How would you describe a sales person? Manipulative, annoying and pushy are some of the adjectives that come to mind unfortunately! People often picture the car salesman in a suit talking a mile a minute. In his book, To Sell is Human, bestselling author, Daniel Pink, shatters this misconception, arguing that nearly every person in the world is now in sales.
Whether you’re selling an idea to your team, listing your skills at an interview or building trust on a service call, you are constantly sharing ideas and information with the intent of changing or molding the minds of those you interact and do business with. That doesn’t make you a duplicitous person. It makes you an influencer. Still, whether it’s you or your customers contributing to its proliferation, the stereotype lingers. Here are the top 3 sales stigmas preventing you from taking your managed IT services business to the next level.
1. Liar, Liar
You've heard this before, that salespeople lie through their teeth. Yet, traditional sales gimmicks like fibbing or misrepresenting the truth don’t work anymore since consumers can quickly Google anything they need to know about your company or services. With channels and websites that allow customers to write online reviews and provide instant feedback, it doesn’t make sense to lie. The Internet would call your bluff, and this dishonesty would severely tarnish your company's brand and reputation.
Your proactive IT service should speak for itself. Before you can sell to clients, you have to first believe that your solution will help them. Do you have a proper understanding of your prospective client’s business pain points, and have you taken the time to ask thoughtful questions about their network health? Have you provided all of the right information they’ll need to make an informed and intelligent purchasing decision? Have you answered all of their questions honestly and comprehensively, ensuring that there’s no confusion on either end? Finally, have you then presented the right solution for their business needs? If you answered yes to any and all of these questions, you’re a salesperson. What’s seedy about that?
Effective sales is not listing off the various features and benefits of every product and service that your business offers. What works for one customer will not necessarily work for the other. Don’t memorize an empty, impersonal spiel. In many cases, you’ll overwhelm the prospect with unnecessary information and discourage future conversation, thus killing the sale. Get to know your potential clients and tailor your strategy to help them understand how leveraging your managed IT services platform will improve their business and grow their bottom line.
2. Attitude Adjustment
Sales people are arrogant, self-serving and selfish. This is another common sales myth I'm sure you've encountered. You're not any of these things? Good, you shouldn't be! If this misconception is what has stopped you from becoming a true salesperson, I'm here to tell you that that's not real sales talent. Talented salespeople are confident, not to be confused with arrogant. Because they constantly face the unknown with each prospect and customer, salespeople need to be able to anticipate every conversation to successfully express the value propositions of the products or services they are tasked with selling.
Don't let the stigma that you're only out for customers' money prevent you from accelerating your business growth. Money is an important part of the job because you can't grow or even survive without meeting revenue objectives. Salespeople are certainly sensitive to this, but they're not only motivated by money. Like most people, they are passionate about their work and truly believe their product will help clients' businesses. A sincere approach is much more effective and genuine.
Most salespeople have to meet quarterly quotas. You’ll get there faster if you are selling products that your prospects are actually looking for. Don't be slimey, be sticky. Stick to the facts, and don't oversell. You can't assume that every client is right to take on. By operating under this viewpoint, you're really only thinking of customers as walking dollar signs. The more, the merrier! Don't think of them like this. You are much more likely to retain stickier clients when you're more selective with your services and know when to walk away. Think of the referral and upsell potential!
3. Piece of cake
Some of you may think sales is easy and that anyone can do it. It’s not as easy as you think. If you want to be a great sales person, it’s important to know your product and prospects down to the last detail. To acquire such an amount of knowledge on one company alone is a serious undertaking. Every salesperson must understand the nuances of their products and services. Great salespeople, however, take it to the next level and learn how to leverage those nuances. They become experts at reading their prospects as they go through the sales funnel. Salespeople have to interpret subtle buyer behavior and know when to stop selling and start closing. Also, talented salespeople build trust and relationships with customers and prospects, which is no small feat. Lastly, they are resilient and understand that one "no" may yield another "yes." Picking up on these dialogue queues comes with practice and effective training. You may not have the sales prowess now, but give it time. You've already got the stellar services so you're halfway there!
Getting to know your prospects can be tough! As discussed above, you must always ask the right questions. This establishes your credibility and creates an opportunity to build a relationship with your prospect. But don't forget to listen to their answers! You don't want to sound rehearsed, like you're merely reading questions off of a sales script. Every prospect will have different answers that will help you diagnose their network and prescribe the right solution for their business needs.
So there you have it - sales myths debunked! We can't promise that you won't run into an overly aggressive sales person that embodies the unfortunate stigma associated with the profession from time-to-time, but we can assure you that you don't have to adopt this approach to get ahead in the managed IT services industry. What are you waiting for? Dive right in!
What other hesitations do you have about MSP sales? Sound off in the comments below!
- The Top 5 Selling Points for Managed IT Services
- Real-World Sales & Marketing Tips from an MSP: MSPradio 44
- MSP Sales Terminology: Out with the Old, In with the New
You Know What Sales Isn't. Learn What Sales Can Be...
By Carlos Borges
By Ray Vrabel