️Episode 064 – 3 Must Haves for An Effective Consulting Lead Generation Routine

When it comes to lead generation, I find that so many independent consultants are overcomplicating the process. Then, they’re ineffective with their lead generation activities. 

For this reason, I want to share with you the three must-haves that you will want to incorporate into your solo consulting standard operating procedures (SOP), so that you’ve got an effective, easily repeatable, and results-creating independent consulting lead generation routine. 

These three elements are so incredibly important to ensure your independent consulting pipeline grows. They’re the difference between stagnating and experiencing feast or family versions maintaining a sustainable, healthy pipeline.

Listen in as I discuss the three must-haves that you want to make sure you’ve got in your lead generation routine, and how you can implement them into your independent consulting business. 

  • [01:35] A special thank you to Courtney for leaving an Apple Podcast review
  • [02:48] Why I chose this topic
  • [08:45]1st must-have element for an effective consulting lead generation routine
  • Questions to ask yourself:
    • Does that portion of your business mean that you will hit your revenue goal?
    • What is your average close rate for this type of engagement?
    • How many conversations do you typically have in order to create the required number of opportunities?
  • [17:08] 2nd must-have element for an effective consulting lead generation routine
    • Where does my ideal client concregate?
    • Does your ideal client spend time online?
    • Where do you most enjoy meeting new people?
    • How do you most enjoy maintaining relationships?
    • Questions to ask yourself:
  • [21:54] 3rd must-have element for an effective consulting lead generation routine
  • [26:07] Check out the IC Business Predictability Assessment: https://www.ic-scorecard.com



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


Welcome to the podcast. I’m so happy you’re here again this week. And I’m really excited to dive into today’s topic I want to share with you the three must-haves that you will want to incorporate into your lead generation routine so that you’ve got a really effective, easily repeatable, and results-creating lead generation routine. This comes from me working with so many of my independent consulting business owner clients, and the themes that I see across so many consulting businesses, usually how we’re overcomplicating things and procrastinating as a result. So today, I want to dive in and share with you those three must-haves that you want to make sure you’ve got in your lead generation routine and help you to implement that in your business. And I’ll share with you an example too, so that we really bring it to life and you can go away from this episode, put it into practice, and start seeing results, by way of more leads for yourself with that. Hey, before I want to dive in, though, I meant to tell you, I just wanted to say thank you so much to Courtney who left a review on the podcast on apple. She said Melisa, this is a little bit longer, but it’s so I’m so appreciative of it. So I will share with you the whole thing, Melisa packs an impressive amount of helpful ideas into a 30-minute period. Most episodes, start with high-level thoughts and then drill down into specific examples, and specific tips. And specific pitfalls specific is the key word because Melisa says root cause consulting is a broad topic. And while Melisa acknowledges that the path to consulting, and success should vary by individual, she doesn’t leave it to what find what works for you, she understands that her audience is listening, to learn from her experience, and to be able to apply it to their business. So I wanted to say thank you so much to Courtney, for that really thoughtful and specific, I’ll use your word back for your specific testimonial rating, rating, and review. And I just really appreciate you taking the time to leave that I love doing this podcast and to see that that type of feedback makes it all worth it. So with that, let me kind of give you an example of why I picked this topic for this week,


