I'd like to increase my visibility as a consultant. I do great work. I just don't seem to get as many leads as I would like, and don't convert many of them to clients. What would you advise?
Although strongly endorsed and disputed as a good strategy for diversified corporations, Jack Welch's desire to "be number one or two or get out of the business" has an element of merit for consultants. While you don't actually have to be first or second among consultants globally, you can corner the perceived top rank in some intersection of discipline, industry, geography and mode of presence (i.e., how you interact with the public or prospects).
What would you do if you wanted to be the "Number One" consultant in your field in both perception and reality? What would you do? What do other "top of the heap" consultants do? Make a list then pick those areas you could pull off. Here's a starter:
- Speak at more events.
- Write more articles.
- Plug the holes in your own repertoire of skills and experience by building up one or two to be your premier offerings.
- Network more intensively but selectively at industry events and wherever your prospects are likely to be.
- Communicate through P.R., letters, e-mails, your Web site, personal notes, phone calls but make them notable and valuable to the recipient, not just a throw-away greeting or thank you.
- Volunteer to serve on one or tow committees where your prospects are likely to be and where you can build both skills and reputation.
- Write a book, special report, study or anything that is valuable to your audience and will get the attention you need (and offer it for free as a contribution to the profession or industry).
- Think "making deposits before taking withdrawals." It isn't automatic for most of us to give altruistically. Make a list of all the ways you can contribute.
- Get listed, do interviews, get your name out there.
- Be unique. Specialize. Have a "hook" by which you are uniquely identified. One highly regarded collection of approaches to make your offerings really stand out is POP!: Stand Out in Any Crowd
This is a starter list but add to it depending on your industry, discipline or command of media. Of course it is hard, but the point is for you to stand out from the crowd and that means focusing on one area and putting in a lot of effort.© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA