How to Start a Consulting Project

Have you ever struggled trying to get started in consulting? How do you get that first gig, or if you’re already started, how do you scale up? In this segment, Jason and I talk about the fundamentals of building trust with your client, how to price your consulting project as a smart ROI (Return on Investment) and the #1 lever that all coaches and consultants have to accelerate trust, and consequently business with your clients.

Video Transcript

Jason Bell:  So let’s take a deep dive.  This is an outstanding foundation and talking about the  competencies you need now you grow and I think we’ve done good there.  You know to kind of have a better understanding of like a day in the life of a consultant or day and not even the life not a day like the project of a consultant right so maybe, I don’t know if you have a project that we could maybe deep dive into and kind of talk about maybe cradle to grave of how and what your approach was  . . . I don’t know if you can think of a client but and obviously you know, non-disclosure, share what you can today enough to at least give us some scope and perspective to understand how it got started, that kind of stuff, anything coming to mind?

Rocco Luongo:  Oh yeah, so I’ve got my processes for everything, and that’s just the engineering  background again plus it builds an asset into my company so that even though it is just Rocco my company has a certain market value that’s saleable. I wouldn’t be able to just sell it in and leave I’d have to sell it and then you know do like probably a two year transition to make sure it would be taken over but I could sell my company for money because of the assets and processes that I’ve built. So what I’m what I’m getting at here is there is a process.  So when I asked you earlier what’s the most important thing to know about being a consultant and I’ll tell you that, it’s because it’s a relationship game, right, being a consultant or a coach is about a relationship and relationships are built with people not with organizations.

My client is not Gravis law my client is Brett Spooner, CEO and managing partner.

You build a relationship with people and the best way to build a relationship with someone is to provide value early because that builds trust. Relationships are built upon trust and the lever that a consultant and a coach has to build a relationship and trust is to provide value early. Alan Weiss.

JB:  Can we talk about some of the work you did with I’m sorry what was his name?

RL:  Brett Spooner.

JB  Brett Spooner. Can we dig into that a little bit?

RL For sure.

JB  So, when you first started providing consulting services to Brett how did it get started? Did he  approach you, did you cold call him? I mean how did you two initially get connected and where did the project begin?

RL  I met him through an organization that is a co-working space called Fuse, a co-working and business accelerator right when it was a fledgling operation. He had just started his law practice [and] he

left software, started his law practice and [in] one little room off the side of this accelerator and I knew him I just met him said hello and I didn’t even make him a proposal for  months after that.

Now I’m not saying it has to take that long. Some other people I’ve met and had proposals in their hands and you know  only a couple of months or in  days, but the way I do it and because I’m in it  . . .  it’s not good to rush a relationship. And I use the analogy if you if you go on a date with someone, have a cup of coffee are you immediately going to ask her or him to marry you on that day.

And I’ve got one client who actually said, “Actually, I did that with my wife!”

And it’s okay, that’s okay, that’s fine if you did but you’re a rare one for doing that, and so I like to play the long game and that’s how I am as well I like to build the gravity. I have a lot of gravity around me, I’ve got social media, web presence, people know me, people talk about me, so I’m known and so I have something of a reputation already and I built my relationship by providing value constantly . . . . constantly providing value and this is one of the major differences between a successful and  unsuccessful consultant or coach is that we give away our best stuff for free.  It’s the easiest thing to do provide value early and don’t risk deselection by not providing value.

If you sit there aloof like I’m the expert I’m just taking it but I offer nothing . . . click you’re done!

You need to take in those data points, get it on a line and then give them something targeted and focused.

Don’t try to give them everything  One talk, one topic.

I keep it focused. Part of what they’re hiring me for is focus. They’re trying to cut through all the miles of BS and get down to what matters and if I give them 17 different things to work on in thirty minutes, I am just as bad if not worse than them. I am I am way worse because they’re hiring me for focus so it’s

important to build that relationship.

I like to play it long and consequently I don’t have just 90-day Engagements. I have overlapping multi-year engagements and I have lots of recurring customers and I have people who come back to me who referred to me and it’s you build a level of gravity.

JB: So tell me more about the work with Brett. so what was the what was the initial problem that Brett had presented to you that he needed assistance with?

RL: Initially it was a three-month coaching package straight up we just talked about it he said yeah I want to know more let’s give it a try, so we signed up for a three-month coaching package and it went it went extremely well and we extended that out for a coaching and consulting package that’s wrapped up

through 2019 and he requested an exclusivity clause so I wouldn’t work with any other law firms because he doesn’t want anyone else using what I know and frankly he also knows it as I work with him on learning tactics and techniques about how to build a great law practice. Right he’s he went from

that one room thing to I don’t know by now something like  different employees and we’ve got some lofty targets I’m integrated into their team I’m not just coaching him now I’m coaching all the partners. I led an off-site facilitation afterwards it was such a resounding success I asked him what was the value of this day and he said if I had to put a number to it $100,000.

JB: For a day!

RL: For a day. So now here’s the next question, now that you know the value, how do you set a smart price? You have to be able to take the value of what you’re Doing, what’s the value of your clients improved condition, both in tangible, intangibles and the amortization of that growth and create a reasonable ROI for that dramatic increase in the quality, the position that your client is in.

It’s not a hundred, or two hundred, or one thousand dollars an hour times this many hours of work, it’s I’m going to move you from here to here, your company makes ten million a year, you’re going to go to fifteen million a year that’s a five million dollar value proposition in a year.

What’s the equitable compensation for my contribution to that growth?

How do I set my price as an ROI, and that takes experience and it takes tools and it takes confidence.

JB: Six figures sounds like a good starting point.

RL: If it’s a five million annual gross, depending on how depending on how specific you are in that field it could easily be seven but yeah that would definitely be in the six figures.