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.
Improve 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.
Get 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