Raise Your Value

Episode 39: Raise Your Value, with Michael Zipursky

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Raise your value by learning from this podcast with Michael Zipursky.You will learn the steps to position yourself and raise your value.

Are you excited to learn about how to raise your value and become sought out in the industry?

Michael Zipursky is the CEO of Consulting Success® where they specialize in helping entrepreneurial consultants grow profitable, scalable and strategic consulting businesses. He has advised organizations like Financial Times, Dow Jones, RBC, and helped Panasonic launch new products into global markets, but more importantly, he’s helped over 600 consultants from around the world in over 75 industries add 6 and 7 figures to their annual revenues. Over 38,000 consultants read his weekly consulting newsletter. Michael is also the author of the Amazon Best Sellers ACT NOW: How successful consultants thrive during chaos and uncertainty, The Elite Consulting Mind and Consulting Success® the book.


What you will learn about in this episode of how to raise your value:

  • Why the best approach to demonstrate value and cultivate a community is in content
  • Raise your value by demonstrating your worth and build healthy relationships
  • The structure of Michael and his Consulting Success team’s Clarity coaching program
  • Why marketing should be about delivering value and building relationships rather than focusing on sales and promotions
  • Michael’s insights around 3 specific steps for best positioning ourselves to attract more right-fit clients consistently
  • The importance of concentrating on value instead of volume
  • Simple shifts you can make to raise your value by 300% – or more



Raise Your Value: Full Episode Transcript


Raise your value today and welcome to the Sell with Authority podcast. I’m Stephen Woessner, CEO of Predictive ROI. And my team and I, we created this podcast specifically for you. So if you’re an agency owner, a business coach, or a strategic consultant and you’re looking to grow a thriving, profitable business that can weather the constant change that seems to be our world’s reality, well then you’re in the right place.


So as my team and I here at Predictive, as we’re thinking about how to close out the final days of December and thinking about the road ahead into 2023, we find ourselves candidly, I’m just taking you behind the curtain here. We find ourselves thinking about two main priorities and my guess is you and your team, might be thinking about the same two.


So first we’ve been asking ourselves, what can we do to further raise the bar in helping our clients close out their year as strongly as possible? Right. I mean, that’s awesome. When you can help your clients create wins. Yay for that. And second, we’re asking ourselves what new strategies, what shifts inside Predictive do we need to make in order to double down in 2023?


Again, to raise the standard of excellence and be even more helpful to our clients and at the same time remove obstacles that might be in the way of us growing a scaling Predictive. When Predictive grows, it means we have an even greater opportunity to be more helpful to even more agency owners, coaches and consultants. And that is our tribe here at Predictive.


Raise your value by checking out other blog posts from Consulting Success


Raise Your Value: Michael Zipursky’s Introduction


So for today’s episode, we’re going to focus our time and attention around proven time tested principles, strategies, tactics, best practices that you can use to accelerate your growth and step into 2023 and feel as solid as possible. So more specifically, what are we going to dig into? Well, first we’re going to slice apart how to apply three specific steps that consistently attract more right fit clients.


We’re also going to talk about some simple shifts that you can make to increase what you charge by 300% or more. I know that that sounds a little bit like hype about hyperbole, but trust me, we’re going to slice that apart in full transparency. And then how to create long term relationships with your clients. No doubt, covering all of this is going to be a tall order.


Those are three very big pieces, but important ones. So to help us do just that, I invited Michael Zipursky, CEO of Consulting Success, to join us as our special guest. Michael is the author of three books. He’s helped over 850 consultants around the world, add six and seven figures to their annual revenue. This is a huge number in over 48,000 consultants read his weekly newsletter.


Okay, so without further ado, welcome to the Sell with Authority podcast, Michael. And Stephen Thanks for having me. It’s great to be with you again. It’s great to have you here. And so for those of you who may not have listened to the episode, our first episode back in Onward Nation, which was just awesome. It was back in September of 2021.


It was episode 1026 of Onward. So if you happen to have Onward Nation on your app, go back and listen to episode 1000 or 26, because Michael was fantastic. And so when I thought about who could be really helpful to our audience and really help set the stage as we step into 2023, I’m like, “It would be awesome if Michael could come back.”


Attend our next open-mic Q&A for more tips on how to raise your value


Raise Your Value: How Consulting Success Was Built


And so, my friend, thank you for saying yes. So I gave a little snippet about some of the highlights about your Consulting Success and so forth. So before we dive into these three big topics, take us behind the curtain and give us a little bit more context about you, your path and journey, and then we’ll dive in. Yeah, I mean, the short of it is 23 years or so now of building consulting businesses both in North America and in Asia.


And we’ve worked with global clients, set up an office for one of our consulting businesses in Japan and had the pleasure of working with some very large organizations over there. Came back to North America. My cousin and business partner Sam, and I thought, you know, it’s time that we should rejoin and create a new business. And that was really what spawned the idea for Consulting Success as a way to share our experiences of building consulting businesses with others.


It started off really as a free resource for people where we just shared our best practices. Also, call them our learnings or our failures with the goal of helping people to really accelerate their success. And that very quickly turned to people saying, Hey, this is great content. Do you have a course to help us to become more successful consults?


And we said, No, we don’t, but we’ll create one. And then fast forward from there, people said, you know, this course is really helpful. Is there a way to work more closely with you guys? And we said, not right now, but we’ll create a coaching program. So here we are more than a decade later and we’ve personally worked with over 850 consultants all around the world in many different industries, and we’ve helped thousands more through our training and our workshops in the Consulting Success podcast, and a whole bunch of other content that we put out, both free and paid format.


And that’s really what we do day in, and day out is just live and breathe everything related to consulting and advisory services and helping those, as we call them, entrepreneurial consultants to build more scalable, strategic, and profitable consulting businesses. Okay. So that was a perfect dovetail into this first piece of attracting clients or attracting right-fit clients in particular, because so as I heard you say, I think so just tell me if I got this kind of chronology correct that started creating content, starting creating content around our learnings, but also then our failures and built an audience as a result of that, your audience said, Hey, do you have a course?


And it sounds like your answer is not right now, but we’ll build it. Yeah, so it sounds like your audience said, Hey, could you teach us more about that? And could you teach us more about that this way? And then you guys built it. Was the chronology sort of A-plus? B Yeah, I mean, I really gave you the show notes version or that, you know, the very compact version of.


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Raise Your Value: Sell Without Selling Through Referrals


Sure of that story. But essentially, yeah, I mean, we’re very big believers in community and in building community. I do believe that content for anyone running an agency or a consulting business, the content is one of the best ways, if not the best way to demonstrate value and to build a community around you. And, you know, if you think about how you can demonstrate value, of course, you can do great work and your clients can see that firsthand.


You can also receive an introduction or a referral where you’re essentially having some value exchange through the person who’s making that introduction and you’re seen in a positive light, or you have a conversation with a prospective client and through asking, really engaging, meaningful, deep questions, you can also communicate value because you’re getting the buyer to see things they haven’t seen before or think about things they haven’t thought about before in that conversation.


And that’s all great, but that’s all kind of predicated on that you’re already close enough to a prospective client or buyer that you’re, you know, you’re kind of in that engagement or you’re in contact with them. But if we think about what happens before that, right before you actually have that conversation or receive that referral or introduction or actually do the work, how can you communicate value to those whom you don’t have that relationship with yet?


And that’s where our content shines because you can sell without selling once you raise your value. You can demonstrate your knowledge, your expertise in a way that really becomes so apparent to those that you want to bring into your world or, you know, build a community with that, that you really understand your craft, that you are a master at it. And they just start to trust you, to like you, to want to learn more from you, and therefore follow you.


Attend our next open-mic Q&A for more tips on how to raise your value


Raise Your Value: Show People That You’re Really Trying to Help


So, back to your question, Steve. I mean, that’s really how we approached it and how we encourage many of our clients to approach it. You want to think about content and really demonstrate your knowledge because it’s such a powerful way to sell without actually feeling salesy or even selling. You’re just talking about what you already know about.


But when you do it that way, people really start to appreciate you and then they want more from you, right? Because they can see that your goal is to actually be helpful and to be transparent, not to get your finger into their wallet. And that really not only builds community, but first before community, they have to trust you.


They have to trust you enough to step into your community. And when you said, like when you lead with value in teaching generously like that, that’s a great way to build trust and then community. So it sounds like it sounded like you and Sam doubled down on teaching and sharing and creating some great content. Then the opportunity for a course came up.


People raised their hands and said, Hey, could you? No, not yet, but we will. And then after that, like, Hey guys, the course is great, but we think we need more. And so my guess is like the coaching program, is that like a one-on-one or as a group? How is that structured? So there’s, there’s one on one elements, there’s also community elements to it.


It’s really changed a lot over the years. You know, we have about ten coaches right now that we’ve essentially certified, and they’ve gone through the Consulting Success framework. Many of them are even past clients who have gone through the Clarity coaching program. They all run their own successful six-figure plus consulting businesses and, in some cases, even more.


So they really understand. You know, they’re in the trenches day in and day out. But yeah, all of that came from the community that we’ve built. And, you know, when you look at even COVID-19, when COVID-19 started, there were a lot of people who were kind of stuck, you know, deer frozen, staring at headlines, not sure what to do with their business.


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Raise Your Value: Put Some Work into Your Content


You know, the people that had optionality, the people that had already taken the time to build an audience or build a community were able to adjust and in many cases to see significant growth in their business without almost missing a beat because they had a way to communicate with ideal clients and with a market that they wanted to serve.


And I think that’s really one of the biggest values of putting in the work when it comes to content is that when you do that and you do it consistently, you’re going to have certain people that resonate with your content and they’re going to want to have more from you and they’re going to want to consistently kind of be engaged by that in a free manner or in a paid manner.


But they’re going to be around you, and then there’ll be other people who see your content and are essentially repelled by that content and by your opinions, your beliefs, your values. And that’s okay, because those are not the people that would be your ideal clients anyways. But the fact that you’re putting that out there and you’re doing it consistently means that you’re going to continue to build this community and this audience.


And when you have a way to actually communicate with them, whereas an example, let’s say you built an email list of these people because they want to be notified when you launch something new or that, you know, you put out a new article or a podcast or whatever it might be, if you have a way to communicate with these people, you can get a lot of really valuable data.


And so, you know, let’s just say that you want to launch a new online workshop and maybe you’ve never done one before, but you have an idea for and you just think that could be cool. Maybe you’re doing it because you used to speak on stage and then some strange virus appears and you can’t do that anymore. But now you have the ability to send one email to your community, to your audience, to say, Hey, I’m thinking about doing this.


Attend our next open-mic Q&A for more tips on how to raise your value


Raise Your Value: Offer Paid or Free Stuff to People


Would you be interested? And potentially have tens or hundreds of people respond saying, Yeah, you know, we’d love that. And now all of a sudden you have a whole new revenue stream and channel to explore and to build around. And so that’s very hard to do if you haven’t put in the work to create that audience and to kind of cultivate that community.


But if you’ve done that, then you have so much optionality and so many different kinds of paths. And really what you’re doing is building a very valuable asset into your business because you become so much more powerful and your business becomes more sustainable because you have a way to offer things to people that likely care about what you’re putting out there.


And that’s not always going to be paid stuff. But the more that you give that, that is free. Then when you do offer something that is paid, you’ll typically see a really nice response from that. I love the word optionality. I’m totally stealing that from you because the cool word is, you know, one of the things that I wanted to ask you was, “Hey, my goal would love to get your insight around because I know you’ve narrowed the sound to three specific steps.”


And my guess is we’ve touched on some of them, if not all of them just now. But when you think of an agency owner, business coach, strategic consultant, or try Predictive, how they can put themselves in the best position to attract right-fit clients. Yeah. From your perspective, what are some of those critical steps? Yes, that’s number one is you need to be very clear on who your actual ideal client is.


And a lot of people say that yeah, you know, I know who my ideal client is, but they don’t really or they’re still casting too broad and too wide of a net. So the exercise that we often take clients through is first to figure out what success looks like for you in your business. So let’s fast forward 12 months from today.


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Raise Your Value: Recognize How Many Clients You Can Actually Handle


You know how many clients you want to be working with at what revenue level and even starting off like what’s, let’s say, the revenue or profitability you want in your business? Okay. Well, to create that, how many clients do you think you need? And in most cases it’s far fewer clients and you think that you actually need to hit your revenue target.


So when you start to see that the average agency or consulting business isn’t looking for hundreds or thousands of clients within one year, you just probably can’t even manage that from a capacity perspective. You start to recognize that I can actually be much more narrow, focused, and specific about who my ideal client is because I don’t need that many of them.


Like they’re still going to be way older than I can possibly ever handle with my business. And so when you become very clear on that, you can also start to allow yourself, in most cases, to look upstream beyond where you are. I think very often people think they need to start with smaller companies or smaller size engagements and opportunities, and that’s not always the case, right?


In many situations, it’s the exact opposite that more established companies are bigger companies than you’re thinking about working with and often really need your expertise. And so if you can figure out who those people are, there’s a lot of opportunity there, right? So rather than working with, let’s say, five smaller clients, if you could just work, let’s say with with one, I’m not suggesting you work with one because that’s that’s a dangerous proposition.


But the value of one company’s value instead of trying to have five, that’s almost always going to be a more profitable client for you and just going to allow you to, you know, to grow in a much more strategic way. So I think that number one is just getting very, very specific and clear and thinking about what you want to be known for.


Attend our next open-mic Q&A for more tips on how to raise your value


Raise Your Value: Know Your Limits and Capabilities


One of the biggest mistakes that we see, Stephen, is that organizations or let’s just say an agency or a consulting business, will look at more established or bigger businesses than they are in their industry. So let’s just say consulting, you might look at McKinsey or an ALEC or a Bain or a BCG, and you go, okay, these guys are extremely successful. You can raise your value big time like these guys.


They know what you know. I should follow what they’re doing. I look at, you know, if you look at our website, they have 25 different capabilities. They work in 35 different industries. Well, I think that’s what we should do, too, because they’re successful. So we should kind of mimic and follow their path.


And that’s not necessarily wrong, but it’s wrong at this stage because what you want to recognize is that the success or what you see of any one of those companies today works for them today. It didn’t work for them when they first got started or didn’t work for them when they were likely the size that you are right now.


So this is why, you know, if you try and compete, you try and cast too wide a net in terms of what industries you work in or who your ideal client is, or you have all these different capabilities, you have all these different services because you see somebody else is more established than you doing that. You think that’s the path that you should take.


You’re almost always going to create significantly more complexity for yourself than you need and complexity, it doesn’t scale. But the other challenge is that you’re not known for anything. So you’re saying I’m going to try and compete with these guys offering the same thing? Well, you’re now competing with McKinsey. Like, why would you do that? Right? What you want to figure out is what’s the area that you can carve out that you can be known for by really focusing in.


For example, being an agency that specializes in working with fast-growing SAAS businesses like you can carve that out and now your messaging can speak specifically to SAAS founders or CEOs, your content, the examples you use, the case studies, the testimonials, your service offerings, your branding, everything can now be aligned specifically to the ideal client and the market that you want to serve.


And McKinsey can’t compete with that because they’re too broad, right? So this is one of the biggest things is to get very, very clear about who your ideal client is and then everything else that you do can align with them. So I would say that’s the first thing and I’ll just pause for me. I don’t know if there’s anything inside that Stephen you want to unpack or if you want me to go on to the next piece here.


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Raise Your Value: Focus Your Marketing on Quality Not Quantity


I do it just unpacked, but maybe just a comment. And I wrote down in my notes about the like how you’re walking through the math where you’re talking about five instead or excuse me, one instead of five, because the reality is, is that if we get our pricing right and I know we’re going to talk about that today, if we get our pricing strategy right, you know, if if if a consultant or an agency takes on 3 to 5 new clients a year, we that could be a great year.


It does not have to be 200 new clients, right? Completely. Yeah. I mean, we do a lot of studies of Consulting Success and, you know, we will ask thousands of consultants, all different kinds of questions about their business and so forth. What we’ve found is that typically the average consultant and this might be a small team or a solo consultant, but the average is looking to work with somewhere between five and 20 clients per year.


So, you know, you’re not talking about 100 clients or hundreds of clients. And I think this is the misconception that many people have is that their marketing is more focused on volume instead of focusing on value. And so they think they need to get in touch with many people when it’s most likely you need to be getting in touch with fewer people but fewer of the right people.


And your marketing shouldn’t be catered to pushing a button and getting in front of as many people as you possibly can. It should be about customization and messages that really resonate specifically with that smaller group of people. And yes, it will take you more time to do it, but you’re not doing it for 100 people. So these are some of the practices that really become kind of paramount and a lot more like at the forefront when you understand that if you’re an agency owner or your consulting business owner, you really should not be thinking volume.


You should not be thinking of hundreds of clients. You should be thinking about who are, you know, a couple of handfuls or a few handfuls of the highest value dream clients that we would absolutely love to work with. And when we land a few of these clients, all of a sudden our business, our business just changes in such a powerful, positive way.


Yeah, I love that in when you said to focus on value, not volume, I mean, that takes us back to a few minutes ago when you were talking about content to build a community of content builds trust content builds all this context ripe in I love you know, the dream list and being really specific, which by the way, to your point, if point number one of attracting refer clients is getting really clear on your ideal client, pretty difficult to build your list if you’re not clear on the who.


Attend our next open-mic Q&A for more tips on how to raise your value


Raise Your Value: Get Your Prospect’s Attention and You Will Soon Get Some Traction


So in the Consulting Success framework, the first thing that we do we always look at with clients is what we call ideal client clarity. If you’re not clear on who your ideal client is, nothing else is going to work because then you’re going to work on your marketing and you’re going to find your marketing is not getting a response.


It’s not getting a response because it’s not targeted at any one specific person. It also means that step two of our process is called the magnetic message, right? Or some people refer to it as a USP unique selling proposition. You can’t develop a message that is going to get the attention of your ideal client if you don’t know who they are or if you don’t understand what their pain points are, their desires are what they care about.


And so that’s why it all starts with getting clear about the ideal client that allows you now to develop a message that gets their attention, gets their interest, has them raising their hand, saying, Hey, Stephen, tell me more about that. I’m really interested in what you’re offering or what you just described because that’s like the word having a challenge with right now.


And then that can kind of extend and overlay on top of your strategic offers and your pricing strategy and your business model and everything else. But the ideal client is really that core initial pillar. Love that. Okay, So you made me think of something else here as you’re just sharing that. This would be really helpful to get your perspective on because no doubt you and Sam and your team are helping your clients get past the scarcity mindset of going narrow in focusing on the ideal client because they think, no.


I want to step into abundance. I want the volume. Yeah. So give us your point of view on scarcity versus abundance. Yeah, I mean, it’s I know for many people, like this is probably one of the most challenging areas for newer consultants or, you know, somebody new to business because it’s counterintuitive, right? Typically you think if you allow yourself more opportunity, you will be more successful.


But in this case, it’s the exact opposite. In order for your marketing to work well and for you to get traction, you need to narrow in. Right. And what we often kind of counsel and suggest to people is don’t think about this as you’re closing the door or like setting things in stone forever. This is about getting traction.


It’s about starting the engine. And as you start seeing some success, then you’re going to learn a lot more about the kind of clients you want to work with, the kinds of engagements that you want to take on, and what markets you really want to serve. And as you build up, you’re going to be able to expand or adjust where you place your focus.


But if you try and take on too many things at the early stages of your business or the early stages even of your marketing, you know, you might be a consultant for ten years, but you’ve always got your business from referrals and introductions and now you want to start going beyond that to really grow your business to the next level.


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Raise Your Value: Narrow Your Focus If Your Company Is Still Small


You’re still at stage one of your marketing and so there’s still it becomes important for you, you know, at that stage. So thinking it kind of in that light is just recognizing again, like, do this, do the math like the numbers don’t lie. What’s your revenue target for this year? You want to be at 2 million. Well, how many? What’s your average client value? It’s, you know, 200,000 or 150,000. Okay. Well, how many clients per year do you need? It’s not that many. Okay. So you know, how many companies are there in just this one segment or this one industry? There are hundreds, okay? Well, that’s more than enough. You don’t want to water down your message to try and speak to five different industries or five different segments if you have enough here.


Now, we’re not saying that if you get approached by somebody from a different segment or different industry, you have to say no to them. But it’s about if I said to you right now, Stephen, you have one hour to market your business and to generate conversations with ideal clients, where do you put your attention if you’re not clear on something like if you have just too many options?


So that’s why we want to reduce that down so that you can be effective because it’s if it’s just you or your small team, you don’t have the, you know, the opportunity or I should say you don’t really have like the capacity or the resources to go after multiple different people all at one time. So work through, get one, build your business and recognize again, like if you go back to most of the successful companies that you look at today.


Attend our next open-mic Q&A for more tips on how to raise your value


Raise Your Value: Specialize In Something That Other Companies Can’t


So if you take Elixir Consulting, one of the founders of that was Richard Cacioppo, like eight, the 20 principals and a whole bunch of books in that space. So he used to work for Bain or BCD, which I believe was one of those. And when he left, he and his partners decided to start like they didn’t try and compete with the other large consulting firms because how can you be successful at that when you don’t have the resources? You’re like an entrenched, you know, set of companies.


So what they did is they figured out what no other companies are really specializing in that we can specialize in. In short, you raise your value in things that you’re really good at. They chose shareholder kind of valuation advisory services and that’s how they got their in. They approached a whole bunch of organizations saying, hey, you know, they had connections with. But no, you’re not McKinsey’s not serving you here. And others, BCG and others, Bain, we can serve you.


So that’s how they got there and is by really specializing. They didn’t try and say we can do the same thing that everybody else can do. We can do 25 different things. They wouldn’t have got much traction with that because others were already doing that and we’re already successful at that. So it’s, you know, if you just look again at the numbers, you look at history, you can almost always see that the most successful companies start with a very, very clear focus.


Only as they become more successful and more established that they expand to take on more types of business or more types of clients or expand their applications. Really smart. Loved that. Thank you for the context. They’re really, really smart. So let’s go to step two in the attracting rate for clients. Is that the magnetic messaging? Well, so I mean, it really could be, and I could change this up because as we are speaking, I think one of the biggest things that I see right now, especially with companies that I know you work a lot with, Stephen, in terms of agencies and those maybe doing 1 to 5 million, give or take.


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Raise Your Value: Know What’s Important for Everyone on Your Team


I think one of the biggest opportunities for companies in that space is and as for number two, I would say your values, meaning that you put the time in to get really clear about what your values are and don’t hide behind those. Every single person here, every founder listening to this, every leader has a story. You want to tell that story.


You want to get very clear about what is important to you and what is important to your team and define those things because there are two sides to this. The first is what are the attributes, you know, the criteria, the qualities, the characteristics, the values of that that you have, that you want your ideal clients to also have. And then you also want to understand the opposite of that, which is what are the things that just really don’t work for you?


You know, what puts you off, what drains your energy? Who do you not want to work with? And that’s an opportunity for many organizations, is to not only speak about who you want to work with, but you should also speak out who you don’t work with, or if you do not want to work with you because you’re marketing, right?


Attend our next open-mic Q&A for more tips on how to raise your value


Raise Your Value: False Advertising Can Be a Real Turn Off


The most effective marketing tends to polarize. And so you want somebody to see your messaging, see your marketing, see your content, and look at it and go, Yeah, this is definitely not for us, or this really works for us. And if you’re trying to straddle those two, if you’re trying to be Switzerland or, you know, like the, the in-between where you’re just not really saying clearly what you believe in or don’t believe in, then the market’s going to make that like they’re going to make that decision for you.


And that’s going to cause just a lot of mushiness. It’s going to end up bringing you a lot of the wrong kinds of people, which has a trickle-down effect because you might go, yeah, we’re generating a lot more leads. But those leads, if the quality is not great and they’re not actually converting and becoming clients, then it’s now just a real waste of resources for your team.


It’s going to cause all kinds of frustration for your salespeople, right? So this kind of cascades and trickles down. But if you’re very clear on what your values are and what works for you and what doesn’t work for you, and then you communicate that, which is really what I would say ends up becoming the third step is communicating that messaging and that the values that you’ve developed, you’re going to start to see that you’re going to attract.


You won’t hear from the people who don’t resonate with you anymore. They’ll see your stuff and essentially uncheck the box and disappear. And that’s fine because you don’t want to work with those people anyway. There’s somebody else out there who can probably serve them better and have better alignment and values.


But now, when you decide to take a stand and kind of tell your story because most organizations don’t do this or they do it very poorly, people will start to latch on and they’re going to say things to you. So, for example, if you go to ConsultingSuccess.com and you go to our story page, we developed a kind of a little mini movie which tells our story and it’s not just the business side, it’s you know, who are Sam and I and who are our parents and our grandparents and what’s our background and what challenges do we go through and how do we get to where we are in all these different countries that we’ve traveled to or lived in or, you know, the ups and the downs? We tell that story, and there’s a big focus inside of that, but also inside of our company values around family. And in fact, one of our values is La Familia, right? It’s like a family. And we treat our whole team and our clients as family.


When situations arise, we always ask ourselves how we handle them. If this is a family member, how do we make sure that we show care? And we have so many people commenting on that. For example, I watched the video you guys have, and I really resonated with the family vibe.


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Raise Your Value: Quality Marketing Will Resonate to The Right People


So that’s your marketing helping in, you know, working for you, and everyone has that opportunity, but you need to get clear on your values and what’s important to you and what is not important to you. Right? Well, who are the people you want to keep away and who are the people that you want to attract?


And then when you start to communicate that not only on your website in terms of your about page or a video that you put together but on everything, right? So even like your your podcast, your videos, your social media, your content, your articles, your presentations, when you know what those values are and you develop your message to speak to that as well, or to kind of include that and you’re just consistently kind of shouting that or sharing it from the rooftops.


You’re going to find that you’re going to all of a sudden start to attract more and more of the right people. And that to me is such a critical part of it because it puts everything together. You’re clear on who you want to attract. You make sure that you’re communicating your values. You’re bringing in the right people, and then you’re actually taking the action to communicate that and put the message out in the world.


And you do it consistently over and over and over again. You keep banging that drum. And what you’ll start to find is your message is resonating with with those people because you’re catering to a very specific group of people that not only you’re saying you’re very good to working with and you have experience working with, but you’re also hitting on the values that signal to them and really tell them that you are a person and you have shared values that they have.


And most people want to be in a community of others that also have shared values. What I love about this three sort of ingredient recipe, if you will, is knitting them together. They actually kind of stack on top of one another, and if someone were to do that, that is the way I should say it.


It adds so much confidence and courage to the business. If I get really clear on who it is I want to serve, if I get really clear on what a right fit client looks like, I can more accurately attract a right-fit client if I know what they look like. And then to your point, if I get really clear on who we are as a team, why we give a rip, and what our values are, then my confidence goes up because I feel more solid about who we are and how we’re presenting ourselves to the marketplace.


