So I will start off by admitting that the title of this post comes from Seth Godin and his book Free Prize Inside. Let me start of by saying if you are an idea person read this book. But that is not what I want to focus on today. Part of this blog that I seldom touch on is that I am a consultant. I honestly think it is what I was born to be. I love sharing information, expertise and honestly my thoughts with other people. I don’t like to do so in a pushy or demeaning way (although I’m sure some think I do) but more from the perspective of there is more than any one of us can ever know so lets share and work together.
So when I am on client site I often find that I am referring clients to tools that they have no idea about. Things like my old favourite Ziptie (not a huge fan since Alterpoint was sold and the staff all laid off) or Angry IP Scanner. These are free tools that if leveraged correctly can do huge things for your management, troubleshooting and planning of your network. So when my General Manager sent out a request for what we should do at eTech this years I threw out some real challenges for what I would like to see us pull together in 11 days. Two of those things are major free prizes and its those that I would like to discuss briefly.
The first was a Series of Tech talks each 7 to 10 minutes long. Each of these would cover a topic around basic networking and would be followed by an unlimited Q/A and Whiteboard session in our display space for one or all of the tech talk participants. Why is this a free prize you ask? Well we are consultants and we are literally giving away our product. The potential for something we say in those Q/A’s to solve a problem that would cost us business is real. However the more likely free prize will likely be for my company through realized revenue of taking time to teach the customer something basic, get them thinking then get them asking questions that when we answer prove to them that we have what it takes to help them with their network needs. Pretty cool premise and another thing I love about what I do. I get to tangibly help people while helping my company profit and succeed.
The Second Idea was an oldie but a goodie. Give out FREE Crap! Yep I want to give out free USB KEYs so again we are litterally giving away something free but then it gets funny, kinda like when you are looking into a mirror facing a mirror and you can see yourself into infinity. Cool huh. So what makes it funny is that on that free usb key we load it full of 1 or 2 gigs of free software that we have been using and or talking about in our tech talks from above. WOW….yeah yeah I know nothing new or special. But again here comes the real free prize. Instead of having to take notes or remember obscure reverences to software that potential clients saw or heard about they can take this thumb drive and go right back to work and try this stuff out. If they like it and use it then we probably have another client and even if they erase it and just use the drive then they are left with at Blue company logo on a device they use every day moving IOS or docs around.
So how does this apply to you? Not really sure. If your a consultant I hope you already are doing these things. If your not start! I am just playing catch up to sales and marketing and what I am finding is that it has almost nothing to do with cold calling and ad campaigns. Instead it has to do with levering every opportunity and always finding new free prizes for the client and for you or your company. If your not a consultant and you are doing what I did for years (supporting a network on your own) then these ideas can and should be applied to your userbase and your management. If you get really out of the box you might just change how your organization works, profits or grows and that could very well be your path to success. Best of luck