By Steven Imke
Previously, we discussed how to properly target, prospect, and qualify consulting engagement leads as a way to monetize your knowledge as a consulting business. In this post, we cover the pitch meeting and how to write a winning proposal.
Once you have a qualified lead with a problem that your consulting business can solve, it is time to pitch them.
At this point, hopefully, the prospect has some basic idea of who you are, having responded in some way to your prospecting, and you have a basic understanding of the prospect based on your qualifying the lead. The goal of the pitch is not getting a commitment to hire you, but to make the engagement more personal and to clarify the points that need to go into your written proposal.
Rather than use your first meeting to just share why the prospect should hire your consulting business, consultants would be better served to use the pitch meeting to ask questions to get the prospect engaged in the process, and to show them that you understand and care about them.
“Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Based upon what you learned when you developed your empathy map about your ideal customer and what information you gathered on the specific prospect you gathered in the qualifying stage, you should design a series of questions to probe a little deeper to discover the pain and gain points that you can use in your proposal that will resonate with them. During your pitch, you want to demonstrate that you understand what is important to them, and show them that you care about them and their success.
Remember, if your customer works for a larger corporation, their decision to hire your consulting business is likely guided by how it will reflect on them personally. I always made it very clear to my clients that it was my job to make them look good to their boss. I told my customers that I expected them to personally take all the credit for any successes.
On the flip side, it is often better for the prospect to make no decision than to make a bad decision, so you will want to show them how you can take a majority the risk out of making a bad decision in your pitch, such as offering a money-back guarantee to assuage any fear they may have with making a bad decision.
Before you conclude your pitch, be sure to include a question or two so you can see what success looks like for the prospect. For example, you might ask: