Author’s note: this article also appeared on MSP Mentor.
You are nobody without your clients.
That’s right. Nobody.
And who are your clients without you? They’re still just a business doing the best they can, whether or not you’re there to help them. If you can’t keep clients happy, show them respect, deliver on promises, or make sure you’ve got that “special sauce” we won’t shut up about, they’ll simply find someone who can. Someone they think is better.
Most MSPs know what we’re saying, but the message is worth repeating (and repeating). With that in mind, here are three things MSPs or any business needs if they hope to take care of the clients they depend on.
Maybe you’ve been there. Standing at the car dealership, wondering how this “Tru-coat” undercoating on your new car can possibly cost $5,000. You’re furious with the salesman, who promised you a price then came back with a higher one, just because of this additional fee he conveniently never mentioned. To top it all off, you’re not sure if the undercoating is a real thing or a total scam. Are you paying real money for results that you’ll never see? Is this car dealer just laughing the way to the bank knowing you just paid real money for an add-on with no true value?
MSPs can learn from this. People need to get accurate quotes and to know upfront what they should expect to be paying for goods and services. Any hidden fees or things of that nature will not garner trust between you and a client, and could cause a rift at the onset of what could have been a very solid relationship. Being clear about what you offer, what it costs, why the cost is what it is, and what the true benefit is for a client is something every business should work hard to do.
We mentioned trust a little bit in the last section. Transparency is one way to garner trust, but another is to prove you’ve got your partner’s best interests in mind. This means being honest with them about what they really need instead of what you’d like to sell them. This is closely related to transparency, but it’s important that you’re not trying to talk people into a higher service tier or extra add-on because it means more money for you. You definitely shouldn’t be charging them for doing things that sound difficult to them but that they could actually do on their own with little effort and knowledge. If it costs your client, you should be doing it because it offers serious benefits for your clients. You depend on them, and in many cases, more than they depend on you, so prove that you have their best interests in mind by keeping things as simple and as inexpensive as you can for them. If one day they’re ready for a new service, add-on, or whatever, they’ll let you know, and that leads us to the next bit.
You want to sell clients more services, but the point we’re trying to make is that you can’t force it. There’s nothing wrong with making clients aware that you’ve got premium services like print or off-site backup replication and so forth, but let them come to you. Timing is important because you don’t want to be a pushy salesman, you want to be a friendly service provider who can take care of a client’s needs and keep their best interests in mind. The hard truth is that most businesses can find somebody else to do the job you’re doing, but if you’re doing it better and offering more value, they won’t have to.