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Apples and Oranges: Salesman vs. Trusted Advisor

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I've been noticing a trend lately that, at it's core, can really be reduced down to why we do what we do. Unfortunately, it seems that not everyone in our industry is about being a trusted advisor. To our advantage, we're "stuck" competing in this landscape in the fortunate position of being the orange to everyone else's apple.

What I mean by this is - similar to our clients and similar to our competitors, one of our key objectives is growth. But as I look around at others in our industry and some of the "so called" experts, I see this huge push for "sales". Over and over again, it's all about your pipeline. It's all about your marketing. These "experts" are mostly guys who built an MSP, sold it, and now command top dollar telling the neophytes in our industry how they should be doing it. And while there is value in some of what they're providing, too often it seems like they're filling the heads of everyone who'll listen with stories that the path to riches for the owner of an IT Services firm is all about sales. Which only ends up commoditizing things and dragging the whole industry down.

Just recently I was enticed to read an article by one of these so-called "thought leaders" with the lead-in of "3 things to help you successfully implement cloud services". Once in it, I realized it wasn't really about the cloud at all but rather 3 things to grow your business - with the key component being generating more sales!

Now don't get me wrong, bringing on new clients is always a great thing. And it definitely helps fuel our growth. But, it seems that over and over again, it's being pushed that sales should be the number one priority while the quality of services, even if number two, is way down the priority list. If you were new to this industry, this would be your takeaway. We built FPA up over the years based on the quality of service and our approach to partnering with our clients. Our core values include "Take Care of the Client", "Document and Standardize, and "Be Professional and Consultative". Selling is the antithesis of what we do.

Related to this push (for more sales) seems to be the push regarding the Cloud. Rather than considering what's right, wrong, suitable, and risky when it comes to deciding on the appropriate cloud solution for clients the industry seems to be saying sell, sell, sell. Get your clients into the cloud before someone else does. Make your recurring revenue before someone else takes it away. There are a number of companies now who only do cloud - actually, let me rephrase that - who only "sell" cloud. How could they ever provide an objective perspective? I could go on and on about this particular topic, but I'll hold back for now and share some of my perspective with you regarding this in my next blog.

In the meantime, keep an eye on the perspective your IT Service Provider brings to the table with you. Is he selling you something or is he providing you with options for a solution? Again, to me, this comes down to why we do what we do. Are we aiming to be a trusted advisor or are we aiming to make a buck? Are we your trusted advisor or are we a salesman? When comparing approaches, it really is apples to oranges. And, with all those apples to choose from - I'm comfortable with us being an orange.


There you have it. While I added an extra one, the first six should be enough for you to ensure you’re not being taken for a ride.
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What exactly is the Cloud? Well, it's so interesting to me that I've heard so many different ways it's been described from so many different people lately. If you use Gmail, your mail's in the cloud.
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About the Author
Craig Pollack
Craig Pollack Blog Profile Image Craig is the Founder & CEO of FPA Technology Services, Inc. Craig provides the strategy and direction for FPA, ensuring its clients, their business owners, and key decision makers leverage technology most effectively to achieve their business objectives. Craig focuses on ensuring that the technologies implemented by clients are "business centric" and key components of their businesses' success, and that this approach is shared by every staff member of FPA.
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