- By Debbie Allen
(This article was adapted from the new book, The Highly Paid Expert.)
There has never been a better time to launch yourself as an expert. The Internet, social media, video marketing and the print-on-demand industry have made it easier than ever before.
So you might want to consider transitioning from your current job as an employee to becoming a highly paid consultant. Consulting is a wonderful career that allows you to give from your wisdom and your heart, share your expert skills and guide clients to achieve goals; overcome obstacles; inspire hope and encouragement; empower change; make more money and much more.
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Consultants Ease the Pain
A lot of people are in pain in their personal lives or in their businesses in some way. Consultants help them find the solutions to solve the problems and eliminate the pain.
To succeed as a consultant, you’ll want to figure out ways to solve problems for people and communicate this in your marketing copy. For example, say you have a client who used to make a lot of money, but now his business has dropped off and he is losing clients and income. As a business consultant, you can help him figure out where the problems are and advise him to change something to turn his business around.
Once you help him turn his business around with the steps you suggest, his pains and frustrations begin to go away. You then become his business savor! And that’s why he’ll pay you the BIG BUCKS!
From your very first meeting or call with a client, you give her hope. This instantly helps build her confidence like never before. And when you can do this for her, it’s powerful. She can’t wait to talk to you the next time and continue working with you.
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Set Yourself up for Success
How you approach a client is important to set the stage for how you will work with him. For example, I have a systemized, step-by-step program that guides my clients through a business and brand strategy that is tailored specifically to them. I advise my clients with a very direct, no-B.S. approach. Your ideal clients should not only be ready for change, they must also be ready to take action so you both achieve success in the process.
If your clients are not taking consistent action to change, you can’t get them successful results. When you get a prospect who wants to become a client, make sure you ask her if she is ready to take action and change something in her life or business. Remember that your clients must be coachable. If not, they could become a nightmare to work with.
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Systemize the Process
Once you have a proven system in place, your consulting program will run like clockwork and you’ll be able to take on more clients and monetize your programs more effectively.
Every part of your consulting program must be systemized, including your client follow-up e-mails. Be sure to follow up with a new client within 24 hours of signing him up; assure him that he made the right choice to work with you with a personalized e-mail and/or video.
Take the time to develop a client follow-up plan. Write e-mails in advance and create a pre-program questionnaire to help guide your support before you even begin working with new clients.
Once you have a system in place, you’ll be able to work faster and more productively.
You should also create a systemized checklist for your clients to follow. This will allow them to clearly see how your program works and how you will guide them. Be sure to ask your clients the right questions upfront to help guide you through your process. Having a system helps to effectively monetize your consulting business because you can then take on more clients and get better results.
Pricing Your Consulting Services
When you’re about to hang out your shingle as a consultant, it’s essential that you charge what you are worth.
When putting together your consulting services, work backwards so you can create a highly paid, consistent income plan. Start by thinking about a realistic income you want to make this year from your consulting services. Once you are clear on how much money you want to make, break that down into how many clients you need to achieve your i goal. When you know this, you have an endpoint.
Always keep your end goal (annual income) in mind when pricing your consulting programs. Keep improving your programs and value so you can keep increasing your fees. Your goal is not necessarily to have more clients; your goal should be to have more high-level clients who pay you top dollar for your expertise. This way you work less and make more. You also get a greater return for those clients who are fortunate enough to work with you.
Add Personalized VIP Days to Your Consulting Services
The more personalized your programs are, the higher your price point should be. Remember, the biggest value you can offer is your time, but you only have so many hours in a day. Therefore, your top-dollar program is the one that offers the most one-on-one personalized time with you.
One of the best ways to work with clients on high-end programs is to set up personalized VIP days. These can be done in person, but they are more time-saving when done via telephone, Skype, or Google Hangout.
Consider setting up high-end consulting programs that let you work a half-day or full-day with your clients by phone. Plan on taking a number of breaks during the call to allow your client to work on an assignment and clear her head.
Personalized VIP days can give your clients great value by working to achieve fast results for them. Some experts charge from $1,500 to $5,000 or more for a half- or full- VIP day by phone (face-to-face programs can run from $3,500 to $25,000 or more per day depending on the consultant’s expertise and his specific market).
Offering E-mail Access Is Also Personalized Time
You might also consider offering personalized e-mail access as part of your consulting program. I give my clients unlimited e-mail access with a quick response within 48 hours. You may end up getting a lot of e-mails (I certainly do); but when you train your clients to communicate effectively, you can get a lot of work done in a short amount of time.
If you don’t want to be glued to your e-mail account, allow your clients a select number of e-mails per month.
Another way to offer your consulting is through group calls. You’ll take on more clients this way, but the perceived value is less than with one-on-one consulting. One way to increase the value you offer with group calls is to add a personalized Q&A forum where you answer individual’s questions during the session.
Show your clients you care about them and that you can attack their pain points and you’ll be on your way to becoming a highly paid consultant.