Market Your Consultancy Without Cold Calling: Get More Business More Easily by Cindy Tonkin by Cindy Tonkin - Read Online

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Market Your Consultancy Without Cold Calling - Cindy Tonkin

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Acknowledgements

We all need more and better work!

Are you coming out of a job where you haven’t had to directly sell your own work? Maybe someone else did this for you or the clients came to you. If so, then this could be the most important book for you.

Have you been running your own business for some time, and relying on one or two ways to find new business? If so, you could find a few more ways to market yourself here.

Although it is possible to get business by cold calling most people are as afraid of cold calling as they are of public speaking. Help is at hand. This book is about setting yourself up to begin making money.

It would be nice if being a consultant was all about being clever, looking intelligent, having fantastic hardware and software, an impressive title, helping people and changing the world.

Actually it is.

It is also about finding clients, having clients engage you, keeping them, and then finding more.

So this book lists 14 ways to get business without cold calling.

For each method I go through:

• why use it

• how it works

• how to do it, step by step.

To know if you need to read this part, try this questionnaire. Do you know:

• What a broker or agent can do for you?

• How to make sure all of your referees say nice things about you?

• How to create a support circle for you and your business?

• How to get business without cold calling?

• How to put together a profile on yourself and your consulting services?

• The difference between a consultancy profile and a client or agent resume?

• How to promote yourself professionally?

• How to put together a tender?

• The advantages of using brokers and agencies?

If you answered no to any of these questions then read on.

If you’re just browsing through this book you need to know what services you sell to get the most out of reading. You will also need to know:

• Whether you are in this for the long haul or the short haul

• What are your immediate needs, and what are nice-to-haves

• If you need money now to pay the rent, or can wait a little for the right client and the right assignment.

The answers to these questions are different for every consultant and different answers create different marketing priorities and performance indicators.

These are among the questions I cover in I want to be a Consultant and in How Much To Charge. Both of these books are part of this series. You can buy them where you bought this book.

There are four sections in this book. They are methods which:

• work fast

• are cheap and rely on your existing contacts

• build new contacts

• take a little more time and money.

Clearly, some of the fast methods are also cheap. To make it easier for you to target your reading, the summary table below shows each of the methods and its attributes.

Fast ways to generate business

In this fast ways to generate business section you will explore a number of methods for generating business (without cold calling) which do not need you to spend buckets of time, and which can return business quite quickly.

The methods covered here are:

• get an agent

• ask other consultants if they need help (subcontracting)

• ask other consultants if they know clients who need you (getting referrals).

For each of these methods I will go through the pros and cons, the whys and wherefores and the tips and the traps that consultants encounter along the road.

Let me also be clear that part of the reason that these methods are fast is because agents and colleagues have spent years cultivating their market and building relationships. You can expect and understand that they deserve some money (usually a percentage of the fee) for this.

If you want to skip straight to the relevant section, use these links

• The nitty-gritty: How to get an agent

• Checklist of things to talk through with an agency

• How to set up subcontracting agreements with other consultants

• How to set up referral agreements with other consultants

Method 1. Get an agent

Having an agent or broker do your marketing for you is the simplest, lowest stress way to get business. The best thing about it is that you don’t need to cold call anyone except the agent, and they want to hear from you.

Throughout this book I will use the term agent to mean both agent and broker, since I have yet to find a reason to differentiate them. Agent sounds more Hollywood, broker more impersonal. So when you see one, read the other, and vice versa.

Why use agents and brokers

There are many reasons to use agents and brokers. The major one is that they look for work for you while you’re out doing it. Here are some other reasons. Agents:

• are marketing professionals. Collecting new clients is their aim in life. They are (usually) artful sales professionals, likeable personalities, and very jealous of their good reputations

• can give you free information about the industry, profession and clients

• can give you honest feedback from the client

• will help you in managing difficult clients who may like to change scope

• bear the cash flow problem sometimes (i.e. they will pay you when you have completed the work, whether the client has paid them or not: not all agents do this)

• they can ensure you meet your legal requirements by taking tax directly from your pay and paying your Superannuation if you are not working for a proprietary limited company

• do most of the legwork for you with tenders and proposals submitted under their umbrella. This includes picking the eyes out of your résumé or writing a few paragraphs to go in front of your existing one.

