Stay curious, demonstrate your expertise and price for your value so clients see you as a business driver.

December 19, 2022

4 Min Read

By Shannon Murphy


Shannon Murphy

If you want to live in a world of break-fix and trouble tickets, that’s great. It’s a good business to be in — everyone needs technology products and services. However, if you want to take your managed service provider business to the next level and become a strategic business technology consultant, you need to elevate the value of your experience and begin charging accordingly.

This shift will require a change in mindset and might even take you out of your comfort zone. But when you’re ready to go beyond creating solutions and move into the realm of true consultation, there are four ways you can flip the script.

4 Ways to Flip the Script

1. Study your client. When you want to make the move from “partner” to “consultant,” the first thing you need to do is listen. Siloed partners stay that way because they turn their ears off the moment the discussion veers away from technology. But meetings with your client are a time to position yourself as a holistic business partner.

This means learning your client’s business and becoming comfortable speaking their language. Connect with multiple stakeholders and chat about their pain points. Ask lots of questions, attend every business-related meeting you can, and solicit invitations for additional facetime, when possible, especially with various leaders (e.g., HR and marketing) who are making technology decisions.

Be sure to check all these boxes:

  • Listen

  • Observe

  • Read

  • Ask

Understand your client’s problems in detail and you’ll be able to propose better solutions, and when a technical solution doesn’t exist, you’ve at least provided a great sounding board from one professional to another.

2. Package your expertise. Your experience and expertise differentiate you from competitors that may be delivering similar technology. Package your expertise as offering strategic assessments or virtual CIO services, for example, and charge accordingly.

Your expertise in certain technologies, processes, compliances, verticals, etc., is an advantage that’s not easily replicated by competitors. Position it prominently. Be sure to connect the dots for your clients on the value your expertise brings to them above and beyond your technology solutions. Try these tips:

Educate your client on your field experience and tech knowledge in meetings and marketing materials.

Tie your recommendations directly to your client’s future revenue generation and ask to use their results in case studies.

Brainstorm new solutions to show how your expertise can be applied along with your technology to support business outcomes in quarterly business reviews (QBRs).

3. Help anywhere it’s needed. Go beyond the transaction (e.g., fees for service) and help your clients solve inefficiencies. This is essential to consultative selling. Sometimes you won’t have the perfect solution in your portfolio. Reviewing SaaS marketplaces can help you discover new solutions to use for a client’s challenge.

Providing referrals and recommendations to other experts is also valuable. They trust you and they’ll trust the fellow professionals you vouch for. So even when you can’t alleviate a particular pain point, you can still be part of the solution providing a clear path to a resolution.

4. Value ($$$) your value. An “IT person” provides quotes and invoices made up entirely of hardware, software licenses, installation and maintenance. A “consultant” who packages their solutions with their expertise will include consultative deliverables, such as a process assessment, key performance indicators (KPIs) selection, transition strategy development, and so on. And while the expertise you provide may be a “bonus,” that doesn’t mean it should be free.

Simply put, you need to put a price on the value you provide. Stop giving free advice, and invoice for what it’s worth. When you charge for it, that tells your client it’s valuable. In the process, you differentiate yourself, your company and your offering.

Why Does This Matter?

Getting to know your client’s business is just one element of how you become more consultative. Stay curious, demonstrate your expertise, always lend a hand, and price for your value if you want your clients to see you as a business driver. Becoming a key adviser and business strategist yields dividends. This process builds and keeps client loyalty while growing your revenue.

Shannon Murphy is chief marketer for Zomentum, an intelligent revenue platform built to help partners discover, sell and manage services. With more than 15 years of tech marketing experience, Murphy focuses on end-user perspectives to develop campaigns, tactics and sales approaches that convert opportunities and drive revenue. You may follow her on LinkedIn or @zomentum on Twitter.

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