Adopt These Eight Strategies To Thrive During The COVID-19 Recession

Many MSPs are taking a dangerous approach to the recession. Hanging back, they are waiting for things to get back to normal, afraid to spend money on marketing.

But all indications show the recession is going to continue and get even worse before it gets better. It doesn’t mean people aren’t spending money. MSPs are continuing to sell and close deals.  

You can’t just wait for money to fall in your lap though. It is a critical time in which you MUST market your services. Which is why the most successful MSPs are doubling down on their marketing.

Here are eight strategies that will help you thrive during the COVID-19 recession…

  1. Update your marketing message. If you look at marketing from companies outside of IT, you can easily spot the companies who’ve continued to run marketing campaigns as if nothing has changed. These companies appear tone-deaf, which is a real turn-off to consumers, especially during traumatic times. Show you care by acknowledging what is happening in an updated marketing message. Adjust your message to address the problems head-on that companies are facing. Customize your marketing so that it clearly demonstrates that you are there to help. When you do, you’ll establish a relationship where they can trust you and be allowed to sell to them.  
  • Focus on what you can control. There are certain things you can’t control. However, there are a lot of things you can control. For example, you can control WHAT you are offering. Look at what clients are buying now, what has changed in the marketplace, and what are the top IT opportunities. Then focus on selling the solutions that people want to buy now. Educate yourself on the top-selling services and products such as cybersecurity so you can introduce new solutions to your clients. This will help you avoid losing clients to someone else who offers these products and services.
  • Pay attention to your current clients. The cost of acquisition goes up during economic downturns because people are more hesitant to invest in an upgrade or take on a new project. Concentrate on maximizing the impact on clients you already have by offering cross-sells, upsells, quarterly business reviews, and asking for referrals. Look for add-on services and products that help your clients make money, save money, retain clients, or give them a competitive edge.  Be sure you are doing everything you can to retain them such as sending newsletters, thank you notes, client care calls, and emailing weekly tips.
  • Put systems in place. We’ve been through an economic downturn before. What we’ve learned from past experience is that when you prepare, by putting processes, systems, and strategies in place, you’ll come out much better and avoid going out of business.
  • Get on the phone. Calling both prospects and clients is one of the most important things you can do right now. It shows you care and gives you the opportunity to have a meaningful conversation.Plus, it is one of the best tools for shortening the sales cycle. If you aren’t making money, start scheduling discovery calls, and build your relationships.
  • Give first. During times of distress, you can accelerate relationships that lead to long-lasting profitable relationships by demonstrating you care before asking for the sale. Do things for clients and prospects. Add value. Offer a complimentary gift such as a disaster planning checklist. Don’t wait for permission to show up.  Show up and solve their problem without waiting for them to ask.
  • Improve your negotiation skills. Clients who want to cancel their service. Clients who stop paying. Clients trying to weasel out of their contract. These are issues MSPs are facing and will continue to experience. More than ever, you need to be a strong negotiator. (Learn more about how to be a great negotiator here .)
  • Surround yourself with a community that sees this as an opportunity. You may have heard the saying, “attitude determines your altitude”. Negativity can significantly impact your life and have a cascading effect on your business.  Get around and stay around MSPs who have a positive attitude and see this time as a great opportunity. These MSPs are still marketing and selling and will inspire you to do the same. (Meet MSPs who see this an opportunity here [Insert link to

While some businesses require additional IT support for the shift to work-at-home, other businesses are shuttering their doors, wanting to cancel contracts or downgrade. Follow these eight strategies and you’ll offset lost business by putting yourself in a position to pick up new business from the companies needing this extra support.

Remember, IT is necessary and needed. If it wasn’t for IT, many more businesses would be out of business and many more people would be unemployed.

So, freshen up your marketing and don’t wait for permission to sell.

Looking for extra help during this time of crisis? Visit for FREE resources, discounts, financial aid links, tools, and helpful information updated weekly.

Verne Harnish is the Founder and CEO of Scaling Up, a global executive education and coaching company with over 200 partners on six continents. He is also the founder of the world-renowned Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), with over 16,000 members worldwide, and chaired for fifteen years EO’s premiere CEO program held at MIT, a program in which he still teaches today.



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