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Expert Answers to Biz Questions

Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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The Biz Question

I'm new at this... I have 20 years of technical ability and managerial experience, and now have a "pink" slip due to downsizing. I'm starting a unique consulting service to the industry. Other "technicals" have called to say they'd join. I have a group of 7-9 persons. All in fabric manufacturing (dye,finishing etc).

I need a web page, no doubt. Also to get into trade magazines. But what I need are CLIENTS eager to have our unique service. What will make them "bite" ? How can I find THEM quickly? How do I get the GLOBAL reach? I would like to hear from you. Thanks for your perspective !!

Answer from our Guest Expert Laura Wiegert of Creative Consultants

Getting clients to bite on your biz will definitely take some time and work on your part. But the end result is worth the effort.

Food for Thought

As a consultant, you're selling your knowledge. And that knowledge is the special ingredient to make your business appetizing. Basically, let potential customers know you're the expert in your field and it would benefit them to purchase that expertise via your consulting services. However, you cannot just tell them how great or unique you are -- show them why you're the best in town so they'll bite on your scrumptious ideas. Position your company as the expert in their minds. This can be done using several methods:

Give 'em Sizzling Reading

Start a newsletter. This is an excellent way to showcase your company's knowledge in your industry and position yourself as the expert. The great news is a newsletter doesn't have to be a lengthy production. A 2-4-page publication filled with valuable information can be extremely effective, especially when sent to the companies in your target market. (NOTE: You may have to purchase an initial mailing list. List companies sell addresses by SIC codes or trade magazines often sell subscription lists.)

Write Tasty Trade Articles

Write for trade magazines and industry web sites. This is free publicity and an excellent way to build a good reputation and showcase your knowledge. Contact industry trade publications and web sites of interest to your clients and offer to write articles for them. Web sites especially are always looking for expert writers and guest columnists. They would probably welcome your offer to author articles. This is especially effective as your ideas are being featured in national and international mediums. You're being positioned as a global expert in your industry.

Start Cooking at Conferences

Start looking for speaking opportunities in your industry. Approach national trade and industry organizations about speaking at their conferences or seminars. Present them a menu of meaty topics to choose from and they're bound to bite.

When first starting out on the speaker circuit, you may want to offer your speaking services in exchange for free registration and room and board only. (This appeals to conference planners.) By presenting at conferences, you not only benefit from the exposure as an expert speaker, you're given the opportunity to sell your knowledge to a room full of potential clients.

You'll also have incredible networking opportunities at the conference itself. In fact, if you can't get a speaking engagement booked, consider attending the conferences and trade shows to hop on the networking train and make those important contacts. Strike up conversations with key decision-makers and get into discussions on important industry topics.

This Is Just the Start.

Look at other options such as developing a web page. Garner as many networking opportunities as possible. Create a company brochure. Advertise in trade magazines. And always sell a consistent message when positioning your company. Remember, you don't want to do a blatant sales job, but rather let people know you're the expert they need. But you can also sell the uniqueness of your company subtlety in your bios and company description.

They're buying your knowledge, so start showing them your stuff.

Good Luck!

Laura

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