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Portal Projects – Getting through the Door

For most of us in the service sector we can be all things to all people and can advise on myriad subjects.  The ideal position in our target organisations is to be or become the trusted advisor.  However, it is important to recognise the journey we need to take to get to that position as it rarely happens over night.

The portal project can be used as the foot in the door.  It will be an offer based service, a self contained, one-off project that gets you inside an organisation.  It should give you access to valuable people and information and the opportunity to cross-sell other services and products.  Above all it must be an easy-sell and therefore provide indisputable value to the client.


Characteristics of a Portal Project

  • The offer should be in the client’s best interest, addressing a real issue.  It will probably be price competitive and you may even consider a discounted rate or perhaps offering a free review.
  • The scope of the project offer should be cross functional allowing you to meet as many people and departments as possible.  You will be using the project to network internally.
  • The aim of a portal project is not to displace current suppliers or advisors, which means you can avoid battling against previous history and relationships.
  • The offer may be cutting edge, something that provides a real, unique selling point and as such there will be few competitors.
  • It is likely to be your most significant area of expertise where you have an excellent reputation already.  This allows you to play to your strengths, gets you a quick win and establishes your credibility.

Induction Training at the LDA – Case Study

A few years ago Ian Bonny with Aquarius Consulting got a foot in the door offering an induction training package to the London Development Agency.  

This one Portal Project was worth £17K a total number of 16 billed days.  But the over the next three years the original project led to a further 6 spin-off projects.  Total value: £229K

How do I develop a portal service?  Ask three simple questions:

  1. What has worked well for you in the past? (No need to reinvent the wheel)
  2. Can you un-bundle a current service/product? (Is there a stand-alone service?)
  3. What kind of audits or reviews do you offer? (Many portal projects take the form of diagnostics)

Think of a portal project as a showcase of your knowledge and expertise that solve real issues for a client.  They are stand alone projects that have a defined start and finish line with a price that is good value for money.

Importantly for you is that they must get you in front of the key buyers and influencers as this is your opportunity to identify other needs within the organisation, build relationships and ease your way into the position of the trusted advisor.

For more information about portal projects please read one of my most recommended books: Cross-Selling Success by Ford Harding

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