Who is your ideal client? As an MSP, you probably have some standards about the kind of companies you want to work with—say, SMBs with 50+ users, from one of four or five industries, in a period of growth, etc., etc. Most MSPs won’t turn away business that doesn’t match their ideal, but that doesn’t mean you should work with everyone who comes knocking at your door.
A quick buck made now by signing up the wrong client is going to leave you full of regrets down the road after you waste time, energy, and money trying to please them or meet their needs when you just aren’t the right fit. Learning about your prospects and deciding whether to pursue the relationship is Step 3 of the Ulistic 17-Step Sales Process.
What you need to learn upfront
There are a few important questions you should be able to answer before you sign with a new customer.
- You need to understand your prospects’ goals. What do they use technology for, what do they want to get out of a relationship with an I.T. company, and how much money are they able to spend?
- Your purpose should be aligned with their goals. Do you have access to the technologies that will make a real impact on their operations? Is their current status in line with the kind of client that will allow you to be profitable?
Where to find answers
So before you eagerly sign on the dotted line with the newest prospect to come your way, take a few deep breaths, get online, and do your research.
- Start with your prospect’s website, and dissect it page by page.
- After that, Google them, and compile the results you find.
- Refer to their LinkedIn company page. This should provide a wealth of information about your prospect because they’ve personally taken the time to write this for others.
- Visit their clients’ LinkedIn pages. You can learn a lot about your prospects from their clients. Don’t be afraid to ask for a reference! They’re going to ask for one from you.
- If your prospect has a Twitter page, view it to learn more about their branding and messaging. This will help you better understand where they’re coming from.
No one is saying that you should be snobby and turn down good business from a company that doesn’t exactly meet your ideals. Even if you prefer big companies, a small business can still be an excellent client that doesn’t waste your time, promotes your name, and gives you a steady stream of recurring revenue. Similarly, some big companies might be a major drain on your resources, full of demands and constant IT issues that make it hard to get any profit out of the relationship at all.
If you do the research ahead of time and ask around about your prospective client, you should be able to tell right away whether it’s worth the bother. If it is, you’ll have a whole host of useful hints about how to tailor your service to their needs. You just need to be willing to do the work up front.
Stuart Crawford serves as Creative Director and MSP Marketing Coach with Williamsville, NY and Burlington, ON-based Ulistic, a specialty firm focused on information technology marketing and business development. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience pertaining to how technology business owners and IT firms can use marketing as a vehicle to obtain success.
If you would like to speak with Stuart in regard to your online marketing, social media or how to blog effectively, give him a call at 716.799.1999 ext 101 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.