The Consultancy Model© is a framework designed for consultants looking to establish or improve a consulting practice. The model consists of seven interrelated consulting areas that address strategic and operational aspects of consulting. Its flexible format assists a consultant with the development of their ideas, strategic decision making, and the execution of their decisions.
The model begins by defining a consultant’s Focus and Ideal Client and ends with the Delivery of a service. With clarity as to a focus and their ideal client, a consultant can traverse different paths as they shape a consultancy practice that fits their ideal client’s needs and wants as well as their personal and professional requirements. No two consultant’s practices are the same. Every consultant’s ideas, decisions, and actions are unique to them; however, all consultants want to be successful and engage in similar activities.
THE CONSULTANCY MODEL IS FOR
The model is designed for new and experienced consultants as well as smaller consulting practices. New consultants are best served by starting with the two areas, Focus and Ideal Client. Experienced consultants might decide to validate their focus or immediately concentrate on a specific area for which they need assistance such as Awareness and Relationships or Engagement. A small consulting practice might decide their challenge is timely Delivery of the agreed upon services or if they might find their consultants struggle with building ongoing client Relationships.
KEY AREAS IN MORE DETAIL
The Core is comprised of Focus: The Foundation and Ideal Client: Who You Serve. The two areas address the consultant’s why, what, and who for their business.
A consultant’s Focus is the foundation or lynchpin for their consulting practice. It is the why and what that impact every major decision and action from defining the ideal client, connecting and building relationships, determining the service offering, and delivering the service promised.
Focus consists of:
- Discussing the convergence of three key focus criteria: Understand You, Build on You, and Demand and Desire
- Discussing who you are and what is important to you
- Identifying core values and natural strengths
- Recognizing expertise and experiences
- Determining a demand and desire
The Ideal Client is a consultant’s who. An ideal client is the person who wants to work with the consultant and in turn who the consultant wants to work with. Clarity as to who the ideal client is enables a consultant to connect with people interested in paying the consultant to help them. Synergy between the Focus and Ideal Client necessitates a consultant to continually modify their Focus and Ideal Client criteria until each works together seamlessly.
Ideal Client consists of:
- Determining the characteristics and behaviors, the criteria, of the ideal client
- Verifying that an ideal client can and wants to be found
- Validating the consultant’s Focus is in demand and desired by an ideal client
The Campaign is comprised of two areas: Brand Message: Attention Grabber and Awareness and Relationships: Connection Builder. These two areas concentrate on connecting with the ideal client and building a relationship so that the consultant becomes known as the expert in the field and the consultant of choice.
Consulting is a relationship business built on trust. The first step in building that trust is a crafting a clear, crisp, and compelling Brand Message that results is in the beginning of a long-term relationship with an ideal client. To craft the message, clarity as to consultant’s Focus, the why and what, and the identification of their Ideal Client, the who, are necessary. An expanded brand message can include information about a consultant’s how, their Service Offering.
Brand Message consists of:
- Discussing the structure and key components of compelling messages
- Expanding a message with the assistance of eight different creative techniques including storytelling
- Discussing embedding an offer in the message
- Delivering a message in a consultant’s own voice and style
Creating Awareness and Relationships is a multi-step repeatable process that builds on the brand message and leverages the consultant’s strengths to foster awareness of the consultant and the consultant’s offer. The aim is for the consultant to become known for their expertise and for the ideal client to ask for assistance.
Awareness and Relationships consists of:
- Discussing leveraging a consultant’s strengths to build awareness
- Establishing network, outreach, referral, and affiliate strategies
- Developing Content (writing, speaking, audio, video, images) and the importance of Intellectual Property
- Discussing web and social media presence
- Developing keep in touch strategies
Service is comprised of three areas: Service Offering: The Method, Engagement: Your Offer, and Delivery: The Execution. These three areas focus on how a consultant successfully assists an ideal client to achieve the results the client demands and desires.
A Service Offering expands on a consultant’s focus, their what, by explaining how a consultant can assist an ideal client overcome their struggles or move them ahead with an opportunity. A clear definition of the service being offered not only helps the client understand how the consultant works but helps the consultant remain true to their focus. Methodologies, transformational systems, and packages are flexible, enabling the unique needs of a client to be met and are used as the starting point when an ideal client asks for assistance. Aspects of a consultant’s service offering can be included in a consultant’s brand message and are used when building awareness.
Service Offering consists of:
- Defining the consultant’s Point of View
- Developing a methodology including articulating the results to be achieved.
- Performing an assessment as part of the methodology
- Creating a Transformational System or Package Offering
Engagement occurs when an ideal client trusts the consultant enough and desires help resulting in the client asking for assistance. The consultant starts by understanding the opportunity and the ideal client’s definition of success, developing an approach based on the consultant’s service offering, determining a fee for services, and finally providing an offer, a winning proposal that leads to a signed contract. Engagement is the culmination of all a consultant’s hard work building awareness and relationships around their focus.
Engagement consists of:
- Discussing preparing and conducting a discovery meeting with a client to gather information to write a proposal.
- Leveraging a consultant’s methodology to develop an approach that meets the specific needs of the client.
- Examining five different pricing methods including the pros and cons of each method and the best situations to use each method.
- Describing contract concepts from the business side
- Discussing obtaining client consensus before writing a proposal
- Developing a proposal that fits the consultant and the client leading to signed contract
The signing of a contract enables the consultant to move to the final consulting area in the model, Delivery. Delivery is the successful execution of an agreed upon service that provides the results the client expects. If the effort is project based, suitable project management techniques, tools, and procedures are followed. The aim of delivery is to not only meet client expectations, but to exceed those expectations without gold plating.
Delivery consists of:
- Establishing stakeholder procedures
- Discussing engagement communication protocols
- Initiating practices for managing and measuring engagement metrics
- Increasing awareness of engagement and personal risk when executing the plan
- Concluding the engagement
Establishing a consulting business is not easy. It is an adventure with its share of ups and downs. The Consultancy Model© is a guideline designed to assist consultants as they journey on their consulting adventure enabling them to not only are successful, but soar.