You want to expand your consulting practice by expanding your current client base. You may be stretching yourself thin but unless your consulting gigs are the type that take up 110% of your time every time out, then you usually want to make sure you have several streams of income going at once, and that you’re constantly marketing to draw new prospects into your sales funnel. You need to cover yourself because no matter how good of a consultant you are, you’ll still have the occasional cash-strapped client who waits till the 11th hour to bail on you. When they do, that leaves a big void that you can’t possibly fill in time for your next month’s planned income – unless you already have some sales prospects in your funnel who you may be able to convince to retain you now.
Consulting 101 Series:
- Starting a Consulting Business
- How to Avoid Working for Free
- How to Handle Unethical Client Requests
- Pushing the Project Forward
- Hired to Fire
- 5 Suggestions for Managing Client Emergencies
- Working Around an Unreasonable Deadline
- How to Turn Weaknesses into Strengths
- 4 Ways to Get Consulting Prospects to Buy
- How to Handle Client Misunderstandings and Miscommunication
Change your payment terms. If you are always asking for payment in advance, mix it up and offer a hesitant new client or a past client that you want to re-engage to signup for a 50/50 payment plan. By this I mean 50% up front and 50% at the end of the gig. It’s highly likely that someone will bite. Especially when you’re working with smaller organizations, you will find that paying in advance for the custom services you provide may be something they desire, but can’t often afford. Meet them somewhere – meet them in the middle with this 50/50 plan. It will probably get you over the hump and get the deal closed.
Throw in two freebies. Add not one, but at least two free items or services of value that you can give them but won’t kill you on cost or time. It will mean a lot to them and they won’t know that it isn’t that big of a sacrifice to you…they are only going to look at it from their perspective. It’s likely that as you have been talking to this potential client you’ve heard some needs or some pain points that you could probably easily help them out on by just giving away a couple of add-on services or freebies that will really make your offer golden.
Offer to “look at” something that is a need for them but may be outside of your normal services. You do ‘x’ and they need your services for ‘x.’ But they also need ‘y’. If ‘y’ is something you know you can do but is not usually in your normal service offering, offer it and see if that seals the deal. Again, don’t offer something you can’t handle – the last thing you ever want to do is fail. But much of what I offer as a consultant has developed out of new client requests and I rely on those new client innovations to help expand my service offering…and it has worked well for me