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3 Ways to Get Repeat Sales in Consulting

Posted on November 5, 2018 at 2:55 PM



To reach the partnership level as a management consultant, you need to be more than just great at solving client's problems - you have to be able to sell new work. The hard way to do that is to prospect for new clients. The easier way to do that is to sell more work to clients they are already working with. The key is to find needs your client has that you can solve in a cost-effective way through consulting. Here are three ways you can do that:

 


Ask - The easiest way is to ask your client. The best time is to ask after you have proven your value by delivering great results from your existing work. If your client feels like the investment they made in your consulting engagement has provided great returns, ask where else they think there might be opportunities for similar results. Ask them if they would introduce you to other executives in the company that have been looking for help. At an office supplies client I worked with, for example, we ended up working all the way back the value chain to work with their paper and wood subsidiaries because they liked our consulting work and were willing to make internal referrals for us.


Offer Diagnostics - If you have built enough trust with your client, consider offering to do diagnostic work for them to find other untapped cost savings or revenue increases. This requires the client to invest some time and share some data with you. You have to invest some of your own team's time (not billed to the client) to do the assessment. Often, these diagnostics can be comparing their metrics in new areas to benchmarks you already have. Other times, you have to be more creative. At an automotive client I worked with, for example, we offered to analyze a random sample of their auto parts pricing data to see if there was an opportunity to boost profits by updating prices to meet demand. If we could prove the work would have a profit payoff, our client could justify keeping our team working with his. It turned out there was a big profitable payoff waiting, and I learned the power of pitching a "profit hunt" with clients where I have earned the trust to do so.


Identify Emerging Industry Trends - Consultants often don't specialize in an industry, at least before they get to the partnership level. While you are working on a project in an industry, make the extra effort to keep up with the industry trade websites and journals. Learning about customers, competitors, suppliers, and other industry stakeholders may spark ideas for potential needs your own client has. Even if your new industry knowledge doesn't help you get a repeat sale immediately, it could help you build an industry niche that you might need at the partner level.


You got a job in management consulting because you are good at gathering and analyzing information. Selling is a different skill, but these three steps help you get your first sale by starting from your strength in analysis.

Categories: Communication Skills, Career Planning