️Episode 011 – 4 Fixes to Your Dry Consulting Pipeline

Today we’ll talk about specific fixes to the four pipeline blockers we discussed last week in EP. 010 4 Reasons Your Consulting Pipeline is Dry

In episode 10, I shared with you four specific reasons why your pipeline is empty, and how understanding the root causes of an empty pipeline will enable you to be proactive in your sales strategy and avoid this significant business issue.

In this episode (#11), I share four strategies you can use to fix your dry consulting pipeline and generate a steady sales pipeline with leads and prospective clients.
[05:08] Fix #1
[09:17] Fix #2
[13:05] Fix #3
[16:45] Fix #4



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**note: This is an automated transcript, so please ignore spelling errors and grammar mistakes*


Welcome to the Grow Your Independent Consulting Business Podcast. I’m Melisa Liberman, a fellow IC and business coach. On this podcast, I teach you to become a consistently booked independent consultant without becoming a pushy salesperson or working 24/7. If I can do it, you can to listen on To find out how. Welcome back. Today we’re focused on how to overcome the four consulting pipeline blockers we talked about last week. So if you haven’t listened to Episode 10, yet, go back and catch that episode after this. But in a nutshell, the pipeline is your cue or list of potential consulting engagements, your list of prospects, and the four reasons it could be dry or empty or withering, whatever word you want to use is number one, you think your business development work is futile. It’s not going to lead anywhere. Number two, you might be stalled by fear, fear of rejection, or fear of failure. Number three, you could be very firmly implanted in your comfort zone. And number four, there could be a misalignment between your what you’re doing for business development, and what feels natural to you. And there’s a nuance between that comfort zone and the misalignment. So we’ll talk about that here in a minute. Now that I’ve recapped, what you learned in episode 10. Today, we’re going to take those four reasons why your pipeline might be dry and talk about what the fixes are to each of those.


So now that you know what the root cause is, we can dive in today into some very specific tactics that you can use strategies and tactics to overcome these four reasons and start building out your pipeline to a flourishing overflowing pipeline of opportunities you would be excited to take. But first, I want to warn you about something. And I warned you about this last week. But I want to warn you again because it’s really important. A word of caution, as you listen to this episode, you might be really tempted to think that you’re different, that these four common blocks to your pipeline don’t apply to you for some reason, and that the cause of your empty pipeline is out of your control. Like you just simply don’t have time. But Melisa, I don’t have time, believe me, I don’t have the time. And giving me all the reasons why. Or the market is bad, or you have a weak network or a nonexistent network or a tapped-out network, whatever those things are, I hear them all the time. And quite honestly, there are excuses. Because at the end of the day, you’re a business owner, and as a business owner, you need to both work on your business and in your business. If you’re not finding time to work on your business, you don’t have a business, which is fine, right? If you don’t want a business, then you don’t need to work on your business. But if you do want a business, then you’ve got to be able to find the time and the time is available to you. And it’s a matter of making it a priority. And overcoming these roadblocks that are the real reasons why you have a dry pipeline. It’s not because your time is tight. And I’m not discounting that, I know that you’re busy, I know that you’ve got a lot going on, especially if you’re working on a project right now. But I also know and I’ve seen it so many times where you’re able to overcome and leverage the time that you do have if you overcome the real blocks, the real blocks that we’re talking about today. And so I just want you to take this in from the perspective of these four reasons are why underneath the covers, it isn’t about the time, it’s about you being able to get out of your own way to leverage the time that you do have to leverage the network that you do have to build a new network, whatever it is, that feels like the real reason to you on the surface of why you have a dry pipeline. So as you listen to these four fixes today, think about how does this apply to you? Versus being hell-bent on how it does it and arguing with me in your mind. You’ll get so much more out of it and really start to address the real reason why you’re not working on the business development that isn’t about those other reasons that I just shared with you. Okay, okay, my friend. That is my tough love for you today. So now let’s dive in. So if you’re suffering from issue number one, which is thinking that business development work that you need to do is futile. And believe me, so many people that I work with, even people who have some background in sales fall into this trap. So we’re not judging you for falling into this trap. I’ve done it myself. But what we do want to know is really recognize that this is happening and We want to be able to put the fix in place when it is. And you could be suffering from all four of these too. So don’t feel like you need to pick one. Okay, so if you’re thinking that your business development efforts are a waste of time, which really means Why Are any of us going to do something that feels like a waste of time or not? So the fix is I mean, it’s very simplistically, I could tell you don’t think that it’s a waste of time. Don’t think that it’s futile. But that’s not very helpful, is it?


