In any career field, a strong and effective network can make the difference between success and failure. For consultants, an extensive network is not only beneficial but, in many cases, it is also absolutely necessary. Providing the best service to clients may only be possible through a consultant’s connections, so consultants would be advised to develop and expand their networks on a regular basis.
Consulting is a highly involved business. Working with clients often means meeting with them directly and discussing at length what they want to do. For consultants, communication skills are an absolute must. Not only do consultants need to be well-spoken and educated, but they must also be able to listen actively and identify pain points for their clients in order to best serve their needs. In curating their own professional networks, consultants receive a unique opportunity to not only expand the number of their connections but also improve their communication skills, inevitably resulting in more refined skills that benefit them as well as their clients.
A consultant with an extensive network of reputable professionals will appeal to more clients because they will feel confident that you and your connections can tackle their problems with a greater chance of success. Even if you are not an expert in a certain area, being able to tell a client that you can consult an industry professional to get their insight or simply direct them to the professional for a specific problem will demonstrate your dedication to providing great service. It will also show your clients that you are well-connected and possess the resources to solve complex problems and address unique situations.
Many consultants find that their client pool expands naturally by word of mouth. With satisfied clients come recommendations. This matter of obtaining new clients also extends to networking, as well. Attending networking events, demonstrating your prowess, and cultivating genuine connections with other professionals can boost your reputation and increase intrigue. It is important to be genuine and considerate when networking, especially if you are looking to acquire more clients; if you approach networking opportunities in a sales mindset, you may walk away disappointed.