The so-called freemium way of doing things can be a useful tool for attracting new clients. On the surface it seems sensible: if you offer a stripped down version of your services for free, many people will give it a try. If they like it, they might commit real funds and sign on as a client.
There are countless examples that using this type of tactic that works. For example, look at Dropbox: you can get two gigabytes (GB) of storage space for free, or you can get 500 times as much space (one terabyte) for only $10 a month.
Perhaps this strategy is what inspired you to offer a free technical assessment to potential clients, or maybe you do it just because every other managed service provider (MSP) does it. If that's your strategy, it's a poor one, and it'll keep you poor. Cut it out.
Just say no
Your company is not Dropbox. So why would you attempt to carbon copy that storage vendor's sales strategy? Free technical assessments don’t offer your potential clients any value and it most certainly doesn't help you bring home the bacon. Besides, it’s an obvious gimmick that most people will see through.
Business owners you're attempting to court are wise to these wily ways. They know you're simply trying to get their attention by offering something of little to no value. It could be argued such a tactic is akin to spam: it's a foolish way to try to generate more business and it won't work.
I decided to ask some of my colleagues in the MSP community what they think of MSPs that offer free technical assessments as their primary sales strategy. Here's a sampling of what I was told:
- “They are parroting the same thing everyone else is instead of looking for what their prospects actually value.” -- Chris Michalec, President of Parkway Technology Solutions (Winston-Salem, North Carolina)
- “They don't value themselves.” -- Stuart Selbst, COO of Vorex (Dallas, Texas)
- “They're suffering from the ‘it's what we've always done’ mentality.” -- Colin Knox, CEO of Passportal (Calgary, Alberta)
- “Perhaps they can't tell the client how they add value to support the client's business.” -- Paul Bush, Co-Founder and CEO of OneSource Technology Inc. (Derby, Kansas)
All right, so others share my point of view. So what's a viable alternative?
What about white papers?
Try offering free white papers focused on your services which contain client testimonials anyone can download from you website. Providing an informative checklist or questionnaire can help generate more incoming, worthwhile leads than a free technical assessment.
There is a place for the free technical assessment, but it’s later in the sales process. Once you’ve triggered the realization in a potential client that they do have a need for an MSP, that's the time to offer a full, free assessment of their systems to show them exactly what they need to do to operate in a more efficient, cost-effective, and secure manner. Do that, and chances are that potential client will trust you and invest in your business to help them achieve their strategic goals.
While you're mulling that over, take advantage of Ulistic's 17-Step Sales and Marketing strategy document. It's a free download. If after reading through it you'd like to talk, get in touch. My team and I would be delighted to learn how we can transform your marketing strategy and help you grow your business.
Only one in 100 I.T. firms prioritize marketing but 100 out of 100 want more sales leads. Ulistic helps managed service providers think and act strategically about marketing to generate more leads. Our team of experienced writers, graphic designers, and professional marketers will engage with your business daily to provide expert marketing materials and advice to help you create a foundation for success. Want to learn more? Visit us at Ulistic.com.