Some of my coaches in the past have said things like that it’s not very helpful. You know, you’ve been thinking that it’s futile, for a reason, right? You’ve probably collected a lot of evidence for yourself of why it might be futile. So definitely try to stop thinking that it’s futile, I won’t discount that. But what I will give you is another couple of ways to address this root cause so that you can push through this obstacle. And the first is number one, to understand that business development is all about testing. For so many of us, we think there’s a right way and a wrong way or a pass-fail. Or we think we’re not good at it. But honestly, business development is so much about trial and error and refining to dial into what works for you. And I can’t tell you how much this was my issue for such a long time, where I really thought there was one right answer or a couple of right answers, I would read so many books and go to so many webinars and really try to find the answer for me, as it came to lead generation and then go implement something. And when it didn’t work right away, I would start looking for the next answer and just over and over again repeating that cycle, when in fact, there really is no right answer. There are so many ways for you to generate leads. And the key here is choosing one and then implementing it and then figuring out why is it working? Or why is it not working and refining from there, it is not a pass-fail exercise my friends? So really get to that place where you see that. It’s not a futile exercise. But instead, it’s an exercise of testing, trialing, and getting to something that works. And quite frankly, it might not work forever. That’s the other thing to this, we think like, Oh, I’ll figure this out. And then that’s what I’ll always do. Eventually, you may have it may not work in the long run. So you have to implement another business development strategy. So really look at this, instead of being futile. Looking at it from the lens of this is about trial and error and testing, figuring out what works, and learning the skills to figure out what works in case it stops working at some point, and you have to pivot. So that’s the first fix if you’re thinking that your lead generation and business development are futile. The second fix, if you’re thinking they’re futile, is really honestly don’t allow anything you do to be futile. So many of us think so many of the things we’re doing in our lives are futile, it’s futile to exercise, I’m never going to make it to run a marathon or It’s futile to eat healthfully, I’ll never lose weight, or it’s futile to you know, to work on business development because I’m not going to have enough leads, I’m not going to see enough evidence of me being able to be good at this. But don’t allow anything you do to be futile, including business development. And the way to do that, and be the person who never allows anything to be futile, which honestly is every successful person, this is one of the ingredients is that you are willing to implement the process and evaluate it. Leverage the time again, kind of back to what I just said a minute ago, it doesn’t, this isn’t a situation where you’re going to be successful right off the bat. If you are, that’s fantastic. But for most people, that’s not the case. And so use this opportunity to implement a process and evaluate it, figure out what’s working and do more of that. And then what’s not working and how you’ll either adjust or replace whatever that needs to look like. But as a successful CEO of a business owner never allow anything to be futile. Okay, that’s the fix to number one, the fix to number two, and remind you that number two is you you’re afraid you might have a fear of rejection or a fear of failure almost every one of us does. Every morning I have this. I’ve been in business for nine years. I still do this every day. It’s a normal part of the process. And honestly, if you’re not afraid you’re probably not pushing yourself far enough as far as you could be. So let’s just assume that you have some form of fear. And what this looks like is being frozen and analysis paralysis or changing your mind or procrastinating? The fix if you’re fearful if you’ve got those underlying fears is number one to get honest with yourself. Where are you afraid? What are you afraid of? And why are you afraid of it? Ask yourself some really good questions, and figure out where the fear is coming from. And number one, acknowledge that it’s normal to be fearful when you’re doing something that’s pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. And remind yourself that as a business owner, that’s part of the ticket to the game. My practice to look at this to get honest with myself is every morning sitting down and just writing all of it out what is in my brain, emptying my brain and what’s called a thought download all of the things, some of them are very good, like this stuff is going really well, or these clients are killing it. Really good stuff, other stuff in my brain is really bad. It feels terrible. A lot of fear that comes in and just really seeing it on the piece of paper helps diffuse so much of that. So getting yourself into a practice or a routine, to be really honest with yourself about what you’re afraid of. So that you can diffuse it, it doesn’t mean that it necessarily goes away. But you can take so much of the edge off of it by just getting really honest with yourself. And then as I wrecked as I recommended, or as I pointed out, recognize that fear is part of the process. And that you’re the kind of person, as a business owner, a successful business owner, who’s willing to feel fear and keep going anyway, you’re willing to feel fear, and make that call to someone that wants to talk to you