Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Developing new relationships part of consultant's marketing strategy

Showcasing experienced entrepreneurs offers an added marketing communications or social media element to help promote their businesses. In addition, it provides a forum through which they can share solutions to unique business challenges that might be the answer to a similar challenge with which yet another entrepreneur is struggling. This openness of information flows with the following story offered by

Jerilyn Willin, owner
JWillin Consulting, Ltd.

JWillin Consulting, Ltd. helps people look forward to going to work. How? By providing leadership development program design and facilitation, customized team interventions, change management in terms of working with folks who are left after downsizing, and career strategies coaching for those who are in the midst of career changes – planned or otherwise. Most people enjoy going to work when they believe their employer appreciates their efforts and wants them to grow. Our services deliver that message.

My services are all customized. I have no off-the-shelf offerings. I talk with the identified client to discover the problem and the goal from their perspective, then I design a solution. In addition, 98 percent of my coaching is face-to-face which I believe is of unique value. As a coach, there are so many cues I get from that in-person interaction which I would miss over the phone – be it facial expressions or body language – all of which helps to better serve the client.

I have two levels of clients. There are the individuals who come to me for coaching. They are motivated and willing to work hard by doing the "homework" that I prescribe. They also really believe that they will get a return on their investment. Secondly, there are the organizational clients. These ideally would be the small to mid-size companies that may have experienced either growth and want to help their employees make the most of their jobs, or, they have gone through downsizing and want to ensure their surviving employees have the necessary help adjusting to their new work circumstances and responsibilities.

My biggest challenge is to realize that when I am not working with clients I should be marketing my business. Most of my business comes from word-of-mouth. So when my calendar is full, I don’t feel the need to market. That is a dangerous mindset because at times you may have all your proverbial eggs in one basket and in this type of economic climate that basket can be easily dropped.

Early on, I made a mind map to determine where most of my business was coming from and found that is was from people who knew me or had known of me. This didn’t surprise me because consulting is a relationship business. So, as a way to form new relationships, I have joined new business networking groups, have developed a book review newsletter and have collaborated with a colleague in actually writing a book. The book, Deep, Deeper, Deeper Still, was published in 2009. All of these methods are giving me new opportunities to put myself in front of a lot of new people. To keep my marketing efforts ongoing, I am committed to spending eight hours a week both planning new marketing strategies as well as actually following through on them.

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