If you’re looking for ways to become a better consultant, land more clients or find a better job, this article offers ideas on how to turn failure into success.
Tips on Turning a Loss into a Win
Several months ago, one of my largest clients hired an in-house marketing expert, so my services as an outsourced marketing consultant were no longer needed. I was delighted we grew the business enough my client needed a full-time marketing professional, but I was also sad I worked myself out of assisting a client I enjoyed so much.
With more than just “a little extra time” on my hands, I started asking myself some tough questions, “What could I have done better?” and “What should I do to improve my skills?”
If you’ve ever found yourself in a similar situation of losing a good job or a key client, asking yourself these two tough questions can help you formulate a plan to move in a better direction. If you want to stay at the “top of your game” all the time, asking yourself these tough questions a couple times a year, is a great way to position yourself for success.
Develop Your Action Plan
I decided to “invest” half the time I formerly spent working with my client on expanding my knowledge, improving my tools and simply making myself a better consultant. I spent the other half of the time networking and reaching out to my contacts for leads on opportunities.
In terms of improving my skills, I decided to focus my attention on three key areas: redoing my website to learn more about WordPress, expanding my knowledge of inbound marketing by taking HubSpot courses and improving my business processes. (I plan to write a series of articles sharing tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way.)
As for connecting with my contacts, I made phone calls, sent texts, set meetings, sent out emails, mailed announcements, attended targeted networking events and proactively asked for referrals and opportunities to submit proposals for new work. I also made sure my contacts saw my “online presence” by blogging and through social media posts (which are important, but far more passive ways of connecting). In my case, actively reaching out to prospects yielded the best results.
As you develop your action plan, be sure to create a mix of reaching out to prospects (via calls, emails, texts, social media, submitting resumes or proposals, meetings, networking events, etc.) and gaining knowledge in areas that will make you better at what you do. There is a world of free training available in most fields, so there is no good excuse for not sharpening your skills.
Hold Yourself Accountable
Anyone can come up with a plan. The hard part is actually executing the plan on a consistent basis. I set quarterly, monthly and weekly goals to keep me on track. Develop whatever system works for you and keeps you moving forward in achieving your goals.
Track, Adjust & Repeat
As you move forward with your plan, analyze what is working, adjust things where needed and continue on with the process. Doing the right things consistently over time is what yields positive results. If you want to keep yourself positioned for long-term success, this should really be an ongoing process.
I’m happy to report landing some great new projects and having solid prospects in my pipeline. Also, I’m able to leverage my improved skills to help ALL my clients, which makes me a better consultant overall and also helps me attract more qualified prospects.
Lessons Learned: Even though I’ve always made time for learning and networking, I’m making these activities MORE of an ongoing priority and scheduling them into my workflow, just as I would schedule my billable work.
If you want to stay at the top of your game, I encourage you to do the same and schedule time to continually improve your skills and keep in touch with your contacts.
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