As a wee grasshopper, I ventured unknowingly into the challenging world of commission-only financial services sales. Though I eventually decided financial services were not my cup of tea, the experience, though difficult and sometimes painful, taught me plenty about sales as well as psychology. Some of the fundamental concepts I learned back then can help the MSP business deal with stalled sales.
“If I show you something you like, understand and can afford, is there any reason why we can’t do business today?”
On reflection, so many of the tricks and techniques we learned — or at least we were told to use — can seem corny, transparent, and desperate. Nevertheless, they worked!
Sure, they were not cast-iron guaranteed ways to win a sale from every prospective customer. After all, if the rest of your approach to the sale is weak, no clever closing line or psychological advantage is likely to win the day.
However, if applied appropriately and within the context of an otherwise effective sales approach, even this one simple line has so much to offer the MSP business when it comes to sales, especially when your sale seems to have stalled.
Consider the Elements of That One Question
It is very basic, and at the end of the day, who would not agree to buy something they understand, like, and can afford? After all, is that not what consumers do all day long?
Of course, liking chocolate, understanding what a chocolate bar is, and knowing that you have some coins in your pocket is on an altogether different scale to drafting the proposed specification for a managed services contract. Apart from scale and complexity, however, the principles are the same. So, the next time your sale seems to have hit a wall, go back to these first principles.
Does the prospect like the proposal? Does the prospect like you and your company? Sure, these are basic questions but listen, the sale has stalled and you need to figure out why so that you can address the issue(s) and get this deal back on track!
By the time you reach the point at which you pitch the proposal to the client, you should already have built up a solid rapport with the client. You should probably have a strong bond with his or her secretary or PA, with the receptionist at their office, and with associated members of the staff. If not, maybe you have missed a trick there.
Have you ensured the prospect fully understands every aspect of the proposal? Do they understand who you are? Do they understand what your company does and what it is proposing to do for them?
At this point, you should at least have been noticing subtle signs of when the client does not fully understand the proposal. Have you fully understood the client’s requirements? Often, failure to capture, interpret, and respond to a client’s requirements results in a proposal that clearly falls short of a client’s needs.
Can the client afford the proposed cost? Again, this sounds like basic stuff, but if you have somehow missed the target on pricing, obviously the business client is unlikely to agree to the deal.
On the other hand, any reasonably competent professional is likely to respond openly if the pricing is way off base. And if the client indicates that pricing is the issue, all you need to do is confirm that every other aspect of the proposal is perfect and get the client to agree that as long as you can reach an understanding on pricing, the deal will go forward.
Turn Problems into Solutions
To borrow from a classic play about salespersons, ‘Always Be Closing’
When you run into a challenge that has stalled a sale, find ways to turn it to your advantage. Solve the problem and get the sale for your MSP business. By following the understand, like, and afford principles to avoid problems or solve those that crop up, you can build stronger sales relationships and rescue stalled sales.