If you want to attract great, steady, high-paying clients to your IT consulting business, you need to develop a very solid IT marketing plan. Many in IT consulting naively believe that marketing is only something that merits attention when business slows down. The problem however is that because of the length of your sales cycle, most can't afford to back-burner their IT marketing plan.
An important marketing element many IT professionals neglect to fully develop is the elevator speech. The elevator speech is a short little description of your business, and is necessary to reach prospective clients in networking situations. You need to really practice it and make it a reflex as you are meeting prospective clients and partners that will be essential to the growth of your business.
An elevator speech, named for the amount of time you have to deliver your message between getting on and getting off the elevator, must be very concise -- 30 seconds tops, though 10 seconds is more ideal. Remember, if you're still blabbering away when the person you're sharing the elevator ride with exits, you're talking way too much.
If you have a well thought-out compelling business plan and unique problem-solution-benefit value proposition, writing your elevator speech is a piece of cake.
The following 3 IT marketing plan tips can help you fine-tune your elevator speech.
- A Fine-Tuned Elevator Speech Helps You Compete with Other IT Professionals. If you go to an organizational meeting, like a Chamber of Commerce breakfast or Rotary Club luncheon, you will probably not be the only IT professional giving a 30-second commercial as you mingle around and meet others. If there are two or three other computer service companies there at the same event, you need to make sure your elevator speech resonates with those you meet that might be great candidates for your services. A huge part of success in IT marketing is showing how you are different from your competitors, and how only your unique solution can fully solve the problems of your target business prospects. An effective problem-solution-benefit elevator speech can often get your foot in the door, which is key to your success in your IT marketing plan.
- Focus on Benefits and Problems Solved ... Not Features. The key thing with an elevator speech is that you need to focus on the benefits you provide for a particular business as well as the problems you can solve. For example, "Hi, my name is Bob Johnson from Johnson Computer Solutions. We help small businesses make better use of their computer systems to grow their revenue, lower their costs and raise their overall productivity and bottom-line profits." Your elevator speech needs to focus on what you can do specifically for small businesses in actual business language. It cannot just talk about how great you are, your laundry list of certifications or the technology services you provide.
- Make Sure Your Elevator Speech is Sincere. Any IT marketing activities you do need to be 100% sincere. Therefore, as you are delivering your elevator speech, you have to come across as someone that can help business owners and has a genuine interest in hearing more about them and their most important issues. The general rule of thumb with networking is to try to let the person that you're talking to do most of the talking. Make sure to use active listening and find the opportunity for you to help the business owner. Networking as part of an IT marketing plan is learning about prospects ... not about hearing yourself talk.