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:
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!)
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.
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.