Consulting is an ever-growing occupation. You compete with more firms to reach the same clients every day, no matter what industry you serve. Thus, it’s essential to stand out (which takes resources). This is something many consultancies – especially individuals – don’t have in excess.
What’s more, clients are demanding more value than ever before – a direct result of being spoiled for choice. Given these challenges, are there ways you could add value (perceived or otherwise) to your services at no cost to you?
Is More Value At No Cost Even Possible?
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you have to spend money to increase your value. The simple truth is that you don’t. In some cases, you don’t even have to spend (much) time.
Most of these items will take time or a change of perspective regarding how you work. That said, the returns on this minimal effort will be more than worth it.
Here are seven ways to add more value to your offering without spending any money.
1. Spend More Time Understanding Your Clients
Working closely with your clients is one thing, but creating a tailored experience is another. You can only do this when you take the time to understand your clients’ requirements properly.
This means asking specific questions that help you get to the root of their problem. The onus is on you to treat every client as an actual individual. You can then understand their specific pain points and map out a solution, making them feel heard.
This alone will add heaps of perceived value to your offering. Here are some tips to help you nail it.
2. Play To Your Strengths
Expertise in your industry is a given, but what specialist advice can you leverage?
Think about your career before you became a consultant. Maybe you worked in universities and are now in perfect stead for advising such institutions on health and safety?
Your skills can indeed help various industries, and it’s good to work with a variety of clientele. You might find that you have specific expert advice about one field that will boost the value of your service for certain companies.
You can always add more expert knowledge to your arsenal by doing courses, reading white papers and staying on top of the latest industry news. Then curate these resources for future clients, adding even more value.
3. Design A Memorable Client Experience
The client experience is where you can stand out from your competition. Every consultant firm will have its own client journey, so make sure that yours stands out.
This doesn’t need to cost you much (if anything). Here are some ideas:
- A handwritten note, short recorded video or even a GIF converted into footage can be an excellent way to show your client that you’re personally invested in their project.
- Personalise the relationship by getting to know your clients as people. Stronger bonds lead to better working relationships and referrals.
- Provide a handover document at the end of the project that gives the client tips on keeping your strategy going as their business evolves. (Include a contact number too, just in case 😉)
- Plan a celebratory meal for your client at the end of your project.
- Offer personalised gifts such as a pen and notebook with your logo on them. (double-check that this does not go against any company policy, some are especially strict when it comes to ‘gifts.’ )
- Never go to your client’s office empty-handed. We all love the person who brings cupcakes to the office – again, double-check company policy.
These small gestures can mean a world of difference to your clients.
If you’d like to dig further down this rabbit hole, here’s a nice article on more ways you can blow minds.
4. Create Helpful Resources
As a consultant, you can improve the value of your service just by writing down what you know. Seriously! It is that simple.
Blog posts, white papers, PDF guides, implementation videos, tutorials – the works! Best of all, you can make most of these things yourself for free or for a nominal fee. These resources can also be used to attract leads to your business.
One problem: where do you find the time to do this, and is it worth it?
Consider this. These resources stay in your client’s files to refer back to, so your business is always top of mind. They may even pass along an excellent PDF guide you’ve created to a potential referral.
You’ll also have your creations forever to repurpose. Blog posts can become email newsletters or downloadable guides. It takes time, but it’s not a waste of time.
Worth it? Definitely.
5. Simplify Your Strategy Presentation
Ever taken the time to simplify a complex strategy for a client? You spend hours tweaking and rewriting, making your bullet points so simple a toddler could understand them.
Then, when you give your presentation, you’re met with the stare of the dazed and confused. Maybe even some real-life head-scratching.
The thing is, you’re an expert in your field. This makes it easy to assume that your client knows more than they do. Even when you think you’re ‘dumbing it down,’ your strategy could still escape the comprehension of the inexperienced.
Being a professional who can break down strategy and its theory in an accessible way is a great advantage. Become known as someone who can turn complex into simple, and your clients will love you.
One great way to achieve this is to avoid jargon altogether. Explain your strategy in simple English, using simple words. It’ll be tempting to throw in big, impressive words to astound your client, but the usual effect is confusion. You could even download icons from something like Flaticon to help bring across the message in a clear, concise manner. 😉
Keep it simple, keep it light, and your clients will feel truly valued.
6. Help Executives Manage Risks
Consultants (well, humans in general) tend to assume that everything will go well when we make plans. The path seems so clear. How could it fail?
For this reason, it’s easy to avoid having a failure mitigation plan. I mean, the client might see that and think that you’re just bad at your job, right?
Quite the opposite! If you outline a strategy without a mitigation plan, you leave your clients to act on the fly should failure occur. They’ll form their own failure plan and likely blame you for the fallout.
If you get in front of the potential issues and outline solutions ahead of time, you seem more professional and prepared for every eventuality.
Note: I’m using the term “failure” loosely here. It could be as simple as the implementation strategy taking longer than previously estimated. Perhaps you want to install action plans should an incident occur (such as a mechanical failure or safety incident).
Whatever the case, your value to the client will increase significantly by keeping risk mitigation as a step in your process.
7. Provide A Digital Solution
To bring your clients into the modern age, it’s a good move to align with a digital solution. The type of digital solution that’ll work best depends on your industry.
One potential option is to incorporate a mobile app builder like ours. These powerful digital tools can increase productivity, lower costs and improve the eco-friendliness of any business.
You’re probably wondering how to introduce a digital solution for free or without learning to code. Well…
Provide Value At No Extra Cost With Appenate
Adding a mobile app builder to your arsenal of tools can significantly increase your value as a consultant. Coding is difficult and time-consuming, so we’ve made a simpler solution available for our Consulting Partners.
Using a drag-and-drop app interface, you can help clients integrate simple mobile apps into their processes. This works as a fantastic and easy-to-use data capture solution, so you’ll never have to dig through heaps of files for insurance claims or incident reports again – and neither will your clients!
They’ll love you for it.
Click here to learn more about how our Consulting Partner program could help you and your clients.