When the film Gravity was released, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and many NASA astronauts critiqued its accuracy. The overwhelming response from fans: “Quit nitpicking, and just enjoy the film! NASA needs to understand how physics works, but the average moviegoer just wants to feel like they’re in space!”
In technology services, the reaction is frequently similar. Business owners often do not understand … and do not care about … the technical minutia. While MSPs know all the ins and outs of IT systems, they need to focus on a business’s goals if they want to gain more clients, and get those clients to sign on for bigger/more services.
Here are six tips for pitching technical services to non-technical decision makers:
- Know the IT fluency of your clients. Know whether the person you’re pitching is an IT novice, technologically conversant or a true tech enthusiast. Match their tone so you don’t speak above their heads or use a condescending tone.
- Learn the client’s challenges and goals. Go beyond a client’s specific request. Talk with them about their frustrations or problems (needs), their short and long term intentions (goals), and their financial means (budget). Then present options that will better serve them both immediately and down the line.
- Pitch the business impact, not the IT solution. Your proposal needs to include the equipment and services you are recommending, but it is equally important to focus on the business impact. Will it enable more up-to-date client files, result in quicker order processing, enable employees to work off-site, reduce downtime, etc.?
- Persuade through storytelling. Don’t talk about 15-minute block-level backups or emergency virtualization. Tell a story about a client who accidentally deleted a motion an hour before court and you recovered a current backup within five minutes, or a client whose pipes burst and you brought up a failover server they could access remotely during repairs.
- Offer a range of choices. Present several alternatives at varying service levels and costs. Discuss the tradeoffs, advantages, risks and impact of each option. Be flexible enough to negotiate a la carte solutions. In the end, it’s up to the client to decide what they want and can afford.
- Set clear expectations. Client satisfaction comes from delivering services that meet expectations. Be clear about what you can realistically deliver, and know what your clients expect from you. Talk about the likelihood of certain disaster scenarios. Ask, “When a server goes down, what do you expect my response to be? Is being down for an hour/day a problem?”
Think like a business owner, and present sales proposals that show you value and understand their priorities. Otherwise, you’ll come off like an astrophysicist who can’t enjoy a great film because a jet pack doesn’t have enough fuel to reach the International Space Station from the Hubble Telescope.
John McCallum is the Vice President of Sales for Zenith Infotech. Zenith specializes in delivering enterprise-class IT solutions for virtualization, storage, and business continuity for IT providers. Zenith’s TigerCloud multi-tenant converged infrastructure enables partners to deliver hosted infrastructure. Zenith DRaaS, powered by the BDR-G14, supports onsite and offsite backup and recovery. Learn more at www.zenithinfotech.comor email [email protected].