Client attraction and retention seem to always remain top of mind for most consultants. That makes sense because it is an easily identifiable way of increasing revenue and growing your consulting business. Because of the need to gain more clients to increase revenue, this process can be difficult to master and seem elusive and somewhat mysterious. There are tons of strategies and marketing techniques available to address this need, but what should you do to attract your ideal clients with ease? What is the best approach to take to ensure that you can work with clients again and again over time?
In this second part of the Profitability in Consulting mini-series, we will uncover the key components to successful client attraction and retention beyond the strategy or method used. Surprisingly, it is not as complicated as you might think.
Common Client Attraction Strategies for Consultants
There are so many client attraction strategies. Let’s run the list (not all-inclusive of course)…
- Public speaking
- Social media
- Email list
- Sales Funnels
- Live Events
Bottomline… there are many strategies you can use to attract potential clients. But, attraction actually involves more than just using a strategy, although very beneficial.
Let’s simplify this process a bit. Here is what you really need to do.
An Effective Approach to Client Attraction and Retention
Most people are attracted to similarities. It’s all about the things we have in common. I remember reading in a Deloitte customer review publication that “Over half of consumers say that the overall enjoyment of their experience is important in their decision to buy a product or service.” This is not surprising. How many times have you been drawn to businesses that seem to share your view on a particular subject or given area? I have been guilty of spending tons of money on beauty products that I wasn’t the biggest fan of in terms of performance, but I wanted to support the company because I loved their positioning and brand. I loved what they stood for and the mission they wanted to accomplish.
However, you must offer quality service because eventually, you can’t stand on attraction alone. To use my beauty product experience as an example, I no longer buy this product brand. Still, I continue to share them with others who may have a different experience than me because I want to see the company succeed. It is not different in consulting. This is why authenticity is so important. Potential clients will gravitate to shared values, mission, and purpose. They will seek to work with individuals with whom they feel a connection. That is why showing up as yourself in your consulting practice is vital. To attract your ideal client, you have to present them with the opportunity to get to know you on a more intimate level.
What does that look like? It is sharing that unpopular perspective that sets you apart. Or including your own unique approach to your practice. It can take many forms. The key is to ensure that it comes from an authentic space so that the people you attract can become potential clients because they are more likely to resonate with your advising style and the expertise you offer.
Tap Into Emotions
Clients often find connection through emotions that tap into their innermost desires. As a matter of fact, the deeper this emotional connection becomes, the greater the perceived value the client has for your services. This is what helps to convert leads effortlessly into clients.
An article entitled, The New Science of Customer Emotions, published in the Harvard Business Review, identifies 10 high-impact “emotional motivators” that drive customer behaviors. Those motivators include:
The ability to tap into these emotions and leverage them correctly to create a deeper connection with potential clients can elevate your consulting practice and the services that you offer in your client’s mind. Whether through marketing, direct communication, or during your work together, your early interactions should seek to evoke these positive feelings and desires.
Remain Client Focused
The client’s experience is one of the biggest determining factors as to whether you can retain them as a client and if they will serve as a source of recommendations and referrals. It can be easy to forget that you have the ability to impact how the client will perceive the value of your services over time. But, this is certainly something that you can proactively address.
The ability to remain focused on the client’s needs and craft solutions with the client in mind can ensure that you work diligently to meet their expectations. It increases the likelihood that you will deliver a meaningful solution that will have a high impact. This provides a sense of reward that then leads to a desire for continued work on some level. It becomes like a movie or TV show that you can’t get enough of. When you can evoke a positive response and evolve with the client as they proceed along their transformational journey, there is the continued desire to collaborate with you, resulting in client retention.
Need more evidence that this true?
In a 2018 Forbes article by William Craig, he outlined 10 Traits of a Client-Focused Company that supports this concept of structuring your work to provide the greatest impact on your client’s overall experience. When effectively used, these traits can help you shift from being consumed by a self-centered approach and selling specific deliverables to achieving a deeper connection with the clients you work with, which will take you farther in your marketing and outreach.
People commonly desire security and reassurance. Creating an environment where the client feels reassured that they are receiving assistance with their best interest in mind will lead to them wanting to continue in this engagement and share the experience with others.
How can I use this information to grow my consulting business?
Authenticity, emotional connection, and remaining client-focused are the foundation of the most successful strategies for client attraction and retention. When focusing on these three approaches, despite which strategy you choose to use to connect with your ideal client, you can attract and retain clients with ease.
Next up… we’re diving into hard and soft skills and why they matter more than you may have realized. Stay tuned.