How to Find Consulting Clients

[Below is an edited transcript from the video. I hope you enjoy it!]

Hey it's Alzay Calhoun with Coveted Consultant. This video covers how to find consulting clients. In order to deal with this question well we need to discuss some strategy first. We’ve also got to bust some myths so we can deal with this question in a way that it's actually helpful. Let's actually start with the myths and knock those out.

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The well intentioned, confusing advice you've already received

Here are some of the things that you've been told that end up being well intentioned, but not very helpful advice.

Put yourself “out there”. This is one of the most common phrases offered to consultants in search of new clients. I have no idea what it means.

What does “put yourself out there” mean? What does it mean to “put yourself out” and put yourself out where? Where is “there”? Not very helpful. Normally when someone says this it is followed by a hundred different ideas on how you could promote your business.

It’s just a brain dump of ideas with little sense of priority or relevance to your specific business. And because you have no idea of how to vet the good ideas from the bad, you try them spreads you thin and isn’t very productive.

Go to networking events. You may have also been told you should be going to networking events and “start meeting people”. And say what?  When you finally go to an eventswhat do you say?

How are those conversations supposed to work? How do you know if you and the person you're talking to should enter into a business relationship? You don't have any clue. Following this open-ended advice might bring a lot conversations, but it doesn’t necessarily open the doors for new clients. Frustrating.

Start a blog. It’s true that the internet has forever changed business, but starting a blog is not a magic sauce for new clients. You've probably been told to blog more, post more, share more, tweet more, etc. How is that working for you? Is it maddening yet?

The worst part about this typical advice is that you have to sift through it before you can figure out how good (or bad) it is. You spend more time trying to figure out up from down than you do actually getting consulting clients. Though its all well intended advice, it’s not very helpful.

5 step strategy gets better results...

Let's shift to some clear strategy that is helpful. Let's talk very clearly about what works. There is a five step process here.

1 - Offer a focused solution. You are not selling products. You're not selling services. You're not selling your expertise. You are not selling advice. You are selling a mix of these things packaged up into a solution.

When someone has a problem they can hire you and get it fixed. That's what they want. By the way this thing about the solution why it's so important to take what you know, take what you've built and package it up into one solution so that you don't end up becoming full service or trying to be full service, because full service is an evil concept.

Full service is like trying to be Sam's or tying to be Costco for your market place. It's like you're trying to be a warehouse full of stuff and solve every single problem that your prospective client might have. Think of the scope of going into a Costco or going into a Sam's it's so much to manage. It's hard to be good at any one of those things because you're offering so much.

The reason why you shop at Costco or the reason why you shop at Sam's is, because you're trying to buy a whole bunch of stuff at a discount. You're trying to buy a massive amount of products at the cheapest price possible.

The question is do you want to be that kind of consulting firm? Do you want to be a full service firm where clients can come to you and buy as much as they like or as little as possible? If you are trying to be a premium consulting firm you should be the opposite of full service. Which is to offer beginning one clear solution to one clear problem.

2 - Solve a problem. What do I mean by problem? If there's no pain there's no purchase. If your prospective client is not already experiencing pain they don't already have hip pain, elbow pain, head ache et cetera. If they aren't already experiencing pain it's very difficult to help them see why they should make a purchase.

This is a human thing all of us respond to pain. You got to be sure that what you offer solves for some pain. It's not what you think they should have, it's not what you like them to have, it's not what you...they could be even better if they had this new wizard or tool or service offering that you have that's a long road to tow.

Instead solution, to a clear problem, because without pain there's no purchase.

3 - Find your BEST client in groups. Once you're clear on solution and what their problem is where are the people that have this pain? Where do they get together in groups? Is there a professional association? Is there a location that they focus around? Is there a specific hobby or interest that they share? Those three criteria can help you get to where they are pretty quickly.

Once, you've done one and two then three following those three things is there a location, is there a hobby or interest or is there a professional association. Those three things can get you here.

