Now that you’ve put up your shingle, printed your business cards, and created a website for your new consulting business, it’s time to get out there and land your first client. Very often, nailing down that first-paying client is the most difficult.
Here are some tips to help you leapfrog over a tricky and lengthy trial and error approach:
Start Close to Home
In the business world and on networking sites, such as LinkedIn, there are people identified as “first-degree connections.” This is simply people you already know directly through previous business associations or even social contact.
Reach out to your first-degree connection first and let them know what you are doing and what you’re looking for. Don’t just talk to people who you feel might be ideal clients. Talk to everyone. It’s often someone out of left field who “knows somebody who has a friend” that may need what you are offering.
This is just what it sounds like. A second-degree connection is not a person you know directly but is known by someone in your first-degree connection sphere. Your “in” to approach these people is that you share a mutual associate. Be sure to ask your first-degree connections to make an introduction or even a referral to a second-degree connection.
Social media platforms remain among the most powerful marketing tools today. That includes being used as a vehicle by private consultants to find new clients.
Nearly 50% of people who share a link or like a specific service go on to purchase in that category. That gives you powerful insight into who your “qualified prospects” might be. The most effective platforms for consultants are LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube, in that order.
By the way, making a short video describing your consulting experience, showing what you offer and what you can do for clients is a potent marketing tool. A one or two-minute video is adequate, but it must have a highly professional look.
Create a Strategic Partnership
One of the easiest ways to get a first client is to get in touch with another successful and busy consulting agency and nab one of their “leftovers.” For example, if you offer an AI-enabled app creating service, locate a company that is already doing this but does not offer the specific kind of service that you provide. Don’t think of it as “feeding off the scraps of others.” Think of it as a way to jumpstart your new and soon-to-be successful consulting operation.