There’s a gene missing in many professionals who have spent years building their skills. That gene is the “telling anyone who’ll listen that you’ve a skill that you’re proud of, and if they ever need that skill, they know where you are” gene. We just don’t tend to spend enough time getting out there and getting ourselves known.
“Getting out there” is in the natural born salesperson’s genes, along with the code that leads to a skin as thick as a hippo’s hide, and no embarrassment, ever. If you don’t have this “getting out there..” thing as a part of your personality then as an independent consultant you have 3 options-
- Hire someone with that make-up to do it for you
- Learn to live with the ebb and flow of the economy
- Learn a few simple things to do to make sure that you’ve always got more opportunities in the pipeline than anyone else.
I’ve tried all 3 approaches over the last 18 years and, in order of preference, I’d recommend-
- Learn a few simple things…- Leaves you in control of your destiny
- Employ someone to do it for you…- Leaves you in control, but you have the cost and the management issues to deal with
- Learn to live with the ebb and flow…OK when you’ve no need of more work, terrible at all other times, and your wife, bank manager, accountant, kids and blood pressure will hate you.
The real lesson though for concentrating on options 1&2 is that professionals, be they architects, actuaries, engineers or financial advisors, would rather do almost anything else than marketing and networking.
So learning the skills is not enough. Running regular and rigorous campaigns is the key to getting more business than you need, whatever the weather.