Sometimes the readership eventually comes to rely on this newsletter to such an extent that you may charge heavily for a subscription.
Still another method of getting clients is writing a report. The report is a self-published version of the magazine article we discussed earlier. It is printed and bound professionally and offered either free of charge or for a low price (to cover expenses) by means of space advertising in your trade or professional magazine. It offers the solution or series of solutions to a common, current problem in your field. The back cover describes your consultancy with information about how you can be reached.
The psychology involved here is the same as that employed by a free seminar. These prospective clients with problems have identified themselves to you by ordering your booklet. They have, once again, in effect, raised their hands and said to you, "Here I am." You now have their names and addresses. You may contact them by phone to ask if you can be of any further assistance, you may personally invite them to your seminar, or you may send them your newsletter. They will now listen, because they have introduced themselves to you.
It is commonly accepted in this country that the person who writes a how-to book or manual on any subject is the leading expert in that field. Writing a book about a subject on which you are expert is not as difficult as it seems. After all, you are not producing the great American novel. It is simply a matter of organizing the information you already possess. If you have published articles you need merely arrange them into chapters with connecting text.
These, then, are the successful techniques for getting clients used by today's progressive consultants. Which of them should you use? I recently told my dentist that I didn't have the time to regularly and properly floss my teeth. I loved his answer. "O.K. Then just floss the ones you want to keep." Twisting and paraphrasing his advice: Ignore those methods herein described for those sources from which you don't want clients. But if you want a full client load now, not five years from now, you will do well to apply all of these techniques to your individual consultancy. Because thus positioned in your field, you will have eliminated your competition, you will have eliminated all risk, and you will have guaranteed the success of your professional future.
There is one more thing that will enhance the positioning of your practice and marketing effort. I refer to your credibility. Your credentials. Recall that when I started I had none, and that is what made it so tough for me that I had to take on my first client free of charge. In those days there was no such thing as The American Consultants League, an interdisciplinary national association I would have joined for additional accreditation. (The American Consultants League, 30466 Prince William Street, Princess Anne, MD 21853 (410) 651-4869 (410) 651-4885 fax.) Nor was there The Consultant's Institute - the educational division of The American Consultants League - which could have certified me as a CPC, Certified Professional Consultant (same address as the League). Credibility, credentials, accreditation - all from the Latin verb credere: to believe. I was long on talent and short on believability. But you needn't be.
Let's take an example you are probably familiar with. Up until recently, you could not have heard a financial newscast or have read about the oil industry without almost always hearing or reading a quote from Dan Lundberg, publisher of The Lundberg Letter. If it had to do with crude oil, OPEC or the price of gasoline at the pump, he was quoted. This man had positioned himself as the oil expert; nobody did it for him.
I am proud to say that time and time again I am quoted with regard to the book publishing industry as well as the consulting profession. But it didn't just happen. A "grapevine" is started only when you yourself plant that seed.
Realizing that every good journalist keeps a reference file for any kind of future information he or she may require, a very astute public relations person (who is a friend of mine) developed a singular technique, which was passed on to me. You simply get a list of those journalists and columnists in your field and send them a pressure sensitive label (unpeeled) with your name, address, phone number, and description of your expertise (state-of-the-art of your technology, professional knowledge by subject, etc.). Be certain that the size of your label will fit any size of a Wheeldex or Rolladex. The information is then handy for the journalist at the moment the subject comes up. I send two labels; one for the publishing industry and the other for the consulting profession. It works. I am contacted. I am quoted. The quotes bring clients.
If you are a good speaker, your knowledge and opinions are prized by technical and/or professional associations in your field, provided that you will speak gratis or for a small honorarium. (They will always pay your travel expenses if the meeting or convention is out-of-town.) Solicit these lectures by letting these organizations know that you are available. Waive your fee whenever requested to do so; in return for this, the organization will distribute your brochures and brag about you (their speaker). This also brings clients to you.