When I owned my IT managed service provider (MSP), I spent much of my time on sales, marketing, and strategic planning. Now as a professional EOS® implementer, I get to help businesses create their own strategic plans (we call them Vision/Traction Organizers™). The marketing section of the V/TO™ is one of my favorite.
When I started offering managed services back in 2009, my MSP had no real competition. Sure, local IT companies tried to compete, but managed services were my differentiator. When a new prospect asked why they should choose my company, I explained managed services, and they usually signed up. Today, almost every IT company offers their own version of managed services. Inexpensive, and greatly improved, RMM tools and outsourced helpdesks allow a single-person startup to offer a flavor of managed services. If you add competition from big box stores, cable companies and ISPs, national computer manufacturers, and copier companies, the job of making your MSP stand out is getting more difficult.
So, how do you stand out in a sea of MSPs? You must define and improve your differentiators. In the EOS® world, we call these your “3 Uniques.” What three things set you apart from the competition? Here are the rules:
1. Name three things that are different about your services or company that are MOST valuable to your prospects.
2. Some competitors may share one of these differentiators with you, a few may even share two with you, but no other business in your footprint should share your “3 Uniques.”
3. If you choose differentiators such as “our people” or “quality” or “customer service,” you’re being lazy. Go back and start over.
4. Use this list in every conversation you have with new prospects.
5. Use this list in every conversation with new hires (your company should exude these “3 Uniques”).
6. Remember that if you have no uniques, the only differentiator is price!
If you have trouble getting started, ask your clients. A few years ago, one of my raving-fan clients said she moved her medical practice to my MSP because we never asked her to “hold our chicken.” Turns out, when she called her previous IT provider with a problem, the server engineer came out wearing jeans and a dirty shirt. He was literally eating his lunch as he discussed her server problem. He concluded the conversation by asking the business owner to “hold my chicken” while he logged into the server. “Never Hold Our Chicken” became one of our “3 Uniques.”
Would you like to learn more about implementing Traction® and the Entrepreneurial Operating System® in your MSP? Check out www.TractionForMSPs.com