That Was Then, This Is Now
At a recent conference, the owner of an IT consulting firm approached me and started a discussion regarding the challenges he and his
team are having finding new customers. To sum up the conversation, it became clear that prospecting was something that he did not need to do in the early days of his business. That was then.
Back in the early days of the IT consulting business when everyone was following what is referred to today as the break/fix model,
marketing your services was not nearly as challenging as it is today. The technology actually assisted you.
What I mean by that is the technology was so frail, the infrastructure so fragile, that every business owner and executive that had more than two desktop PCs knew that he/she had to have a relationship with someone who knew how to fix and/or maintain that technology.
However, over time, the technology has become much more reliable. Outright crashes are rare, if not nonexistent. The concept of managing the technology has come to the forefront, but the need for technology management is not as clear nor as glaring as the need, back in the old days, of technology repair and maintenance.
Given that I’m writing this article in the “now”, suffice it to say that you must dramatically change your prospecting and marketing strategies. No longer will the occasional postcard generate enough interest to get new clients. Projects are becoming increasingly more scarce, and the competition to implement major projects is becoming ferocious.
Add to this the fact that very few business owners will wake up in the near future and state that they need to build a relationship with someone to manage their PCs. All of this speaks volumes to the need for immediate change.The first change that I recommend is that we stop the “one and done” mentality. The occasional, sporadic postcard and/or lunch-and-learn won’t get it.
I also suggest that you contact a list broker to complete a count and evaluate the total potential of demographically desirable companies within your marketplace. After you know how many demographically desirable companies exist within your marketplace, build a plan to get in touch and then (and, here’s the secret) stay in touch with all of those accounts.
Old-fashioned “one and done” prospecting doesn’t do it. Some studies show that you cannot get the attention of a stranger (a.k.a. desirable prospect) with fewer than eight or nine marketing impressions.
These impressions, or touches, can be phone calls, emails, faxes, lunch-and-learn invitations… what have you.
But, persistence is the watchword in the 21st century. Continuing to prospect the way we did in the early days of our industry will cause many IT consulting firms to fail and drift into the ash heap of history.
Make sure you’re not one of those companies by embracing these strategies.