Why MSPs Should NEVER Give Away Free Cybersecurity Services

This needs to be repeated multiple times. Maybe even written out on one of those old-fashioned chalk boards over and over until it sinks in. Don’t give away services.

One More Time: Do Not Give Away Services.

When you give away service — and I’ve done this, too — you’re thinking you’re adding value to what you’re giving your clients. Nope. After growing my own MSP to over $8 million and helping hundreds of other MSPs with their security stacks and compliance and rolling out little things like multifactor authentication, it clearly hurts your clients (even makes them mad) when you give them free security.

I’ve talked to dozens of MSPs that are giving away new tools as they come out. You might think that this is a good way to be sticky, but you are shooting yourself in the foot. When I was running my MSP, we would call these self-inflicted bullet wounds. Here’s why.

When you give away security services or solutions for free, or just include them in your managed service offering, you’re missing a critical step. You see, you are not helping your client work through their buyer’s journey. Ever buy a new car? Why? Because you were tired of your old one, right? Well, there’s a journey that you went on between when you got tired of your old car and when you got the keys to your new car. That journey is critical to your satisfaction with your purchasing decision.

To be clear, when you skip over the selling process of your services, it costs you a lot more than just the opportunity to make a few bucks. It could actually cost you the client in the long run.

Put yourself in your client’s shoes for a minute.

Let’s say you went to the dentist for a teeth cleaning (my favorite!).

What are you expecting?

If you’re like me, lots of scraping and maybe a free toothbrush at the end.

What if the dentist decided that they had some free time and really liked you as a client and decided to just give you a brand-new treatment free of charge?

They think the treatment would be good for you because it eliminates the chances of you getting oral cancer. There’s just one little side effect: You have to press a button on your phone whenever you want to eat. Your dentist decides, “Yep, this is the right thing for all my clients.”

The next time you take a seat in the dentist’s chair, they pull out the new magic cancer-eliminating wand and stick it in your mouth. They grab your phone and register the app, and you are good to go!

You ask what is going on. (It comes out something like this: “Uhhh, waht his ohigin on wit ta new wand and appuuu?”)

The dentist smiles and tells you that they sent all of their clients an email a couple weeks ago about the new cancer repellent. They assumed you saw it. Not to worry, it is all done. The only catch is you will have to press a button on an app on your phone every time you have to eat.

Sounds weird, right?

The dentist might not be charging you directly for cleaning services, but if they thought you needed something extra, you bet they’d convince you to get it before going ahead with the procedure.

Are you even worried about getting oral cancer? Why didn’t they do this sooner? How does this smartphone app help you? What are the other things to look out for?

I’ve got some bad news for you here. Every time you just push a new security solution onto your clients, there are side effects, and there’s a buyer’s journey that gets missed.

But What Do You Do If Your Client Is A Bargain Hunter?

You can start by showing them their current risks. Get them to connect the dots from the big, scary risks on their network that your solution will address. Help them see their own business, data, or team is at risk. Share stories of others who have had the same risk and what happened to them.

Help them understand and educate them on the risk you are sharing with them. Then, help them understand your solution. This might be instantaneous for some folks, but some may need a little more digesting. Once they’ve bought into your solution, and it is their solution, if there’s a problem with the implementation, they will be interested in helping you fix it rather than angry that you told them they had to do this.

Some Might Ask, “Why You Haven’t You Been Doing This All Along?”

That’s head trash.

Cybersecurity is always changing. That’s how you should approach supporting your clients and building your cyber stack. When you help a client buy the right solution today, you won’t know what they’ll need in the next year, let alone the next five years.

You want to make sure you’re able to articulate the fact that cybersecurity is constantly changing, and by them simply investing in a managed services package to maintain their network, they’re not protecting themselves against today’s threats.

That’s extremely important for clients you’ve had for years.

The Best Approach For MSPs To Have This Conversation With Existing Clients

What I’ve found is that you need to show them what has changed and what is at risk. At Galactic Advisors, we’ve been helping MSPs successfully explain this through penetration testing.

Business owners or leadership need to really see how important data is impacted if they simply do nothing.

If you show them how vulnerable their network is by using tools similar to what hackers are using today, you will get their attention.

This will give you an “in” and an easy conversation for you to bring up the touchy subject of price.

Here’s The Bottom Line: Don’t Give Away Your Security Services!

I don’t think you should ever give your services away for free. I hope that by now, you realize that when you do this, you end up costing yourself more work and problems, and they won’t appreciate all the effort.

Be careful of those self-inflicted bullet wounds, folks.

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