Get Consulting Clients with this Story Opening
How do you make an elevator pitch for consulting services?
The answer is, "You Don't!"
The hard sell, elevator pitch, approach is a Death Knell for selling consulting services!
There is a much better and more relaxed way of starting a consulting sales conversation. Starting with an elevator pitch throws you right into the genre of “sales pitch” and turns off the person you are talking with.
A far better way to start a conversation about your consulting services is to begin with one of the oldest forms of storytelling. It is based on something called the Hero's Journey, from Joseph Campbell's work on mythology.
Think about the movie Star Wars.
There is a,
- Common person (Luke Skywalker)
= your client
- who faces a Serious Problem (Federation and Darth Vader)
= your client’s business problems
- and meets a Wizard (Obi-Wan Kenobi)
= you, the consultant
- who teaches them Secret Knowledge (Jedi Mind Tricks)
= consulting advice, skills, and processes
- so they overcome the serious problem (destroys the Death Star and saves the Galaxy)
= solving their high-value business problem
- and they become a Hero
= you made them a hero in their business world
While there is no way you would want to ram a story like this through when you first meet someone, what you can do when first meeting is use an opening that starts a conversation about the Hero’s Journey.
When someone asks, “So what do you do?”
You answer with, "Well have you ever..." and you open a conversation so they tell you their story.
This method builds rapport and generates qualified leads and referrals. Besides that, it can lead to great storytelling and a fun evening (Zoom meeting?) of swapping tales.
Imagine a conversation like this…
Stranger: "So, what do you do?"
You: "Well, have you ever worked in a business where..."
<pick the niche and pain you solve...>
- there is a strategy, but no one follows it or measures results
- you can't hire the key people you need
- the managers are untrained and bad tempered
- your niche
You: "And, then because of that what happens is..."
<Pick the painful consequence...>
- objectives aren't met and political infighting kills the morale
- projects fail because the wrong people were hired
- morale is rock bottom and people are quitting
- the high-value pain you solve
You: "That’s what I fix! Have you ever been in a situation like that?"
<You stay silent and wait...>
This leaves a big opening for the other person to start telling their stories or stories about a friend, and that opens a conversation about the situations where they or a friend (referral) need you.
As an ex-Air Force pilot, when we talked about harrowing flight experiences, we called them a "There I was..." story. These are stories where everyone shares, and everyone learns from each other.
In this case, you are learning about the others situation, building rapport, qualifying a lead, and getting a referral.
This is just a small piece of the process of course. Before you can do this effectively you need to know your,
- Client’s profile and segmentation criteria
- Client’s high-value pains
- Hero's Journey
If you don’t know your niche, your client, and their high-value pain, then you won’t know,
- Whom to help
- Where to find them
- What their highest-value pain is
- How you can help them solve the pain
- Where they want to go next
So, the next time you meet someone new and they ask you what you do, just tell them,
“Well, have you ever…”