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The freemium can be a useful tool for attracting new clients. It’s not a marketing trick as much as it is plain logic: if you offer a stripped down version of your service for free, many people will try it out at least. If they like it, they just might pay more for the full version. There are countless examples of this, for example Dropbox: you can get 2GB of storage space for free… or you get 500 times as much space (1 TB) for $10 a month.
Perhaps this strategy is what inspired you to offer a free technical assessment to potential clients, or maybe you do it just because every other MSP seems to do it.
Offering free technical assessments is not the same as what Dropbox does. 2GB of space isn’t a lot, but it does offer some value to the user. Free technical assessments don’t offer any value: it’s too obvious a gimmick. Everyone knows that you’re not going to check everything out and say “OK, everything looks great,” and leave. It’s just a way to get your foot in the door.
Most potential clients are smart enough to know that, and a lot of them will also be turned off by the fact that they have to put in the effort of a phone call. They won’t take that next step of reaching out to you unless there is something of more value than a free technical assessment to motivate them.
But who knows… maybe not everyone thinks free technical assessments are as worthless as I do. I asked some of my colleagues in the MSP community to find out: Why do so many MSPs still offer free technical assessments?
“Because they are parroting the same thing everyone else is doing instead of looking for what their prospects actually value.”
“They don’t value themselves.”
“Because it’s the ‘what we’ve always done’ mentality.”
“Perhaps they can’t tell the client how they add value and support the client’s business.”
Alright, so I’m not alone. The community has spoken: free technical assessments are not effective. Instead, you should offer free white papers that visitors to your site can download. An informative checklist or questionnaire can actually inspire the “Oh wait, I do need a MSP” revelation that a free technical assessment tries and fails to accomplish.
There IS a place for the technical assessment, but it’s later in the sales process. Once you’ve started them off on the road knowing that they do have need for an MSP, you come in and do the full assessment to show them EXACTLY what their need is. You don’t START with this. This is all laid out as part of the Ulistic 17-Step Sales and Marketing strategy.
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Stuart Crawford serves as Creative Director and CEO with Sebring, FL and Fort Erie, ON-based Ulistic, a specialty MSP Marketing firm focused on information technology marketing and business development. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience pertaining to how technology business owners and IT firms can use marketing as a vehicle to obtain success.
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