I recall the first marketing campaign I ever did. What a train-wreck! A few months prior, I setup my first business. A web and mobile app development agency straight-out of university. I graduated with a degree in Information Systems and had a number of web and mobile app development projects under my belt and with that, I fancied myself as someone who could provide his development services to the market in return for a fee. I came across a local networking event for small businesses and saw it as an ideal opportunity to pedal my services and drum-up some business. So off I went with about 500 hard-printed flyers ready to hand-out – yep I was that guy! The results? An infuriated event organizer and more than a few pestered business owners who wanted nothing to do with me!
Looking back, I realize how clueless I was when it came to effective sales and marketing. Of course, the reason for this was obvious. I did, after all, spend more of my time with my head stuck in a compiler debugging code than I ever did learning about sales or marketing. This led to the ultimate demise of my first business. Back then, my view of an effective sales person was someone who was a highly extroverted, charismatic leader-type person who could strike up rapport with anyone in an instant and get deals over the line at will. A few years down the road, the more business-savvy me understood that it doesn’t require this at all and that really, the best sales is hidden.
“Like acting, sales works best when hidden. This explains why almost everyone whose job involves distribution— whether they’re in sales, marketing, or advertising— has a job title that has nothing to do with those things. People who sell advertising are called ‘account executives.’ People who sell customers work in ‘business development.’ People who sell companies are ‘investment bankers.’ And people who sell themselves are called ‘politicians.’ There’s a reason for these redescriptions: none of us wants to be reminded when we’re being sold. “ — Peter Thiel, Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future
As time went on, I did learn how to market my IT services effectively and acquire clients with ease and on-demand. To this date though, I still notice that many Independent IT Consultants and IT Service providers, struggle a great deal with generating new clients. Many independent IT consultants and service providers are very good at what they do however, they are not good at marketing their services. The current school of thought is that clients will just show-up at their door. This unfortunately is not true.
The problem that people face with generating clients is they relying on old school marketing strategies like networking, word-of-mouth and other forms of outdated marketing – if you can call it that. This approach generally impairs growth as it is a time-consuming, “slow burner” process that is not a predictable way to secure a steady stream of high-ticket clients.
To add to this, independent IT consultants and service providers don’t have a vetting process to effectively establish only clients who have the budget, authority, need and time to buy from them. They are instead are happy to waste hours and hours of their time at a networking event or on call with people who are never going to buy from them.
Some even believe that further education in the form of Masters degrees, two year MBA programs and even getting the latest IT certification is somehow going to translate into more clients for their IT consultancy. The same goes for having dozen of articles on all of the latest trade journals, 20 years experience in the field or even a ‘deep network’ of contacts in the industry. All of that helps – sure, but it does not get you clients in the door.
What is important is:
- Being crystal clear about the one specific niche that you are uniquely positioned to serve.
- Understanding your customers problem better than anyone else.
- Providing a solution to act as a bridge to help them solve this problem.
- Applying a solution to this problem that will deliver value and that your clients are willing to pay money for.
Independent IT Consultants and IT Service Providers should be fully utilizing the internet and social media as a new way to market their services and business. I am not talking about a having a million Facebook followers or posting everyday on LinkedIn. What I mean is having a system in place that involves using funnels, in combination with direct outreach marketing and advertising, that will allow you to gain a continuous stream of clients every single week without fail.
It might seem difficult and time-consuming to set all of this up, but as someone who has successfully implemented this in the past, I can assure you that it’s incredibly quick (takes about a day) and straightforward to setup a system that will effectively capture, vet and put high-value clients in contact with you every single week. This type of clients that h