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Want a guaranteed way to “level-up” your consulting business?
Read books written by successful consultants, for consultants. Specifically, consultants who can teach you how to master the business side of consulting.
Consultants like David Fields.
Who doesn’t want to run a more profitable and enjoyable consulting business? To do this, you need to learn from consultants who have done it themselves and can teach you how.
That said, many non-fiction business books are stiff. A lot of books on consulting are downright boring. The knowledge you gain makes up for it, but they can be a drag to get through.
With The Irresistible Consultant’s Guide to Winning Clients, consultant David Fields has written a concise, actionable, and enjoyable book on building the consulting business of your dreams.
It reminds me of one of my favorite business books of all time, The Brain Audit, by Sean D’Souza. The way David and Sean write is enjoyable. They aren’t writing about the most thrilling topics, but they manage to make you excited to turn the page like a superb fiction does.
Maybe it’s the cartoons?
Whatever it is, The Irresistible Consultant’s Guide to Winning Client’s tone, stories, and examples help you understand and remember the important principles taught by David in the book.
And there are plenty.
The Irresistible Consultant’s Guide to Winning Clients doesn’t only cover the staples of consulting: networking, acquiring leads, and writing proposals — it covers ALL them.
He covers every aspect of building a successful consulting practice in a systematic, step-by-step way.
To do so, David outlines “The Six Steps”, which are as follows:
- Step 1: Think Right-Side UP
- Step 2: Maximize Impact
- Step 3: Build Visibility
- Step 4: Connect, Connect, Connect
- Step 5: Become the Obvious Choice
- Step 6: Propose, Negotiate, & Close
By the end of this article, you’ll learn 7 of my favorite takeaways from the book. They are:
- Right-Side Up Thinking
- The Four Rights
- The 5 “Marketing Musts” for Consultants
- Your Consulting “Fishing Line”
- Networking Done Right
- The Perfect Consulting Proposal
- Consulting Fee Structures
If you’re interested in learning all these concepts in depth (and many more), I encourage you to buy the book, read it, and apply the knowledge within.
What I Learned From Consulting Guru David Fields
David has managed to write the go-to guide to building a successful consulting business. Here’s what I learned from his latest book, The Irresistible Consultant’s Guide to Winning Clients.
[Disclaimer: I was sent a promotional PDF copy of the book.]
Right-Side Up Thinking
The book starts off with an important concept for not only consulting — but for life in general. Right-Side Up Thinking is a way of thinking that is focused on them, whether they be your clients, prospects, or contacts. It’s about moving your thoughts away from yourself and on to who you want to help.
Right-Side Up Thinking guides nearly everything else in the book.
If you’re ever stuck in a rut with any part of your business, Right-Side Up Thinking will get you out of it. It’s a way to get yourself out of your head and to focus on whom you can provide value for.
Cold calling a prospect?
Keep the conversation focused on them, not you.
Pitching a speech at a conference?
Keep your pitch focused on what would be of value to the audience.
Writing copy for your website?
Keep the copy focused on your potential clients, the reader, and not yourself.
Not only is this much easier, but it’s far more effective. Everyone loves to talk about themselves and learn things that can make their lives easier.
If you can integrate this into your marketing, sales, and business, you’ll have an easier time getting results.
The Four Rights
Trying to sell consulting services to businesses that don’t have the problem that you solve or the budget to pay you for your expertise is an uphill battle.
To make sure you aren’t swimming uphill and instead of going to where the fish are, David introduces the concept of “The Four Rights”.
The Four Rights are as follows: The Right People, The Right Problem, The Right Solution, and The Right Time.
You need to identify The Four Rights in your business. It’s no easy task, but it’s important if you want to attract new clients.
If you can combine The Four Rights, you’ll have no problem finding clients who will pay you for the value you can provide.
The 5 “Marketing Musts” for Consultants
There are dozens of marketing methods that you hear about every day. New apps, websites, platforms, technology — but what is a consultant supposed to make of all this?
David lists 5 “Marketing Musts” for consultants in the book, which are:
- Trade Associations
- Digital Presence
You use these methods to get in front of prospects, yes — but you also use them to make an impact.
