MSP Marketing Blog

How To Charge For Your Services

Posted by taylor On August 31st, 2009

I have found that charging a fixed monthly support fee per device supported and services performed is the easiest way to sell a support agreement.

First, a flat rate makes it easy for the customer to understand and budget for your services. Second, it prevents “scope creep”. Third, it focuses your customer on value instead of price and allows you to basis. It makes it easy for the prospect to shop you on price. My clients have also discovered that quoting a set number of hours per month in a maintenance program causes the customer to question whether or not they need “that” many hours.

Quick Note: Although I recommend packaging your support services into 3 groups, you may need to modify the services included and charge certain clients more than others. The 3 basic packages should include the most common support services you perform on the average client, and MOST clients should fit into one of the three; this will make it easier to sell. However, if a client has an old, patched- together network that requires more support, of if they are a located far away, or if they are a problem client, then charge them more. Read full article and comment →

The Secret To Winning Appointments With Key Decision Makers

Posted by taylor On August 29th, 2009

“Hello Miss Robins? My name is George and I’m calling from Acme Financial Services. We offer 401K and retirement plans for small businesses and I was wondering if you would be available sometime this week for me to sit down and talk to you about offering these benefits to your employees. Would that be ok?”

How many times have you gotten a sales call like this? Without making any effort to build rapport or interest, they ask me to take time out of my day to sell me something.

Do they really expect me to say, “SURE! I’m SO GLAD you called! I had nothing to do next week and I was so worried that I was going to have to find things to keep me busy. My calendar is completely open…why don’t you just pick the day that works best for you!”

I’ve heard this pathetic pitch so many times that I’m beginning to wonder if it’s being taught by some underground sales training operation with a mission to secretly drive all small business owners crazy.

With all the incredible books, tapes, seminars, and coaching programs on selling, you would think they could have come up with a better pitch.

If you’re having a hard time getting appointments from new prospects, maybe you should take a hard look at the pitch you are using.

Would YOU respond favorably if someone called you using YOUR sales pitch on you?

If you have a similar sounding presentation to the one above, I have no doubt that you experience very little success in getting appointments.

I’m also confident that you’re not enthusiastically picking up the phone and calling on very many new prospects every day because it is painful to do so. Read full article and comment →

How To Use This Idea To Generate More Sales For Your Business

Posted by taylor On August 29th, 2009

prospects a one-page sales letter in a brown lunch bag from your staff with the headline:
“YourName Says There’s No Such Thing As A Free Lunch, But We Say This Is A Free Network Tune Up!” Include two vouchers…one for them and one for a colleague to get a free network tune up or a ‘get out of computer trouble free’ visit (1-2 hours of free technical support) for $50.

Another way you could use this concept is to promote a lunch seminar using the headline:
“Most People Say There Is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch But We’d Like To Prove Them Wrong By Giving You One.”

Include two tickets; one for them and one for a colleague or co-worker to get a hot lunch while you deliver a content-rich seminar on the topic of security, spam, meeting regulations, or whatever.

If you use this idea, just make sure to model the letter as closely as you can. That means using the same type of photo, copy, offer, P.S. and “free lunch” tie in. I would also make sure
to put a time limit on the offer as they have on the prescription slips. Usually a 10-day window works best.

Quick note about mailing your letter in a brown paper bag: Make sure you tape down the flap so it lays flat. You’ll also want to fold the top of the bag over and tape it down so the letter doesn’t fall out (obviously). Read full article and comment →

Profitable Unique Selling Propositions Verses Dumb Advertising Slogans

Posted by taylor On August 28th, 2009

Although I’ve harped on this before, I continually get marketing campaigns submitted to me for critique that contain zero benefits or reasons why a customer should pay attention, let alone respond or buy something. In most cases, I can clearly tell that they spent hours, possibly even days, trying to come up with some cute slogan or picture to capture the readers attention and get a response. Big, HUGE waste of time. Cute slogans with “hidden” meanings or inside jokes do NOT sell, and slogans should NOT be confused with a USP (unique selling proposition) or benefits. Some slogans can represent or be congruent with a USP and convey benefits (like Wal-Mart), but the vast majority simply do not. So what exactly is a unique selling proposition and how do you get one? Great question. First, your USP needs to answer the question, what is so special, advantageous, or beneficial about your products and services that makes you the obvious choice above all of your competitors? If you were face to face with a prospective customer and they asked you why they should give you their business over all of the other consultants and vendors offering the same products and services, what would you say?

Another way of asking this question is, what quantifiable thing do you do better than anyone else? For most technology companies, this is a hard question to answer. In most cases the business owner replies “better service”. Ok, but who else can (and does) promote that to their customers? If anybody and everybody can use your USP, it ain’t a USP because one of the obvious factors is uniqueness. In order for it to have any power, your USP has to favorably separate you from the competition. There are only 5 ways you can do this: Read full article and comment →

How To Structure Your Support Agreement

Posted by taylor On August 28th, 2009

Before we dive into how you can structure your support agreement, let’s remind ourselves of the classic IT functions in any business. First, we have high-level, STRATEGIC IT services. This would include return on investment business support planning, managing IT personnel, IT budgeting and resource planning, asset management, and so on. Next, we have TACTICAL IT services which include the day-to-day business of keeping a network running which includes:

• Spam filtering

• Spyware detection and removal

• Virus definition updates

• Security monitoring and updates

• Backups and disaster recovery

• Event log monitoring

• Patch management & upgrades

• Network optimization

• UPS management

• Policy development

• Help desk support

Read full article and comment →

How To Turn Occasional Buyers Into Monthly, Guaranteed Revenue With Support Agreements

Posted by taylor On August 25th, 2009

Although this year flew by I have to admit it’s been a good one. Lots of wins this year and progress made. I can honestly look back with great satisfaction on the
improvements I’ve made in many areas, particularly in lifestyle. I hope you can look back and say the same.

