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  • Writer's pictureDeb Zahn

Getting Your Mindset Right Before You Try to Get Consulting Clients

Updated: Dec 2, 2022

This month, I’m going to share the most important building blocks you need to have in place to get more consulting clients. The first one is cultivating the right mindset to pursue clients.

How you approach getting clients matters. A lot. The right approach can not only get you clients, it can help you get them more quickly. It also will help you create a reputation in your market that will attract clients. Unfortunately, it is easy to get it wrong if your mindset isn’t right. And getting it wrong could result in not getting work you should have gotten or, worse, damaging your reputation in your market.

So how do you get it right?

"Serve First" Mindset

It is essential for you to always orient yourself toward the clients’ needs, not your needs for business. I don’t mean kinda/sorta care about them. I mean embrace and nurture the belief that you are on the planet to help people, companies, and organizations achieve things and solve problems. Develop the habit of thinking about their struggles and aspirations first. Imagine yourself in their position or envision that they are a dear friend who needs help so you can ignite a genuine desire to make their lives betters.

That doesn’t mean that you ignore your own needs and desires. You are still in the business of consulting. It just means that you do not ever lead with that in your mind, words, or actions when you are engaging prospective clients.

When I ask clients what they don’t like about consultants, one of the top complaints—and one of the main reasons they will reject a consultant—is if the consultant cares more about closing a deal than them. It makes sense. No one wants to feel like just another payday to someone. People want to feel like they are paying someone who is oriented toward them and the outcomes they want.

Beware of Leakage

Although sometimes you can "fake it until you make it" with some mindsets, it is important for this mindset to be genuine. If it isn't and you try to fake it, you'll likely start leaking. What I mean is that what you really believe and think will start seeping out in your behavior or even just your vibe. Maybe just a little or subtly but often enough for clients to pick up on it, consciously or not.

It doesn't mean you are a bad person. You may have real economic concerns that are driving you to prioritize your needs over theirs. You may have struggled to get clients so your lack of confidence or perceived scarcity is taking over. You may be caught up in imposture syndrome so you don't believe that you can really help them enough for them to hire you. All of those things are common and understandable. So don't be too hard on yourself.

Instead, take the time to image an example of a prospective client. Imagine what problems they face, what they are struggling with, what is causing them stress, and what would make them feel good to accomplish or their lives better. Now imagine yourself helping solve their problems, reducing their struggles and stress, and making them feel good and their lives easier. Use that image as a way to ignite your desire to help them and prioritize them. If you need help creating that image, download use my FREE tool, Cultivating a Consulting Business Mindset.

When you are going to meet with prospective clients, do your homework to find out as much as you can about what they are facing and trying to achieve. Use that information not only as a way to develop your messaging but to empathize with them and care about them. This is what can help shift your mindset toward them and their needs.

Be of Service

Mindset drives your actions. That's what it’s critical to start by working on getting your mindset and orientation in the healthy and helpful place. A place that will show people in your market that, first and foremost, you want to help them, and you believe that so much that it is easy to show them.

There are many things you can do to show them that you authentically care about them:

  • Make sure you have the latest and best knowledge and skills to help them.

  • Stay on top of industry trends and what is happening in their environment that will impact them.

  • Share insights about what matters to your clients through email newsletters, social media posts, and webinars.

  • Enhance your skills or get new skills that will make you more helpful. Take the time to get to know them, what matters to them, and what they truly need.

  • Look out for opportunities for and threats to them and alert them—even if you can’t help them.

  • Connect them with others who can help them.

  • Don’t—I repeat, do not—try to get business from them if you can’t help them.

Selling to Serve

The other benefit of cultivating this mindset is that it will make it easier for you to be

comfortable selling your consulting services. Why? Because if you know you can help people and that’s what is motivating you, you will be eager to get a contract so you can make their lives better as soon as possible. It won’t feel as awkward because you aren’t just trying to get their money. You are truly trying to be of service!

Get Help Switching Your Mindset

If you need to make that switch in your mindset, use my FREE tool, Cultivating a Consulting Business Mindset. It will your get out of two common mindset traps that will hold you back from getting consulting business. The tool will help you do what I described in this article: ignite your desire to help people in your market. It also will help you get past perceived scarcity and embrace that there are many people, companies, and organizations who will pay you to help them.

What's Next?

Once your mindset is in a good-enough place, you want to get an essential building block for getting clients in place: defining your ideal client.

Want More Help Making Your Consulting Business Succeed?

Check out the Craft of Consulting Membership. In this community, you'll get me and other consultants helping you make decisions and take action that get you results. Plus, you get your own cheering section filled with folks invested in your success!

If you apply and are accepted, you'll get your first 30 days for free to make sure the community is a fit for you!

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