Now warning, you see how this kind of opens up a little bit into some other boxes. There's more to this conversation and if you want to know how to better filter what I just explained to you there's download that you can get when you scroll down this page. You can get that download to get even deeper here with where your best prospects, where your best clients are.

4 - Prepare for conversation(s). Once, you get here and you're clear about where they are you know you're going to have to have conversations with those people notice the "S" on conversations. Now when you're here it feels like magic. Someone says oh you should just go to networking events and when you just go they'll just be clients and they'll just come to you and give you money.

If you just start a blog or start a Twitter account then you just show up on Twitter and you just get clients. This assumes magic. You and I both know there is no magic in business. There is hard work and there is strategy. So let's get back to the strategy.

Strategy says you know you're going to have to have some conversations and you're prepared to have conversations with people you know you found with a specific problem that you're prepared to solve for. Now you're OK with having these conversations.

By the way, there's a way I structure these conversations, I think is good for you and the best client and so if you want you can scroll down again as download that you can get and get more details on that as well. What you want to be able to do in these conversations is control conversation grip.

If you don't have a method or a way of having conversations that prospective client will ask for a second, a third, a forth, an eighth, an eleventh conversation and you'll have talked to that person over, over and over again you will have pitched over, over and over again without any sense of conclusion or their conversion down to the client.

There is a way you should have conversation and again you can scroll down this page and I'll give you my model for having a two-step conversation process.

5 - Bring on new clients. Once, you have had the conversations now you are comfortable in taking new clients. You can bring them on why? You can bring this people on because you talked to them and you know exactly what their needs are, you know where you found them but they have a very clear problem that you are prepared to solve for.

At times you can see here this just makes sense. Becoming a client just makes sense. That client is focused, because of your process. They are excited, because they know they're going to have their problem solved.

Where are your clients?

In dealing with the question of where to find clients, how to find clients. You need to put that question in context with your marketing funnel. If you've got one of these funnels then it's much easier to figure out where to find clients and to get value out of the effort when you start engaging people.

If you're not clear on this, and you kind of just ask the question out of the blue you're likely to get a respond much like this which is a whole lot of work but not always a lot of effort. Please if you've enjoyed this there are some details that I have got prepared for you. You can scroll down the page you can get that detail to get some more on where to find clients and how to have the right kind of conversations.


  1. teejayvanslyke on July 9, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    Hi Alzay:

    Thanks for writing this! It’s hard to keep in check the fact that finding quality clients is a matter of positioning and elbow grease. Keep on writing this stuff!

  2. Hannah G. Wiley on March 11, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    Funny, awesome, and so dead-on. Hopefully one day I have you on my up and coming podcast!


    • Hannah G. Wiley on March 11, 2016 at 2:18 pm

      “Full Service Is Evil” SOOOOO right. Damn, the things you realize in retrospect.

  3. Hassan Mushaid on December 22, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    Love your videos dude. Value content and straight to the point.


  4. Yaovi Apetovi on December 25, 2019 at 7:42 am


    I’ve listened to your video presentation and I really digested it and for this reason I will need your support. Am a lean man in business and have so many ideas to sell in a market where it seem to be no hope or creativity but a lot of capacities being wasted. I have found out one…..

    Thank you


  5. Xavier K Smith on September 22, 2020 at 4:03 am

    Excellent content. Its 5 years later and we are in a pandemic. Your message resonates now more tan ever. Wish that your download link worked though. Would’ve been interesting to see your take on how to find clients as it now seem to only be Linkedin. I am from South Africa

  6. S.Camp on December 10, 2020 at 7:02 am

    Could you please re-post the links to how to have and close conversations? Many thanks!

  7. ASIF MAJEED on February 22, 2023 at 3:08 am

    I am a Supply Chain Professional myself and retired from job after 35 years being Head of Procurement and Supply Chain in various companies but actually I never can retire and want now to utilize my years of experience as a Consultant in Supply Chain and start my own business for this purpose, would you be kind enough to please guide me as how to start and find the potential clients


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