One of the most difficult parts of starting your consulting practice is landing your very first client. Worse still, cold calling can feel absolutely terrifying when you first start out, as many new financial consultants have never done it before. So how do you make yourself visible and known without cold calling prospects? Let’s take a look at four ways to land your first client.
1) Use Your Connections
“But Amanda,” I hear you say, “I don’t have any connections.”
With respect, that’s a rubbish excuse.
You might not have obvious professional connections to a whole host of ideal clients, but everyone has connections they can use to land a client. In fact, leveraging your first-degree connections is one of the most effective ways to sign your first client as a consultant.
First degree connections are people who you are directly connected to. They could be friends, former colleagues or classmates, or business owners in your local area who you’ve gotten to know over the years. Basically, anyone who you could phone up and talk to right now, or grab a cup of coffee with.
Start by reaching out to first degree connections you think might need your help, but don’t stop there. Talk to anyone and everyone who might listen about your new consulting practice. Tell your dentist, your hairdresser, your plumber – everyone! Spread the word as much as possible because you never know who might need your help, or have a referral for you.
2) Scout Out Second-Degree Connections
Second degree connections are ideal clients who you don’t know directly, but have a friend or acquaintance in common with. If you identify a second-degree connection who you think might make a great client, ask your mutual acquaintance to put the two of you in touch.
If they don’t, then go directly to them and start a conversation. Reference the person you have in common to create a sense of familiarity and establish some trust. LinkedIn is a great platform for this, or you can be old-fashioned and simply pick up the phone.
Of course, you can also use the internet to identify ideal clients who you don’t know personally or have a friend in common with. So how do you reach out to them without cold calling?
The secret is to reach out and connect in a way that isn’t about selling or self-promotion. Connect with them and start building a relationship.
Reach out and have a conversation about their business and what’s next for them. Talk to them about your practice and any relevant experience you have of their industry. Focus on adding value to them and getting them to like and trust you. If you’ve seen one of their recent blogs or LinkedIn articles, why not discuss that?
The idea here is to be visible and get on their radar. Even if they don’t need you at this current moment in time, they might know of someone else who does and send business your way. This approach is all about being visible and getting known.
4) Create an Offer That’s Genuinely Helpful
In addition to creating a buzz around your business and putting yourself on your ideal clients’ radar, you also need to make sure that you have got your offer right. You need to be selling what your clients need, rather than what you want them to buy.
Creating the right offer is the key to successful sales and marketing. Many people think selling is invasive but I firmly believe that when you have a great offer, selling is the most helpful thing you can do. If you have an offer that can alleviate your clients’ pain, help them build a more lucrative business and make their lives easier, then what’s invasive about that?
The right offer will resonate with your buyer because it will speak to their pains and problems. When you’ve got a great offer in place, the right clients will follow.
If you find yourself in need of a consulting client, don’t be afraid to use your first and second degree connections. Connect with potential clients on social media or at events where they will expect some conversation from you – not just trying to sell them something. And above all, make sure that your offer is genuinely helpful.. Hold your head high and have faith in what you are selling, and you’ll have your first consulting client in no time.