Many small business computer consultants don't understand how critical IT maintenance contracts are to long-term business success. If you don't base your IT business around long-term contracts and relationships with steady, high-paying clients, you will find yourself scrambling to make ends meet ... and probably will never enjoy the stability or predictable revenue that can help you really enjoy your job and grow your business.
If you want to enjoy a long career as a small business computer consultant, offer IT maintenance contracts. But how should you package them? Of course, you need to think about whether or not you are going to make your long-term contracts fixed price, retainer based or pre-paid blocks of time. Each different type of contract has its own pros and cons, so you have to be very careful as you are constructing the perfect package for you and your valued clients.
The following 4 tips can help you create a strong IT maintenance contracts package, so you can best fulfill your clients' biggest business needs.
1. Think Carefully When Offering Fixed-Price Agreements. When you offer fixed price service agreements , you can run into a tricky situation. Fixed-price agreements force you to forecast what people will need and want. Most small business consultants don't have the level of skill necessary to accurately predict needs. Regardless of how you price your agreements, make sure you set up a package that ensures that your firm gets paid what your services are worth, and also gives long-term clients an incentive and a discount above and beyond your normal rates, so they feel they are also getting value.
2. Consider Factors Involved in Packaging Your IT Maintenance Contracts. Think about what goes into a client-consultant agreement. You need to have a strong, compelling package ready to go before you're out on sales calls, presenting your proposals to your prospective customers and clients. Think about big items such as your rate card, your letter of engagement and your actual agreement. Make sure you consult with your trusted business advisers - specifically your accountant and your attorney - to make sure you are creating financially-sensible and legally-binding documents, that really protect you and your clients. Most importantly, think about tangible, compelling benefits you will offer to your clients. These are the extras and perks that will make signing agreements a no brainer for your customers and clients.
3. Know which Benefits to Offer. There are a lot of benefits you can present to help sell the value-proposition of your IT maintenance contracts to clients. One of these benefits has to do with response time, whether response time for on-site service, response time by phone or response time for remote support. Another important benefit is proactive maintenance. To really get customers off the fence and show them that being on an on-going contract is preferable to a pay-as-you go plan, present benefits such as hourly discounts, waived premiums for after-hours service, emergency service discounts, and response time guarantees.
4. Remember, One-Shot Deals Are for Amateurs. Professional computer consultants insist on IT maintenance contracts. Put your best foot forward with a strong agreement package for your long-term clients. Otherwise, you will have a whole bunch of non-committal customers calling you once or twice a year, while you sit and wait for the phone to ring. And without on-going contracts, you are probably doing nothing proactive to really solve big business problems through strategic planning, or make your clients' networks more reliable so they can improve their ROI and grow their businesses. On-going service agreements ensure that you have stable sources of ongoing service revenue, that your clients have a trusted source for ongoing IT support, and that you can build real relationships for your professional computer consulting business.
In this article we talked about 4 tips to help you base your computer consulting business on mutually-beneficial, win/win client partnerships.
Learn more about how you can attract great, steady, high-paying clients now at http://www.ITMaintenanceContract.com
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