Of course, there are some minor disadvantages to using an agent.

The first disadvantage is that agents charge a percentage (or sometimes a fixed fee) on top of your rate. This means that you may get $500 for a day’s work, but the client pays $700. Some consultants I know perceive this as ‘discounting’ their rate. However, I know it costs me less to have the agent looking for work for me so I don’t think of the agent’s fee as ‘discounting’, more as a work-finder’s fee, which can be 20 to 50% of my time each week!

The second disadvantage is that some agents do not bear the cash flow problems – they will only pay when the client pays them, resulting in a chain of people waiting for payment.

Mary does a few days work for a public service organisation in late November. Expecting that things will be a little disorganised over the Christmas period, she bills the agent on November 20, the day that the work is complete, rather than waiting for the end of the month, as she often does.

The agent she is using for this job pays when the client pays them, so she expects that she will have to wait until after Christmas for payment. As it happens, the agency is changing personnel in their accounts department so they are even further behind than usual. They finally bill the client by December 10 for the total amount (Mary’s bill, plus their percentage).

The bill meanders through the client’s internal mail system because the agent had neglected to include the name, floor, and building for their contact (Sue Brown). By the time it reaches Sue’s desk it is December 20. Christmas holidays start the next day, so even if it were authorised on that day, nothing could be done for at least a week. As it happens, Sue is already on holidays. By January 3, Sue is back on deck. January 5 she gets to the invoice. She stamps it to say the work was delivered but since the invoice amount is more than she is authorised to spend she pops it into an internal mail envelope and sends it off to her boss, Glenda, for authorisation.

It being January Glenda is now away on holiday. She returns January 20. Around January 25 Glenda approves the invoice and returns it to Sue in an internal mail envelope.

About a week after the Australia Day long weekend, when things have quietened down a little, and everyone seems to be back to normal, Sue fishes the envelope out of her in-tray, curses Glenda for not having sent the invoice directly to the accounts department, and re-addresses it. Accounts return it a month later, because Glenda neglected to stamp the invoice with her official stamp, and because the charge number is for the previous year, and no longer valid.

Sue has by now received several carefully pleasant calls from the broker hinting at the lateness of the bill. She has assured them that the invoice is with accounts and that they should receive a cheque any time, but has not taken the time to chase it up herself. It is now March 1st. A woman of action, Sue walks to Glenda’s office with the bill, has Glenda’s assistant find the stamp and the new charge number and then walks the two blocks to the accounts department to put it in their in-tray. She is by now rather wild and happens to vent her anger on the accounts department who are themselves angry because they’re always at the end of the line for problems, and so the clerk who receives the abuse puts the bill at the bottom of the sixty day invoices.

On May 5, a cheque arrives at the broker. They bank it. On May 31 they write a cheque for Mary and send it to her on June 5. By the time she banks it and waits five days for clearance it is June 12. Nearly six months to pay.

This sort of thing happens whether you work through an agent, a friend or for yourself. There are always delays in big organisations. It can just be worse if the agent is not prepared to pay you whether the client pays or not, and bear the cash flow problem for you.

The final disadvantage of agents is that being on their database does not necessarily guarantee they will find you work.

Peter’s details are on the databases of three major accountancy agents. One of them has found him a number of three-month assignments over the past year and the client has been glowing in their review of his abilities. Peter is happy working through this particular agency because they pay on time and they have a solid reputation in accountancy placement.

Unfortunately for Peter the individual agent he has dealt with for the past twelve months goes overseas to work in the English arm of the agency just after Peter’s contract finishes. Suddenly Peter doesn’t have a contact in the organisation. After a few months he calls the agency and asks who he should speak to about accountancy placements. He meets with a new agent and within a week he is placed in a new contract position.

As technology has improved, agents’ systems for matching people’s skills and attributes to the client’s requirements have