[Advice] Networking, Word-Of-Mouth and Marketing You Can Afford

For the consultant the three most valuable forms of marketing are as follows:

  • Networking
  • Word-of-Mouth
  • and Referral.


Let’s break those three down from the most valuable form of marketing to the least valuable, because we approach them a little differently than many other consultants operating in this same space, no matter what the field.

Everything is networking, from the sales funnel conversations to any random email, we approach every opportunity to connect with somebody—client, customer, fan or follower—as a potential networking opportunity.

Does this mean that every contact will give us cash in exchange for services?

Absolutely not.

As a matter of fact, 95% of all of our networking never ends in a sale.

Disheartening? Maybe. But it’s our most valuable form of marketing, because the more people we get in front of the better the exposure we have and the stronger our story becomes.

Then there’s number two:

Word of mouth is possibly the least sexy way to make a sale.

After all, no film or television show ever popularizes the interaction where a person states that, “Oh yeah, Susan is a great person. You should work with her.”

But, word-of-mouth comes about because of a job well done, a client well satisfied, a blog post well written, a networking conversation well handled or an “I don’t know” honestly said.

You know. The really unsexy stuff that happens in between the cracks of the business.

Finally, referrals are great, but here at HSCT we don’t chase them as a primary marketing driver.

They are very hard to get and are based on trust, time and relationship.

They don’t come because of a blithe turn of phrase or a perspective well stated.

Referrals as a marketing tool are the furthest down the funnel, because they are the most expensive to buy and are the least easy to afford.

Networking is the most valuable form of marketing that a consultant has when building a business. Word of mouth can only come after networking and thus becomes the second most valuable form of marketing. Finally, referral is the least valuable form of marketing, not because it can’t be mastered, but because it tends to be promoted as the easiest one, and is really the one based on years and years of the other two.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: hsconsultingandtraining@gmail.com
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