Would you like to grow your consulting business, yet wonder how to find clients? Here are the top 10 ways that top consulting firms use to grow their client base. Follow this top 10, and you will never be without clients. In fact, chances are that you’ll need to expand your business and hire a team of consultants. Your main new problem will be “How to deliver service to all my new clients”.
Create a market niche (vs. I do everything.)
A market niche is a focused segment of potential clients. Some consultants really fight this concept because at first glance it seems to go against common sense. “Wouldn’t I get more clients if I marketed all services to everyone?” For example, If I call myself a computer tech, I will be available to corporations, small businesses, individuals, people with Macs, PCs, people of any profession…etc. I won’t be ruling out anyone. And if I both sell and service computers, I can serve everyone who comes to me. In fact, I’ll optimize my website for the word “computer”. After all, 151,000, 000 googled “computer” last month. Lots of people! More business? No. Why?
First of all, your website, optimized for “computer”, just disappeared on the Internet. IBM, HP, Sony… rule pages one-100. In a similar way, the giants cause you to disappear to every market place audience both on and off the Internet. You end up with 0% of that 151,000,000 market audience both on and off the Internet.
On the other hand, if the same computer consultant decides to narrow down their market to “New York Computer”, that’s a more targeted audience. 135,000 people searched that term on google last month. But don’t stop there. You’re still not going to get the attention of that broad an audience. Try “New York Computer Repair”. Now you have an audience of 18,000. With good search engine optimization, you can get on Google’s page 1 and have 18,000 people see your site’s listing each month. On the other hand, if you went for “Computer”, you ended up with 0% of 150,000,000 seeing your site’s listing on Google.
And where ever you try to get attention, both on and off the Internet, the results will be similar. The more tightly you focus your market niche, at least down to the 10,000 or 20,000 Google searhes/month, the more you end up with a defined audience you can rule both on and off the Internet.
Have a niche market (vs. I serve everyone.)
Now that you’ve got the idea about niching your product or service, take it even further. Niche your customer. We did so above, when we narrowed the market to “New York”. But New York is a big place with lots of competition. Try “New York Small Business Computer”. Now you begin to specialize. Still a bit large of a niche. Go even further: “New York Restaurant Computers”. Become the computer tech for restaurants in New York. Now you are a specialist. You have a defined target. You have a niche you can dominate. Note: Unless you have a large business with regional locations throughout the state, further narrow it down to a geographical location you can service within the state.
Establish credibility in your field as “the expert”:
Consistently help your target market achieve their goals and overcome their problems.As the premier tech for New York Restaurant Computers, you establish a knowledge base of all the specific technology needs of New York restaurants: scheduling and managing reservations, purchasing food, managing cooks, waiters, receptionists, maintenance staff, the best technology for restaurant accounting, managing customer lists, menus, connections and joint ventures with other businesses in the New York entertainment industry, etc.
You, in effect, establish yourself as the “go to” expert for New York restaurants seeking to install and manage technology to grow their business. Now you optimize your website, create valuable information articles on New York Restaurant technology. Place them on your website giving your audience free information they need. Place them in a blog. Tweet them. Place them on and off the Internet: News paper ads, Internet article directories. Always point them back to your website, and offer to give any New York restaurant a free 15-min technology consultation.
Establish a constant, consistent presence.
Create a regular weekly blog article (“Restaurant Tech Tip of the Week”), which you email to your growing list (how to grow a list is another topic: email marketing), tweet, post on Facebook, and post on Internet article directories. Post them in New York restaurant publications, restaurant association newsletters, etc. Get a regular column in a local newspaper. Consistently post a new tip each week.
Word of mouth networking.
Join a networking group that allows only one member per profession, creating your own individual local sales team. BNI, Le Tip, etc. You help the others in the group find clients and they help you find clients. Learn the system. Be a consistent, giving, valuable member of the group and you will reap great benefits. Word of mouth referrals account for a huge percentage of new client growth. Word of mouth referrals deliver you prospects who are ready to do business (vs. cold calling). These are prospects who also are less likely to “shop around” or “shop on price”.
By the way, if your product or services are not niched and you try to do everything for everyone, your networking group will hate you. They’ll see you as a competitor. For example: You’re the computer tech who also does web design, business coaching…etc. The web designer and business coach in your networking group will see you as a competitor, and the networking group will not be clear on what referrals to bring you. You’re watering down your message.
Now that you have a niche market audience, begin to joint venture with complementary businesses. As a restaurant tech, joint venture with restaurant web design companies, restaurant supply companies, restaurant staffing companies, restaurant marketing companies…etc. You market to their lists, they market to your list. Hold a local seminar on successfully growing your restaurant business, featuring your new team of experts. Buy joint ads to place in restaurant publications. Everyone benefits.
Professional association “associate membership”
Did you know that most associations have what they call “associate memberships”? Associate members can be of another profession. They are allowed to set up tables at association meetings, advertise in the association publications. Imaging you as the New York restaurant tech, set up a stand at the New York State Restaurant Association meeting, with an audience of top restaurant owners in New York. Amazing possibilities…
Public speaking is the highest paid profession in the world. Business owners who can publically articulate their value to their market consistently give themselves a raise by attracting more clients. The more clients you attract, guess what? You can raise your prices (law of supply and demand).
Hold free seminars. Give a free workshop on “How the New Restaurant Technology Can Give Your Restaurant a Competitive Edge” at the New York State Restaurant Association. Give valuable tips. Always invite participants to schedule a free 15-min Restaurant Technology Consultation. Now you’re in the door of a targeted prospect who is specifically interested in what your services can do for them.
Speak to a wider audience. As your email marketing list grows, invite list members to a free Teleseminar on “How the New Restaurant Technology Can Give Your Restaurant a Competitive Edge”. Give some valuable tips. Invite participants to schedule a free 15-min consulation. Teleseminars are easy to set up utilizing a service like FreeConferenceCall.com.
Restaurants are constantly present at large events, setting up tables. such as New York Race for the Cure (Breast cancer fund raiser). They sponsor the event. As an associate member of The New York State Restaurant Association, join in some volunteer effort or sponsorship. In doing so, you’ll be partnering with leading restaurant owners in supporting some cause, showing that you are interested in the community. Your partners in volunteering may likely become your partners in business, requesting your services.
As we said in the beginning, follow these methods top consulting firms use to find new clients and you will never be without clients. In fact, chances are that you’ll need to expand your business and hire a team of consultants. Your main new problem will be “How to deliver service to all my new clients”.