One-to-One Marketing for Consultants – 4 Steps

1-on-1 Marketing for Consultants

The first in a series of five articles on one-to-one marketing.

Consultants are understandably skittish about marketing – especially overt methods of marketing.

Having to reach out and actually sell was never part of the plan.

The vast majority of consultants don’t have prospective clients knocking on their doors – and they can’t afford to wait.

As consultants, we would much rather have prospects call us and seek us out.  Our dream was to have a steady flow of serious prospects knocking on our doors with cash in hand.

Some consultants are able to realize this goal, at least in part, by building their reputations through speaking and writing.  By speaking at industry events, writing articles for industry publications and blogs, authoring books in their field and being quoted in the media, these consultants are well known within their fields and often do have prospects waiting to hire them.

But unfortunately, they are in the minority.

The vast majority of consultants don’t have prospective clients knocking on their doors – and they can’t afford to wait.

They need to go out and find new business.  They need a marketing program that generates leads and builds relationships.  They need to sell.

Does this sound like you?

It may be time for one-to-one marketing

You may be hoping that more networking and improvements to your website and online marketing will help you generate leads.  These activities can help, but they are passive – and your results will be slow and inconsistent.

At some point, you will need to reach out to your prospects on a one-to-one basis.  You will need to pick up the phone, write a letter or send an email – and connect with the people who actually buy what you sell.

I know this is not what most of you want to hear.  I know this is not in your comfort zone.

But here’s the good news:  When you make your initial contact, you don’t have to sell anything.

You just want to introduce yourself and get permission to send them some information by email.  We’ll talk about what to send them later.  For now, the goal is getting the email addressing and getting the permission.

If possible during this first contact, you also want to find out whether there is an actual need or interest for your service.  Again, this will be covered later.

Choosing a tactic

What’s the best approach for one-to-one outreach?

I know this is not the most popular answer, but the phone is the best approach because you get immediate feedback to your questions.  Of course, not everyone is comfortable with it.  It’s pretty time-consuming and frustrating if you are doing it yourself.  And many worry that it conveys the wrong image which is understandable.

If you decide to use direct mail, a short letter is all you need to introduce yourself.  But in order to get feedback from your prospects, you’ll need an offer – some type of informational piece that will help to answer your prospects’ questions or concerns, and at the same time, will tell you a little bit about their needs or interests.

Email is the same as direct mail.  A short introductory sales letter that includes an informational offer should get you started and should generate some interest.

It’s easy to get bogged down on the details of your follow-up plan, but the most important part of it is consistency.

At the risk of being repetitive, remember this is just the start of the relationship.  Don’t expect to close any deals with this first contact.  It could happen, but don’t expect it.

Four critical elements

1 – The List. The most important step is to identify your target audience in very specific terms.  This is absolutely critical because you don’t want to waste your time connecting with people who aren’t likely to buy your services.   Try to drill down to a very tight customer profile.

2 – The Offer. Develop an informational white paper or special report that discusses a topic of interest for the people on your list.  Find out what your target market is struggling with – and then develop a white paper with some preliminary solutions to that problem.  This informational “offer” should be educational, not promotional.

3 – The Message. Once again, don’t try to sell yourself on the first contact.  Use this initial connection as an introduction and as a way to get to know about your prospect’s challenges and frustrations.  If you are using the mail or email, focus your message on the benefits of the offer.

4 – The Follow-up.   If you accept the fact that your initial contact will be introductory, then you also understand that to solidify and expand those relationships, you need a consistent follow-up plan.  It’s easy to get bogged down on the details of your follow-up plan, but the most important part of it is consistency.  So focus on staying in touch.

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There are many things you can do to improve your marketing and sales efforts, but direct outreach is going to produce the fastest results.  It’s not always the easiest or most comfortable path, but it will really help you get things started.

Next Article in this Series … The List

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Bob McCarthy is a marketing consultant/copywriter and the owner of McCarthy & King Marketing, a Milford, Massachusetts marketing agency specializing in direct mail, email marketing, website development and online marketing. 

You can subscribe to his blog, The Direct Response Coach, at www.mccarthyandking.com.  Bob can be reached at 508-473-8643 or bob@mccarthyandking.com

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  • Jean C Blais

    Fits me to a tee. Concluded the above but felt quite alone in my thoughts that this would be an effective as just came to this conclusion recently and uncertain about how to follow up. Looking forward to part 2 to 4

  • http://www.mccarthyandking.com/ Bob McCarthy

    I think it fits a lot of people, Jean. Hopefully the next installments will give you some direction. I look forward to your feedback.

  • http://twitter.com/JMarceloFig Marcelo Figueroa

    Before concluding the best fit for myself i”ll wait for the next articles. However it seems confusing to differentiate the term educational with promotional offer. Looking forward to read the next. Thanks

  • Bob McCarthy

    You’ll learn more in a later article, but here’s the short version: A promotional offer is an Information Kit or brochure that provides information about your company. It promotes you or your company.

    An educational offer is a white paper that provides answers or solutions to a problem your audience is likely having. It positions you as an expert which also promotes you or your company – but in a more subtle way.

    Hope this helps.