️Episode 045 – The ONE Difference-Maker for Consulting Lead Generation

What makes the difference between an independent consultant who has an endless flow of leads compared to the independent consultant who is struggling to create those leads, and to create that momentum in their consulting business?

Naturally, most of us think the difference is a trait, that maybe this independent consultant with the endless flow of leads has exceptional selling skills, a great personality, or maybe they have a great network. Although these things may feel reasonable, that’s not what the difference is.

There is ONE difference between the independent consultant who has an overflowing stream of leads coming to them compared to the consultant who’s struggling to figure out how to attract leads, how to create a pipeline, and how to get to the place where it no longer feels like a struggle. 

Listen in as I dive in and reveal what this difference-maker for lead generation is:  

  • [05:00] What is the difference between those who have an overflow of leads and those who are struggling to create that momentum in their business.
  • [12:52] Examples of mistakes to avoid
  • [20:27] How you can put this into action if you are struggling with lead generation
    • The questions to ask yourself, to figure out what’s holding you back
      • 1. What are you thinking about YOU as an expert?
      • 2. What are you thinking about YOU as a salesperson?
      • 3. What are you thinking about your consulting services?
      • 4. What do you think your potential clients think about you?
      • 5. What do you think about whether your biz dev process will work?
  • [23:52] How you can put this into action if you already have an endless flow of leads
    • The questions to ask yourself, to figure out what’s working and what you want to amplify
      • 1. What are you thinking about YOU as an expert?
      • 2. What are you thinking about YOU as a salesperson?
      • 3. What are you thinking about your consulting services?
      • 4. What do you think your potential clients think about you?
      • 5. What do you think about whether your biz dev process will work? 


Ready for help figuring out how to apply these strategies in your IC business?

  • I invite you to book an IC Success Blueprint call with me.
  • On this call, we’ll dive into your business, get clear on your goals and challenges and determine an action plan for you so that you can create the business impact, income, and flexibility that you desire. 
  • To book yours, please visit https://www.melisaliberman.com/ic-blueprint.


  • Click here to access my Independent Consultant’s Toolkit
  • Click here to listen to EP. 043  Make Achieving Your Yearly Plan Inevitable
  • Click here to download the 27 WAYS TO LAND YOUR NEXT CONSULTING CLIENT


