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Where to start for selling your consulting services?

17 Oct

Having a full-time job, its really hard to get time from my schedule and consult businesses. Still I somehow manage my time, and consult lot of small local and remote businesses (some for knowledge and some for money). I mostly consult these businesses on weekends or in the evenings. The road is not easy, but I love the work that I do. Fortunately, I got my first consulting assignment for a medium-sized company (3000+ employees). I am really excited for this learning opportunity. After this experience, I will have a good idea about day-to-day challenges of a medium-sized company.

When I was reading few materials over the weekend to prepare myself for this opportunity, I got to think about the past – how did I get this opportunity? And I thought of sharing my experience with you. It might help you to sell your professional services to medium or big sized companies. The most basic advise that I can give you before you approach any medium or big sized company with your services is – improve your brand awareness, provide quality services, and try to get good references.

BrandImprove your brand awareness: This can be accomplished by a number of means, but will certainly take time and vary in difficulty depending upon a number of factors including your size, history, geographic footprint, and financial resources. Just try to align your brand with the types of services you want to deliver in the market. Try to establish a history of delivering excellent values through clients across multiple industries. Complement this with marketing and public relations tools ranging from participating in industry events, trade shows, and blogging.

Provide quality services: Developing a reputation in the market for delivering services in a timely, quality, and cost-effective manner will definitely help your business. 40% of my consulting contracts are through the same clients. Quality of my service served as the foundation for building a strong reference base and opportunity pipeline. Don’t just give importance to your initial contracts, treat all of your contracts as they were your first. This approach will definitely help you in maintaining good customer relationships.

ReferralGet good references: If you are a new service provider, a strong reference base is an absolute requirement. Most of my clients are extremely selective, when it comes to choosing a service provider. At first, lot of my clients simply refused to take a chance on someone new like me. But when they spoke to my previous clients to whom I have successfully delivered the same service, they agreed to try me. To build these initial references, I would recommend working for non-profits, small businesses and start-ups. Before consulting businesses for money, I have worked for many businesses for free. This is the best way to build up your reference base and get some good experience.

I hope my article was helpful, and I am eager to hear your feedback. Thanks. – Bhavin Gandhi

 
12 Comments

Posted by on October 17, 2010 in Management

 

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12 responses to “Where to start for selling your consulting services?

  1. Jesse Hummel

    October 18, 2010 at 1:04 PM

    Great post, enjoyed the process behind business consulting. How did you initially market your service’s and convey your knowledge to your consumer?

     
  2. Bhavin Gandhi

    October 18, 2010 at 1:27 PM

    Hey Jesse,

    Thanks for reading my blog and commenting on it. I hope, you have learned something new after reading my post.

    Anyways, getting to your point —–>

    My initial clients were those businesses, where I have worked before. Fortunately, I have worked in one start-up and one small sized company before. And my first few clients came through their referral.

    But in those times, I used to do I.T. Consulting (web development, database consulting and I.T. related issues). I started Management Consulting in early 2009, during first year of my MBA. During this first year, I consulted my ex-clients for free, this time it was management consulting instead of technical consulting. I learned a good deal of business challenges through this experience.

    After I acquired enough knowledge of these business segments, their challenges and solutions to their problems; I started helping local non-profits. They have increased my contacts tremedously. Helping non-profit was the best thing that happened to me. Lot of free publicity. And then, I started putting myself on LinkedIn, Facebook and Blogs. Everything else is the history.

    In short, start with small businesses, non-profits and start-ups. Join online forums, blog about their problems, publisize your services on LinkedIn, Facebook and craigslist. And yeah! Try to ask your ex-clients to refer you to their friends or collegues.

    I hope my reply was helpful. Let me know, if you need any other information.

    Wish you good luck. – Bhavin Gandhi

     
  3. Patrick E. McDermott

    October 19, 2010 at 8:59 AM

    Bhavin, great blog! I like your tactic of helping out the non-profits and startups then leveraging your contacts and references.

     
    • Bhavin Gandhi

      October 19, 2010 at 2:13 PM

      Patrick, I really appreciate your comment. I hope, you can also leverage your connections to find challenging opportunities for your business.

      Thanks – Bhavin Gandhi

       
  4. KESHAV RAM SINGHAL

    October 20, 2010 at 3:55 AM

    Nice …

     
  5. Alpesh Darji

    October 20, 2010 at 8:12 PM

    Bhavin,

    Very nice explaination for strugglar / beginner like me. Keep posting such articles.

     
    • Bhavin Gandhi

      October 20, 2010 at 8:46 PM

      Alpesh,

      Thanks for your comments. And yeah! Look out for my next blog post about the next step in consulting. Mostly posting over the weekend.

      Have a nice time. Thanks – Bhavin Gandhi

       
  6. Irshad S

    October 21, 2010 at 7:44 AM

    Hi Bhavin,

    Thank you for sharing your experiences.

    One of my friend wants start a recruiting firm..would you like to give some tips on it.

    Regards,
    Irshad.

     
    • Bhavin Gandhi

      October 21, 2010 at 10:02 AM

      Hey Irshad,

      Thanks for reading my blog and commenting on it. As far as your friend is concern, I would suggest following:

      – Use websites and professional association to advertise your services.
      – Social media marketing is the best way to go for new business.
      – This is obvious, but keep an eye on online job boards for potential candidates, who may have resumes online even if they’re not currently looking.
      – Develop relationships with university’s placement offices. You would be surprise to know how much talent you can get.
      – Make sure that your staff members actively participate in professional associations. They are likely to meet more candidates there.

      I hope my reply was helpful. Let me know, if you need any other information.

      Wish you good luck. – Bhavin Gandhi

       
  7. Manish

    July 23, 2011 at 9:49 PM

    Bhavin Grate Blog it will help us for our jobs also. It is very helpful to me so keep posting and be in touch

     
  8. Bhavin Gandhi

    July 24, 2011 at 1:24 PM

    @Manish: Thanks for your comments. Its always nice to know that my knowledge is helping others. And yeah! I will always keep in touch🙂.

     
  9. Kaiomarz Engineer

    October 31, 2011 at 4:30 PM

    Great Article Bhavin!

     

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