This post is a follow up to the “very popular” post from a couple weeks ago when I said that vendors don’t get it. As everyone knows, there are always 2 sides to every story. That said, it’s time for me to call out MSPs who are not taking responsibility for their success. As with everything I write, there is a story that inspired me to write this post.
A couple weeks ago, Philip Fairley, an industry friend and past partner, forwarded me an email about a young man who is struggling with his Managed Services (MSP) business. Philip thought perhaps I could help get this young man’s business on the road to success. I did what I always do when I learn about someone struggling with their success; I sent a message requesting 10 minutes of his time with no pressure or obligation to work with me at all. The young man was hesitant to talk to me but, he finally agreed to have a 10 minute conversation. The call ended up lasting 41 minutes. We discussed his business, life and most importantly his vendors, who had not been happy with. Luckily for this young man, I have a very good relationship with the vendor with which he is the most dissatisfied. With his permission I reached out to some higher level people at this vendor and they were extremely receptive. The vendor representative said, “Sure Stu, we’ll reach out right away and help our partner.” I love it when a vendor works to truly help their partner.
A couple of days later I emailed the young MSP business owner to see if the vendor reached out to him and got no reply. But, Monday of this week I did receive an email from him stating that the vendor did not reach out. Imagine my surprise! I feel that I know this vendor’s processes pretty well. There is no way that this vendor would not call their partner for almost 2 weeks. I reached out again and the vendor informed me they actually had left him a couple of voicemails. I can only assume why the young MSP owner told me the vendor hadn’t contacted him. Perhaps he expected something more from the vendor. Whatever the case, he clearly had unrealistic expectation of them.
Vendors are there to help you, the business owner, because you are their customer. In order for them to help you the first thing you have to do is make yourself available. Once you are available to them, you have to communicate what you need. They will look to you for direction. MSP’s cannot always expect vendors or coaches to be mind-readers and automatically take care of everything for them. They must take responsibility for their successes as well as their failures. Don’t blame someone else for your shortcomings, get your ass in gear and do the work.
I have spoken to the vendor about this partner and they made it clear they have reached out to help him a number of times. While the MSP is struggling today, my hope is that he will be able to turn his business around. As for my relationship with this MSP, I told him I would not take him on as a partner at this time. I gave him some free advice and invited him to attend Ulistic’s Sales and Marketing training in Los Angeles on June 19, 2014 where I will be speaking.
Remember that it is your business, not your vendors or your coach’s. We are only here to help guide and shape your path to success, not run it for you.
All the best for continued success,