The Selling Ideas Problem

Alright, let’s recap.

Last week we established that most consulting firms haven’t quite solved the lead generation problem.

One reason this may be the case is a lack of transparency into what works and what doesn’t.

Another may be related to a 1-to-1 dependency on the principal’s time for business development: The Revenue Roller Coaster Problem.

Third, is a more fundamental problem…

And the one I believe presents the biggest hurdle for firms struggling to acquire clients: The Selling Ideas Problem.

A.k.a. “So what is it that you’re going to do exactly?”

In a world dominated by physical objects and the idea that value is embedded within things, most people aren’t used to evaluating, pricing, buying, and selling ideas.

selling ideas problem image

(Just one peek at Amazon reveals this truth… you can acquire the best ideas in history for somewhere between $4.99 and $23.48.)

Even at the enterprise level, with a “consulting” budget already built in at the beginning of the fiscal year…

It’s really easy for the purchasing department to solicit quotes and evaluate the price tag, features, and benefits for that shiny new ERP system.

It’s really hard to even know what we’re looking at on the spec sheet Sally the network security consultant sent over.

“Selling ideas” in a consulting context is a unique challenge built on trust and perceived value.

And most firms don’t have a ready-made offer that is sufficiently understandable, motivating or convincing.

Instead, they require a more comprehensive conversation about the problem at hand and the potential solutions available.

This unique challenge naturally excludes a vast swath of marketing strategies that would otherwise work for a service with a simpler value proposition (e.g. my Mosquito Joe example), lower price tag, or standardized buying/selling process.

So the moral of the story is…

These themes do not preclude a systematic and repeatable lead generation approach.


Anything worth its salt as a solution should address these factors head on.

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