How to Get Clients for Consulting Business – 9 Simple yet Effective Tips
Opportunities for consultants are ever-increasing in this modern era, but you need a steady stream of clients to sustain your consulting firm.
In that case, the first question you might want to ask would be, “How to get clients for your consulting business?”
This article will give you some tips on how you can be found by potential clients, find the right consulting clients related to your niche, and make them stay.
Here’s a quick preview of what lies ahead, you can click on a topic to directly take you to that section! Also, find out how to make your clients stay and what you should do after a project is completed, towards the end.
- Optimize your LinkedIn profile
- Sign up on Google My Business
- Establish a website & portfolio
- Be active in online communities to get noticed as a consultant
- Build a personal brand for your consulting business
- Attend meetups and events to find the right clients and enhance networking opportunities
- Keep an eye out on job listings
- Have a strong referral program to obtain new clients
- Cold pitch to get more consulting clients
- How to make them stay and believe in you?
- What to do after your project with the client is completed?
If you are just starting out your consulting business and trying to get your first consulting client, you might like to read this: How To Start A Consulting Business in 2022 (10 Steps)
1. Optimize your LinkedIn profile
For getting clients as a consultant, you definitely need a LinkedIn profile.
90% of the time, your LinkedIn profile will be on the top three Google search results that appear when someone googles your name. They may likely click on this rather than your website because it is a familiar format.
What they see on your profile might be the first thing they are seeing about you. Hence, optimizing your LinkedIn profile must be your first and foremost priority as a consultant, as upon seeing your profile, they should want to hire you or learn more about you.
There are 4 checkboxes that you must complete:
Your headline is what appears right below your name. The headline is what drives search engine optimization, hence it should consist of the important keywords that your clients might do a google search upon.
It serves as an advertisement line and has a max limit of 120 characters. So make sure you utilize the space. You can use multiple phrases in your headline, by separating each one using ‘|’.
Have a professional photo in place of the profile picture which only consists of you. Preferably only your head.
You can always ask a professional to get your photo clicked for you. A plain background with a tad bit of smile won’t hurt!
Also, make sure that in the privacy settings you have selected profile photo visibility to everyone and not only your connections.
Your Profile Header Background
This might be a bit time-consuming as you have to find the right image that scales perfectly with the given dimensions.
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Something plain and simple, maybe your signature or your firm logo will do. Just make sure you don’t leave it empty.
Your Contact Info
Your contact info is displayed right below your headline. It is absolutely necessary to have it complete with your email ID, mobile number, website, and a personalized URL for your profile.
2. Sign up on Google My Business
Google My Business is an integration that can give you, a consulting services offering firm, an edge over your competitors.
Most customers look online for professional services available in their locality. Hence if you list yourself up on Google My Business (GMB), it will automatically pop up while customers are searching for consulting services online.
Creating a profile on GMB is also super easy. It asks for:
- The name of your company
- The category your company belongs to
- Your address and the locations you serve
- Your contact details
- Details regarding your website
These details are shown when a customer searches for consulting services near you or googles your company name. Reviews can also be shown along with it depending on your choice.
Connecting Reserve with Google after you have listed your business on GMB helps your clients schedule an appointment with you faster once they find you. What it does is, it creates a book now option along with your company details when listed online on Google.
3. Establish a website & portfolio
Once the clean-up process is done, build a website ( if you don’t have one already ) and create a stellar portfolio. Show them that you are the real deal by providing previous work examples and testimonies, and what you have achieved till now.
Your portfolio should ideally consist of:
- Current resume
- Diplomas & certificates
- Awards & reference letters
- Work reports
One thing to be kept in mind is to always ask the client beforehand whether you can publish his/her testimony on any media.
A portfolio acts as evidence for your competency. As a consultant, the main motive through a portfolio that you are trying to achieve is to impress your potential clients who will be going through it.
Your portfolio needs to be displayed somewhere, right? Where else, if not your website? In this digital era, every business needs to have a website, especially a consulting firm.
Why? You need to show your brand to the world! A website makes it easier for your clients to get to know you and also reach you.
When you introduce yourself on any platform or forum ( more about that later), your audience will look you up on Google if you catch their eye. And when your website appears on top of their search result, your credibility automatically increases.
Most often, the content on your website is what your potential clients come across first and becomes the first impression you have on them. Hence it should be visually pleasing, professionally clicking, and value providing.
A website also acts as a wonderful marketing tool. It is an easy way for you to collect emails that could turn out to be valuable leads.
While creating a website for your consulting business, there are 4 essential pages that you must include:
- About page
- Services page
- Contact page
Make it a priority to provide a link to your portfolio on your website!
