How to Build Your Consulting Pipeline
Nora Ghaoui shares an article on how to keep building your consulting pipeline even when it’s a tough year.
Building a consulting pipeline is tough in any year. In 2020, the uncertainty caused by the pandemic made companies cautious, so it was harder to get projects agreed and started. I tried out different actions to build my project pipeline, and some worked better than others. Here are the top 3 things that made a difference to building my business as a solo consultant. They might not be what you expect!
Spend your time wisely
Time gets away from you when your established routine is broken. Without strong deadlines or direct feedback, it’s easy for actions to be postponed, half-done or forgotten in the jumble of dealing with lockdowns and working from home.
So the most important success factor is: Be very intentional about how you spend your time. What you spend time on, and what you get done, makes the difference between building your business or seeing it languish. It sounds obvious, but it can be hard to do in practice.
As an “army of one”, all the work has to be done by you, although you can outsource parts of it. This work includes refining your positioning, creating and publishing your marketing, building and nurturing your network, prospecting for leads, pitching for projects, negotiating with clients, working on projects, doing administrative overhead, keeping your expertise up to date, and, last but not least, having fun and enjoying what you do.
You can’t do it all at the same time, so choosing what to do and when is critical. Chet Holmes, author of The Ultimate Sales Machine, lists “The Time Management Secrets of Billionaires” as his first strategy for business success. If you let time get away from you, you will look back after two months and wonder where it went. As Anthony Iannarino says, “Show me your choices and I’ll show you your results.”
So how do you make this work?
Firstly, prioritise. Where are you in building your business and what are the biggest gaps? What’s needed to fill your sales funnel (if you’re prospecting) or get project work done more effectively (if you’re working for a client)? Which elements of business building do you need to do now, and which later? Decide what you will not do, so that you can put enough effort into your priorities. Put the most time into your top priorities.
Secondly, block time in your calendar for important tasks, particularly those that you tend to postpone then regret not doing. Jeb Blount, in Fanatical Prospecting, describes time-boxing as a key strategy for getting critical work done. When I’m not on a client project I block time for prospecting, writing, doing my weekly review and updating my CRM.
Key points include:
- Action planning
- Creating momentum
- Building connections
Read the full article, Keep building your consulting pipeline (in a tough year), on Veridia.nl.