The strength of a network
Why should an independent IT consultant network?
The first reason is to increase our network of clients. We are independent IT consultants, small companies, "Me Inc." and we operate on a mandate/contract basis which means that we have to sell our services to clients.
The best ways to network are, of course, at AQIII networking happy hours. There you will meet clients, peers and professional service providers. Remember that you are your own showcase, so it is important to be able to communicate your services and know what you want to sell.
The second reason is to meet other independent IT consultants to share your strengths, tips and advice and opportunities for assignments that may not yet be posted on a job board.
The more you believe in your product, the more credible you are, and the more trust you gain from your potential customer.
How to be effective in networking?
According to a small statistic from the 2013 AQIII annual survey, 31% of independent ICT consultants found their mandates via LinkedIn and 30.5% found them on the AQIII website. With more than 4000 mandates posted on the AQIII website, it is to your advantage to use this medium to expose your small business. In addition, it is very important that your LinkedIn and AQIII profiles are up to date, indicating by key words: your experience, your technological specialties, your certifications, the names of your major clients for whom you have had contracts and the project(s) carried out for each of them.
The point of networking is to keep in touch with your network, even if you are already on assignment. It's easier and more enjoyable to network on a drop-by-drop basis, than to pour an ocean of networking with all the stress that entails. Be yourself, know what you want to sell, show your business card when the opportunity arises and take the time to talk to potential clients.
Serge CALIXTE, independent IT consultant
President of AQIII 2012-2014
Do you ever hear these questions at business events?
- What field are you in?
- What is your company doing?
- What exactly is your project?
- Have you ever had a lump in your throat for fear of answering vaguely or not being specific?
- Have you ever felt that you missed a great opportunity to get where you wanted to be because you failed to make contact?
Often we are embarrassed to express our needs straight away. This is a pity, because the person we are talking to is unaware of our needs and will not know that he or she is able to help us. Unfortunately, this short conversation will not be followed up.
The elevator pitch is a tool you need to develop to present your business, or project, in a way that captures the attention of the interviewer and generates interest in a second opportunity. It is a concise, clear, well-structured and well-practised description of your company, project or business plan.
Christian WOPPERER, Vice President Sales Intelligence
Montreal Centre for Enterprise and Innovation
Preparation remains your best ally for successful networking. Understanding the importance of networking, having up-to-date communication tools (business cards, website, LinkedIn profile, etc.) and knowing what to say and how to say it are the ingredients of a winning recipe.
AQIII added value: Events
The AQIII, your first ally
The AQIII organizes some forty activities and networking events per year in Montreal and Quebec City:
monthly 5@7, golf tournament, cocktail party, conference dinner, round table lunch, training workshop, etc.
CEIM : Learn to sell yourself
Le CEIM offre des séminaires dans lesquels on enseigne l’art de peaufiner votre elevator pitchayant pour objectif la vente : offrir à une personne, ou à une entreprise, un produit, ou un service, qui lui sera profitable, en concluant un accord commercial gagnant-gagnant.
Frequently asked questions: Finding contracts
I am looking for a mandate, how can AQIII help me?
DID YOU KNOW that you can benefit from the free support of an AQIII MENTOR? An independent consultant can help you find answers to your questions!
Write directly to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. One of our mentors will get back to you within 12 hours!