As an advisor, one of your biggest challenges is acquiring new customers. An advisor who systematically attracts new customers can keep the practice healthy and growing. Customer acquisition may require proof of business traction, partners, etc.
Acquisition of a new customer requires that they:
- Become aware of your company brand and advisory services,
- Add your service to their consideration pool, and
- Decide they are willing to pay for your services.
Many consulting services companies struggle to find new clients. A lack of sales and marketing experience makes conventional approaches like making cold calls and sales presentations a real challenge.
There are several ways to acquire new clients. With a bit of planning, you can maximize your chances of success. However, make sure that your quest for new clients does not compromise the service your existing clients expect from you.
How to Succeed at New Client Acquisition
To acquire new clients, you must first understand who your ideal client is. To identify the perfect client for your consulting firm, listing their qualities and attributes will help you define the desired “client persona” and form your business outreach strategy.
Answer the following to define your ideal client:
- Who do you think is an ideal client for you?
- What is their title?
- What are their business industry and business location?
- What frustrations, problems, or issues are they likely to face in their business?
- If you are working with companies, what size of company can afford your services?
Once you have compiled your ideal client profile, the next step is to find them.
So, make connections. Cast a wide net, as you never know where you might find your next client. Reach out to old and current clients and ask for referrals. Never underestimate the power of client referrals which are the best way to meet potential new clients. Anyone who refers you is not doing you a favor but has faith in your services and probably wants you to do the same for others.
Stay in Contact with Other Professionals
Staying in close contact with other professionals can lead to referrals. Having a partner will also introduce you to a more extensive client base, add to your contacts, and eventually build a larger referral network.
Do not skip local business group meetings or events: these offer great opportunities to build your network. If you are offering a niche service, partnering with another consulting firm is another good business strategy. When you team up with others, you can “bundle” your services and pitch them together.
Your local chamber of commerce is one of the most prominent places to connect with other professionals. Remember that whether you connect with other professionals online or offline, you must contribute value, which you can do when you ask the right questions and give sound advice. Don’t pitch your services to everyone you meet; you will lose their interest and patience.
Focus on Marketing Strategy
For any consulting services firm to succeed, you need to understand the clients you hope to acquire. Clear answers to the following questions will help you form your brand and business strategy:
- What is my business market, and who are my competitors?
- What are my areas of expertise, and for whom is it most relevant?
- Do I have ample, suitable proof of my expertise (e.g., old client case studies, research findings)?
These critical, differentiating questions help to position your firm. When you can identify how you differ from others in the market, you know what makes your business unique and valuable.
One essential marketing asset is your business website. It plays a vital role in positioning your business online, which eventually leads to new client acquisition.
Another aspect of your marketing strategy is how fast you grow your social network. Social networking is the modern force behind most marketing strategies: “There are over 590 million active users on LinkedIn and two million active groups.”
Learn how to reach your target audience effectively through social media. Social networking sites such as Facebook business groups and LinkedIn are powerful business tools. They allow you to connect with your target audience on a bigger scale.
From singular brand positioning to messaging optimization and built-in nurture systems, these platforms are designed to help your business.
Be an Above-Average Advisor
After you connect with clients, stay involved. Remember, out of sight is actually out of mind. There are many advisory firms out there, each fighting for a piece of the same pie. Savvy advisors know the importance of being there for their clients. An advisor who exceeds expectations in service delivery is definitely on the road to success.
The problems taken to advisors are not easy to solve. The client may want to know how to diversify or acquire a new business. Should they change their marketing and sales strategy? Perhaps a company’s management seeks insight into restructuring the company or advice on which financial policies to adopt.
These are not superficial issues. Sometimes, problems are deeply rooted and require specific solutions implemented under expert supervision. Clients may also need assistance in identifying the problem(s). In such cases, the advisor must begin by understanding the context of the issue.
Each problem brought to the advisor requires a specific solution; understanding what the client needs and expects is necessary. How can you do this?
- Do your homework. Research your client’s business and industry before you meet them, so you ask relevant questions.
- Ask questions to get to the root cause.
- Be a good listener and stay focused on the conversation. Do not interrupt unless you need more information about the matter at hand.
- Show respect for your client’s business, achievements, and decisions, even if you disagree with them over an issue or decision.
- Make an effort to know your clients. Establishing rapport is necessary for a long-term, positive relationship.
You will acquire new customers from old connections and referrals, so maintain those connections you have created. These connections are likely to refer you as an advisor for anyone looking for one.
The success of your consulting firm depends on a solid link between your marketing activities and your business development activities. The future is undoubtedly bright for those who have figured out their game plan.