One of the most challenging tasks for an IT company is marketing their business. While closing referrals is pretty easy peasy for the average MSP, trying to sell to just about any other type of lead is next to impossible. Even though IT providers probably know they should control the sales process, end users tend to walk all over them. These prospects tend to keep their guard up and differently are afraid of change. Which begs the question, what sales lesson can Don Draper of Mad Men teach us?
One of the best scenes on the hit TV show Mad Men happens when Don Draper sits patiently as his marketing team gives the big ‘Mark Your Man’ presentation to a lipstick manufacturing company that features just one lipstick. Just as soon as the salesman finishes the presentation, the potential buyer thumbs his nose at their whole approach as it diverges from his company’s core belief in selling multiple shades. Watch the clip here!
The buyer begins to yammer on about his belief in the multi-shade concept and rail against the Sterling Cooper marketing approach. This is when the Dapper Don springs into action as he just happens to be in a “take no prisoners” mood. He abruptly stands up and begins to end the sales call by saying goodbye to the potential buyers. The primary buyer’s face drops in utter shock as he sheepishly asks for a reason why Don is bringing the meeting to an abrupt halt.
The primary lesson that an MSP can learn about IT marketing from Don Draper is how to quickly turn the tide when a sales meeting is going south. You see, most businesses fear changing IT providers just about as much as this lipstick manufacturer. Sometimes, business executives can go off on a tangent by talking about how great their existing computer consultant really is.
Normally, MSPs would not know how to handle this awkward situation, but Don Draper just demonstrated exactly how to use reverse psychology. Simply stand up and let the prospect know that you’re not there to waste your time, since its obvious the prospect is completely content with their current IT support, and make the appropriate gestures that signal your departure.
Call out the Elephant in the Room
While switching roles and telling your prospect ‘no’ feels good, it also turns the table on the prospects by putting you back in control of the sales process. However, it doesn’t win the argument and magically persuade the combative prospect to suddenly switch IT providers or, in this case, adopt the advertising campaign. This is demonstrated when the lipstick manufacture repeats his primary objection, showing that his position hasn’t changed. What has changed, though, is that the power is now back in the safe hands of Don Draper. This is where he employs the next principle when he “calls a spade a spade” in the room by eloquently telling the prospect that his marketing strategy is a failure and that’s why Sterling Cooper was called to meet with his company in the first place. That was a great way to call out the elephant in the room and get this prospect’s wheels turning.
MSPs can use the exact technique by letting a prospect know that they are there because the end users asked them to be there to discuss their IT services. You can simply state that there must be some reason why you were called to their office, but since they don’t want to recognize this fact, the meeting is a waste of your time.
While this IT marketing strategy may seem daunting for some IT companies, I still believe that this reverse mind trick is something they will “take to like a duck to water.” Practice this bold move and have it ready in your mind so that you can spring it on the next end user that begins babbling about how great their current IT provider in a sales meeting. Allowing your inner arrogant side can turn the tables and help take back control of the sales process. Don’t forget to call out the elephant in the room by pointing out they have a need. If an MSP can master this technique, they will be as cool as Don Draper and a master of the sales game!