Between December 2007 and the end of November 2008, more than 2,100,000 lost their jobs. While companies are paring down their workforces, businesses are redefining their products, their marketing plans, their technology and their overall business practices. The business consulting doors are open. There is a definite and promising marketplace for consulting services.
The competition is fierce for these valued consulting opportunities. Your marketing plan needs to be developed carefully and implemented with vigor. This is your opportunity to distinguish your consulting services from the hoards of competitors. Your marketing plan must include the basic fundamentals of marketing known as the four P’s; product, place, price and promotion.
Buyers expect consultants to include those components in their marketing plan. While essential to your consulting business, the four P’s alone will not set you apart. You need to go the extra mile, be creative and insert 6 new proactive marketing principles (three today and three more tomorrow) in your plan and into your consulting business.
Principle 1 – Insight-based Marketing Wins
Establish yourself as a resource center. Know your product, continually expand your expertise. Have a grasp of relevant statistics and deliver insight that sets your consultancy apart from the competition. Your consulting marketing plan must be as unique as your expertise. Make it clear that you have fresh, expert value. Put that message right up front and make sure it emanates throughout your marketing plan and consulting practice.
Principle 2 – Cohesive Integration is the Only Way
You have expertise, you have value and you have something to say. Make sure your consulting message permeates every aspect of your marketing plan. Cohesive integration must be seamless, consistent and enduring. Every component of your marketing plan must cross-promote and reinforce your unique message. Once the integration is cohesive, stay with the plan. Buyers want to see consistency in your marketing plan.
Principle 3 – Consulting is a Long-Term Contact Sport
Your marketing plan must include building and maintaining long-term consulting relationships. These relationships are invaluable. In building professional relationships, always sustain the value of your product. Make it your business to know your client’s business. Always use honest, straight talk and deliver objective advice. Treat clients with respect and allow personal chemistry to unfold. Client referrals will provide the best leads for your consulting business. Make referrals a goal of your marketing plan and set the target line at 60% of new business.
Clients are not the only source of referrals. New business can come from everyone who knows your profession. Attorneys, accountants, other advisers and business associates can refer work to your consulting business. Inspire confidence in these associates and be as consistent with them as you are with your clients.
Stay tuned for the final three marketing principles for consultants tomorrow…..