September 17, 2008, 5:01 PM — Owners of IT consulting businesses usually have very valuable technical skills. Yet these same IT consultants often fall short when it comes to business know-how, and specifically how to attract clients.
This lack of marketing and sales knowledge can be a huge problem for IT consulting businesses because billable projects for clients are what â€œpays the billsâ€.
In this article, weâ€™ll look at 5 proven client attraction secrets that you can use to generate new business and breathe new life into your IT consulting practice.
1. Know the Difference Between IT Consulting and Computer Repair. While a computer repair business might opt for a big promotional presence in phone books, coupon packs, and retail signage, an IT consulting business tends to be more focused, precise, and reserved in its marketing activities. While a computer repair business will typically service anyone with a â€œbrokenâ€ computer, IT consulting businesses usually look for more long-term business clients, with more substantial and sophisticated IT needs. This sharp distinction must come through both in your chosen marketing campaigns and your lead qualification process.
2. Think More Strategically and More Long-Term in Your Marketing Activities. The sales cycle for a home business customer that needs an inexpensive memory upgrade will be shortâ€¦ almost an impulse buy. However if youâ€™re looking to acquire clients with 10-100 workstations and five-figure annual IT consulting budgets, the sales cycle can be anywhere from a few weeks to several months. As a result, you need to think more long-term in your prospective client nurturing and follow-up activities. In other words, a client that spends $300 with your company just about every week ($15,000+ per year) requires an entirely different mindset and long-term vision than a $300 one-shot-deal customer.
3. Have a Small Proving Ground Project in Mind When Courting New Potential Clients. Often the owners of IT consulting businesses get frustrated when they have a number of large outstanding sales proposals that they just canâ€™t seem to get client commitments for. While itâ€™s certainly admirable and advisable to be pitching $25,000+ network installations and upgrades, itâ€™s usually not the best place to start with a new customer or client. Many IT consulting businesses find a much greater level of success in selling something small initially, with a well-defined beginning, middle, and end, for $250-$1,000 as a proving ground project for new customers and clients. That way your new customers and clients can try out how they like working with your company in a relatively low-risk way, while you prove your value to them. Along the same lines, it gives your customers and clients the chance to â€œproveâ€ their value to you and that theyâ€™re not unreasonable control-freaks, cheapskates, or deadbeats.
4. Always Bundle in Your Ongoing Support Agreement with Every Major Project. Once youâ€™ve successfully completed your proving ground project with a new customer or client, the follow-up project is almost always some kind of remediation project, or major upgrade or installation. When talking about the parameters for this larger follow-up project, be sure to ask, â€œHave you thought about how youâ€™d like to handle this new systemsâ€™ ongoing support and maintenance needs?â€ At which point, youâ€™ll usually want to discuss the benefits and advantages to retaining your IT consulting business through your ongoing support agreement.
5. Let Your Satisfied Clients Do the Selling. Since no one knows how good you are until after theyâ€™ve hired your company, you need to vividly paint the picture of just how great things can be when potential clients hire your company. To do so, youâ€™ll almost always want to leverage the kind words of your existing clients. This is most often done through testimonial letters, audio/video interviews, and case studies.
Owners of IT consulting businesses often struggle to find client attraction methods beyond word of mouth. This is a shame because proactive marketing and promotional activities, that create awareness of your firm, are one of the most important things that you must do to ensure that your business survives and thrives.
In this article, youâ€™ve been introduced to 5 proven client attraction secrets that generate new business and breathe new life into your IT consulting practice. To learn more about how you can attract a steady flow of great new clients to your IT consulting business, go sign-up now for free IT Consulting Business Tips.
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