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In the MSP field, we pride ourselves in our technical knowledge. After all, that is where our clients rely on us. Although that technical space may be where we feel most comfortable, it’s not where we generate profits.

No, 85 percent of our success comes from our ability to inform, advise, and lead. Only 15 percent comes from our knowledge around services and products.

However, if you go to any MSP conference, you’ll see the numbers flipped. Eighty-five percent of the conference sessions focus on building technical knowledge, and only fifteen percent focus on leadership skills.

If we remain focused on the technical side of the job, we’ll set ourselves for failure. We see it every day: The more technical something is, the easier it is to commoditize, outsource, or replace with AI. If we do not invest in our abilities to advise and lead, we may become irrelevant.

Clients don’t want technical knowledge

Yes, clients want the proper software and hardware to run their business, but they don’t need to know how it all works in the background. What they care about is that their tools positively impact their bottom line — and that their MSP provides the knowledge necessary to pick the right tools. 

We’ll never improve in our leadership skills if we don’t practice. That’s the message from referral coach Bill Cates. Cates has spent the last three decades developing professionals into expert networkers to generate more referral business.

In a recent LinkedIn video, Bill tells this story of a past client: A manager oversaw a producer. Although the producer was productive, the manager realized he could be even more effective if he focused on earning more referrals.

To help the producer grow, the manager shared a few observations. The producer was an avid golfer, who regularly warmed up before each round of golf. He spent hours each week working on his putts and drives, invested in a golf coach, and scoured magazines, websites, and shop shelves for the latest golf equipment.

The manager arrived at an important conclusion: The producer trained like a professional golfer, even though the activity did not generate income for him. If he invested that same energy into gathering referrals for his paying job, how much more business could he manage to rake in?

Place your focus where it is most needed

One of the best MSP sales pros I know outsources the technical side of the business, so he can focus completely on sales. He has hired multiple coaches to develop his skills in sales, business, and leadership. Thanks to his efforts, this sales rep shines above the competition, all because he has focused on the 85 percent of the job that matters most.

Developing into a great leader is difficult, but it is essential. The only way anyone can improve is to continuously and consistently train, the same way the producer did on the golf course. If we want to excel, we must stop focusing on what is easy and set our attention on the things that are hard.

No one else is going to push you. You’re the one that must take those uncomfortable first steps into the unknown to become a better leader and sales pro.

Photo:  Orhan Cam / Shutterstock.

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Brad Stoller

Posted by Brad Stoller

Brad Stoller is the CEO/Founder of Creativity Counts, LLC. Brad’s in-depth understand of the frustrations that MSP owners and managers go through when trying to keep their businesses growing led him to create a new way. Brad formed Creativity Counts to help MSPs not only find targeted prospects, but also actually help them CLOSE new business through a combination of technology, human interaction, and positioning his clients as true experts in their communities. His company is all about disrupting the old way of costly sales programs and creating new and effective methods and strategies to really help MSP’s, not just giving them another lead generation program.

One Comment

  1. Great article- spot on. I have noticed that as a start up MSP the focus on technical knowledge (which is still VERY important) is massively disproportionate to sales and leadership training. Since I have personally come from a sales/Biz Dev and marketing background, I really was starting to rethink some of my strategies, but is is reassuring to know that there are more than a few people who feel as I do. I think the key to your entire article was this one line “What they (clients) care about is that their tools positively impact their bottom line — and that their MSP provides the knowledge necessary to pick the right tools.” I am so happy to see this, as I have focused all my energies into truly believing this is what clients really want.


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