Are you a consultant interested in how to get your first consulting client? Then you’ve come to the right place.
For any organization, business, company brand, or institution to improve, grow, and achieve its goals and objectives, it needs its daily activities to run smoothly and effectively.
For these activities to run smoothly, the business, organization, or institution needs its employees.
However, it also needs special advice, supervision, and expertise from individuals or persons who are trained, qualified, and professionals in the required field.
It could be in finances, human resources, information and communications technology, operations, strategy, management, health, etc.
Professionals who specialize in these fields are known as consultants.
Often, highly trained and qualified consultants do not have the opportunity to contribute their knowledge and skills in helping businesses.
This is because they have not been found, or the consultant cannot get his/her first consulting client.
If you are a consultant in any field, finding it difficult to patronage, this blog post will be guiding you on how to get your first consulting client.
Thereby helping you start and grow your consultancy business.
Who is a Consulting Client?
A consulting client is anyone who needs your professional advice and expert knowledge as a consultant.
Likewise, a consulting client is defined as a person, group of persons, institution, or organization that hires you for your services internally or externally.
Why are these groups of people important to you as a consultancy services provider?
Let’s find out.
Importance of Getting your First Consulting Client
While clients play an integral role in the success of businesses, brands, organizations, etc., they, in turn, are important to the success of every consultant.
This is why consultants should strive to get their first consulting client.
This importance is highlighted as follows;
- Possessing professional knowledge, experience, expertise, and skill without channeling it into a project or a task is unproductive.
That is why you need consulting clients to help you convert your competence and skills into a performance that produces great results and pays you for your services.
- This is one of the first steps towards opening doors of opportunities and advantages for you as a consultant.
- If your first consulting client is pleased with your services, they will spread positive reviews about your consultation and recommend and refer you to others.
This also allows you to acquire more consulting clients without marketing or advertising.
- Your first consulting client is your first shot at rendering your professional expertise to an actual client.
Depending on your abilities to deliver on the task, a client could become a loyal consulting client who has a long-lasting relationship with you or your firm.
A Loyal consulting client is willing to pay more for your services and retain your services for as long as their business relationship with you lasts.
- Also, your first consulting client is your first trial at entering into the competitive market of consultants that specializes in your field of expertise.
- Finally, your first consulting client helps you build the confidence you need to offer your services to other people and build authority in your niche.
Now, let’s discover what you need to do before getting your first clients as a consultant.
Things to do Before Getting Your First Consulting Client
Understand Your Target Audience/Market
Your consulting clients are individuals, groups of individuals, companies, organizations, and institutions that require your professional advice and expertise.
Therefore, one of the first steps to take is to understand your target market and audience.
This will help you identify if your chosen field of consultancy matches the problems of your target audience.
This is because, as great as your expertise might be, they are not for every person or organization.
Needs vary from person to person, organization to organization, etc.
While some require financial consultation, others might be looking out for human resources consultations.
Understanding your target audience and market helps you streamline your search for clients to the right places, person, organization, or institution.
Study and Research your Field or Industry of Expertise
Another important step to take before getting your first client is to study or research your field of expertise or industry.
Researching your industry/field is a form of a marketing survey that helps you gather all the necessary information.
Information that you need to know about your field, especially your potential clients.
The purpose of research on your industry/field is to guide and help you acquire the appropriate knowledge and skills that your target market will need.
Additionally, researching your industry allows you to keep up with the recent trends.
In essence, it helps you to predict future changes and development that may occur in your field or industry and progress with these changes.
Preparation means having all your requirements in place before getting your first consulting client.
Preparation could be in the form of defining your aims and objectives.
Also, it could be in the areas and field that you intend to offer your professional advice and expertise.
These could revolve around creating a professional website, getting an office/location for your consulting services, etc.
Determine Your Pricing Strategy
Determine your pricing strategy is another preparatory method to getting your first client.
It is the fixed price for your services as a consultant that helps you choose the right prices.
More so, it is that which gives you profit and your consulting clients the best results.
Though pricing may vary from company to company or organization to organization, it is also determined by a couple of internal and external factors.
Such factors include target market and audience, the budget, the aims and objectives, the duration of time the contract, etc.
Build an Online Presence
Building an online presence is essential to getting your first consulting client.
It involves utilizing social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, Twitter, etc., to your advantage.
This could serve as your online portfolio where you provide all the necessary information about your expertise.
This is essential just in case your potential consulting client wants to do a personal web search of you as a consultant.
Your social media platforms are also a great way to showcase your skills/expertise.
In all, creating a strong online presence will help you build a strong professional image that attracts the attention of the right audience.
Create Communication Channels
Working with consulting clients could be internal or external.
Whichever way it is, you and your consulting clients need to communicate and interact frequently.
This is throughout the period of your contract or the project assigned to you by the conducting client.
Effective communication prevents misconceptions and miscommunication between you and your consulting client.
Additionally, it also serves as a medium of keeping in touch with your client and updates, follows up, and feedback between you and the consulting client.
Hence, the need for you to create communication channels that will allow for easy and effective communication before getting your first consulting client.
