Status Check: You've just inked a deal.
Log on to your favored Managed Services Chat Group and proclaim your victory.
But then what?
Now we have to take care of some very practical stuff.
The client sit-down isn't over until you take care of the long list of little things that need to be done. How do I handle this? Well, for anyone that’s read my other blogs, it probably won’t come as any surprise that there’s a checklist for that.
First, make a cover page that includes the following data:
On the next page you'll start a list with actions that need to take place, who is responsible for each and the date completed. You might even use this document as a "routing" slip to make sure each person or department does what they need to do.
If you're the only one responsible for the actions, you still need to make this list and you still need to take care of all these things.
Of course, this is just a fictional example and does not in any way represent exactly what we do in our company.
This list has been edited for public consumption. You'll edit again for your tools and procedures.
Do you see all the stuff you have to do in order to provide spectacular support? And this list doesn't include maintaining your RMM tools, managing portals and passwords, creating documentation flyers and PowerPoints.
You're not a trunk-slamming fly-by-night interloper. You're a trained technical professional, running a business to provide top-drawer technical support to people who are willing to outsource their IT department.
So, no, you don't have time to deal with break/fix junk on six-year old servers. Those aren't your clients.
And yes, you will charge a setup fee and feel good about it.
There's always trepidation over the topic of saying goodbye to "good" clients.
After you meet with three or four suspected silver clients, you'll have two or three signed agreements. You'll have immediately increased your recurring revenue. And you'll have money in the bank: Monthly prepays, first months and setup fees.
Now you see the value of this business model. Now you see that clients who you thought would drop off have signed up for Platinum! Who knew? These clients have not just gone along with your program, they have told you with financial commitment that they believe in your new model.
The future is a brighter place because of you. I'm not kidding.
This is the way technical support should be bought and sold and delivered. This is the future. And you and your clients are going to go there together.
So if you've heard a client say that they don't value preventive maintenance, and they just want break/fix, you're not going to be very sympathetic.
You're going to realize, after about three service agreements, that you have clients who have literally placed their business in your hands. They trust you and rely on you. And when their servers go down, or their email stops, you're going to take care of it. You have accepted a higher level of liability in exchange for money.
Meanwhile, Cousin Larry wants to do his own tech support and call you in when he's broken something so bad he can't fix it. When you've got two or three service agreements under your belt, you'll understand that you can't provide Cousin Larry with ad hoc support when you've got clients who've stepped up to the next level.
You can't leave a contract client waiting while you go work on some snake pit of a server that you don't maintain, don't manage, don't monitor and don't know what's been done to it.
You will come to believe that your future is with clients who value your services. And that will make it easier to be committed to walking away from clients who just want break/fix.
If you don't believe me yet, wait until you've signed some agreements. This really is your future.
So now you can go into meetings with a much higher level of confidence. When someone says they don't want to sign, you won't be offended and you won't be upset. And you won't retreat to a mentality of poverty. You'll simply, casually, say "That's no problem. We work with the local IT Pro group. We can help you find a Small Business Specialist who is still providing break/fix work.”
When you're willing to walk away, you don't have to give in.
And when you honestly believe in your heart that you don't need every dollar that walks in the door, your business will move to the next level.
(Used with permission of Karl W. Palachuk, SmallBizThoughts.com)