As you have discovered from this series, there are countless ways to connect with new clients. You will find the methods that work best for you, but don’t be shy about trying something different. What other ways can you think of to find new clients for your consulting business?
Last but not least…
Don’t forget these ‘traditional’ methods of attracting new clients to your consulting business:
- Advertisements (radio, newspaper)
- Mail-outs (flyers, brochures)
The bottom line is providing exceptional service to your clients. And provide timely follow-through to ensure that they are happy with your service. Because satisfied clients always return, and they bring their friends and acquaintances with them!
Leverage the Internet
Depending on your business, an online presence can help you connect with new clients. The Internet can provide you with a wealth of advertising/marketing options. Depending on what type of consulting service you are offering, you should consider one or more of the following:
- Web site and/or blog: today’s web-savvy clients turn to the Internet before the telephone book. Your website should attract new clients, sell your service and impel them to contact you. Hire a professional web site designer, if need be, and make sure to create compelling content. Keep it fresh and update it frequently.
- Social media: Sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and Twitter (to name a few) are great ways to connect with clients and showcase your knowledge. Research each site to see which best suits your needs.
- Guest post: try to score a guest post on a related web site. This is an excellent technique for sharing your knowledge and building your client base. Many sites welcome guest posters, so get in touch with one (or more) and start writing!
Newsletter: promote a newsletter from your web site. This allows you to maintain contact with clients and/or prospects on a regular basis.
- Emails: email your clients to thank them for their patronage. Or to notify them of upcoming specials or events. Save every email address from clients and prospective clients, and stay in touch with them.
- Publish an e-book: if you really want to showcase and sell your particular expertise, what better way than to write an e-book?
If you haven’t done so already, try at least one of the above methods to promote your consulting business and find new clients. The Internet is too valuable a resource to overlook.
Let’s talk business cards
Though it’s a classic way of connecting with new clients, the tactic of handing out your business cards is still relevant in today’s technological age. It’s such a an easy and portable way of advertising your consulting business. The more creative the card, the more it will succeed in catching your potential client’s eye. You may want to hire a graphic designer if you’re not of the creative ilk. And don’t be stingy with your business cards: the more you distribute, the more clients will take notice.
Hand them out to…
- Business associates
Hand them out at…
- “Related” businesses – a fitness consultant could hand his/her cards out at gyms, sportswear stores, and health food restaurants.
- Business functions, expos, seminars & workshops.
Stick them up on:
- Bulletin boards – never underestimate the power of a community bulletin board!
Use your imagination! The more cards you get out there, the more business will come your way. Do you always strike up a conversation with the receptionist at your gym? Pass a few cards to him. And always give your clients a few cards: there’s a chance they will pass them on to their friends and so on. In fact, some people — the people who love helping others and being valued as the one who’s “in the know” — will look for opportunities to hand out your cards.
Never underestimate the snowball effect when handing your cards out. In effect you are tapping the networks of every person you hand a card to. Make sure you take advantage of this valuable resource. It may be something you can consider as you put together a marketing or business plan too.
Make yourself known!
Don’t miss an opportunity to make a name for yourself. Get yourself out there and introduce yourself. Attend business functions. Volunteer. Let people (future clients!) put a face to your name.
7 tips to promote your consulting business:
- Introduce yourself – make sure you network with associated businesses that can direct clients your way. If you’re a kitchen design consultant, meet with the local building contractors. Tell them who you are and what services you are offering, and ask them to recommend your services.
- Be a guest speaker – offer to share your expertise & knowledge at business conferences and seminars. Be engaging. Make your audience remember you!
- Teach a class – host a workshop at your community college or offer a series of night classes. Interact with your students.
- Get your name in print – write about your area of expertise and get yourself published. Local papers are a good start. If you can get published in a trade magazine, so much the better. Research online sites that will publish your article(s) or guest post on a business-oriented blog.
- Involve yourself with community – volunteer your time local organizations. Serve hot-dogs at a local ball game! This is an easy and fun way to meet people.
- Join the Chamber of Commerce – the Chamber of Commerce works to promote local businesses and offers valuable local business news and events.
- Join your local business association – business associations offer workshops, business lunches, guest speakers and much more. Make it a point to attend the meetings so you can network with other professionals.
You are your consulting business
You can see how important it is to get your name out there. When people meet you, or remember seeing your name in the paper, it gives you credibility and status. They will be more likely to hire you as their consultant or refer you to someone else. And that’s when you’ll start start noticing an increase in your consulting clients!
Wondering how to become a consultant and succeed? It starts with focus and confidence – and you may find that figuring out your path helps with the latter.
Finding new clients – read on for tips. In the next few weeks you can look forward to another series of articles on finding new clients for your consulting business. I will cover traditional approaches as well as not-so-traditional. Some of these ideas will be familiar to you. But I hope you also learn some new techniques that will help you build your client base and increase your business.
Before you decide on any approach, you need to identify your target market. Who do you picture as a prospective client? Age, sex and level of education are examples of questions you need to ask yourself. Will your clients be individuals or small businesses? Ask questions specific to your type of business.
