If sales isn’t your thing, I’ve got some good news for you: Starting today, you’ve got a new job description. You’re no longer selling managed services. You’re now in the business of determining whether prospects have long-term success potential. The better you get at honing this advanced skill, the more success you’ll find as a business owner.
You’ve heard me talk before about the process of Technology Success, where MSPs focus on roles, process and building high-value strategic relationships with their customers. Yes, Technology Success Providers (TSPs) understand the importance of strategic partnerships, but so do their clients. In order for TSPs to succeed, their clients have to be on board with the role TSPs play in organizations. Again, TSPs help business leader view technology as a strategic investment rather than and expense item.
Stop selling and begin examining
As I've said before, MSPs with strong Technology Success Practices focus on business results for their clients. Think about everything strategically from now on. You now have a clear mission in mind when walking into a meeting with prospects, and it shouldn’t have anything to do with selling IT services. Your goal should be to examine and learn. Ask questions to determine if prospects would benefit from the strategic results you deliver to your customers. If your prospects can understand your approach and how it will impact business results, there’s a good chance you’ll have successful sales processes. If they can’t see how better results will benefit them, they’ll probably end up choosing the least expensive alternative. You’re hoping they’ll answer your one question.
Is there potential?
When you're sitting down with new prospects, within the first few minutes, try to determine how they perceive you and your business. Sure, they’re interviewing you, but you’re interviewing them in return (always keep this in mind during conversations). Without them knowing, hopefully, you’re analyzing what they’re saying and how they’re acting to figure out whether there are potential business opportunities with them on the horizon. Following this process correctly can save you a lot time, energy and resources.
Of course, every first-time appointment (FTA) is different. Each one will challenge you with its own twists and turns. During your first sit down with a prospect, without asking directly, try to get the following questions answered at some point during the discussion:
— What are your business goals?
— What are your top challenges?
— Where are your growth opportunities?
Sometimes there isn’t any potential, and that’s okay. Don’t be afraid to pass on prospects if you have to, even if you believe the money is too great to turn down (you’re more than likely doing the right thing). These prospects aren’t the ones you should be chasing. There are other prospects worth your time, and those are the deals you’ll close.
Close more deals with the right prospects
You’ll close more deals with prospects who view you as a strategic business partner. If you find there’s potential, begin looking for ways to close the deal, and trust me, clients who understand where you fit into their organizations will more often than not be happy to partner with you — and they won’t be looking for a handout. They’ll see where you add value and pay you what you’re worth. These are the prospects you’ll want as clients.
TSPs don’t sell; they look for opportunities with the right prospects. During the first few minutes of any FTA, determine if there’s a fit. If there is, great; however, if there’s no potential, run away, and don’t stop until you find what you’re looking for — and deserve.