An MSP will not grow without customers. And customers will not buy unless you sell them on Managed Services. If you’re a small MSP you are probably wondering how to best sell your service. I have been running a professional services small business of some kind or another for decades now, and what I have to share with you here are the things I constantly have to remind myself. This blog post is really written for me. But hopefully, it inspires you as well.
Grit your teeth and raise your prices.
Lets be honest. If you only have a few customers, I’m willing to bet you aren’t charging them a ton of money. Sometimes, as a new MSP, you’ll get that one big contract that carries you. But most of the time, even that one “big contract” is a ton of work for a moderate sum of money.
If you are putting in the effort to grow your company at a realistic pace, then the first step is to raise your prices to the point where you can reasonably grow your staff. Even if you never hire another person in your company, you need to be bringing in income for all the roles in your company. That includes the CEO position AND the tech position. You should feel like you have the freedom to bring on help to support your clients or pay someone if you are incapacitated for some reason…. Or maybe you just want a vacation! So crank up the prices to assume that your time is worth cash-money. Cause you are worth it!
Once you bring those prices up, stick by them. Don’t just raise those prices and then falter the second a prospect looks at you funny.
As a side note, raising prices on current clients is difficult to do. It is ok to only raise prices on new clients who are coming in and “grandfather in” your current clients. You can even let your clients know they are saving money by staying with you. It will help them feel special and appreciated.
Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase “Niche Down” before. This basically means, target a small subset of your available market. Perhaps you specialize in lawyers, or dentists, or veterinarians, or funeral homes, or non-profits, or Government. Managed Services can be deployed to most companies on the market.
But specializing gives you an edge over your competition and will also help you answer some of the questions in the next section. You’ll be able to craft a stronger sales message. Also referrals will be easier to find because you’ll come to mind anyone sees the type of business you specialize in.
Consider the “Transformation.”
You have a transformational service to offer your clients. That word: “Transform” is a powerful word in the world of sales. When you are selling a service to a customer, they don’t really care about the technical aspects of what is delivered. They are really concerned with what buying your service will do for them.
In the case of Managed Services there are two questions you will want to answer:
- How will my service help them reach their own hopes and dreams?
- What will be the cost of them NOT using my service?
Answer those two questions from the viewpoint of your customers and you’ll be able to craft a powerful sales message to new prospects.
Gather “Social Proof” as fast as you possibly can.
“Social Proof” or authority gained from third party sources can seal the deal for new prospects. We wrote an entire blog post on gathering testimonials during the early days of running your MSP.
Social proof sells. Hands down. The best sales I’ve made in my life, I made because someone else recommended my services.
A second social proof method is referrals. Always ask for referrals, especially shortly after a customer made a buying decision. It feels weird at first, but begins to feel more normal. Especially if you have put in the time to figuring out the transformation your company brings to your prospects. If you know the value you bring then you’re doing a favor to people who are referred to you. It isn’t an imposition, because you’re going to help them out.
Come up with a strategy to find new prospects – Schedule marketing time.
Advertising, direct sales, SEO, blogging, Webinars, Social Media Marketing. These are all ways to attract new business. It is usually a good idea to directly reach out to new prospects. Be prepared to hear “no” a lot. It sucks, I know. But it will help you learn what makes your business special and get your name out there.
The important thing here is to not bite off more than you can chew. Having a process you can accomplish in 1-2 hours at the most per day will help you get a constant stream of new leads in to your business.
Once you grow to a point you can hire so you or someone you hire can focus on new sales. Then you can expand your efforts. But keep it lean and focus on a system to generate new leads. You do not want referrals to be your only source of new business if you can handle it.
Call, call, call!
Follow up with old prospects. Call new prospects. Get people on the phone. Email them. Get them to respond. Force them to acknowledge your existence. Walk right up to the line of bothering them to death until they finally throw money at you to keep you quiet! Haha!
You will close deals if you take the initiative and actively close deals.
Create an introduction that delivers actual value.
Finally, when introducing yourself to a new client. Try to deliver something of value right off the bat. Whatever you deliver should feed in to the transformation you bring to your clients. Maybe solve a small problem that you know most new prospects have. Or you could run an audit for them.
Another popular thing to do is offer training. If you feel confident teaching, then you could show them ways that technology can support their business efforts. A webinar or live training class can deliver immense value to prospects.
Remember that the more value you put out into the world, the easier it will be to reap value back into your business.
That doesn’t mean give away your service for free! But have a process for new prospects to get an immediate taste of the value you can bring to their business. It will be so much easier than to have a cold open where you ask for something from them. A cold introduction where you give them something immediately sets up the relationship in your favor and makes it easier for you to ask them to pay you for additional services down the line.
These are just some thoughts on selling Managed Services for smaller MSPs. As you grow in size things can become a bit more refined. But tackling these points will dramatically help you in the early days of business and maybe help you get over the hump on the path to profitability.