What’s in a name?

The answer is: Everything.

One of the biggest problems facing the MSP profession is the name of the profession, MSP. What does that mean to the average business man or woman?

Obviously, to insiders it stands for Managed Service Provider. But, you see, we don’t sell to insiders; we sell to “civilians”.

Remember, my definition of civilian is someone who has the authority to make or break a business decision regarding establishing a retainer-based relationship with an IT consultant, who does not understand IT at the level that you do. Consequently, your name confused - change your name pleaseshould be something that a civilian can instantly recognize.

For instance, I will wager that you’ll have far more traction, if you present yourself as an IT systems management consultant or just a systems management consultant, than you’ll have if you present yourself as a Managed Service Provider.

To prove my point, why don’t you go into any public forum – your church, neighborhood community meeting, PTA, you name it – and identify yourself as a Managed Service Provider. I will bet that you’ll get blank stares of confusion.

You won’t get an expression of instant recognition and its concurrent response.

When people are confused, they don’t have trust. When we don’t have trust, we don’t make buying decisions. Consequently, the lack of a readily identifiable name for our profession, to some degree, reduces the ability of all of us to gain access to decision-makers.

Spend some time crafting a phrase that identifies your business, based on what it does.

The phrase, Outsourced IT Systems Manager, clearly identifies the role you’ll play in a business. Now, I’m not saying that’s the title that you should embrace, but it is an example of a title that instantaneously communicates the services that you provide.

On the other side of the coin, if you continue to present yourself as a Managed Service Provider, you must be prepared to answer the question, “What services do you provide?” Or, worse, “Why should I have a need for those services?” You see, don’t confuse your prospects with an identifier that doesn’t explain what you do.

I think you’ll find it far easier to say, “I am an IT Systems Consultant. I manage my clients’ IT infrastructure to optimize their business’ operating conditions.”

That’s a far better introduction / elevator speech than “I’m a Managed Service Provider.”

Spend some time identifying yourself, because I think that the world is changing.

Make sure to come back and read my companion blog post…We’re Not in a Break/Fix World Anymore!

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