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Small Business

 

Small Business Networking

Small business networking is critical for business success as it puts you in contact with people who need your services, or who know someone who does. The contacts you make at these events will provide a huge return on the amount of time you invest and that is the beauty of small business networking.

small business networking, small-business-networking

Small business networking is absolutely critical to your business success. As a computer consultant you are in the professional services business. This industry is all about relationships and relationships are built through networking.

You will need to make small business networking your priority for the first few months of operations. This is a process that can't be rushed. You're not going to go to your first network event and get six clients who all need network upgrades next week. But if you do participate in a small business networking event there’s a good chance that you will come away five or six quality contacts.

Networking For Contacts

Aside from the potential client contacts you make, the beauty of small business networking is that the accountant you struck up a conversation with just happens to have a neighbor who's brother is looking to network his company's regional office. Or the dentist you were talking to has a similar business philosophy and would probably be a great client to do business with. These contacts are priceless

Once you make the contact you then have to spend time following up with meetings, proposals and sales calls. But this time is much better spent than chasing down one-shot clients. Though small business networking you make in-roads with people who are, or who can put you in touch with, the steady clients that will support your business long-term.

Don't expect to walk out of every event with a handful of paying clients. Do expect, however, to generate a bunch of quality leads and referral sources. These referrals and leads are the crux of small business networking.

You need to have a bunch of different leads in your funnel and a lot of different contacts in your funnel at any given time. Some of these will be hotter at different stages and will be ready to move into paying client status at different stages and different dates. Small business networking keeps you in contact with these people throughout their buying phases.

The Bottom Line on Small Business Networking

Client contact and client referrals are what will lead you to long-term, steady clients - The kind of clients that will make your business a success. Getting out and attending small business networking events may appear to be unproductive socializing but the contacts you make will generate an enormous return on your invested time. Start your small business network today - you never know where it will take you.

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Small Business Networking: Overcoming Client Objections

IT consulting business partnerships can help you fill in gaps in your skills and expertise. However, don't let a lack of partners hold you back from starting your IT consulting business.

small business networking, small-business-networking

When you begin talking about a small business networking upgrades, prospects and clients will often dwell on cost. They neglect to consider the soft costs of not properly investing in a network, such as lost employee productivity when imprudent corners are cut, downtime when fault-tolerance is an afterthought, and service costs from computer consultants when difficult-to-support or "dead-end" solutions are selected primarily because of their low price tag.

Addressing Client Objections

No matter how thorough your initial consultation, IT audit, site survey and network design reports, some client objections may pop up just before you get the client’s authorization to proceed with small business networking. One relatively minor concern might threaten to derail the entire sale, so you need to know how to overcome some of the biggest small business networking deal-closing obstacles.

Empowered with these strategies, you’ll be much less apt to get emotional, defensive, or just plain annoyed. You can then stay focused on keeping your eye on the ball and figuring out the best way to solve the prospect’s or future client’s problems - and of course, close the small business networking sale. Remember, your company isn’t in business to solve prospects’ problems; only those of paying clients.

Overcoming Apathy

If the decision-makers have an apathetic outlook toward the prospect of implementing small business networking, your decision-makers might take weeks, months, or perhaps even years before feeling a sense of urgency about your proposed network project. However, once you discover the roots of this apathy, you’ll have a better opportunity to push (or at least nudge) the approval process along.

The Bottom Line about Small Business Networking

Situations like catastrophic data loss, (though horrible tragedies for those affected) are great motivators for combating apathy. All of a sudden, the small business owner becomes extremely receptive to your suggestions about your proposed small business networking solution, which of course, features centralized security and data protection.

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Small Business Networking: Overcoming More Client Objections

Small business networking can become especially useful when vendors pull their support of products. Also, overcome your clients' objections by telling them what their competition is doing with small business networking.

small business networking, small-business-networking

In dealing with apathy toward small business networking, discontinued technical support is another powerful counterforce, especially when you’re talking about vertical, industry-specific software, such as niche applications designed for accountants, attorneys, physicians, realtors, auto body shops and restaurants.

Providing Support

After a certain point, the independent software vendor (ISV) selling vertical, industry-specific software draws a line in the sand and stops providing technical support, annual updates, and patches for older versions of their product. So, if your client is an accounting firm that needs updated tax tables, your client is forced to upgrade the tax software, which often, in turn, forces an upgrade of the server.

This results in a call to your firm to upgrade their server (and several related highly lucrative product sales and service opportunities for your small business networking firm), all as a result of the "domino effect" from an ISV calling the shots.

Let Them Know What Their Competition Is Doing

In addition to fears of unreliable systems and vendor-mandated upgrades, you can also overcome apathy toward small business networking by discussing your prospect’s or client’s competition (without naming names, of course).

If you work with many small businesses in the same industry, and you’re seeing a software or more general technology trend that drastically alters the competitive landscape in your prospect’s or client’s industry, by all means call this to your prospect’s or client’s attention.

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