Being able (and daring) to sell yourself is key to success as a consultant. This is how you widen your network, get new clients and develop your potential for winning new and exciting assignments and for building your career. For many it seems like an unfamiliar (or even embarrassing), thing to do, but promoting yourself does not need to be as hard as you think. Here are our best tips!
1. Think about what you want to say
Before you can start to promote yourself, you have to work out what doing so actually means. What characterises a good consultant/freelancer? Start by putting into words the purpose and meaning of promoting yourself as a consultant. Allow us to give you a hint: promoting yourself is all about using the right type of communication. So to succeed, you need to create some kind of communication strategy.
2. Develop your brand
To create a communication strategy you need to identify what you actually have to offer. You cannot promote yourself if you do not know WHAT you are Worth and how the client can use you! Think about what kind of consultant you actually want to be. What will your unique selling points be and how will you present them? Will you be a specialist, generalist, thoughtful, analytical, career-driven or a new Mother Teresa? What contexts do you wish to appear in and what channels will you use for communication?
Challenge yourself when you ask these questions, so you can be certain you are building a complete brand which precisely matches how you want others to see you.
Once you have decided how you want to be viewed, keep to it rather than trying to promote something you are not. Do you want to be viewed as a specialist? Do not go after too wide a range of jobs. Do you want to be viewed as inquisitive and curious? Go on courses, seminars, learn new systems - and present the results in your CV! Make an active effort to strengthen the image of yourself as the consultant you wish to be. Your career is in your own hands, and you are responsible for developing your brand, bit by bit.
3. Do not be TOO self-centred
By building (and maintaining) your personal brand, you, yourself become a definite item to sell - and suddenly it seems the easiest thing in the world to do in order to win your dream job! Who could possibly not want you? Many consultants in this position have a bit too MUCH self-confidence, and imagine they will spring from assignment to assignment, raking in the money. But in reality, the competition is much greater than you think. Take a step back, be humble and get the first elements in place, such as what your income will be in the first period. This will certainly help you achieve a better and more realistic self-confidence, which in turn will make it easier to promote yourself.
4. Focus on the positive
Once you are well established, applying for assignments and going to interviews, it is important to be honest about your background. As well as presenting your strong sides and saying what you can contribute to the organisation, you must have your own history in order. Always start from the positive side! Give precise answers which do not bring negative feelings to light.
Focus on what it was that made you become a consultant and what it is you are aiming for, rather than perhaps escaping from. Whatever lies in your background, the more you practise on promoting it, the more natural your sales pitch will become - and thus a clear part of your personal brand!