Whether you are an aspiring Consultant or a well-established Consultant looking to generate more leads and develop your portfolio career, building a personal brand that effectively sells the identity of your business has never been more important.
Having a brand that represents you well will give your target audience a better understanding of what you have to offer and increase your ability to attract notable clientele and capital.
We recently held a webinar with an experienced Consultant, Facilitator, Interim Manager, Lecturer and Published Author, Niall Foster who shared his top 5 takeaways for building and managing a successful consultancy brand.
1 - Establish who and what your brand represents
Some brands are instantly recognisable. Take the golden arches of McDonald's for example or the apple of Apple, these businesses are some of the most popular and well-recognised brands in the world. However, these brands initially started with just a name, just like you will if you’re a start out Consultant. Establishing your brand begins with telling people your name. It may sound simple but it's a step that many Consultants fail to consider. “In your name, you must explain what it is that you do,” says Niall. Whether your consultancy business is in HR, Recruitment or Finance - your professional business name needs to represent it. “When customers and prospects can quickly establish who you are, you have made an important first step in developing a connection.”
2 - Tailor your USP
Whilst brand awareness is an essential first step of building a personal brand, to be truly impactful, your branding should take the message a step further by demonstrating the value or benefits you offer that set you apart from your competition. As a new Consultant, it’s always important to tailor your benefits conversation so that it makes sense to the person you are speaking to. “Don’t tell. Always ask questions of your counterparty. The most important person in a conversation is always the person you are speaking to.” says Niall. Whether your business offers an innovative way of doing something, a unique specialisation, or industry-leading expertise, you must remember to pitch the benefits of your business to the person you are speaking to.
3- Nail your Elevator Pitch
“Imagine you’ve only got 30 seconds to sum up exactly what it is that you do.” says Niall. You need to be able to sell yourself, your product or your service, in a very short time. If you can’t sum up what you do in 30 seconds, you need to re-evaluate your elevator pitch or consider starting from scratch. A strong elevator pitch is impactful, quick, well-crafted and often memorised. It includes the details of what you do, who you do it for and why you do it - without overindulging on the details. Your elevator pitch will form the basis of many pieces of collateral you share with your prospects and customers: “Once you have perfected your elevator pitch. This should be used consistently across all of your collateral, your website, your handouts and your social profiles.” Niall says.
4- Share collateral with your target audience
“There’s no point spending time putting together collateral if you do not distribute it.” declared Niall. Using online outlets to share valuable industry information that educates or informs others can help to position you as an expert or thought leader in your field and build brand credibility. This can be done by establishing a company blog, (even if you only post 1-2 times per month) and sharing information and industry news on social media networks such as LinkedIn. Encourage your best active references with whom you have established strong relationships to talk about you and market you - request and share referrals from them.
5 - Ground your reputation with testimonials
“Your ultimate goal as a Consultant should be to get to a point where your image is so positive, customers discuss your achievements positively on their own initiative,” says Niall. In the digital world, having some outdated testimonials from customers listed on your website is not enough. It is no longer logical to have someone passively talk about you - they have to talk about you in the now, in the present tense. “If you have a positive customer that isn’t talking about you or marketing you in the present tense. That is a mistake,” says Niall.
Missed out on the webinar? Click here to watch the session in full.