What is the best way to shift the corporate knowledge to business consultancy freelancer approach?
As I have a pretty good corporate background, I want to enter the consultancy business as a freelancer. Still, I feel that while I have great credentials as corporate executive, as a freelancer I face some reluctance when people are about to pay for the service I deliver.
Look for clients of small business house.. You can give them exposure of Corporate knowledge as one to one basis.. and will have effective relation building.
The reluctance on the part of corporate when former employees change to consultants is the fear of the compensation the consultant will now ask for. Whereas, previously our benefits were paid for by corporate, now we must pay them and our former employers have no interest.
Then, the question is: why should we pay an outside consultant when we can use someone in house. The expertise and the knowledge becomes secondary.
Cristian - a few thoughts:
- Consultancy is always about sales before it's about services. And in the sales process you get better results (meaning making a sale) when it's about what the customer needs and wants as identified by the customer. Sometimes the people who need it most (from your perspective) either don't see it, don't want it, feel threatened by the idea that they might have made bad decisions in the past, etc.
- Determine whether your position is as the answer man or the question man. The answer man has to be invited in, when there is an acknowledged need. When the prospect is actively looking it becomes a process of demonstrating your credibility. The question man has the advantage of converting latent (inactive needs) into active ones. He does so by asking nonjudgmental questions that help the prospect discover the need, and then attach to it the impact of fulfilling it. Questions that help the prospect identify the ROI help them determine whether it's worth it for them to purchase your services.
- Price resistance is different from price objection. You need to identify whether the real issue is perceived value, price, timing, cash flow, or their perception of your ability to deliver.
Hope this helps...
Hey, Cristian... just one thing I'll add to the excellent mix already posted. If you possibly can, write a book on your area of expertise.
Before I wrote mine, I was told that as a speaker it would give me instant credibility... and man, was that correct! Sometimes people who have not read my book think I should speak to their organization simply because I have a book.
Having the word "author" after your name gives the public the sense that you're an expert... whether it's deserved or not, the book gives that perception.
Don't worry about your book being a best-seller. It doesn't need to be, and that's not it's purpose. I highly recommend making a plan or outline, and start writing. The easiest way, in my opinion, is to make it anecdotal. Stories are easy to write, and also easy to read.
Cristian, one of the toughest battles any freelancer faces is the fact that they are exceptionally good at what they do, and good clients are very rare. You can learn to use software filters to weed out the "I will pay you $0.05 an hour and you MUST deliver by 6pm today" agencies and clients. You can also learn to use free software tools to find jobs that are a good match for your skills on freelance sites. Use social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to build up an endorsement network. Never sell yourself short- and be your own best friend! If you build it, they will come. And when you find them, keep them.
Cristian, collect and provide testimonials from clients you have worked with either in your corporate position or in your consultancy role. Continue to build your brand, provide value, and credibility. You accomplish this by such actions as:
1. Writing regular valuable blogs and doing webinars available on your website
2. Obtaining speaking engagements (in-person or virtually with networking groups or online groups) to provide valuable information (yes, when you're beginning-it may be for free)
3. Being visible: hiring someone to photograph or videograph your speaking engagements and posting them on social media and your website
4. Getting clear about who your ideal clients are-perhaps if your clients are reluctant to pay the fees, you're not focused on your ideal client enough
5. Include in your marketing copy the reason you do the work you do-write it from a heart-centered perspective with how it helps people feel better or empowered in some aspect of their lives.
6. Offer different price points-provide options for different levels of service so someone who is an ideal client yet is not able to afford the service has an option. Leave it in their court.
7. Believe in your vision. Get support from a business coach if necessary
8. Get out of your own way. Keep attention on excuses that take the responsibility for building your own business from you. You are your greatest asset and in many cases, your greatest enemy. I have further techniques on how to get out of your own way if you would like more information.
9. Market your services from a standpoint of how your personal experience, knowledge, skills, and personality make you the right person for this service for your ideal clients.
10. Take small steps perhaps doing both for a while. Many successful business owners do this for years before breaking out on their own.
To your success Cristian.
1) Don't call yourself a freelancer. You're a consultant, strategist, ... whatever.
2) Read some books by Alan Weiss www.coachmaria.com/books/
3) people will always be reluctance as long as you are... and then when you're confident in what you're doing (cause you have a plan, niche, etc) then when they're reluctant, you'll just move on.
Best of success.
I'll share some of my own trajectory. Today I'm the CEO's main resource for a much more satisfactory and healthier personal and professional life and for a much more profitable business.
Today I work with CEOs from start-ups to worldwide companies as an adviser, coach and mentor, but it was not ever like this. It was really very, very hard at the beginning, because I came from a different industry (information security, corporate risk and business continuity), was younger than now (now I'm 31), and the worse: I had no direct connection with CEOs.
And you know what really counts for you to conquer your territory in the market and make difference? Is the same thing that define the most successful executives: the timing, speed and capability to change your perspective.
I knew what I had to offer was really life changing for any CEO, but why they just did not listen to me? Why was so hard to sign a contract? I was getting mad, my money was gone, I was literally counting cents to buy rice and beans to survive, being evicted from my apartment, and I had with me my 7 years old son and my wife.
So I changed my perspective, and found the answers for the many "why" I was facing.
I was trying to sell: "Advisory, mentoring and coaching techniques based on the most renowned gurus and best practices, and..." I was just talking about my knowledge, not about the results I was offering.
My career totally changed when I begun to offer only the results! Because you don't buy a microwave, you buy warm food in a clean and fast way. So I offered a real life changing experience, bringing more money, love and care from family and friends, a fulfilling life and a true purpose to wake up every morning wanting ever more and more.
The lesson: you have to translate all your knowledge into results that makes sense from your client's point of view. It's not easy to do this, but when you get there, and you will if you truly believe in yourself, the world will recognize the value you are offering.
I did the same move a year ago, and what really helped me was to articulate the top-3 things that I was known for (in my corporate job) in a way that other business leaders would understand. I also approached networking / sales in a way that wouldn't have annoyed me, when I was on the other side.
So succinctly articulating how I could help companies (benefits instead of features) and approaching "sales" in a way that was true to me (e.g., avoid annoying people) were key for me to overcome others' reluctance.
I have to agree with much of what was said by "Mr. Deacon Wardlow". The primary position of any company should be all about building a reputation of honor and integrity.