Every MSP needs a strategic referral deal with a web agency. Here's why

Every MSP needs a strategic referral deal with a web agency. Here’s why

Paul GreenUncategorized

Here's an amazing opportunity to get almost unlimited referrals for your MSP

In nature, there is a phenomenon called mutualism. You would know this better as a symbiotic relationship.

Think of little birds called oxpeckers, sitting on the back of zebras and rhinos. The birds eat parasites off the zebra's body. An easy meal for them helps the zebra stay healthy. They've even been observed warning short-sighted rhinos of approaching humans.

A real win-win relationship.

Got any parasites?

There's an opportunity for you to set up a win-win relationship like this, with a local web agency to you. Good news is there's no need to eat worms or anything.

Why a web agency? Because, from the point of view of ordinary business owners and managers, you both do the same thing.... "computer stuff".

You and I know that websites and managed services are totally different sides of "computer stuff". But this explains why your clients sometimes ask you whether you build websites.

And believe me, they're asking their website agency whether or not they can help when their computers don't work properly.

Can you see the opportunity here?

  • When a client asks about websites or SEO, you say: "We don’t do this in-house but we work very, very closely with a local web agency. Let me connect you to them"
  • When the web agency's client asks about support, they say: "We don't do this ourselves, but we work very, very closely with a local IT support company. Let me connect you to them"

Long-term, you could build this into your strategic reviews (Quarterly Business Reviews). You could generate loads of highly qualified leads for your chosen web agency partner. And they could do the same for you.

How do you find a web agency partner?

You're looking for a proper agency here, not a one person band who designs websites in their spare bedroom. Nothing wrong with that, but you want a bigger business that's going to send larger prospects your way. One person band web designers tend to attract 2-3 user businesses.

The best agency partner is someone you already know. Is there a local web agency that you've met at networking events, or are highly respected in the local area?

If not and you need to create a relationship from scratch, then this needs to be done slowly.

Pick a few target agencies and reach out to the owners on LinkedIn. Tell them you've had a great idea for mutual benefit, and would they like to meet for a coffee to discuss. If they want to know what it's about in advance (I would), send them this article! I'm serious. It explains exactly what's in it for you and them.

When you do meet for coffee, don’t just jump straight into “Hey, I think we should do a partnership and pass leads to each other.”

I would approach this like a sales call. Start slowly and build a relationship. Ask them open questions about their favourite subject (themselves and their business):

  • How's business right now? What's going well, and not so well?
  • What are you struggling with right now?
  • Where are you hoping to go in the next three to five years?
  • What are your biggest problems and opportunities?

The more you talk about them, the more intriguing you will be to them. It's weird how that works.

Sadly, this isn't something that can be rushed. Relationship building takes time. But it's worth it, as you have the opportunity here to build a solid referral foundation with a business that has exactly the same clients as you - but isn't in competition with you.