Consultations are not only an opportunity to pitch yourself or close the deal, it is an opportunity for you to assess how effective you will be in helping a potential client achieve their goals. At the end of this blog you will have a chance to download my free Consultation Template! I require consultations in my business and I offer them for free. In my opinion, they are absolutely necessary and if you don't have a consultation process you should incorporate one.
What is a consultation?
A consultation is an initial meeting, phone call, WebEx or any other medium where the client can share their needs, expectations, seek advice and ideally come to an agreement and begin working with the service provider. Some people charge for consultations while others do not. During the initial consultation, a client will seek advice or a solution to a problem or issue that your company can solve. You should give enough information for the client to recognize what they are getting into if they hire you and enough information for them to decide if they'd like to move forward.
During my consultations I try to get a feel for who my client is. I ask questions and I try to make them feel comfortable with some conversation ice breakers. It is really important for my client and I to have good working chemistry. It makes the experience less stressful and much more motivating and fulfilling. I've had a few instances where after a consultation, I decided that I would not be the best person to help the client with their needs so I referred them to someone or gave them resources to find a solution.
What I look for in a client
My ideal client knows exactly what they want and how they want it done. They need a little extra push or expertise to get it done. But if it were that easy I would have no job! I like to work with clients who trust me. Trust is a major factor in client-consultant chemistry. That's why I try to gain my clients trust by being very detailed and knowledgeable about what I know and how I'm going to help them and honest when I don't know how to do something. Transparency is equally important for both parties if you want the best results.
What clients look for in you
The number one thing my clients need is communication and progress reports. They like to see things getting documents want someone who is forward thinking and innovative. Your it factor is what sets you apart from other people in your industry and attracts the clients you want to work with. Here are a few areas that will help you promote and develop your it factor:
1. Appearance - Do you look the part? Does your websites and social media look the part? Does your band look the part? Fine tune everything. I regularly peruse my website and social media for grammatical errors. I make sure my information is up to date, informative and easy to find. I dress professionally for meetings. I make sure that I can represent and explain my business effortlessly and eloquently by practicing my pitch. Make sure your business looks the part.
2. Background: Where you cone from, what you've done and who you are is what makes you different from anyone else in the world. Use it! I share my story and A little of my background when i talk about my business. When clients understand your values and what you stand for it makes you more attractive and relatable. This is great for your business as well.
3. Talent: What are you really good at? That should be the highlight of your business!
4. Experience: Dig deep. Everything you do is experience. Whether you got paid or not. You have to be sure to align yourself with experiences that will promote you and help to develop you as a professional. If someone wants to hire you, chances are they've done their research or were referred to you. Make sure that you are talking about your experience and that it is easy to find.
If you don't already have a structure for offering consultations please incorporate one! It will do wonders for your business. Attract clients to book consultations by running an ad or placing the link on your website. Make it easy for them to book and watch the consults roll in! Check out this Consultation Template I created to help you get started!