Your MSP business must source qualified salespeople, but even the most qualified salesperson is apt to fall victim to the human element. It’s really easy to be too optimistic about a potential sale. Oftentimes, a salesperson will be giving a pitch to somebody, and things will seem to be going well because who they’re pitching to doesn’t want to dampen the salesperson’s enthusiasm. The seller goes away thinking they’ve got a fish on the hook, and the fishy client “swims” off to areas where that particular sales line won’t snare them again. Following are several strategies to help salespeople avoid hunting unattainable prey:
- Using probing questions
- Identifying red flags
- Obtaining exterior opinions
- Not self-deceiving through the “this client’s different” paradigm
- Using strategy and preparation to help overcome difficult selling scenarios
You don’t want to take a platitude for intention to purchase. Clients are going to say things like, “Yeah, you do seem to have good services” or “there’s nothing I can see about your services I dislike.” Well, these aren’t affirmations. Here’s how to think about it: if you’re going to flirt with someone you’re interested in and they aren’t interested in you, one of two things happen. They’ll brush you off like you’re inhuman or they’ll “let you down easy.”
Prospective clients are likely to be courteous in their responses. This means they may seem to like your services when they could actually care less. To get around this, don’t accept platitudes. If you want to see if someone is going to date you, don’t beat around the bush. Get direct— be polite, of course, but direct. If clients seem to regard products or services positively, get into the details. Ask things like, “So, are there any reservations that would keep you from signing on with our MSP?” or something similar.
Your MSP business needs to be on the lookout for deal-breakers. For example, a contact may seem interested in products or services, but have no buying authority with the company they represent. That’s a red flag. Someone could be interested and have buying power, but require the approval of other executive personnel within their organization— you’ve got to know who is involved in such decision making for the most successful closure. Next, look at motivation. A company can wait forever for the right MSP to tickle their fancy. They may entertain multiple MSPs without ever intending to buy. So, determine what kind of motivation defines your prospective clients. Finally, look at the budget of a possible client. They may not be able to afford you, so why waste time?
A salesperson may think things look good with a prospective client, but it turns out they aren’t. A good protocol to institute may involve sales reps checking with management pertaining to prospects who have yet to close. The manager may find areas of conflict that could prevent a sale. This conflict can then be addressed and overcome when the prospect is next contacted.
Sometimes, a holiday like Thanksgiving will change how potential clients buy. Sometimes they’ll use that holiday as a means of deferring closure with your MSP. In such scenarios, you may find salespeople coming to management and saying things like, “Yeah, I can see that you don’t believe this is a good prospect, boss, but I’m telling you this lead is different!” Here’s the thing: that lead is not different; such language is almost ironclad proof. Don’t let salespeople deceive themselves! Ensure their energies are focused on the right direction.
The “WOOP” strategy dovetails from four words: wish, outcome, obstacles, and plan. You wish for an ideal outcome, so consider obstacles that could get in your way and plan how to overcome them.
Increasing Closure Rates
An MSP business that considers all possible outcomes, keeps salespeople from self-deception, ensures selling personnel seek outside opinions as necessary, watches for red flags, and asks probing questions is more likely to close with clients they’re courting. Don’t count your eggs before they hatch, but do get a sales-facilitating “incubator” of strategy for greater success!