Q: My MSP is a smaller two-man shop, and although we have plenty of leads, I feel like getting prospects to commit is tough. Recently we got a bunch of new prospects by networking at tradeshows. But, even though most of these prospects have expressed interest in moving to managed IT services, it seems like they aren’t ready to make the commitment. How can I create urgency in the sales cycle to help us close more business?
It sounds like you’re on the right track to grow your business. One of the most important things you can do for your MSP is continue to network. Doing so will help you keep your pipeline full of potential prospects, but in order to grow your business you need to create a sense of urgency so you can close more deals.
To give insight on how to create that urgency, we spoke to Matt McCarthy, the director of new MSP sales at Intronis MSP Solutions. Not only has he created urgency for his own sales, he’s helped his team do so as well. Here are Matt’s tips on how to close more business and create urgency in the sales cycle:
Qualifying your prospects
Before we assume that everything has gone smoothly in the sales process, let’s take a small step back. To create urgency in the sales cycle, you need to make sure you’ve qualified your prospects correctly early on.
Research before you call. Even before you initially talk to them, research your prospect using all the resources you can. Get to know and understand their background. What do they do, and what services do you anticipate them needing? Will they need help with meeting certain compliance regulations? Build your message before you reach out to them. If you understand their business model and speak their language, you have a better shot of proving your expertise and getting their business.
For example, the most successful MSPs I’ve seen are the ones who are hyper-focused on specific verticals and build an expertise. They understand their customers’ business models and what compliance requirements need to be met. They speak the same language as their customers.
Ask discovery questions. Get to know your prospect! Even though you may have done your research, there still is plenty left to learn about them, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask who makes the decisions. When do they want to buy? What difficulties are they already experiencing?
Starting off with a strong foundation in your sales process is essential to creating success. Researching and asking questions can help you not only build a relationship with your customer, but it can also help expedite the sales process.
Creating a Sense of Urgency
To trigger decision-making, you need to create urgency throughout the sales process. Ask yourself: how will this product or service benefit your client? Answering this question will help you position your message to create urgency, such as suggesting they add a firewall to their services after they just experienced a ransomware attack. Once you have the message, you can create urgency in the sales cycle. Here are four ways to position your message:
- Offer discounts. Although it might not always be the most practical method, the easiest way to create urgency in the sales cycle is to offer your customers discounts that are good for a limited time. You don’t need to offer monetary discounts, though. Even including an additional service in their bundle could be enough to create urgency.
- Accentuate their pain. Understand their pain or their challenges and use that to create urgency. For instance, if they encountered Cryptolocker and failed to restore with their current solution, this is their pain. Pointing out past instances where they lost both time or money and explaining how you can solve it with a new solution can encourage them to make a speedier decision.
- Create urgency around your own timelines. Know what they’re looking for and when they are looking to commit. Sometimes you can expedite the process by creating false timelines. As an MSP, you’re a busy IT professional, so maybe the best time for you to set them up with a service is in the next two weeks. Explain that you have other big projects coming up, and you want to make sure their data is covered right away so they don’t end up having to wait. Communicate this, and it will help create urgency.
- Close the sale with every conversation. Don’t be afraid to ask for the sale. Close every conversation along the sales cycle. When you ask four to five closing questions every call, you’ll hear all the objections upfront. This gives you the opportunity to overcome them early on. Find out what pain they’re experiencing, what their timeline is, and who will ultimately be making the final decision. Do you have the technical edge they’re looking for? You should have a good feeling when to ask for the sale, but often if you create enough urgency they’ll tell you when they’re ready. It’s not a secret.
One closing question I find myself frequently using on the first call is, “If all the information looks good, would you be interested in signing up today?” This encourages them to bring up their objections, whether it’s money, needing to consult a decision maker, the wrong quarter, you name it. This is where you can gather great information. It also gives you a way back in to see if you can figure out if it’s possible to get the sale in by the end of the week or the end of the month.
Although pain points will be different from one client to the next, creating urgency and asking the right questions can help make the sales cycle go smoothly, ultimately helping you close more deals and grow your business.
Ask an MSP Expert is a weekly advice column answering common questions from MSPs and IT service providers. It covers topics ranging from pricing and selling to marketing and communications—and everything in between.