As anyone in IT consulting knows, when you’re in the business, you are selling your personality, charisma and business knowledge. But, more than anything else, you’re selling your time, and it’s too valuable to be squandered. You have to track every hour you spend, whether billable, sales, prospecting or administratively based. How do you gauge which service calls are worth your valuable time?
IT Consultants Need to Ask, “Is it an Emergency?”
If you want to get rid of those moochers and time wasters, you need to be able to figure out their sense of urgency when you hear from them, whether over the phone, via e-mail or in person. A server down issue that has 27 workers down and is destroying the company’s workday is VERY urgent.
But what is not urgent? Perhaps one person has a broken PDA connection. While this is important, it’s not an emergency and doesn’t affect anyone in the company but one person.
Ask, “What is the Budget?”
IT consultants can go far weeding out time wasters if they know what the budget is going into the relationship. If the small business has no money and none to spend on IT, it’s time to move on for the time being. You should put these types of people on a follow-up list and call them back in three or six months to check on the money situation, but as long as they have no money, you can’t afford to work with them.
IT Consultants Need to Use Tact
You can’t ask prospects directly, “Hey – are you broke?” To get an answer without being rude or obnoxious, ask your prospects where they are getting their computer consulting support currently. If they work solely with volunteers or moonlighters charging rock-bottom rates, you know they probably have a pretty small IT budget.
Sometimes you might discover as IT consultants that your prospects are working with another competing consulting company that is charging rates similar to yours. Then you can guess these prospects are not a waste of your time and proceed accordingly.
Another question IT consultants need to ask is how much pain prospects are in. If you can identify their pain and pitch an effective solution and they can afford you, you can forge a pretty solid relationship.
IT consultants can’t afford to give away time for free, so be very careful when deciding who to support!
Added By: Computer Consulting 101 Professional Kit