Client referrals are the lifeblood of any consulting business. Word-of-mouth advertising can be more valuable than a multimillion-dollar campaign, so long as it’s “good press.” But building a good client base from scratch or finding new leads to revive a stale list can be difficult.
In a recent article, Lawrence Levine suggested that you consider asking for referrals in exchange for pro bono work. But if you just don’t have the resources to trade work for a good word, try getting listed with one of these three online referral services.
National Consultant Referrals
National Consultant Referrals links “consultants with verified and validated experience” to an international client community. According to its Web site, the associate members of NCRI are experts in business, technical, scientific, marketing, international trade, and other fields, and its clients include Fortune 100 companies, government agencies, start-up firms, growing companies, and attorneys with case-preparation needs. It is a free service to qualified members. For more information, visit the Web site, click on “Membership Information,” and fill out the membership inquiry form.
International Guild of Professional Consultants
In addition to other benefits, membership in the International Guild of Professional Consultants (IGPC) provides you a free listing showing your area of expertise and interest in its “exclusive searchable database.” All listings are broken down geographically by location as well as by company. Membership in the IGPC requires a contribution ranging from $295 to $365 annually. Members can elect to pay once annually or in monthly installments for continental U.S./Hawaii memberships, International Charter memberships, or International Cyber memberships.
Consultants Online is an employment-services company for software development, quality assurance and testing, information systems, and infrastructure design and support professionals. As a contract employee, you can take advantage of such benefits as 401K plans, health coverage by Kaiser Permanente and Blue Shield, and dental coverage through Delta Dental. If you’re relocating, Consultants Online can provide information regarding real estate purchase/rental, maps, and rental cars, and can help you research other moving concerns. To become an “active consultant” and review a list of available work in your area, visit the Consultants Online Web site.
Have you discovered a unique way to keep new referrals coming in to your consulting business? Or a great referral service that may benefit other consultants? We want to hear from you! Send us an e-mail or post your comments below.