Author and humorist Erma Bombeck once quipped, “Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died.” While she meant it to be funny, there’s a LOT of wisdom packed into that statement.
In the past I’ve told the story of going to the hospital at 5:00 a.m. to give birth to my now 8-year-old and finding the place such a mess – from bad smells, piles of trash and half-eaten food lying about in the waiting room to the bathroom in severe disrepair with broken stall doors, clogged toilets, toilet paper and puddles of water all over the floor, no soap and in dire need of a cleaning – that I marched back up to the front desk to demand my wristband be cut off so I could leave and go to another hospital. Why? Because if they are incapable of keeping the bathrooms and waiting areas clean, how are they going to deliver my baby in a clean and safe environment? They probably won’t. A long-held belief of mine: How you do anything is how you do everything.
One of the exercises I’ve put MSPs through is calling to secret shop their own offices so they can hear and experience what a prospect would experience. Candidly, it’s a mess, and nearly everyone is appalled by what happens. From nonfunctioning phone numbers to employees giving the names and phone numbers of competitors, I’ve seen it all, and it brings up the question do they deserve to be trusted?
This IS the question on the mind of every prospect who calls your office. Can I TRUST them to do what they say they will do? Can I TRUST them to not overcharge me and not push me to buy things I don’t need? Can I TRUST they won’t make mistake after mistake? Can I TRUST them to not leave me in the lurch with lost data, down systems, ransomware and compliance violations?
Trust, and its twin brother authenticity, are two of the most important things we as entrepreneurs should strive to earn from our clients and the marketpace. Never forget when you’re selling IT services, you best start by “selling” TRUST. NOT proactive support, NOT managed services, NOT cyber security, NOT a 24/7/365 help desk. None of that matters. If the prospect doesn’t trust you, they won’t buy your services, period.
Problem is, nobody trusts anybody these days, and you as a seller of IT are presumed “guilty” of incompetence and dishonesty until trust can be earned and you prove otherwise.
EVERYTHING you do in your business is either building trust or destroying it. Everything. How you answer the phone. How your website looks and performs (most have broken links and forms that fail). How quickly you follow up on a lead. How prepared and punctual you are for a meeting. If you are positioning yourself as the most “trusted” or “competent” IT firm in your area (and not the cheapest), do your marketing materials reflect that or does it look like you printed them off on your home printer and stuck them in a folder from Staples? Or do you not have ANY collateral to give the prospect?
I could go on. Point is, prospects are looking at everything you do to form an opinion and decide if they can trust you. ALL decisions are based on a “gut feeling” overall – not many of the things MSPs put weight on, such as the proposal and price.
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