As a marketing consultant, your ability to attract and retain clients is critical to your success. While having a strong online presence is important, personal networking can be one of the most effective ways to grow your consulting business.
In this article, we’ll explore the importance of personal networks for marketing consultants and provide tips for building and leveraging your network to grow your business.
Building and Maintaining Strong Personal Networks
You must first build and maintain strong relationships with your contacts to leverage your network for business growth. This involves identifying potential connections, building and nurturing relationships with them, and staying in touch.
Identifying Potential Connections
Begin by brainstorming a list of potential connections, including former colleagues or clients, friends in your industry or related fields, and even family members who may have connections to your target audience. Prioritize these contacts based on their potential value to your business.
Building and Nurturing Relationships
Once you’ve identified potential connections, build and nurture relationships with them. Get to know your contacts, understand their needs and interests, and find ways to add value to their lives. This may involve sharing resources, congratulating them on achievements, or checking in regularly.
Staying in Touch
Staying in touch is critical to maintaining a strong personal network. Share relevant articles or resources on social media, send regular email newsletters or updates, and organize social events or meetups to bring your network together.
Leveraging Your Network for Business Growth
Once you’ve built a strong personal network, it’s time to leverage it for business growth. This involves communicating your services, asking for referrals and recommendations, and leveraging your connections for new business opportunities.
Communicating Your Services
Let your contacts know what you do, your ideal clients, and how you can help them. Consider sending a personalized email or message outlining your services and inviting them to learn more. You may also create a targeted marketing campaign for your network, highlighting your expertise and how it can benefit their businesses.
Asking for Referrals and Recommendations
Reach out to your contacts and ask them to refer you to others who may need your services. Be clear about what you’re looking for, and make it easy for your contacts to refer you. This may involve providing a clear description of your ideal client, offering referral incentives, or even creating a referral program to encourage your network to spread the word about your services.
Leveraging Connections for New Business Opportunities
Tap into your contacts’ networks by identifying individuals or businesses within their spheres of influence. Reach out to them and ask if there are opportunities for collaboration or partnership. For example, if you know someone who works at a company that could benefit from your services, ask if they would introduce you to their colleagues or superiors.
Tips for Successful Networking
To build and leverage your network effectively, focus on building trust and credibility, adding value to your network, and staying organized.
One way to build trust is by adding value to your network. This can involve sharing industry insights, offering advice or recommendations, or connecting people with others who might be able to help them. By providing value to your network, you establish yourself as a valuable resource and someone worth knowing.
Another key aspect of successful networking is staying organized. With so many contacts and interactions to keep track of, it’s easy to lose track of important details or forget about follow-up actions.
Using a CRM tool or other system can help you stay on top of your networking efforts by keeping track of important information like contact details, notes from conversations, and upcoming events.
By building trust and credibility, adding value to your network, and staying organized, you can make the most out of your networking efforts and build strong relationships that will benefit you throughout your career.
Case Study: Real-World Example of How I Leveraged My Network
When I left my job at GE in 2016 to start my consulting business, I thought it would be a piece of cake. After all, I had the portfolio and experience. But as time passed, I realized that things were more challenging than I thought.
Despite my best efforts, I wasn’t seeing the growth I wanted for my business. That’s when I realized the need to be more methodical, leveraging the power of my network.
So, I developed a plan and started reaching out to former colleagues and industry peers, building and nurturing relationships with them. I identified potential connections within my network and segmented them into influencers, decision-makers, and people who could refer me to potential leads.
As I continued communicating with my contacts and adding value, I established myself as a trusted advisor and thought leader in B2B marketing. Finally, my hard work paid off when I secured several new clients through networking.
But that’s not all. I also established new partnerships and collaborations, expanding my reach and influence.
Today, 80% to 85% of my clients come from repeat clients and referrals from current clients.
I learned that sometimes success isn’t just about what you know. It’s about who you know. By leveraging the power of my network, I was able to grow my consulting business beyond what I ever thought possible.
As a marketing consultant, your network can be a powerful tool for business growth. To summarize how to use your network to grow your consulting business:
- Build and nurture strong relationships with your contacts
- Communicate your services effectively
- Leverage your connections for new business opportunities
- Identify potential connections within your network
- Segment your contacts into influencers, decision-makers, and potential leads
- Share valuable insights and advice to establish yourself as a trusted advisor
- Ask for referrals and recommendations from your network
- Collaborate with other professionals in your field
- Prioritize personal networking to grow your business
- Maintain a positive reputation by providing exceptional service
While networking can be a time-consuming and challenging process, it’s important to invest in building and maintaining your network.
With the right strategies and a commitment to building trust and credibility with your contacts, you can turn your connections into clients and take your consulting business to new heights.