And then, like you said, to the communication piece, if that’s repelling bad fits, my confidence is also going to go up. When I see the reverse of that happening to the attraction coming in. So I love these three steps because if somebody puts that into practice, confidence goes up as it improves. It’s amazing. Yeah. And the real thing I just want to emphasize here is that you’re talking about you as the leader, but this actually, again, cascades across the whole organization.


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Raise Your Value: Make A Name for Yourself


So whether you’re a team of five people or 20 people or 50 people, you will find this not only gives you confidence as a leader and helps you to get a lot more clarity, but it’s not going to extend across your whole company. And now everybody in your team really understands who an ideal client is. They really understand where the values that we have as a shared team, but also what are the values that we want to put out into the world.


And now, when there’s a customer service or a client success type of issue, they know how to handle that because they’re thinking it from the perspective of your values and your marketing people or your social media people or whoever you have inside of your company now goes about doing their work with that filter and that lens of what are our values?


What do we really want to be known for? Who do we specialize in working with and who do we not? So all these things that to you as a leader are very strategic decisions now become part of the operating system for everybody inside of the organization? And when that when you’re all on the same page, you know, as they kind of referred to the word alignment, when you’re all in alignment, it’s amazing what happens because everyone’s speaking the same language and you’re all able to move much more powerfully and kind of and in lockstep together towards your goal.


I can see that I have my right eye on the clock, and I’m like, my gosh, our time is running through the hourglass that I’ve created. Too ambitious of an agenda for you and me to this has been so, so good. So I know that we need to come in for a landing here in just a few minutes.


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Raise Your Value: Mapping Out Your Pricing Strategy


Raise your value by setting yourself a good price. But before we do that, I would really love to talk with you about pricing strategy because you know what? When I introduce that, I know that on the surface, if somebody hears, I can help you increase your pricing by 300%, like one on one in one breath. Amazing. How is that possible? And then the other breath sounds a little bit like hyperbole.


So let’s talk pricing strategy because we’ve been getting this question a lot in Q & A in some of the intensives that we’ve been teaching, like, Hey, Predictive, can you be helpful in mapping out the pricing strategy in the value ladder? And then we have those conversations. We’d love to get your perspective on how somebody can increase pricing. Sure.


So Yeah, we do a lot of this with clients. There’s not one way to do it. So that’s the first thing I want to put out there. There’s so many different approaches that people can take. And ultimately what I would suggest to somebody listeners is, figure out what is the right approach for you? Probably the biggest opportunity and where we see clients having the most success is shifting from hourly fees or daily rates or thinking more time materials to really focusing on value pricing.


And that’s easier said than done because, for a lot of people, the concept of value pricing is very squishy. It’s part art, part science. It feels like, yeah, I’ve heard a lot of people talk about this concept, but how do I actually make it work for me? The real guidance that I want to always offer to people is that value pricing comes into play, or you need to think about it way before you ever think about an actual price.


Right? So it begins with understanding what questions to ask and having a very deep and meaningful conversation with the buyer. Yup. As the agency owner or consulting business owner, you know, you might be able to see that I can create a fantastic ROI for our clients. I’m going to help them to make an extra $10 million.


So sure, I can charge whatever, but if the buyer doesn’t see it the same way, if they’re not on the same page, then it doesn’t matter what pricing you have, You’re going to have a heck of a time getting them to agree to that pricing. And so you want to again, go back to the beginning and really make sure that you have a good plan of what questions you ask the buyer?


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Raise Your Value: Have A Deeper Conversation with Your Prospect


How can you go beyond the surface level of questions that most people tend to explore? How can you make sure that the buyer sees the value and sees the potential? ROI understands not only return on investment but also what we say. So, I cost inaction, essentially, meaning if you don’t move forward, what do you stand to lose?


And some people will say things like, Well, but I’m in an industry, or I work in an area where I actually don’t really have much influence on the value or how successful my clients are because I do, you know, nonprofit work or I do strategic planning work. And I can’t control what happens after we put the plan together. And so in response to questions like that, I’ll just tell you that every single business can figure out and identify a tangible sort of value.


It always just requires that you go deeper and deeper into the conversation with the buyer, and I’m happy to explore that more so even if you want. But every business we’ve ever looked at and we worked with many, many, many different industries for profit nonprofit clients that work with multibillion dollar organizations and those that work with, you know, funded startups.


So it’s all over the map and you can always identify a source of value. And when you get clear on that and you have a conversation with the buyer around that. Then you figure out how can you deliver that outcome that speaks exactly to what the buyer wants, gives the buyer confidence that you will help them to overcome the challenges or problems that they’re facing and create the result or outcome or value that aligns again with what they care about.


And you do it in a way where they’re on the same page, where essentially telling you, yeah, that makes sense. And based on what you just talked about, because you’re asking all these questions to identify, and it might be like, you know, how many leads you generate, What’s your conversion? It might be how many sales, you know, what’s your average sale, you know, how many sales conversations are you having?


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Raise Your Value: The Right Conversation Will Make People Think Positively of You


What’s your win rate? It might be all these different metrics or it might be as simple as and it’s probably all of these things in one form or one form or another, depending on what work you’re doing. But it may also just be that if this company didn’t have a strategic plan in place, how likely is it that they’re going to hit their fundraising goal for this year, right?


