Every entrepreneur says that marketing is the heart and soul of the business. They’re always looking for the latest and best applications or tools that will allow them to see better results in a short period of time. However, the reality of consulting business in marketing, shortcuts rarely exist. Michael shares the importance of focusing on developing relationships with your ideal clients as he walks us through the three keys that stood the test of time to consistently get clients in your business. Discover how these principles can deliver results for consultants if applied on a constant basis.
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3 Time-Tested Keys To Get Consulting Clients
I’m going to be sharing with you the three keys to consistently get new consulting clients. This is an interesting topic because what we’re talking about or wanting to be sharing with you is the marketing approach, the marketing principle. It’s a series of principles. It’s a series of ideas, but they continue to play out when you apply them. The interesting thing about marketing for consultants is that many people overcomplicate it. They look at all the different trends. They look at all the new and latest shiny objects, the tools, whether it’s on social media or some automation or fancy CRM systems. They’re always looking for the latest and best, hoping that the new tools will allow them to see better results in a shorter period of time.
What people are really looking for and what all of us are looking for is a hack. We’re looking for a shortcut. While that’s enviable, understandable and desirable, the reality is that when you look at marketing in the consulting business, shortcuts rarely exists. The reason for that is simple. It’s because we’re in the business of building meaningful relationships with ideal clients. We’re not selling a pair of socks. We’re not selling a bag of chips. We’re not selling the things directly to consumers at a low price point. We’re selling transformation. We’re delivering high levels of value, which comes at a premium price tag. It’s a significant investment from the buyer and a significant level of commitment both in terms of monetary but also in terms of time and potential risk as well. That’s why it’s important that you are focused on developing relationships with your ideal clients.Align your strengths, expertise, experiences, and interests for you to become successful. Click To Tweet
I said there are three keys to attract and to get consulting clients. That’s what I’m going to share with you because these are the three keys. These are the principles that continue to be applied or when they are applied, they continue to deliver results for consultants. What’s interesting about these is the principles or the keys have stood the test of time. Whether you’ve been a consultant for twenty years or you’ve been a consultant for five years or you’re brand new to consulting, the effectiveness of what I’m going to share with you remains the same. That level of effectiveness is very high when applied consistently. I started off talking about how most consultants and most people are looking for a shortcut. That desire to find something that’s going to get you a result in a shorter period of time through some kind of technology or tool, something different than what I’m going to be sharing with you in terms of the three keys rarely produces the kind of results for people and it does not happen consistently.
There are of course edge cases. There are some situations where you can find it working for someone. Those who struggle to see results with their marketing oftentimes are trying to benefit from some new tool or new technology without applying the key principles that I’m going to share with you here. I want to encourage you if you’re saying, “Yes, I want to get greater results. I want to attract more clients. I want to be able to enjoy a thriving pipeline of business without having to go from month to month wondering how things are going to work out and riding the roller coaster and the feast and famine.” I want to encourage you to not only read what I’m going to share with you here and what I’m going to offer respectfully but even more importantly is that you take action.
That’s my ask. I’m giving this with the hopes that you will implement it because understanding is one thing, learning is one thing and having this information is one thing. At the end of the day, if you don’t apply it, you’re not going to see the result from it. That’s what I want you to see. That’s what gets me energized. That’s what gets me motivated. That’s why I do what I do is because I am committed to seeing people creating real change and getting better results in their business. That’s why I love working with our clients so much.
Ideal Client Clarity
I want you to imagine that there are three checkboxes. There are three boxes that you need to be able to check to get all of this working for you. It starts with the first checkbox. In order for you to be able to attract and get consulting clients into your business consistently, you need to have all three of these boxes checked. The first box is the ideal client clarity. We do a lot of work with our clients in our Clarity Coaching Program to help them to get clear on who their ideal client is. This involves not only knowing who you should target, but also making sure that they’re the right person to target. If you go after one type of ideal client or someone who you believe is an ideal client, but they’re not a decision maker, they don’t have a real pain, they don’t have a desire or if there’s no real priority for them to take action now on what you’re offering, then you likely will be unsuccessful.The consulting business is about building meaningful relationships with ideal clients. Click To Tweet
However, if we flip that coin and we say that you are very clear, that you figured out how to align your strengths, your expertise, your experience, your proven track record, your interest and potentially even passions, although that’s not necessary. You can be successful without being fully passionate about your area of work, although you should enjoy it. You align that with a buyer who has those problems, who’s looking for a solution that you can solve, who has the ability to make a decision, who has the ability to invest at a level that is required from both sides to have fair compensation and real value. If you understand that, if you know who that person is and you’re now very clear on them, you can target them. You know who they are. You can start to identify them. You can find them.
