The industry I consult to is growing so fast that I'll never be able to market to all of them. How can I get more leverage than by contacting each one individually?
Trade and industry associations exist to serve their members. In associations where the members are companies, the association often collects information on member capabilities, activities, and investment or customer service plans. They often publish a newsletter or studies of industry activity, key issues or trends and major opportunities or constraints facing the industry.
If you consult to an industry, you should be in close contact with the trade association (sometimes there are several for various aspects of an industry). Use collected information on the industry or, better yet, do your own research or write articles for the association publications. Speak at their annual conference, join as an affiliate member, and participate in forums or study groups.
Being front and center in an industry as an active participant in an association demonstrates to others that you are a professional. Imagine how much more credible as a trusted advisor you are when industry mavens see your name in industry association publications and know you are committed to their industry. Make sure they know you are a member or are otherwise affiliated with the association. Tip:
The effect is similar when you talk to your clients and let them know that you are a member of a professional consulting organization and not "just doing a little consulting" while looking for another job in the industry. Certainly, being able to show that you are a member of IMC, which sets the standards and competency framework for professional consulting in the US, enforces ethics and certifies consultants to global standards, will increase your credibility. © 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA