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Can you remember the last MSP sales conversation you had? What was the outcome?
What went right with the conversation? What went wrong with the conversation? It’s very easy to focus on the initial contact. The first meeting you have with a prospect. The email you’ve sent. You communicated with someone and you felt good about yourself. You felt satisfied because you did your job; you made a sales pitch and communicated with a prospective client. Now you just sit back, relax, and wait for them to respond, right?
Wrong—where is the follow-up?
I understand. You don’t want to be pushy or to become a pain in the side. You don’t want to be annoying because you feel that it may lead to rejection. There are ways not to be annoying. You just have to keep it short and sweet, but you have to be persistent. If you contact someone once and then sit and wait around for a month for that person to get back to you, you are doing it all wrong.
I get it, you’re probably a little frustrated and possibly disappointed because you have not heard anything from the prospective client and you want to move on to the next sales opportunity. There are great lessons that can be learned by going back to that prospective client and seeing what you can gain from that opportunity and why the sales attempt didn’t work out the way you wanted.
First, you have to get in front of them or get them on the phone and have a follow-up discussion. You don’t want to argue any points, try to reposition yourself, or make another sales attempt. You want the prospective client to help you understand what factors played a factor in their decision. You want to find out if there was anything you could have done differently to improve your chances of winning the sale.
The follow-up is a critical part of the MSP sales process, but sadly, it’s become one of the most neglected. I can go on and on about why sales are lost, but one of the biggest reasons is little or no follow-up. It doesn’t matter how many sales you are making weekly or monthly – what matters is how many sales you are losing. Sales follow-up is a vital part of MSP selling and neglecting this part of the sales process will create a damaging flaw in the process.
Actions always speak louder than words, right? We know how easy it is to talk about following up with prospects, but don’t just talk about it, start doing it. It’s not a surprise that so many business leaders and salespeople are struggling to keep up with the competition. For those who neglect the sales follow-up process, you are leaving money on the table.
I don’t know you can deliver a sales presentation or meet with a prospective client and then not follow up with that potential client. How can you not find the time to follow up and complete the sales process you started? If you sit back and let potential clients slip through your fingers because you failed to follow up, you will not only jeopardize that one sale but future MSP sales, your reputation, and the potential for referrals.
I’m sure you can remember a time when you decided not to do business with someone because he or she failed to follow up with you. Have you ever paid more for a product or service because you had a better overall customer experience? Poor follow-up or no follow-up leads many customers to a business’s main competitor. A good thing? You can fix this error and begin to generate more sales.
From this point forward, I want you to stop talking about what you are going to do after a sales presentation and just start doing it. If you tell a prospective client you will call or email them back, do it. You should always follow up. Remember, it’s part of the sales process. Following up with potential clients shouldn’t be difficult. You have almost captured the lead, and the interest is there. What you need to do is initiate a warm conversation that will grab that prospect’s attention and give them a slight push forward.
Always do your research and know what questions you want to ask, but also be ready to listen. Listen to what each prospect has to say. The key to the MSP sales process is listening to understand, not to respond. When you do ask your questions, get a good feel for who each prospect is and what they do, then determine what you can do to make their work lives easier without wasting their time.
Asking the right questions will allow your prospects to coach themselves. When they decide to do business with you, it will be their idea, not yours. When you respect potential clients, your conversations will have a much greater impact. Your prospects will remember the genuine advice they received from an industry expert, especially when your advice was tailored for the prospect’s specific situation.
Providing a follow-up to any questions or concerns a prospect has is a critical building block of a long-term relationship. How many prospects do you think you have let slip through the cracks this year? Think about going back to those prospects, asking key questions, finding out why you lost the sale, and what you can do better during the next one.
The follow-up is the most underrated part of the MSP sales process, and it doesn’t have to be painful. Get ahead of the competition today and engage with Ulistic to find out how your next follow-up can be your best one yet.
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Stuart Crawford serves as Creative Director and CEO with Sebring, FL 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.