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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

SLAs are the foundation of your MSP business. They are essential to building strong client relationships and must be clear, reasonable and well-constructed.

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Invest in Yourself: Why Spending Money Can Help You Make Money

Posted April 21, 2015by Nate Teplow

Invest_in_Yourself-_Why_Spending_Money_Can_Help_You_Make_Money

image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/armydre2008/

I read an article a few months ago by Neil Patel titled “How Spending $162,301.42 on Clothes Made Me $692,500”. As a blogger and a marketer, I tend to read a lot of blog posts…some good and some not so good. Somehow, this blog post stuck with me and I thought it was worth sharing with our MSP audience.

Here are 3 ways all managed IT service providers can spend money to make money:

Neil decided to do his own experiment as a business owner, and the results were pretty interesting. 

You can read the blog post for the full story, but long story short, Neil decided to splurge on expensive clothes to see how it impacted how many new deals he could close. In fact, he spent exactly $162,301.42 on clothes and it helped him increase his close rate from 25% to 40%, which resulted in over $692,000 in new revenue for his business! 

That’s a considerable difference, and the only thing he changed was his appearance. Now, this is a bit of an extreme example (I don’t think many MSPs would be ready to go on an $100,000 shopping spree) but it does help prove an interesting point.

 

Appearances Do Matter

Appearances matter in the business world, and it’s important to invest in yourself and invest in your business in order to drive revenue. When you dress like a successful person, people think you are successful and they want to work with you. They think that since you’re successful, you can help make them successful.

In his blog post, Neil mentioned a friend of his who started dressing in expensive suits when he attended conferences; instead of jeans and a t-shirt. When he dressed in his suit, people would approach him and ask him what he did. The leads came to him. 

How nice would it be to go to an event and have people constantly ask you what you do, rather than feel like you need to initiate the conversation? Booth traffic can be hit or miss. By roping prospects in with your impressive attire, you open up the opportunity to discuss what your business does and more importantly, what it can do for them.

Related: How To Write an Elevator Pitch for Your MSP Business

I hate to sound superficial, but people will judge you based on your appearance. Of course, you still need to have a strong value proposition, sell yourself effectively, deliver great services etc., but your first impression will set the tone for the rest of your conversations. It better be a good one.

I think many MSPs are scared to make this investment in themselves. Many owners would rather wait until more deals come in before spending money. However, spending money up-front will help those deals come in – as seen in Neil’s examples.

 

What Should You Spend Money On?

So maybe you’re not ready to drop $100k on Dolce and Gabbana suits and fancy shoes, but what are some more reasonable investments you can make?

Here are a few ideas. 


1. Your Website

I’ll be honest, I think websites are one of the biggest areas MSPs can improve upon. There are some MSPs that do a good job with their site, but the bad ones - those that are eye sores or that don't provide the information people are looking for - far outweigh the good ones. 

Your website is your storefront these days. If you claim to be a technology company, but you don't have a fully-functioning or visually-appealing website, why would anyone want to work with you? Spending the time and money to make your website inviting and impressive can pay great dividends in the future.

Related: Increase Website Conversion with this Go-to Home Page Optimization Guide!

I’ll tell you a quick story. I was recently looking for a new dentist's office. Obviously, I started with my insurance company to see which ones were covered, but after I got that list, I started visiting websites. The first few I went to looked outdated and after visiting a page or two, I just went back to the insurance coverage list. When I finally found a website that looked professional, with eye-catching pictures of the dentists and facilities there, I submitted a request to schedule an appointment. 

I literally chose my new dentist based off of how the website looked. Of course, the experience was pleasant once I visited for my first cleaning, so that helped solidify me as a customer, but I wasn’t ready to trust my teeth to someone who couldn’t spend a little time to get their website right. (Or maybe it was just my inner marketer…but ignore that).

I think websites are one of those areas that many owners say they’ll invest in once more money comes in, but your website is one of the most important tools you can use to create new opportunities for your MSP business. Spend the extra money to revamp it, upload some nice pictures of your staff, dedicate web copy to describing the value of your services and make the navigation intuitive.

Don't let your website be an afterthought. You need it to assert your professional authority, especially as a technology services company.


2. Your Clothes

Just like in Neil’s blog post, if you’re a business owner, you should dress like one. I go to a number of conferences throughout the year, and I see a lot of MSP business owners who dress in jeans and collared shirt with their logo on it. Sure, it’s nice to show off your company logo, but it doesn’t necessarily scream “successful.” That doesn't mean you should stop buying these shirts. They're perfect for your technicians to wear when visiting clients on-site. As the head of the company, however, you need to distinguish yourself. 

Related: How to Prepare Techs for Their First On-Site Appointment with a Prospective Client: Lessons from Robin Robins

If you’re a frequent collared-shirt-conference-goer, try dressing in a suit and button down shirt for the next conference you go to (and maybe throw a pocket square in there) and see if any of your interactions are different. 

You don’t need to go out and buy a new wardrobe, but the way you dress does make an impact on what people think of you.


3. Your Car

Just like your clothes, people notice the car that you drive and will judge your success level on it. It may sound materialistic, but it’s true.

If you’re visiting a prospect for the first time and you roll up in a BMW, that sets a much different impression than arriving with a Camry. Sorry for you folks who drive Camry’s, there’s nothing wrong with them - just like there’s nothing wrong with dressing in jeans and a collared shirt at a conference - but it’s about the impression you set.

Again, you don’t need to go take out a loan and buy a Ferrari (although that’d be fun, huh?). If your lease is up and you’re considering what your next car should be, however, maybe it’s worth spending an extra $200/month to drive a nicer car. Even if it helps you close only one new client per quarter for $500 per month, you’re making your money back pretty quickly.

 

Appearance is not the key to your success; there are many other phases of business that are much more important. But it is a factor in your success, and MSPs need to recognize this.

Sometimes you need to spend money to make money, rather than make money to spend money. Take a leap of faith and make an investment in yourself. It can pay great dividends in the end. You don’t need to overhaul your entire website or buy a new car, but look for opportunities where you can invest in yourself and take calculated risks.

In most cases, the biggest risk you take is not taking one at all.


Looking to make the big bucks? Download our webinar!

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Nate Teplow is a Sr. Product Marketing Manager at Continuum, currently managing the company's RMM marketing initiatives. Nate's experience spans inbound marketing, content strategy, marketing communications and B2B lead generation. A proud Miami Hurricane alumni, Nate enjoys staying active, traveling to new places and performing A/B tests.

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