How to start a consulting project

Have you ever struggled trying to get started in consulting? How do you get that first gig, or if you’re already started, how do you scale up? In this segment, Jason and I talk about the fundamentals of building trust with your client, how to price your consulting project as a smart ROI (Return on Investment) and the #1 lever that all coaches and consultants have to accelerate trust, and consequently business with your clients.

A full transcript of the video follows:


Video Transcript


Jason Bell:  So let’s take a deep dive.

This is an outstanding foundation and

talking about the competencies you need

now you grow and I think we’ve done good

there.  You know to kind of have a better

understanding of like a day in the life

of a consultant or day and not

even the life not a day like the project

of a consultant right so maybe, I don’t

know if you have a project that we could

maybe deep dive into and kind of talk

about maybe cradle to grave of how and what

your approach was  . . . I don’t know if you

can think of a client but and obviously

you know, non-disclosure, share what you can

today enough to at least give us some

scope and perspective to understand

how it got started, that kind of stuff,

anything coming to mind?


Rocco Luongo:  Oh yeah, so I’ve got

my processes for everything, and that’s

just the engineering background again

plus it builds an asset into my company

so that even though it is just Rocco my

company has a certain market value

that’s saleable. I wouldn’t be able to

just sell it in and leave I’d have to

sell it and then you know do like

probably a two year transition to make

sure it would be taken over but I could

sell my company for money because of the

assets and processes that I’ve built. So

what I’m what I’m getting at here is

there is a process.  So when I asked you

earlier what’s the most important thing

to know about being a consultant and

I’ll tell you that, it’s because it’s a

relationship game, right, being a

consultant or a coach is about a

relationship and relationships are built

with people not with organizations.

My client is not Gravis law my client is

Brett Spooner, CEO and managing partner.


You build a relationship with people and

the best way to build a relationship

with someone is to provide value early

because that builds trust. Relationships

are built upon trust and the lever that

a consultant and a coach has to build a

relationship and trust

is to provide value early. Alan Weiss.


JB:  Can we talk about some of the work you did

with I’m sorry what was his name?


RL:  Brett Spooner.


JB  Brett Spooner. Can we

dig into that a little bit?


RL For sure.


JB  So, when you first started providing

consulting services to Brett how did

it get started? Did he approach you,

did you cold call him? I mean

how did you two initially get connected

and where did the project begin?


RL  I met him through an organization

that is a co-working space called Fuse, a

co-working and business accelerator

right when it was a fledgling operation.

He had just started his law practice [and] he

left software, started his law practice

and [in] one little room off the side of this

accelerator and I knew him I just met

him said hello and I didn’t even make

him a proposal for  months after that.


Now I’m not saying it has to take that long.

Some other people I’ve met and had

proposals in their hands and you know

only a couple of months or in  days,

but the way I do it and because I’m in

it  . . .  it’s not good to rush a relationship.

And I use the analogy if you if you go

on a date with someone,

have a cup of coffee are you

immediately going to ask her or him to

marry you on that day.


And I’ve got one

client who actually said, “Actually, I did

that with my wife!”


And it’s okay, that’s okay, that’s fine if you

did but you’re a rare one for doing that,

and so I like to play the long game and that’s

how I am as well I like to build the gravity.

I have a lot of gravity around me, I’ve got

social media, web presence, people know

me, people talk about me, so I’m known

and so I have something of a reputation

already and I built my relationship by

providing value constantly . . . . constantly

providing value and this is one of the major


between a successful and unsuccessful

consultant or coach is that we give away

our best stuff for free.  It’s the easiest

thing to do provide value early

and don’t risk deselection by not

providing value.


If you sit there aloof like I’m the expert

I’m just taking it but I offer nothing . . .

click you’re done!


You need to take in those data points,

get it on a line and then give them

something targeted and focused.


Don’t try to give them everything  One talk,

one topic.


I keep it focused. Part of what they’re

hiring me for is focus. They’re trying to cut

through all the miles of BS and get down to

what matters and if I give them 17

different things to work on in thirty

minutes, I am just as bad if not worse

than them. I am I am way worse because

they’re hiring me for focus so it’s

important to build that relationship.


I like to play it long and consequently

I don’t have just 90-day

Engagements. I have overlapping

multi-year engagements and I have lots

of recurring customers and I have people

who come back to me who referred to me

and it’s you build a level of gravity.


JB: So tell me more about the work with Brett.

so what was the what was the initial

problem that Brett had presented to you

that he needed assistance with?


RL: Initially it was a three-month coaching package

straight up we just talked about it he

said yeah I want to know more let’s give

it a try, so we signed

up for a three-month coaching package

and it went it went extremely well

and we extended that out for a coaching

and consulting package that’s wrapped up

through 2019 and he requested an

exclusivity clause so I wouldn’t work

with any other law firms because he

doesn’t want anyone else using what I

know and frankly he also knows it as I

work with him on learning tactics and

techniques about how to build a great

law practice. Right he’s he went from

that one room thing to I don’t know by

now something like  different

employees and we’ve got some lofty

targets I’m integrated into their team I’m not

just coaching him now I’m coaching all

the partners. I led an off-site

facilitation afterwards it was such a

resounding success I asked him what was

the value of this day and he said if I

had to put a number to it $100,000.


JB: For a day!


RL: For a day. So now here’s the

next question, now that you know the

value, how do you set a smart price?


You have to be able to take the value of what you’re

Doing, what’s the value of your clients

improved condition, both in tangible,

intangibles and the amortization of that

growth and create a reasonable ROI for

that dramatic increase in the quality,

the position that your client is in.


It’s not a hundred, or two hundred, or

one thousand dollars an hour times this many

hours of work, it’s I’m going to move you

from here to here, your company makes ten

million a year, you’re going to go to fifteen

million a year that’s a five million

dollar value proposition in a year.


What’s the equitable compensation for my

contribution to that growth?


How do I set my price as an ROI, and that takes

experience and it takes tools and it

takes confidence.


JB: Six figures sounds like a good starting point.


RL: If it’s a five million annual gross, depending on how

depending on how specific you are in that field it could easily be

seven but yeah that would definitely be

in the six figures.