Fishing for business…
OK, let’s get started with the question that has most of you chomping at the bit. How do I get clients/customers, anyway?
In simple terms, you need to find customers, and then sell to them. And if you are just starting out, nobody else is going to do it for you.
Oops! I used the dreaded “S” word — sell. I know, you don’t want to become a peddler — rather, you just want to solve client problems (for a hefty fee, of course.) But if you are going to succeed, you first need customers. As we say in our business, “If you don’t have customers, you don’t have a business.”
To use a simple analogy, finding customers is a lot like fishing. First, you need to figure out where the fish are, and what kind of kind of bait to use to attract them. Once you get a fish on the line, you need to figure out how to get it in the boat. And remember, you don’t get to eat the ones that got away!
Attracting the fish can be considered marketing, and getting the fish into the boat can be considered sales. Both are necessary, but as the late Peter Drucker once observed, “The better the marketing, the easier the sales.”
For that reason, I always emphasize marketing when discussing consulting practices. The good news is that your marketing efforts need not be expensive or complicated. A few simple, well executed plans can keep your net full.
To continue the fishing analogy, you typically need more than one line in the water. Over the years, we have found there is no magic bullet for finding consulting clients. Rather, a combination of methods is usually needed to keep the leads coming in.
In fact, with multiple lead sources, there is often a multiplying effect. For example, if you get a referral and your prospect has already seen an article you wrote or heard you speak, your success rate can increase drastically.
It all starts with leads! Here are 20 lead generation ideas we have used at one time or another over the years. Unlike “big company” approaches, most require little money but do require time and effort. I suspect we’ll add a few more, so it will likely be 20+ ideas.
Some methods are better suited to starting out (or even before starting), while others are better suited to later stages in your business. Some focus on writing, while others focus on personal contact.
To start, choose methods with which you are most comfortable — that way, you’ll stick with them. My recommendation is to try several (but not too many), and then refine your approach with time.
- Write magazine articles
- Develop white papers
- Write a book
- Start a blog
- Start a newsletter/ezine
- Become a speaker
- Teach a class
- Support professional organizations
- Attend trade shows
- Start you own trade show
- Develop a web site
- Present seminars/webinars
- Develop referrals
- List in directories
- Use agents and reps
- Cold call/warm call
We’ll discuss each of these ideas individually in future posts, and we’ll explore how to best apply them under different conditions and for different markets. I hope these 20 ideas help you start thinking about how to fish for YOUR business.
Got your own lead generators?? Share them here…
Copyright © 2013, jumptoconsulting.com. All rights reserved.