So, create an ideal client profile – it will be an invaluable tool for finding new customers. Knowing your target market is a must-do before you start promoting your consulting business.
So get ready for a wealth of tips and tricks to help you connect with new clients!
Related to this post
So you’re working for somebody else but you dream of becoming a full-time self-employed consultant. The good news is: you don’t have to up and quit your current job! A great way to achieve your goal is to start consulting part-time.
Why should you do this?
- Finances – your current job is your ‘safety net.’ Staying in your existing job enables you to build your consulting client base at your own pace and without financial worries.
- Experience – consulting part-time while you continue to work provides you with valuable hands-on experience. You may also realize you need to gain more knowledge through courses or classes. During this time you can start networking and perhaps even find a mentor. Everything you learn now will prepare you for the day you want to move into full-time consulting.
- Enjoyment – working as a part-time consultant gives you the time you need: you can focus on your goal and discover just how rewarding being a consultant can be!
Other aspects to consider:
Prepare for longer hours – most likely you’ll be working some evenings and weekends. Make sure you find a good balance and pace yourself accordingly.
It takes time – you won’t have one hundred clients lined up when you start your consulting business (if you do, then congratulations!). As your experience grows, your client base will increase, too, and before you know it, you’ll be able to start consulting full-time!
And never forget…
- Keep your dream alive! Focus on what you need to do to make it work. Stay positive. Increase your knowledge. Challenge yourself. And never lose sight of your goal of becoming a full-time self-employed consultant.
Related to average consultant rates
You think you want to become a consultant, but you’re not sure what direction to take. A good starting-point is to do a personal inventory for yourself. This involves taking stock of your unique skills, attributes and experiences. (Refer to Discover Your Inner Consultant for help in carrying out an inventory.) You probably have a good idea of your skills and abilities, both personally and professionally.
But you may not know it all – you are only looking at yourself from your point of view. Other people in your life, especially those you live or work closely with, may have a better idea of your talents than you do.
Six tips for self discovery
- Ask your friends and family: What do they think your best skills and abilities are? You might be surprised at what you hear.
- Listen to compliments: Really listen; don’t automatically disregard them. What are people telling you? Try taking notes, even if it just means jotting things down in a diary or Word doc.
- List ‘easy’ tasks: The tasks you find easy are a good indicator of where your strengths lie. Can you build on these?
- Notice your feelings: What do you really enjoy doing? What would you love to learn? Make a list of what challenges you and what bores you. Notice any patterns?
- Ask your boss and co-workers: Those who work with you should have a good grasp of your strengths and weaknesses.
- Ask your teachers and classmates: Here is a group of people that you’ve likely spent years with; who better to ask what qualities they noticed and admired about you?
Don’t be shy; only by asking directly will you discover your potential in becoming a consultant. Listen to what people are telling you – they are a valuable resource that you should not overlook.
Like other professionals, consultants can suffer from boredom or stress or isolation. Often your productivity declines as a result, which can lead to frustration or apathy. Does this sound like you?
Via Elephant Magazine, here are 3 surprising things that will increase your work productivity:
- Take your work to a cafe.
- Take your dog to work.
- Slow down!
For consultants who work from home, Tip #1 is great advice. Getting out of the house and into a stimulating environment can work wonders if you’re stuck in a rut or feeling lonely.
As for bringing your dog to work, well if it’s allowed, why not? According to the article, the presence of a dog can reduce office stress and also relax clients.
Tip #3, slowing down, means adding quality time to your life. Exercise more. Sleep more. Eat well.
As you can see, it doesn’t take much to shake things up. It’s so important to keep your mind and body in tune, both mentally and physically. If you do, you will definitely see an improvement in your work productivity.
How many times have you had to reference something and not been able to find what you’re looking for? How about the phone number of a prospect you met yesterday in the coffee shop? Exactly what did you tell your client on the phone two weeks ago?
There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to find what you need… right now. Your consulting business will operate far more smoothly if you record and save vital information.
- Filing system: This is the most obvious and the most important. Filing makes work so much easier, so make it a point to keep your files organized and up-to-date.
- Telephone calls: Jot down the name and date of every client and potential client that you speak to. Also note the purpose of the call. File them accordingly.
- Notes: Use a good old-fashioned notepad or use your smart-phone (note-taking apps are available). Take notes either during client interviews/discussions or soon afterwards while the information is still fresh in your mind.
- Email: You can use your email to create a paper trail. Create folders to save important messages, including messages that you have sent. Keep your inbox clean so you’re not scrolling through 100 messages to find the one you need.
- Computer: Again, create folders and sub-folders to save important documents. And remember: back-up your files regularly.
Leaving a paper trail will save you much time and hassle in the future. Clients aside, staying organized will also make tax time (or audit time) a less stressful experience. And while keeping accurate records is important, you should also get rid of unimportant clutter. Eliminating unnecessary documents and files will also save you time and effort when it comes to finding needed information.