Why Consulting and Other Lists Don’t Work in Our Industry

There are multitudes of lists in our industry. There are lists for people to consult with customers, lists for potential conference speakers, and many other lists. There are many more lists than ever before. Yet, those lists don’t seem to work. Why is that?

Because we don’t use them.

Let me explain – the people who want to be on those lists are motivated to get on them but then no-one actually uses those lists. Every time a new list comes out, someone I know will tell me what a great list it looks how, it’s free, I should get onto it, etc… You could spend your time on nothing but joining all these free lists that will help you get business, stay in touch, and any other multitude of things.

But there’s more to building a list than collecting names to put into it – you have to get someone to use it. And, unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that anyone does use them.

Here are some examples:

Consulting Lists
There seem to be many, many lists of consulting companies in this industry. The ones I’ve seen are free to join. None of my customers have found me using any of these types of lists. I’ve never gotten a single piece of business from them.

In addition, every big consulting company seems to have a large database of small consulting companies they could do business with. Many of us think that because we’d done business with these big firms and “know” people at them, that we’ll get future business. It’s not really true. It turns out that many of the big services groups, whether from the software vendors or the big services companies, don’t use their lists. They just don’t bother. They hire recruiters to go out into the world and find new companies. It’s not that they don’t like the companies on their lists, just that they no longer bother using them.

So, all that networking you think you did to get in their good graces, all the time you’ve spent making sure your resume and profile are up-to-date with them – it’s for nothing, basically. You wasted your time and, being on the receiving end of the subcontract, your time isn’t worth anything to anybody, but I think you’ve already figured that out. (By the way, this just strengthens my own urge to do business directly with customers and with people who treat my time with the same respect with which they treat their own – yes, they’re rare, these days!)

Conference Lists
Some of the conferences in our industry keep lists of people who have volunteered to give talks at their conferences. Years ago, I had put myself onto some of those lists. Upon one day being called to speak and asked what I’d speak about, my response was that I’d just speak about the topic I’d put in my application. And, if you guessed that they had never seen that list, you’d have guessed correctly. They put the list out to gather names and then just never use it.

Bottom Line
Trying out these lists isn’t the worst thing in the world but don’t spend all your time on it and don’t sit by the phone waiting for anyone to call.

Gloria Metrick
GeoMetrick Enterprises

3 responses on “Why Consulting and Other Lists Don’t Work in Our Industry

  1. The worst kind of list is the one you have to pay to join. Every year we see directories of companies in life sciences and informatics, each claiming to increase your phone and web traffic. They’ll charge $500 each year to “keep your listing up to date”. I have no idea what this means, since it’s not like most companies change their phone numbers or web addresses every few months. And of course, these directories are also not used by anyone either! Might as well just light your $500 on fire and be done with it. 🙂

  2. I agree with Jeff. Paying to be on a list is absurd. List of vendors, consultants, products, etc. should be free and open and available for free distribution.

    Granted, I own the LIMSwiki site which has tons of lists, so I am biased, but I think they are pretty accurate and they are completely free and open to everyone: http://www.limswiki.org/index.php?title=Main_Page

    This site has a pretty comprehensive set of information broken down in various ways. Vendors do not pay to be on these lists and we have a wiki manager dedicated to researching information and citing it to make sure it is accurate and unbiased. We do not post information that is not cited and we do our best to ensure accuracy and completeness to the extent that public information is available.

    • I think that paying to be on these lists is like the paid resume blasts that some companies offer job seekers. Many offer to blast the resume to many places for just $99. Most companies seem to require that you fill-out an on-line job application, so I can’t imagine the blasts ever reach a single person. I wouldn’t be surprised to find they end up in the spam filters. And, as of yet, have never heard of anyone finding a job that way.

      On the other hand, paying to be listed is different from paying for advertising. When you are merely listed somewhere, you can’t expect to be treated specially or to control what is shown about you but if you’re willing to pay for advertising then I think that the companies that pay those advertising fees should be given a freer reign in the information they can display.

      However, whether or not advertising dollars are dollars well-spent is an entirely different issue.

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