Working with clients on a consultation basis means that they value your time. Congratulations on becoming an expert in your field. Being able to consult means that you can offer your advice, knowledge, expertise, and inside knowledge to better the business of others, at a fee.
You’ll need to establish your expectations correctly if you want to have great relationships with your clients. Spend the time to write down the details, and you’ll be able to push those relationships further. Some clients require a proposal for consulting before entering into any agreement. They’ll want to know exactly what outcomes they will get from your work, and what fees they will owe.
You’ll need to do all of the proper research and homework first, but this template will give you a head-start and a good framework. You should always consult a lawyer though before finalizing any contracts.
You’re starting to work in a consulting business or expanding the consulting work that you do, and your clients expect clear, well-formatted proposals from you. A proposal is a simple document, introducing your company or yourself, explaining your expertise and knowledge, and showcasing your network and capabilities. You’ll give information on your fees, and set expectations for your clients to know how much you will charge for your services.
A consulting proposal is one of the first documents to give to a prospective client, so that they can be aware of just what exactly they’re getting for their money. You can introduce them to your team, company, mission statement, and ethos, and tell them a story to increase value for your business and create engagement and emotion with your clients.
Many of your clients will be interested in the story of you and your business. They will want to buy more than just the parts of the consultation time you’re willing to offer them. “The whole is worth more than the sum of its parts” applies well here. Clients will perceive your consultation time as worth much more if they know about the whole story, about how you got to be an expert, and where your advice is coming from.
Before you begin in earnest on your consulting proposal, you’re going to want to have some deep discussions with your client. Strive to truly understand them, what they want, and what their problems are. Try to perceive what misconceptions they might have, and understand their industry from their perspective. Ask them questions and get them talking. Compare their responses to other clients and the rest of the industry. This might not be the best time to give advice (that part you charge for), but do ask questions and take notes.
Many consultants offer this first conversation for free. A “free consult” as the first session is fairly common and allows clients and contractors to understand whether or not the consultant is a good fit. It’s almost always done over the phone or in-person. Why doesn’t it work over chat or message? You need to hear the intonation in their voice as they talk about their business. Is their opinion solid or tentative? Do they sound hesitant to answer, or does the answer come straight-away? Do they look like they understand you fully as you answer them, or do you need to re-word it?
In sales, a common tactic that is taught to almost every salesperson is to “mirror and match.” If you want their business, you will need to speak, act, and behave in the same way as your client. Try not to disagree with them at first, and speak about things in their own lingo, jargon, and style. See why it’s almost impossible to do over text? You need to use your instincts to hone in on the person, chat with them on the phone, or in person, to get them to really tell you what their problems, challenges, and desires are.
Once you have identified these challenges and desires, you can focus on making solutions for your client. Consultants often need to come up with custom solutions, and provide them without having a clear idea for what the problems really are. Focus on the outcomes for your client, and on telling them the story. By the end of the story, your client should have a clear picture of what they will have by the end of your relationship. Once they have an idea of what their outcomes are, and if those outcomes align with their desires and challenges, you have a chance at being paid to deliver those outcomes.
Include information about details somewhere in your proposal. Schedules, budgets, and the scheme of your work should all be included. Will you charge on a retainer basis, a subscription, project, or by a successor contingency fee? There are a wide variety of different ways to be compensated for a consulting agreement, and you’ll need to discuss these in your proposal.
In your initial consultation or phone call that led to your production of this Consulting Proposal, you asked some questions to get to know your client. After all, you needed to know something before you could begin writing a proposal. The proposal is also a good time to ask questions. Although you’ll primarily be telling than asking, you will also want to include some questions for the prospective customer to follow up with you. It’s a well-known sales tactic to ask questions from the client. The more you get the client talking about themselves, the more ammunition you have as a salesperson, and psychologically, your client will see you as a good listener, and begin to like you. We’re hardwired as humans to enjoy talking to people who listen to us, so you can use that to your advantage.
When you have learned enough about your client, begin to write the consulting proposal, and later if they accept, you can create a consulting agreement. Whatever your business, sales is always an important component, and you should remember that you need to sell yourself in pretty much any situation. Tell your story, and your clients will perceive a higher value from your services. Get started in your consulting career today by using our form-fillable consulting proposal template, and see how easy it is to have all of the right sections and parts required for a consulting proposal.