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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

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How to Increase Your MSP Sales Opportunities by Going for “No”

Posted August 29, 2017by Paul O'Donnell

How to Increase Your MSP Sales Opportunities by Going for “No”

As a managed services provider (MSP), you’re always looking for ways to gain more leads and drive business growth. All your sales and marketing efforts may be directed towards getting that “yes” from your prospects and adding another number to your potential client tally, but what if I told you that you could have more success with going for the “no” instead.

Although this might sound like a fast track to sales failure, this strategy can help you better understand your prospects’ needs, get to the root of the problem, and increase your sales efficiency. So, whether you have a dedicated MSP sales team or are a one-man-band, here’s how you can increase your sales opportunities by going for the “no.”

Flipping the Script

Sales professionals are bred to always go for the “yes.” It’s exactly what we want to hear, right? “Yes” gives us a sense of achievement and the feeling that we are getting somewhere with a client or prospect.

But have you ever heard a “yes” from someone who then proceeds to go dark? You finally get what you want to hear, but then you can’t seem to reach them again or they go back on their word. It happens all the time, and it’s because the same way we are conditioned to go for the “yes,” your clients and prospects are conditioned and ready to give you that “yes.” They are prepared for you to sell to them, so they have their mental and emotional walls up and their resistance routines perfected. Sometimes, they say “yes” just to get you to stop asking. However, if you go for the “no,” it can flip this routine on its head.

How to Go for The "No"

So, why exactly should you go for the “no?” Well, when a client or prospect tells you “no,” you can get right to the heart of their decision criteria.

Consider this scenario, for example: “Mr. Client, now that you have decided this isn’t the right fit for you and your organization, can I ask you a few questions?” Digging deeper into their “no” can help you uncover exactly why a prospect might be unwilling to move forward with your services and find a way to resolve those reasons and move towards a sale. In effect, this can serve as a spring board for getting to a “yes” because you’re able to consult with them instead of just sell to them. This way, you can steer the conversation towards where you want it to go, which is finding out the root cause of the “no” and addressing it to move forward.

Similarly, if you have a client that has said “yes,” you should still go for the “no” because it enables you to press on and see how far you can take them while they’re in that agreeable state of mind. To put this in prospective, imagine if you worked at a retail store and someone came in to buy a suit. They say yes to the suit, but wouldn’t you try to cross sell them on buying a belt, or maybe a tie? And why stop there? While we’re at it, here are some fine watches we just got in. No, you’re not interested in a watch at this time? This is where you stop, but since you went for the “no,” you got so much farther than just accepting their initial “yes” and calling it a day.

Finally, if you go for “no” as early as possible in a sales opportunity, you can lose as early as humanly possible. Wait, this sounds stupid, right? Well, not really, because going for “no” from the get-go cuts down on the time you need to spend with a prospect who’s truly not going to buy, so you can move forward with better sales pursuits. You should aim to get a definitive answer, because the absolute worst word a sales person can hear is “maybe.” Hearing “maybe” is what turns a pipeline into a pipedream.

 

Using "No" to Qualify and Disqualify

Earlier we talked about getting to the root cause of a prospect’s “no” and addressing it to move forward. This is important because it’s the step where you either qualify the opportunity, or disqualify it as an aforementioned “pipedream.” In an effort to properly qualify or disqualify an opportunity, put them to the test by answering the following questions:

  1. Are they a good fit? To determine this, concentrate on how well your services or offering aligns with your prospect’s problem, challenge, or overall goal. If the correlation is low, it’s probably best to look for another opportunity.
  2. Are they willing and able to commit? Assess whether or not your prospect is willing to commit the necessary resources (time, money, manpower, or expertise, for example) to acquire and use the product or service you will eventually propose. If the answer is “no,” it’s likely time to move on or rethink your solution.

If a prospect fails either of these tests, it’s probably best to disqualify the particular opportunity and move on or rethink your approach. On the other hand, if a prospect passes this test, you’ve just found yourself a qualified lead and can now start working them down the sales funnel. Just remember: always go for the “no.”

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Paul serves as Sales Manager for Strategic Accounts at Continuum. With over 10 years of experience in sales and sales management, Paul joined Continuum in 2015 as a Senior Partner Development Manager where he specialized in helping to grow the business of strategic partners in the Northeast region. As the Sales Manager for Strategic Accounts, Paul oversees Continuum’s Strategic Partner Managers, working with Continuum's top partners. Paul works with his team to recommend the best Continuum products and services to enable IT solutions providers to efficiently backup, monitor, troubleshoot and maintain desktops, servers and other endpoints for small- and medium-sized businesses.

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