Aren’t you tired of seeing every second post on LinkedIn being about how none of so-and-so’s clients got hit with WannaCry ransomware and how so-and-so can help protect from it? Are you bored of reading about it by now? I am. You are. And so are your prospects. There comes a point when the market is saturated with messaging, and we’ve reached that point. So, here you go. Here’s one more WannaCry post, and then please go on about your business.
Here’s why you’re not going to build a whole sales campaign around WannaCry (or any other media-saturated event for that matter). First, you appear opportunistic, not helpful. Think, for example, about a company pitching prospects in a city that was just hit with a major natural disaster. Would you consider them clever sales executives or vultures? If you approach companies immediately following a major event, you can be seen as exploitative, not professional.
Two approaches to WannaCry
Here at Managed Sales Pros we believe there are two approaches to prospecting. The first approach is suggesting what a prospect needs and presenting yourself as absolute experts in that particular product or service. Using WannaCry as the example, you might choose to talk about backup and how proper backup can eliminate the expensive downtime that follows a ransomware infection. You open up a conversation with a prospect by speaking to that one particular challenge and suggesting one particular solution. “We are experts in helping technology-dependent companies prevent or reduce the downtime that comes from ransomware attacks. We sell backup solutions that allow you to immediately restore your network.”
While that seems like a good approach, especially after a major incident like WannaCry, there are a few reasons why you don’t want to lead with a suggestion — especially after a major incident like WannaCry.
- People who saw value in MSP solutions — including protection from ransomware — before WannaCry hit last week are already buying MSP solutions. If they didn’t get hit by it, they currently think their MSP is doing a great job. You aren’t going to convince them otherwise.
- People who don’t already buy MSP solutions and didn’t get hit by it don’t think it’s going to happen to them.
- People who were affected by it and have an MSP aren’t going to see value in MSP services right at this moment. How are you different from the MSP that just failed them? They’re not in a listening mood.
- People who were affected by it and don’t have an MSP either aren’t technology-dependent enough for it to matter or didn’t want to pay to prevent it. Either way, these are not clients you want.
The right way to approach prospects
So how SHOULD you be approaching prospects after a major event?
Well, you should approach them the same as you do every other day. For most companies out there, it’s business as usual. As I’ve stated many times, the time for a land grab in managed services sales is over. Most of the companies you want to do business with are already doing business with one of your competitors, or they’re just not great targets.
The second, and I believe much preferred, approach to prospecting involves asking the prospect what they are interested in learning about right now. Allow them to lead the conversation. Go into the conversation with no expectations other than to identify what would be of most help to them today. If it’s education around ransomware, great — you can speak to that AND you can use WannaCry as a great example of what happens to companies that aren’t protected.
Letting the prospect lead the conversation serves an important purpose. It prevents you from backing yourself in to a sales corner by presenting yourself as an expert in one thing only to find out they’re not interested in that thing. That conversation is really hard to turn around.
“We are experts in backup!”
“We’re not interested in backup.”
“But wait, we do lots of other things, too!”
Try having a conversation that allows the prospect to tell you what they’re actually interested in instead of telling the prospect what they should be interested in. If it’s ransomware, they’ll tell you. If it’s something else, you won’t lose the interest of the prospect by honing in on something they’re not currently concerned about.
This isn’t to say you shouldn’t be prepared to speak to WannaCry, what happened, and why. It’s going to come up as you prospect, and you should be able to simply and clearly explain how this — and attacks similar to it — happen. You just shouldn’t be the one who brings it up first.
And remember, good clients don’t change IT providers just because someone smart calls them one time. The clients you want will slowly but surely begin to trust a potential new service provider when they demonstrate that they are knowledgeable and persistent. These clients carefully weigh their options, and then they make an informed decision to switch providers at a time that is minimally disruptive to their operations.
Your half-dozen calls today aren’t going to lead to new business tomorrow. Be patient, be persistent, and be the guy who has all the answers about WannaCry, not the guy who is ambulance chasing.