What was the most effective way to build a client base for Business Consultants?
I have just started my own business consultancy so I am looking at ways to build my client base. I have been fortunate to have had 3 jobs from word of mouth prior to 'officially' starting the business but I am keen to look at other methods for attracting new clients.
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First I would like to congratulate on your new adventure venture. And most of ways has been already well said.
From my experience I notice that to find most effective way to build a client base is depends on your business vision & planning. I tried many traditional ways such as bulk mail , bulk message , Social media, Cold calling & other ways too. All ways gives you clients , Branding additionally and results too.
But most effective hunting is come down by changing in vision & marketing plan.
We need be very clear what we want ? How we want ?, What we would like to deliver & how ? What is cycle time of generating money ? . with timeline .In this technology time , it is easy to spread your words to targeted audience & find clients but deliver is most difficult which is in actual generating your business money. In our virtual staffing solutions , we mostly work with start ups & small - mid size companies where I witness of their success by strong focus on plannings , cost ,Just do it attitude & many more factors.
In Sum up , I would like to it is easy to get client but delivery is important. So, Try to find most effective way , what you can deliver best as business consultant & rest will follow. Feel free to suggest, feedback & query.
Word of mouth is cool, an a bonus advantage
but, collaboration works like magic, networking.
I would chose to believe you already are a member of certain hubs in your state and online. these hubs could be meetups, seminars, conferences, associations, groups of business men as a whole.
because they are your market (if am correct )
You get opportunity to meet at least two new businessmen, get contacts and find a collaboration link. there can pay you in cash or kind at first. but if you do a good job, you can be sure you just added one more client to your base.
If you are not very experienced, popular or full of a badges, anyone would be skeptical, so colaborate first.
Again, if you all the above, medium and small scale businesses would worry about your charges, so again collaborate first.
don't let events pass you by,attend, network and followup relationships.
tested and proven!
Dave. That is exactly the same question I ask, and continue to ask myself on a daily basis.
I wont tell you what will work for you, I can only tell you what my activities are, and what the results of these are/and are going to be (crossed fingers).
There are a few things I do regularly.
1) My contact list of business coaches and consultants is around 200. These contacts have around 10 customers minimum each, of which they are already trusted and providing services to them. I engage with them, and look to bolster and enhance the work they are doing, specifically looking to provide them with additional value add, and credibility.
2) Network, Network, Network.. Its a lot of effort for what seems initially a minimal return. But for the pain of this, it does seem to produce new clients. My name, brand, and contact list is growing, giving me an opportunity to keep in contact with them, always looking for that one day when they do need some help.
3) I hate email campaigns, specifically from someone I don't know. I do read them if they are from someone I do know.
I make a point of connecting with contacts I've met with, and will only email people if I have a reason to. The follow up from this is the most important, and should happen within 24-48 hours after the email has been sent.
4) Tweet - I try to re-tweet important and interesting business articles regularly. I don't self promote, although I do try and connect with business that follow me. I look for networks of businesses that I feel would benefit from my skills/services.
Lastly, whilst "Getting an Amazing Website" (Arif Islam) is an answer if you have unlimited budget, we don't all have bottomless pockets.
For a business coach/consultant, Websites don't get you new business. As far as I'm concerned, the website is the brochure equivalent that people can refer to, establishing your professionalism, services, and credibility.
New business, and new Client base can only be built through hard calling, meetings, and introductions.
I hope this helps
Hi Dave, this is the most obvious one but LinkedIn is a great portal to meet new clients and get existing and past clients to recommend you. Also on LinkedIn it helps to join groups that complement your skill sets where a lot of people post their needs. Keeping an eye on discussion boards of such groups helps.
Thank you all for your great feedback.
As mentioned initially, I had success with word of mouth which I'm sure will continue to build. I've also done some small amounts of PR and eDM (Electronic Direct Mail) which I hope will turn into something more when I follow them up.
The other thing I've been doing is to go out to 'Meet Up' groups and press the flesh. This is showing results too, so all in all I'm quietly confident that I'll get there by (as Brock put it) starting small and building from there.
Thanks again for all of your great input.
Hi Dave, I am a big believer in starting small and letting your work speak for itself. If you are mid-way through a contract, and its going well & you have a got a good rapport with your client - you can ask if they have any potential referrals for you in their network; Some targeted, personalised (not copy & paste spam) messages through your network on Linkedin is a nice way of putting your feelers out there; Depending on what you 'consult' their may be opportunities for little editorial write ups on you/your service in business news print media or business / industry online website or blogs. Ideally if you are starting out - you will have a strong little network of people that you can reach out too. Its always hard starting up (no doubt) but if you have a true supportive network don't be embarrassed (or proud) to ask for them to 'handball any opportunities your way' or let them know 'your started up on your own and are actively looking for new clients'. Its amazing what is out there when just talking word of mouth.
PPC marketing,...Doing it the safe way. By Mastering Lead Generation.
Social Proof is hands down the best. You have 3 satisfied clients? Get their testimonials. Get them on video. Facebook marketing works well for lead capture as well.
In my experience word of mouth is by far the most effective way. Visibility through social media supports these connections.
Get an amazing website. Set a well planned lead capturing funnel and develop useful resources such as Ebooks, white papers like Dr. John said. Offer them for free but add your marketing pitch and expertise so if client want to go further then they come to you. Offering free consultation is a good strategy too but you will need a well converting pitch and presentation.
Also get introduced with communities, peer groups and spread your name and expertise. Lot of time these peer groups send referrals. Also, you can attend conferences, trade shows.
If spending money online then you can go for PPC, Remarketing using Google and Linked In.
In my experience word-of-mouth has been the most effective. Other ways to build a client base include presenting on a relevant topic at industry conferences, writing books and articles for publication, and having a professional website.
I think that the effective way is to e-mail marketing and social media marketing.