Special episode of The Force Field debuts tonight

After a long and unexpected two month hiatus, The Force Field podcast is back with Episode 62.

Episode 62 – The National Contractor and Service Platform Report, provides an inside look at the IT service industry from the front line perspective of the IT service provider, service technicians who perform contract work for these companies onsite and online.  The report takes the pulse of a field that has changed significantly in the last ten years, and not necessarily for the better.

In this episode you will discover who these service technicians really are, how they operate their businesses, who they work for and who works for them. We also rate national contractors and service platforms in the industry and rank them from the best to the worst.

This episode was months in the making and is the most content filled shows ever produced for The Force Field. It’s one of the longest as well and was edited for time. An extended version is scheduled for release as a premium episode at the end of this year and runs almost an hour.

The Force Field 62 – The National Contractor and Service Platform Report debuts tonight 11/22/2012 at 8 PM ET on the following media outlets:

TechPodcast Network
Blubrry Network
Stitcher Radio
Roku Listed on the TPN Channel under Tech Business and on the Viaway Channel.
Pure Connect Radio
Viaway Streams to Samsung SmartTVs, BluRay players, smartphones and tablets. Also available on The Roku.

and of course at The Force Field.

You will not want to miss it.

Episode 62 – The National Contractor and Service Platform Report

We will find out what IT field service technicians really think of national contractors and web-based service platforms and how they rate specific companies from best to worst.

TechPodcasts Promo Tag :10
Intro 1:19
Billboard :52

News and Comment segment 6:37
Intel announced the introduction of two new Intel Xeon Phi coprocessor families November 12.

Makeuseof.com is offering a FREE Guide called HackerProof: Your Guide to PC Security. This 53 page guide provides an objective, detailed, but easily understood walk through of PC security. The guide is free to qualified professionals.

Acer America debuted the $199 C7 Chromebook November 12.

Kyle Weins of ifixit launched a campaign called Operation: Fix Toshiba. His goal is to write repair manuals to replace the manuals Toshiba took down from Tim’s Laptop Service Manuals. He is asking for help from the tech community.

Commercial Break 2:00
The Computer Business Kit

Intro to Topic 2:34
In the late summer of 2012, The Force Field conducted a survey of IT service providers and asked them to rate the national contractors and service platforms. The results were published in a 20 page report released in tandem with this episode of The Force Field. Today we’ll analyze the results of The National Contractor and Service Platform Survey Report and discover just where the contractor-platform-provider relationship stands. We’ll learn about the techs who perform contract work for these companies, discover which nationals and platforms rank best and worst in the industry, and find out what techs really think of them, in their own words. Download The Force Field 2012 National Contractor and Service Platform Survey Report.

The National Contractor and Service Platform Report 32:00

Wrap up and Close :46

Comments, questions or suggestions? Send them in to comments@theforcefield.net or post them in The Force Field Forums. Feedback on this topic will be read by the host and included in future episodes of the show. Visit us at http://www.theforcefield.net!

©2012 Savoia Computer. All rights reserved.

CEO’s Compass

Authors: Mitalis

The CEO’s Compass has four strategic steps for monitoring and measuring the tactical business activities for staying ‘On-Course’. The business model serves as an on-going continuous improvement process. The check points / steps are specifically designed  for redefining

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11 Products and Services You Can Up-sell and Cross-sell Your Clients

Authors: Bryce Whitty

“Would you like fries with that?” is probably one of the most well known cross-sells in today’s society. McDonald’s restaurants do this because it simply makes them more money and at the end of the day this is what most businesses are about – making money.

Data Backup

In my own business, I found that data backup was one of the easiest items to cross-sell. If a client had approached me because of a data loss incident, I would always offer an ongoing backup solution after I recovered the data. The client has already gone through the emotional turmoil of possibly never seeing their data again, that they will often do whatever it takes so that it doesn’t happen ever again.
If the client is yet to experience data loss incident and I notice that they do not have any sort of backup solution in place, I would bring it up.

The way I would sell it would depend on whether they were a residential or business client. If they where a residential client I would say something like “I noticed that you dont have any sort of backup solution in place. I would imagine you would be pretty upset if you lost all these photos”.

If the client was a business client, I would say something along the lines of: “How much downtime would you experience or how much money would you lose if something happened to your database”.
The great thing about offering data backup as a cross-sell is you can earn money on both the hardware (like an external drive) and the service (setting it all up). I f you set your client up with some sort of offsite solution, it is also possible to make money out of this on an ongoing basis where you continue making a commission.

