Have you ever wondered what makes clients choose a particular MSP company more than others? What factor attracts one client after another to a specific IT provider? And that’s in spite of having many other such businesses around them?
It’s the brand authority.
Faced with a problem, clients call a company they have a relationship with already first. But if they don’t have one, they turn to the most well-known IT brand in their region or industry.
Only if those options fail, they begin asking around or googling other providers.
So, based on the above, you can safely assume that to increase sales, you have to build brand authority.
And in this post, I’ll show you how to do it. You’ll learn five strategies that will help you position your MSP as the expert in your region or industry.
Strategy #1. Writing
I’m sure you’ve heard enough about the benefits of publishing content for a lifetime. I’ve shared much advice on that as well.
But this time, I’m not talking about blogging or creating any other assets for your site.
I’m referring to a strategy that will help you use content to prove your expert status. And do it where potential customers are the most likely to notice it – On the websites they frequent.
Important, the above approach works regardless of whether you target companies by location or industry. Because you can publish your advice in regional portals or online magazines or target industry-specific publications.
Hell, you don’t even have to restrict yourself to publishing online. Your advice could appear in print-only industry periodicals as well.
And it will work. Why, because the key to this strategy is to appear in those resources regularly.
Think about it. When a business owner sees you and reads relevant advice you share over and over again, she’s bound to notice and remember you.
And in time, when her business needs to find an IT expert, she’ll be more likely to consider you over someone she’s never heard of before.
It’s that simple.
How to do it? Find out where your target customers spend their professional time online, It could be a specific magazine, online portal or a publication.
Then, research whether the website accepts columnists to submit content regularly. If so, apply and start building your expert status.
Strategy #2. Public Speaking
This strategy works similarly to what I mentioned above. It relies on sharing advice to a group of people who, potentially, might be interested in your services.
But it adds another dimension to it – The personal connection.
This benefits you in two ways:
The first one, because you get to introduce yourself in person.
And the other, because you get to connect with many of them personally after the talk. You can network, offer handouts, business cards and so on. Not to mention, collect their business cards to follow up later.
In short, when you speak in public, not only you present yourself as the topic authority, you get to build direct connections with people.
Granted, not everyone enjoys public speaking. I know I don’t. So, if you feel uncomfortable speaking in front of the others, then we recommend you turn to publishing content. Doing so will help you achieve a similar outcome.
Strategy #3. Industry Conference Appearances
Did you know that you don’t have to speak at conferences to benefit from them?
No? Then let me tell you about a simple strategy I have been using to introduce the company to potential clients and prove what an expert you are.
Most conferences today allow their participants to network and communicate with each other during the weeks leading up to it.
How, by offering apps, for example. Using them, anyone taking part in the conference can review the list of other attendees, and connect with whomever they wish to schedule meetings and so on.
So, download such an app for any new conference you attend. Go through the list of attendees, looking for people matching your ideal buyer criteria. Most apps allow you to find people by keywords, for example. Using this method, you can find people whose profiles include the terms you seek – position, company type, etc.
Then, send an in-app message to every person you choose, offering them value in return for a short meeting. I recommend doing so in two ways:
- Create a short handout targeting their biggest IT-related problems to give away.
- Offer to answer three of their biggest IT questions right now.
TIP: Close your initial message with the reassurance that the meeting will not be a sales call. Make a promise not to pitch anything but only deliver the value you promised.
Most attendees will be skeptical about booking time with another company. They’ll expect a sales pitch. I found that, by overcoming that objection, you can increase the number of meetings exponentially.
Strategy #4. Local Networking
Networking helps build brand authority in two ways – Speaking and Handouts.
Networking events often look for speakers. You could offer to give a short talk on IT-related topics and benefit from public speaking to build authority.
But also, you can prepare a short pamphlet on a critical IT issue and ask the organizers if you could distribute it or leave it somewhere for participants to take home.
Even if the event doesn’t allow handing over any materials, you can reference it in conversations and point people to where you’ve laid it out to take.
Such a flyer will boost your expert status in many ways.
- It will help you start conversations about IT, for example.
- The information you’ve provided on it will position you as a resource.
- It can spark questions from others too.
- Not to mention that it could become a point of conversation among participants.
Your pamphlet doesn’t have to be that long. A single A4 page including copy from an article you wrote earlier would suffice.
But, if you create a new pamphlet for every networking event, you’ll help spread the word about you. Guaranteed.
Strategy #5. Referrals Through Strategic Alliances
Referrals help grow a business like no other channel. A new client calling you from a referral has, most likely, made up their mind about hiring you already. They’ve heard great things about you and don’t even consider anyone else. In many cases, the job is yours to lose.
But referrals can also help you position the company as experts in the field.
That’s the ultimate benefit of having people talking about you.
The problem, it’s hard to spark such conversations about a topic like IT. It’s quite far from what people discuss in a typical casual conversation.
So, how do you do it, then? By aligning with other specialists serving the same market with related services.
Web designers, for example. Clients often confer to them about their server or Internet infrastructure problems. Having a relationship with such provider ensures your name gets dropped in a similar conversation.
But it works both ways. Your clients might mention the need for some web work too. Something you could respond with recommending the web person.
So, find such strategic partnerships in your target industry or region. Introduce yourself and stay in touch with those people. In time, make them known that you’re open for more business and referrals. Maintain that relationship. Over time, you’ll notice a growth in inquiries from those people.