Well, probably not. So you can really help the buyer to see and to figure out this is a priority for them to do now or what happens if they wait six months or a year and you explore all these different areas? It’s a very comprehensive, deep, meaningful conversation that even if the buyer decides not to move forward and work with you, they’re going to think very positively, positively of you because you’ve, again, helped them to see things, to connect dots and, you know, to draw different lines and to really explore angles about their business that they probably haven’t explored to this point or they’re seeing in a way they’ve never seen it before.


And that’s incredibly valuable, right? So that creates so much value. But now you have the opportunity to really connect your pricing to value because you’ve gone through, you have the buyer aligned with it, and there are some other things like offering options in your pricing strategy that can really work exceptionally well from a psychological perspective and get some the concept of anchor in place.


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Raise Your Value: Learn How to Create an Effective Value Pricing


So happy to go down, whatever path you want there, but that’s where we tend to see the majority of people making the mistake of rushing the sales conversation. And so when they get to a proposal, they don’t have the answers to the questions that help them to really figure out how to create effective value pricing, because they don’t know the things they need to know, and they haven’t had that conversation or that kind of dialog with the buyer.


So there’s no alignment. And so now they’re putting a price that in many cases is probably too low because it’s not really connected to the value they’re creating, or it may be way too high from the buyer’s because the buyer is not bought into the value. Yet. Once you’ve done that, that’s where all of a sudden, you know, things really start coming into play.


And I know you mentioned 300% and we’ve had some clients that have increased their fees 700, 800% beyond what they were doing before. Just by shifting that whole conversation and approaching it much more strategically. Amazing. Okay. So it’s two follow ups. First, first litmus test. You mentioned leads, conversion rate sales, like conversations, win rate, that kind of stuff.


If a prospective client says, Yeah, I’m not going to give you that, would you agree? That’s a great litmus test if they’re not the right fit. Probably, yeah. I mean, there are some situations where a buyer will, you know, make requests like a non-disclosure agreement or something along those lines. Of course, nothing that I’m sharing, your legal advice or financial advice, is just based on my own experience, or I’ll put that out there.


Or you may have some disclaimer about that. But I mean, there are some situations where people will want to have something to protect or to give them at least a bit more comfort that they can share that information freely. But yes, typically when a prospective client or a buyer says to you, yeah, no, I can’t, I’m not going to give you all that information.


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Raise Your Value: Knowing Where You Stand in The Industry


The real question to ask yourself, and of course, I would suggest people lean into that a little bit and say, well, you know, tell me why or what you are concerned about? Or what would hold you back from doing that? But the real question to ask is, if that person is not willing to share with you critical information about their business, how can you help them?


Right. You need to know that information to help them. So when you know, do you plan to share that information? And if it’s like if they’re not planning to share that information, you know, quite often you can get that buyer to kind of understand why you’re asking that. It’s not that you’re trying to rip apart their business to share it with their competitors.


Right. You can even have, again, an agreement in place that tells them, hey, your information is safe and it’s confidential. But here’s why I need to know this, because I want to figure out, can I help you. And I want to get a sense of right now, where are the biggest opportunities for us to, you know, to create the result that you want.


Otherwise, there might be a lot of waste so we can share, can build you $100,000 and we can get started and try and figure things out. But now you can be paying for things that maybe you don’t need to pay for and then raise your value. So part of our conversation here is I want to kind of get a lay of the land and better understand what your metrics are.


I know what the industry average is. I can tell you the benchmarks. And I’d like to figure out, are you above or below them? Like where are you? You know, compared to others in the industry? And once we know that then we can figure out where we might want to work together or or where the opportunity is, or we might decide not to.


But that’s, you know, if you have that conversation and a buyer is still reluctant to share that information with you, just imagine what it would be like actually to work with that person and it would be like trying to pull teeth, right? It’s not going to be the kind of engagement that would be worthwhile. It would be one of those engagements that sometimes you will say it’s just a really good opportunity.


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Raise Your Value: Be An Open Book and Share Information Freely


I want it, you know, I need the money. They take it on. But almost any time you take on an engagement like that or a client like that, you end up saying to yourself, it’s just not worth the money. It’s just such a pain in the backside. I wish I would have done this. And so this is why it’s so important to be clear on your values again, right?


So one of your values might be transparency, or it might be like, you know, being an open book and sharing information freely. And that means that you need to do the same, right? You need to be open to sharing your information, to be sharing your expertise and not holding things back. But then, when you do that now, people feel more comfortable doing the same thing with you.


Well, when you said open in sharing all of that, that goes back to the beginning of this conversation. Right. When you step in front of your audience in full transparency and share the good the bad, otherwise it again create trust. And it is a powerful litmus test. Like you said, it’s going to be like pulling teeth.


That type of engagement. It’s just not worth it. So I know that we only have a few minutes left, but there is one piece that you just mentioned toward the tail end of the kind of the previous comment. You mentioned the word anchoring. So take us through what you meant by anchoring. Yeah, definitely. All right. So anchoring, price anchoring from a psychology perspective is essential if I give you a number.


So let’s say that the pricing is 250,000 or we do have another package or another program we could help you with that is 125,000 or another one That is 95,000. So when I laid out that way, in your mind, what happens for most people is they’re thinking 250 K But that’s the first thing they heard. And now when they hear what 125 125 feels much more reasonable compared to the to 50 because you’re thinking to 50.


But if I said to you, Stephen yet our work is going to cost $125,000. That’s all you heard. Now you’re thinking 125 and 225 might be high or low. You have nothing to compare it to. So price anchoring is a very strategic kind of application or approach that you can use to get buyers to really focus or to see your your preferred kind of, you know, typically most popular option and view it in a way where it doesn’t seem as expensive or as high priced as it as it would feel to them.


