Episode 022 – Become A Sought-After Consultant Through a Compelling Offer

Are you taking consulting work that comes to you even if it’s below your targeted rate because you don’t want to leave money on the table? To avoid operating in this desperation mode you need to create a compelling consulting offer. 

A compelling consulting offer is a powerful message, something that evokes interest that satisfies a need or a want of your ideal client.  The purpose of a compelling offer is to attract demand for your business so you’re not dependent on other people, like recruiters, to sell what you do. With this type of offer, you can get in the driver’s seat of your business and become known for and eventually sought after for your expertise.

I this episode, I cover four topics:

  1. what is a compelling independent consulting offer and what it isn’t, 
  2. why you need one, 
  3. why you don’t and
  4. the common trap that you want to avoid. 

 This will help you transform from that feast or famine cycle and dependency on others (like recruiters), not a consulting business where you’re known for something and eventually sought after. 

If you need help applying this to your business, reach out to schedule a strategy call with me so we can really dive into your business, get clear on your goals and challenges and figure out an action plan for you to create your compelling offer, and ultimately, the business impact and income and flexibility you desire. 

In this episode,
[03:36] What is a compelling consulting offer
[12:10] Why you need a compelling consulting offer
[13:41] Why you don’t need a compelling consulting offer
[15:53] A trap to avoid as you’re creating your compelling consulting offer  


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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 too. listen on To find out how. Welcome back to the Grow Your Independent Consulting Business podcast. This is Melisa. And today we’re talking about how to become sought after through a compelling consulting offer. So I’m really excited to dive into this with you today. It’s the second part of my double method for independent consultants. So you can double your revenue without working more. And today we’re focused on the Oh, which offers a compelling consulting offer. Before I dive in, though, I just wanted to share something personal. My youngest son is starting kindergarten, this coming week. So we just had registration. And I can’t tell you how emotional it was. You should be super excited for him to be in school full time, and he’s been in pre-K mostly full time. But this is a whole new level. So just kind of interesting. I’ve got friends, several friends who have kids starting high school, and my youngest is still starting kindergarten. So I’m behind, but so grateful that he got an awesome kindergarten teacher and we get started next week. So that’s been my personal roller coaster. When do you start school is crazy how quickly this summer has gone. Okay, with that personal note, let’s dive into the topic of compelling consulting offers today. So I’m going to cover what is a compelling consulting offer, why you need one, why you don’t need one, and a trap that you’ll want to avoid as you’re creating yours. or refining it if you already have one. All right. And the reason why I want to talk about this is that I know a lot of you are taking the work that comes to you. Like a former colleague approaches you for project management work and you take it even though it’s work you could have done in your 20s or a former client approaches you for work and you take it even though it’s paying half of what you could be making because it feels like a burden the hand or a recruiter approaches you for work and you take it because it’s something that you don’t feel like you can you know, pass on, again, a burden, a hand the money’s there, why would you pass on that money is what your thoughts are right?


Even though it’s below your typical rate, a recruiter is going to take a cut of that. So today, I want to talk with you about using a compelling consulting offer as a way for you to get in the driver’s seat of your business, so that you can attract clients to you and become known for and eventually sought after, for what you do. Alright, and that’s the main benefit of using a compelling consulting offer. So I’m going to dive into some details around that today. All right, so today, there are four topics I’m going to cover what is a compelling independent consulting offer and what it isn’t why you need one, why you don’t as I said a minute ago, and then that common trap that you want to avoid. So let’s start off with what is a compelling consulting offer. So I’ll just use some very basic definitions that I Googled. So we could get on the same page here. An offer is some combination of products or services or information or experiences that satisfies a need or a want. I think that ending of that is so important. It satisfies a need or a want. It’s about your clients. It’s not about you and your expertise and your experience. As the leader in write. The offer satisfies a need or a want of your target audience or your target clients. And then compelling means that it’s evoking interest, attention, or admiration in a powerfully irresistible way. So combining those two things together, a compelling consulting offer is a powerful message, an irresistible message, something that evokes interest that satisfies a need or a want of your target or ideal client. So it may sound hard. I know when I first started working on this, it sounded almost impossible. Let me walk you through some of the basics so it doesn’t sound so overwhelming. And the first thing I want to offer to you is that there really two types of offers. Another way to look at the offers the first is reactive. So you know, your target market, potentially, you know, the general functions that you support or the types of industries that you support. And you talk to them, people in those target market potential clients, and then you tailor or customize your offer to them based on what you’re hearing they need or they want. So I call that reactive, you’re talking to people you’re hearing what their challenges are, and then you tailor or customize and offer to them. And that becomes a really great way to start out your consulting business, especially because you’re really, you know, going with the flow of the market, hearing a problem and creating an offer to solve it. Based on your experience and past knowledge. That’s a reactive offer, it becomes a lot more time-intensive and labor-intensive to constantly offer reactive offers because you’re having to handcraft them every single time, you’re gonna have to gather a lot of requirements and understand what their challenges are before you’re able to create some kind of an offer to help them. On the other side of the equation is what I would call a proactive offer. This is where you center your marketing around your offer. So that you become known for and eventually sought after for what you do. This type of offer once you can fine-tune it and get it into a really compelling place is what will attract clients to you and will create demand for you.


