What MSPs Need To Know Before They Start Selling

Robin Robins Sales Leave a Comment

A giant mistake made by MSP Salespeople…

Dad joke first: There was a race between a lettuce, a faucet and a tomato. The lettuce was a-head, the faucet was still running and the tomato was trying to ketchup. Save your applause, folks, I’ll be here all night.

Okay, I shall not quit my day job. But to the point I actually wanted to make: one of the giant mistakes made by MSP salespeople (and their marketing departments, for that matter) is that they START at a different place than where most prospects are in their buying journey, and it’s the prospect that will never catch up (or buy).

Take a look around at the average marketing campaign you get. They simply state what they do. For example: “We’re a financial services company and we do estate planning, taxes, retirement planning, etc.” “We’re a Realtor and we can help you sell your home.” “We’re a landscaping company and we can mow your grass, mulch, weed the garden, etc.”

1. Your marketing does not get your prospect to realize the problem you’re solving.

Look at the ad on this page for landscaping. The first obvious mistake in their marketing is that they leave out and completely skip over talking about why I might want a great-looking, well-maintained lawn.

They leave OUT how a great looking lawn will help with resale value and curb appeal, making the neighbors jealous. They leave OUT how all other lawn care providers suck at what they do. They leave OUT why doing it yourself is a stupid idea that robs you of time you could spend with the family or relaxing…and they go straight to “We sell landscaping services” and ASSUME, incorrectly, that that’s where all prospects START and where they are missing the majority of the marketplace.

3 Reasons Just “Better Marketing” Won’t Make Your MSP Successful

2. MSP salespeople are not asking the proper diagnostic questions to know where to start in your sales pitch.

But their marketing isn’t the only place this is missed. They then make that mistake in the sales process when a lead comes in. They ASSUME if someone calls their office about their landscaping services, they’re already at the point where they are ready to make a buying decision, and therefore start quoting, not even selling.

They don’t ask good diagnostic questions, such as “What would you consider a fantastic backyard? WHY do you want the back garden to look good? What specifically is bothering you and imperfect right now? Have you worked with any landscapers in the past? Who’s caring for the lawn right now and what about your arrangement isn’t working for you?” NOTHING. They go right to “Let me tell you about our services.”

If you are going to be successful in selling IT services, you MUST get in the practice of asking good DIAGNOSTIC questions BEFORE you start selling, so you know WHERE to start.

If we’re selling our programs, we MUST start with diagnostic questions: “Tell me about your business and why you want a better marketing plan. What do you think that will give you? What are you specifically trying to achieve? What have you tried in the past that’s worked? That hasn’t? What do YOU think the solution is? What CONCERNS do you have about implementing a better marketing plan?” Those are just a few.

Without knowing the answers to THOSE questions, I cannot be effective in selling anything. I have to START by figuring out where they are.

You need to be able to PROVE A NEED.

That’s why I’m a proponent of doing a diagnostic assessment of some kind before you pitch your solution – you need to PROVE THE NEED. Without proper diagnostics, you’re simply a salesperson pitching me what’s on your wagon, not a trusted advisor, crafting a unique solution tailored to my specific situation that will solve my specific problems, thereby elevating you above “just another salesperson” or “just another” IT company hawking the latest and greatest expensive tech that I don’t THINK I need.

Below are just a few diagnostic questions MSP salespeople should be asking any inbound lead or prospect to get you started.

Obviously, they won’t all be relevant and you will need to customize the questions based on what the prospect tells you when calling in, but the most important point is to HAVE scripted, documented diagnostic questions so you’re not just jumping into quoting when someone calls your office.

• Can you tell me a little bit more about your company … and are you the CEO?

• Tell me what prompted you to call us today.

• Do you know what’s causing the problem? How long has it been going on?

• How critical is the issue? What’s your urgency to get this done?

• Who’s currently handling your IT?

• Were they unable to handle this project/problem?

• Are you in a contract with them?

These are just a few preliminary ones I’d be asking before quoting or “selling.” Depending on the situation, I’d certainly have more.

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