Selling your consulting services is a big part of your job as an independent professional. If that sounds like something that doesn’t come naturally to you, don’t worry. Finding work often comes down to the planning and effort you put into it. If you’ve already committed to building your own business, you have what it takes and these next steps will soon be second nature.
Targeting marketing efforts to the right people, keeping your skills up-to-date, and taking the time to network with fellow peers are all helpful ways to sell your services and boost your income stream. Focus on each of these steps one at a time. Refine how you execute each to best fit your business needs before moving on to the next. A methodical process will keep you from feeling overwhelmed and help you learn along the way
1. Sell Your Skills to the Right People
You won’t get far in selling your services if you’re not targeting the right people. To identify the audience you should be focusing on, start by making a list of who your potential clients might be and what their needs are. How likely are these people to engage your services? Try and think of the people who will be the best ideal fit for what you are selling. This is your target audience.
If you’re having trouble narrowing down your target audience, reach out and have some informal conversations with some people who you think might fall under your umbrella. Conversations like this can be a helpful way to understand ongoing issues within a certain industry and spark some ideas about how you might be able to help.
2. Grow Your Expertise
Put yourself in the shoes of a potential client—would you want to engage the most knowledgeable expert you can find, or someone who knows what they are doing but hasn’t put in effort lately to update their skills? Part of your job in selling your services is convincing clients that you have the credentials and experience to fulfill their needs.
As an independent, you may be competing against larger, more senior businesses. Show clients why you are valuable. Certifications are one way to keep your skills up-to-date and show clients that you are committed to remaining current in your line of work. A certification can differentiate you from your competition, increase your earning potential, and boost your professional credibility. Other professional development options include taking an online training course, attending industry webinars, connecting with industry experts online, or attending networking events.
3. Develop or Revisit Your Marketing Plan
Take some time to really dig into your current marketing plan, or make one if you don’t currently have one. Define your brand, build your presence on social media, and develop content to grow your professional presence. Make sure that all of your marketing efforts reflect what you want potential clients to see. For example, the way you describe your business should be consistent on your professional website, social media channels, and LinkedIn profile.
Take a look at your professional website. Are visitors guided through a story about who you are and what you do? Does your content build trust, educate, inform, and convert potential leads? If not, update your site to include fresh content, a description of your core services, and some engaging visual elements. Follow the same review and updating process for other lead generation systems you have set up—review emails or newsletters you send out, your LinkedIn profile, and your social media channels.
4. Tap into Your Network
Networking is one of the most effective ways to make your business visible to a variety of people. Your personal and extended network can be reliable resources for finding work. Talk to existing connections about the work you are looking for and what you can offer. Ask if they can refer you to someone who may be interested in what you do. By being proactive, you can build your network and line up future work.
As you dive into networking, consider how you are building relationships rather than just having transactional conversations. The more effort you put into actually getting to know someone, the more you will both get out of the relationship down the road. There are many different ways to go about networking including connecting through social media, attending networking events, or acting as a mentor or finding a mentor.
Looking for more ways to sell your consulting services? Reach out to our team of experts with your questions!