The following blog post was submitted by David Walter of MSP SEO Factory, a silver sponsor of Navigate 2016.
AIDA is an acronym that describes the four stages of the sales process. AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, Action and is a useful MSP marketing tool. In this article, we will describe how MSPs can use the different phases of the AIDA model to close SMBs into clients.
When giving your value presentation to prospects, the very first thing you need to do is grab their attention. Your message needs to resonate with the SMBs whose businesses you'd like to earn. Without knowledge of your audience and their business pain points and needs, you will fail to capture their attention. And without this, your prospects will tune out during your presentation. There goes the sale.
So what can MSPs do to raise awareness for their services, thereby capturing the attention of those they seek to serve? What are good openers? Before you begin your IT presentation explain that you want to survey what services they have now:
- Find out what type of backup system they have
- Ask if they are currently working with an MSP
- Ask what kind of contract they have: a flat fee contract, billed hourly or a hybrid
The goal is to collect information and identify areas where they may need your help, without making any negative comments. Are they still using a tape backup system? Remember that for later. Find weaknesses in their current system, and then focus on which improvements need to be made during your presentation.
Once you have their attention, next capture your prospects' interest. When giving your presentation, consider what talking points will get them to buy your technology stack. Since you've already pinpointed holes in their current IT support plan, it is imperative that you devote the majority of your presentation slides to detailing how you'll address these critical vulnerabilities with a level of service that clients can't get elsewhere. Make sure they understand the benefits of your solution by asking specific questions. When selling the value of your mobile device management (MDM) solution, for instance, you can ask decision makers if their offices are BYOD environments. Continue to check that you still have prospects' interest throughout your presentation. To prevent boredom, keep them engaged by:
- Letting them talk about their problems.
- Explaining potential sources for some of their problems.
- Demonstrating your value, rather than just talking at them.
- Getting them actively involved.
Once prospects are interested in you and what you have to say, the next step is to create a desire for your managed IT services. They may recognize that they have a need, but that is not a desire. Desire is like a fire, it can be stoked by many methods. It is a motivation to act and is essential to move prospects toward making purchasing decisions.
Why is it important to go through this phase? You can't close the sale if you can't get SMBs to first claim that they will sign. In this phase, you must boil down the differences between what they have now and what you're proposing, in terms they can clearly understand. For example, if you're trying to persuade a decision maker to buy an advanced backup and disaster recovery (BDR) solution vs a standard backup system, then make sure that they clearly understand the difference. For one, data backup doesn't help them restore files and maintain business continuity in the event of an IT disaster. Paint the picture and help them realize that without BDR, the restoration process could take days or longer. Rather than simply state this, drive it home and ask SMBs something like, "What would happen if you came into the office and were unable to access any of your files?" Strategically offering hypothetical situations like this helps create a desire for your IT services and acts as a catalyst in the sales process.
This is the magical stage in which decision makers act on their desire and sign your MSP agreement.
Why is it important that MSPs understand this phase? Just because a prospect has said they are interested in signing doesn't mean they will. In fact, decision makers may wait to sign. The longer the period of lag time – the time in between a prospect expressing an interest in closing and the moment they actually do – the greater the likelihood that you'll lose once-interested prospects.So How Can You Get Your Prospects to Take Action?
During this lag time, it's important to stay top of mind. Send prospects a thank you card, ensure they receive your newsletter, invite them to an event or to play golf, etc. After you've followed up and built rapport, invite these potential clients to a business lunch at which you'll discuss "moving forward" with your IT services and support. This is where you should once again paint a picture of where they are - not specially mentioning their IT weaknesses - and extrapolate the consequences of inaction! Stress the benefits of accepting your proposal, so that they're very clear. Highlight which of their current threats they will not have to worry about anymore. Above all else, explicitly explain how much money and time they'll save when they work with you.
Next to get prospects to take action, you need to ask them if they wish to remain in their current undesirable situation. Follow up by asking them if they believe that your solution will solve their problem and make their lives easier at a fair price.
Often this is the point where you'll hear “Yes, but", followed by the reason why decision makers are holding back. You merely need to resolve this one obstacle in order to win the sale. Often, the client will sign your MSP agreement at a separate meeting we call "The Signing Meeting," which can take place at their office or at a restaurant. And all you need to do is show up with the contract, review it and then have them sign it!
Every sale is a journey. The AIDA model breaks this journey down into separate phases with their own clear, well-defined goals. We recommend that you adopt this approach when marketing and selling your IT services. Taking it one step at a time will help you ensure that each client is ready when it comes time to sign on the dotted line!