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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. I’m so glad you’re here today, because I had to just talk about this topic. It’s such a critical topic to the success of your independent consulting business. And that’s lead generation. And I have to just paint this picture for you because I talk to independent consultants like you every single day to what I do my jam. And some of the time when I’m talking to independent consultants, I get questions from them. I knew might relate to this, too. They asked me things like, what’s the best way to get a potential client to talk to me? Not sure how to create conversations with potential clients? What’s the best way to create leads for my business of potential consulting clients? How do I break my reliance on marketplaces or recruiters and start creating my own direct clients? I get so many questions like this. But where I’m puzzled is that I also talk to people who tell me independent consultants who tell me they’ve got more clients who want to work with them than they have time. They tell me when I’m ready for a new client, I know who to call, not a problem. When I need a new client, I know who to call. Or they say to me, landing new clients is easy. So why the difference? What is the difference between the independent consultants who are not sure of how to generate leads are unsure of how to generate leads and have a challenge generating leads, versus those independent consultants, where it seems to come naturally to them? And so that’s what I want to dive into today. What is the difference? Because most of us think the difference is some trait, they have this independent consultant who’s really good at selling their services, you know, they’ve got some great selling skills selling capability. Or maybe they have a great personality, or maybe they have a great network. That’s what you might be thinking. That’s what most of us think, well, there’s something about them that’s just different, that I don’t have, if you’re falling into the situation where you don’t have as many leads as you wish you had or that you need to have in order to sustain and grow your business. But that’s not what the difference is. It’s not what those things are that feel very obvious. And so today, I want to dive in with you to tell you what that difference is the difference between the consultant who has an overflowing stream of leads coming to them, versus the consultant who’s struggling to figure out how to attract leads, how to create a pipeline, how to get to the place where it’s no longer feels like a struggle. So that’s what we’re talking about today, the difference maker for lead generation. So, we’re going to dive into three main points here today, what is this difference, what makes the difference between someone who’s got the endless flow of leads, versus the person who’s struggling to create those leads, and to create that momentum in their consulting business? What makes the difference, I’m going to give you an example. I love giving examples of myself and all the mistakes I’ve made in the past. So that’s what I’m going to share with you today. So you don’t make it don’t make the same mistakes. And then finally, I’ll share with you how you can put this into action. And that’s really in one of two forms, you might be the person who is struggling to generate leads. So I’ll tell you how to apply what I’m talking about today for your situation. But you might also be the person who’s got that endless flow of leads. And I want to share with you how to capture and understand what makes the difference for you. So you can amplify it. So it’s for either situation that you might be in, dive in with me here today. And we’re going to understand what makes that difference for consulting lead generation so that you can apply it to your business, whether it’s generating more leads or continuing to build upon what you’ve already done. Okay, so first let’s talk about what is the difference? I want to share with you what it isn’t first. And I’ve touched on this a little bit already. It’s not your personality. It’s not your sales background. It’s not. The other thing that I think a lot of consultants that I talked to think that it’s about the method or the strategy, if they just had the latest, sexiest strategy, that they would be successful. So what I want to share with you is a viewpoint here seeing across so many independent consulting businesses, that the methods that I’ve seen work that are wildly successful range from everything from cold messaging, cold calling, writing, articles, speaking, hosting roundtables, and networking, to name a few. Those things have been wildly successful. The methods that I’ve seen that don’t work, cold messaging, writing articles, speaking, executive roundtables, networking, the same exact list. It’s not about the method. It’s not about the person and their personality, are they extroverted or introverted? It’s not about that. What it is about, and the difference when it just really strips it down, the difference between a strategy working for you a lead generation strategy working for you and your business, and a lead strategy not working for you and your business, comes down to your mentor model. That’s it, you could leverage any kind of strategy you want. You could talk to get the attention of your ideal clients. Now, you might not be want to be cold messaging people, you might not want to be making cold calls, great news, any of these methods work, and I just listed a few, right, there’s so many out there. In fact, there’s a free download on my website, you can go check it out, we’ll put the link in the show notes, where I’ve given you 27 different ways that you can generate independent consulting leads. It’s not about the strategy. It’s about your mental model as you execute the strategy. When I boil it down and compare what I see across consulting business, after consulting business after consulting business, what is the main difference between those people who are really effective at creating leads and generating new clients and those who are not comes down to their mental model? So, let me share with you what that means more specifically, what is the lead generation mental model? What does that consist of? What does that mean? What that means is essentially, are you someone as you’re selling, and even delivering your services, who has belief and conviction in four key areas. And we’ll put these in the show notes as well. But the lead generation mental model that makes the difference for you, this is the difference maker, is you having full belief in you, both as a salesperson. And that’s a consultative salesperson, right? We’re not selling a car, we’re selling consulting services, which relies so much on your consulting skills, then you might give yourself credit for, or the process credit for the lead generation mental model rests on your belief in you as a salesperson, and you as a businessperson, and you as an expert. So, the belief you have in yourself and what you’re doing as an independent consultant. If you don’t believe in yourself, you’re basically asking someone else to believe in you before you believe in you. That doesn’t work. What works is you having that full belief that you have the ability to succeed? You know, no matter what hat you’re putting on in your business, the salesperson had the business owner hat, the expert hat, the delivery hat, whatever it is you fully believing that you are capable, and an expert in what you do. And I’ll give you a few questions here in a moment that you can use to start really applying this. But really take a step back and ask yourself where do I have gaps in belief about what I’m doing, whether it’s selling or delivering, where are my gaps in belief, that’s what’s dragging down your ability to create enclosed leads, has nothing to do with the strategy. The second area of belief and conviction that you that is critical as part of this lead generation mental model, that’s a difference maker we’re talking about here is you have full belief and conviction in what you deliver, that you can get your clients results through the consulting that you deliver, and execute with them, that you’re able to deliver whatever it is, the outcome that they’re looking for. Your ability to be successful at lead generation, rests on you, truly owning that you can deliver whatever it is that you’re ultimately selling from a consulting services perspective. Otherwise, the universe is essentially protecting you from getting a new clients, because you’re not confident that you can actually deliver against that work.


