You decided to launch your own consulting gig to put your expertise to good use — congratulations! The job outlook for consultants is expected to increase by 14% through 2028, proving there is plenty of opportunity in this growing field.

While there are increasing opportunities for consultants, you’ll need a steady stream of clients to sustain a consulting business.

Let’s walk through fast tips to help you land more consulting clients.

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1. Identify your ideal client.

Before you set out to sign more clients, you first need to understand who your ideal client is. List out the key qualities and attributes your ideal client has. This will help shape your client outreach strategy to ensure you’re getting in front of the right clients. Here are a few questions to consider:

  • Based on your area of expertise, are you more likely to support individual clients or organizations?
  • If you plan to help businesses, what size companies can afford your rates?
  • If you plan to work with individuals, what job title does your ideal client have?
  • What is your ideal project?
  • Are they located in a specific geographic region?
  • What problems are they looking to solve?

2. Know your unique value proposition.

By now, you should have an area of expertise identified. But what do you offer that makes you stand out from the other consultants in your niche?

Consider areas you naturally excel in. Are you incredibly organized? Then perhaps your unique value proposition is that you help your clients implement scalable business systems.

Are you a natural people-person who builds cohesive teams? Then consider marketing your team-building abilities to organizations that can benefit from them.

Your unique value proposition should be your key selling point that drives your discovery conversations with new prospects. When you are crystal-clear on what you have to offer and are able to convey this to the right prospect, you’ll be able to sign the clients who need your services most.

3. Share helpful content related to your niche.

After identifying your ideal client, you should have a good idea of the kind of problems or obstacles your services can help them overcome. Establish yourself as an authority in your niche by sharing content that speaks to the problems your ideal client is likely to face.

Now, when I say helpful content I don’t mean give away keys to the castle. There should be certain aspects of your knowledge that are only available to your paying clients. However, if you share information that helps your ideal client or audience solve a minor problem you’re able to start building trust with an engaged audience.

This gives you leverage to promote yourself in an honest way to an audience that is ready to begin working with you.

4. Ask for referrals.

If you already have satisfied clients from previous projects, don’t be afraid to ask for a referral. For many former clients who had a positive experience working with a consultant, they are willing to refer services to another contact, however, they may not think to do it voluntarily. It doesn’t hurt to ask. Unsure of how to ask? Try one of these prompts:

  • "Do you know of any other companies that could benefit from my services?"
  • "I’m so glad you’re happy with the work we did on your project. I would appreciate it if you would share my name with any contacts you know who may be interested."
  • "It has been a pleasure working on this project with you. I’m always looking for more great clients — do you know anyone who may be interested in my services?"

5. Invest in paid advertising.

If you’re looking to get the word out about your consulting business quickly, paid advertising can be a helpful approach. Through using Facebook Ads, you can create hyper-targeted campaigns to reach audiences who may be interested in working with you.

6. Attend meetups and events related to your ideal client’s industry.

Networking is alive and well. Keep an eye on events related to your ideal client’s niche happening in your area. Attending events where your ideal clients are is a great way to make connections quickly — which can lead to clients and referrals.

7. Partner with other consultants or firms.

If you have a very specific niche or set of services, partnering with another consultant or firm that offers a different set of services can be a beneficial strategy. By teaming up with another consultant and working together to “bundle” your services. Working with a partner can introduce you to a broader client base, which can lead to more contracts in the future and a larger referral network.

8. Join LinkedIn groups related to your ideal client’s interests.

There are over 590 million active users on LinkedIn and two million active groups. The average LinkedIn member has joined seven groups. With these figures in mind, it’s pretty safe to say a LinkedIn group related to your ideal client’s niche exists, and that people with qualities of your ideal client are there waiting to hear from you.

Use the LinkedIn search function to find groups related to your area of expertise, and join them. Look to build genuine connections by commenting on posts, and sharing relevant content to continue fostering connections that can lead to clientele.

9. Follow-up with old leads.

Do you have leads that didn’t sign on the dotted line? That’s ok — the timing of your initial conversation may not have been right. When you’re looking to sign on new clients, reach back out to previous contacts to gauge where they are in their business, and share some of the results you’ve had with other happy clients. This keeps you top of mind for this contact so they can revisit the idea of working with you.

10. Use online job listings.

You can use an online listing such as Credo to be matched with prospects who are looking to work on specific projects related to digital marketing. Though using this type of service may not allow the flexibility of signing your own client, it can be a great way to get in touch with clients who are ready to get to work.

The future is bright for those in the consulting field. Use these steps to find the right clients, and you’re well on your way. For more tips to help you grow your consulting business, check out this post.

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Originally published Dec 27, 2019 8:30:00 AM, updated May 13 2020