“Branding? What the heck is that? I’m a consultant, my work speaks for itself.”
Sound like you? Well, you may be doing yourself a disservice.
You have been working away in your consulting career for some time now. You deliver excellent results. Your clients love working with you. Yet, when the budget runs out, when clients are scarce, you struggle to find your next engagement.
I have seen this outcome again and again. I see fabulous consultants who have great value to offer, but they do not stand out against others who offer the same services. Even when they stand out, they aren’t able to negotiate the rates and terms that reflect the value they bring.
My observation is there are 5 reasons consultants need to take their personal brand more seriously.
Reason 1: It Actually Applies to You
So many consultants believe branding is only applicable to brick and mortar, retail, or much bigger corporations than their small services company.
Not true. You have a brand…right now. Do you know what people think of you? What are they saying? How are they making decisions about you?
I am very grateful I learned this lesson early in my career. But that was only because I hired a career coaching firm (at an extreme cost) that drilled this concept into my head. I know that if I hadn’t done that, I would have progressed a heck of a lot slower in my career, and my transition to consulting would have been more hampered.
For those who haven’t received this valuable branding advice…Not having a personal brand restricts the freedom to choose your own engagements and leaves you only with what is available at the time.
Reason 2: You Attract the Right Clients
Did you become a consultant because you wanted to choose your clients? Do you still need to work with difficult clients?
When I first started, I couldn’t be picky about my clients. But because I had a strong brand when I stepped out, I seemed to have fewer difficult clients than some of my peers.
Right there is another great reason to build, maintain, and continue to grow your brand—attract the clients you want to work with.
Reason 3: Clients Take You Seriously
Who doesn’t want to be taken seriously?
If you are serious about helping your clients and want your ideas to be considered, then yes, you want to be taken seriously.
Having a strong brand helps you work towards a collaborative working relationship with your client. It means you can help them make the right changes to resolve the problems they have hired you to solve.
Which sets you up for the next reason…
Reason 4: You Increase Trust Faster with Your Clients and Stakeholders
When you are taken more seriously, you can build trust with your clients and stakeholders faster.
A great consultant can build trust. But to build it faster is a value ad.
For example, my strong personal brand means people know who I am, and it helps me build trust more quickly with new clients. This means we can move our attention to the problem and solution, rather than being distracted by focusing on my addition to the team. I am all for finding ways of reducing the noise and resistance of my presence.
This has always added value in my ability to negotiate. When my brand is recognized, my reputation precedes me, and my peers are very comfortable advocating on my behalf. It means I am positioned for a realistic and honest conversation regarding my value rate.
Which leads to my last reason consultants should take branding more seriously…
Reason 5: You Can Make More Money
What more do I have to say? That’s a good reason right there.
The biggest takeaway here is that you have a brand, and you need to take it seriously. Once you own your brand and take steps to manage it, you are well on your way to receiving the rewards.
Thanks for reading!
If you would like to learn more about personal branding, check out my book Expand Your Brand: Personal Branding for Independent Consultants.
Founder and President
Stand & Deliver Inc.