Consultants – The Reasons You Aren’t Getting Clients

You’re an expert in your field, have wonderful communication skills and offer real value for money, but still you can’t keep your client pipeline filled. Somehow your brilliance is escaping the notice of the most important group-your target market. What’s wrong? Why isn’t the phone ringing? How come your website isn’t flooded with requests for your expert advice? Keep reading to find out why.

1. You talk funny: This is the number one reason I think people hesitate to hire a consultant. Your website reads like a textbook (it’s boring and confusing). When you have conversations with potential clients you use lots of jargon, even when it’s not necessary to make your point. And you have slick, elegant and unreadable marketing materials. It’s wonderful that you are qualified and know your industry, but resist the urge to use every key term in one sentence.

2. You’re fishing in the wrong pond: Ever been to a networking event where a room full of consultants wasted an evening trying to sell to each other? I thought so. “Everyone” is not your potential client; stop acting as if it were true. Gear your marketing to your REAL customer base, and make sure you understand who this group is and where to find them. Spend your time with your peers learning, collaborating and supporting each other.

3. You’re too helpful: The same qualities that make you a good consultant can trip you up. Problem one, you fall victim to the “free introductory session” shopper. These are people who go from consultant (or coach) to consultant having free introductory sessions in an effort to solve their problems without ever investing in the solution. If you are still using the free first session model and you don’t have a full schedule of paying clients-stop. Change your approach. The second problem with being helpful… your investigation and diagnosis conversation turns into a list of suggestions and solutions. This happens when you get too involved in the issues before clarifying the scope of the whole project and getting agreement on payment. Having lots of one appointment clients? You might be helping yourself out of work and cheating your clients out of a real relationship.

4. You refuse advice: Not much explanation needed here. You think you are so smart that no one can tell you anything. The result is you alienate clients, make the same mistakes over and over again and are left wondering why no one wants to hire you.

5. Your ego needs to go on a diet: Closely related to number 4, this problem can derail your business. Your specialized knowledge is great; it’s the reason people seek you out. However your education or background does not make you a better person than everyone else. There’s a difference between confidence and arrogance. Learn it. Be helpful and sure of your expertise but don’t be a jerk.

6. You don’t follow up: It’s a classic entrepreneur mistake. No matter how great you are in your specific industry, you have to follow through with client communication. When people seek out a consultant they are already “feeling some pain”; they’re uncomfortable. It’s up to you to make the process of getting help less painful. Return those calls, emails, and answer those tweets. If someone comments on your blog-engage them in conversation. Don’t wait for clients to realize your brilliance on their own and make all the arrangements. They won’t.