Expanding Client Relationships: How To Win Repeat Consulting Business

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Are you limiting your business development activities to only attracting new clients?

The easiest sale you will ever make in consulting will be to someone who already knows you, likes you, and trusts you — that includes your previous and current clients.

At Consulting Success®, we teach the consultants in our Clarity Coaching Program to spend as much time selling to current and previous clients as they do attracting new clients.

In this article, you’ll learn how to win business with current and previous clients with this 5-step client expansion exercise (we did this live with clients during our Miami consulting mastermind event).

I encourage you to do more than just read this article. Follow the steps and take action. That’s how you’ll get the most out of this exercise.

Okay, let’s start with the first step…

1. Review Your Client List

Not all clients or opportunities are created equal.

When you’re looking to win repeat business, focus on your highest-value clients.

Begin by making a list of all of your current and previous clients.

On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best, rank each of your clients in terms of…

  • Profit: How profitable the client is to you
  • Impact: How much impact your work has on them and their organization
  • Ease: How easy the client is/was to work with
  • Time: How much time the client requires of you and/or your team

And then, tally up their total score.

Example – Acme Corp:

  • Profit: 8
  • Impact: 6
  • Ease: 6
  • Time: 8
  • Total: 28

For this client expansion exercise, focus on your top-scoring 2-3 clients.

Think about your conversations with these clients. Then, write down…

  • Current Services: What you’re currently offering them.
  • Additional Needs: What else you could offer them that would benefit them.
  • Goals: What their business goals are.
  • Pain points: Where they are facing issues or challenges.

Acme Corp Example:

  • Current Services: Leadership training in sales department
  • Additional Needs: Sales training
  • Goals: Improve meeting to sales conversions
  • Pain points: Long sales cycles and poor meeting results with new prospects

2. Identify New Opportunities

Now that you’ve done some initial brainstorming, think about new ways you can create value for these clients.

With a trusted colleague, coach, or even AI, note down some ways that you could expand each of these client relationships.

Here are several prompts to help you come up with ideas:

  • What of your current services are you NOT offering to these clients, but could?
  • Is there a way you could upsell the client to your higher-level service?
  • Is there a way you could offer a pay-for-work or pay-for-access consulting retainer?
  • Which of their pain points could you solve — and reverse-engineer your solution into a new consulting offer, discovery session, or productized offer?
  • Which of your skills or areas of expertise would you like to try and turn into a new service?
  • In what other areas of your client’s business could you help them make money, save time, reduce stress, increase their prestige, etc?

For example: Upsell Acme Corp on our sales training to speed up sales cycles and meeting results.

3. Create Your Value Proposition

Now, flesh out each of the opportunities you’ve identified with a value proposition.

A value proposition is a 1-2 sentence summary that explains the benefits of your new service idea.

It’s like a magnetic message but for your specific service instead of your entire firm.

Example: Our sales training service will help Acme’s sales and marketing teams break down silos through improved communication and coordination, leading to at least a 10% increase in meeting-to-sale rate and more sales.

Here is a value proposition formula for consulting offers:

Our {NAME} service will help {CLIENT} solve {PROBLEM} through {SOLUTION}, leading to {RESULT}.

Think of your value proposition like a elevator pitch. The goal is to pique your client’s interest and get them to want to learn more.

4. Set Your Action Plan

Put together a plan of action steps of when you’ll propose this new idea to your client.

Example:

  • Email ACME Corp CEO by June 15th to schedule a call and present the sales training proposal. If no response, follow up by June 22nd.

It’s fun to come up with new potential offers.

But if you don’t take action on them and introduce them to clients, you won’t capitalize on your ideas.

To that end, this step is key.

Action is what separates successful consultants from those who struggle.

If you love coming up with ideas — but you have trouble executing them — then what you lack is accountability.

That’s where our Clarity Coaching Program will help. Your coach will help you make (and stick) to a plan so you can implement your best ideas.

5. Practice Presenting Your Idea

With a trusted colleague, practice presenting your expansion idea. Note down any potential objections that may come up.

Example:

  • Acme: “We’re happy with what we have in place currently.”
  • You: “I understand. However, I think there is room for improvement in alignment between your teams. Our process can help…”

During this exercise, you want to practice your sales conversation script with your new service in mind.

The goal here is to show the client you understand their situation, their problems, their desired future state — and then, position your idea as the solution towards bridging the gap between where they are and where they want to be.

So, this conversation isn’t just about your pitch.

First, you are asking deep, meaningful questions to fully understand their current situation, challenges, hesitations, and the results they seek.

If you figure they are a good fit, then share the details of how your service can help.

Remember: you’ve sold this client before.

They already know you, like you, and trust you.

These are the easiest sales conversations you’ll have.

That being said, consulting sales doesn’t come naturally to most.

If you’re looking for a partner or coach to help you practice your sales skills — or want to learn how we’ve personally closed over 1000 clients — check out our Clarity Coaching Program.

We’ll help improve and refine your sales skills so you can sell like the best — without coming across as “salesy.”

Get Personalized Help Implementing Your Client Expansion Plan

Ready to take action on what you learned?

By the end of today, pick a client on your client list, call them, and pitch them your service idea.

Then, go through the rest of your action plan and start conversations about the new ways you can provide value for your favorite clients.

At the very least, you’ll get excellent feedback on your idea — feedback that you can use to refine your service and make it irresistible.

In our 2024 Miami consulting mastermind, we had our clients follow this exact exercise and set up meetings with clients in the span of a few hours.

So if you’d like personal coaching and mentorship for these key consulting skills (service offer creation, marketing, sales, and more), consider joining our Clarity Coaching Program.

In our Clarity Coaching program, our coaches have helped over 1000 consultants to build a more strategic, profitable, and scalable, consulting business.

Learn More About Clarity Coaching

We’ll work hands-on with you to develop a strategic plan and then dive deep and work through your ideal client clarity, strategic messaging, consulting offers, fees and pricing, business model optimization, and help you to set up your marketing engine and lead generation system to consistently attract ideal clients.

You’ll learn how to generate more profit with every project you take on — and how to land more clients than ever before. Learn more about Clarity Coaching and get in touch to talk about your situation and goals.

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