If would-be clients are frightened by reality, that's hardly the would-be consultant's fault. We should be able to assume that a consultant knows things that his clients don't know or there would probably be no need for a consultant. By the same token, one would think that an experienced consultant would understand the difference between honest disclosure of observations and gratuitous hyperbole.
"organization should be in self-perceived "crisis" due to pressure from time, regulators, creditors, or customers."
The kind of referrals I get are primarily from attorneys, accountants, investment banks, and creditors about their troubled clients, rarely from companies I've helped. Usually those targets are in crisis BECAUSE the top managers had a blind spot about some aspect of reality. If I've done my job correctly, those consulting clients should not be encountering and interacting with the organizations in crisis - they should be avoiding them.
In short, I'm the consultant who DOES deal with the FUBAR clients which most consultants should avoid. I guess I must have a little masochistic streak which drives me to take on very challenging assignments. Even so, I still can recognize early on when the situation is one beyond my ability to fix, primarily because of the mind set of a principal owner or top manager. In such cases, I'm usually back on the job helping to pick up the pieces after the owner or manager has been ousted in a foreclosure or forced sale.