Companies looking to hire consultants use several tactics to find them. Most find consultants through referrals. That’s because hiring a consultant requires a leap of faith. As a prospective client, you need to be sure that the candidate has the necessary skills and expertise, a proven track record, integrity and follow-through. By turning to the recommendations of trusted colleagues, you mitigate your risks.
Referrals helped me launch my business in the late 1990s. Just after I set up my company, my previous employer downsized, dispersing my former co-workers throughout other firms. And that created a tremendous opportunity for me. Suddenly, 200 people were dropping my name to their new employers, partners, vendors and the like. Despite having just become a consultant, I was earning as much or more than I earned at my nine-to-five job. Years later, I’m still working with many of the same people. Given that the National Business Association cites failure to promote one’s business as a fatal flaw for business and consultants, I’ve always prized my business contacts. In consulting, you need to stay on your toes, because clients can always find consultants elsewhere and hire someone else.
But how do clients find consultants when their contacts don’t turn up referrals? How do you find a consultant if you — and the people know know — haven’t got the right contacts? Well, as much I love referrals, a growing portion of my new business now comes from people who say, "Hey, I’m thrilled to find a consultant who’s using the web, blogging and lots of modern tools". For several years, my online online presence was my website (and freelance articles I wrote for other publications). But, about two years ago, I started my consulting blog. And it’s helped a ton with search engine optimization, while helping me draw repeat visitors, communicate with prospective clients, and establish my subject matter expertise. Many of my new clients tell me they found me via my consultant blog. Of course, I haven’t abandoned going to events, keeping up my social network or using other tools in my marketing arsenal. But I’ve been really impressed with how my blog and website have helped — and I encourage others to turn to use blogging to help clients find consultants.
"Find consultants" from Become a Consultant Blog at ConsultantJournal.com.