Sadly, conversations about disaster recovery readiness and security are secondary to your client's worries about innovating for tomorrow and keeping the lights on today. The reality is that they are dedicating up to 85 percent of their attention and resources to what's happening now and what the mandate is for their company's future. Think about it. It's completely natural. Unless you are a stuntman or you live near a volcano, how much time do you spend worrying about your life insurance policy, or your family's home escape plan in case of fire?
Like you, IT and business leaders inside your key clients are not interested in talking about "what if" until it's too late. Everyone (I hope) will agree that these considerations are important, but can you blame me for not worrying about floods when I live on top of a hill?
If you're trying to help your clients with disaster recovery and security and they don't have the time or attention, you need to change your approach and help them change their thinking. If you've got the CFO's ear for an hourlong lunch and you're talking about run books, recovery point objectives, and disaster recovery servers, you're not getting anywhere. His or her duties are operational and strategic; there isn't much time in the CFO's universe for "what if."
What's worse is nobody responds well to fear. If you have disaster recovery and security solutions that you know can benefit your clients, you won't get much traction by scaring them into a purchase. You need to educate them and help them see the big picture. It has to be a positive experience about how to enhance and protect their business systems, not a doomsday scenario that encourages them to insulate from the boogie man.
So how do you get your clients thinking differently about disaster recovery and security? You have to act differently, and the possibilities are endless. Offer to host a roundtable breakfast for their management team and include their leadership in the conversation. Show them some real numbers -- put a "downtime calculator" widget on your website and let them do the math on what downtime actually costs their business. Next time you visit their office, bring interesting books to read. Email them a few cool videos to watch on disaster recovery and security. You want to educate and empower their decision-making.
In the end, you have to find out what the business leaders at your clients care about, what excites them -- not simply what they are afraid of. Truly productive conversations start with possibilities, not consequences.
Jeremy McBean is director of business development at IT Weapons, a Brampton, Ontario, solution provider. He is a featured speaker at the XChange Solution Provider 2014 conference, running March 2 through March 4 in Los Angeles.