Periodically I like to check with my 90Minds group to see how their business activity is going. I find that if I ask people who I don’t know well that I’m usually met with dull platitudes like “it’s great”.
Then the next year I can’t find the people at the Sage conference. Shortly after I usually hear that they’ve either sold their business or merged.
So I pretty much have stopped asking “hows business” to people who I don’t know well. But I’m still pretty open to providing my feedback on the market. Below is my observation from the past six to nine months.
We are seeing great results from fixed pricing. Clients and orphans seem to have put off upgrades — some as long as 10 – 12 years — and are now looking to upgrade in conjunction with new Window 7 workstations, etc. If you haven’t picked up on fixed pricing – and you’re a Sage partner – sit in on Ed Kless’s group sessions.
Attend the classes like I did. Make fun of the concepts (like I did). Then implement them. You’ll be glad you did.
Providing 3 options with fixed pricing quotes works well — running low to high I’m able to provide a do-it-yourself option all the way up to “we do it all”. You’d be surprised how many choose “do it all”. I’m also surprise how much I enjoy servicing these clients who want a full service offering versus those random customers who seem to be out for a low rate.
I personally enjoy not having to worry that if I make an extra trip on-site to visit with a client that I have to charge them $ xxx times hours. I price the fixed options reasonably — and taking into account typical issues like having to call Sage a certain number of times, etc. Works fine for me. Much better than hours.
Next year I’ll start offering support plus (or some similar named plan) to include tech support plus the on-site upgrades and installation of product updates (probably options for installing 1, 2 or all updates per year). This will be one price without having any separate pricing. Hat tip to John Shaver who has been doing this for a long time.
New deal inquiries seem to all be centered around niches. My most common inquiry always seems to be coming from manufacturing. Since I tend to put my consulting hat on first – I tend to start talking about what the client will need in 5 years down the road (something people don’t often consider). This tends to eliminate MAS pretty quickly. Probably a symptom of the economy as well as I just don’t enjoy the bidding war that seems to permeate new deals these days.
How about you? How’s business?