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Sales Tips for My Service Business

digitalsquaredigitalsquare subscriber Posts: 1
edited July 2007 in Sales
good morning everyone. my name is matt. i`ve been in the "IT service industry" for a while now, but now that i`m on my own i`m finding it hard to get new clients.
i`ve already called all of my friends and business contacts for business and while i have a lot, very few have been able to keep me busy.
i live in a small town, but i`m 30-60 minutes away from much larger cities.
i`d like to be able to get my name out there more, but it`s a daunting task and a little scary too.
does anyone have any suggestions?


  • digitalsquaredigitalsquare subscriber Posts: 1
    hey there nevadascul. i do have my current clients on a remote access program that i can use if we need it. and, it`s my practice (with client approval, of course) to install this program so that we all save time and money.
    i have a website, but i`m in the process of moving servers so it`s up and down. hopefully by the end of the week it will be up.
    i had thought about listing my rates, but i didn`t know if i should worry about competitors or even clients just making the call to me. but seeing how i`m not getting any calls it won`t hurt to put the rates up.
    thanks for your help!
  • MarkBMarkB subscriber Posts: 2
    Hi there,I have had a company that does the same thing as yours since 1999. I would not recommend listing your rates unless you are prepared to compete as the low cost leader (which I never recommend).I am assuming that you are the one who does the all of the computer work (that was how I started out so I know your pain) but there are some advantages to it. For one, you can establish one on one relationships with your clients, which is, in my opinion, the best thing that use can use to separate yourself from your competition. Don`t underestimate the value of these relationships.Since you are the one who is doing the work, I would recommend that you use some Internet tools to expand your reach beyond your local service area. If you have a specific skill set, you can bid on project at Rent-A-Coder (www.rentacoder.com). You are probably not going to get rich doing jobs for Rent-A-Coder but it can pay the bills until your local work picks up.The other site I highly recommend is OnForce (www.onforce.com). Especially with verifiable credentials, you can make some nice cash for quick work that you are willing to do. I would highly recommend that you be willing to work in the largest area possible, you can setup your profile to accept projects within 60 minutes of your location. The one downfall is that you have to be prepared to take a job quickly. We have timed them and the average job is only available for 4 minutes, so you have to decide if you are going to take a job pretty quickly. Also, make sure you have notices sent to your cell phone so that you can be alerted quickly.Best of luck to you.Mark Bebout
  • digitalsquaredigitalsquare subscriber Posts: 1
    hey mark. thanks for replying to my post. i`ve always been hesitant to list my rates so it`s nice to know that i shouldn`t. luckily for me i have great relationships with my clients so it`s fairly easy for me to make new sales to them. it`s pretty much walking in the door and saying, "hey there. i haven`t worked here in a few months. wanna break something real quick so i can work?" they know i`m not begging and it`s a joke and usually they have things that they`ve put off having fixed. but, it isn`t something i can do with everyone of course.
    thanks for the websites. i`m not a coder so i guess i`m out on that site but i`m in the process of signing up for the onForce site.
    it`s good to know that i`m not the only one out there trying to build an IT business. i`ve been in this type business since i got out of high school, but i`m still not sure what to do when it comes to building the business.
  • MarkBMarkB subscriber Posts: 2
    Well there certainly is no magic bullet to building an IT business. You have competition coming from every angle. It has become a business that has very price sensitive buyers, so it hard to make a decent living. Everybody wants to be a techie because they think they can get rich. But it is very hard work and sometimes you don`t make that much money. Especially if you are a generalist.Back in 2005 I made some changes in my business and now specialize in providing complete IT services for medical practices. We chose an industry that had specialized needs and designed services around those needs. I think that this has helped us carve out a niche business. Do you have any specialized knowledge that you could focus in on?Mark Bebout
  • digitalsquaredigitalsquare subscriber Posts: 1
    i really enjoy setting up servers and doing network and data security. i have a great idea for a business that would allow me to do data archiving for both businesses and personal use, but i`m not sure how well recieved the idea would be.
    most of the work i do is either for attorneys, doctors or accountants. very rarely do i do "general IT work" for the general public.
  • MarkBMarkB subscriber Posts: 2
  • digitalsquaredigitalsquare subscriber Posts: 1
    well, it`s a data archiving business. basically it would be taking priceless family and business photos and documents, scanning them and storing them. it`s kinda a cheesy idea in a way, but i`m a volunteer fireman and i know that what i`ve seen from people`s houses and businesses burning to the ground, it sure wouldn`t have been a bad idea.