If you can get efficient with your marketing and hone in on these methods (David recommends doing at least 3, and mastering 2), you’ll make it easier for prospects to get to know you, like you, and trust you.
Here’s a tip from David on boosting your Digital Presence: Write consistent articles for your website, and invite readers to leave comments.
David cuts to the core of what forms of visibility are must-haves for consultants. He teaches you how to apply these methods for maximum marketing impact.
Your Consulting “Fishing Line”
It’s challenging to explain what you do in one sentence — but it’s important. Creating a powerful “Fishing Line” is one of the most impactful moves you can make in your business because it helps you make an instant impact with potential clients. It also makes it easier for your colleagues to refer you.
Here’s David’s Fishing Line for his work with consulting firms:
“I work with boutique consultancies who want to win more projects from more clients at higher fees.”
And one version of mine (still a work in progress):
“I work with business consultants who want to convert their website traffic into profitable clients.”
Your Fishing Line is designed to hook potential clients. It’s a tool to get prospects interested in learn more.
You’ll know when it’s working when you have people enquire about your services from hearing this one line (which has happened to me since working on my Fishing Line).
In the book, David explains step-by-step on how to create the perfect Fishing Line for your consultancy. Your Fishing Line makes a great headline for your website, and it fits nicely as your LinkedIn tagline as well.
Networking Done Right
We know that as consultants, networking is critical to our business success. But how do you do it in a way that is beneficial to both you and the people you’re connecting with?
Consulting is a relationship business. The amount of strong relationships you have will determine how profitable your business is.
In the book, David talks about how you make the best use of your network. He covers topics like asking for introductions, creating new relationships, following up, nurturing relationships — and more.
This chapter of the book includes scripts, templates, systems — everything you need to make your networking more effective and more enjoyable for both you and your contacts.
And most importantly, you need to be proactive about your networking efforts. Ask for introductions, take notes, set the next date, and follow up. Your network can be your absolute best asset.
It’s all about developing your network core of decision makers and influencers whom you have a strong relationship with. You can’t do that unless you nurture your relationships.
The Perfect Consulting Proposal
One of the most covered topics online in consulting is the art of the proposal.
How many pages should it be? What should you cover? How do you actually write a proposal that wins you business?
In this chapter of the book, David goes over how to close consulting deals and structure your perfect proposal. He offers a clean, 4-5 page structure for consulting proposals that will help you stand out above your competition and positions you as the best choice.
I’ve written proposals up to 20 pages in length. Your proposals don’t need to be that long because you can cut out the fluff and get to the core of what your client’s goals are, and how you’ll get them there. Focus on their results — not on how great you are at getting them there.
Consulting Fee Structures
Another hot topic on consulting is consulting fees and pricing. Just like the proposal, the art of setting fees is a fine art that takes years to perfect.
It covers four fee structures: Variable Time and Materials, Fixed Time and Materials, Fixed Value-based Fees, and Success Fees. The book discusses each one, and which one is the best for both you and your clients.
In this chapter, David provides some great tips for maximizing your fees in a realistic, client-focused way.
I learned that higher fees are not only better for you — but they are much better for your client as well. Successful projects are about the outcome. You need to spend the amount of time and effort necessary to make that happen. And you can’t do that when you aren’t paid the amount necessary for you to do an excellent job.
This chapter also has some helpful formulas and questions you can use to come up with profitable pricing to close your proposal and win the project.
If you want to learn more about the concepts introduced in this post, you can find the book on Amazon. Have your highlighter ready. You’ll be marking this one up a lot.
If you’re serious about maximizing your consulting business so that you can avoid the feast-or-famine cycle for good, read it. Also, check out David’s blog, Irresistible Consulting Moments, for superb content for independent consultants. It was a no-brainer for my post on the best consulting blogs.
Just like the book — his blog is as fun to read as it is packed with outstanding quality content.
The Irresistible Consultant’s Guide to Winning Clients is a go-to guide that you’re going to refer to on every step of your consulting practice. It’s a must for any consultant who wants to excel in business so that they can continue to win more clients and run successful projects for years to come.
What did you learn from reading The Irresistible Consultant’s Guide to Winning Clients?