Need Clients Now? 5 Strategies to Quickly Get More Consulting Clients

4 - marketing & sales Jan 07, 2019
get consulting clients

If you want to achieve sustainable success as a consultant - ideally you want to create a marketing system to ensure you have a consistently full pipeline of right-fit clients.

However, there will be times when you have to feel the cash flow pressure and need to find clients...right now!

This article is designed to give you some immediate traction while still setting you up for long-term success.

Before we get started...

In order for you get the instant results you're looking for -  3 things need to be in place:

1. Your mindset still has to be one of service and value for what you bring to the table vs. letting fear and need drive your marketing. You cannot need your clients more than they need you. They will feel the desperation and it'll affect your close rates. Make sure you breathe through your money fears and approach this task from a standpoint of abundance and avoid letting scarcity drive your marketing. 

2. You have to understand that you when you compress a marketing timeline - you are reducing how well you are able to warm up your leads. Consulting is a relationship business and the things you put into place like high-quality website and content do more than attract a lead. They help you create a connection with a buyer long before you get on the phone. 

3. You still need to dial into your ideal client - their demographics (e.g., level, title, company size, industry, etc.) AND their psychographics (e.g., the conversation that is going on in their heads. Your marketing messages and tactics still need to be grounded on how to offer a solution to THEIR wants and needs.

This helps discern where to focus your time, money and efforts and keeps you from being busy but not productive.

Ultimately - even if you're trying to meet urgent needs - you also still need confidence in your value proposition - because all of your immediate efforts will be focused on finding the people who you can help and who genuinely need you.

The 5 Tactics

There's lots of ways to promote your consulting services. The best option will be based on your ideal client's preferences as well as your own. 

Here are 5 way to find clients now:

1. Attend Networking Events

  • Choose events that your ideal client will be attending (vs. your peers.)
  • When you are at the event, practice using a more conversational and branded response to the question “So, what do you do?” Don’t answer with “I’m a consultant.” Find a way to communicate what you do by explaining the situation that your help is needed, what you do to help and the value it creates.
  • Focus on adding on-the-spot value by asking good questions and focusing more on the people you are meeting vs. establishing your credentials.

 Here's a sample script you can use when meeting someone at a networking event:

  • Make Personal Contact
  • Ask About What They Do (Listen for: what are their pain points, can I help them, are they are buyer or referrer?)
  • Extend Interest and Understanding (Goal: Show you are someone who cares and can potentially help)
  • Provide Custom and Branded Explanation of What You Do (Goal: Share value proposition in a way that adds value and creates engagement)
  • Use Examples of What You Do that Relates to Their Situation (Goal: Make your value proposition relevant to them)
  • Add Value to Them (Goal: Give them a taste of your value)
  • Exchange Cards and Suggest Next Step (Options: stay connected on LinkedIn, meet formally, send an article, etc.)

2. Look for ProBono Speaking Opportunities

Engaging an audience of potential buyers is a sure-fire way of generating both awareness and interest in your consulting. Speaking engagements demonstrate your thought leadership, provide a plethora of networking opportunities and are a source for new business.

Here's a few tips: 

  • Say “yes” to events where your BUYERS will be at.
  • Dress to CONNECT (not impress) – be approachable.
  • Bring business cards and eBooks/white papers if you have them.
  • Select a topic that hits pain points in the bullseye.
  • Include a ton of value in your presentation plus a lot of reflection questions to help them see their need for someone like you.
  • Don’t sell – include calls to action to get a compelling quick win freebie in exchange for email. Have them send you an email directly so you can engage with them.
  • When they email you – ask them about their business and needs.

3. Leverage LinkedIn as a Powerful Virtual Networking Tool

LinkedIn is a literal goldmine for finding your next clients. According to LinkedIn expert Josh Turner, 76% of executives are on LinkedIn and 40% check in on this platform daily. You can engage with your future clients in groups and in comments on posts. You can demonstrate your credibility with your own content sharing and posting (original and curated.) And the best part, there’s search features that allow you to precisely find your ideal clients and connect with them.

