Just as organizations decide which managed service providers they want to work with, MSPs have the power to choose which clients they are willing to take on. When you’re just starting out, you might not want to turn down any prospective clients. But the truth is some customers end up being more trouble than they’re worth.
So, who is the ideal MSP client? The first answer that may come to mind is someone who pays on time and never calls with petty issues. While it’s hard to argue with that wisdom, don’t rush into a decision. Consider other factors first. The good news is that those initial conversations that you have with prospective clients can give you a pretty good indication of what type of client they will be.
Consider the following factors when meeting with prospective clients to determine whether or not you will have a fruitful relationship.
They Listen and Communicate Well
The importance of having a client who listens to what you have to say and is willing to follow your advice cannot be stressed enough. Communication is vital to the success of your relationship with your clients, so look for someone who communicates their needs concisely.
Clients who communicate well can help you be more efficient because you will anticipate their needs, rather than waiting for things to happen and catching up after the fact. It’s a bad sign if you walk away from the initial meeting unsure of what the client is looking for. Taking this client on could lead to a lot of frustration.
They Want to Improve and Collaborate
Look for clients who seem willing to let you help them improve their infrastructure and environment. You will likely be suggesting changes throughout your relationship. You want them to trust your advice enough to give your suggestions serious consideration. That can be tricky to assess when you don’t know a client well. It’s a good sign if they ask lots of questions.
If you get the feeling from initial meetings that a client is not listening to what you have to say, seems disinterested, or is defensive when you mention areas that need improvement, you might want to walk away. We’ve seen combative prospects escalate issues to ridiculous levels. Take note of any red flags that pop up during your conversation.
They View IT as a Strategic Asset Rather than a Cost
You want customers who have the right attitude toward information technology and see it as an investment that will help bring their organization great success. It’s best to steer clear of those who think of it as a necessary evil.
When meeting with prospects, look for signs that they view IT proactively and understand the importance of preventive maintenance. You want someone who understands the role that proper technological solutions play in helping their company grow. Otherwise, you could end up fighting to implement even the most basic solutions. Those who understand how your services can help them be competitive, save money, and optimize productivity tend to be the best types of clients to have.
Watch out for clients who only talk about how much something costs without weighing the value you are trying to provide.
A Business that is Making Money
There is no question that you want clients who pay on time so you can keep your business going. You also want to look for signs that the business is healthy overall.
Keep in mind that businesses of all kinds need IT services, whether they are enjoying excellent cash flow or are hanging on by a thread. You want more of the former and less of the latter. Even if a company covers your monthly fee, can they afford new hardware when they need it? Will they try to push back on costs or take shortcuts to save some money? Businesses that are doing well are also more likely to accept a price increase.
Of course, no relationship is ever perfect, and not every client will be a unicorn. So, don’t discount clients who do not meet all of these criteria. However, keep in mind that some of those who fall short might require more time and effort on your part and could also be less profitable. Some less–than–ideal clients can become the types of clients you want to have if you’re willing to make the effort to show them the value you can provide.
How can you be sure you’re attracting the right clients? This is one of many topics covered in our live Virtual Academy event that begins on February 24th. You’ll learn more about marketing to the right prospects and closing more deals, along with other important aspects of MSPs, such as sales, finance, operations, and HR. Reserve your spot today!
If you have any questions about Academy or CharTec memberships, contact us.