Michael McLaughlin

Article Summary:

Take action to avoid these ten common marketing traps when marketing your firm.

Mistakes To Avoid When Marketing Your Consulting Business

Many competent consultants risk their own success, and their bank balances, by driving straight into the same old marketing potholes again and again. Take action to avoid these ten common marketing traps:

  1. The curse of experience.
    Many consultants believe that their deep understanding of clients and their businesses translates into an understanding of the nuances of marketing. That assumption can cost you clients and money.

  2. Go it alone.
    Consulting is a collaborative business. Whether it's web design, writing marketing copy, or launching a survey, you should always be on the lookout for talented people to partner with in marketing. Focus your efforts on what you do best -- deliver value to clients. Let the pros cover your weak spots in their areas of expertise.

  3. Overestimate clients' interest in you.
    Clients care about their own problems and how to solve them, not about your business. They'll engage you to help and express polite interest in you, but keep the focus on them, not you.

  4. Believe your services are top-notch just as they are.
    Clients' needs are always changing, so your service strategy must always be evolving too. It's never good enough.

  5. Sell too hard.
    Don't think clients are ready to be sold by you right off the bat. Clients buy, they're not sold. Give them something to buy that they really need.

  6. Dabble in marketing.
    You can't just throw an article or two out there and expect clients to take notice of you. Successful marketing requires sustained, consistent, and coordinated effort.

  7. Focus on your "accounts," not your clients.
    Learn as much about the people as you do about each client's company. Plan and market in a client-centered manner -- at the individual executive level.

  8. Take the one-size-fits-all approach.
    Each client and project is different. Your previously winning formula can easily backfire unless it's tailored for each individual situation.

  9. Impatience.
    Instant gratification and marketing rarely go together. Be patient. Your marketing investments will pay off, but it almost always takes longer than you think.

  10. Dread marketing.
    Consulting is a marketing business. If you don't enjoy marketing, the road will seem like -- and be -- one pothole after another.

Michael W. McLaughlin is the coauthor, with Jay Conrad Levinson, of Guerrilla Marketing for Consultants. Michael is a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP, and the editor of Management Consulting News and The Guerrilla Consultant. Find out more at www.guerrilla consulting.com.

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