As a managed services provider (MSP), you’re primarily focused on delivering exceptional IT services to clients and optimizing your efficiency. However, this may cause you to let sales and marketing slip to the bottom of your list of priorities. But when you’re busy managing your existing client base, how can you ensure that you’re filling the sales pipeline and growing your MSP business?
Running a business is hard enough without also having to be a sales expert. Follow the following six steps to improve your sales effectiveness.
1. Don’t Give Up
Ten years ago, it took an average of 3.68 cold call attempts to reach a prospect, which today takes around eight attempts. Where most sales professionals fall short, though, is that they give up after attempt number three or four. Sure, it can be discouraging if you don’t hear back from a client or prospect or you’re having trouble getting in touch, but that doesn’t mean you should lose all hope.
When you give up on contacting a prospect, you give up on the opportunity altogether. More importantly, you’re giving up on the potential new revenue you could gain. Instead, you should keep calling and be persistent. The most successful sales people all share one trait, and that is relentless persistence.
2. Follow Up
Great sales professionals have great follow up. In fact, 80 percent of sales require five follow-up calls after a meeting, yet 44 percent of sales people give up after only one follow-up. Don’t be like the 44 percent.
Once you’ve gotten in touch with a client or prospect and begin to discuss the new opportunity, it’s important to have consistent follow up and follow your designed sales process. Focus on advancing the sale through the process at each follow up point. Maybe yesterday they weren’t ready to hear your solution, but tomorrow they could actually realize the need for you to solve their problem. Situations change every day, so never assume that it’s over.
Additionally, if your competitors are giving up after just one follow-up, that should be even more motivation for you to keep calling, swoop in and take control of the sale.
3. Identify the Pain
A large reason why most sales fall through or a prospect says “no” could be because the sales rep was too focused on talking about their product or services rather than listening. Listening to your client or prospect is vastly important in two ways:
- First, potential clients are so used to getting talked and sold to that listening could be a welcome change of pace. They’ll appreciate your focus on understanding their needs and will view you as more than just a sales rep after their money.
- Second, in conversations with clients and prospects, use discovery questions to uncover their major pain points. They may tell you the problems they are having with their current solution or the certain criteria they are looking for that will impact their buying decision. Listen closely for these because they can help you better understand their desires, address how your solution can solve their problems and close the deal that much faster.
Problem solving is a key selling factor. In fact, 70 percent of people make purchasing decisions to solve problems, while only 30 percent make decisions to gain something. Therefore, focus on identifying the pain point of your clients and prospects, and then you can discuss exactly how your services can solve them.
4. Properly Handle Objections
“Your services are too pricey.” “I’m not looking for a backup solution right now.” “I don’t understand the value of what you’re offering.” These are just a few examples of objections that MSP sales teams hear over and over again. These obstacles are a natural part of any sales process, but they can also provide an opportunity to learn more about the prospect and their needs.
Did you know that prospects who buy have 58 percent more objections than prospects who do not? However, an objection is simply an expression of their doubts and concerns, and you can learn to leverage these to your advantage by using the LSCPA methodology.
LSCPA stands for: Listen, Share, Clarify, Problem-solve, and Ask for Action. First, you need to listen to your prospect’s needs and wants. Then, share your concerns without judgement to let them know you understand. Next, clarify the real issue by asking questions and follow up questions. Now, you can solve for these problems by presenting your options and solutions. Finally, ask for action to determine their level of commitment. With this method, or a similar one, you can properly handle common objections and use them as an opportunity to solve for your prospects’ problems.
5. Tell a Story
After a presentation, 63 percent of attendees remember stories, while only 5 percent remember statistics, according to authors Chip and Dan Heath. This demonstrates the importance of telling a story that people can relate to. Although data can lend credibility and offer proof, stories are what grasp prospects and move deals through the initial stages of the pipeline.
It’s human nature to connect with stories, so you can use this to your advantage by sharing a story with a client or prospect that has real meaning, such as a case study or client testimonial.
6. Sell with Confidence
Lastly, the number one reason clients buy from you isn't your service, selection, quality or price—it's your confidence! While the former items are important, your confidence in your business and services is what makes them sell.
It’s not always about what you have to say, but how you say it. By adopting a positive attitude towards selling and honing in on the right tactics, you will be able to sell your products and services with confidence. In the end, you are the expert on who you are and what you offer, so be confident in how you present that information to potential clients and they will likely buy into it.
By Gretchen Hoffman
By Meaghan Moraes