Most consultants I meet aren’t expecting to make $10 million per year from their services. As professionals, most are hoping to make a healthy, six-figure income.
But the constraints on their time—from both selling and executing their consulting—make it difficult for many consultants to scale their businesses. They reach a sales plateau with little hope of generating more revenue beyond that maximum level. This can make them feel frustrated and disenchanted, especially if that plateau isn’t high enough to support the lifestyle they want for themselves or their families.
Through experience (that is, trial and error), I've found several strategies that can boost your monthly sales by a healthy amount—and not one of them requires much face time.
If you'd like to add an extra $5,000 a month to your annual sales, then consider these smart strategies:
Strategy 1: Become an Affiliate of Complementary Services
Think about the solutions you offer your clients. It’s likely that your recommendations will require them to buy products and services from third parties. In effect, you're helping these other businesses make a sale through no effort on their part. So why not get paid for it? Affiliate commissions are an excellent way to easily boost your earnings.
Pat Flynn is an Internet marketer who helps entrepreneurs develop online businesses. What does every online business need? Web hosting. Flynn doesn’t own a Web hosting company himself, but he earned more than $38,000 in affiliate commissions from Bluehost in June 2014 alone. Think about the sales that you help generate for third-party businesses in a given year. Why not give them a call and start earning a well-deserved commission?
Strategy 2: Stop Offering Discounts
Don’t offer discounts on your consulting services. Discounting is the worst way to secure a new customer or keep an existing one. A 20 percent discount on $10,000 in monthly services represents $2,000 less per month that you’ll earn on existing work. It also guarantees that you won’t be able to increase your prices later. No matter how many times you tell a client that this is a “one time discount” or a “a favor,” they won’t see it that way. So when it comes time to renew your contracts, they'll expect the same special pricing. Offering them a renewal at your standard rate will make them think you're price gouging them.
There's absolutely no upside to offering a discount. Offer one, and you'll do the same work for less money, spread the word that you work for less than your stated rates, lose the customer when you try to charge your normal rate, and feel irritated at your customer for treating you this way.
Strategy 3: Package Your Knowledge
As a consultant, you're paid for your brain time; tapping into your accumulated knowledge is a better deal financially for your clients versus trying to solve the problem on their own. But once you complete your assignment, you move on to the next project. This limits your ability to capitalize on your know-how.
To reach customers that can’t afford you or don’t fit into your schedule, create information products like e-books and webinars. These help you achieve several goals at once. First, you can make money from multiple clients simultaneously. Second, it helps enhance your credibility in the industry, and that will help you land more consulting contracts. Finally, it helps you generate revenue from clients that could never afford your standard consulting rate.
Any combination of these three strategies can add an extra $5,000 per month to your professional services practice. Better yet, these are all high-margin opportunities. Affiliate revenues have virtually zero cost of goods sold. Cancelling your future discounts has no related costs. And while packaging your knowledge will have COGS (cost-of-goods-sold), information-based products tend to have margins of at least 60 percent.
Adding $5,000 in high-margin revenue is a nice way to boost your year's earnings.
Read more articles on small-business financial strategies.