wikiHow to Get Clients for Consultants

Whether you’re an independent consultant, a trainer or coach, or run a consulting firm; one thing is true: consistently attracting new clients is the most challenging part of running your business.

But by following this simple 7-step process, you can set yourself on the path to get more clients and win more new business.


  1. Image titled Get Clients for Consultants Step 1
    Define your business model. You must have clear, measurable goals for your business. What revenue/income do you want to earn? What type of work do you want to do? What work-life balance are you're looking for? What geographic restrictions do you have? These parameters will shape the type of marketing and selling you will need to do to get clients for your consulting business. For example, project-based consultants tend to focus on working intensively with a small number of clients, whereas coaches tend to need a large number of clients they spend only a few hours a month with.
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    Focus on a tight niche. Unless you're a very large firm, you must focus your efforts on a clearly defined niche where you can build your reputation and credibility. This could be by specialising in a particular client sector (pharmaceuticals, local government, etc.), or a particular function or solution (supply chain, leadership, marketing). It could be a combination of both such as supply chain consulting for pharmaceutical companies. By defining your niche tightly you build up your expertise, become more attractive to clients, and differentiate yourself from generic competitors.
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    Select the most powerful marketing tactics. The best tactics to use will depend on your client niche. Start by identifying where your target clients 'hang out'. Are there networking or industry groups they attend. How about online forums? Who do you know that can refer you to them? Would they search for solutions to their problems online? Generally speaking, the best tactics are those that involve face-to-face interaction - and allow you to identify their problems which you might be able to help with, demonstrate your credibility and build your relationship with them.
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    Create marketing messages that resonate with your clients. Whenever you introduce yourself to clients or referrers - either face to face or in writing, you need to focus on what's important to them. Marketing that dwells on your credentials, your years of experience and the awards you've won won't be of much interest. Messages that focus on the client problems you can help with and give example stories of people you've helped and the benefits they've seen will be.
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    Nurture relationships. Not everyone is ready to buy the first time you meet them. In fact 80% of the people you meet won't be ready to buy right now. But 90% of them will buy your type of service in the next 2 years. So you need to be top of mind when the right time arises. You do this by keeping in touch and adding value over time. Send them articles, introduce them to useful people you know, invite them to events. Keep investing in the relationship so that when they do get a need you can help with, you're the first person they turn to.
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    Sell like a consultant. Selling for consultants is not about fast talking and manipulating clients into buying. It's about starting the consulting process before you're officially hired. Clients buy when they believe you fully understand their problems, you have the capabilities to help them, and the problem is worth solving. By structuring sales meeting so that you're questioning them about their issues and root cause and exploring the business case for solving them, you're positioning your expertise far better than any clever sales pitch could.
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    Enhance client relationships. Of course, your best prospects for new business are your existing and previous clients. But it's so easy to get out of touch with old clients when you're focused on doing a great job for a new one. Make sure you're devoting enough time to keep nurturing the relationship and to keep your eyes and ears out for new opportunities.

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Categories: Marketing | Sales