about your services, or to reach out to someone that’s a stranger that you might, you know, that might be a good prospect for you. And start up a conversation that might feel a little bit awkward. Whatever it is that you feel afraid of, see that you’re the kind of person as a business owner, a successful business owner, who’s okay with being afraid, who’s okay with shining a light on knowing where that’s coming from. And going forward anyway. The last tip is it comes to fear that I love to leverage to overcome the fear, when I’m feeling fear, and then potentially kind of seizing up, I always like to replace that with some form of curiosity, some form of like, I’m really curious how this call is going to go, I’m really curious about this person that I might be talking to, or reaching out to, and always shifting away from me and my primal fears, on to being curious about the other person being curious about what their challenges might be being curious about who they are as a person that helps to defuse it as well, just really re reframing from all of this inward fear into the external just curiosity and interest in that other person and how I might help them. So those are the three tips on how to overcome the scenario where you might be living in some form of fear, fear of rejection, fear of failure, or whatever it is for you. Okay, let’s move on to the fix for number three. Number three is that you feel firmly planted in your comfort zone. And you’re quite frankly focused on what you do really well, client delivery, and avoiding the uncomfortable work that doesn’t come as naturally to you. And so often, what happens is we create elaborate reasons to justify why we’re doing this. Why don’t have time to go work on business development, this client really needs me, I know that you can find 30 minutes to work on your business development every day. The client really needs you and you can do the business development work for 30 minutes. So the fix to this, this pitfall is number one, working on a project that I’ll call it to desensitize yourself to get out of that comfort zone. One of the books that I love is Gay Hendricks. Now the name isn’t the big leap. That’s what it’s called The Big Leap. So gay in his book, The Big Leap Gay Hendricks talks about the upper limit. And he talks about there’s a ceiling like literally just imagining the ceiling above you. And it takes some effort to push through it. You just keep hitting it in different ways not even realizing it. And so one way to get out of the comfort zone is to basically dissolve that ceiling and it gets replaced by a new one, believe me, but learning how to be the person who dissolves the ceiling and can dissolve the ceiling whenever you want to. Well, the number one notice that you have hit the ceiling and then know how to dissolve it is to desensitize yourself from the comfort zone. I’ll call this the barf 100 projects. Like literally getting yourself to the place of I am just going to do something that feels incredibly uncomfortable 100 of those in the next 100 days, or the next six months, whatever the number is, and writing out all the things that feel really vomit worthy to you what feels really uncomfortable, maybe it’s pitching yourself as a speaker, to an industry association that was filled with your target audience. Maybe it’s hosting a webinar for yourself and your ideal clients, where you’re the person running the whole thing. I don’t know what that is, it doesn’t have to be big, it can be small also. But really look at that for yourself, whatever makes sense for you, and make a plan that is vomit or the bar 100 of getting yourself to the place where you’re pushing yourself out of your comfort zone every single day. So it’s something that you gear up toward, and like, do once a week or once a month, get to the place where you’re the kind of person, you’re the business owner, who is used to getting out of your comfort zone every single day. And I highly recommend that book, we can put the link in the show notes for you by Gay Hendricks, it’s so good. And I’m actually listening to it right now because I’ve hit another ceiling, it happens every like three or six months, which to me is a really good thing. If I’m not hitting a ceiling, it means that I’m in my comfort zone, and not even realizing that I’m just comfortably planted there. So for you go listen to that book, and then figure out what could be the list of 100 things that would make you feel vomit worthy, feel like you’re really being pushed out of your comfort zone. And again, they could be very small, something that takes five minutes. But getting into that mode where you’re doing that every day can really desensitize it. Okay, the last one missed alignment. So after you’ve addressed these first three root causes of your dry consulting pipeline, the last place to look is whether or not you have a misaligned strategy. So that means if you’re consistently executing your business development process, and it feels terrible. So you’ve gone through all of the things, right, you’ve pushed yourself out of your comfort zone, you’ve recognized your fear, you’ve stopped thinking that it’s futile, and you’re willing to test and try and continue to reevaluate if you’ve done all of those things. And it still feels terrible. It could be a misalignment issue, whatever you’ve chosen as a business development strategy is incongruent with your values. So I’ll give you an example here. There was a point in time early in my business when someone told me that cold calling was a good plan. So, I don’t even remember where I got the phone numbers. It was terrible. I called all of these people, and they were like, what do you what are you doing? It’s like 2010, whatever year it was 2013, I don’t know.


