Q: What is the number-one marketing strategy when you sell consulting services to a small audience?
Grand Rapids, Mich.
A: Really good marketing begins and ends with your customer. Your customer.
So to answer the question directly, the number-one marketing strategy when you sell consulting services (or any product or service for that matter) to a small audience (or any audience) is to get to know the needs and wants of your customer.
To really know how to sell to your customers, you have to analyze them beyond just what’s on the surface. You need to fully understand them on two dimensions: their needs and wants.
Get to know what your customers truly need from your consulting services. Find out how they go about their work and what you can functionally do to help make it more productive.
Look at your work through the lens of their challenges, not from your point of view. You will then engage them more deeply, because they will know you are on their side to fulfill their needs, not your own. They will know you understand their work, and can help them to do it better.
Don’t “sell” them. Instead, understand them to help them.
When you just address your customers' needs, you run into a bit of a problem: Your competitors are doing the same thing.
This is why you have to know your customers even better than the others do. You need to go beyond just their needs by understanding their wants as well.
By doing so, you will reach a much more emotional level with them (far beyond what your competition does). Fulfilling their wants will help you to build an emotional connection that far surpasses the functions of their jobs and goes much deeper into a more meaningful relationship with them.
What are your customers really trying to accomplish? Fame? Thought leadership in their industry? A raise so that they can buy a beach house in the Caribbean?
Get to know what motivates them in their lives and help them to achieve that. Trust me, you will sell more services to them than any other consultant -- and you’ll build a deep relationship that will go beyond the ups and downs of the annual business cycle.
In fact, you won’t have to “sell” at all, which should be your number-one marketing strategy.