MSPs: Let Your Customers Open Doors for You
Which endorsement of a product or service would carry the most weight with you: a paid advertisement, or a positive review from a friend or respected peer? That’s kind of a no-brainer isn’t it? Yet business owners and managers expend large sums of money and countless hours on elaborate marketing plans. This is the case, despite the fact that the best-devised advertising campaigns can be upstaged (or destroyed) in the mind of a prospective customer by little more than a casual observation from someone he or she knows. Why not put this potent force to work for your business? It’s easy to do, and relatively cost-free. In most cases, if you have a satisfied customer, it’s likely that all you’ll have to do is ask.
For instance, you’ve completed a revamp of a customer’s IT infrastructure, and you’ve checked back to see if everything is operating as desired. He reports that all is well and compliments the work you’ve done. Now would be a great time to ask him if he knows of any other businesses in need of your services. Just like that, you could have an in with good lead. At worst, he may not come up with any names, but you have planted a seed in his mind to offer your company as a referral if the occasion arises.
Or take the effort up a notch and ask a happy client if she would be willing to supply a testimonial statement or perhaps be the subject of a case study to share with prospective customers, to be featured on your Website or used in other formal marketing efforts. A simple quote from a real, identifiable human being can go a long way toward making any ad more believable. And you needn’t be shy about asking. In the vast majority of instances, a truly satisfied customer won’t mind at all endorsing something they believe in.
Of course, there’s no possibility of getting a referral (or expecting positive “word-of-mouth”) if clients aren’t happy with the work your doing. And do you know for sure if they are? Getting a read on what they think of your services and solutions is another good reason to ask for those referrals. If they’re reluctant, there’s a good chance they, and by extension—you, have an unresolved problem. Transition the conversation around to finding out if you’ve met all their expectations. And better still, wait a couple of days and follow up on how that client is getting along with the solution you’ve provided and respond appropriately.
Showing you care improves any relationship, and while you won’t get a glowing recommendation from an unenthusiastic customer, he or she will be less likely to speak ill of you. Always, winning team is also the one that doesn’t lose.
Maurice Saluan is senior VP of sales for Zenith Infotech as well as seasoned sales veteran in the managed service arena. Guest blog entries such as this one are contributed on a monthly basis as part of MSPmentor’s 2011 Platinum sponsorship. Find all of Saluan’s blog entries here.