Landing Your First Six-Figure Contract

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For many new consultants, signing a six-figure contract that provides payment in full within a twelve-month period seems like a pipe dream. But it is possible.

One year into my business, I received an unsolicited request for proposal (RFP) to develop a three-module, video-based federal grant management training series for a large organization. I later learned that the funding for my contract was from a federal agency to train some of its grantees.

I submitted a competitive proposal, included the video snippets as required, and nervously pressed send.

I was awarded the contract in late January, completed the project by the end of June, and was reengaged the following year to translate the entire training to another language.

Here’s how I attracted an RFP that led to my first six-figure contact. All or some of these tactics may work for you. If not, keep reading to get my recommendations on how you can position your company for its first six-figure payoff.

Developed and Refined My Company’s Reputation

Every post, every webinar and everything I shared about Grants Works or as a representative of the company was consistent, well-researched, and error-free.  

Positioned Myself As a Subject Matter Expert

I learned early in my business that people were curious to learn about my niche, so I decided to consistently share content, used screenshots of me hosting a webinar, or used stock photos to grab their attention as they were scrolling. I’m very aware these tactics may not work as well because of social media platforms’ algorithms and just the overall increase in content. However, this was in 2020 when the platforms’ controlled less of what users see.

Created Content That Displayed My Expertise

I created detailed presentations and hosted webinars about how to obtain, manage, and comply with federal grants. Once I realized the increased interest and registrations, I placed the recordings behind a paywall.

Submitted A Top Tier Proposal

Creating a competitive proposal in response to an RFP takes many hours to draft a strong narrative, create a budget estimate, and provide additional information such as an estimated timeline. To boost my chances of winning the contract, I asked someone with this experience to review and edit my initial draft. She provided priceless insight, I heeded her recommendations, and submitted a competitive proposal.

Created A Realistic Six-Figure Budget

I knew I would need to rely on two subcontractors and I made sure I created a budget that factored in that cost and left room for any incidentals and profit.

Here are six ways you can position your consulting company for its first, second or third six-figure contract: 

  1. Identify corners of your industry that are not disrupted (or less disrupted) by economic slowdowns
  2. Understand and be able to communicate the value of your consulting expertise or outputs (reports, training, etc.).
  3. Do your homework to fully understand the overall cost of a project
  4. Stagger the deal or propose the work in phases to lessen the perception of the financial impact on your client but still results in the six-figure payoff
  5. Demonstrate value with every touchpoint
  6. Ask for referrals to others in their industry



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