I’ve Finished. How Do I Get the Next Job?
Hopefully you never need to ask yourself or anyone else this question. In an ideal consulting world, you’ll have a few jobs on the go and a few more potential jobs in the pipeline. Having said that, the ideal world isn’t always where we’re working, and things don’t always go according to plan. If you’ve just started out in consulting, sold your first piece of work, dived into it with enthusiasm, and now you’re out the other side, this may be the situation you find yourself in. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but here’s what you should have done:
However enticing, exciting, enthralling, or simply pressurized that project was, you shouldn’t have worked on it full time. You should always—I mean always—be looking to keep the job pipeline flowing. That means taking time to undertake marketing actions, follow up on leads, visit potential clients, and so forth. Even if none of these actions result in work, at least you have some potential work when you finish your current project.
When you were working with the last client, you probably met a few people in the organization and got a good understanding of their business. You should have taken the time to speak with key people about their jobs, their problems, where the company is headed, and so on, with a view to selling them some more work at a later date. After all, they know you, and hopefully they’re happy with you and feel you did a good job. It’s much easier for them to give you another contract than someone they don’t know. And you’d be happy to do more work for them, wouldn’t you?
Back to that client again. You should have asked for a referral. What do I mean by a referral? Someone the client knows who may have a need for the services you provide. That may be someone in another organization or someone in another part of the same company. A referral is a valuable thing to have and a great way to get more work. Don’t be scared to ask; I know I was when I started out. It’s a perfectly fair, reasonable, professional question, and I’ve never had a client who has been offended by it—in fact, mainly they’re pleased to help if they can.
So if you didn’t do any of these things, you now know what you should have done. If you didn’t speak to those key people in the organization, do it now. And follow up with that VP and ask for a referral now? Then pick up all those actions that you should have taken time out to cover while you were working for Acme Enterprises or whoever they were. And have faith; you sold that job, you can sell another. In fact, it’s easier now.
As a highly experienced consultant and author of “Consulting Made Easy”, Adrian assists consultants, or would be consultants, to achieve success on their terms in their own consulting businesses. Adrian helps consultants increase their fee rates, find more clients, have more free time and have more fun.
Contact Adrian at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
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