Marketing Consulting and Performance Based Deals

Having been a marketing consultant for two decades now, I have had the opportunity to experience several business cycles.

In my experience, business owners tend to seek my particular type of outside advice only during economic downturns or when their business has soured other than when times and business are good.

Economic troughs inevitably reveal the greatest weaknesses in every management team’s bench.

I also get a similar amount of calls from recently fired or laid off employees looking to do marketing consulting work until they find another job.

This time is no exception.

Yesterday, I received a call from a person looking for a job as a marketing consultant with my firm.

If no positions were available, the caller was then interested in getting more information about starting their own marketing consulting practice.

I told the caller I am a sole practitioner and didn’t have any marketing positions open at which point the would be marketing consultant asked if I did or had done any performance based deals.

The caller’s question was a legitimate one.

As with any employee, my firm has to produce tangible results for a client in order for me to justify my firm’s fee (paycheck).

Client’s also have to receive a demonstrable value in order for them to justify paying my bill.

The marketing consultant in training then asked “How have your performance only deals worked out?”

I thought about it and replied – “they all worked out, but not without incident”.

The caller then asked – “under what circumstances would you do a performance based deal today?”

My reply?

Only if and when the counterparty in the deal –

1). Has done at least three deals with other consultants.

2). Arranges my access and interview of the three previous consultants regarding their experience with the counterparty and whether or not they received the amount of compensation agreed upon.

Once those terms have been met, I would then begin to consider whether I could help the owner solve his business problems or not.

If I recall correctly, when a prospective performance only marketing client and I have reached this particular juncture in the negotiations – the client inevitably decides to pursue what other options they may have had.

Go figure…

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