Sales takes a great deal of effort. You need to manage your pipeline of prospects both by filling it with new prospects and by moving existing prospects forward to ultimately engage your services. Different business models lead you to choose different sales models that range from direct sales, subcontractors, partnerships, or commissioned selling models.
- Sales takes a great deal of effort. You'll need to manage your pipeline. You'll have to fill it with new prospects and move existing prospects along toward ultimately engaging your services. Your business model will drive your choice of sales model. They can range from direct sales to subcontractors to partnerships or commissioned selling models. Direct sales models for consulting firms usually involve the principals in the firm building relationships with clients and prospects.
They have to understand their needs and sell the firm's services based on those client needs. Subcontractor sales happen when you have a general contractor consulting model. One of your subcontractors might sell an engagement based on their relationship and the services they bring, and then they bring in the rest of the consulting firm to sell a broader slate of services. Partnership sales models work well when you have a broad referral network of other consulting firms that know your services.
They can refer work to you from their clients or prospects, and you pay them a referral fee. Commissioned sales models are usually used with either a full-time internal sales force or with an outsourced sales vendor. There are many business development companies out there that will generate warm leads for you in exchange for a fee. Once you have the lead, it's up to you to close the sale. In other commissioned sales models, the contractor actually completes the sale and you pay them a commission, either a flat fee or a percentage of the revenue generated.
You can be a subcontractor too. You might choose to be a subcontractor to a larger consulting firm. You could sell the work for the larger firm in addition to selling your own services. Be sure you have a contract in place to specify how large your commission is and the requirements for earning it. Be self aware enough to know if you're good or bad at sales. If you need help with it, get it immediately. No sales means no business.
With the right sales model in place, your biggest challenge will be managing your growth.
- Working as a consultant
- Generating revenue as a consultant
- Cost structures, pricing, finances, and taxes
- Marketing and selling consulting services
- Negotiating and contracting
- Working with clients
- Presenting findings to clients
- Implementing recommendations
- Managing legal issues
- Insuring a business
- Getting licensed and certified