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Need advice? Need help in conquering a particular challenge? Hire a consultant! Professional consulting has become one of the fastest-growing segments of our society. What do consultants do? They provide information and advice in exchange for a fee.

They can be found under a variety of names: accountant, psychologist, architect, designer,attorney, consulting engineer. Almost everyone within a society uses their services in one way or another.

What each of these consultants has in common is the need to identify and find clients, and to package their own unique know-how in a fashion that will appeal to others and be useful and meaningful. They find that marketing themselves is quite different than marketing a product that people can put their hands on. People still like to visually see what they are putting their money out for.

Many consultants know they could provide their service ever so easily from a private office in their home. They don’t need large areas to warehouse inventory, or to staff many employees. However, their clients need to see and feel an atmosphere that will justify spending money on. Hence consultants often can be found in luxury office buildings.

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The service that a consultant renders is often difficult to describe. Some clients only use the services because forced to by law (such as needing an attorney). Some clients are encouraged by family members or friends to seek the services of a psychologist. Unless one is financially well off, there can be strong resentment in paying a consultant for advice. Clients need to feel they are receiving value in return – and to feel respect and admiration for the one who is doing the consulting.

Many consultants spend their working hours in large companies training and advising sales staff or increasing the morale of the employees. Proving that one’s services can provide large-scale differences in a large segment of a huge company requires positive feedback from prior clients and also strong marketing skills. Acquiring these marketing skills and putting them into practice consumes a large part of a consultant’s time.

Marketing requires planting many ‘seeds’ of what you have to offer. These seeds need to be spread as far and wide as possible in the areas where potential clients might see them. And, as we all know, not all seeds germinate and sprout. One of the safest ways for a consultant to successfully create a large marketing program is to apply the old standard rule of 80 – 20. Eighty percent of their income will come from 20 percent of their clients or leads (seeds).

By carefully analyzing which potential clients are going to be the most irritating and troublesome, and which will be a great joy to work with, consultants are usually able to eliminate eighty percent of the seeds and focus on where they can truly serve and make the best use of their time. This is how a consultant acts as his own consultant!

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