Subject: Re: Practical Thread: Advertising to businesses
From: Ian Lance Taylor <ian@airs.com>
Date: 04 Mar 2003 19:40:31 -0800

Faber Fedor <faber@linuxnj.com> writes:

> If we talk about finding a Linux consultant, I wouldn't have a typical
> business person's answer to that since I am a community insider.  So 
> let's assume I'm looking for...an auto mechanic...or an architect.  I'd
> find someone local/convenient (I pass their place of business during my
> daily errands, they have a Yellow page ad...) then give them a small
> job.  If I like them and the job they did, I give them more.

Well, yes and no.  If you are looking for an auto mechanic or an
architect you probably have a pretty good idea of what you are looking
for.  And, it's true, if you are looking for a Linux consultant you
probably also have a pretty good idea of what you are looking for.

But, unlike auto mechanics or architects, most people don't know that
they need a Linux consultant.  Auto mechanics don't need to tell
people that they need an auto mechanic; cars do that for them.

Selling yourself as a Linux consultant requires a more active
approach.  In fact, don't focus on ``Linux consultant;'' most people
don't need or want ``Linux.''  What they need is probably something
more like ``help me sell online'' or ``fix my inventory system'' but
do it cheaper and better.  Keep ``Linux consultant'' around for people
who know they need that, but, to get most customers, focus on
something else.

For people moving to a new computer system, a possible supporting
pitch for Linux might be something like ``using free software lets me
pass the savings on to you.''  For people struggling with an existing
computer system, you'll have to convince them that your new approach
is better and uses ``industry standard software.''

> > These ideas assume you know approximately who you are trying to
> > target.  If you don't know, then that is your first job.  Try to
> > clarify precisely who your potential customers are.  There aren't that
> > many ``multi-employee, multi-million dollar businesses'' in any
> > particular area.  
> 
> When you put it that way, it seems kinda easy, doesn't it?

Well, not easy, no, but hopefully doable.  A plan which is difficult
to execute is still better than no plan at all.  Obviously you'll have
to decide which plan is right to you.

Incidentally, I took a look at http://linuxnj.com/.  I clicked on the
``Services'' link, expecting to see the sorts of things you help
people do.  Instead, I saw a list of software technologies you
support.  Those aren't ``services,'' at least not the first ones you
should like.  Your ``Clientele'' page, on the other hand, has a bunch
of services which you have supplied in the past, and could presumably
supply in the future.

Ian