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Just resigned from an executive position? Why not start a consulting business? (Part 4)

By News Express on 22/08/2016

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Let us continue from where we stopped last week on the subject of how to take advantage of the opportunities in the consultancy industry.

Cold Calling – You must do whatever it takes to make cold-calling work and make it easier for yourself. There are a few tricks you can use to make cold-calling a little easier for you: Prepare a script ahead of time. Spell out word for word what you expect to say when you get someone on the telephone. Remember, though, that your goal is to get a face-to-face interview and, eventually, a new client. So before you end up stumbling over your sales presentation (either in person or over the telephone), write your script and practice it again and again.

Be creative in your efforts to reach the decision maker. Most times you will encounter a secretary or administrative assistant who has years of experience turning away cold callers like yourself. But don’t give up! Don’t let any obstacle stand in your way! To avoid being screened by the secretary, try calling before she is on the job. Yes, you may have to call before 8am or after 5pm, but at these times, chances are the decision maker you are trying to reach will answer their own telephone.

Limit your cold calls to just several days each month. And look forward to those days, making sure you put your best effort into the process. That way, not only will it become easier to make those cold calls, but you will find yourself actually looking forward to making them.

Advertising The limits you place on advertising your consulting services will be directly tied to your advertising budget. If you are lucky enough to have a very healthy advertising budget, remember that you don’t have to spend the money on ads just because you have it to spend. Advertising can be very expensive. You may advertise in your association’s publications or directory of research and marketing consulting businesses around the country. It will help generate new businesses.

Another option may be to depend on word-of-mouth, which is the best form of advertising for any business, also is recommendations from other people.

Depending on the type of services you offer, it may be necessary to advertise in specialised trade journals or magazines. For example, as a fund-raising consultant, placing ads in such publications as any of those operated by any Philanthropy, Non-Profit and Fund Raising organisations would make sense.

Before you spend any money, start looking through professional journals and newspapers relative to the fields you specialise in. Take some time and examine ads that have been placed by other consultants, and then carefully determine how effective you think their ads may be. Then design one that suits you best.

Newsletters Whatever your consulting field is you should have more than enough information to produce a newsletter as a means of attracting potential clients. If you don’t have the time, or don't feel comfortable self-publishing your own newsletter, hire a local freelance writer and graphic designer to do the job for you. Again, you don’t have to make it an expensive, four-color, glossy publication. The simpler you keep it, the better. A good newsletter will sell itself based on the content rather than the splashy design.

Start collecting newsletters that are being published in your consulting field. If you think there are none being published, or if you think there are only a few in your field, guess again. A quick visit to the library will reveal several newsletter listed by subject, which are published. Take some time and write for sample copies before you design and write the first issue of your own newsletter. You’ll be surprised at the quality of the newsletters that are being produced today.

Newsletters are an effective means of communication and, in my opinion, represent the best advertising media for a consultant to sell his or her services. Think about it the next time you receive a newsletter in the mail or your email box. Did you put it aside to read it later? And why did you do that? Probably because you wanted to make sure you weren’t missing any important news or information.

But what about that brochure you received in the mail the same day? Did you put it aside to read later? Or did it go directly into the trashcan. Think about this before you spend big money on a glitzy brochure that may not even be read.

Public Speaking – Public speaking is another excellent way to recruit new clients and to earn a reputation for excellence in your community. Unless you live in a town so small it doesn’t have a chamber of commerce or a Lion’s Club, Rotary Club or any other similar service organisation, you can begin offering your services as a speaker for luncheons, dinners or any other special occasion.

In addition to using the telephone directory (or telephone number database), see if anyone has published a directory of service organisations in your community. You can visit the library and ask at the reference desk. Go through and make a list of organisations that hold monthly meetings and therefore may use guest speakers. Contact each group and offer your public speaking services.

Ask for Referrals This often-overlooked method of finding new clients is such an easy marketing tool (which is why it’s usually not thought of), you'll kick yourself for not thinking of it yourself. When you have finished your consulting assignment and your client is in seventh heaven (and is no doubt singing your praises), that is an excellent time to ask for a referral. Simply send a note or a short letter asking for the names of any colleagues, friends or business associates they feel might be good prospects for your consulting services. Ask their permission to mention their name when you write to the people whose names they pass on to you. Sometimes all it takes is having a mutual friend or respected business associate to get the potential client’s attention.

As we bring to a conclusion our discussion that started a few weeks ago on the subject of how to take advantage of the opportunities in the consultancy industry, send me an SMS/WhatsApp message or Call for more details and training opportunities and we will entrench the topic further.

•Lawrence Nwaodu is a small business expert and enterprise consultant, trained in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, with an MBA in Entrepreneurship from The Management School, University of Liverpool, United Kingdom, and MSc in Finance and Financial Management Services from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University Netherlands. Mr. Nwaodu is the Lead Consultant at IDEAS Exchange Consulting, Lagos. He can be reached via nwaodu.lawrence@hotmail.co.uk (07066375847).

Source News Express

Posted 22/08/2016 1:56:50 PM

 

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