Having expert knowledge in a specific area is the foundation of any successful consulting business. However, as all experienced consultants know, just having a valuable skill doesn’t mean clients will come easy. Client getting is a skill in itself and new consultants must never underestimate this part of starting a consulting business. Below are some of the best known ways which you can use to bring new clients on board.
The power of referrals
Many successful consultants rely heavily on referrals as a way of generating new enquiries. A large majority of consultants report that, once the first 2 or 3 clients have been signed, there is often a ‘snowball’ effect where these clients will recommend you to their connections and so on. This is usually a natural occurrence, assuming that you have delivered value to your clients and they are pleased with the results.
A common misconception is that you need to already have clients to benefit from referrals. Your own contacts can be just as likely to recommend your services. Make sure you let all your contacts know about what you do so that the word can spread. You will find that some people refer you just because they want to offer a helping hand, either to you or to the person they have recommended you to. Incentivising people is another clever way of bringing in more referrals. For example, if a particular person who you know has lots of connections within your desired market sector, you could reach out to them and offer them a shared fee if they can introduce anyone to you. There is very little for them to lose in this type of scenario. If they trust that you can do a good job then they are likely to start introducing people to you.
Own a website
Having your own website can be a very effective sales tool if used correctly. Whenever you get into a conversation with a prospective client you can direct them to your website where they can then find out more about what you do. It is here where you can really market your services and demonstrate your abilities. In fact, just by having a website which looks professional already sets you apart from most other consultants operating within the same industry. The website creates an important first impression of your business so make sure you send out good signals.
There are also ways of driving more potential clients to your website without having to even speak with people directly. One of the most powerful ways to do this is through search engine optimisation. With the help of an SEO consultant, you can get your website appearing at the top of the online searches. In some cases, this can put your website in front of thousands of potential clients each month.
Although you are unlikely to close a deal just by sending an email, email marketing can provide that important first contact with your ideal candidates. Once you have built a list of businesses you wish to target, you can then reach out to the key contacts of those businesses directly via email. The way you structure the email is vital to the chances of success. For best results, make the message personal and keep it very brief. This will increase the chances of the person reading the email. You should then go on to explain how you are able to help them. It is important here to really think about how you can help them specifically, rather than just forcing your service onto them without really applying it to their situation. At the end of the message, you can direct the reader to your own website through a link on the email. Or, alternatively, you could offer them a free consultation where they are able to ask you more questions to find out whether your service would be beneficial to them.
Hopefully, the methods above will assist you in your journey with client consulting and help you build a highly successful business. Remember, landing your first few clients can be difficult but once you get the ball rolling, things tend to become much easier. Persistence, in the beginning, will pay off in the long run.