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Running a Consulting Practice

The Key to Success is Marketing by RichGeoffroy
Posted: 1 Jul 04 (Edited 27 Sep 04)

Rich Geoffroy
Polymer Services Group

The thing about consulting (at least from my experience) is that you never know where your next job is going to come from.  Actual selling is difficult unless you can identify those prospects that actually need your services right now.  If they donÆt have a problem, they donÆt want to hear from you.

IÆve found that general marketing works best.  Identify general types of companies that you feel could benefit from the services you offer (target prospects).  Attend functions, Society meetings, Seminars, Industry Shows, Conferences, Conventions, etc. where a lot of your targeted prospects are in attendance and network.  Meet people, become active in the industry, take on a position in professional associations, and just generally get people to know you and what you do. Your next job, if it doesnÆt come directly from these people, it will be as a result of their recommendation.
Another thing to consider is, ôWho will buy your services?ö.  If youÆre offering technical services, youÆre not going to generate much business meeting with manufacturing managers or hobnobbing with the CEOs. You must identify the person in the organizational position who will recognize the need for your services.  Although his/her need may not be immediate, it is at this level where you need to build your reputation.
DonÆt be afraid to ôgive awayö information.  A lot of consultants donÆt want to give anything away without being paid.  Now IÆm not telling you to ôgive away the storeö, but if a prospect has a simple question --- answer it.  The simple fact that he knows that you have the answers at the tip of your fingers, will make him come back with more difficult problems --- these are the jobs that you want.  Resolution of these difficult problems will make both you and your client look good to his management.  This in turn will get you recommended for other jobs.

Finally, donÆt ever stop marketing.  DonÆt get too busy to market, because after that job is over, youÆll have nothing new in the pipeline.

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