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Raise Your Value: Provide Several Options for Your Prospects


Most likely, it was the only thing that they saw. And this is why a lot of people lose a significant amount of business because they go in with one price. They say, you know, our fee is, let’s just say $125,000. And in that case, what you’re essentially saying to the buyer is take it or leave it.


Yep. Well, I prefer to tell buyers, “Hey, which option would work best for you?” You know, they have a choice. And so, by coming up with three options, there’s a lot of research and studies that have been done on the concept of multiple options. But essentially, it’s good, better, and best. Here’s an option.


One of these three options is going to be a good fit for you. Let’s figure out which is the one that you want. And it’s either somebody who has kind of a much bigger budget or their budget isn’t a concern. They want the best. And so the 250K option, if that was our pricing, would make sense for them.


Brothers, they’re going to see that. Yeah, that’s actually a lot more than I’m thinking. But the 125 is significantly less. I still get almost everything that I need and this will definitely help us to achieve what we want. We’re going to go with that. And then there’s the lower priced one for those that maybe don’t have the 125 or whatever that middle price is.


But do you want to start working towards that? And so you have an entry price point. And typically the structure of these is that the gap between the lowest price option and the middle option is going to be a smaller gap than the gap between the mid-price option and the high price. So you really want to have the high-priced option that is significantly above.


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Raise Your Value: Make Sure to Set the Highest Priced Option


So there’s actually a lot more value in that because, again, the whole purpose of that higher price option is to position it because, you know, most of you are not going to go for it. It’s typically, you know, less than 8% of a market is going to select your highest-priced option. So its main purpose is to get people to focus on the mid-price option.


And you see this application in many aspects of life, like if you go to buy a television, right, and there’s I don’t even know what televisions are out there these days, but like the latest 25 K or I don’t know what you know that used to be the 4k, the AK. I don’t know what it is like, you know, these days, but you have televisions that might cost you $5,000.


Right. And that’s for the person who just absolutely wants the best. Some people will buy that the majority is right. Are going to look and say, well, I don’t want that, but I’ll spend $1,000 on something really great, you know, television. And then you have the ones that are maybe less. I know prices have come down considerably on TV so these might be way off.


But, you know, nobody wants to or I shouldn’t say nobody, but fewer people just want the cheapest television because the cheapest typically in your mind feels like it’s not the best. And so that’s why you have the majority of people ending up going with that mid-price option. Yeah. And so when we work out this math and let’s see if our formulas are the same, so whatever the whatever the middle option is, we will typically take the middle option, add 30% and scope and price and then for the the first option will take 20% away from the middle option and create that next price down.


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Raise Your Value: Most People Will Set Eyes on The Mid-Priced Option


So the middle option is 30% up, then the option is 20% down. So then we have the best bet or best model. What do you think about that math? Yeah, my preference would be to. I think that the 20% down from between the lowest price in the middle option would be potentially fine, but I would prefer to see the highest price option above 30% because I want to I want a bigger gap between the middle option and the higher price option because I know the most.


You are not going to go for the higher-priced option anyways. And those that do, which is almost always going to be a small percentage, those that do you want to really make it like, you know, worth your while because typically it’s going to have a lot more kind of value included in it. If you’re finding that a lot of people are going with your highest-priced option, it means your pricing is too low across the board, and you should continue to increase that.


But yeah, I would typically like to see, you know, the highest price option like 50% let’s say above or a pretty significant amount. So even as I mentioned 250 K you might have one that’s at 125 or 150 and the one below that might be at 95 or or somewhere along those lines. So the mindset for somebody is that there’s not that big of a difference between the lowest price and mid-price.


I mean, you get quite a bit more when you raise your value in the middle, so I might as well go with that. And then you’re looking for them again, the anchoring of all this other one is that’s a lot more. This is probably the best fit. That’s what we tend to see over time. But I love it. Okay. So, thanks for taking us through very tactically the math, the percentages.


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Raise Your Value: How To Connect with Michael Zipursky


Fantastic. That was just really, really great. Michael, I know that we didn’t get through our last chunk but I wanted us to cover what was our last chunk, what we’re supposed to talk about creating a long-term relationship. So, I know that we’re out of time, but I’m hopefully going to use this as a way to have you back for an encore.


I’d be happy to look for solace during the new year. Okay. I appreciate that. Thank you very much. So before we go, before we close out and say goodbye, the best way for our audience to reach out and connect with you. Michael, you look me up on LinkedIn. Just put a little note in there because I get a lot of requests and I typically don’t. I don’t accept them.


If there’s no message. I like to know where people are coming from. I’d be very happy to connect. And then yeah, ConsultingSuccess.com, you’ll find the podcast there. We have about a thousand free articles and resources and a whole bunch of other stuff. So check that out and yeah, get in touch if there’s anything we can help with.


Awesome. Okay everyone, no matter how many notes you or how often you go back and listen to Michael’s words of wisdom, which I sure hope you do. The key is you have to take this. You have to take these recipes. You have to take math. Each is so generously given. You have to take it and apply it.


And when you do, you will accelerate your results. And Michael, we all have the same 86400 seconds in a day. And I’m grateful, my friend, that you came back for this encore. Now, on the thought of your first episode on Onward Nation. But thank you for saying yes again to step into this conversation, be our mentor, and guide, and helping our audience move their businesses onward to that next level.


Thank you so much, my friend. Stephen. My absolute pleasure and I look forward to it again.


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