Some of the most popular website builders are:
If you face some trouble while creating your website or are not sure how to proceed, you can always hire a professional to do it for you.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is absolutely necessary for your website as you would want more people to find you online and explore your website. The right keywords on your pages can bring in more traffic to your site.
The following SEO tools can help you out to optimize your website:
If you are not familiar with SEO, hiring an SEO expert is crucial and you should do it as early as possible along with the development of your website.
As a consultant, make sure you display your certifications and qualifications on your website and portfolio. These certifications can be related to sales, management, communications, or any of the qualities you specialize in.
4. Be active in online communities to get noticed as a consultant
Find consulting clients, join groups and communities in forums such as Reddit, Quora, Facebook, LinkedIn which are related to your niche, and answer the questions posed by colleagues – these may be inquiries by customers or business owners.
- r/consulting – A community for consultants and those interested in consulting with over 150,000 members on Reddit
- Consultants Network – A consulting group on LinkedIn powered by Consultancy.org that unites all strategy, management, marketing, finance, business, IT consultants & freelancers.
- Consulting Community and Online Consultants are a couple of Facebook communities you might want to check out
Be an active part of industry conversations. There is a high chance that when you answer queries or posts on such forums, people who are looking to obtain your services notice you.
When you answer on such platforms regarding your client industry, you are portraying yourself as an individual who has very good knowledge about the niche. Each problem you solve or answer you give will make you more popular and trustable.
Prospective clients are bound to check up on your profile once you are noticed. You will be establishing yourself as a credible industry expert through this process.
Keywords specific to your niche need to be included in your profile and optimized so that potential clients can find you when they search with that specific keyword.
5. Build a personal brand for your consulting business
As a consultant, you are your company. Your name, the logo of your firm, and the slogan you go with all form your identity. Branding is integral to your identity and a strong personal brand is a major factor in the growth and success of your consulting business.
Portray what sets you apart from your competitors and exactly what you can offer to your customers. Clearly explaining what you do helps your clients to understand what they can get out of your services.
Maintaining consistency and theme with your business in various channels can help your customers instantly identify you when they come across you again. Visual components like design and formatting are a part of this.
Being active on social media by hitting up your contacts and connections is a great way to develop your identity. You are advertising yourself as who you are and why you are doing this.
Hosting podcasts and webinars where you talk about the problems faced by the customers in your niche and sharing content related to your industry are some of the go-to ways to build your brand.
Hosting webinars to get yourself noticed by potential clients
- Targeted webinars to specific problems under your industry can attract the customers you would like to acquire without much effort. And since it is a webinar it will be open to all and easy for them to attend from any part of the world without transportation issues.
- Of course, you have to advertise about your webinar and that is also where the above-mentioned point of being active on social media comes into play.
- Consulting Magazine is a website on which you can register yourself about the webinar you are offering so that it can reach more people. Make sure you publicize the upcoming webinars on your website too.
Sharing content related to your industry
- Other than answering questions on the above-said forums and groups, another thing you can do is share content related to your industry.
- These can be blogs written by you or your fellow consultants or about common problems faced by your customers.
- But make sure you do not give away everything. Some aspects of your knowledge and skill should be available to them only upon payment. Until then, you can solve minor and common problems and talk about them on your blog page or forums.
- This builds trust in the people who see your content, and your name gets imprinted in their minds as an approachable and trustworthy consultant whose services can be sought by them.
At the end of the day, the ease of recognition of your brand identity will validate your reputation.
You have now successfully put yourself out there. Next, you’ve got to wade into the stream and catch the fish.
6. Attend meetups and events to find the right clients and enhance networking opportunities
Like how the webinar is a way to bring a group of people towards you, attending events and meetups where your ideal clients will be present is a way for you to go to them.
You need to make sure that you are targeting the right audience that comes under your niche. There is no point if you generate leads on customers whom you cannot serve.
Meetup offers you localized info regarding meet-ups based on themes. This is a place where you can find where your potential clients might be gathering.
Networking at such events is a really great way to generate leads and get referrals. These events will have managers and/or HR representatives of the industries that you are targeting and can help you land a potential client.
- Do’s and don’ts while networking
- Introduce yourself and be a friend first
- Have your business card ready to exchange details
- While sharing info about yourself, keep it concise and interesting
- Find parallel interests to bond over
- Follow up after some days or a week
- Don’t be timid
- Don’t limit the conversation to one person
- If it’s clear that the other person isn’t interested, then do not try to force a conversation
- Don’t get drunk enough to appear intoxicated
There are various networking events, such as trade shows, industry-specific speaking engagements, roundtable events, happy hour networking meetups, etc. Find out where your ideal clients will be, who will benefit your objective, and accordingly go there.
