Tips for Negotiating with MSP Clients - Part Two

Richard Tubb

msp negotiationIn my last blog post, I looked at tips for negotiating with MSP clients, and helping your client or prospect understand why you aren’t the cheapest service on the market. In essence, why you will provide more value to your prospect than your competitors.

But even if you provide what you perceive to be more bang for the buck - no additional charge for on-site visits, pro-active monitoring, etc. - don’t make the assumption that your prospect sees the same value in these things.

Your client or prospect might be focused on something completely different, and you won’t know this until you actually ask them.

What is it you want?

For prospects who are already working with an IT provider and who have invited you in to discuss moving their business across, the question is a simple one.

“Why don’t you want to continue working with your existing supplier”

If you get a wishy-washy answer like “We decided it was time for a change” then dig deeper.

However, most prospects will happily share with you that the incumbent IT supplier was too slow, or lacked the personal touch, or had let niggling issues fester. Whatever the issues are, this is giving you a clue to what is important - and of value - to the prospect.

For prospects where you’re not competing with an incumbent supplier, but are in a competitive situation - ask the simple question

“What are the top three things you’re looking for in a supplier?”

Again, your prospects will probably share with you what is of most value to them.

Proving your value

So, having established the prospect values certain things above others (and quite often different things to those you pride yourself on offering) it’s time to focus on establishing the value of how you can help them ease that pain.

  • Where fast response times are key, give evidence - “Our typical response time for existing clients over the past 3 months has been 94 seconds”.
  • Where niggling issues were of concern, give re-assurances - “Our engineers schedule monthly site visits to floor walk and ensure niggling issues are addressed and not forgotten”.
  • Where a personal touch is important, give examples - “One of our existing clients thanked us the other day for helping him with an important client proposal on a Friday evening. I’ll happily put you in touch with him if you’d like to discus?”

Consequences of inaction

Next, with all this in mind - focus on the consequences to the prospect if they chose NOT to address those pain paints.

  • What would the impact be on the individual concerned and the business as a whole if they didn’t find a supplier with fast response times?
  • How would the prospect deal with those niggling issues if they were left to fester?
  • How would it make the individual feel if they worked with a supplier who didn’t answer the ‘phone in an emergency?


All of these steps help to establish the value of your services.

So the next time the prospect wants to compare Apples with Oranges, and beat you up on price - bring the conversation back to value.

And once the prospect understands value, they’ll be much less inclined to beat you up on price.

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As the former owner of an award winning IT Managed Service Provider, Richard Tubb works with MSPs to help them increase sales, take on employees and build up relationships with key industry contacts. You don't have to do it alone any more - contact Richard and have a chat about your needs and how he can help you.

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