To achieve marketing success, motivational speaker Zig Ziglar’s advises: dress for it. Look, put on that suit and tie. Learn to tie a Windsor knot. Get a couple of vests and button them. Wear a collared shirt. Get some decent wingtips or whatever seems stylish in your region. This is going to make an impression both conscious and subconscious.
If you want your MSP to be successful, consider the following progression of interaction:
• Dress for success
• Reach clients on a subconscious level
• Make the buying choice easier
To achieve marketing success, it’s advisable to follow the first rule: simplify the decision-making process. That’s what Steve Jobs did, and look how it turned out! The man’s got a posthumous cult of personality that Bill Gates probably gurgles about maliciously in his most private moments. You’ve seen the guy smile; you know he’s got skeletons. But that’s beside the point, here’s what all this is leading up to: how things appear to people is often the furthest those who see take things— so make this visual connecting point that which decides them on you as an MSP choice.
You’ve heard the expression “seeing is believing,” right? You may have also heard the expression “I’m from Missouri,” because that’s the “show me” state. You may be hoping for clients who can see through your exterior gloss to the brilliant technicians hiding under those polo shirts and lanyards. But like in the dating game, this kind of second-sight is a rarity. Maybe— no, likely— one in 10 clients can deduce from your polo shirts, personalities, and attitudes that you and your team are substantially gifted in realms of information technology; just like 1 in 10 girls can tell you’re a great guy, and it’s never the lady you were hoping for. The rest see you as a bunch of low-caliber rubes whose only claim to fame when it comes to the professional world is a necessity.
But you’re not thinking about impressions, you’re not thinking of messages— you’re thinking about comfort and ease of work. You’re thinking about RFID tagging, crawling around on the floor and plugging things in, or moving servers. You’re thinking about bending close and installing a circuit board, or crawling through the rafters to wire a DSL array (though these solutions are getting quickly undermined in the world of the cloud— why use DSL when you can outsource to an MSP that provides faster service without any wires but those going into the wall?).
Psychology of Your Clients
Your clients aren’t thinking that way. Your clients are looking at the way you dress and saying: “Boy, this is what I’m paying for? A bunch of college kids who won’t even dress professionally? I had to wear a suit and tie for 20 years! Herumph!” It may be a subconscious “herumph,” but its effect will be the same.
The subconscious impression will come as your clients interact with you initially. They’ll see suits and ties, and think: “What’re these lawyers doing here?” Then, they’ll be surprised into the realization that you represent the IT service provider they called in for consultation, or to fix a localized issue. Following, as they deal with you, those who are paying the bills will think something like: “Boy; they’re just like me: dressing up every day, tying that darn Windsor, wearing those uncomfortable jackets that don’t flex right… I like these guys!”
Because make no mistake: your clients don’t like wearing a suit and tie either. What, you think they’re just sitting around the house in a $10k suit smoking cigars? No— they get home and put on sweats like anybody else (or maybe some expensive micro-fiber robe… you get the idea). Businesses which take into account the wardrobe component is likely going to be more successful in the long-run. In many cases, you get an empathetic “in” just through the fraternity of uncomfortable clothes. It’s a dumb reason to have mutual respect, but then look at how wars get started: for even less integral reasons.
When clients can think: “Look at that poor devil, jumping through the same hoops I had to,” they’re more likely to choose you and your services. One final point: if you don’t dress for marketing success, your competition will.