Free consultations are fast becoming one of the most popular ways for B2B brands to connect with new customers. However, there can be some misunderstandings or miscommunication and they are not always run for the real benefit of the most important party; the customer or client. We take a look at the myths of a free marketing consultation and how you can ensure you get value from attending one.
Myth 1 – A free consultation is just an excuse for a sales pitch
Although this can be true for some, many organisations do advertise a free consultation for this sole purpose. For us, a free consultation should be much more about listening than talking. For the company offering the marketing consultation, they should be looking to find out about the history and aims of the business, and look to offer advice on whether the assumptions and direction the business is looking to move in or invest in may be the wisest at the time. There is likely to be some thought on next steps, but in a good conversation this is much more likely to be about whether it is the right time and whether the match is a good fit for both parties to discuss working together. For the business taking up the free consultation, they should expect an open discussion and an element of unbiased and honest critique of their planned approach from experts in the field.
Myth 2 – It’s not going to be a good use of time
We get it – business owners are busy people! For some, a long or unfocused consultation where the potential customer is not in the driving seat or given time to talk though their concerns can be frustrating. However, a good quality marketing consultation call or meeting should provide enough value, either in the call itself, or the follow-up, to make it worthwhile. A conversation that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere or that is taking too long can always be cut short, but the potential benefits often outweigh the small time investment.
Myth 3 – Noone can tell me anything about my business that I don’t already know
This is not necessarily true, regardless of how long you have been in business. One of the benefits of talking to an independent digital marketing consultant is that they should have an unbiased and fresh view, as well as the specific expertise they can bring. For example, a short consultation with the right person can often reveal a whole host of opportunities that your current strategy is missing. Some examples from consultations that we have performed include:
- Business-level issues, such as branding, customer service / reputation problems
- Issues with website performance / display / design
- Critical broken links to or within the website
- Social media issues
- Broken emails or database errors
Following up with a more detailed audit will be important to investigate and better understand some of these highlighted issues.
Myth 4 – I don’t need a consultation as I already have the solution in mind
The old adage “you don’t know what you don’t know” rings true here. Often out of a conversation a potential client can find themselves re-prioritising their list to focus on the most critical issues first. By not performing a due diligence, you may be missing opportunities to check that you are heading in the right, and most important, direction for your business.
Myth 5 – Conversations require commitment
Again, this isn’t necessarily accurate. Sometimes, a conversation with a digital marketing expert is what you need to ensure your plans are on track. It should be in the interests of both the client and potential marketing agency or consultant to check that, if you are discussing working together, it would be the right fit for both parties. If at any stage it doesn’t feel right for either party there should be an opportunity to end conversations. Sometimes the timing isn’t right or the budget isn’t right to achieve your goals, and it’s fine to walk away. This is the exact reason why a consultation to discuss the scope of your marketing project can be the right thing to do.
There are many industries where a free consultation can be a useful tool to offer, as part of your B2B marketing strategy. As a potential new customer, try shopping around, and taking out some free consultations with the right consultants can be an ideal way to road-test which may be a good fit for your business.
To book a free 30 minute marketing consultation with us, either in person or over the phone, directly in your diary, book here. (Hurry, offer expires 25th August 2017!)
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