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February 21, 2012

Find Partners, not Clients

by Kris Anderson

Money is a by-product of great Customer Service and Quality Products. By enabling our clients to grow, it is inevitable that they will need more services, as well as be in a strong business position to purchase those services.

The statement above defines how we think here at Limestone Networks. At Parallels Summit 2012 our team attended a keynote speech by Guy Kawasaki who is famous for his New York Times Best Selling book “Enchantment – The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions.” Ironically, this speech covered many of the values we already follow in our business practices.

Money is a by-product.

Our CEO measures our growth by Server Count, not the amount of revenue. This allows our Sales team to focus on your business needs and curb the urge to “nickle and dime” you. We offer a lot of options on our order form for additional products and services, however these services are only offered as a benefit for you and not as a ploy for us to make more money. Actually, most of the software licensing and additional services we offer are at-cost. Commonly, new software vendors look at us oddly when we tell them that we are not looking to make profit off of their software, but rather to offer their software for the lowest price directly to our clients. After we politely explain that we are in the business of helping our clients and resellers grow their businesses, and we see licensing their software at a low cost as an investment in our resellers, they not only understand but embrace the new partnership.

Spend time building relationships, not shoving your sales pitch down their throat.

Our goal is to help you succeed. This should be the goal of every company. Sure we have an extremely secure data center backed by well thought out redundancy for both the network and the power, however every dedicated server provider will attempt to feed you that pitch. Unless you fully do your research, you may even take them at their word. There is more to business though than simply providing a quality product, and we understand that. When speaking with a potential client we listen and think, “How can I help them succeed?” We avoid thinking, “What service can I get them to buy?” I know this is unconventional, but if we don’t think our service is going to make your business stronger and foster growth, then we will be straight forward about it. We are in the business of helping shared web hosts, vps hosts, cloud hosts, game hosts and individuals grow. Through honesty, integrity, great customer service, and a quality network and data center, we will earn the money needed for us to survive and even thrive as a by-product of your success.

Ask not what you can sell your clients, but rather what your clients need to be more successful.

As a company, we seek out new software and hardware offerings. Not to line our pockets with cash, but rather to address the needs of our clients. From my experience in dealing with other companies, the mentality for new features generally is, “What can we make and sell to our clients to increase our revenue?” Although that has done well for some companies, we like to think differently. Since we view our clients as partners, our goal is to help our partners grow. Strive to learn what your clients need to effectively run their company. Find new and exciting things that can be used to make their company more successful. After you have determined these things, work out partnerships with the software or service vendors so that you may fulfill the need for your clients. Take the Limestone approach and don’t mark them up, doing your part to help grow the reseller’s company, or mark it up and make a profit off the partnership. However you do it, do it for the right reason.

Find Partners, not Clients

In conclusion, I leave you with one simple message: “Find Partners, not Clients”. Build a relationship. Lose the mentality that after the sale you’ve “made your money,” and that they are no longer “your problem”. You may think, “it’ll be too hard for them to move their data and change their IPs, they won’t want to leave,” and you may be correct, but that doesn’t make it right. Strive for better business and a better hosting experience for all. Take the Limestone approach.

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