So it’s imperative that you fully believe in you, as well as what you deliver. And then thirdly, that the consulting clients is wanting and needing to work with you, if you go into a sales cycle, into a conversation with a potential consulting client, or you go into a scenario where you’re compelling that, you know, talking to that individual to even get them on the phone with you. If you’re coming at it from the perspective of Well, they probably don’t need me, but I’ll let me see what they might need, what they might want help with, you’re already behind the curve. Why wouldn’t you go into that situation, giving yourself the benefit of the doubt that yes, they do want and need to work with you, let’s go figure out the details of that. It’s such a subtle shift, but it makes all the difference in this process for you for lead generation and business development. So that is the difference. Again, it’s not the strategy, it’s not the personality. It’s the mental model from which you’re executing all of that, and how much you truly believe in yourself, how much you truly believe in what you’re delivering, and how much you truly believe in that client, wanting and needing to work with you to gain your expertise and to gain the outcomes and results that you can help them achieve and move forward in whatever the business challenges that they’re trying to tackle. So, with that being said, I want to give you an example. And I didn’t actually know this at the time. But I’ll give you an example of myself. So, when I first started consulting, at first clients were coming to me consulting clients are coming to me, past colleagues like might have happened or is happening in your business. And then I started thinking, which was great, right? That’s all-low hanging fruit and really easy work. But to be honest with you was not challenging work. It was work I could have done probably 10 years earlier in my career. And it certainly wasn’t high paying work. It was paying. So that was good news. But it wasn’t high paying work. But it felt easy to me. Right, the work was coming. I was thinking to myself, well, I should be grateful that I’ve got this work coming to me. And so, you know, I’m not going to rock the boat. But as I started getting bored of the mundane work that I was doing and getting curious about, I wonder how much I really could make in this situation in this new business. You know, this was 10 years ago now. I started thinking about what would I do to get another client and one that I maybe that I didn’t even know, or a client that I knew it somehow indirectly, maybe a second connection of some sort? What would that look like? That’s what I started asking myself. And when I was asking myself that I you know, in looking back on it, I didn’t have all these tools at the time. But in looking back at it now I know my thoughts were things like I don’t know enough. I’m not really an expert. I can manage a project for people but I’m definitely not an expert. That were my thoughts. My thoughts were also those people that I would talk to about even working with them don’t have time. And if even if they did give me their time, they’re going to think I’m wasting it once we get on the phone. And then ultimately, they’re going to think I’m not capable that I’m not an expert. And when then when I started thinking about consulting You know, why would they choose to do consulting versus in house? Or why would they use me as a consultant? You know, Melissa Lieberman, instead of Accenture or some reputable company they could hire those were all the thoughts swirling around in my head, or also they could do it on their own right? Why would they need me the only reason they would probably need me was what I was thinking as well, only if they need extra bodies extra capacity, somehow, they’re behind not in a deadline. That is not high-quality thinking. That is not me thinking as a business owner, that was not me thinking as someone who is an expert who can help clients achieve a result that they’re wanting to achieve, right, that’s me thinking about myself in the worst possible light, and about them in the worst possible light, and about consulting in the worst possible light. And as a result of that, that kind of thinking, that kind of mental model creates hesitation, it creates procrastination, it creates, you know, that self-negotiation where you come up with a strategy to start building out a pipeline, and then you negotiate with yourself, and you end up not taking any action. And it also creates this dynamic of waiting on the client to come to you, which in some ways is a very good thing. But when you’re waiting on a client, you have no pipeline, and you are kind of waiting for the client to lead and direct the process. That’s where it’s not productive. So sharing with you my example of 10 years ago, when I didn’t understand these dynamics, that my mental model was the problem. It wasn’t that I didn’t know enough, I knew a lot that I wasn’t giving myself credit for. It wasn’t that the potential clients didn’t have time to talk to me, it was that I wasn’t even thinking about how to make the conversation valuable. I was too worried in my head about whether I was going to waste their time or not, or they thought I was bothering them. Or it was some sea level person that I felt like it was so far above me at the time. Because I had no company name behind me that I created this paralysis in my business for a very long-time doing work that was well below my capability, well below the level of impact I was capable of making. And well below the amount of money I was able, that should have been possible for me. So, what ended up shifting, and again, I didn’t understand this at the time, that it was my mental model that shifted, but that’s what shifted.


And ultimately, what ended up happening. Looking back now on it from a coach’s perspective, I had shifted my mindset, and I fell upon it accidentally, you know, over a period of time, I got more comfortable in my skin as an independent consultant not being in corporate anymore, I started replacing a lot of employee mindsets, and started thinking as a business owner. Now mind you, this is taking years, it should not take you this one podcast, you know, at a minimum here. But what I was able to do over that elongated period of time was to start thinking differently about myself, I started thinking I am an expert. In that case, when I was consulting, I am an expert in helping software companies, SAS companies, startup companies scale. When I started thinking about my potential clients, I started thinking, I have something valuable to share with them and to talk with them and discuss with them and value to provide in a conversation. Of course, they want to talk to me, of course, they would love to have an outside perspective. Of course, they would love to hear about trends in the industry and how those might impact them, how they might apply them to their business to have that kind of a dialogue. And I started thinking differently about consulting, that the expertise that I offer is valuable, and will help them get results so much faster than using an internal resource for those specific problems that I was helping them solve. That was the shift. It wasn’t that I got some fancy lead generation process. I was still using networking, basically, when I was consulting, but it was the shift in my mind that I made over that roughly two-year period that made the difference. And so I share my personal experience with you because I figured it out the hard way, the long way. And I want to make sure that you’re not making that same mistake and stuck in that same cycle for so long like I was The other thing that I want to share with you is if you’re not stuck in that cycle, here in a minute I’m going to give you so you do have a lead generation process that creates that flow of leads for you. And it doesn’t feel like a struggle, it doesn’t feel hard, it doesn’t feel like you’re settling. If that’s you, I’ll share with you in a minute how to apply what I’ve shared on this podcast to your business. But first, before I do that, let’s take the scenario, how to apply it if you’re the person, the independent consultant, who is not creating as many leads as you want. Or if you’re the independent consultant who’s not signing the consulting clients who are paying you at the level that you know, reflective of your expertise and experience. If that’s you, and you’re not creating this pipeline for yourself, then you’re going to want to look at your mental models. And it’s four simple questions. Again, we’ll put these in the show notes. But what are you thinking about you as an expert, just like I shared with you all of this, these terrible thoughts I had about myself, not giving myself the benefit of the doubt, and giving, you know, really treating myself as sort of the lowest common denominator here. Almost feeling like I was back in my 20s. When I was in my late 30s, when I started consulting. What are you thinking about you as an expert? What are you thinking about you as a salesperson? What are you thinking about you as a business owner? What are you thinking about your consulting services and the value you deliver to your clients? And what are you thinking that your potential clients are thinking about you and leveraging consulting.


