3 unforgivable mistakes consultants make when pitching a client

Management consulting was different back in the day.

It used to be about selling some solution you developed to a prospective client because you knew it worked.

After all, you spent countless hours developing pristine PowerPoint presentations to showcase how great a service you provide. How could you let it go to waste?!

It’s a natural response, but one that does both you and your client a disservice.

Consider the three points below next time you have the opportunity to pitch a client.

Not knowing if the client needs the consulting service you’re offering makes building long-term relationships a struggle

Here’s something you don’t hear every day – just because you have someone willing to pay doesn’t mean they need what you’re selling. Once you sell someone something they don’t need, you shouldn’t be surprised if they never business with you again.

Don’t be a hammer looking for a nail. Understand the customer’s problem first and then provide the best tool for the job.

Taking this approach facilitates creating a better solution, leading to more trust in the relationship, ultimately turning into repeat business.

If you ever hear a consultant talking about winning a sole-sourced engagement (i.e. a client not even considering taking bids from competitors), understand their customer’s inner workings is what makes that possible.

Failing to customize your content makes your offering feel like it could be for anyone, making your potential client feel it’s not for them

You ever notice how entrepreneurs who go on Shark Tank cater to the sharks? If you haven’t seen it before, entrepreneurs pitching products often use images of the sharks or have some story related to one of the sharks when they come to the show.


Because it makes that much easier for the sharks to see themselves doing business with the entrepreneur. And the same applies to pitching a client.

That’s one of the lessons I talk about in this free 10-day mini-course on creating better client deliverables.

Knowing literally nothing about the client makes you vulnerable to “foot-in-mouth disease”

When I worked for Pepsico we once had a vendor come in to pitch his company for a large team activity.

He happened to have a beverage with him when he came – a Dasani water. It didn’t really matter what he said at that point because Coke owns Dasani, and anyone who has been alive more than 5 minutes knows Coke and Pepsi are long-standing rivals. Not only that, but Pepsi offers a direct competitor to Dasani in Aquafina.

If you can’t take 60 seconds to check out some basics about your potential customer for a business meeting, you don’t deserve to win the business.

In Conclusion

The three mistakes above all stem from arrogance, ignoring the fact that potential clients always have multiple options available to them. Listen to what they have to say and learn about them – instead of just focusing on the next buck – you will have a more successful consulting business than you even imagined.

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