Most of the time they find me — usually in search. A large percent of these existing ERP users are seeking a bid for an upgrade or some one-off type work. Their strategy is often to talk (or ramble) in rapid fire sentences about the issues they are experiencing with their software. I find most are looking for nothing but a free tip or answer to a question that they do not want to pay their consultant for.
The key is to get good at quickly separating the people who have an hour long story (and no money) about how MAS90 is too expensive, their consultant is too expensive, etc, etc, etc.
What’s left are people who are interested in an ongoing support plan and/or project work.
The best way I’ve found to combat the lookers is with a diagnosis charge — which I ask them to agree to via credit card that they enter themselves via the web.
This is not a guaranteed fix (though in many cases it will be) — rather it’s a paid assessment. This way if there’s something really hosed there is no obligation for me to spend lots of time fixing it.
If I’ve learned one thing it’s that there’s plenty of opportunity for online web searchers to sandbag you about the condition (and complexity) of their ERP systems.
Online users who find me have three options as to how quickly they’d like their issue diagnosed (which, again, is not the same thing as being fixed).
I’m very reasonably priced so long as the person is willing to wait for the fix (many will not). In either case they choose the price they are willing to pay based on the response time they are seeking.
After about a 5 minute discussion just to make sure I can offer a diagnosis — I send this link for payment and that’s the end of my free portion of the discussion…. The next time I’d talk to the people will be when I am notified by Paypal of the charge being processed (and amazingly this has worked 2x out of about 4x since I’ve started using it).
This is my 2012 strategy for dealing with random callers (the toughest to get any money out of) who ramble on about some problem with MAS.
It may seem harsh to say – but its true. Money talks – bullshit walks.