In the early 2000s I worked for an IT company and took care of my client’s computer and printer needs by visiting their businesses much like I do now. One day at our office I heard my boss discussing going out on sales calls when people wanted a quote. I know from experience that these can be time-consuming and many times no financial reward is gained. You may never hear from them again. My boss stated from now own if he visits a business for any reason, his time is billable. He is good at his job and has many years of experience that he can’t give away any more.
This issue has been on my mind often since starting my business in 2003 and I agree with my old boss. All my time is billable at a client or potential client. I’ve wanted to do this myself for my business but haven’t yet. If I do go out to meet someone new who wants a quote or estimate for IT work, they get free information from me during the course of our meeting. Maybe I could let them know they have half an hour free and then I’m on the clock.
I haven’t gone out on a new client meeting for a long time to do a quote. I can remember two meetings with two companies that never turned into anything – just a waste of many hours. On the positive, In 2006 I had a meeting or two with a company that needed IT support. One was a breakfast meeting with the two owners at a restaurant. That company turned into one of my best clients ever and it all started with two free meetings with them.
I think what I’ll do is give them half an hour for free for a new client meeting and the clock is running after that. this also shows them I value my time and I feel I’m an expert in my field