Selling Managed Services? Talk Less, Listen More
Think of two recent MSP sales conversations you had and ask yourself what was the outcome:
- The conversation went really well and had strong positive outcomes
- The conversation went poorly and you wish you could do it again
What were the high points in each conversation? What were the low points? In the words of Xun Kuang, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” Hands-on experience is the best way to learn! A large portion of how we grow our careers is through real-life experiences. So how do we create better habits, and implement this into our sales process? The key is listening to understand, not to respond. Asking questions allows our customers and prospects to coach themselves and makes the idea theirs, not yours.
Ask Questions Throughout the Sales Process
The qualification process begins after a prospect lead has shown interest through sales and marketing efforts. At this point, you may not have much information on the organization’s needs to improve its business, which means we need to learn more to either lose fast or move forward with the right leads. In order to make that decision we must ask questions, not sell our solution. One recommendation: create a qualification tool that includes questions to help identify the quality of a lead before investing too much time or resources. That can also help you prioritize your opportunities.
Once you’ve qualified the prospect based on your target customer profile, you need to find out if they are interested in making the investment towards next steps, which include assessment and final proposal. During the first appointment, set the stage for what you are looking to accomplish and guide the conversation in that direction. A simple way to accomplish this is to ask, “Would you share a couple specifics about your IT environment and how you work with technology?” Alex Rogers at Chartec calls this the “magic question,” and if positioned correctly it opens the floor to ask more questions, listen, and let the prospect talk.