One of the things new consultants are often concerned about when they are just starting out is the competition in their area – other HR consultants who at least on the face of it, are after the same potential clients.

We encourage them not to be concerned about competitors at all, but we know that’s easier said than done, so here are 7 reasons you shouldn’t be concerned at having local competition.

Knowledge is power!

It’s obviously worth knowing who your competitors are in your local area. Remind yourself of who they are and keep an eye on any new consultants ‘on the block’. Understanding who they are, what they do and how they do it is valuable information when it comes to the next step…

Differentiate

Once you know who the other HR consultants in your area are, clarify in your mind how you are different from them. Look at their web presence, and obviously in person if you come across them networking or at events.

Is your approach to HR different? Do you have different priorities, specialise in a different area of HR, have a different image and brand? Is your background and experience different? There’s no right or wrong, and as long as you are clear what you’re about, potential clients and referrers who identify with that will be drawn to you.

Keep in mind your perfect client

Just because on the face of it your competitors have the same target market doesn’t mean their perfect client and yours are actually the same. Market to your perfect client, and you’re more likely to get more of those coming your way.

Don’t forget that what someone else is doing isn’t necessarily right!

It’s very common to look at what competitors are doing and think “I should be doing that”. But just because someone’s perhaps been around for a while doesn’t mean they’re doing everything right! Take advice from the right people about things like what services to offer and how to market and brand yourself, rather than automatically following what others are doing.

You won’t be right for everyone

Accept that you won’t be the right HR consultant for every potential client in your area. Choosing an HR consultant is a very personal thing for a small business owner. They need to ‘gel’ with the person, and have some good personal rapport with them, and realistically you won’t achieve that with everyone.

That’s ok, and the good news is that the potential clients you don’t ‘gel’ with and don’t get a good rapport with are the ones that are less likely to approach you in the first place, and also the ones that you would not enjoy working with as much anyway!

Be authentic

Authentic is a word that’s bandied around a lot, but in this case what it means is ensuring that the version of you which comes across in social media, on your website and when you’re out and about talking to people is absolutely genuinely you; is an accurate reflection of what you’re about; and gives a very realistic impression of what working with you would be like for a small business owner.

Be authentically yourself, because you are better at being that than any of your competitors will ever be, so clients who want what you really are will be drawn to you rather than other providers.

If you try to be something you’re not, and won’t be as good at it, and perhaps the impression your social media has given of you won’t be consistent with how you come across in real life, your marketing efforts will be less impactful.

Develop a niche

Trying to appeal to everyone and cover everything is tempting, especially at first, but developing a niche can be a very effective marketing strategy and can help you stand out to the perfect client when they are looking at an array of local options. Some of our consultants are developing a bit of a sector niche, but other things to try are particular areas of HR, types of client, or specific services.

Competitors can be useful contacts

It’s not uncommon for our consultants to have positive contact with their competitors, and even to receive referrals from them. This has happened on several occasions either because there is a conflict of interest meaning the other consultant cannot take on a piece of work. Sometimes they don’t have time for something, or a client requires a service they don’t offer but our consultant does.

And it works both ways as well – you may find it useful knowing other consultants in your area, and may be able to refer work to them on occasion.

 

If you’re thinking of becoming an HR Consultant and would like to know more about partnering with us, download a prospectus or email info@face2faceHR.com.