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The article was originally published in 2012…but I thought I would update it to 2019. Guess what…not much has changed when it comes to MSP Sales. MSP Sales is about listening to the needs of the client and then electing if your company can fulfill the needs of the client and/or prospect.
My findings over the 7 year period…he/she who speaks less during the sales process…ultimately wins!
in 2012, one of my Canadian clients sent me an article from Sandler Sales, a company I have a tremendous amount of respect for. In this article, they discussed “The Uphill Challenge” associated with the challenges that occur when individuals in the MSP community attempt to work with prospective clients. Since my education and experience focus more on technology than sales, I could easily empathize with the materials presented.
Contrary to Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glenross…it doesn’t take brass balls. It takes compassion and understanding.
For those who have attended one of our Ulistic MSP workshops throughout Canada and the United States over the years, you will know that decades of experience and certifications do not always make it easy to use sales pitches that help customers see the true value of your services. As someone that holds both obsolete and cutting edge certifications, I know it is not always easy to step out of the technology side and communicate in terms of sales, customer needs, and service plans. On the other hand, prospective clients know little about technology implementation, and only want to know that I can solve problems they are facing in their field of labor.
Invariably, I always encounter even more challenges in the MSP space when I stop listening to the needs of our clients or prospects. Just try this with your spouse. Stop listening to his or her needs and see what happens to that relationship. Why wouldn’t it be any different with your clients?
As an MSP coach working with many of the top MSPs globally, I can tell you that issues related to making sales frustrate well over 80% of professionals in this field. In fact, even though clients are fully prepared to pay for services, the vast majority of MSPs can’t make a sale. On the other hand, the 20% that have far fewer problems know how to address client needs and then give clear answers about how they can be of help. In fact, a good salesman in this field will tell you that price isn’t even a factor.
When you work in a technical field like ours, there is a tendency to become quagmired in details such as speeds, feeds, and monitoring tools, then projecting what we would prefer onto our prospective customers. Needless to say, when they try to explain they want something else, conflicts occur that make it impossible to generate sales.
Just the other day, I had a conversation with a client from Texas who was losing his business to a competitor living nearby. His clients wanted specific services instead of a managed services/retainer only plan. At that point, I gave him some very valuable advice. I told him to continue focusing on acquiring managed service clients, and then target the break/fix clients with a help desk. This would give him a chance to educate these people about the value fixed-cost IT support, as well as make it easier to sell them on the service after satisfaction with the first job order.
Finally, I gave him an example of a scenario that we saw work in real time. Trident Exploration was a Calgary Oil and Gas company that we did work for here at IT Matters. They started out with just 3 employees in a break/fix model. Based on our advice with regard to how to manage customer needs, they grew into a 300 seats MSP play. While many companies would never have taken Trident on, I decided to meet with them and find out more about what they needed. It turned out to be the kind of win-win situation that was as good for them as it was for us.
To this day, when I take sales calls, I don’t necessarily make a decision based on the size of the company or the current situation. In fact, when I meet with you, I will always listen carefully and make sure that I can provide workable solutions. I will always pay careful attention to the information you provide about your challenges, as well as the direction you want to grow in.
Give me a call today and let me help you become the next big success in the MSP world. I’ve done it for other companies, now let me do the same for you through our highly valuable MSP Coaching services.
Stuart Crawford serves as Creative Director and CEO with Sebring, FL and Fort Erie, ON-based Ulistic, a specialty MSP Marketing firm focused on information technology marketing and business development. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience pertaining to how technology business owners and IT firms can use marketing as a vehicle to obtain success.
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