Becoming a consultant can be as easy as hanging up your shingle, calling a few colleagues to see if they can use your services and putting a contract together. But what happens when you run out of colleagues and their projects have dried up? This is one of the questions that I am asked everyday from consultants that are not only new but those that have been in the game for a long time.
Marketing for consultants seems to be very cyclical, when there is plenty of work, then the marketing stops as there is no time to get it done. When the work is over, it is a mad scramble to try and not spend too much money yet be effective. Unfortunately, by being penny wise, the consultant can miss out on a number of excellent opportunities.
The best methods of marketing for consultants is to do it on a regular basis. This is not rocket science, it is, however, a matter of being consistent and making the marketing efforts a habit. The best scenario for any consultant is to be booked for over 6 months in advance. You may wonder why it is that some consultants are able to do this effectively, while others have dry spells that can last for months. Those that do have the dry spells tend to blame everything including the economy, to the groups they belong to, to any outside source, when it reality they only
have to blame themselves.
In reality, the economy does play a big part on how well a consultant does as people who are laid off from corporate jobs come into the profession and destroy the credibility of the legitimate consultant. They tend to lower prices as they are hungry and there always seems to be so many of them. As a seasoned consultant, you can remove a great deal of this type of problem by putting together a marketing plan that spans over your fiscal year. Any marketing plan needs to have actions that are executed daily or at a minimum weekly.
A typical marketing plan will include going to networking events, writing some articles for newspapers or magazines, getting out and doing some evening or lunch hour talks. Whatever you choose, you must be visible and you must show your expertise. Does this take effort? Yes it does but the rewards are a full pipeline and those peaks and valleys of the typical consulting firm are minimized.
The problem with most consultants is that they do not usually have the marketing expertise to put together a plan that will maximize the dollars spent. This is when you need to turn to a marketing consultant or someone that can help them put together a plan that is customized for their niche. As a consultant, I help clients put together a plan and a budget to execute the plan plus a set of action steps. It is the action steps that are the key to making the plan work. So now it is time you start planning, spending, and putting your action steps together.