And so being able to evolve from a reactive offer, at the beginning of your business into a more proactive offer as you’re starting to grow your practice and really create a marketing and business development engine is where you want to get into that proactive offer zone. So let me give you a few examples of what I mean by the compelling consulting offer, it would be something like, I help XYZ in order to increase your revenue by X amount, or I offer XYZ which results in reducing your cost by X amount, or I offer this type of work to improve your client retention or to improve your upsell rates. Right, you’ve got to put in the beginning part, which is the description of what you do the description of what kind of function you might provide from a consulting perspective. But that gives you an idea that it’s all very results-oriented, right? What is someone really care about that they would pay you for, to increase their revenue to decrease their costs, improve their client retention, improve their upsell rate, whatever those business drivers would be? It isn’t just to augment their staff because they don’t have enough capacity. That’s not compelling, right? People hire for that reason. But that’s low dollar-type work compared to if you’re really delivering business results for someone for a client. So the opposite of this, a non-compelling consulting offer is focused on you, what you do, who you are, why they should hire you, what kind of expertise you have, what awards you’ve won, or what types of companies you’ve worked for in the past. That is not a compelling consulting offer. That’s us selling yourself. No one wants to buy you, my friend. No one wants to buy you. They want to buy additional support to reach a goal in the business that they’re running, or to avoid a problem that they’re having to solve a problem or avoid a problem that they’re having. You and your pedigree are definitely something that they’re interested in. But that’s not the leading point here, right. So let me give you some very specific examples within if you were in product management, for example, your offer might be I help software companies establish their three-year roadmap and vision in order to increase new client acquisition and increase end-user adoption and retention. That might be a great offer for like a startup-type organization that doesn’t have a more strategic product management or any strategic product management in there, you know, in their in-house staff. Or another example might be if you’re a PMO project management office type of consultant, you may offer that you initiate you help companies start a PMO so you help them initiate a best practice-based PMO so that you have internal stakeholder buy-in and adoption clear roles. and responsibilities and deliverables. And ultimately, it cuts the time to establish a PMO. And get it to productivity in half.


A couple of examples for you there, okay. So again, the compelling consulting offer is about the problems that you solve for people and not about you. And so then once you’ve got that compelling consulting offering, and the proactive version right, after you’ve done a few reactive type engagements, and handcrafted offers on the fly, then you can start getting into that proactive offer zone. And then where you would use those offers is on your website, on your LinkedIn profile, whether you have a website or not, in your headline, and your LinkedIn profile and you’re about section in your content. So if you’re writing articles, or if you are posting on LinkedIn, for example, if you’re creating videos, if you’re creating blogs on your website, if you’re writing emails to your email list, if you’ve got one could be writing emails to I have one client who has just a stack of business cards she’s accumulated over the years, starting to reengage with those individuals. What is the theme around what you want to say to them, which is based all in your in-ground in your compelling consulting offer, can also be a way that you invite your ideal client to start a conversation with you as a manual lead in where you’re having a verbal conversation with them at an event or conference, or you’re exchanging over email or in comments on you know, in someone’s post on LinkedIn, there are so many different ways to really just center what you talk about online and in-person around your compelling offer, which then creates you into that person who’s known for and ultimately sought after, for what you do. So those are some ways rare you would use this offer after you’ve created one. So let’s go back for a moment and talk about again, why do you need this compelling offer? For a lot of us, we can just handcraft things right as part of consulting, we figure out what a problem is. And then we offer a solution. So why not just keep doing that? Why not stay in that reactive zone, in order to scale your business, in order to not be dependent on other people to sell what you do in order to attract demand and attention to you. That’s the purpose of a compelling offer. It will help you transform from that feast or famine cycle, and dependency cycle into a consulting business where you’re known for something and eventually sought after. It can be a conversation starter, it can help you not worry about cash flow, because you’ve created pent-up demand for what you do. It can help you reduce that reliance on someone else, like a recruiter to bring in money for you to bring in clients and contracts for you. And it can help you take back control of your business, you get to decide who you work for how you work, what type of work you do, whether you have subcontractors helping you what you’re paid. And when you’re working. This is the key to unlocking your increased revenue and your control over your own schedule.


