentioned some resources above but want to list them out for you here so you can see exactly what I use.
Hopefully, it will save you a lot of time and you won’t have to spend many hours researching which tools to use.
I consider myself somewhat of a tool geek and I’ve tested many different ones over the years.
The tools mentioned below are some of the ones I most recommend based off of how they’ve worked for me.
*Note: I have no affiliation with any of the resources below. I’m only mentioning them because I personally have found them to be useful in running a business.
Payment Gateways and Processors
You’ll need a way to process payments in your consulting business. Payment gateways and processors allow for invoices to be sent to the client that get deposited into your bank account via a payment processor.
You’ll need to open up a business bank account to do this.
Stripe. Payment processor that needs to be linked to your business bank account for funds deposits.
Square. Payment processor and also payment gateway.
Freshbooks. Allows you to send invoices and also includes an accounting software for businesses. Must be linked to a merchant account, like Stripe. (Paid)
Scheduling system for clients
There are many different scheduling resources out there. From all of the ones I’ve tried (which have been many over the years), I have stuck with Scheduleonce for a few years now.
You’ll need Scheduleonce to set up strategy calls and client calls. This also syncs with your calendar which will help you to never miss an appointment.
ScheduleOnce. The best scheduling system I’ve used. It allows for personalization, reminders and many other things. (Paid after free trial)
Communication with clients
In many different instances, you’ll need a practical way to set up individual and group meetings/calls.
Especially if you are running a group program or you have clients overseas.
CrowdCast. Crowdcast is great for meetings in a group setting. Has some great features, including email reminders, a chat box, etc. (Paid)
Zoom. Great for meetings and overseas calls. Includes video option. (Free and paid)
Skype. Allows for international phone calls pretty cheaply. (Free and paid)
Voxer. A phone app that is similar to a walkie talkie. Appropriate for one-on-one clients where lots of communication is needed. (Free)
There are many SEO research tools that can be beneficial to you. I mentioned several above, so I will only mention one here.
Ahrefs. This is the main tool I use for SEO research currently. It has many fantastic features and is worth every penny of investment. It’s one I’d recommend not to go without. (Paid)
Website Hosting and Design
There are many website hosting platforms that work well.
However, if you are working on optimizing your site, you’ll want to pay attention to the upload speed, which is why I mention WPengine as your host.
Wpengine host. Website hosting that speeds up your site for better SEO.(Paid)
Elementor. User Friendly website building tool on WordPress. (Paid)
WordPress.org Good framework to use for website development.
These plugins are not an extensive list. But they are the main ones that will make the most difference in your SEO. (Search for these plugins in your WordPress dashboard)
Yoast. Must use tool for SEO optimization (Free and paid versions)
Autoptimize (Free) Helps optimize your content to help you rank better.
Google Analytics by Monster Insights (Free) Helps track website visitors
Smush (Free) Reduces images and file on your site, improving performance and boosting SEO
Again, there are many options here and I am not necessarily against any of them.
Some platforms have better features than others but it depends on what you’re looking for.
If you are in the starting phase, a free subscription should be enough.
Mailchimp. (Free to a certain amount of subscribers and e-mails)
Infusionsoft (Paid but has extensive features)
If you are looking to store content and create courses or training, you’ll need a platform to do it on.
Below are two of the ones I’ve used and use.
Kajabi. An all-in-one platform that makes it easy to create online courses, launch marketing campaigns, build landing pages, and design the perfect website. (Paid)
Lightspeed VT. Virtual Training system. Recommended for larger training companies. (Paid)
Blog and Podcast
Video and Photo Editing
If you can’t afford or don’t always want to hire someone to do your branding for you, there are some pretty cool tools you can use to do it yourself.
Canva. Free photo editor. You can also create forms, banners and more with it. (Free)
Final cut pro. Video and photo editor (Paid)
Screenflow. Video editor. (Paid)
Forms and Surveys
Some additional tools that I’ve used to help communicate with my clients and send documents.
Rightsignature. A resource that allows for sending contracts for e-signatures. (Paid)
There are additional tools that I’ve used over the years. But these are the ones that I recommend first and foremost.
I hope this extensive guide on how to start a consulting business and how to get clients fast, is helpful to you.
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