Prepare a calendar ahead of time, a month or two earlier, consisting of the upcoming events and meet-ups, so that you can schedule your other appointments and commitments accordingly.
Remember, every lost opportunity is a lost client.
7. Keep an eye out on job listings
Companies hire long-term employees for positions that can actually be filled by a consultant.
Responding to such employment postings by pitching your consulting services is a good way to go. You can portray it as a way for the company to save money.
But make sure you make it clear to them that you are not applying for the position and are instead providing your services as a consultant. If things go well, you can always expect the company to contact you again when the need arises.
Where to look for these jobs?
- Company websites – Companies such as Dell Technologies, Premier Inc., Acorio, Parexel, etc, are some of the companies that frequently hire remote consultants. So keeping an eye out for them can help.
- Magazines & Flyers
- And of course, Google – Sometimes a simple google search is all it takes to find someone nearby who needs you.
8. Have a strong referral program to obtain new clients
Getting referrals is a sure indication that you are doing something right. Always ask your clients for referrals once your project with them is completed. Even if they can’t provide you with a referral immediately, months or even years later you can contact them regarding this.
How to win more referrals?
- Offering a small commission or a percentage of the deal that gets converted so that it works as a win-win situation
- Holding referral contests
- Rewarding referees with upgraded services
Remind your customers occasionally about your referral programs. When they voice your service among their peers, they confirm their commitment towards you, which is a morale booster.
A strong referral program is a great way to find clients for consulting businesses.
9. Cold pitch to get more consulting clients
Cold pitching is taking the matters into your own hands. It might be through emails or phone calls. Sure it might feel a little bit uncomfortable, which is more or less the reason people try avoiding this, but it has turned out to be beneficial for businesses.
You have to pitch it to the right set of people; the ones who check upon your website or interact a lot in your online forums/communities, these are the ones worth burning your time for.
Analytics tools such as Google Analytics can be used to understand who is coming to your site for how long and what they are interested in. This can give you valuable feedback on what you are doing right and whatnot.
Reaching out to your contacts over Facebook and LinkedIn has proven to be more beneficial than through emails according to studies. So, expand your contacts on such media. Search for relevant people using strong keywords related to your industry.
When you make a pitch, make sure each pitch is personally curated to that customer, like addressing them with their name and not just any generic salutation. Give some insights about how you can help them. This will show that you have done some background work.
How to make them stay and believe in you?
Now once you’ve got your target you have to make them stay. You shouldn’t make them feel like all of this is a waste of time. Each pitch should be developed and personalized according to the client.
Without you telling them, they themselves should understand that you have done your homework. There should always be a clear call to action and you should pave the way for this.
Your entire cold pitch should lead to them clicking on the button and responding. If they don’t respond, follow up. Always follow up. Maybe 1 or 2 times more, but make sure you don’t be a nuisance. Your follow-ups should have sufficient intervals between them.
Once they have responded, it is up to you to turn them from prospects into clients. Talk to them about the goal of the meeting and what you can offer as a solution to their problem.
Answer every question that they pose and wrap it all up by reviewing everything you have discussed. Let them know when they can expect a proposal from you and then follow up accordingly.
Well, you have finally landed some clients now. Now you must deliver on time and make sure that there aren’t any mess-ups while scheduling appointments between you and your clients.
A scheduling software like Appointy can help you with this. It can remind both you and your clients about the scheduled meetings and manage your overall calendar without any clashes.
What to do after your project with the client is completed?
You have successfully delivered to your client. Is your saga with them over? Nope. Build upon them. Ask them for their feedback on what you could have done better.
Get their testimonials and if it is a unique and positive one, ask them beforehand whether you can publish them on your website. This can help in lead generation from your existing leads.
If they are a satisfied customer ask them for referrals and talk to them about the win-win referrals mentioned above. Surely they would be inclined to help you out! Keep in touch with them as they may prove to be valuable customers again in the future.
Conclusion: Wrapping Up
The future for consultants is bright as the consultation industry is ever-growing. Employing these tips and tactics is a step in the right direction to get consulting clients fast.
Of course, there can be other methods and tactics. The same method may not work for everyone, and something that works for everyone may not work for you. Don’t give up, and tackle the obstacles from various angles. Talk to other consulting specialists or team up with them to get more clients for your consulting business.
Keep the discussion going below mates!
We at Appointy, help business owners grow and run their businesses with our online scheduling software. This blog was a part of our ‘Manage your Business’ category, where we provide expert tips, and resources, or simply talk about the challenges that small and medium businesses face every day.
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