November 20, 2003
I've been a consultant for almost 12 years and it's interesting to me just how much activity there is in this space. Just saw a new book on the topic, Marketing Your Consulting Services by Elaine Biech (Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer, www.joseybass.com, ISBN: 0-7879-6543-X, $40.) Here are some tips from that book to help you set yourself and show clients that you have what they need. It's always nice to have some reminders.
Go in armed with hard facts & figures.
You have to tell prospective clients why your ideas are good, and that why must be backed up with cold, hard numbers. Show the clients how your services will help them increase their share of customers or cut costs or branch out into profitable new directions. This takes lots of research before meeting clients and needs to be combined with clear thinking about how you can add value.
Personalize, personalize, personalize.
Forget the formula you pull out on every sales call, clients want to know that you understand their challenges, care about their future, and can help them add value to their organization. Structure your presentation around their goals.
Be the cleint's "professional listener". Listening is they key to building strong business relationships, and good relationships can lead to more engagements for consultants.
Follow up - then follow up again.
Although I'm not sure I agree with some of the author's ideas in this area, follow up is definitely important in cementing those relationships mentioned above.