Getting your consultancy growing

By Tim Prizeman

Be "the Hotel Inspector" to improve your consultancy's sales success

Most management consultancies are great at selling to their network. They do great work and get the occasional referral too, and also often pick up clients when their key contacts move to other firms.

It's often enough to grow modestly, but the same success is not achieved with businesses where there aren't established contacts.

When you know people (or get a strong recommendation) much of the selling process is avoided because a position of trust has already been built. They know how you work and what the results have been from you in the past.

They don't mind that your website may not be great and if it is a bit jargony or old-fashioned; they won't be worried if your newsletter looks like a secretary put it together on a Friday afternoon and is a bit intermittent; they are quite happy not to tender you against competitors.

However, when it comes to winning new clients, these things DO matter. 

It is not just that 'first impressions count' (they definitely do!).  

But, it is also the case that every impression counts.

If someone does not know you well, they are consciously and subconsciously looking for clues as to what sort of organisation you are and what you're like to work with.

If the phones get answered slowly (or impolitely) and the website looks a bit cobwebby, they will draw negative impressions.

If the newsletter is all salesy and "me, me, me", they will draw conclusions about that.

If they want help with their strategy for a digital world... but you look like you're off-the-pace... well, you know what conclusions they will draw.


In the TV show The Hotel Inspector, hotel owners are often invited to stand at the entrance of their establishment and look at it with fresh eyes as though they were a potential customer coming along.

What impression does the signage give (its usually worn); what impression do the grounds give (they usually are unkempt); what impression do people get when they walk in to the reception and bar?

 Do the same for your own business!

What impression would a prospective client get when they encounter you and your business.  How does yours compare to other consultancies? 

Why not spend a bit of time being "the consultancy inspector": what is it about your consultancy that will really, really, really make them want to use you rather than a competitor?  And is it clearly being conveyed from the get-go?

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