Finding new business in any field can be tricky, and sometimes even more so when consulting services are concerned.
As a consultant, you are not selling a product as such. You are selling your knowledge. You don’t have anything tangible to present, so how do you go about approaching new clients about your consulting firm?
First and most importantly, find out who makes the decisions. It’s no use talking to the operations manager, when it’s the CEO who has the final say!
The next step is determining which of the following methods you are going to use to contact your prospect.
Direct mail can be a very effective tool if you have a large number of prospects on your list. Either customized letters only, or letters with other items, such as your company profile, included, can yield results. Just don’t send out general letters to prospects – they like to know that you are looking for THEIR business in particular, not just any business you can find!
Targeted emails use much the same principle, but are a much cheaper option! You can send each prospect on your list a personalized email, and attach general information on your services.
Referrals and networking are a great way to build any kind of business, particularly a consulting firm. Using your existing network to source leads, and then using the contact’s name in your introduction to the client is an invaluable tool, that builds trust.
Building your network by attending industry events, trade shows, or joining a live or online networking group expands this potential sourcing resource exponentially – remember, the more people there are who know what you do, and can offer, the more likely you are to find new clients.
Cold Calling. I’ve saved this one for last, since it is definitely the one marketing tactic that holds the most fear for any business owner. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most effective!
In order to build your consulting firm using cold calling, you need to first identify prospects, then write and learn your sales pitch. Once you’re confident that you know all the questions (and answers!) you’re likely to get, set up an appointment with the decision makers at your prospects.
Moreover, bear in mind that even with cold calling, decisions are rarely made from just one contact. All marketing takes time and patience, and you may need to make a few calls to each prospect before you achieve results!
Other marketing tactics can also work for your consulting firm. Find consulting jobs through freelance portals online, advertise in the yellow pages, or run an ad in your local newspaper.
Establishing yourself as an expert in your field, whether it be business consulting or computer consulting can mean added new business for your consulting company.
Press releases, newsletters, online articles and even radio or TV interviews or webinars can all help you, and your consulting business, win new clients and gain credibility and expert status.
Marketing is trial and error though, and no marketing plan should be written in stone. Try various options, test different pieces and pitches, and keep improving your plan. Eventually, you will find the right mix of marketing methods to win your consulting business new clients, and keep existing ones up to date on developments!