I thought I’d share a story of a client I’ll call Jane because I never share client specifics on this podcast by name. But I really want to give you an example I’d love to share these kinds of tangible examples with you. So that you know you’re not alone as you are implementing this, you know, implementing and, and dealing with challenges in your business. So with that, let’s talk about what was happening for Jane, she was essentially kind of a little bit stuck. She had landed several clients through past colleagues and employers and was ready to set up something more official more kind of standardized as her official lead generation process. So that she knew her business would be more sustainable and less dependent on that network. So you know, after she had those first couple of projects under her belts, in, you know, in that first 18 months of business, she really wanted to you know, take it up a level and know that she was in control of finding and landing her own clients. And so before we started working together, she had kind of sketched out a lead generation process on her own. It consisted of a couple of hour block of time on Fridays, set aside for things like networking, speaking, maintaining relationships, honestly fumbling around on LinkedIn a little bit, you know, just a little bit of a mismatch of a lot of different things. And so she wasn’t really sure if what she was doing would work or sometimes even what she was doing just a little bit unsure. And notice that she was actually just trying to implement all the advice that she was hearing from other independent consulting business owner colleagues. eggs, and what and layered on to, you know what she had been reading on the internet and what she thought she, quote-unquote should be doing. And so that’s how this sort of mismatch of opportunity of activities was created, how she had created it, and how she was trying to spend that block of time that she had set aside on Fridays. But at the end of the day, really, she was sporadic at best, definitely feeling more like she was going through the motions and not really fully in control of creating leads. And like she was way, you know, spinning her wheels and wasting her time. So that felt really frustrating and overwhelming, because as your time is so valuable, so was hers. And she felt like she was checking the box when she was doing, you know, this work on Fridays, and then beating herself up if she wasn’t doing the work on, you know when she had set it aside. So this may sound really familiar to you, I hear this kind of a story from so many independent consulting business owners, and quite frankly, I was in this kind of cycle of spin cycle myself back in the day. So, you know, when Jane and I started working together, she thought her problem was that she just didn’t know how to how to meet clients how to talk with people who weren’t in her warm network, and very specifically had pinpointed that as what she thought her issue was and wanted some specific help with that. How do I meet kind of colder, or cold, brand new people and get to the place in a conversation, where it really is clear that they need my help and advance the conversation forward? That’s what she thought she needed help with. And I said, Great,


let’s, let’s we’ll work on that. But first, let’s just make sure that you’ve got some solid fundamentals in place for your business. And so I started digging in and asking her a lot of questions about our business and our business goals. And as we went through that process, we both realized what she was missing. It wasn’t this specific, like, how do I talk to strangers? concern that so many of us have? I laugh because it’s such a common thing. How do I talk to these strangers that I don’t actually know yet? But that wasn’t the challenge. The challenge for her was actually before that in the process. And it was that she had never formulated her business development metrics. And I’ll tell you what those mean here in a minute, but without these business development metrics, It was no wonder she was spinning her wheels. And so I’m gonna walk you through today, how Jane and I addressed that and created her metrics, and put these three essentials in place for her business so that you can replicate the same thing for your own business, if you’re missing this, which, quite frankly, almost every consultant is that I’ve met and worked with and talk with. So with that, today, our agenda was love having an agenda even when we’re meeting here, you’re on the podcast, the agenda is that we’re going to talk about these three must-have elements for your effective consulting lead generation process. So the first element is beginning with the end in mind. So I’ll share with you the exact process of creating your business development metrics. The second element is you want to keep it simple and over avoid overcomplicating it. So I’m going to talk with you about what that actually means. And then thirdly, we can never forget this step to cultivating a business development mindset. Because no matter what strategy you have in place, it can be the sexiest, most effective strategy out there. If you don’t have the right mindset from which you’re operating it, it’s going to fall flat. So I want to make sure that you’ve got that process to develop and cultivate a, a, an effective business development mindset. So that it’s really met, you’re able to maximize the amount of time and the effectiveness of whatever you put in place. So those are the three elements that we’re going to dive into today. And we’re going to start off with this first element, which is, to begin with, the end in mind. Stephen Covey, right. I don’t know when he published that book, I should go back and look, but I know for sure I read it in the 80s, I think, loved loved that book and still do and it’s so so important as part of our business to really know and get crystal clear on what we’re trying to create in our business what the quote-unquote end is. So one way to think about what the end is, is really Reverse Engineering how many? So we often do this backward, right? Instead of thinking about the end in mind, like I know for sure I want to have, I’ll just give you an example from Jane, right? I want to have four-part of her business plan was I want to have four advisory type clients this year, or in the next 12 months. A lot of times, we don’t even go to that step of defining what those business fundamental metrics are, we just kind of like, go through them, go through the process and take whatever comes to us. And whatever we get, and then hope it kind of builds up to something we’d like. That’s the normal process I see. So over and over and over again, consultants do it, you know, taking that approach to their business. And I want to make sure you avoid falling into that trap. So this first step begins with the end in mind, is for you to back into how many, you know, first start with how many clients of a certain engagement type you want this year. So for example, Jane, for advisory-type engagements, wants four of those. So we sat down and I asked her some really simple questions, we’ll put these in the show notes for you. And that is, first of all, if you were to land four of these advisory type clients,