If you go on to LinkedIn, there are millions and millions of people. If you know how to identify your ideal client with a few clicks, you can see specifically the company and the person that meets all the criteria in your geographic area that you’re targeting, in the specific industry that you’re targeting. They have the right title of the job with the right size of the company and a whole bunch of other factors. You can get very clear on who your ideal clients are. If you go to why, if you don’t know who your ideal client is or if you haven’t figured out how to identify the right area of specialization or niche, without that, then you will struggle. All of your marketing, all of your messaging, everything that you do will not target a specific type of person. It’s very hard to find them and identify them, but also to get your message in front of them efficiently and effectively. Box number one that you need to be able to check is to have real clarity around who your ideal client is.
The second box is your magnetic message. This is your marketing message. This is your USP. This is your value proposition. We call it a magnetic message. It’s a message that pulls in. It gets the attention and interest of your ideal clients that resonate with them. It aligns with what they care about that has them saying, “Yes, I’d like to learn more. I’d like to have a conversation with you. Tell me more about that.” In order for you to have an effective magnetic message, you need to know who your ideal clients are. What makes a message effective is that it resonates and it is irrelevant to your ideal client. You must have ideal client clarity to be able to develop a magnetic message.
You must be able to subtract to say no to a lot of different people and a lot of different opportunities and get very clear on, who is it you’re targeting and what are you offering them? What is on their mind? There are typically three components or parts to a magnetic message. Who is your ideal client? What is their problem and what results, benefits or outcomes will they see when you help them as a result of you working together? The third is why should they choose you? What makes you different? What makes your solution or you as a consultant different than other alternatives that they have in the marketplace?You can be successful without being fully passionate about your area of work, although you should enjoy it. Click To Tweet
Your magnetic message, when it conveys and hits on those three points and speaks to your ideal client, it will get them to raise their hand. It will have them respond and say, “Yes, I’d be happy to talk,” or “Yes, let’s set that up,” or “We’re dealing with this issue right now. I’d love to pick your brain,” or “I’d love to explore how you’ve helped other organizations deal with this before.” That’s the second checkbox. You have to be able to tick magnetic message because if you don’t have a message that resonates, you’re not going to be able to generate leads, inquiries and opportunities.
I remember we had one client that worked in the supply chain industry. She had been spending a lot of time banging her head against the wall pounding emails, hitting the keyboard, trying to get her ideal clients to respond to her. Her ideal clients were executives in large distribution and consumer packaged goods companies, but she was not having success. When we looked at her situation, she was in our Clarity Coaching Program. We looked at what she was doing. How did she have things set up? Who is she targeting? What message should she put in the front? It became very apparent that her message was not magnetic. She had a message, but it was not magnetic. It was not getting the interest.
We looked at that and the big thing here that I noticed right away is it was too general. It wasn’t speaking to the right person. There are no real compelling points to have someone to say, “I want to speak to you,” as opposed to all the other consultants out there that are probably also knocking on my door or have been. When we re-worked her magnetic message, what happened is as soon as she updated her LinkedIn profile, her website and her emails with that magnetic message. She started reaching out to ideal clients, she got responses. People said, “Yes, let’s set a time.” People started reaching out to her without her even having to go to them because the message resonated. When people saw the message, it resonated with them and they wanted to learn more about that and what she was offering. The same can be true for you.
The third and final checkbox is a consistent way to get in front of your ideal clients. This is critical because you might have mastered your ideal client clarity, you know who your ideal clients are. You may have mastered your messaging and you feel good about it, but if you don’t have a way to get that message in front of the right ideal clients consistently, then you’re not going to be getting enough opportunities. You’re not going to have enough people raising their hands saying, “I want to speak with you,” because not enough people will see your message. When they see your message, then they want to have a conversation if there’s a good fit there. The third checkbox is ensuring that you have a consistent way to get in front of your ideal clients. What’s important about this is it should be a direct path, meaning that you need a way to get in front of your ideal clients where you don’t have to rely on others.If you don't know who your ideal client is, then you will struggle in business. Click To Tweet
As an example, referrals where you wait for people to come to you. This is how a lot of people practice referrals. They wait and someone contacts them through someone else. That’s not a direct path because you’re not in control of it. If people come to you, fantastic, but you can’t rely on that. I’ve been building consulting businesses now for many years. I’ve seen this in our own business. Every consultant that I’ve ever worked with over the last decade plus, when you just wait for referrals to come, you will at one point start to see that referrals will stop to come. They’ll decrease. That referral well starts to dry up and when that happens, it can be disheartening. It can be challenging. It can impact your self-esteem, not to mention your bank account. The best way that you can solve that issue is to ensure that you are taking action on your marketing consistently and you’re doing it in a way that you can control.
