One of the problems many consultants have is that they can only work with one client at a time. Often it’s because of travel, or because the contract is so large that they can only concentrate on that one thing and nothing else.
This brings about a different kind of problem, that being to try to reestablish oneself with their community once that assignment is over. There’s nothing easy about it because if you’ve been out of town, you’ve probably been out of sight. If you’ve been in town hopefully you’ve attended some kind of networking meetings, but from what we’ve seen this isn’t the norm for most independent consultants.
What can you do and should you do? Luckily it’s not something hard to do, but its success depends on the audience and how close you were to your community before you left. Here are some general ideas:
1. Go to some local networking events. If you belong to any groups it’s good to go to those. If there are some groups you don’t belong to that offer something you might be interested in, try to go to a couple of those also. The idea is to be seen and to reintroduce yourself to the community.
2. Send out some letters. We’ve all heard that letters don’t work anymore but is that true? If you’re sending letters to people who are familiar with your name it may reawaken a memory in their minds. Even if you don’t get them as clients it’s always good to have people recognizing your name, hopefully fondly, in case something else comes up and you need someone to put in a good word for you.
3. Pick up the phone. The old marketing standby, it’s probably one of the quickest ways to get back in contact with people you haven’t spoken to in a long time. It offers the benefit of being able to leave a message if they’re not answering the phone and sparking something in their minds when they hear your familiar voice.
4. Email can’t hurt. Though some marketing experts think email is dead, what they’re really saying is it’s tough to get new clients or sales that way because of spam filters. However, if you’re writing to someone you already have an established relationship with your email should go through just fine. A recommendation would be to NOT send a group email but write it personally to each person, although having an email template to use for every person you write isn’t a bad thing if you’re not that close to the people you’re writing.