Managed Services Sales: Stop Talking, Start Listening

Managed Services Sales: Stop Talking, Start Listening

Sometimes the best managed services sales tips are short and sweet. During our June 23 MSPmentor Live webcast, ARRC Technology CEO Alex Rogers called on MSPs to rethink their approach to sales. Among Rogers' three recommendations...

1. Remember, you're not in sales: You are in relationship development. Build a relationship with your client.
2. Less talking, more listening: When you are talking, make sure to ask questions then take notes as the customer describes his or her business strategy, priorities and needs.
3. Think long term: You need to ‘touch’ a client at least 12 times before you get a response. Leverage emails, phone calls, messages, letters, gifts, etc.

The tips above sound extremely basic. But I wonder: How many MSPs have actually mapped their business processes to these tips?

Sales Staffing Problems?

From Robin Robins to MSP University, a lengthy list of educators help MSPs with marketing and sales development. And software executives like Intronis CEO Sam Gutmann are helping MSPs to adjust their SaaS pricing discussions. But the old cliche -- "VARs and MSPs are technologists who often lack sales and marketing savvy" -- is difficult to kill.

The latest proof: Our third-annual MSPmentor 250 survey (which runs through July 23, 2010) attempts to identify and track the MSP industry's top executives, entrepreneurs, coaches, community developers and sales professionals. Of the nominations so far, only 4 percent are sales professionals.

Four percent? Ouch.

Hang Out With A New Crowd

Of course, you can always reinvent yourself. The fastest way to do so is to start hanging out with sales-minded professionals. This may sound crazy but go to your local real estate office and ask the broker to meet the top real estate agent. Then, ask the agent a bunch of questions about their approach to successful sales. Repeat that process across a range of verticals -- car dealerships, insurance, financial services, etc.

I suspect you'll spot some common sales traits across all the verticals. And I also suspect the sales pros will reinforce Rogers' three points from above. During all of my conversations with Rogers and ARRC Technology, I've never heard him talk about speeds, feeds and tech jargon. He often asks about my own business priorities, what I'm up to, etc. Does he have a hidden sales agenda? I'm not sure.

And that's exactly the point.

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