One exercise I’ve committed to doing every year is an annual audit where I write down the top 20 biggest accomplishments, top lessons learned, and the biggest areas or accomplishments I need to make next year. By the way, this is not the old, worn out New Year’s resolution crap that most people do. I actually spend some time thinking about this, write it down, and record it; if anything, it will provide future generations a sneak peek into my early years and provide me the basis of my own “How I Did It” book that I plan on writing in my twilight years. The way I look at it, if you life is worth living, it’s worth recording.

If you don’t journal your life already, I strongly recommend that you start today if for no other reason to force you to take stock in your life and the direction you are headed. On last report, the average life expectancy of the average American was 77.4 years. When you consider that the biggest part of your life is spent sleeping, eating, sitting in your car, and working, you end up having less than 9% of your time for pure fun and leisure. That’s only 6.9 years if you’re doing the math, and I’m sure that percentage is far smaller for the entrepreneur. Read full article and comment →

What’s The First Thing You Should Say When A Prospect Says, “How Much Do You Charge?”

Posted by taylor On August 24th, 2009

Before I give you the answer, I want you to think about what you say right now when a prospect asks you this question. Do you:

A. Give them a rough estimate but low-ball the price
so you don’t scare them off.
B. Tell them you won’t know until you work up a proposal.
C. Tell them what you charge by the hour then reassure them it won’t take too long.

Next, how do you FEEL when you give your answer? Do you feel anxious? Worried? Afraid that they will react badly to your price?

Do you feel bad about charging them “so much” and immediately look for ways to discount your rates?

Do you avoid discussing price and deliver your quote to the client via a proposal instead of negotiating this critical aspect of the sale face to face?

If you do any of the above, you have a severe sales handicap that is sabotaging your ability to close profitable deals. It is also causing you to waste an enormous amount of time on low-probability prospects. There are a couple of reasons that sales people (and business owners) make these mistakes, and it goes far deeper than a lack of sales know-how. Read full article and comment →

Outline Of A Marketing System

Posted by taylor On August 24th, 2009

Component I:
A Process For Monetizing Existing Customer Relationships

  • Cross Sale Opportunities
  • Maintenance, Membership, On-Going Support Contracts
  • Referrals

Component II:
A Process For Converting A Prospect (Lead) To A Sale

  • USP or Unique Selling Proposition. Answers the question why should I buy from you over my current vendor? Remember, your biggest competitor (or vendor) might be apathy or fear of change.
  • Proof To Back Up Your USP
  1. Testimonials and Case Studies
  2. Performance Guarantees
  3. Statistics
  • Low Risk Offer To Engage The Prospect
  1. Trial Period
  2. Free Service (Like a free network audit)
  • Multi-step sales process that includes several, frequent communications by mail, e-mail, and/or by phone to prompt the prospect to buy.

Component III:
A Process For Generating New Leads (Filling The Funnel) Read full article and comment →

How To Score Appointments And Sales With Bigger Clients

Posted by taylor On August 21st, 2009

7 Fundamentals To Successfully Sell To Bigger Accounts

  1. Approach prospects with CONFIDENCE. There is nothing more detrimental to the sales process than appearing needy, nervous or insecure.
  2. Start at the TOP.
  3. Never forget that you are dealing with PEOPLE and that EMOTIONS are driving their decisions regardless of how big or small the organization. The key drivers are:
    • Fear
    • Ego and Competitiveness (desire to be #1)
    • Wanting to feel important; make smart decisions
    • Avoiding embarrassment
    • Greed, turf protection and the desire for self-preservation
  1. Have a clear, strong, and quantifiable VALUE PROPOSITION that is meaningful to a C-Level decisionmaker.
    • Position yourself as a business consultant not a “techie”
    • Know what the NET benefits are if a client engages with you
    • Know why a prospect should choose YOU over any and every other option (USP or key differentiators)
  1. Never limit your touch point to ONLY ONE PERSON. Almost ALL decisions in larger companies are made by a group of people.
  2. RESEARCH your prospects carefully to know:
  • Who their customers are and what they do for them
  • Who the potential decisionmakers and influencers are
  • What industry trends are affecting them
  • Who their competitors are
  • What significant changes or initiatives are going on
  • What’s HOT in their industry right now
  • What’s controversial in their industry right now
  1. Remember, not everyone will see value in what you do or be ready to engage with you right away; the worst they can say is NO.

3 Execution Steps:

Step 1: Define Your Value Proposition And Key Differentiators Read full article and comment →

Marketing Your Managed Services Business

Posted by taylor On August 15th, 2009


An Easy To Implement Marketing Strategy That Will Help You Close Large IT Managed Services Sales, Faster And Easier
By: Robin Robins, Author of the Managed Services Marketing Blueprint
Are you a managed services provider that wants to land larger contracts? Do you lose sales because clients think your managed IT services are “too much money” or because of sticker shock?