If there’s one thing that can make or break your business, it’s clients (or the lack of).
Whether you’re a startup or a freelancer, sourcing out consulting clients is one of the worries that will fill your workday. Luckily for us whose careers have crossed paths with the digital age, there is now a straightforward technique for lead generation. While it can be a tedious and time-consuming task, it’s guaranteed to get you the right connections.
Laying down the basics
If you’re up for long-term methods, the best way to attract consulting clients is to establish your expertise in your field and build your brand image. Put out a blog, give out talks, and share content that visitors and followers can value once they come across your page. Every business thrives by sharing information and by making it known that they play well in their industry. While you’re regularly putting out content, you can mention that you do consult in that area, so people can reach out if you’re interested.
However, as traditional and effective as boosting your brand image is, it’s not the fastest way to do it. You would have to wait for leads to discover you themselves, if not referred to you by word-of-mouth. Anchoring solely on your content would mean having little to no control over when and how many consulting clients will come – which usually results in a fluctuating business financial report.
Similarly, content is typically part of a broader B2B marketing strategy. While many companies have succeeded with directly publishing blogs or doing talks, it’s not a hundred per cent guarantee. And once it’s a routine, there’s a risk of falling into a pattern for random exposure without a thorough sales strategy connected to it.
Put yourself in front of your clients
Nothing beats being proactive with finding consulting clients or customers, instead of merely praying for leads to knock at your door. And here’s how to do it.
1. Look for relevant websites
The first step is to find and list down the websites that use the tech stack you specialize in. A tech stack is crucial when you’re developing an application or website. You can consider this as the foundation of your venture, and everything else hangs from it.
When looking for consulting clients, consider those whose pages use the same tech stack as you do. There are some websites like BuiltWith that can list down these pages for you with a single click. Save it in a spreadsheet, and you’re good to go.
2. Narrow down your targets
Now that you have your list of websites start to filter them out based on company size. When it comes to lead generation, it’s best to focus on smaller to mid-size companies as more giant corporations likely do their processes in-house.
Apart from that, bigger companies have quite a particular process for hiring or outsourcing. By targeting smaller corporations, you can bypass these exhausting steps and get straight to collecting leads. Making LinkedIn connections is much easier when you don’t have to deal with red tape.
3. Start reaching out
Once you’re happy with your list, you can now start lead generation on LinkedIn and send out messages to those within and outside your LinkedIn connections. Look for project managers, marketing managers, supervisors, or those who make the decisions that you can add to your LinkedIn network. This can be the most tedious process, especially if you have quite a number of websites on your spreadsheet. For every site, you’ll need to reach out to at least three people.
To make it easier and faster, use a LinkedIn lead generation tool. LinkedProspect is a software that automates the whole process for you – from invites to requests, to messages. You can even opt set it to send automatic or personalized thank you notes, which is a plus point if you’re trying to make a good impression.
4. Take it to email
While connecting with your LinkedIn network is an excellent strategy, it does have its disadvantage: People aren’t as active on the platform. Unlike email, professionals don’t check their social account daily, so waiting for a response can be time-consuming.
You can work around this by taking the conversation to email and making your pitch there. Because companies usually follow a single email format, it’s much easier to find contact details with websites like Hunter, which search for company formats for you.
5. Set up a 1-on-1
Directly getting in touch with someone in charge saves you from the never-ending email forwarding. With their contact details ready, you can now reach out the most senior person with a relevant role. Invite them for a quick meeting with a personalized email, and start your pitch.
Highlight problem-solving capacities
The key to a successful pitch is to give their website a quick review and pinpoint which areas need to be updated. From there, you can share these ideas during your 1-on-1 and help them understand how you can solve their problems.
You’d be surprised to see that a handful of businesses actually don’t have the right teams and resources to create everything in-house. Use that as leverage to fill the gap.
Less can be more
What most people think is that the more consulting clients you get, the better. And while that does ring true to a certain extent, it’s not always going to go your way. All you need to get your business running is a few good clients every year. Once you build that trust with your consulting clients, you’ll have a secured project for the next few months or years.
In the business world, it’s not always ideal to go out and experiment, especially when your business and products are at stake. So if a company outsources one of their processes and likes your work, chances are they will be signing with you again.
To cut a long story short
The best advice is you can get is to talk to people. Don’t hesitate to send out emails and connect with your LinkedIn network. It’s worth putting your brand out there to professionals, whether or not they choose to work with you right away.
Lead generation is less of reaching sales quota and more of making connections. When you make an effort to get to know the people in your industry, it will surely pay off in the end.