So let’s take the flip side of that. Why don’t you need a compelling offer? Honestly, if you’re starting out, and you don’t have a few projects under your belts, or a good sense of what you want to do and what you don’t want to do, who you want to work for, who you don’t want to work for what types of problems you want to solve what you don’t want to solve, and have that real-life experience in a consulting setting, not in a corporate setting. Because it is different when you’re an employee versus when you’re a consultant. If you don’t have those projects under your belts, and really a good understanding of what pain points you solve, then I recommend you keep doing some reactive work until you can get to that point. Reactive again is where you’re crafting an offer on the fly based on what the client’s challenges are. But over time, as you’re ready to grow and scale your business and you’ve got those projects and those examples under your belt, then you’re able to start moving into that proactive zone. And once you’re ready to move into that proactive zone, there’s really only fear that standing in your way of moving forward of planting a stake in the ground. So that brings me to one of my favorite parts of the podcast which is but Melisa like the arguments that you might have for me as I’m offering you this tool For your consulting business, but Melisa, I don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket, it feels so risky to plant a flag and say, This is what I do as a consultant, or I don’t know what to offer, it feels so hard, especially when you use the word compelling, that feels really hard to make something compelling. Or you might be saying, If I pick one focus, I’m going to cut out a lot of potential business, I don’t want to just be constrained to one thing. I don’t want to leave money on the table with all the things I could potentially be doing. Or you might be saying, I’m going to be bored, I don’t want to do one thing. That’s why I’m a consultant, I love meeting, you know, clients and working with this type of variety. Now you’re telling me to pick one thing and plant a stake in the ground. So that’s why I want to offer you I’m using this word offers a lot today, a lot of different capacities. What I want to suggest to you is that the offer doesn’t have to be your end all be all, once you get a proactive offer, let’s think about it in a slightly different way to overcome what I call this offer resistance. Right? That whole Melisa section list I just gave you, I will do a whole nother podcast on just offer resistance at some point. But for today, let’s talk about what the offer is and what it isn’t. What it is, is a means for you to be known for something so that people and potential clients come to you so that those conversations are started without you having to go out and you know, beat the bushes as they say. So I’m going to make sure that we’re not confusing marketing with reality. And by this, I mean the purpose of marketing, which your compelling offer as part of your marketing is to attract your ideal client to you.


And once you attract that ideal client to you, you can start a conversation with them. What you ultimately offer may be some variation on what you’ve been marketing with your compelling offer. Or it could be something very different, that better matches what they need and that you want to do. So we’re not confusing marketing with the ultimate reality of what you’re delivering. We’re not trying to shove something down a client’s throat just because that’s our offer. We’re leveraging an offer to attract ideal clients to us and to start those conversations. But I also want to be clear, I’m not talking about bait and switch either. I’m not talking about well offer something in marketing, and then and then when they get on the call, then switch it out entirely. No, that’s not what I’m saying either. What I’m saying is, use your compelling offer as a way to attract ideal clients to you and to begin those conversations so you can really understand what challenges they have and how you can best solve them. And if you want to solve them, you might refer them to someone else, because they’re not in the zone that you’ve defined, that you want to be serving. So that’s what I’m talking about here. We want to create an offer that intrigues people to reach out and start a dialogue. Alright, so that is the concept of the compelling offer that I wanted to share with you today. Using a compelling offer in a way that helps ideal clients, ideal prospective clients, understand who you are, what you do, how and most importantly, how you solve the problem that they are experiencing, or anticipate experiencing, or weren’t even on their radar screen and should be concerned about. And so it’s you becoming known for being the person that solves that problem in order to attract leads to you and become eventually sought after the sought after consultant for the types of problems that you solve. And this is going to help you grow your business and stop being dependent on those external forces that we often rely on to fill our pipelines like recruiters or past clients or past colleagues. There’s no reason for you to have to do work that you don’t want to be doing, just because it’s what’s coming to you. Alright, so that’s what I’ve got for you today. If you need help applying this to your business, reach out to me, there’s a link in the show notes. schedule a call with me so we can do a strategy call with me so we can really dive into your business. Get clear on your goals and challenges and figure out an action plan for you to create this compelling offer. And ultimately, the business impact and income and flexibility you desire. Thanks for tuning in today and I will see you again next week. 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 it beneficial too. And finally, to 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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