By Gil Cargill, Sales Acceleration Coach, Cargill Consulting, Inc.
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 services provider. But, you see, we don't sell to insiders; we sell to "civilians." 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 should 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 services 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 services 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.
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