Most solo entrepreneurs, like consultants, would prefer to have a steady stream of new leads, get more clients, and establish themselves as authorities in their industry.
This can be done using online as well as offline strategies. First of all, you need to build a personal brand. Before building your brand, you need to consider what niche you want to address.
Define Your Niche and Your Message
If you are general enough to attract any potential customer, you likely aren’t specific enough to attract anyone. Or put in another way, customers prefer to buy from someone who is an expert on the exact problem they have at hand, rather than from a jack of all trades.
First identify a niche narrow enough where you can excel, based on your background and interests.
Once the nice is identified, you should define a very clear message that makes it immediately obvious what you offer, and to whom. This messaging shall be used consistently everywhere, from website to business card design, and pretty much everything in between.
Summarize your message in a short and concise tagline, that you use in your marketing.
Develop a Personal Brand
The next step is to start building a personal brand. This will take time and requires persistence and consistency.
You should focus on building your likeability, trust, and credibility.
No reason to wait, start now!
There are many components that go into building a successful personal brand, for example:
- Being likable
- Having expertise
- Social media activities
- Writing books
- Become a speaker
- Nurturing your network
Always strive to provide value and give more than you take.
If you write high-quality blog posts or eBooks, publish an industry podcast, or speak on industry events, you are well on your way to building a strong personal brand, that sets you apart from most competing consultants.
If you produce and share quality content that is relevant to your audience, you build trust and confidence.
Engage With Your Network
Referrals from friends or old colleagues and customers are one of the most common ways for consultants to get new clients. The problem is, you may not have nurtured the network for years, thus disappearing from the radar of those who could have referred new clients to you.
Therefore, you should implement a keep-in-touch strategy, where you regularly reach out to almost all of your old contacts, say monthly or quarterly, and try to keep the relationship warm and active over time. That way, you will have a much larger active network who can help you, compared to if you don’t keep your existing network warm.
Build Relations With New Leads
Thanks to online marketing, referrals from your existing contact network, or by other means, you get new leads. Most of those aren’t ready to buy your services right away. It may take months or even years before they need your particular service, or can refer a friend in need of your services.
It is thus important to keep engaging also with your new leads, even though they may not be interested in buying your services right now. Nurture them using social media outreach, emails, or by other means.
Make sure your outreach builds your likeability, trust, and credibility. Do not be salesy. Instead, share thoughtful comments, share educational content, and be helpful.
Constantly engaging on social media or reaching out to your existing network is tedious without tool support. Consider using a social media posting robot like MeetEdgar, and a specialized CRM system, like Contactually, to simplify this ongoing effort.
I have been using HubSpot CRM for a while, mostly because I often use HubSpot’s marketing automation system in client projects, and because it is free.
Contactually do however have specific features that help implement a consistent outreach strategy. I am thus looking into switching to Contactually for my consulting business. If I do, I might write a blog post and review the tool here.
That’s it. With a consistently implemented strategy, you will over time get a lot more consulting clients. Just make sure to:
- Define a niche specific enough where you can excel
- Develop a clear message and summarize it into a tag line
- Build your personal brand using blogging, eBooks, podcasting or speaking engagements
- Always network and keep your existing network warm
- Build likeability and trust with new leads by sending them thoughtful messages or valuable content
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