and the average contract value, let’s just say a 60k. That means that you’re making 240k off of that revenue stream. What does that mean? Or does that portion of your business mean that you’re going to hit your revenue goal? So that’s the first question. So let’s just keep it simple. And just say, for now, Jay actually has some more revenue streams, other types of engagements. But just to keep it simple, let’s just focus on this advisory. So the first double-check is okay, if I land four of these advisory roles, and engagements and they’re each worth 60k, does 240k in that type of revenue, track me to my overall revenue goal? Yes. The answer from Jane was yes. Okay, great. So ask yourself that same question, figure out how many of this engagement type you’re going to need in order to either hit it fully hit your revenue goal, or contribute what you need to, you know, along with other engagement types to your revenue goal. So then from there, what you want to ask yourself is, what is my typical close rate for these types of engagements. And just to be clear, I am two things I am let me take a pause for a moment before we go into the close, close rate, I will put a visual for you in the show notes. So that you can see I’m looking at a chart right now to help walk you through this. So if you are visual, like I am, you can go to the show notes and see this exact chart that I’m walking you through. I also record all of these podcasts and put them on YouTube. So if you’re more visual, you can see slides that go along with all of the podcasts when you go listen over there as well. So okay, so back to what we’re talking about. We know in Jane’s example she wanted advisory-type clients that would drive 240k in revenue. And so the next question we asked her that she and I talked through was, What’s your average close rate for this type of engagement? Now, she roughly knew it was 50%. So we went with that you might not know the answer. So you’re gonna have to make an educated guess? Definitely don’t just throw up your hands and say, I don’t know. I don’t have enough data yet. I haven’t sold as many of these types of engagements yet. So I don’t know. I don’t know where to start. All that stuff is total bullshit. Bs. I don’t know if this is a kid-friendly show or not. We’ll go with Bs. So that is not going to help you. So if you don’t know the number, then just pick one. Like, start with 30%. That’s a great place to start. Or if you kind of have an idea from other types of engagements you’ve sold in the past. Think about it from that perspective, and just make an educated guess we’re just starting somewhere. Right? So then once we know so in Jane’s example, we know she wants to sell four of these this year. And we know her close rate is 50%. So that means she needs to talk to eight of these potential clients who have a potential opportunity. This isn’t just like a general conversation, right? This is a qualified lead. She needs to have eight of those that they’re truly considering hiring someone to come on for advisory-type engagements, eight of those conversations this year to create for clients. So that’s the first thing and then the next the or I don’t know if it’s first but that’s the next one. We did right How many real opportunities need to be needed to see the need in our pipeline? Based on our close rate? Again, that’s eight. And then we say what the next question is, okay. Well, how many conversations do you typically have in order to create off aid opportunities? So for example, a conversation might be a networking call, it might be a catch-up call with someone in your organization, it might be a speaking engagement, that creates the kind of, you know, sidebars, maybe those are the types of things that are conversations. So how many conversations do you typically need in order to create a truly qualified lead? That is the question. So in Jane’s case, the answer was roughly six. And you’d have about six conversations in order to create an opportunity, like a really, truly qualified lead where they are truly interested in hiring someone to do these advisory services. Okay, great. So that means we need 48 conversations this year, in order to create the eight qualified leads, close to 50% of those to create the for advisory clients.


Hopefully, you’re tracking with me here. Again, go look at the show notes for this chart. It’s right there all for you. So then, let’s just break that down. If you need 48 conversations per year, if my math is correct, that’s four per month. Actually, that’s two per month, isn’t it? I think my math is wrong on this chart. I’ll fix it before we upload it 48 conversations are needed per year. So 12. Okay, so from that perspective, Jane needs 48 conversations this year to drive those eight qualified leads or eight qualified opportunities. So that breaks down to four conversations per month. Four times 12 is 48. Yeah.


So great for conversations per month. And then if you broke that down even further one per week.


