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How Top Consultants Justify Their Value

It can be hard to sell an intangible service like consulting. It’s even harder to justify your price. You might have a solid business background and rate your abilities as an educator and facilitator very highly. But so do many of your competitors. How do you show prospective clients that what you have to offer is meaningfully different and superior?

You know that your service has the potential to deliver great value to your client. But ultimately, since most consultants have rightly learned that it’s not about charging by the hour, you find that generic statements about your worth don’t really have the impact you need on the next client you’re trying to close.

Creating Advocates

Most consultants ask for referrals and testimonials shortly after their engagement ends. They provide their service, and then ask. That way, they make sure their value is fresh in the client’s mind. That helps.

But top consultants identify and solve their client’s biggest, most fundamental problems. They offer solutions. Then, their challenge is making sure that the client executes their solutions. If the client does, then the consultant has truly delivered value.

Testimonials about delivering business results will be far more impactful than ones about your expertise. But since executing a solution takes time, top consultants know that they have to have a long-term relationship with their client. They need a way to help their client implement their solutions. They need to follow what’s happening inside the client’s business so they can know whether or not their guidance is being executed.

Top consultants need to show that they had a real impact that can be measured. They demonstrate tangible results so their client can see a clear return on their investment. And when they can show it, that’s when they ask for a testimonial and referral. Obviously, client advocacy based upon measurable business results is far more powerful. The referrals are far better. And the consultant is far more likely to get better contracts and longer-term engagements.

A Business Management Platform for Execution

Around the time that I came to North America to oversee RESULTS’ global expansion in 2009, we developed our business management platform to help our consulting clients track the results of the work we were doing with them.

What we found is that there is a huge demand for a platform like RESULTS. Our clients truly wanted to execute the strategic decisions we helped them to make, and the platform turned out to be exactly the tool they needed. We set out to prove our consulting value by means of our platform.

Then, after management saw how our consulting methodology helped them to achieve better results, the platform let us continue to provide value. We could help them design strategically aligned projects and metrics. We helped them create meetings that were useful, productive, and focused on results. We increased their profitability and improved their work culture.

We held our meetings with our clients directly in the platform. That way, we could build our relationship with them right alongside the measurable results that any manager using the platform could see and track.

The software showed such great potential that RESULTS made the strategic decision to focus on it. We still leverage our consulting expertise, of course. And now, we partner with top consultants who want to develop long-term relationships by showing the measurable impact of their ideas. We help our consulting partners grow their own business by sharing the software licensing revenue with them.

It’s the future of consulting. Guidance is no longer enough. Now, top consultants also provide a way for their clients to execute. That’s how they justify their value, and that’s how they grow their consulting practice.

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Stephen Lynch

Author of the award winning business book Business Execution for RESULTS & President of RESULTS.com, Lynch is an internationally known Strategy Consultant and a contributing writer for The Economist magazine.

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