Offering to perform a technology assessment for a new or existing client can be a great way to generate new business for your IT firm.
A technology assessment is sometimes described as an “IT audit” or “site survey.” Essentially, the idea is to review every facet of a client’s IT infrastructure and point out problems, risks, shortcomings and potential areas for improvement.
In this article, we present a six step plan to begin to provide technology assessments for your clients:
Produce a template. Producing a template achieves two objectives: first, it forms the basis of the report you will provide to the customer, and as such you should spend time working on attractive formatting and an easy-to-read layout. Perhaps consider a traffic light system (ranging from red for “urgent action required” to green for “purely informational points”). However you lay out the template, ensure you include a section at the end for action points as a basis for further discussion. The second objective to aim for when producing a template is to give yourself a working document to use while you perform the technology assessment, so you don’t forget anything you should check whilst on site or remoting in. The good news is that you only need to produce the template once. Once it’s done you can use it for multiple clients.
Suggest the technology assessment. Obviously the way you suggest a technology assessment to a client depends on whether they are a new sales prospect or an existing customer. Similarly, the focus of the assessment itself will differ based on this. If you perform an assessment for an existing client, the focus will be on the business and what they could perhaps do differently to exploit new technology. In the case of a new client, you will probably want to place more emphasis on shortcomings and risks, such as expired warranties and failing backups. You obviously wouldn’t do quite the same with an existing client, as these shortcomings would be your fault!
Carry out the assessment. It’s usually best to carry out a technology assessment on the client site. Start with a brief meeting where you explain what you will be doing, and also take this as an opportunity to discuss the business and its future IT strategy. This gives you the chance to include the need for future projects in your eventual report. Afterwards, you would typically spend some time on the client server(s) and a few of the PCs, checking things like backup reports, event logs and UPS and router control portals. It’s usually best to just make notes at this stage, and flesh them out into a report later.
Create the report. Once you have collected all the information on the client infrastructure, you should then fill in the template, complete with action points, and prepare to submit the report to the customer.
Arrange a follow-up meeting. Although you could simply email the report to the customer, it’s usually best to report back in person. If you are reviewing a new client’s system, there may well be urgent issues that you feel they should be made aware of immediately, especially in the event of business-critical findings such as failed backups. Aside from this, the point of the follow-up meeting takes us back to the original objective of offering the technology assessment in the first place.
Sell some services! Use your follow-up meeting to explain to the customer how your services can resolve any problems highlighted on the assessment, or achieve any suggested improvements. Try to pitch as a professional partner, and refrain from “hard sell,” - but at the same time, try to come away from the meeting with the definite promise of some revenue-generating work.
It’s up to you to decide whether a technology assessment should be a free service or something you charge for. Offering the service for free can prove a great way to get your firm’s “feet under the table” with a new client. However, don’t underestimate the time a professional assessment will take; Even once your template is ready, you should still allow at least four or five hours to complete the work.
Have you ever offered a technology assessment as a way to generate new business? Share your experiences in the Comments box below.
And to follow-through on the tips introduced in this short article, be sure to download your free copy of the special report on IT Service Contract Secrets for Getting More Repeat Clients and Recurring Service Revenue.
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Topics:- Computer Consulting Business