If you are like many independent professionals and consultants, trying to find new clients can be frustrating. Maybe you are struggling with your marketing message. Or maybe referrals aren’t paying off like they used to. Maybe you are concerned about wasting time and money on unproductive efforts. If marketing seems like a lot of hard work with little or sporadic payoffs, you are not alone.How would you like to attract more clients than you can possibly handle, without breaking the bank? What you need to create is a know-like-trust machine.
At the New Client Marketing Institute we call this know-like-trust machine the Educating Expert Model, and the most successful professional service and consulting firms use it to get more clients than they can handle. The findings of our 8-year, $2 million research study about how the most successful professional and consulting firms use this know-like-trust machine were published in our book, Client Seduction (Author House, 2005).
To attract new clients, the best approach is to demonstrate your expertise by giving away valuable information through writing and speaking. Research shows independent professionals and consultants can fill a pipeline with qualified prospects in as little as 30 days by offering advice to prospects on how to overcome their most pressing problems.
While several good books have been written on the subject of tuning-up your new-client-generating engine, a few stand out. Much of the inspiration for Client Seduction came from the professional service firm guru, David Maister. His book, Managing the Professional Service Firm (Free Press Paperbacks, 1997), discusses the idea that professional service firm marketing must be a seduction, not an assault.
In this general book on firm management, former Harvard Business School professor Maister states that all professional service. His book gives advice on dealing with clients, management, partnerships and managing practices with multi-locations. Maister, who reportedly charges $15,000 per day to counsel professional service firms on how to improve their business, recommends proprietary research as the cornerstone of your marketing strategy.
A second must-read is Become a Recognized Authority In Your Field In 60 Days or Less! by Robert Bly (Alpha, 2002). This book is about how to quickly become the preeminent, in-demand guru in your field and gives many steps on how to promote and market your knowledge and skills. You can find many of Bly’s great how-to articles for free on the Internet.
For discussions on pricing strategies, Million Dollar Consulting—The Professional’s Guide to Growing a Practice by Alan Weiss (McGraw-Hill, 1998) is an important book. This guide urges the reader to push the envelope and go beyond their normal practices. It helps to target, land, and keep powerful clients, establishes the firm’s image and intensifies its profile. Weiss also gives tips on bases for fees and using new technology as a tool of business.