Take Your Prospective Clients Scuba Diving
By: Dan Tomaszewski
You are knocking on doors looking for new business, but not just any new business. You are seeking that prized account that “gets it” and is willing to pay for it. They understand that with an investment in technology comes an ongoing cost of managing it and are ready to sign on the dotted line. In the ideal world, every door you knock on has this mindset. However, these ideal clients are far and few between.
Unfortunately, many doors you knock on don’t look past their initial investment on new hardware and software. Overall, they think that things should just work. This group can only see the tip of the ice berg. There is no thought given to security, software updates, repairs, support, and management of their technology investment that is below the surface of the water. According to the Gartner Group, the initial purchase of hardware and software represents twenty percent of the total cost of ownership, while the remaining eighty percent are comprised of all those ongoing aspects of technology beneath the water.
Now, if only the doors you knock on had stickers that state either “Get IT” or “Don’t get IT”. That would certainly make prospecting fun and easy and you could load up your portfolio with every business that gets it. Okay, we need to wake up from that awesome dream. It’s time to get out our scuba gear and take a deep dive below the ice berg with our prospective clients to help them look at total cost of ownership in a different way.
You have probably heard the “Why should I spend money for ongoing technology management when I can just buy new computers when we have issues” objective from a prospect. This definitely comes from the prospect with the “Don’t get IT” sticker on their door, but this doesn’t mean you can’t help them to understand that the total cost of ownership is so much more than that initial purchase of hardware and software.
An unmanaged PC will have a significantly higher cost of ownership over a managed PC on many fronts. First off, the lack of ongoing TLC will gradually be visible to an end user as each day passes. A brand new shiny computer out of the box will scream and put a smile on an end user’s face. Each and every day in use that smoking fast computer will degrade and feel much like their old computer before they know it. That end user’s productivity will decrease and their frustrations will mount and this comes at a cost.
How about security? Of course, we all know that security is more than just downloading the nearest free anti-virus software we can find. Security threats continue to evolve and at a much greater level of sophistication. It’s critical to help the “Don’t get IT” prospect understand that every business, regardless of size, is a target by hackers. I recall an owner of a company tell me, “We’re a small landscape distribution business, no hacker is going to have any interest in our business”. First off, hackers don’t see what type of business they are or know whether they are big or small. They see an IP address and they are going to hammer through the walls of their business to see what they can get. And when they say they don’t have anything that hackers want… Have they ever purchased anything online with their credit card? How about visiting their personal or business banking account? Mr. Foreign D. Hacker installed a key logger on their computers weeks ago and is ready to take a vacation at your client’s expense. As a managed services provider you are going to take a blended approach to providing security for your clients. It’s more than installing AV and it’s not a set it and forget it process. Going over everything included in your managed security service with your prospective client will help them to see the importance of it and why this is part of the total cost of ownership.
I put an emphasis on security because this is an area that is real, mainstream, and can have a significantly larger financial impact on the prospect if their IT is not properly managed than if they were properly managed in the first place. I have included a Total Cost of Ownership infographic that you can use with your prospective clients. It’s a great visual that you can walk them through to understand all that is below the ice berg. Throw on your scuba equipment, take that deep dive with your prospect, and work your way towards shifting their mindset about total cost of ownership in an effort to close that managed services deal.
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