Getting a Gig
A young man sat down with me and showed me a stack of invoices, mails, and a ledger from a company who approached him for IT services. He was given the paperwork and told to justify his bid to take over IT services for them. Often the hardest part of problem solving is 'getting your arms around it'. So here's what I told him:
Break it down into three core questions:
1) "How do I eliminate the need for 3rd party vendors for IT services?" - This is the qualitative question. Don't even be intimidated by invoices and numbers. Take a deep breath and review the invoices to see what is being done and see if you can do everything that the othercommpany is doing. For what you do not know, can you "Google it"? Ask yourself: "Can I do 75% of it"? Read and study the emails as a narrative, imagine you are the current company and think how you would respond. Observe how the company is treated and the tone of the dialogue. If this is something you can handle - in terms of skills and relationship management, then go to question #2
2) "How do I either bring to the table that a higher cost is beneficial in the long run or that a cost savings can be achieved by hiring me?" - This is the quantitiative question. Here you will take a deep dive into the line items on each invoice. Recalculate the invoices (or a reasonable "sample" that is representative of the whole) at you current rate and demonstrate either cost savings or added value in hiring you.
3) "What is my added value?" - This is your qualitiative-quantitative question. Added value may include providing coverage at different hours, location based availability, as well as incuding consultation servicess with your service package. Added value should always add "peace of mind" for the client. Being able to "phone a friend" as the old show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" put it is really something we all want to be able to do in business. This is the feeling you have when you renew your AAA, install a home security system, or buy insurance for your phone. You know help is only a phone cal away and you want to assess what your added value is to a prospective client.
Now that you have worked out if you can do the job, at what price you can do the job, and what value you add, it's time to work on a pitch. It's important that you prepare 3 types of answers: a 30 second passing pitch, 60 second elevator pitch, and 90 second lunch pitch. It's also important that you emphasize 'features and benefits' of hiring you. People buy 'benefits' not 'features'. You buy an Iphone because it is easy to use, plays music, and shoots videos. You don't buy it because of IOS Itunes or Apple's video app. Similiarly it's important to know if you are sitting down with a numbers person or experience person - the person who makes the financial decisions or the person who's daily experience will be made more pleasant by hiring you.