As a certified coach with B2B CFO® I have the privilege of working with new partners. I tell each partner I coach that even though they have joined a firm that will help them become a success; they are still starting up their own business. I ask them, if you were advising a startup client, what would you tell them regarding a marketing plan?
I like to start with the Why. Why did you get into the business of advising clients? Simon Sinik has an outstanding webcast on the concept of the “why”. I suggest my partners review this video and then write up a statement as to why they are in this business. I believe that clients respond more to why you want to help them over “what” you will do for them. I would suggest that the “why” is the reason you buy a cell phone from a computer company (Apple Computer). So why do you want to perform consulting services? Since business owners tend to buy services from people they like, you need to connect with them on this “why” level.
Once you understand the Why, then you can define the “Who”. Who is your target customer? The better you can define this, the more success you will have finding them. What type of business? What size of business? What industry? Is the age of the owner a consideration? What condition would you want the company to be in, growing; declining; looking for cash; looking to sell?
Where will you find these owners? Where do they go for help? Where do they go to learn? Where do they find customers? Who else services their other needs? To be successful, I would advocate that you need to connect with your proposed client where their need meets your skills, so determining how to accomplish this is critical to making the connection and thus closing the sale.
Once you find this prospective client, what will you say to them in order for them to connect with you? How will you demonstrate to them that you can service their needs? Where will they go to validate your claims? Do you have a website? Do you blog on topics of interest to them? Do you have testimonials from past success stories?
Every company needs a marketing plan. If you have not given much consideration to this lately you need to do so. The business landscape changes daily, being attuned to what your customers need and how to reach them is critical to your success.