When you get that all out and really look at it, it shows you where your limiting beliefs are, it shows you where you’re not giving yourself the benefit of the doubt. And a lot of this is going to feel factual, I can assure you, you could find evidence for everything you write down. What I can also assure you having looked at so many independent consulting businesses and talked with so many independent consultants, and been an independent consultant myself, that the opposite of whatever you have on the paper can also be just as true, if not more true, most of us are very pragmatic, right? We like to kind of hedge our bets. We like to give ourselves buffer right? But in this case, it backfires. Because when you’re thinking about yourself in the worst possible way you could that you’re not an expert or where Aren’t you an expert? You’re not giving that airtime to where are you truly an expert, and how can you up level the way you’re thinking about yourself so that you show up more convicted, so that you show up more in belief about what you do, how you do it, how you get your clients results, and why it would be a no brainer for them to want to work with you. Again, we’re working to apply this mental model. So, you can get into the same space that other independent consultants are in where the leads are coming to them, or the businesses coming to them with this whole process of selling consulting feels effortless. So, ask yourself those questions and figure out where you’ve got gaps in your mental model. And then start working to rebuild those. That is the short answer to the process of creating confidence for yourself, creating that conviction for yourself. And then on the flip side of it, if you are creating leads, if you are creating high paying clients, if you are creating clients that you love to work with, you can ask yourself those four or five questions that I gave you, so that you can understand what is working, what is the mental model that you’ve got that’s creating that business for you. So that you can replicate it and repeat it and amplify it to grow your business even further in a more sustainable way. And to know that truly where your results are coming from is about the way you’re thinking about yourself, the way you’re thinking about your business, the way you’re thinking about your clients. And therefore, you have control over doing that more purposefully, and therefore growing your results. So this is incredibly important work on your mental model as a way to make a difference in your lead generation process and quite frankly, across your entire business. So what I would love to offer to you today is To apply this and apply the questions that I shared with you, and if you want more help figuring out where your gaps are in your mental model, most of the time, it’s really hard to identify those for ourselves. I know for me, I’ve had different coaches, but coaches for the last four years, and it’s made all the difference to find those areas, those little pockets where my mental model was kind of like Swiss cheese and start filling those in and just continuously building. So what I would love to invite you to do is book and I see blueprint call with me, it’s the letters, I see that blueprint. And that’s a process, we’re going to dive in really deep into your business, you’re going to fill out a pre assessment. So we both have a really good level set and common understanding of where you’re at on your business right now. And that assessment alone, just doing it online, you know, even without talking to me, clients have told me what an impact it is made for them to really take a step back and look at their business. And then after you complete that we’ll get on a call, we’ll work together for an hour to really dive into your business even further and figure out where your blockers are usually those mental blockers and figure out your go forward strategy for you to start building up a bigger book of business, one that feels sustainable, where you can make more money and make more impact without having to work more hours. In fact, you can work fewer hours. So, I would love to talk with you about your specific business and walk you through this icy blueprint process that I’ve created. And really help you to apply the work that we’re doing in this podcast. So, we’ll put the link to that as well in the show notes. But it’s I see the letters I see dash blueprint COMM And even if we don’t meet on one of those calls, please go put this work into action for you and your business so that you can continue growing, and not getting into that cycle of having to work more while you’re making more money and really creating the business of your dreams. So look forward to seeing you again next week. Have a good one.


Thanks for joining me this week on the Grow Your Independent Consulting Business podcast. If you liked 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 benefit to and finally to put the ideas from today’s episode into action. Head over to Melissa lieberman.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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