How The Most Successful Consultants Win New Business
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The Holy Grail, nirvana, the end of the rainbow are all striven for
intangibles that have driven man for centuries.
Within consultancy the equivalent might be "the way" to always win business
you want. Well a bit like the centuries old intangibles I suspect this one is
equally mythological or at least hidden from view for many consultants. So if
there is no holy grail what can you do?
Well in recent research, headed by Professor Colin Coulson-Thomas of the
University of Lincoln, a survey of over 510 professionals in seven major
categories; accountancy practices, advertising agencies, engineering
consultants, IT/telecommunications consultants, management consultancies,
marketing/PR consultants, and firms of solicitors, looked at over 120 activities
to try and decipher what makes winners win more - consistently.
There are some interesting findings; across all professions only 42.3% win
more than half their pitches for new business. When looked at more closely,
there are real differences across the professions. In terms of winning more than
half their pitches the figures were
Accountancy practices - 62%
Management consultants - 58%
IT/telecoms consultants - 57%
Consulting engineers - 21%
Futher results from the survey show that there are some critical success
factors, especially in key areas.
"67% of most successful consultancies win new business "frequently" from
existing clients; this falls to 42% among the least successful. The disparity is
equally striking with previous clients (33% to 16%) and even wider with
referrals from clients (33% to 7%).
The most successful consultancies also score over the least successful in a
whole range of other business winning activities including gaining contacts
through professional organisations, cross referrals from other business units
within their firms, references from associated companies and referrals from
According to Coulson-Thomas "The winners pay much more attention to
developing their network of contacts. They are much more effective at exploiting
a wider range of sources of new business."
Other examples, where the most successful companies gained over the least
- Focus on positioning themselves so that they attract invitations to
pitch. i.e. they portray an "attractive/good" image and highlight their
reputation in their chosen market.
- Good track record in similar projects
- Good and ongoing relationships with existing clients especially
across the organisation on a one to one basis
- Reputation for reliable delivery
- Communicating the distinctive nature of their expertise,
- Addressing specific concerns of the potential client
- Providing access to previous clients
- Review lost bids i.e. gain feedback
- So armed with that insight,
- What do you need to focus on to become more successful than you are
- What changes do you need to make to become more successful for the
future on an ongoing basis?
- What areas need immediate focus?
- What help do you need?
Being good enough is surely not good enough if you want to be a successful
consultant for not just this year but for years to come.
About the Author
Beverley Hamilton works with independent business consultants to help them
grow a profitable consultancy and still have time for their life. You can get my
Free Ecourse Discover the 5 Most Common Incorrect Assumptions Independent
Business Consultants Make and a complimentary subscription to Quickstart,
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2007-07-10 22:46:04 in Business Articles