And that gives us a couple of weeks off also, right? So that’s it one conversation per week, to ultimately create opportunities to ultimately create for clients. So now we have a starting point. Now we have a starting point to say, You know what, I have a have some it could be really informed off of your past history. Or it could be a starting point guess. But either way, you have these business metrics, these foundational metrics against which you can start running your lead generation process. Not only, does this make it tangible, but it also makes it so much more doable, right? We think, Oh, I only need to have as one conversation a week, that’s so doable. Or I could do three, three a week or something and take a couple of weeks off, right. And focus a little bit more on delivery on those other weeks, whatever that might look like for you. So it makes it tangible, and also so much more doable. So that’s what it looks like to begin with the end in mind. So you’re just going to want to repeat this if you know like Jane, for example, I mentioned she has other offerings, other engagement types, you might also so just repeat that for each of your offerings and get yourself to a build-up where you really understand how many conversations you need to have loosely termed right word conversation, that leads to the number of qualified opportunities that leads to the number of clients. And then you’ve got a really good hypothesis from which to operate your business and figure out is this working, or if we’re somewhere where my assumptions are off and I need to adjust. Maybe I’m getting too many leads, I can take the numbers down, or maybe I’m getting not enough leads and I can adjust the numbers up. But it gives you that hypothesis. So this is when you’re breaking your business down in this way, you’re going to get very clear on exactly what you need to be doing to generate that number of leads that makes eventually makes hitting your revenue goals inevitable. And make sure that you’re attracting the kinds of ideal clients that are that want to hire you for the exact type of work that you love doing. No more just talking and settling for whatever comes to you. Okay, so that’s the first important element in your Effective lead generation routine? The second is let’s just keep this thing simple. Oh, get those metrics we just walked through, we know Jane needs to have one conversation per week to fill and maintain our pipeline. So for her, the way she kept it simple was we just kind of did a brainstorm what are all the different ways that you could fill have those conversations. Some are kind of brutal, like cold calling or messaging people on LinkedIn and they never reply or send cold emails. Some are more interesting to Jane like speaking engagement, you know, having a speaking engagement once a month, or hosting an executive roundtable or just literally going into her LinkedIn connections and, and talking with people she knows and hasn’t been in contact with for a while. So we just really brainstormed all the way she could create conversations. And then we just eliminated what she just flatly didn’t want to do. I don’t want to call cold message cold anything, people just cross it off the list. Some people love that it doesn’t, there’s nothing wrong with it. Just different. Whatever aligns with you as the business owner, it feels a little bit lighter and easier. What do you think would resonate with your ideal clients? So that’s the second component of this, once you kind of figure out what do I like doing? What do I think my ideal clients would love to hear? What method? Is it? You know, ask yourself questions. And we’ll put these in the show notes. Also, where does my ideal client congregate? Are they you know, are they all in some kind of an association that you could join and speak at? For example? Does your client spend time online like on LinkedIn or some other platform like medium or something like that? Where do you most enjoy meeting new people? And how do you most enjoy catching up and maintaining relationships, asking those questions of yourself both you personally, and have your ideal client, and then design your process in a way that aligns with most with what you enjoy? And also with your ideal client’s typical behaviors that I’m, there’s there, I don’t know about hundreds. But there are definitely dozens and dozens and dozens of different ways to create


