It’s the “Fourth Quarter” in the game of sales, and your prospects and clients are looking to deplete this year’s budget so they can justify asking their CFO’s for more money next year. Make sure you get into the “game” and make a final push to sell, or another MSP will.
The game plan is to convince your prospects that they should buy from you and not another MSP. So how do you do this? By following “The MSP ‘Fourth Quarter Play’ Book.”
Play # 1 “The Section 179”
Here’s a simple but effective strategy that Victor Liu from Link High Technologies used this year with success. In preparation for the fourth quarter, Victor asked Greg Tomkins, Principal of RA Hauser & Associates (RAH CFO) to present this great “game play” at Link High’s monthly “Lunch and Learn” in October.
Here’s how the play goes: Remind your prospects and clients that Section 179 of the IRS tax code allows them to claim a full deduction of the price they pay for new or used computer equipment and off-the-shelf software they purchase during the 2013 tax year. Whether they buy or even lease computer equipment and software they can deduct the entire purchase price from their gross income. The limit for the purchase price is $500,000, but that’s a pretty good gain for any MSP! Plus, all businesses that purchase, finance, and/or lease less than $2,000,000 in new computer/software equipment during the 2013 tax year also qualify for a Section 179 Bonus Depreciation of 50%. You can read more about this “Play” in the IRS Page on Depreciation, Depletion, and Amortization for 2013
Play # 2 “The Mindset”
During the fourth quarter, your prospects/clients are likely developing strategies for next year, both long-and short-term. Keep this in mind when making your “play.” They will appreciate forward-looking ideas for IT support and service that will help them “drive” their strategies. This requires some homework on your part, or hopefully you’ve been doing this all year. You must get into your prospect’s “Mindset” in order to reach them and sell.
Play # 3 “Preparation and Training”
As mentioned in Play# 2, you should have been doing your homework this past year. Only through preparation and training can you build a trustworthy relationship with a client or prospect. Most business owners or directors won’t want to take a chance on a “Rookie” during the fourth quarter. They’ll be looking to buy from an MSP they know and trust. Make sure you’ve been a key player in the game from the start of the season. If you haven’t, start training and preparing now for next year.
Before you start “any game,” be sure you understand:
- What kind of results your prospect/client is looking for, and
- How they'll measure the achievement of these results.
This will give you a clear path to a strategy—a goal to go for. This will also give you the information you need to persuade them to take a second, larger step—before the final season ends.
Play # 4 “The Final Roster” The fourth quarter is time to generate a significant number of new business opportunities. You must be lean, mean and ready for the “Final Roster” picks.
The fourth quarter is typically when prospects are searching for new vendors for next year’s strategies. Take advantage of every opportunity to network so you can get in front of a prospect. Ask friends, colleagues, family members, community group members, etc. if they can introduce you to a prospect they know who needs MSP advice. Rely on your “teammates” outside of your business to help you get into the “Final Roster.”
Play # 5 “Rushing”
Remember that your MSP isn’t the only team on the field. You have some fierce competitors in the game. This means you must develop a compelling reason why a business should contract with you and not another MSP. Show them how much money they’re losing each month by passing up on your MSP services; or present “limited-time” offers for the end of the year to get the short sale. Show how they can save money and time, increase productivity and profitability, improve operational efficiencies and security, etc. And that when they do, they’ll be a “star in their own game” looking good to the boss, stockholders, and board members.
Play #6 Replay the “Highlights of the Season”
To do this give your prospects examples of your greatest wins, meaning the successes you’ve made for others. How you solved problems for other businesses using cost-effective services and support. Buyers want real examples and proof that you can meet their IT needs and save them money at the same time. You can do this with case studies, testimonials, and even better, with word-of-mouth referrals. Remember this during next year’s season as well. Develop and document “Highlights” every time you “win a game!”
Play # 7 “Go For the Short Pass”
Sometimes the only thing keeping a prospect/client from making a move to buy is because they can’t handle “a long pass,” meaning that first step to accepting your solution is just too big for them to take on. This is especially true during the fourth quarter when everyone is busy trying to wrap things up for the end of the year. If you overwhelm your buyer, they just may freeze and do nothing. In this instance you should make a “short pass” to get them moving forward. Suggest just one element of your MSP service and support plan that you think will make a significant improvement to their operations, whether it’s a business continuity and disaster recover solution, or even just a new in-house server. Once you’ve got the “ball in play,” you can make some “longer passes” and gains next year.