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Selling consulting takes a while

If you’ve just set up and you’re selling consulting to clients, how fast should you expect them to sign on the dotted line and pay you money?

Here’s a question from Gerard who’s early in his consulting career

Hi Cindy,
I am currently establishing a consultancy and have bought a few of your books recently. while I am able to find work prospects I am finding it difficult to close the deal.


selling consulting

Selling consulting: Just getting in front of a customer is a success step!

Ah, I see, you bought the books in January and it’s now only February. That you’re in front of people selling consulting already is excellent progress, so give yourself credit for that!  Who’s your target market?

Construction and support services mainly operating in the resources space. Small business, up to mid tier.

When you say you can’t close the deal, what are the symptoms of that? How far do you get?

To the point where the client needs to commit. There is always a lot of positive feedback and agreement on objectives and
plans. It seems to be about committing the resources.

How many meetings are you having with them before you get to that point? how much have you shown the ROI/costs of non-compliance so they can see the roi?

We don’t really get to the benefit discussion

Selling consulting: They will need to see the benefit

Ah, if you don’t get there, then they won’t commit. If they don’t have budget, they won’t commit. if there’s no roi or benefit, they won’t commit.

Have you done any selling before?

No… is it apparent?

selling consulting

Some tips on selling consulting

I’d suggest you go to your local library and borrow a book on selling. Any classic text will do.

Whether you’re selling consulting or widgets, people don’t just buy. They need reasons.

I have clients who are into their tenth year with me but they took 20 years to put money on the table. You have to set yourself some realistic expectations when selling consulting or you’ll go crazy!

Brian Tracy is a great authority on selling that you can read. He’s apparently better in audio than in print. I saw him live and he was really good at making things really clear and step-by-step. You can borrow audio books from your local library and Brian’s been around for yonks so it should be pretty easy to find something he has written on selling. You can then apply it to selling consulting.

Here and here are some things on my site about client decision-making:   These aren’t really selling consulting a such, they’re relationship management, but they give you an idea. The client will almost certainly need more than one meeting with you to get to a decision when you’re selling consulting services.

Also, try Consulting Mastery: Being Good is not enough. That’s about 70,000 words on creating relationships (which is what selling consulting is all about)!

selling consulting

Hope this helps!

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