Want more consulting clients? Here's how to find them.Feb 26, 2020
Do you want more consulting clients? Of course you do.
Let me tell you one way that you're NOT going to get them: trying to be everything to everybody.
I know you have a lot of things you're great at and you don't want to have to choose between all the ways you can help your clients.
But here's the deal - you don't have to and you actually shouldn't.
A clear consulting brand and niche is not about picking a favorite methodology and getting known for that. In fact, that's a recipe for failure over the long-term as this approach will guarantee your market positioning as an "extra pair of hands" and "trading time for money" commodity.
A clear consulting brand and niche is about dialing into the client that is ideal for YOU. It's that client that you deeply care about helping that also wants and needs your ideas and approach to consulting. It's about filling your pipeline with the type of clients that you LOVE working with and who LOVE working with you (and because of that love will gladly pay you what you're worth.)
I know, I know. I can hear the objections you might have. Here's the top four objections I hear all the time.
"I have a consulting business - my client are organizations."
You do realize that an organization doesn't look for you online, read your content, schedule a free consult with you or sign your contract? It's a person. And while once you get into an organization you will be working with leaders from all disciplines, there is going to be one who will be your primary client. Your main client might be the CEO or President but that isn't likely. A leader at that level delegates finding a consultant to one of his or her direct reports, especially if the company has grown beyond start up mode. So who is this person? Who is the person that is most likely to look for you and want to work with you? That person is your client.
"Why just one person?"
You can help lots of different types of leaders in different industries and company sizes. But you're not going to be equally effective with all of them.
Think about it.
Imagine you have landed a new client and they want you to get a flavor of what they do. So they send you out to "walk the floor" of their business.
- Do you see yourself enjoying walking the floor of a manufacturing plant, chatting with the production staff and engineers?
- How do you feel if your client gives you a free overnight to stay at one of their hotels to get a flavor of their customer service experience?
And that's just differences between industries. There's also difference in growth stages.
- Do you get excited helping a small company become a big one?
- Or does helping an established company stay in the game excite you?
If you're not clear on who is your ideal client - your marketing, content and proposals will be unclear, totally diluted and lack relevance.
The old saying is true, “When you try to attract everyone you’re going to attract no one.”
"How do I know who is my ideal client?"
Now that's a great question! You already have met lots of people who represent your ideal clients, you just haven't recognized yet that this is who they are.
- Your first step is to look at your past and the type of people you have always been drawn to help as well those who have come to you when they needed help.
- Your second step is to notice what is happening in your life everyday. Who calls you for help? What problems are you motivated to solve - whether you get paid to solve them or not?
- Your third step is to consider if your ideal client is simply an earlier version of yourself. You'd be surprised how many great consulting businesses are birthed because of wanting to provide something to our younger selves that we wished we had.
"How am I supposed to know what my ideal clients really want and need?"
This question is the best question of all! Your business will literally be transformed when you can join the conversation that is going on inside the head of your ideal client. You want to know what keeps them up at night, their dreams and aspirations, their fears and vulnerabilities and mostly the context that would be so painful for them that they would reach out find a consultant like you.
How you find this out? Interview them. Ask them questions to understand things like:
- What's working and not?
- What inspires them?
- What do they want? What is the need beneath their wants?
- Why does getting that need matter to them?
- What will happen if they get a solution?
- What will happen if they don't?
You want to really dig in and understand their world...from their perspective.
I can promise you their biggest pain points aren't things like, "I really want a consultant who can offer me a DiSC or some other personality assessment and I just don't know where to find one" or "I wish I had a five-step framework for strategy implementation and need to find someone who offers that."
It's more likely things like, "I am besides myself that I can't get the same results that I used to. I have no idea what the problem is because I am doing all the same things I always done. What's changed?" or "I can't believe I got passed over for a promotion...again! What am I doing wrong?"
Action Step: Shift Your Mindset from Scarcity to Abundance To Get Strategic About Your Client Acquisition
Marketing tactics won't work (or won't work consistently) if you don't know who your ideal clients are. There's no way around this. If you want to achieve a predictable pipeline of right fit clients, you have to take the time to figure out who that person is and learn to see the world from their vantage point.
So take action. Calm your survival fears and step out of a business mindset of scarcity into one of abundance. This shift will empower you to create a business of passionate service where marketing will simply be a way of making a difference with clients you just haven't met yet.
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