Many independent consultants, trainers and coaches regard marketing and sales as a particular task and not as a core process in every company. Their experience and competence in this area are correspondingly low. That takes revenge in times of crisis like the current one.
The same ritual every year. As soon as the leaves fall from the trees, the phone rings once or twice a day and consultants ask us whether we can support them in the marketing area – or the corresponding emails arrive. This is also the case this year, although many things are very different from usual due to the Corona. For months before, to put it bluntly, there was radio silence. Still, as soon as the advent season and the turn of the year have come, the whole world is suddenly crying out for marketing advice and support – as soon as possible and immediately.
Consultants Awaken From Deep Marketing Sleep
The reason for this: Towards the end of the year, many consultants, trainers and coaches look into their order books for the coming year and realize: There are still big holes – holes this year
- Are often even more significant than in previous years
- Not infrequently they even get more significant from day to day due to the falling cancellations.
So, after having been in deep marketing sleep for months after an interim high in the lockdown phase in the spring, the consultants are now sending mailings to their “dear customers” again. And the very active ones among them? They even pick up the phone and call the decision-makers at their regular customers to get the missing orders for the coming year wrapped up.
Regular Customers are Surprisingly Breakaway
But then they often hear:
- “In the coming year, we will have to set other priorities due to the Corona. Therefore I have to tell you, unfortunately … “Or:
- “Our board of directors has decided that we will be in 2021 … Therefore we, unfortunately, have to inform you …”
In short: the trainers and consultants will not receive the assignments that have already been firmly planned mentally for the following year, or they will be put off until an indefinite point in the future.
If this happens, quite a few trainers and consultants panic – especially those who have primarily made a living from a handful of regular customers in recent years. So they give us a call, for example – often in the hope that we will reveal some magic marketing tricks to them, how they can fill their order books at short notice and without high costs. After all, the sales of most consultants are currently lower than in pre-Corona times.
Request: Acquire orders and customers at short notice They are accordingly disappointed when we say to them “We don’t have time or free capacities” or even “Your expectations are unrealistic because at least project orders
cannot be as short-term as you hoped to Acquire”- especially not if a consultant lacks all the relevant marketing instruments, such as
- A well-maintained address pool,
- A meaningful, professional-looking website that is easily found in web searches,
- Descriptions of or articles about reference projects and
- Smart “shop window products” that are suitable for getting a foot in the door of new customers, and receiving a small initial order from them.
As a rule, a certain amount of preparatory work, i.e. a specific investment of time and money, is necessary before successful order acquisition can begin, especially with new customers. An individual customer dying is every day. That is why we see with a laughing and a crying eye the increased demand for our services towards the end of the year and at the beginning of the year (before most consultants fall back into a deep marketing sleep). With a smiling eye, because we are of course happy when our services are asked for. With a crying eye, these inquiries are usually only an expression of the fundamental deficits in the marketing of many trainers, consultants and coaches.
For example, many consultants lack the awareness that an individual customer dying in the training and consulting market, even if a consultant provides top service for his customers, is normal – not only in times of the Corona. Because the decision-makers in the company keep changing, or they set other priorities. Therefore, even in “normal times”, it is a threat to a consultant’s existence to rest on a handful of regular customers and stop marketing and sales activities entirely due to the current reasonable workload.
Many consultants also suppress the fact that they do not sell “fast-moving items” such as sandwiches with sandwiches. Instead, new customers’ acquisition in the training and consulting market usually extends over months or often even years. Therefore, especially for consultants in the B2B area, marketing and sales should be an ongoing process so that, if surprisingly customers break away, they have at least some warmed-up potential new customers in the pipeline and are not, so to speak, at the very beginning with establishing contacts and relationships.
Marketing and Sales are Core Processes in a Company
The most important and decisive point is: Many trainers and consultants, although they are entrepreneurs, have not internalized that marketing and sales are core processes in every company.
That is why it is and will remain your job as an entrepreneur to take care of it. This means that responsibility for the associated tasks can neither be delegated to external service providers nor to any administrative employees who work for the trainers or consultants. They can give you maximum support in your job. You are responsible for the core task of marketing and sales – that is, for ensuring that your cash register has enough money in the end.
Consultants need Marketing and Sales
competence That is why consultants and trainers in the marketing and sales area should have at least enough competence and experience to have at least one assessment competence about their external supporters’ suggestions. I.e. they can assess to what extent their plans and promises are realistic. Otherwise, everyone can be talked into “Sch …” by them. They don’t get full order books this way.
And the evaluation competence that is urgently needed in the digital age, in which marketing instruments are becoming more and more diverse and marketing systems, is becoming more complicated? It does not arise with trainers and consultants if they see marketing and sales only as a “special task” in bad times or as a “seasonal job” instead of an entrepreneurial task.