Opportunity. Sometimes it only knocks once. You have to be ready to open the door when it does. I spoke with a friend of mine recently who works in the banking industry. He visited a branch and they had a small box called the ‘opportunity box’ next to each teller. He was intrigued by this. Why would each teller have enough opportunities to warrant a box? He thought these particular tellers must have been incredibly clever to keep coming up with enough opportunities to warrant a box.
It turns out that these bank tellers were no more or less brilliant than the average bank teller – but the management in this branch was particularly brilliant. Each time a customer entered the bank and made JUST their bare minimum credit card payment, their details go into the ‘opportunity box’. Bankers know the pitfalls of paying just the bare minimum on your credit card. With interest rates of 18 per cent or more and with most banks having a minimum payment policy of around 2.5 per cent, making the minimum monthly payment would take over 12 years to pay off a credit card.
The public has a relatively cynical view on the banking sector so most people would think the bank would be quite happy with clients that take a long time to pay off a debt – particularly while they are paying high interest rates.
This branch takes a different approach. They call clients who make only the minimum payment and discuss options with them. They discuss loan consolidation packages or money management actions. They discuss proactive approaches to deal with a situation where clients think it is acceptable to only make minimum monthly payments. More than anything, they surprise their clients with a phone call that shows that this branch of this bank cares about their customers more than they care about profits. As far as creating client loyalty and ongoing word-of-mouth advertising, I love it! It seems surprisingly simple but unexpected just the same.
The feedback from clients is unbelievable.
How does this apply to the MSP world? I believe that MSP providers have similar opportunities that they simply don’t realise are there. When a client receives a bill for some break/fix work and they think the bill is too high. There is an opportunity. When a client talks to one of your staff about some downtime that was particularly inconvenient or costly to the organisation. Another opportunity. When a client is surprised to find out about some new technology that everyone in the IT world has been aware of for many months. Another opportunity.
If you look at your business, these opportunities are all over the place. Good salespeople simply pick up on these opportunities naturally but if you sit back and think about it, you can create a policy that deals with these opportunities. When a technician is in the field and talks to a client about the importance of uptime, that should trigger a response where the technician (your techs are your best sales people of course) will suggest an MSP discussion and contact one of your sales staff to have the detailed conversation. The client has an open mind to the idea of delivering better uptime and the incredibly trusted technician has made a vague recommendation in relation to an SLA…the sale is as good as done. My experience is that these types of opportunities are popping up in an MSP business every day but they simply aren’t seized on.
Have a talk to your sales staff and find out what the easiest opportunities are to convert – and then setup a standardised procedure where ALL of your staff can recognise the flag of opportunity and have an appropriate response ready. You will be amazed at the clients you have that are just begging to be sold an SLA.
Tell me if you have a systematic approach to seizing on opportunities at firstname.lastname@example.org.