Nearly every leadership development consulting firm experiences the same challenge: Managing client demands while expanding their offerings and growing their book of business.
How do the best leadership consultancies balance these responsibilities? What do they do to succeed?
We’ve seen what distinguishes the best, most growth-oriented leadership consulting firms from those who are struggling to survive. Here are 5 best practices that we recommend to grow your leadership consulting business:
1. Think “Program,” Not “Event.”
The best leadership development practitioners understand that leadership development isn’t an event – it’s a process. So if a potential client calls and requests a one-day leadership workshop, you can certainly start there, but use this as an opportunity to discuss what makes learning stick and advocate how a larger initiative and longer-term relationship can be even more beneficial to their business and their employees.
Learning initiatives that span a longer period of time have more lasting impact than one-day events, and for you, they have the added bonus of helping to ensure cash flow.
2. Right-Price Your Services.
You probably became a leadership consultant because you’re passionate about helping professionals grow and develop as leaders. Don’t take your commitment to your profession so far as to under-bill for your time though, or underestimate how “easy” it will be to deliver a service, therefore not pricing it correctly.
Also, remember that leadership development consulting is a specialty service – it’s not a commodity. If your firm is seeking to compete on price, be cautious. It’s diminishing the real value of your firm’s services.
The most stable leadership development firms approach their services with eyes wide open. Before pricing, benchmark your services to understand the competitive landscape, and understand their value – if you perform service “X” for a client, it will result in “Y.”
“Y” has a financial outcome to it; leadership development works to drive key organizational benefits. The best leadership consulting firms understand that value, so consider a value-based approach to program pricing.
3. Hunt and Farm.
Most leadership development consultants didn’t start their firms so they could focus a majority of their time on business development and marketing. Yet these are necessary to grow your leadership consulting business. Client acquisition requires initiative, effort, and consistent activity. That’s why the most successful leadership development consulting practitioners are always hunting and farming:
- Hunting requires actively marketing services to new client prospects.
- Farming requires growing existing client accounts.
Avoid hunting and farming only when business is down; instead, focus on marketing and business development consistently and routinely. Not only does this help ensure long-term stability, but it also allows you to keep raising your game by promoting new research, services, and resources to current and prospective accounts.
4. Seek to Expand Offerings.
The best leadership consultants have expertise in a specific aspect of leadership development, but don’t overlook opportunities to expand into other areas. This openness allows them to extend the value they can offer their clients, all the while expanding their contracts with their clients.
The most successful leadership consulting practices are also intentional about aggregating the best content, tools, and courses they can to share with their clients, based on the specific challenges they face currently. They stay abreast of leadership research and emerging insights and look for opportunities to share what they’re learning to grow their network.
5. Join Helpful Partnerships.
Most leadership development consultants and practitioners rely heavily on a partnership model for their business. The reality is, it’s nearly impossible to have a full suite of custom assessments, facilitator content, leadership research, and digital tools that are 100% research-backed, proprietary, and created in-house.
Partnerships enable leadership consulting firms to focus on creating dynamic experiences for clients, without additional research, product development, and design responsibilities.
When you’re able to insert best practices like these into your firm management, you’re better able to grow your leadership consulting business and dedicate more time towards the work you enjoy the most: Delivering exceptional services to clients.
Ready to Take the Next Step?
We can help you grow your leadership consulting business. Learn more about the leadership tools offered through our Channel Partner Network, which enables leadership consultancies like yours to deliver consistent, robust, and trusted content to clients. Joining gives you access to CCL’s world-class leadership resources and research library, and our suite of leadership assessments, programs, kits, and tools.