How do you move from being the “IT Guy” into a Trusted Business Advisor?

Trusted business advisor

 

To grow your IT company, you’ll want to look at moving from a break/fix model to being a managed service Trusted business advisorprovider (MSP). But how do you transition from IT Guy to trusted business advisor?

In 2017, I wrote a blog post about a hot topic amongst IT Solution Providers. Entitled “Cloud Computing – Good for Clients, Bad for IT Companies?”

I suggested that with the advent of Cloud Solutions, IT solution providers would need to change their focus from fixing the “pipes and plumbing” of clients infrastructures to providing business consultancy.

In my opinion this would be perceived less as a necessary cost, and more as a value add to a business clients.

At that time it’s fair to say that although I was not alone in this view, I was in the minority!

Change is hard, and if you’re making a good living from the status quo of installing and maintaining servers then it’s tough to consider a world where you don’t do this.

A Shift in Perception

Fast forward twelve months and I wrote an article for MSP Business Management (now N-able) entitled “Should IT Companies Fear the Cloud?

In this article, I restated that MSPs should look to expand their scope beyond support and maintenance to offering expertise in areas such as SharePoint and CRM customisation.

These are specialities where business owners will understand and value the help you can offer them.

To my mild surprise, the article was well received by MSPs.

The majority of e-mails I received supported that view!

There are still a lot of IT Solution Providers who think the Cloud and services like Microsoft Office 365 are the worst thing ever to affect their business.

However, I’ve been encouraged by the number of conversations I’ve had with IT Solution Providers who are open to the idea of changing their business models away from pure monitoring and maintenance contracts.

These MSPs also believe that they can be more than the “IT Guy” to their clients – that that they can grow into true “Trusted Business Advisors”.

For MSP’s and other IT Solution Providers, I think there are a number of  techniques you can begin to use to start the transition away from the “IT Guy” to “Trusted Business Advisor”.

Raise the Bar of Professionalism to Transition to Trusted Business Advisor

Think about the type of company you’d like to do business with.

From how they answer the telephone, to how they dress and carry themselves. How do they keep the lines of communication open internally and externally?

Set standards, create systems internally to support this vision, and start being that type of company.

People (including your clients) will notice. You’ll be surprised to find your clients approach you for more than just technical advice.

Implement Quarterly Business Reviews

Meet with your clients to talk about their business.

Not technology. And not just licensing. Nor just projects.

Simply a chat about their business and the challenges they face.

You should be doing this a minimum of every quarter.

The best companies realise the value of regularly dropping by for a cup of tea and a chat.

Doing so will surprisingly uncover a lot of opportunities for you.

More importantly, your client understand your interest in the success of their business and can support their progress.

Use a PSA Tool to Make you a Trusted Business Advisor

If you’re not already using a Professional Services Automation (PSA) tool such as Atera, Autotask or ConnectWise, start thinking about doing so tomorrow.

A tool specifically for IT Solution Providers forces you to clearly understand the necessary business processes required to support your own growth.

You’ll then begin to look at your clients businesses in a different light.

You’ll see how you can help them to become more efficient too.

Which leads me on to…

Sell CRM

A PSA tool is designed specifically for IT Solution Providers.

For most other industries, including those of your clients, such a dedicated tool doesn’t exist. But your clients have a need for such a tool!

This is where you come in.

Simply selling your clients a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software package is one thing.

But if you offer them your expertise to configure that CRM package it’s a real value add.

Offering a CRM to clients enables you to deeply understand your client’s business inside and out.

Conclusion

This stuff really works!

I know because I’ve helped some of my clients focus on making these changes.

I’ve seen the subtle difference in the way they now carry themselves with more confidence.

The changes they have made have improved client relationships and increased the amount of money they earn as a result.

Start using any one of these techniques, and you’ll notice changes.

You’ll quickly begin to realise the other techniques go hand in hand. They all support one another in your goal to grow your business to cope with the changing market.

If you start using these techniques, then your clients and prospects will soon start to see you as more than the “IT Guy”.

Instead, your clients will start to perceive you as as their “Trusted Business Advisor”.

Comments

  • Richard Tubb2012-05-14 16:19:05

    Craig - I'd have to agree, and you put it really well - make sure you differentiate on value, not on price.

  • Craig Sharp2012-05-14 15:40:29

    So important to 'pitch' correctly to the client and just being the guy with a screwdriver is going to get you the smaller, low value jobs. More importantly, this sort of work can be found at a lower price and so you may win work on price, but you'll lose it on price too. Providing a professional and client focused service will always result in better work, better quality of work and better revenue for you while building up a number of long term clients who trust you.

  • How do I choose a CRM Vendor to work with? « TubbBlog2011-09-15 10:58:23

    [...] Disclosure Policy « How do you move from being the “IT Guy” into a Trusted Business Advisor? [...]

  • tubblog2011-09-13 14:24:18

    Thanks for the kind words Brian. I'd agree that the change won't happen overnight, and there is still plenty of infrastructure support work out there - but just watch the margins on such services fall as the months pass. Those MSP's who look for opportunities to morph into business advisors now will increase their income and protect themselves against relying solely on dropping support and maintenance income as we move forwards.

  • Brian Dosal (@briandosal)2011-09-13 13:20:05

    Great post Rich. Timely and dead on, especially with point A. Raise the bar of professionalism internally. With the keyword being "internally". The shift you talk about is happening but its certainly not happening overnight. IT Providers still have plenty of time to morph themselves while still being the trusted advisors to their clients. I would also add that by changing to the businss advisor margins will go up, referrals will go up, and you could probably still hang on to the infrastructure support contracts for a few years.

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