  • MarkBMarkB subscriber Posts: 2
    Not a bad idea. I would think that they would have to be very, very important documents or pictures in order to to convince someone to pay for it. Most people who would consider your archiving services would probably just purchase a small safe, or rent a safe deposit box.
  • BeeBooBeBeeBooBe subscriber Posts: 5
    Actually I don`t think a data archiving idea will work. Your clients could not  be confident you store their data in a safety environment, also they could think it`s risky to share their private information.Another thought - there are many services for storing any private information on remote servers in large data centers and it`s safely and cheap. So if your clients are thinking about storing their information, I think they know about these services.What is your value for your clients? Just scanning documents?Another thing you would consider is learning small businesses how to use their computers for business. Actually it`s our headache, because our clients are the same small businesses and we received letters and calls "We are not very good with computers, please learn us how to change regional settings in Windows, how to install, how to use e-mail clients" and so on.Also a lot of people buy new computers with Windows Vista, and it`s hard to have softwares they used earlier working on Vista and even install on Vista. May be it could be your service, installing and making sure all programs are working.
    BeeBooBe2007-7-18 2:48:10
  • VictorydVictoryd subscriber Posts: 2
    How about doing small classified ads. The fact that you are local and small can actually be a benefit. Use some creativity and use that in your ad. Do some research and learn how to write an effective ad, also look at the ads other businesses are already using. See the ones that stand out more. If you were a looking customer, which would you call? If you can see past issues, see which ads are appearing consistently; try looking back as far as a year ago, those are the ones who are successful. Use that knowledge to write your own ad. Write ads and post them in different media (newspapers, magazines, local versions of major newspapers and magazines, and online). Many times, you can even find free online resources for this tactic. Classified ads are usually pretty cost effective. Make sure to track the effectiveness of your ads and make the ones that DO work, work harder by posting more of them. The ones that DONT work throw them out. Test, and optimize. Who knows, this might be the only marketing you`ll need. Best of luck!Victor
  • BeeBooBeBeeBooBe subscriber Posts: 5
    Another marketing thing that could work is posting some articles in local newspapers. You will learn customers, customers will know you are an expert in this area. May be you can go live archiving idea if you post an article about what is it, why small businesses should archive their documents and some examples, real stories. For instance, "Jenny Doe lost her valuable information when her computer crashed. It caused a bad thing, another bad thing, another bad thing. She tried to find a solution..." It isn`t a direct advertisement and it works.
    BeeBooBe2007-7-20 11:5:5
  • digitalsquaredigitalsquare subscriber Posts: 1
    hey! i have never thought about anything like that. i guess i luck out, too, since i own a classified paper. i`ll just change my ad from and "ad" into an article or tip section.
    thanks alot!digitalsquare2007-7-19 11:15:58
  • dhsterdhster subscriber Posts: 0
    I just wanted to say hi. I used to be a vol. firefighter also. I took up that idea in another way. I`m trying to market my digital home inventory service. Nothing yet though, as far as any customers. Which I think is weird since I live in tornado and hurricane country (Florida). Maybe it`s because I started it around the time that the snow-birds were going back north. I`m now trying to make a go of another venture. God bless.
  • Margecam52Margecam52 subscriber Posts: 0
    I do this kind of archiving for family all the time.  I started it as my own archive, but give family access. 
    I think it would be a great side business, and who knows, it may become a really important part of your services. 
    As a volunteer fireman, you have access to those who have had to learn the hard way that those precious photos & documents need to be kept in a safe place.    You will want to be able to offer them a secure, password protected site to put them on. 
    I do photo restoration in conjunction with the photo quilts I make.  I`ll take a customers old, sometimes damaged photos, restore them, save the original & the restored onto a cd.   This is given, as a bonus to the customer when they pick up their quilt.  They can then have these photos printed out for other family members.  I always suggest to them to save a copy onto a website, if they have one...or on thier online mail server.  If the house burns down...you at least have copies of the old photos.
  • Margecam52Margecam52 subscriber Posts: 0
    I have to disagree with you.  If one offers to scan important documents, and you give the owner a password protected place on the web to store those documents & photos...and charge a small fee for the storage point...this could work as an addition to the computer repair business.
    I think my quilt customers are more excited about the photos I save onto disk for them, than they are in the finished quilts sometimes.
    I do make sure there are no copyright problems (no professional photos newer than 75 years is scanned).  If they want to use a photo from a professional photographer, I have them get permission to put into the quilt (and I don`t save a copy), or I suggest they use a snapshot that I can pull a print from.  I can put any background to a photo.
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