You’re cold calling, I could grow a business that way. And I did, I implemented what I shared with you earlier, I kept going, even though it felt so terrible, I knew that it was so far out of my comfort zone, I was definitely afraid of rejection, who’s gonna hang up on me. But I kept going. And I realized this is not how I want to create a business. We’re here creating businesses because we want to be our own boss, we don’t want other people telling us what to do. We don’t need a mean person in our brain telling us to go cold calling when we hate it. Right. So recognizing that that’s just not the way that we want to create our business. We don’t want to have to fight with ourselves every single day to go do this thing that we think we have to do when there are so many other options out there available to us. So the trick here is, again, to know for sure that this is the misalignment and not one of those first three blocks that I shared with you. And you know that because you’ve tested it, you’ve tried it, you’ve implemented it and refined and it still just feels terrible, after 30 days or 60 days. And so getting clear on why it’s not aligned is the first step here. Ask yourself What about it? The strategy is not aligned with my values, is that the whole thing? Like for me cold calling, was a whole thing? That is not a good approach for me, might be for some of you probably not for most of you. Why is it not aligned? What about it is not aligned. I personally don’t want to be on the phone all day like that. It’s a volume game, right? That’s not how I want to be building my business. And when I’m working on a client project, that does require a good chunk of time. So to me, that was not aligned for you figure out what about the strategy is not aligned, and then figure out what strategy would be aligned to your values. So now that you’ve put a test in place, and you figure it out, it’s not aligned so you know what you don’t want to do and you really know why that is. Not just oh, I don’t want to cold call But the reason why, then figure out what would be more aligned to your values. What can you be doing that is, you know, I’m not going to tell you, it won’t go away, it won’t ever be non-bar for the right it won’t be. It doesn’t mean that lead generation is something you wake up in the morning excited to do. But at the same time, you’re finding a method that works for you, that you’re able to implement without feeling like you’re forcing yourself to do this every single day. And for me, I found a method that I love, I’ve tried so many of them. I’ve tried out so many of them and found a method that I love, which is giving webinars for other organizations, sometimes doing webinars for my own audience, this podcast, but it’s taken kissing a lot of frogs up until now to get to that point. Okay, my friends, we’ve gone through the fixes to those four roadblocks to your pipeline. And so go put this into action. And you can do that by getting honest with yourself about why you’re not doing the work to generate leads. When your brain says I don’t have time, say thanks. But I think it’s also one of these reasons. So get really honest with yourself. It’s not about your time, and then implementing the tools that I shared with you today. level set that marketing is about testing, it’s not a pass or fails, it’s not an immediate success. It takes testing, and implementing that lead generation process for yourself and evaluating it, figuring out what’s working and what’s not working, commit to this process for 30 days, 60 days, and 90 days. And in that time, challenge yourself to one of those bars, I’m having a hard time saying this word, barf 100 projects I gave you pick 100 Vomit wherever they things to do to get yourself into the mode where you feel like I can always go out of my comfort. So no matter what, then revisit after you’ve committed and created some leads and ask yourself is this aligned to how I want to be growing my business. And if not, you can choose another method or refine the method that you did choose and repeat the process I just gave you. And as a shortcut, in order to help you implement this and leverage the time that you do have, I’ve created a 26-minute lead generation process or framework for you. So you can go download that we’ll put the link to that in the show notes as well. Alright, my friends, hopefully, this gives you some really good actionable strategies to overcome those four common blockers to your pipeline. So you can push past those and start really building out a robust pipeline. We’ve always got leads, and are never worried about a gap in your revenue. I will talk with you again next week. Thanks for tuning in.


Thanks for joining me this week on the Grow Your Independent Consulting Business podcast. If you like today’s episode, I have three quick next steps for you. First, click Subscribe on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to make sure you don’t miss future episodes. Next, leave me a review in your podcast app so other independent consultants can find a benefit and finally put the ideas from today’s episode into action. Head over to Melisaliberman.com for the show notes and more resources to help you grow your consulting practice from your first few projects into a full-fledged business. See you next week.

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