How to Generate Immediate Consulting Demand

As consultants, we’ve all faced the challenge: the need to generate immediate consulting demand to keep our schedules full and our businesses thriving. While robust marketing and business development strategies are essential, they often unfold over time. So, what’s the solution when you need results now?

The answer may be closer than you think. By turning inward — to our current portfolio, past clients, and active sales pipeline — we often uncover promising opportunities. This approach not only capitalizes on established relationships and ongoing efforts but also provides a path to quick wins.

Let’s explore how you can tap into these resources effectively.

Start with your current portfolio.

The most expedient place to look for new consulting demand is within your current portfolio. Explore opportunities with your active clients to expand the team size or the scope of work. Many times, this is a win-win, leading to faster project completion for the client and more immediate revenue for you. Depending on the value of getting someone busy, offering an onboarding discount can be a strong motivator for the client.

Before approaching your existing client with the opportunity to add to their team, work through the following steps:

  • Identify why the change is good for them, keeping in mind the client’s current challenges and milestones.
  • Determine if now is a good time for the change.
  • Outline the impact on the project.
  • Assess the potential for an onboarding discount.

After that, create some high-level talking points. For example, you might say:

“I have an opportunity to add Tom to your project. Tom has skills in X, Y, and Z that would be valuable for your immediate project needs. This addition helps pull in the project completion time by one month. I understand that it’ll take a little time for Tom to ramp up, and we’re willing to discount the first week to absorb that cost.”

Next, explore your previous clients.

Previous clients are a goldmine for new opportunities. Having already built a foundation of trust, reaching out with new proposals can be highly effective.

We’ve found the following simple process helpful:

  • Generate a list of your previous clients. A collaborative spreadsheet like Google Sheets is an easy way to manage this work.
  • Review the past projects done with each client.
  • Identify areas where the client could benefit from your expertise again. This could involve extending previous work or introducing fresh ideas.
  • Sort your list to favor the most promising options.
  • Consider offering a little free work on the front end if the client is willing to start right away. I prefer offering free work instead of discounts because it maintains your project rate over the long term.
  • Reach out to these options using a personalized message and approach. If you have their personal number, calling directly is generally the simplest path forward.

Finally, provide additional focus on your active sales pipeline.

Your sales pipeline is likely where you’ve been focusing most of your efforts. While it’s important to maintain this momentum, remember that the first two groups — current and past clients — often have a higher potential for quick wins. We’ve found that it’s nearly impossible to motivate someone in your active sales pipeline to select you more quickly than what would happen naturally. The exception to this rule is previous clients already in your pipeline. Prioritize those clients as they combine the familiarity of past work with the immediacy of current interest.

By systematically working through these areas, you can maximize your chances of generating immediate consulting demand.

Securing Long-Term Success

Once you’ve stabilized your current portfolio with work, turn your focus to the long-term efforts of marketing and business development that will keep your consulting business healthy for the long term.

Finding yourself always needing to generate short-term demand is not a good long-term strategy.


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