Communication channels could be through emails, phone calls, video conference calls, face-to-face (in person) meetings, webchats, live chats, and social media platforms.
Offer Solution and Value
Being ready to get your first consulting client also means being ready to offer your potential consulting clients solutions and value.
How do you offer a solution?
Offering a solution to your consulting client means using your knowledge, skills, and professional expertise to best serve them.
You’ll use this to figure out the needs or problems preventing your client from achieving success.
On the other hand, offering value means going beyond providing your consulting clients with professional advice and expertise.
It involves offering them your services worth/equal to or preferably beyond the price they paid for your professional expertise.
Consulting client’s views or perceptions of value may vary.
However, here are a few ways you can offer value to your potential consulting client.
- Educating your consulting clients on all they need to know about the field or area of expertise.
- Swift delivery on projects or tasks assigned to you by the consulting client.
- Giving high professional advice and guidance to your consulting client that helps them improve on their business or organization image.
- Providing your consulting clients with assistance whenever they need it, etc.
Overall, these are some of the things you need to do before deciding to get clients for your consulting business.
How to Get your first Consulting Client
When preparation has been made, the next step would be getting your first consulting client.
There are different ways in which you can get your first consulting client.
Search Within Your Direct Network
One of the first ways of finding your first consulting client is searching within.
Searching within means talking to everyone that you know and you are in contact with.
It also involves informing them about your professional expertise and skills through texts, calls, or emails.
Your direct network is those you know, like your family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, former colleagues, former classmates, etc.
Search On Social Media
Social media platforms are fast becoming the best way to showcase your expertise and skills.
It can also help you get your first client.
First, you have to determine the social media platforms that are right and effective for your area of expertise.
Then, you need to find your target audience on social media.
Afterward, you can engage them by offering them informative and educative tips and advice on your areas of expertise.
Also, you can try using social media sponsored advertisements so potential consulting clients in your locality or any geographical location of your choice can find you.
When doing this, ensure to use generic and relevant hashtags in your field or industry.
This increases the chances of your target audience finding your ads amongst millions of ads on various social media platforms.
Use Recommendations and Referrals
Recommendations and referrals are precisely the reasons why you need to utilize your network and social media in getting your first client.
Most times, the people in your network or your followers on social media might not need your services and professional expertise.
However, there is a tendency that they know one or two persons, businesses, or organizations that need your professional services.
Hence, they could recommend you to those people who may need your services.
As a result, helping you get your first consulting client.
Therefore, urge your friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances, followers on social, etc., to recommend or refer you to others.
Use Paid/Sponsored Advertising
Another method you could consider using to get your first consulting client is with paid ads.
Paid advertising is a method of advertising in which you pay for advertisement.
It could be in the form of pay-per-click advertising, which drives traffic to your website, display advertising on banners or websites, social media advertising on social media pages like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, search advertisements, remarketing advertisements, etc.
These could help you bring your services in front of the right audience.
Collaboration and Partnership
Collaborating and partnering with a competitor in your niche or industry could help you.
In this type of collaboration, you team up with a competitor who has some pre-existing clients to offer training and classes to potential or pre-existing consulting clients.
It could also be in the form of offering professional advice to consulting clients at a discounted price.
This way, you both benefit in terms of financial profit and acquiring a new client.
One of the most effective ways to get your first consulting client is by writing and submitting proposals.
In this sense, a proposal is a written offer to a potential consulting client, business, or organization that needs your professional expertise.
These proposals should be properly planned and well-presented.
It should also state your potential consulting client’s current needs or problems and how your services will best help them fix such a problem or meet the need.
It could also contain how much discount you are willing to give your potential consulting client for your services.
Your website is your asset that serves as your portfolio and your means of getting your first consulting clients.
As we stated earlier, your website should contain detailed information about your skills, professional expertise, experience.
Also included should be testimonials and reviews from your previous jobs or works.
You can find your first consulting client by attending network events around you.
It’s a great way to share information and tips, help each other, and find/meet potential clients.
Similarly, a business community can be an avenue for you to get your first consulting client.
These communities are meant to help you figure out your needs/problems and help you find the right partners, businesses, organizations, or institutions that need your services.
It is usually a community of like-minds, professionals/consultants, e.g., LinkedIn.
Furthermore, you could consider finding your first consulting client through job listings.
Job listings are basically job openings by companies, businesses, or organizations seeking an expert or a professional in a field.
They usually include the job title, the job description, job requirements, experiences, qualifications, etc.
These factors help you determine whether the client is right for you or if you fit into the role.
Examples of job listing websites are; Indeed, LinkedIn, Monster, SimplyHired, Google for jobs, Hired, Behance, Jobberman, My Job Mag, Joblistnigeria.com, Freelancer, etc.
Final Thoughts On How To Get Your First Consulting Client
Getting your first consulting client as a consultant or a newly established consulting firm always seems like a big and difficult step.
However, with the right strategies and steps mentioned here, finding your first consulting client should be a lot easier.
Therefore, keep these tips in mind and use them to find customers for your consulting business/agency.