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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.

Written by: Vickie Sullivan  |  June 25, 2013

Are You Treading Water?

Yep, it’s time for another infographic.  This time it’s about us.

Over 10,000 consultants spilled the beans about marketing their business and this infographic shows the results.  My initial response:  duh.  This just puts numbers to what we already knew.  But then I looked closer and these findings surprised me:

  • For 29% of the respondents the average value of one new client project is between $5,000 and $15,000.  This is the #1 spot; in second place with 17% reporting projects between $2,000 and $5,000.
  • The majority (35%) earn between $71,000 and $160,000 per year.

When you combine the above stats with the #1 way consultants market their business (networking and referrals), a new theory is born.  Think about it:  thought leadership activities such as speaking, publicity, and writing articles expand your reach.  They justify your fee.  But if you measure only by “made you most money”, you stick with referrals and networking, which are great short-term solutions but don’t increase your average value per client.

Do you see the vicious circle here?  I think it explains why so many of us are treading water.  It’s difficult to invest in your business if you are surrounded by low-paying clients.  It reminds me of what a trusted colleague told me a long time ago:  struggling clients create a struggling business.

Here’s what I know for sure:  thought leadership and prominence make us money in two ways:  1) they justify premium pricing; and,  2) they bring access to high-end opportunities.  But if folks believe content marketing, speaking, publicity, and joint ventures are “nice to have but don’t make me money”, then many consultants are destined to play small ball.  Pity…


About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.