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Lucky for you as a business owner, there’s a lot of competition for the right IT or MSP partner to service your business.
The best thing to do is to look around and see what each one has to offer. Try to find someone in the right location with the right culture and right personalities. Try to find a provider who offers the best array of services that will fit comfortably in your budget.
We recommend that business owners find a true partner to take care of their IT infrastructure—someone they see eye-to-eye with on important matters. Often, IT people have different viewpoints concerning what are the best servers, computers, networking equipment and so forth. If you can find that right provider whose training and experience aligns with your company’s needs, you’ll enjoy working with them. There’s often less friction and a better overall business relationship.
A smart business owner will be up-front with you about the competition. Sometimes they’ll even share information about what these other companies may have to offer. Services packages, price points, and add-ons can often be the only real difference between you and everyone else the prospect has met with. It’s pretty common for people to shop and compare; they want to see if you can do better. This is the point in the conversation where you can either win them over, or lose your prospective client’s interests altogether.
For whatever reason, when your competition is mentioned, the instinctive response is to begin to point out their flaws or shortcomings while boasting about your own superior services or products. You might think you’re shining a light on the best aspects of your business and team, but is that really true? Instead, you may be causing your prospect to reconsider their interest in you.
You walk into a Chevy dealership to test drive their new Suburban. Instead of telling you about the car’s features and options, the salesperson starts talking to you about all of the ways that Ford and Chrysler SUVs fail to measure up. If the best sales pitch they’ve got is pointing out how bad the other brands are, it doesn’t say much for Chevy, does it?
That same principal applies to other products and services. Even if the salesperson avoids being rude or petty in their critiques, they’re still not telling you anything about the Suburban. That’s what you came for. That’s why you’re standing in the dealership. You want to know about its features and options. You need to get a good idea of the price range.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you need to shower your competitors with compliments. Just by acknowledging that they are all great companies in their own right shows a level of respect that can set you apart from other businesses. A little professional courtesy not only shows that you’re someone a prospect can trust to approach your work for them with integrity, it shows that you are confident enough in your team and your services to let them sell themselves.
Prospective clients want to hear about you. What can you do to help them solve problems, reach goals, and grow their business? What is unique about your approach to your industry? What makes you the right fit for their business? Why would they want to work with you instead of a competitor?
If the customer mentions a specific challenge they’ve experienced, tell them how you would handle it. Stay away from responses like, “A typical company would…” or “ABC Company would probably tell you this, but….” Instead offer an honest answer. Showcase what your team can do. Highlight your strengths, but don’t go over the top with it.
Don’t oversell your abilities to land a contract you will struggle to fulfill, or promise results you can’t deliver. Missing out on one client is better in the long run than losing a client due to poor service. Admitting that you don’t think you’re a good fit for what they need might not feel great at the time. However, remember that you’re risking that they may have a disappointing experience working with you and this could lead to losing other business. This is a serious gamble. That kind of damage to your reputation is hard to overcome – word of mouth is a powerful thing.
Think about how unimpressed you would be if you hired someone to do work for your business or help you manage part of your operations, only to find out months later that they’d oversold their abilities and resources. You still need someone doing the work they said they could do, and the end result is likely going to be an expensive mess that you now have to figure out how to deal with.
Don’t lose sight of these important facts when you represent your business. At the end of the day, it’s still about people. Your people, their people, and the people they want you to help them serve and support. Respect that fact, and there is no telling how far you can go in your chosen industry.