Consulting is a great way to boost revenue for your business. By investigating and solving your clients’ business problems or delivering one-to-one coaching, bespoke services, or advice, consultants can charge higher fees and act as a vital partner for any client.
But getting those clients is a lot easier said than done. This is why I have shared a step-by-step process to get more clients below.
1. Figure out what your target audience wants
Whatever business or market you are in, there are other companies out there that need your advice or services. Some will be happy to adopt off-the-shelf consulting packages or take the advice they need and go. But others may need bespoke advice or services, delivered one-to-one, or require another tier of support to get their operations up and running or build their business.
By offering the coaching or services that clients need you can earn more recurring revenue, generate better recommendations and word of mouth. To ensure your consulting proposition is attractive to prospects, take the time to research your market and the needs of companies both below and above your expected audience.
Smaller companies may need more basic advice but will be willing to work with you as a trusted partner, helping to build their business. And larger firms might need your expertise or services within a specific department, team, or area of the business. This could be providing mentoring, coaching, or services, which can lead away into wider engagement within higher-tier businesses.
2. Create a consulting package they won’t refuse
Having established that you can offer what your prospects need, create tiers of coaching or consulting packages that will attract different types of prospects. Lower cost packages can be delivered remotely or by video conference to keep your expenses down, while higher tiers can be badged as delivering strategic coaching partnerships to highlight your leadership and expertise.
Link these to success stories and case studies that highlight what you have offered in the past. If you lack these, a better way to sell your services is to offer discounts and bundled value packages to get your consulting business up and running. Market these as more valuable than selling simpler services or products and highlight the specific value you can deliver.
3. Set up a landing page promoting a free session
Alongside your existing services, create a consulting landing page to distinguish your higher-value offering. To get things started, you can promote it with a free consultation session or personalized advice.
Highlight your specialisms and examples of value-added solutions you can provide to demonstrate the value of consulting. Link to it from posts and comments that engage your target or local businesses across business forums and social media to help build awareness for your services.
4. Offer the best free advice and get them to buy the paid package
There is a major distinction between advice clients can find pretty much anywhere and the higher-value information that consultants provide. Even if you think the low-hanging fruit is valuable, put as much of it up on your pages as you think is acceptable to attract customers who will see you as a useful source of knowledge and are more likely to adopt your paid services.
Even with the free coaching or market information, break it down into options or offer alternative solutions or counterpoints to highlight your value and put questions in prospects’ minds that they may want you to answer.
5. Make it easy to pay online
While it is easy to think that consulting should be a more complex process, you should still make it as simple as possible for clients to sign up for an initial session or consulting tier, and pay online for your services.
Even if you meet clients out at events or in their offices, online payment is the most practical way to get and retain payments, so drive them to your online payment page or portal both to save your time and theirs and to drive recurring payments.
6. Follow up people who don’t convert with email and ads
Market your consulting service with targeted advertising and email campaigns to reach the widest possible valuable audience. Even a successful campaign might only see a few responses, but do not give up on that early effort.
Follow up, with further communications. Highlight how you can help them and how you solve typical problems within their market and the issues that might be impacting them to add value and a newsy factor.
Even so, as a consultant, you cannot expect busy business people to come rushing to you. Follow up with direct contact, asking to speak to the most relevant person. You can use these as an opportunity to introduce yourself, find out more information about the company and its needs, and highlight how your consulting services can help.
7. Use data to improve your consulting package and landing page
Based on early results tailor your consulting packages to drive further interest and adoption. Tweak the landing page to repeat the more successful messages and adjust package pricing and offerings to get a balance of clients across the range.
As you talk to prospects and clients, note down what business problems they have or future services they are really interested in. Get that information on the pages in a variety of ways to add business-focused value.
Consulting is a professional business, so spend time on some high-quality, professional-looking videos which are easier to consume, link to useful white papers and success stories that relate to your market, everything to add value and interest.
Consulting is about relationship building and adding value beyond that flat package offering. Always be on hand to help understand your clients’ needs and use everything you learn to help promote and market a consulting offering.
And when you are not consulting, you should be hard at work refining your marketing to attract more business, while politely encouraging your clients to spread the word and finding ways you can work with them on new projects or services so they retain your business for longer.
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I am Adeyemi Adetilewa, a media consultant, entrepreneur, husband, and father. Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Ideas Plus Business Magazine, online business resources for entrepreneurs. I help brands share unique and impactful stories through the use of public relations, advertising, and online marketing. My work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Addicted2Success, Hackernoon, The Good Men Project, and other publications.