Your MSP business sales staff has probably heard the advice made famous in the movie Glengarry Glen Ross to “always be closing.” However, this advice has become outdated as potential clients are making decisions in different ways. Based on the easy availability of information online, many businesses are more interested in research and information than they are in the hard sell.
In this day and age, your sales staff needs to change the “always be closing” mindset to “always be helping.” By helping your prospects identify needs, gather information, and learn about how your services will assist their businesses, you become a partner. You are no longer seen as someone who is trying to get them to buy something— you become someone who is providing value.
High-Pressure Sales No Longer Work
Most of your MSP business prospects will have already done research into what you do before they contact your company. Gone are the days where your sales team can walk into a prospect’s office and convince them on the spot they need your services. Because information is readily available for anyone who wants to look for it, prospects are no longer susceptible to high-pressure sales techniques. They already know what they want and what they need, and they simply want you to talk them through the process.
Prospects can no longer be viewed as objects. They must be treated as potential partners and their individual needs and personalities must be taken into consideration.
Prospects Usually Follow a Decision-Making Process
Most people follow a set decision-making process, whether they are choosing an MSP or determining what to make for dinner. This process looks like this:
• Awareness – They become aware that they have a need. The need could be that their stomach growls and they realize mealtime is approaching. The need could also be that their tech department is overwhelmed and they need to look at outsourcing.
• Consideration – This is the step where prospects start gathering information and looking for those who can help them fulfill their needs. This could involve Internet research, asking friends or colleagues, or interviewing potential business partners.
• Decision – It’s only after they have become aware of the need and learned about all of their options that a decision can be made. If you’ve given them value and helped them throughout the decision-making process, you become an easy choice.
Prospects Want to Do Business with Those Who Provide Value
Providing value to a prospective client may seem counterproductive. Why should you give them advice and direct them to resources that might make your services unnecessary? However, the opposite is usually true. It’s only when you are willing to give them this free advice and direction that they trust you enough to give you their business. Salespeople in the digital age must take on the aspects of a counselor and guide. When they work through issues with their prospects and show them how to solve their problems, the relationship solidifies and sales become the natural progression.
Though the sales process may be longer than the traditional “always be closing” approach, it tends to result in better working relationships and longer-term clients. Acting as your prospects’ mentor in the sales phase is the best way to start this partnership out right.
“Always be helping” encourages your MSP business salespeople to look at their prospects as people and not as dollar signs. It gives them the mindset of how they can provide assistance, develop a relationship, and partner with your clients throughout the sales cycle and their lifecycle as valued clients. Thoroughly train your staff on how to ‘always be helping’ and you will experience higher sales and more customer satisfaction.