How to Package Consulting Services: A Quick Start Guide
Since we work primarily with Squarespace and WordPress website design clients who run small or solo consulting or legal businesses, we get a lot of questions about how we package our own consulting services. As a result, we tend to give a fair amount of advice about how to evaluate pricing, how to determine what services are “package-able” (we prefer productized services here but that fits under the umbrella of packages), and even what assets you need to effectively package a consulting service. While no single article can possibly give you a comprehensive approach for your specific business, here is the nuts and bolts process in packaging your consulting services.
How to Package Consulting Services:
Outline all of your consulting services
Evaluate your audience and the market
Determine the consulting service to package
Map out your process
Evaluate your costs and time
Determine pricing for your consulting package
Write your sales copy
Design your package landing page
Step 1: Outline all of your consulting services.
The first step in crafting a consulting service package is to outline everything you offer. This is also a good chance to take a hard look at what services you offer that are low profit (profit is not the same as revenue—I talk to consultants all the time who have high revenue services that are also high in costs, either in time or expensive or both; force yourself to look at what’s actually making your profit in time and money). Count up how many of these projects you’ve done, how much time they take you, what other resources are involved and what work you do that “sparks joy” so to speak. It doesn’t make sense to create a consulting package for a low profit service to something you simply hate doing.
Get this all down on paper or even outlined in a mind mapping tool like Mindmeister. This will give you a lot of clarity on the direction of your consulting package.
Step 2: Evaluate your audience and market.
Again, it’s time to bust out the pen and paper and start making a list your favorite niches and clients. Who do you love working with? What fields do you find that you really can help incredibly effectively? If you see that you’re consistently doing your best work with, say, helping female tech entrepreneurs, that could be a signal that it’s something you should explore. The second part of that is also evaluating the market. You don’t need a huge audience to lead the market in consulting, but you do need there to be some kind of market and one that can afford to pay you for your consulting services. If your favorite audience is very cash-strapped, be realistic.
Step 3: Determine the consulting service to package and give it a name.
Now that you have a picture of what you offer, your audience and what the market can bear, it’s time to commit to a service for your package. This is HARD! Eventually you may have other consulting services you want to package but start with one (trust me!). So, pick one service to package up, hopefully a high profit service you feel confident about, and give it a name. This is again where I recommend using natural human language when feasible. I’ve seen some awesome consultants struggle because it was plan confusing what their services were. So, if you’re offering a social media revamp to authors, give it a name that’s very clear that’s what they’re getting—eliminate confusion so it’s easy for folks to understand and buy into the idea.
Step 4: Map out your process.
Mapping out your client process is crucial when packaging consulting services for two reasons:
It determines the outcome (ie deliverable, a word I hate) you’re offering clients
It allows you to preload your client communication so that you can anticipate bumps in the road and trouble spots and be prepared ahead of time so they don’t happen .
For the elements that are “things” your client “gets” from you, these are your “what you get” items for your consulting package landing page. (Check out our Design in a Day™ page for an example.)
Step 5: Evaluate your costs, including time.
Do not skip the important step of determining your actual profit on a project. This is crucial. Many consultants make the mistake of only thinking about revenue, but every project has costs, whether it’s simply your fixed costs, like admin help or subscription services you use, or your own time, which has value as well.
Step 6: Determine pricing for your consulting package.
Make sure you’ve built in paying yourself (50% of the project fee is a good baseline for your own profit and 30% is a good ceiling for expenses, if you follow the Profit First model, which I recommend for consultants), your tax liability, and all that. You will likely be surprised that the flat fee you estimated leaves you scrimping a bit. Don’t be afraid to tinker with your consulting package fee initially, and of course, evaluate it each year as well.
Don’t forget these prices will be listed publicly—this is the beauty of packaging consulting services, the sales cycle is greatly reduced and streamlined, so public pricing is a thing you’ll need to get comfortable with!
Step 7: Write your sales copy.
This is where most people get tripped up! It’s time to sharpen your pencils and write all of your key messages down on paper. Interview yourself, so to speak, and think about the common phrases about your clients’ outcomes and results that you can use. Make sure you use natural language, remove jargon from your language and meet your audience where they are at. Address their specific pain points (what’s the problem you’re solving?) and explain the outcome you’re going to help them achieve.
While you’re at it, brainstorm calls to action that, again, are in language that fits your ideal audience—you’ll need them.
Step 8: Design your consulting service package landing page.
Now it’s time to really release this thing into the wild! I know, it’s scary, but it’s time. With your visuals, just like your copy, you’ll want to meet your audience where they’re at, just like with the text, and make the sales page on your website feel natural and like it’s speaking just to them. You’ll want to create your consulting services landing page with a structure that addresses the problem, offers, your solution, makes it transparent what they get and how much it’s going to cost, and finally how to reach you.
You’ll want to re-evaluate this content frequently when you first launch—it may not land exactly how you wanted it at first, but that’s okay! When you have a flexible design (ahem, like Kath and I do for Design in Day™ projects), it’s easy to tinker and test and see what resonates. Maybe you can’t swing a custom photoshoot right now, but a flexible design means that you can easily swap out pictures when you do.