The most challenging part of starting a consulting business isnt figuring out your area of expertise, it’s actually getting to work with clients on real projects. As a consultant, you have to make a sale first and then do the work. Consider these ways to focus on the marketing part of your business.
Making Your First Appointments
Since the purpose of marketing your business is to get clients to hire you based on your expertise, traditional advertising methods may not help you make sales. The better approach is to try to get as many in-person meetings as possible. You should have a general idea about who may need your expertise, so your best bet is to start making phone calls and setting sales appointments. Cold calling gives you a good chance to talk to potential clients directly. Be prepared to keep the conversation going if you speak to a potential client who shows an interest in hiring you.
Networking and Relationship Building
Sales contacts and leads take time to develop. Youll have to spend some of your down time networking and building relationships, online and in person. With networking and relationship building, you don’t have to target just potential clients. Instead talk to everyone who might able to introduce you to someone with a need for your consulting service. All popular online networking sites should be your choices for building professional relationships. For example, you can become a thought leader on LinkedIn in the area of your expertise by posting articles and responding to others’ posts with thoughtful comments. Let the conversation flow, and your circle of contacts will expand over time. At business conferences and trade shows in the industries related to your service, you can take a more results-driven approach to networking and focus on connecting with people who can actually use your services.
Talking to potential clients about what they’re doing and discussing mutual interests with professional contacts are both critical when marketing your consulting business. In the end, though, you have to convince potential clients why your practice is in the best position to help them enhance what they do. Keep your craft sharp and make it known how valuable your service is. Having a newsletter, for example, can be an effective tool for spreading the word. Here, the focus should be all about you and your practice. Sending a newsletter to potential clients and those in your professional network regularly can help you gain recognition and win over clients. In your newsletter, you can write about topics in your field, discuss why hiring you can help businesses grow and thrive, and share important news and industry updates. Marketing your consulting business is about both the client needs and your ability to help. When the connection is not there, work on building relationships to ensure success.