Guest Column | January 17, 2019

3 Ways To Find Your Differentiator And Separate Your MSP From The Competition

By Mike Bloomfield, Tekie Geek and ASCII Group member

Crowd

As if selling Managed Services wasn’t hard enough, you are almost guaranteed to run into at least one of the following questions in any sales meeting with a prospective client:

  • What makes you better than the other companies that I have spoken to?
  • Why are your prices higher?
  • How do I know you can do the job as good as them?

It’s important to strategically align yourself in areas that will set you apart from the crowd and highlight how distinct your business really is from others. By following these three strategies, I have grown my MSP business by double digits year after year.

Network, Network, And Network!

To stand out amongst the crowd, you must get out and network and shine. I know this is the kryptonite to most IT professionals, but this is a key strategy to growing your business. Research and find which local organizations would work for you and give you the best return; investigate your local Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Corporations, BNIs, Executive Clubs, etc.

Simply joining isn’t enough, you must be active. I am actively involved in over five different groups and make it my business to attend meetings, events, seminars, and anything else offered by these groups. This helps to ensure my name, face, and business logo is always top of mind. Remember, they may not need our services today, but we want them to remember us the second they realize they need us.

Another crucial tip about networking at these events… stop selling! Rather than trying to sell, grow relationships and talk with others. Get involved in their lives, talk about their family, sports they watch, movies they like, music interests, etc. Be personable and take an actual interest in them! They will appreciate the approach and, if you are sincere, you will truly be rewarded by this in the future.

Get Involved

You thought joining a few business organizations was tough, but realistically, there is more joining that you should be doing. Not only should you be involved in the business community, but you also must be involved in the local community. Give back to the community that gives you so much. Look into your local Kiwanis groups, Rotary Clubs, and Non-Profit Boards.

I am a proud Kiwanian and sit on several nonprofit boards. Although there is a great benefit for my business by being active in these types of organizations, I am a part of them because I absolutely love giving back. Trust me, being a part of an organization that raised $50,000 for a local day camp that sends children with cancer to summer camp free is euphoric. You should have seen the look on the children’s faces when they are at the camp and for a split moment, can forget about all they are going through.

Be Trusted

The first strategy was about growing bonds through networking with other business professionals and the second strategy continues this with the local community. Once you are fully involved, you will be pleasantly surprised by the overlap of business professionals you will find in these organizations.

This strategy is easier said than done; the most important part of being trusted is to be trustworthy. Too many times have I won contracts simply because my competition has faltered in this department. While not lying to your prospective clients should be obvious, trustworthiness goes further. Over-promising what you cannot deliver can irrevocably damage your relationship with a client if you can’t follow up on your promises.  Be a straight shooter and set real expectations; deliver what you promise, and they will trust you forever.

Another tip for staying trusted is to stop trying to constantly upsell your clients. If every conversation with your client ends with you trying to push a new service onto them, they are going to see you as a salesperson…I’m looking to be their trusted advisor.

There is more to selling Managed Services than providing the services. You may be the best in your area, but you will find it more difficult to gain business if the community and other businesses don’t see that you are involved. With these 3 strategies, you will cement your role within your community, business groups, and prospective clients. You can start effectively answering those difficult questions and position yourself as not only an expert in your field, but someone clients can respect and trust.

About The AuthorMike Bloomfield, Tekie Geek

Mike Bloomfield is president of Tekie Geek and has been an ASCII Group Member since 2016.

About The ASCII Group, Inc.

The ASCII Group is a vibrant reseller community of independent MSPs, VARs, and other solutions providers. Formed in 1984, ASCII has more than 70 programs that provide turnkey cost-cutting strategies, innovative business building programs, and extensive peer interaction. ASCII members enjoy benefits such as marketing support; educational information; group purchasing power; increased leverage in the marketplace; and multiple networking opportunities. These programs enable ASCII members to increase revenue, lower operating costs, and grow service opportunities. ASCII is the oldest and largest group of independent information technology (IT) solutions providers, integrators and value added resellers (VARs) in the world. Learn more at www.ascii.com.