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Monday, July 31, 2006

Addressing the Issues of Small Businesses and Networks

Many times when you sell computer networks or other IT products and services, your small business clients will have issues with the sales process.


Usually the problem with sales to small businesses begins when you tell them about network upgrades. Many will focus on cost and not think about the investment opportunities presented by small business networks. Clients, customers and prospects forget to think about potential downtime and loss of productivity that results from taking shortcuts. While dead-end solutions may carry a low price tag, they show no thought for the future and can actually lead to more costly problems than service contracts and on-going support for small business networks.

Even if you provide incredibly detailed initial consultations, IT audits, site surveys and network design reports, clients may still take issue with some aspect of the process right before you get the contract signed.


Even a minor concern can completely ruin a sale, so you need to develop the right business skills to overcome client objections. If you have a plan of action, you will be less likely to get defensive or annoyed with prospects or clients, and you can keep focused on the task at hand and continue to find the best solution for the small business client. Most importantly, you need to finish the sale, because your client is only in the business of solving the problems of paying clients.


Apathy on the part of small business clients takes a strong counterattack. Small business decision-makers with a case of apathy cannot look forward to implementing a network and might take weeks, months or years before the implementation becomes urgent. Finding the root of the apathy by asking direct questions can help you figure out the way to deal with it appropriately and get past it to the sale. Tell cautionary tales to get your point across as well.


PC/LAN network reliability can become unstable when the user of a P2P server accidentally performs a shutdown and restart because a software program asked for a reboot sequence. Protecting data with P2P networks can typically only be an afterthought, so if the server isn’t protected with the right hard drives, a tape backup drive, antivirus software and other elements, anything can happen. Sometimes you may get lucky and a disaster will step in to prove your point while you are trying to close a sale.


Disasters are fantastic motivators for small business clients, and can make them extremely interested in your network solution that probably involves centralized security and advanced data protection.

Similarly, discontinued technical support can motivate a client to overcome objections, especially when it comes to niche applications and software, such as those designed for accountants, attorneys, physicians and other professionals. After a while, your client will find that the vendor of the software stops providing support, updates and patches, causing them to need and upgrade to the software and also his network. This is where you step in to save the day.

You can also overcome apathetic client objections by talking about your prospects’, clients’ or customers’ competition and how other small businesses in the industry are upgrading. You can note that you are seeing a trend in technology or software that will alter the landscape and make their outdated solutions inefficient and ultimately be bad for business.

Added By: Computer Consulting 101