This is Bob. He’s a good client of yours.
He’s the kind of client that you don’t have to think about much.
You know the kind I mean? The kind who are the bread and butter of the business. He pays his support fee by Direct Debit, uses the help desk now and then, and doesn’t cause you any hassle.
In fact, it’s quite likely that you don’t think about Bob that often. As business owners, we tend to focus most of our attention on the worst clients who are creating the most noise.
Which, of course, is exactly the opposite of what we should be doing.
Thing is, there’s stuff about Bob’s business that you don’t know.
Back when he became a client a few years ago, his business was fairly straight forward.
But he’s been busy. He’s been growing and has big plans for the future. Huge plans.
It’s quite hard for you to pick that up, just by looking at the tickets that your staff are dealing with.
And that creates two problems for you.
The first problem: Retention
Bob might wake up one morning and decide that his business has outgrown your business.
He won’t make this decision cognitively. It’ll be an emotional one; a gut feel if you like.
And by the time you hear about it, it’ll be too late to do anything about it. He’ll have reached the conclusion that it’s time for a new IT support firm, and he’ll be looking around.
In fact, at the point he tells you about it, it’s because he’s off.
The second problem: Money on the table
Bob is ready to spend more money with you. But he doesn’t know it yet.
You see, lots of your existing clients would spend more with you today. If only they knew what else you could do for them.
I call this leaving money on the table. And it’s a big killer of net profits.
You might have seen me write before that there are only three ways to grow your MSP:
- Get more new clients
- Get those clients to buy from you more often
- Get those clients to choose to spend more every time they buy
Most people focus all of their efforts on getting new clients.
Yet the easy extra profits come from getting extra sales from your existing clients.
You can’t rely on the clients asking you “what else can you do to help me?”
And you can’t bombard them with messages about other services all the time. Throwing a big menu at someone repeatedly doesn’t make them choose more to eat.
So what’s the answer?
It’s beautiful in its simplicity and its ability to both retain a client and upsell them in one stroke.
It’s time to take Bob to lunch
But not just any old lunch. This has a strategic purpose.
In fact, let’s not even call it a lunch. Let’s call it a Strategic IT Review.
That’s good positioning.
Pick a nice restaurant – not McDonalds but not too posh. Tell Bob he’ll be away from the office for an hour and a bit. You’d like to buy him lunch and perform a Strategic IT Review on his business.
What you don’t want to do is fritter the time away with pleasantries, or get caught up in the detail of current support issues. No way.
You should spend a maximum of 10 minutes looking backwards. And the remainder of the time looking forwards.
Because the real purpose of the Strategic IT Review is to ask Bob a series of open questions, that will identify opportunities for him to buy something else from you.
Some of those questions might include:
- Since we last met, in the context of your technology, what’s gone well?
- What’s not gone so well?
- What’s held you back?
- Looking at the business overall, what are your priorities over the next 12 months
- What are likely to be your biggest headaches?
- What can we do to help?
Can you see the power of asking Bob those questions?
He’s going to spend most of the lunch talking about his business and what he wants to do with it.
Boom. He’s telling you what he wants to buy.
No selling required.
Because all you need to do is offer relevant products or services that solve his problems, or satiate his desires.
And if he does buy, he’ll feel good about it.
The Strategic IT Review is so powerful it should be repeated on a regular basis, with all clients.
Every 12 months. Or every 6 months for fast moving clients.
Make it part of the offering. Tell new clients from day one it’s going to happen. Don’t let it be optional.
It’s a way to systemise upselling, without any selling required.
Not all clients will need or want more stuff right now. That’s OK.
Because the side benefit of the Strategic IT Review is incredible retention.
By taking Bob out to lunch and asking him lots of questions about his business, it makes him feel really good about your business.
People stick with their IT support company, or leave them based on their emotions… not what their brain says.
Have you got questions about this? Add a comment below. Or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.