Your best advertising

This is a page from my book, “A Survival Guide for New Consultants”

“When the work is done and one’s name is distinguished,
to withdraw into obscurity is the way of heaven.”

Lao-Tzu

If you’re good at the consulting service you provide — programmer, designer, lawyer, accountant, etc. — by far your best advertising is satisfied customers. I’ve received millions of dollars of income as a consultant because I solved problems for one client, and that client was kind enough to either hire me again, refer me to another business, or serve as a reference.

Of course this is a Catch-22 situation: You have to have at least one customer in order for this technique to work. But with the assumption that you do have at least one customer ...

Don’t be afraid to ask

Assuming your project has gone well, don’t be afraid to ask your customer for more work, or if they can refer you to anyone else. “Mr. Customer, it looks like we’re going to wrap up this project soon, so I thought I’d ask if you have any other projects I can assist you with?”

If your work is good, this will usually end up one of four ways. First, the client will have another project for you. Second, they won’t have a new project for you, but they’ll refer you to someone else at the company who may have a project for you. Third, there may be no other work for you at this company at this time, but they may have a friend at another company who might need your help.

The fourth thing that can happen — and this hasn’t happened to me too often — is that they won’t know of any additional work for you right now. But even then you’ve planted a seed. In one case I can recall where a client didn’t have any additional work for me, and then sent me an email within a week saying that I should talk to Bob at Acme Corporation, she was sure he’d have a project for me.

books i’ve written