Here's a few tips: 

  • Respond to every invitation with the magic question: “Hi [insert name]. Thanks for reaching out to connect with me here. I was wondering, is there something I can help you with or did you just want to stay connected for the future?” If yes, offer free consult.
  • Proactively connect with anyone who comments on your stuff or views your profile.
  • Use the search feature to find your perfect client and ask them to connect. Like, comment and share their stuff.
  • Get into groups and add value.
  • Go through your network and proactively reach out with a free article or other value.
  • “Stalk” your favorite clients and see who is in their network and ask your friends to introduce you to theirs.

4. Actively Pursue Referrals

Call up former clients and ask them to refer you to clients. With them: 

  • Express appreciation for your partnership
  • Share attributes of what make them such a great partner to them
  • Share your passion for helping others clients with similar attributes struggling with [insert pain points] and want [insert transformation/value.]
  • Ask: “Do you know anyone who could benefit from the experience we shared? If so, would you be willing to introduce me to them?”

 And call up nexus people (those people you know who know everybody.) With them:

  • Express appreciation for how well they seem to connect people together
  • Share your passion for helping others clients with similar attributes struggling with [insert pain points] and want [insert transformation/value.]
  • Ask: “Do you know anyone who could benefit from the experience we shared? If so, would you be willing to introduce me to them?”

5. Be more proactive in your advocacy for a client partnership

The thing is with consulting - we don't sell. We offer an invitation for strategic partnership. Marketing's job is done when a client expresses interest in working with us so your big offer at this stage is a free consult, discovery call or exploratory discussion.

So be bold with current clients: 

  • Use data from assessment and past work to create business case for next phase of work.
  • Document ideas in the document we use for Directional Agreement.
  • Schedule meeting with client to do both a project close out and Directional Agreement for next phase. Offer your document as a “straw person” and starting point.

Be courageous with former clients:

  • Schedule a meeting to catch up and check in.
  • Ask first how things are going since you last worked together.
  • Share the exciting things you’ve been up to and your latest service that you know will create dramatic value for them. (insert specifics from you know about your client.)
  • Ask client if they’re interested and would love to provide incentives since you loved working with them so much.

Create a special offer on one of your programs or design small event and entice people to sign up by inviting them to a:

  • Free webinar
  • Free 3-part video series
  • Live Q&A call

The Moment of Truth - When Your Contacts Turn into Contracts

Your earning potential is not defined by the number of leads you are able to generate - it's all connected to what you DO with a lead once you get one.

Do you focus your energy on selling yourself, your mission or methodology OR do you position yourself as a strategic partner who is ready to help solve a clients most pressing business performance challenges.

EVEN if you feel the crunch on the finances, you do not want to under-value what you can bring to the table. 

You have to keep the truth straight in your mind: 

"I am not an expense to be managed,
I am an investment that generates a powerful return!"

When you stand in your worth and use techniques to transition a smaller paying request into a larger consulting engagement - you'll not only relieve your immediate financial needs but also set yourself to grow and scale your profits.

So forget sales - let's master partnership set up:

First, guide your future client towards articulating and quantifying their business performance gaps and the value they hope someone like you can bring to the table. Unless your client can have a conversation with you about their strategic challenges and what they are costing them - you won't be able to fully bring your expertise to the table and establish fees that are more equitable to your contribution (vs. a pay for time model.)

Second, create a partnership proposal that gives them the roadmap to solving their real issues and options for how to work with you - including an option that should be a no-brainer, easy starting point for the both of you. 

Some easy starting point offers could be:

  • Facilitating a senior executive meeting
  • Conducting an assessment with the senior team
  • Creating a simple survey that can be used to better understand issues with a select group of employees

Third, when you close the deal - NEVER let fear take over the process. Even if you have money issues that you want an immediate solution for, don't compromise your value. You can reduce scope or be flexible with payment terms, but don't lose sight of your worth. The work won't feel good in the short-term and it won't set you up the way you want for the long-term. 

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