Priority Service

Every now and then you will have a client that comes in that wants their computer fixed yesterday. The client may be a busy business person or perhaps they are a student that has a school project due tommorrow. Whatever the case, a fast turn around time is a priority and some people are willing to pay for it.

If you already have a few computers on your bench, offer a “Priority Service” fee that will push their computer to the front of the line. If they are truly in a hurry (and not just hurrying you along because they have a Facebook addiction), most will be happy to pay a little extra for the privilege.

Go Wireless – Routers, Keyboards and Mice

Computer cables going everywhere can really bother some people and sometimes it can even be dangerous. Talk to the client about the possibility of going wireless with their network, keyboard or mouse. You can also offer to clean up their cables which can extend the callout time by 10 minutes or so, thus making you more money.

Uninterruptable Power Supplies with Automatic Voltage Regulation

If the client is in an area that is prone to blackouts and brownouts, consider setting them up with a Uninterruptable Power Supply with automatic voltage regulation. Let your clients know that their computer will stay on if there is a temporary outage so they don’t lose their work. Also let them know that it helps protect the hardware from power surges. Similar to the data backup example, these are easy to sell after their computer has already been damaged by a power surge or some other power related issue.

External Harddrive Enclosures

These are a great cross-sell when someone is upgrading their computer. There have been a few times when my client’s laptop wasn’t worth repairing so they simply went out and bought a new one. Even though I didnt get the laptop sale itself, I still can still make make money by offering to pull the hard drive out of their old computer (assuming the original issue wasnt hard drive related) and put it in an external USB hard drive enclosure. This way, they can connect it to their new PC and access their old files on the drive.

Tune Ups

If I notice that the clients computer has undesirable software installed while I am working on something else, I offer a tune up service to help make the system run better. I would typically say something along the lines of “I noticed that there is some undesirable software on the system (adware/spyware) which can slow down the computer or invade your privacy, would you like me to remove this?”. I find that most clients will say yes to this service.

Antivirus Software

You may discover that a clients computer has insufficient antivirus protection or simply no protection at all. This is a great opportunity to either sell a well rounded paid antivirus solution or take the time to install a free one. Of course, making sure that a clients computer has an antivirus solution installed is just part of being a good technician anyway.

Cooling Pads

Some laptops have some serious overheating problems. If you come across one of these laptops, consider selling the client a USB powered laptop cooling pad.

Unifed Threat Management Appliances

If your business clients has handful of computers in their office, consider offering to install a Unifed Threat Management appliance (antivirus, antispam, firewall etc..) at the edge of their network to help keep it safe from internet threats.

Phone/Tablet cases

If your business repairs devices that tend to get dropped like Laptops, tablets and phones, consider cross-selling your client a durable case for that device.

Managed Services

Downtime for business clients can be very expensive so it is best to try and catch these issues before they happen. There are two good ways to cross-sell managed services.

  • 1. If you are at the clients location for another reason (ie, setting up a printer), mention the managed services you offer and then follow up with something like: “It is $XXX per month which may sound expensive, but think about it like this. You have X amount of staff here and if the system goes down and they cannot work, you still need to pay their hourly wage so you are losing $XXX per hour while system is down. And that isnt even counting missed deadlines or lost clients etc.. So really, this maintenance plan can actually save you money”.
  • 2. If you are at the clients location because something has already failed, you could say something like: “This issue could have been prevented. In the future, my company can monitor the computers remotely keeping an eye on the overall health of the computer. Basically, we can fix things before they fail resulting in minimal downtime”.

Like most things in life, there is a right way and a wrong way to sell. Cross selling (which is offering similar products and services) must be built around the customers needs and not just selling more stuff. Up selling (which is selling a better version of the same item) can be done more on what the customers wants. Obviously will need to recommend a device that is good enough for what they want to do, but you can always go better depending on their budget such as more space, faster speeds or higher quality.

If you hire employees, you can get them enthusiastic about up-selling and cross-selling as well by offering them a commission on all additional sales. You may feel like this means less money in your pocket since the employees are also getting a cut, but chances are they will sell more resulting in more money for you in the end.

Do you up-sell/cross-sell something I haven’t mentioned here in your own business? Please leave us a comment.

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To get started with your own computer business, check out our Computer Business Kit.


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