How to Monetize Your Network as a Consultant

social-media-552411_960_720There’s no question, getting referred to a client by another consultant feels great. It costs you nothing, yet provides a high closing rate in comparison to leads you get through inbound or outbound marketing channels. For the client, a referral is a solution to an immediate need. Instead of starting from square one, the client trusts that you can do the job well.

But giving referrals can also yield positive results for your business– and sometimes even financial compensation. If you are a consultant who has a strong professional network, or would like to be, consider the following tips:

1. Keep building your network.

Building a business network is an ongoing process that requires you to build and nurture relationships on an individual level and a group level. After all, the more you learn about what the people in your network do, the better you will be able to refer them. Plus, providing support can also get you more clients.

2. Add value to your network.

When attending industry events, be sure to add value to the group instead of coming in with an agenda. Once you make a new contact, stay connected. That may mean checking in with them every so often or introducing them to others who can help propel their consulting business.

3. Don’t forget about your online social networks.

It’s not unusual to have hundreds of friends on social networking sites. Reach out to the people you know and find out who is looking for work. Learn more about what they do as well as their strengths and talents.

4. Get comfortable with the referral process.

As a consultant, chances are you hear from clients who are looking for help, even when it’s not your area of expertise. It can be the ideal time to suggest another consultant, whether on the phone, in an email or during a Skype conversation.

For instance, if you are a web designer, you probably have clients who need content providers and vice versa. Helping clients find the right consultant is better than not providing a solution at all.

5. Follow up on personal referrals.

If you do refer a member of your network for a job, always check in afterward. Whether the referral was a success or failure, you can quickly learn more about the client’s needs. When you follow up it also shows that you took the referral seriously on a professional level.

6. Look for referral marketing opportunities.

Obviously, building and maintaining a strong network can help you stay afloat financially as a consultant. But it’s not the only option.

Referral marketing is a strategy that involves spreading the word about a service through a business’ existing customers. Many companies use referral marketing online to expand their audience, sometimes using it to fill job vacancies. As a consultant, you can make money opening up a job opportunity to your network.

For instance, Zintro makes it easy to share any project, phone consult or job on social media via Share buttons–and it automatically tracks back to you. Plus, if any of your referrals results in a hire, you get up to $1000:

  • $100 for a Phone Consult
  • $250 for a Project
  • $1000 for a Job

Follow these tips to build, strengthen, and maintain your business network and you may be able to profit in the short-term or long-term. Regardless, it can help you grow your consultant business.