conversations with potential clients. And so let’s not pick the hardest one or the one you hate the most, let’s pick the one that feels least the easiest to you, and that you think your ideal client would really resonate with and start there. And you may already know what that is, and just need to do more of it more consistently. Or you might need to do a little bit of trial and error to figure out what that means. But what I will say to you is to avoid these two traps, which is number one, looking for something that’s comfortable. For most of you, most likely, business development isn’t one of your most advanced skills, you’re most likely going to be somewhat uncomfortable with this process no matter what type of method you choose. And that’s okay. We’re not trying to avoid discomfort, we’re just trying to pick something that is the least uncomfortable. Quite frankly, if it was incredibly comfortable to you, you would either be doing it. So you would need to be listening to this exercise in this podcast. Or it might just, it might not it might be really comfortable for you. But it’s really not effective. doesn’t resonate with your ideal client. So you’ve got to have that intersection. And then also notice when you’re sabotaging yourself, that’s the other trap you’re going to want to avoid. And by that I mean thinking these thoughts about, like, Oh, this isn’t going to be enough. This is too easy. It won’t work, whatever you chose, I should set up some I love this. This one is such a catchy one, one to catch for yourself, I should set up something that’s more automated or scalable. And so, therefore, you think like old, old school networking isn’t going to work for you, I can assure you in looking at some so so many independent consulting businesses, the people who are willing to roll up their sleeves a little bit, go to speaking engagements, host webinars. Post roundtables are so much more effective than those who are trying to run a Facebook ad or something that you know, some sexy, automated strategy they heard about online that doesn’t apply to your type of business. You’re not running an online business where you’re trying to bring in, you know, cheap leads. That’s not what we’re doing here. So making yourself think that you’re doing something wrong by not having a scalable system that’s automated By sending you on the wrong track, there may be an exception or two based on what your engagement types are. So don’t take that as the hard and fast rule. But it’s usually like 2% or something of consultants, independent consultants, business models that where you could run ads or automates your process, we’re doing high touch, the high quality here, not mass marketing. Okay. So the third and final element that you want to include in your effective consulting, business development, and lead generation process is establishing and cultivating your mindset, your business development mindset. And this is a mindset where you, I like to really call out five key elements here that you believe ahead of time that you’ll achieve the results. Most people wait, most people do it the opposite way. Wait until we get the results to say like, oh, yeah, I was right. I was skeptical up till the point I got the results. And then once I did, I was like, Yes, that’s the right answer. In order to make this the most effective lead generation process, you can possibly implement and leverage your time in the most efficient way possible, you’ve got to believe ahead of time, that your hypothesis is going to work, that by talking in Jane’s example to one person a week, she’s going to create more than enough leads, but at least eight of them qualified leads to create for clients. So this route requires believing in something that doesn’t exist yet. But really believing that your results are inevitable, versus maybe they’ll happen. The second effective regeneration mindset component is to acknowledge and override that inner critic, there’s going to be a lot of second-guessing, oh, I shouldn’t do it this way. This won’t be enough.


All those things I just share with you, right, this should be automated. I should be doing this differently. That second-guessing and the doubt and the overwhelm that there’s nothing wrong with it. Let me be clear, I don’t think there’s ever a time that you that you’ll get rid of it. I haven’t in the last 10 years of my business. I work with my own coach who I think she’s at 36 million or something in revenue a year, she says, this never goes away. So I truly believe that my inner critic isn’t going to go away. So I didn’t say get rid of eliminating the inner critic, what I did say is be able to acknowledge the inner critic, because it gets really, once you’re able to manage it, it gets a lot more crafty in terms of the way it tries to trick you and keep you in the status quo. So you got to get to the place where you’re acknowledging and have that skill set of overriding the inner critic. And then the third component of that regeneration mindset is embracing the discomfort, and being willing to be uncomfortable. It’s not a problem that you feel awkward or weird or incompetent or any of those things. What is a problem is if you allow it to make to stall, or you to procrastinate or you to decide, you know not to do whatever it is that you chose to do from a lead gen perspective. The fourth element is having a healthy relationship with failing, meaning you’re willing to fail. And quite frankly, encourage setting up your processes in a way that you probably will fail in order to get that data in order to validate or invalidate your hypothesis and adjust from there. And then are you committed to achieving the outcome no matter how long it takes? Those are the types of things that you want to have in that effective lead generation mindset. And this is a lot of little slightly different wording. What we discussed in that last episode, actually was Two episodes ago, episode, I think it was 63 where we talked about the six C’s of a consumer of a consulting, business owner mindset, someone who doubles their revenue, someone who grows their business year over year, someone who creates predictable income, those 60s So if you haven’t yet listened to that, we’ll put the link to that in the show notes as well. So that’s what I have for you today. Those three elements are so incredibly important to you the difference between having a feast or famine type of a lead generation process, a stagnating lead generation process, a lead generation process that really fits and starts for you, versus a predictable, sustainable, healthy lead generation process. And I want to remind you to go take the independent consultant business producing ability assessment says helps you look at these types of areas in your business, lead generation, and other three other components. So you can really uncover both within lead generation like we were talking about today, and the other three components of your business to figure out where specifically, you will find the most impact of focusing on so that you can create more money in your business more impact and have more freedom as you’re doing it. So be sure to go to I see the letters IC for independent consultant scorecard.com. And you can make those assessments. Thank you for tuning in this week. I hope that you’ll go put this work into action so that you can have a more effective lead generation process. And I will see you again next week. I have to tell you, next week’s episode is amazing. I interview independent consultants that I can’t wait for you to hear what she has to share with you in terms of her lessons learned as an independent consultant over the last 10 years. So wait for that episode. It’s a great one and I can’t wait for you to listen to it. See you again next week.

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