If you’re proactive with your referrals, that certainly can help, but you want a direct path. A direct path, for example, would be putting a message in front of your ideal clients, which could be through LinkedIn. It could be through email. It might be picking up the phone. It might be going to the places where they are or if you have a way to get in front of those ideal clients, let’s say through speaking engagements or you’re writing a column in a newspaper specifically or consistently, that can also work. What’s important here is that the path that you choose should be repeatable. Speaking at a big national event once a year or even twice a year, it does not check the box because it’s not repeatable in a consistent manner.
Trying to hit a home run once or twice a year is not going to set most people up for long-term success because there’s too much variance. There are too many variables that you don’t control in that. You need to be able to get up to bat on a daily and weekly basis and consistently doing that. That’s why marketing is important. That’s why the most successful consultants practice their marketing consistently. The other important thing that I want to encourage you to keep in mind is there’s a real big difference between long-term and short-term marketing tactics. A lot of consultants talk about blogging or creating content. That is a long-term tactic. It’s powerful. It’s something that everyone should be doing because it helps you to demonstrate your authority and to create more opportunities, but it’s not in your control whether or not people see it and interact with it. There are too many variables.
You should be doing that, but that is not the driver. You can’t tick your box and say, “I’m putting out content on LinkedIn or Twitter daily. That’s how I’m getting in front of my ideal clients. I hope that one day they’re going to maybe see it and contact me.” That doesn’t count. What does count is the short-term approach and the opposite of that is sending an email to your ideal client, picking up the phone and giving them a call, doing the follow-up email or a follow-up message or a message on LinkedIn. Getting in front of them consistently or if you know that they’re going to be at certain events, you add that layer to it. What I want to encourage you to think about with your marketing are layers.If you don't have a message that resonates, you're not going to be able to generate leads, inquiries, and opportunities. Click To Tweet
You have the core strategy that you’re working on a daily and weekly basis that’s getting in front of your ideal client in the most direct path. You layer onto that a percentage of your time where you’re spending on the longer-term strategies. That might be putting out videos, that might be writing articles or that might be doing webinars. It might be attending certain events. These are all good things and you should be doing as much of them as you can once you identify something that is working for you. Don’t mix up the difference in the long-term and the short-term marketing tactic. If you start with long-term marketing tactics, be prepared that it might take many months or even twelve to eighteen months for it to start working for you.
I’ve seen a lot of consultants reaching out to us and saying, “I’ve been following what all these gurus are saying online. I’ve been blogging and putting out content and doing videos and I’ve been doing it for twelve months, eighteen months or in some cases, years. My business is doing okay, but it’s not growing to the level that I want. I’m wondering why? I’m trying all this stuff that people say that I should be doing.” The reason why is because they don’t have a direct path. They’re not doing it in a repeatable fashion. They’re not using the shorter-term, a more direct way to get in front of their ideal clients. What they’re doing is not wrong, but it needs to be balanced depending on how mature their marketing is. If you already have a lot of leads coming in, then you can spend more time on long-term strategies. If you want to get your pipeline going, then it’s important that you spend more time. You wait your time, a higher percentage in the shorter-term, more direct approaches, more direct outreach to get in front of your ideal clients because that you can control.
You can control how many people you email, how many people you pick up the phone and call, how many people you follow up with. You can control that. You can’t control when you put a blog article on your website, onto LinkedIn or whatever platform it is. You can’t control how many people see that and you can’t control whether or not they’re going to respond to you. That’s why it’s important that you balance those. Coming back to the third checkbox, it’s a consistent way to get in front of ideal clients. The big mistake that people make is they either try and start with long-term or they’re doing marketing, and they might even be doing it consistently, but they’re missing clarity on their ideal client and their magnetic message. If you want to be able to get consulting clients consistently for your business and have a thriving pipeline of opportunities, you want to be able to check all three boxes: ideal client clarity, magnetic messaging and a consistent way to get in front of ideal clients. You don’t need to overcomplicate it. You don’t need to feel pressured by all the different new technologies, tools and approaches that people are talking about online these days.
Some of that stuff works, but a lot of it doesn’t because a lot of it moves too far away from the fundamentals, from the principles that have been proven over time. If you want to get your business moving, if you want to get in front of your ideal clients, then follow the three keys that I shared with you here. Be able to tick each one of those boxes. If you’re thinking, “I’m not that clear yet on my ideal client,” or “My message isn’t magnetic yet. I want to be able to get more response from my messaging,” or “I’m not clear on my area of specialization. How to take all my years of experience and expertise and package it, position it, price it and place value on it the right way?” If you don’t know how to get that marketing engine up and running where you’re able to consistently get in front of your ideal clients in an efficient and effective way, then reach out and go to ConsultingSuccess.com. Click on the Coaching button. You can see how we work with consultants. We work with hundreds of consultants, helping them to add millions and millions of dollars to their businesses by applying these three keys and this set of principles to their business. We’d be happy to speak with you as well. Thanks for tuning in. Have a wonderful day.