The Power of CRM for Solo Professionals, Consultants, and Experts

Yesterday I had the privilege of sitting with an education consultant and giving her some guidance about her business. She has a lot of experience in the education field and has the opportunity to be in front of large groups of her target audience. Her challenge is that she’s not getting enough customers.

We sat together for an hour and came up with a game plan. It’s modeled after my own experience as a solo professional for some years who has built a tribe that values my expertise and pays for it.

The game plan we came up with is as follows:

  1. She should aim to get in front of as many groups as she can to share her knowledge of education (helping children get into schools). Learning from the National Speakers Association can help.
  2. She should publish an e-book (and an accompanying physical book), which will give her added marketing credibility and serve as a lead magnet at her events and beyond – Lulu.com is one of many resources that can help.
  3. She should create a series of online content that the tribe she’s building can go to (for free) to be further engaged in her brand, learn from her, and get more of a taste of what she can offer. This online series also is a mechanism to “give, give, give” (she’ll “take” later) – Brandon Burchard’s expert academy can help.
  4. She should work on some visual elements (professional photo, one or two sizzle reels) to further draw in her audience and decision makers who might hire her for events. My sizzle reel is here.
  5. She should develop a plan of action to get PR (she can do this on her own or in due time work with a PR consultant who might be able to assist). Having media attention will shine more light on her and boost credibility and help generate more leads. You can download my presentation on free publicity here.
  6. She might want to consider doing mailings or an online marketing campaign to generate interest in her e-book and/or online content/courses. Facebook, Google, Twitter, and the US Postal Service have some great options. Here’s a link to the USPS.
  7. For her current customers, she must make sure to reach out to them and ask for referrals for more speaking and/or more consulting engagements. John Janstch’s (Duct Tape Marketing) book, The Referral Engine, is a great read.

What does this have to do with customer relationship management (CRM)? Many solo professionals are just relying on word of mouth to generate interest in their consulting business. However, smart professionals do three things right.

  1. They are focused on building a larger brand that can translate into paid speaking engagements, premium content that they sell, and having the media want them as an expert.
  2. They can charge higher fees for one-to-one consulting and still have lower fee consulting in groups or through other means.
  3. They are using a powerful CRM system to bring together this entire marketing engine.

Here’s a list of small-business-focused CRM vendors:

Image via Shutterstock.

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