Recognizing MSP Opportunities

Recognizing opportunties for your MSP has three key steps

Written by Ian Richardson

January 8, 2024

Recognizing MSP Opportunities

By Ian Richardson, Principal Consultant, Fox & Crow Group LLC

Recognizing opportunities is a key entrepreneurial skill set. Like any skill, you must practice and hone it to recognize mastery. If we look at thinking wavelength(1) you are playing on the right hand side of the scale, near a “finder” mentality. Finder’s “find” opportunities – sometimes to the detriment of previous opportunities.

There’s an old sale’s adage around a glass that has been half filled with water. The optimist says the glass is half full, the pessimist says the glass is half empty. The sales professional states “let’s talk about the benefits of ice.” While tongue-in-cheek, the statement is accurate most of the time. Some will see a situation and view it as a good thing, some will view the same situation via a negative lens. Entrepreneurs usually will view a situation through the lens of opportunity.

What makes an opportunity?

Opportunity, as far as I’ve been able to classify it, is a two part formula. It consists of a problem that a person or organization has awareness of, as well as a desire to address or solve.

Let’s break down those three parts further.

The Problem for your MSP Prospect

First things first, you have to have a problem before you can have an opportunity. Define that problem to get started.

If there isn’t an item that needs to be “solved“ for, there isn’t going to be much need for your business to provide a solution. Not all problems are emergencies. Many can be something that is not currently happening at your customer environment.

That said, you do need to be able to define the problem to your customer.

You must have the below list thought through. Have it accessible for when you have your sales discussion with your customer.

  • What is the problem in simple, easy to understand terms. Don’t use industry terminology or technical details. Your customer wouldn’t be familiar with those items. Keep it Simple.
  • How does the problem impact your customer? Think about their organization. What about their staff, client base, as well as your point of contacts specific job role? How does this problem impact those groups of people?
  • What could happen if the problem went away? What’s the gain that stands to be realized?
  • How does your customer make money, and does this problem get in the way of them doing that?

Awareness in your MSP Prospect

The next step in defining your opportunity is to ensure that your customer is awareness. Awareness of the problem and its impacts at a company are important. There are many schools of thought on how best to achieve this awareness.

Over the past 17 years, I’ve found that there are a few methods that have served me well, and one I try to avoid at all costs.

  • Education is key here. You’re not selling the problem. Instead approach education as presenting of facts to your client.
  • Collect ways to recognize if the problem exists or could exit in your client’s environment. Create a list of affected areas of your client’s business by the problem. Monetize the impacts in a conservative fashion.
  • Review your list of impacts with your client. Ask for feedback around them. Your client knows their business better than you. Use that knowledge; Have them calculate the impacts to their business. Explore other impacts via questions. You customer will “sell” themselves on the issue.
  • Create content around the problem. Videos, newsletters, social media posts, and blogs are good mediums. Use your content to further create awareness to other clients, prospects, and partners.
  • Ask your client questions around their goals. Find out if this problem could impact their ability to achieve them.

Desire in your MSP prospect

Desire occurs when your client is aware of the issue. Thinking about how things interfere with their business will get entrepreneurs engaged. The desire to address the problem should be well on its way to creating urgency and need. Your client should be asking you for solutions or ideas around how this problem can be solved. This curiosity is your opportunity.

Once you have desire established, all that’s left is for you to be able to provide a solution to the problem. Make sure to do this while respecting their goals and budget. You should have this information from your discovery around the problem.

If you’re looking to better be able to classify opportunity and determine which ones to pursue – I can help. My calendar is available here

Also – I talk about opportunity analysis in our newsletter: Sign up here

References: Thinking Wavelength is registered IP of Paterson Center. To learn more about Paterson Center or that tool go here:


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