Selling coaching and consulting services can be challenging. You sell a valuable service that more-often-than-not isn’t a cheap and easy buy. It’s not like selling a $5 widget, it’s a considered purchase, and if you rest on your laurels, before you know it, business will dry up and your pipeline will be empty.
Here are four highly effective strategies to ensure that doesn’t happen to you:
- Network. Network! Networking can be a great marketing tool, but beware – not all networking is created equal. Don’t network just for the sake of networking, find out where your target market hangs out and go there. It’s not all about the free food and beer – it’s critical to make an effort to find which clubs, groups, and organizations your target market attends and go to those.
- Ask for referrals. We all love referrals. They come pre-primed to all of our best qualities and benefits, making the sales cycle shorter and the profitability higher. But the trick is, how do we get more of them? The key is knowing who you’re targeting, and that means being able to describe your target market and the value you deliver to a tee. If you can do that, educate your referral sources (clients, partners, and vendors) exactly who is the best fit for your services and ask them for introductions.
- Use LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a valuable – and free – marketing resource. First, make a list of people or companies you want to work with, then find people in your network who know them and ask for a personal introduction. This is certainly a lot easier than cold calling!
- Nurture relationships. Not everyone is ready to buy when they first engage. Future clients may visit your website or meet you at a networking event but haven’t made the decision to buy yet.
If we don’t find a way to engage them, chances are, they’ll walk or click out of our lives forever. Don’t be afraid to ask for an email address. Offer to send them a snippet of free advice, tips, or a free report. This gives you an opportunity to stay in touch through relevant and engaging content like newsletters and articles, so when they’re ready to buy, you’re top of mind.
It’s important to use these tools, even when you feel like you’re too busy to. Many consultants fall into the trap of being too busy to market themselves and then when the contracts dry up, they find themselves scrambling for business. Find a way to work these into your regular routine and watch your consulting practice grow.