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So a huge amount of effort is wasted trying to convince non-fitting companies to engage with you anyway.

So how can you increase your chances of wrapping prospects around your fingers?

When having an initial conversation with a prospect, there are a number of characteristics to look out for. After all, these are red flags that he or she may not be the right fit for your company. But to recognize those traits, you must first know what the ideal customer profile is for your MSP company.

Don’t have that in writing yet? Then I would start there first. Just as you draw up technical requirements for your products and suppliers, you also map out what the ideal customer is for you.

How do you determine which traits you do need to look for? Start by identifying what traits you value in your best customers and only engage with prospects who reflect those traits.

Below I have listed 7 traits that indicate you are engaging with the right prospect.

1. The prospect is in the right vertical

Some verticals are better to focus on than others, as some verticals do not recognize the value of managed services and network security, but are all about monthly fees.

The best verticals are those that must meet specific industry compliancy requirements. Indeed, they face a high business risk if they do not comply.

2. Company size meets

Organizations that are too small will not appreciate the value your services can provide. Go through your customer base and determine your sweet spot.

You look for clients who are large enough to really appreciate your services and appreciate the concept of outsourcing their IT to an MSP company.

Prospects with multiple locations are well suited, as they are generally well aware of their higher technology needs and thus are more likely to invest in your expanded service package.

3. The right corporate culture

I was talking to one of our partners the other day and he told me that they prefer to deal with organizations with only one key decision maker.

When multiple decision-makers or even a board of directors are involved, the chances of a signature are suddenly a lot less. And it also takes forever. Therefore, they now send their sales team only to companies where only one or two people are at the top of the monkey rock.

4. He possesses valuable data

Does the company process sensitive – and therefore valuable – personal data? If so, these are the best prospects to aim for, because the impact and consequences of a data breach can be catastrophic.

5. The prospect has the right attitude toward his IT

Good prospects tend to view their technology infrastructure as strategic to their business and heavily dependent on it.

If his technology fails, the cost of downtime – and the disruption and impact on the productivity of their employees – are significant. So the more dependent he is on his IT, the more suitable he is for your managed services.

6. He tackles his IT spending the right way

You want to make sure the companies you work with include IT expenses in their annual budget. If they are not budgeting appropriately for IT, or if they do not plan to include items for IT expenses in future budgets, these are prospects you do not want to spend time on.

Good prospects are those who recognize quality, and are willing to pay an appropriate amount for services because they recognize that their network’s security and performance are critical to their continued success.

7. He admits he doesn’t have the right people in house to support the network

Suitable prospects recognize that they are not the technical experts and realize that they do not have the technical know-how to best protect and secure their own network.

They seek a partnership and will consider you their trusted business advisor – they will not make a decision until they have consulted with you to see how their technology infrastructure might be affected. They trust the relationship and will give full attention to all technical recommendations.

But what is this going to get you?

You may be thinking now: is this really going to improve my closer ratios? I can be brief about that: yes.

A good example comes from another successful MSP I spoke to the other day. They did an extensive profiling exercise similar to this a few years ago.

They went through their database of roughly 2,000 customers and, using these desired characteristics, managed to reduce it to 125 great customers who are profitable and support them wholeheartedly.

The company is now very intentional about who they interact with and has seen the number of new customers increase because every prospect they approach fits the customer profile.

One of the biggest benefits they found is that all the new referrals they now get are usually of the same high quality as their ideal client profile.

Good customers produce good prospects – who are ultimately qualified and eager to do business – which helps yarn fresh leads for the top of the funnel.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it: it’s not easy to do and it also takes your time. But the more effort and perseverance you have, the better your sales results are going to be.

It will help you attract better quality leads, eliminating the need to waste time on those 50% of prospects who don’t fit your services – and never will.