Five Ways to Beat the Competition

One of the questions I get more often that most is, “What is my USP?”

Consultants I work with seem very concerned with finding some magic ingredient that sets them apart from the competitors in their area. “What can I add to my services to make me different, to stand apart from the crowd?”

This is a very valid concern – one that must be addressed and answered if you expect to have your prospects choose you over the other IT firms they might be meeting with when selecting someone new to take care of their computer systems.

However, finding that special something that sets you apart doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Your prospects aren’t looking for bells and whistles, or shiny new technical features from their IT Consultant.

They just want the assurance that you will better serve their support needs better than the other guys. There are plenty of ways you can help prospects feel the confidence that you’re the best consultant for the job.

Here are four easy ways to stand out as the only MSP in the neighborhood who can give your clients exactly what they’re looking for.

1. Don’t Tell – Demonstrate How You’re Better

There are basically two main flavors a small business can choose when outsourcing their IT Support – either Break/Fix or Managed Services.

If you’ve been reading my articles or emails for any amount of time, you know I firmly insist that Managed Services is the only way to go for building a sustainable support business.

But even within the world of MSPs, there are only so many unique ways you can proactively maintain a network. You monitor the systems, take action before problems affect the users and keep your clients informed through accurate and timely reporting.

Sure there are plenty of features you can add to your list of services, such as Cloud storage solutions, Remote Backup or BDR services, Managed Antivirus, HaaS, etc., but these are just features – not benefits your prospect is necessarily looking for, and not something that will necessarily set you apart as unique.

You want to show your prospects the value your Managed Services will provide, in a way your competitors probably aren’t.

When you meet with prospects, do you give them a full demonstration of how your RMM Dashboard works? How it can keep them fully informed of all activity on their network at anytime, from anywhere they have an Internet connection?

Do you show them the alerts they’ll receive when a problem does occur on the network? Do you demonstrate how they can get these alerts on their phone, 24x7x365?

How about the reports they’ll regularly receive keeping them apprised of their network health status? Or the instant service updates they’ll get through your ticketing system?

You can easily provide all these services, and hopefully you currently are. When you clearly demonstrate how all of these services will work for your prospect and keep them informed, they’ll gain a level of confidence your competitors might not be able to provide if they simply walk into meetings with a brochure and a promise that they’re just “better”.

2. Focus on Customer Service

The computer network is a small business owner’s most valuable and important assets.

So the person or company responsible for caring for that network will need to have a strong, healthy, trusted relationship with the business owner. Trust comes from communication, something a small IT company or even an independent consultant can be better qualified to provide than their larger competitors.

Maintaining a small client base is an asset – for you and your clients. It allows you to be in better touch with the needs of your customers and allows you to provide faster, more personalized service.

Don’t hide, but rather highlight the fact that you maintain a small but valued group of clients and are able to treat each one as if they were your only customer. Your prospects would be lucky to have a company so uniquely dedicated to their needs – as opposed to being just one small cog in a large MSPs machine of an ever-rotating client base.

3. Don’t Compete on Price

A savvy business owner who understands the importance of his network and data for the growth and even survival of his business won’t be looking for the lowest price he can find to maintain this precious resource.

He’ll be looking for a fair rate for the best service he can find. You can provide that best service. Charge a fair and competitive rate, and always highlight the value you bring. Any new prospect would be lucky to have you as their provider – at any price.

4. Let Them Try You Out

With the low cost of support tools available to you today, the greatest expense you face for maintaining your customers is your time.

This time is very well spent if it means bringing on a new managed service client who will be with you for several years.

So when a prospect tells you they’re evaluating a few other companies, why not offer to let them try you out while they continue looking?

Set them up with your RMM dashboard, give them the instant alerts when issues occur, send them the automated health and inventory reports your RMM provides, even offer to include remote support for the users if you’re so inclined.

This will give them a great opportunity to see you in action and gain the confidence that you will provide the support – and communication they want in an IT provider.

Continue to do a solid job throughout the trial period and it will be very easy for them to say, “This seems to be working out great. Let’s keep it going.”

5. Guarantee You’re Better

Your competition might say they’re great, but are they willing to stand behind their promises with guarantees that actually mean something to the client?

Let me tell you something – a “Satisfaction Guarantee” doesn’t mean squat. If a client isn’t satisfied with the service they’re receiving, they aren’t going to pay for the service – or if the consultant demands payment, then you can be sure they aren’t going to be that company’s consultant very much longer.

What are the pain points that your prospect says causes them the most frustration? Do they hate that their current consultant always shows up to appointments late? Or that they don’t call back quickly when the client is looking for them?

How about you offer a “Rapid Response Guarantee” where you promise to respond to voice messages or emails within 30 minutes. Or where you guarantee you’ll give at least one hour notice if you expect to be late for an appointment.

If your prospect expresses frustration that their consultant has to come back multiple times to fix the same issue, and that they have to keep paying for each service visit, how about you offer a “Fix It The First Time Guarantee”, where once you confirm that the problem is fixed and the client agrees, then if it reoccurs within a set period, let’s say two weeks, then you’ll return to fix it for free – or offer an alternate solution to have the problem fixed permanently.

When you meet with prospects, ask questions and discover what bothers them most about previous consultants. Your methods for assuring they won’t experience these problems with you as their consultant will set you apart from your competition who might be delivering empty promises your prospect has heard all too many times before.

Don’t forget, competition is good. If you have a lot of IT providers in your area, it only confirms there’s a strong need for quality IT support.

If you’re one of the best, demonstrate this for your prospects and they’ll choose you over your competitors every time.

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