In our last blog post, we took a look at the consulting trap and shared a few of the approaches that don’t work so that you know where not to waste your time.
Today, we’re going to be a little more positive, listing out a few of the strategies that do work and which can help you and your business to climb out of the consulting trap.
The good news is that these tips can be applied to any consulting business from anywhere in the world. These are strategies that are tried and true. We’ve used them ourselves to solve the consulting trap for our own consulting business.
Lead Generation That Actually Works
Lead generation is the big goal, and the chances are that you’re already carrying it out to a certain extent. The problem is that a lot of people struggle to get their approach to lead generation just right, which is why we’ve titled this section “lead generation that actually works”.
For your lead generation campaigns to be effective, they need to be part of a cohesive marketing strategy that’s carried out continuously instead of randomly. It needs to become an effective process and a core part of your business, rather than something that you talk about every now and then.
We’ve pioneered a new approach to lead generation for consultants and coaches that’s shown to be hugely effective, and we’re going to talk about that later on, including by covering the difference between reactive and proactive lead generation.
It’s all about combining the best parts of networking and lead generation, creating an effective hook that offers real value to the prospect instead of just spamming them and saying, “Hey you, buy this.”
Integrating it into Your Existing Routine
When you make lead generation a part of your daily routine, you make time for it and you normalize it throughout your business. Remember, if you want to avoid falling into the consulting trap, you need to carry out marketing on a day-to-day and week-to-week basis, instead of whenever times are quiet.
The key is that these strategies need to integrate as seamlessly as possible into your existing routine. If they’re disruptive to that, it’s likely that you’ll stop doing them and remain stuck in the consulting trap.
Invest Time in BD and Marketing
To integrate lead generation into your existing routine, you need to invest time and resources into marketing and business development. You should have two primary goals: to strategically form new relationships and to generate quality organic content to spread your message. And it needs to be as efficient as possible so that your processes can scale with your growing business.
One way to ensure that you’re investing time and resources into your lead generation is to build it into an efficient AND effective process. You need to be able to carry out effective lead generation campaigns as part of your “business as usual”. It needs to become second nature.
How to Build Lead Generation as an Effective Process
Let’s take a step back for a second and tackle lead generation as a whole.
When we talk about lead generation, we’re talking about capturing data on people who might be interested in your consulting services so that you can start to develop a relationship with them and eventually turn them into a client. It needs to be managed as a process, rather than carried out on an ad-hoc basis.
Lead generation goes hand-in-hand with inbound marketing, a newer approach to marketing that relies on bringing people to you through the creation of quality content instead of interrupting them the old-fashioned way.
Once you capture those leads, you can then add them to a customer relationship management (CRM) system, which allows you to track every interaction that you have with them. This enables you to build up a profile of their interests and the business challenges they face so that when you follow up with them, you can be much more personal and attentive to their needs.
Lead generation is important as a consultant because it’s what will keep bringing people in through the door. At the same time, 61% of marketers rank lead generation as their number one challenge. It can be difficult to get right.
The good news is that you have a natural advantage because you’re already an expert and you’re learning a lot from delivering value for your clients. It’s a huge missed opportunity if you don’t share these insights with the world. Future customers are looking for solutions to their problems, and you have those answers. But if you never publish those lessons, they’ll never find you.
Reactive vs. Proactive Lead Generation
This builds on what we were talking about before when we said that you need to add lead generation and business development to your daily routine. You need to actively set some time aside in your calendar and then make sure that you stick to it instead of dropping the marketing ball to pick up something else.
Reactive Lead Generation is when you create “set it and forget it” campaigns, allowing your marketing to run in the background and only really thinking about lead generation when a new lead is captured.
Proactive Lead Generation is when you make it a priority and spend a certain amount of time each day (or a couple times a week as a minimum) on your lead gen campaigns. You need to be proactively looking out for new ways to generate leads or create high-quality organic content to share with the world.
Proactive lead generation is clearly the superior approach of the two, and it’s easy to see why. Instead of thinking about lead gen, let’s think about working out and trying to get into shape. The reactive approach would involve going to the gym a couple times a month after you weigh yourself and realize you’re not reaching your goals. The proactive approach would involve going to the gym four times a week as part of your regular routine.
Which approach do you think would help you to achieve your goals better?
Why Most Lead Generation Services Don’t Work
There’s a reason why most lead generation campaigns don’t work. It’s because the businesses lack an effective hook.
Hooks are a familiar concept to film-makers, writers and storytellers, because they’re what “hooks” the reader or viewer and gets them to invest in their story. The very best hooks are so iconic that you can tell what they’re referring to from the hook alone. For example:
Genetically engineered dinosaurs run amok at an island amusement park.
For lead generation (and marketing in general) to be successful, your company needs to have an effective hook. But telling your company’s story alone isn’t enough. Your hook has to be about the customer, addressing a pain point or otherwise explaining how you can make their lives easier. The best hooks offer immediate and obvious value to the customer.
In our case, we’ve found that creating a podcast is a great way to offer up a hook that consulting customers will flock to, and it provides a number of unique advantages. The challenge is that podcasting can be time consuming, and most consulting companies don’t have the time or resources to create podcasts in-house.
Killing Two Birds with One Stone
The good news is that there are options available to you, and the advantages of podcasting far outweigh any negatives. For example, they help to position you as a thought-leader and provide you with a great opportunity to connect with high-profile figures in your industry.
We find that we can often start by inviting people to appear as a guest on our podcast, and after that initial discussion is over, they’re already convinced that we know what we’re talking about. In fact, our podcast is easily our biggest source of qualified leads.
Podcasting allows us to kill two birds with one stone: we can carry out both business development and marketing from a single podcast. We can even take the content from the podcast and repurpose it for everything from social media updates to explainer videos, blog posts and more.
The challenge is to create those podcasts in the first place. You may need to hire some help, verify the solution and then delegate to the people who can get the job done. Even if the business owner is the public voice of the podcast, they need to be able to hop on a weekly or bi-weekly Zoom call for an hour and then leave a service provider to do the rest of the hard work for them.
Podcasting is the secret weapon for consulting businesses, allowing them to showcase their expertise while adding real value to their clients’ lives. Better yet, podcasts are the ultimate form of content creation because they can be repurposed in so many different ways.
In fact, we take a look at this and more in our brand new ebook – How to Solve the Consulting Trap: Fixing the “Not-Busy” Problem. Download it for free today to learn everything there is to know about escaping the consulting trap.
Consultants’ lives are generally busy, and so they don’t have time to spend hours on end filming videos, writing blog post updates and sharing things on social networking sites. With podcasting, they can carve out an hour of their time every week or so, record the podcast and then hand it off to their marketing team.
From there, the podcast can be broken down into everything from videos and blog posts to social media updates and more. Don’t worry if you don’t have the time to do all of this yourself, because that’s where we come in. Reach out to us at Podcast Chef to find out more about how we can help you.