What makes you a better choice than all of the other IT support companies in your area?
It’s one of the hardest questions you can be asked. And the answer has nothing to do with quality, service or price. None of these are genuine differentiators, as they are too easily copied.
There are some basic reality checks which will affect your answer.
Firstly, it’s critical to remember that the average business owner or manager does not know anywhere near as much about tech stuff as you do.
They do not have the facts or the experience you do. They do not obsess over it, and overthink it, like you do. In fact, the worst thing you can do is to assume that they know what you know. They don’t.
They are also incredibly busy, and that means they make quick ‘snap’ judgements about which IT support company to pick.
They make the decision based on what their heart says, not what their brain says.
So bearing that in mind, there are seven factors to look at, that will help you to truly differentiate your business from all of the other MSPs they could choose from.
1) Convenience factors
Having your own field technician, or opening for longer than a competitor makes you more convenient.
People love convenience because they are naturally lazy. They want everything to be simple and easy. That’s why it’s the number one differentiation factor.
Our world is becoming more convenient. I can buy something on my phone and get it delivered the next day. I can buy a flat screen TV from a supermarket at 3am. I can get my groceries delivered to my door at a time that suits me.
How is your business keeping up with this? If you’re not convenient enough to me, maybe I’ll go to a competitor who is more convenient.
2) The competition
Your competition sets the context with which I will look at your business.
If your competitors are great at marketing, you need to be even better. But remember you don’t have to beat everyone.
Imagine you were hiking with some friends in the woods and a giant hungry bear started to chase you all. You don’t need to outrun all of your friends… just one of them!
It’s the same with your marketing. You just need to make sure you’re not at the bottom of the food chain in your particular area.
Let another MSP be the worst, and be the one that will lose its business to its competitors.
3) Killer deals
People love an offer. A deal. Deals trigger action.
The trick is to offer a deal that doesn’t make your business look cheap.
Every MSP needs to position itself at the top of the local market. That means using the correct language, such as the word ‘complimentary’ rather than the word ‘free’.
And it means adding value rather than discounting. Demonstrate incredible value in a bundle of services (greater value than buying all the items separately) and it becomes hard to say no.
This is the same psychology that drives people to add a Coke and crisps to their sandwich and get a meal deal. They only have to spend 50p more and they feel like they’re getting a bargain.
People buy from people. Not buildings, or facilities, or qualifications. They buy from people.
So show me your people. Show me who is going to be looking after my IT. Show me who I can trust.
And don’t just show me the people, tell me a little bit about them. Our brains are hard wired to respond better to stories than just dry facts.
“Bob qualified in 1974 and moved to the area in 1987” will put them in a coma. Whereas “Bob has been obsessed with technology since he was 10 years old… he did his work experience at a computer repair shop… had a Saturday job there… and now, 20 years on, as a highly experienced IT support technician, he still leaps out of bed every morning to help people”.
The best stories are embellished versions of the truth. The aim is that they contact the business and feel as though they know some of the people; before they’ve met them.
That’s what you’re trying to build with your marketing – a greater relationship with prospects.
Remember that these are uneducated buyers who don’t know what they don’t know. They buy with their hearts and emotions, rather than their brains.
So the more they feel they know you and your team, the more likely they are to pick you. We trust what we think we know.
Tell them stories on your website. Film short videos with your people. Have a highly active Facebook page. Show us you and your people, and involved us where we can.
The deeper the relationship with your prospects, the better the clients they will become.
6) Focus on desired outcomes
What’s the purpose of your website?
It’s primarily to generate new clients. To catch their attention, warm them up, and get them to choose you.
So you should ensure that every part of your website is focused on that desired outcome.
This is where marketing ability can be the differentiating factor. Because a focused website feels like a focused business, to the prospect looking for guidance in how to buy.
Increasingly people are looking for ethical businesses that they can trust.
Buyers have been taught over the last few decades that big anonymous businesses are out to fiddle everyone!
Look at how the banks are trying to market themselves as down to earth and there for the little person (the complete opposite of the truth).
Well your business has a conscience – it’s probably your personal one – so use it in your marketing.
This can be as simple as getting behind a passionate local charity and actively supporting them. This is known as cause-related marketing.
The most active local charities tend to influence hundreds, often thousands of local people, and their partner supporters can benefit dramatically.