What if you’re closing deals, but not enough of them? Winning consulting business is as easy (or hard) as 1-2-3-4: talk with the right people; talk about the right problem; catch them at the right time; offer a compelling solution. If a healthy percentage of your prospects flow down your funnel to a signed deal, then your fundamentals are working, whereas if solid leads are failing to sign contracts, one of those four is clogging your new business funnel. On the other hand, what if you’re closing every lead in your funnel but still falling short of your revenue target? That, my friend, is a different issue altogether.
Big funnels lead to big businesses. Small funnels yield an unsatisfying trickle of business. Clogged funnels lead to a frustrating mess, but that’s not the subject under discussion. How do you expand your funnel? You already know that by hook or by crook you need more people to know about you. Your goal is greater visibility. For a quick lesson on publicity, let’s turn to the world of rock ‘n roll.
Adam Levine, lead singer of the rock band Maroon 5, isn’t a consultant; though, come to think of it he does play a “coach” on the hit TV show, “The Voice.” Either way, Levine’s band was faltering when he landed his high-visibility TV role. But the show exposed Levine and his music to millions who previously thought Maroon 5 must be a new color of crayon, and now he’s riding a wave of hit singles. That’s what you’re looking for: stardom. So what can we learn from Levine’s story? It helps to have a good singing voice and be devilishly handsome. Okay, that’s not terribly useful. Let’s hunt for some more tips.
How about these three: First, you must employ vehicles and strategies that will get you and your work in front of strangers; second, think as big as possible; third, commit to strategies and vehicles that fit your own, unique talents. I’m guessing Levine would have enjoyed considerably less success if he had been tapped to host Monday Night Football (which has a much larger audience than The Voice).
One lesson I’ve learned from helping hundreds of consultants win more projects from more clients at higher fees is there’s no universal strategy for becoming known that works for everyone. In addition to respecting the vagaries and nuances of your particular industry or specialization, your prospecting efforts will generate better results if you choose strategies that fit your personal strengths (or those of your firm). When you leverage your own assets, you radically increase the likelihood that you’ll enjoy the awareness-building activities, do them well and stick with them.
Last year, at the request of one of the consultants in the Irresistible Consultant Program, I compiled a list of marketing tactics broken down by personal strengths. Scan down the list and select just one or two strengths where you truly stand out. Yes, yes, you’re good at everything. Just pick one or two. Then build a marketing plan for the next twelve months incorporating as many of the tactics listed for your core strengths as possible.
If your strengths include WRITING
- Publish a book
- Write articles for publications
- Write position papers / white papers
- Write newsletters
- Write a regular blog
- Use Twitter and other social media
If your strengths include COPYWRITING
- Draft advertising
- Write press releases
- Create passive listings in directories
- Produce leave-behinds for audience members
- Post a killer web site
- Develop a press kit
If your strengths include EXTEMPORANEOUS SPEAKING
- Get quoted by reporters in their articles
- Get radio interviews
- Appear on TV
If your strengths include PLATFORM SPEAKING
- To general audiences
- To very targeted audience
- Lead seminars
- Host breakfasts or lunches
- Local (e.g., library)
- Trade association
If your strengths include TEAM LEADERSHIP
- Take a leadership role in a trade association
- Join a trade association committee
If your strengths include ONE-ON-ONE INTERACTION
- Generate referrals
- Face-to-face (Walk the halls!)
- Build alliances
- Secure third-party endorsements and testimonials
If your strengths include EFFECTIVE, EFFICIENT WORK
- Take on pro-bono projects
- Civic organizations
- Ask for client testimonials/endorsements
If your strengths include PRODUCT CREATION
- Self-publish a book, booklets and/or ebooks
- Record teleconferences; create audio products
- Create video products
- Create online programs
- Develop subscription services
- Publish syndicated research
- Offer online assessments and tools
If your strengths include RESEARCHING
- Collect data and e-mail addresses for outbound marketing
- Clients and prospects
- Web searches
- Search for prospects
- Journals and magazines
- Social media
Undoubtedly you can think of other vehicles that leverage your core strength. In fact, I want to hear what they are—that will help everyone who reads the blog. So, add your suggestions and experiences in the comments section below and let me know what has successfully generated publicity for you and your firm. Oh, and if you’ve produced a new, hit music video, you can post that too.
Text and images are © 2019 David A. Fields, all rights reserved.