MSPmentor Blog

Have You Got the Right Managed Services Attitude?

Managed Services AttitudeMaking the switch from the traditional “Break-Fix” model to a “Managed Services” way of doing business can be a frightening prospect. One of the most common questions we hear from our partners is “How do I sell this to my clients?”  Most VARs feel hesitant to present an MSP way of doing business to their already existing break-fix customers, and understandably so. Here's how to overcome that issue.

At Virtual Administrator, we have found that it is all in the presentation of your offering. Many of your clients are going to be hesitant about moving from a “pay as you go” plan to monthly subscription fee. It’s psychological--paying a few hundred dollars, to fix a PC problem, here and there, can seem easier to swallow for a small business owner than being locked into a fifteen hundred dollar monthly “all you can eat” plan.

Areas to Highlight

  • Show your client what they truly spend. Many times, their current monthly costs already exceed or are close to what they would spend on a managed services plan.
  • Highlight the insurance aspect of your Manage Services plan. If a server goes down, you have them covered. They will not have to pay thousands of dollars in labor to get things up and running again. It’s all a part of their contract.
  • Explain how your services will now be proactive rather than reactive. Let them know, since you are on the hook for labor, you are going to do everything in your power to keep their network running at peak performance. In the old “break fix’ model, it was beneficial for your business when things went wrong. Now the contrary is true.
  • Predictability is another big selling point. Most business owners hate the unknown and it behooves you to play on this. Make it clear that their monthly IT labor costs will be the same, no matter how many problems they have. Whether they use ninety hours of labor or nine in one month, their costs will be constant. This is huge.
And finally, the most important thing to remember is that it is all about attitude.  If you are hesitant and unsure about your service offering, your customers will be too.

Be confident and reassure them that this is the best option for their business.  When taking on a new customer, make sure they believe that Managed Services is the normal way you do business--the “break-fix” model is not even on the table.

Highlight the benefits of your plan and believe in those benefits. If you do this, our experience at Virtual Administrator suggests you will succeed.

Paul Barnett is marketing director for Virtual Administrator, which offers hosted solutions for managed service providers. Guest blog entries such as this one are contributed on a monthly basis as part of’s 2009 Platinum sponsorship.

Discuss this Blog Entry 4

on Jan 19, 2009
Obviously, the “comparing bills” example I gave would be used in instances where it makes sense. One situation that comes to mind would be when a customer has had a server blow up or another disaster in the past. You focus the insurance savings they would have had if they were on a managed services plan. This is a huge selling point and should be emphasized when possible. Paul Barnett Marketing Director
Joe Panettieri (not verified)
on Jan 19, 2009
Richard: Have you made the transition to managed services? What type of company do you represent?
John Kilgore (not verified)
on Jan 19, 2009
I agree with a lot of the points mentioned here, but must agree with Richard on his counter. Managed Services is an insurance plan, and thus may be more expensive up front (vs. Break Fix bills) and that service comes with a premium. I like to give the client the "you can pay me now or pay me later" mantra that comes with recovering from an IT disaster, but instead assure them that the level of service they will be getting is far and above the traditional Break-Fix business model. Why would you pay me the same amount of money to support you IT infrastructure and provide you less service? That's what a break-fix model will provide you, Mr. Customer. Showing the client their previous bills in my experience (unless they have already had that disaster) almost always doesn't net a cost savings. Maybe if you went the other direction and offered them a cost savings analysis on their soft costs incurred during downtime including what it would take to hire a single IT guy to support their infrastructure would be a better approach when selling on cost value.
on Jan 16, 2009
All good advice but I disagree with the assertion that MSPs should mention customers' previous break-fix bills. Overall managed services may have a higher annual cost to the customer than traditional break-fix surprise bills but the added reliability and predictability is well worth the investment for SMBs.
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