Now that we have moved on from looking at the main success factors you need to start a successful sole practitioner consultancy, it is time to turn our attention to what you need to look at next to progress further; sales.
When considering sales, one of the first things to think about is routes to market – how many do you have? We all have more than one; it’s just a case of figuring out just how many. In this article we will deal with the most obvious one – what I call “direct”.
What would classify a sale as direct? Several factors:
1. You identify the potential client as a prospect in the first place. You have assessed his or her potential interest in your offering based on sector, size, location and so on…
2. You make direct contact with the client, by one of the following mechanisms:
- Networking (either at a formal networking group, or opportunistically at a seminar, conference, trade fair etc.)
- Cold approach – letter, email, phone call…
- Social media – an initial relationship with the prospect is built via one or more of the sites – LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook
- Subscription – the prospect registers on your website to receive further information prompted by blogs, newsletters, other articles.
3. You handle the sales process at all stages with little or no intervention from anybody else on your behalf.
4. Your “cost of sales”, or client acquisition cost, relates to your efforts and initiatives – no one else’s, e.g. networking subscription fees, direct marketing campaign, travel, entertainment. One notable exception could be if you are retaining someone else to create marketing collateral for you i.e. a freelance copywriter.
So, in the case of this route to market, you are succeeding or failing based on your own lead generation efforts. Next time, we will look at how you can involve others in strengthening your sales pipeline.