cold calling tipsIf you’ve added cold calling to your sales and marketing strategy, you’ve likely been told “No, thank you!” in more ways than you can count.  Rejection and objections are part of the process, and there are multiple ways to navigate them successfully.

Over the next few months, I’m going to share some of the most common objections we encounter when selling managed services and some of the techniques we use here at Managed Sales Pros to work through them. This month: We already have that.

This could mean one of several different things:

  • They already have a managed services contract in place
  • They have a time-and-materials or break /fix agreement with an outsourced IT service provider
  • They have an agreement with one IT consultant who comes in as needed.
  • Someone in-house is responsible for IT in addition to their current job
  • They have an in-house IT person whose sole role is IT support for the company
  • They have an in-house IT team
  • They just don’t want to talk to you

Ask follow-up questions

So, first you need to find out what they mean. I suggest trying questions like these:

“Great—tell me what is currently working well for you?”
 “Fantastic—who are you working with now?”
“I understand.  It’s pretty rare that I call someone who doesn’t already have IT support in place.  What would my team need to bring to the table to earn your business?”

All of these questions are open-ended, and none of them are so intimate that you’ll need an extraordinary rapport to ask them. Avoid saying things like, “Do you mind if I ask you a question?” Instead, just ask your question. Keep your tone positive and upbeat. Sound curious, not confrontational.

The answer to that first question is the fuel that will keep the conversation moving forward. Once they begin talking, you can ask more questions to learn more about what they “already have” and then discuss why you might have a better solution. You want the prospect to become comfortable enough chatting with you that they organically share what they’re doing instead of you having to ask more targeted questions.

Once you’ve identified what you’re selling against, you can begin to build your business case Tweet: Once you’ve identified what you’re selling against, you can begin to build your business case. http://bit.ly/1HBVyfl and ask other questions to position yourself to win a meeting—and hopefully some business. Here are a few tips on how to handle the most common scenarios.

 If they have a managed services contract in place:

  • Find out when it is up for renewal and get a commitment for a conversation before that happens. This is your highest percentage shot, especially if they aren’t currently happy. These scheduled conversations will become your sales opportunity pipeline.
  • Learn what they like about their current provider and ask what they would improve upon. This will tell you what you need to do to win their business next time around.

If they have a T&M or Break/Fix agreement:

  • Ask when they last had a complete network health assessment.
  • Ask how often they meet proactively with the team to discuss changes and trends in security and technology.
  • Ask if their business could survive a financial breach and if they are 100-percent protected from one.
  • Ask who is responsible for their disaster recovery plan and how often is it revised.

If they have one IT consultant:

  • Ask how many hours of support they needed last month and how many computers that person supports—You might not want this lead.

If someone at the company divides their time between IT and another role:

  • Discuss opportunity cost. I usually do this in the form of a story. I don’t do my own accounting because my billable time is worth X, and my accountant charges Y. It doesn’t make sense for me to spend my time doing something that I’m not great at to save a couple of bucks because it’s really costing me money in the form of time I could be using to make money. Then ask how much time does that person spend on IT? If it’s an hour a week, you might not want this lead.

If they have one in-house IT person (and you’re prepared to do project work):

  • Ask when they last had a complete network health assessment. Fresh eyes might catch something that has been overlooked or ignored due to time constraints. Remember, you have a full team of experts with recent certifications and a firm grasp of all the trends and challenges that are facing companies just like theirs.
  • Ask what changes are coming up that the IT person might require additional support for.

If they have an IT team (and you’re prepared to do project work):

  • Ask what their process for selecting new vendors looks like. How do you position your company to get the next call they make to an outsourced provider?
  • Ask what projects might be coming up that will require outside support. When was their last major investment in IT infrastructure?

If they just don’t want to talk to you, thank them for their time and ask if you can send them information to keep on file in case there is a future need. Check in regularly. Sometimes being respectful and charming for long enough will pay off. A Starbucks gift card never hurt anyone either. (You would be surprised how far a five dollar latte can get you!) Good luck and happy selling!

Photo Credit: Alan Clark on Flickr.com. Used under CC 2.0 License.

Carrie Simpson

Posted by Carrie Simpson

Carrie Simpson is the founder of Managed Sales Pros, a lead generation firm dedicated to providing new business opportunities for MSPs. Carrie teaches IT firms how to build, manage, and grow their sales pipelines. You can follow Carrie on Twitter @sales_pros and connect with her on LinkedIn. 

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