Your best chance to make money in managed services is to help those who don't need your help.
In all the MSP sales consulting I see getting pushed out in the market, no one makes this very important distinction. Take this anecdotal story from someone who has been doing this a long time.
is CEO of Alvaka Networks.
Why is that? This axiom seems to be a contrast to all known marketing and human need logic, but in fact it makes total sense. One of my early mentors, Bob Kelly of Adaptive Business Leaders, brought this apparent conflict into crystal clarity with a little anecdotal story.
Bob said to me, "Oli, if you want to sell an alarm system, you don't go to a crime-ridden inner city. Those people don't care about crime. Oh sure, they don't like it, but they don't care enough to do anything about their situation, so they just live with it. It is part of their life and they don't care enough to change it." Bob then went on to say, "If you want to sell an alarm system, go find an exclusive gated community. Get inside that gated community and drive around. Find the house with the 12-foot-tall wrought-iron fence with razor wire on top and three pit bulls in the yard. That homeowner," he said, "will buy your top-of-the-line security system."
And so it goes with managed services. Time and time again, I have discovered that the best-managed client firms, with the newest and best-running IT systems, are the ones interested in making sure their IT systems stay the best-running systems. They are Alvaka Networks' choice clients. These firms hire us like clockwork.
On the other hand, the clients whose systems have a lot of problems and would benefit the most by changing their current situation simply don't do it. They just don't place value on the security and availability of their IT systems. Because of those decisions, everyone working there and everyone doing business with them suffers. These outfits are clearly not well-managed businesses and are certainly not good prospective clients for Alvaka Networks.
I suggest you look at your base of clients and come to the same realization. Your best clients are counting on you to not get dragged down by the bad ones.
OLI THORDARSON is CEO of Alvaka Networks, a provider of network management, monitoring, security and integration services based in Huntington Beach, Calif.
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