What will they think? What if they say 'no'? 😔 What if they say 'YES'? 😳 And how do you know how to actually create products that people would actually pay for?
I can help. Since I started consulting in 2010, I've found a few things consistently help me create consulting offers that clients are ready, willing and able to pay for.
HOLD IT – Don't skip this section because you are uncomfortable talking about money. You're going to have to talk about it at some point, either when you ask them what their budget is or when you present the costs for your services. 🤷🏾♀️ Either way, schmoney 💰 will come up and it's best if all parties have a clear understanding of what the investment will be.
Keyword in that sentence: investment.
Here's the thing: before you invest your time into helping a client solve their needs, you need to understand what they have to invest in your part of the process. The core of consulting is about value exchange. You exchange your valuable time and expertise for their monetary investment.
You'll notice in the intro to this post I said you want to create consulting offers that clients are "ready, willing and able to pay for" .... well being "willing and able" are essential pieces to that equation.
Understanding a potential client's budget – very early on – will not only help you understand if they are "willing and able" to work with you but in what capacity they can do so.
For example, if you only work with clients on a retainer basis and your base retainer amount starts at $5000/month, but your client has a consulting budget of $1000/month, it would be good for you to know that as early as possible.
So how do you ask a potential client what their consulting budget is? I'll show you:
Potential client: "I'd love to hire you to work with me!"
You: "Awesome! I'd be excited to work with you too. Do you have a consulting budget?"
If they say yes, say: "Great! What does that look like for [this project or on a monthly basis]?"
If they say no, say: "No problem! In order for me to understand my capacity for this project, I'd need that information. What would it take for you to get back to me on that?"
It sounds obvious, but I've gotten my best results in my consulting career by crafting consulting offers that solve client problems. The first step to solving your potential client's problem? Ask them what their problems are and then you create your consulting package to solve that problem. Easy peasy.
I do this by having an initial discovery meeting with them. This meeting is designed to help you gather information on your prospective client's needs in order to help you craft a proposal to meet their needs.
Based on that meeting, you can then create specific consulting services to help you solve their problems.
Some clients might not know exactly what they need, or they might have needs that change frequently. Those types of clients need your time and expertise more often than they need a step-by-step workflow to solve a particular challenge.
The best way to entice clients that say things like "I just need help" or "I don't know where to start" is to offer them flexibility in your consulting offer.
Things like bulk hours or a monthly retainer with flexibility on how they can use the time are attractive to clients who aren't sure what to do.
Protip: I often find it more effective to combine bulk hours with an overall strategic direction for the work in my consulting engagements. For example, a client may have 10 hours per month of work with me, but that work is only focused on high-level strategy development. That way you're not burning through your client hours working on things that don't move the needle for them.
Speaking of moving the needle... before clients invest in you as a consultant they will want to understand the value of what you're offering. When it comes to demonstrating value to clients, there are two key motivators that will get them to sign on the dotted line every time: you either add happiness or take away pain.
When you're crafting your products and services, always keep these motivators in mind and design your services to accomplish one or more of these goals. Ask yourself:
Then briefly outline for your client HOW you will accomplish these things.
Lots of people can talk about solving a client's problems, but helping a client understand how you can solve it, is crucial to crafting winning consulting offers.
Try these 4 tips next time you create a proposal for your consulting services and it'll be approved in an instant!