Selling from the stage is one of the most potent revenue generation strategies that your MSP can embrace. Because many MSPs are engineering-types, there can be a great deal of reluctance in our industry to public speaking.
Even for those who do take the plunge, the results are often less than desired. Selling from the stage is emotional, not logical. People buy with their hearts and justify it with their brains. You need to connect with your audience on a deeper level than just gigabytes and megahertz.
3 Myths that stop MSPs from trying public speaking:
1. You must be an extrovert to succeed in public speaking.
This myth is the number one reason why MSPs shy away from selling from the stage. The fact is that many of the world’s greatest speakers are introverts. I know, because I have had the pleasure of training and hanging out with some of them! You do not need to be Mr. or Mrs. Personality to be an effective public speaker. Having a system that is well-practiced will get rid of any anxiety that you might feel about getting on stage.
2. You can’t sell technology from the stage.
While it is no secret that selling something as complex as a full managed-services contract can be difficult to sell from the stage, there are still ways of landing plenty of new paying clients. One way of doing this is by using the Monkey’s Paw strategy. This strategy consists of selling the potential client a smaller product or service, with the intentions of selling them a larger one in the future. Just get your foot in the door, and then wow them with your expertise AFTER they are a paying customer.
People buy with their hearts and justify it with their brains. You need to connect with your audience on a deeper level than just gigabytes and megahertz.
3. You have to sell in front of huge audiences.
This one is entirely false. After extensive testing, I have found that my best results occur when I’ve had an audience size of 40-60 active, engaged participants. If you drive the right type of prospects to your events, you can expect to close 20-30% with ease.
5 Steps to success: getting on stages and making sales
Whether you are hosting your own event or attending an industry event, if you have the opportunity to talk in front of an audience full of prospective clients —take it! Here are five simple strategies to implement before taking the stage:
1. Create a Pitch
Take the time to understand the needs of your audience and carefully build an offer that addresses those needs. If you are the one putting on the event, this is done through marketing – you merely attract the kinds of prospects to whom you want to sell. If you are presenting at an event hosted by someone else, do your homework on the event and the audience. Is it a B2B or B2C event? What industry are the attendees in? What is the typical company size? Once you get this critical information, take the time to brainstorm about their technology needs/wants and craft a solution that addresses those specific problems.
2. Create an Effective Presentation
You must have a compelling presentation that connects with your audience. I use PowerPoint for my presentations, and instead of subjecting my viewers to “boring” slides full of text/graphics/charts, I use photographs and images that convey the feeling I am trying to instill in my audience. Remember, you want your audience to focus on you, not your presentation. And finally, please, don’t just get up there and read from the slides!
3. Have a Delivery System
Turn your presentation into a repeatable, living system. What does that mean? For me, it means that I have developed my talk to the point that I can switch out whatever product/service I have been selling and substitute another product/service for that particular audience. When you take the time to learn this skill, you will be able to sell anything, not just your technology.
4. Practice, Practice, Practice
Practice your presentation at least once a day until you can deliver it entirely from memory. Recording yourself and reviewing it is a very effective way of identifying where adjustments need to be made. Deliver your presentation to friends/family/colleagues, or at a venue such as a local Toastmasters meeting, to build some quick confidence.
5. Find the Right Audience
Last, but certainly not least, you must have an audience to whom you can sell. There are many different strategies for attracting an audience. You can plan and execute your own events, but it is time-consuming. The benefit is that you get to keep all of your sales as well as the cost of putting on the show. Alternatively, you can partner with someone else (a producer or joint venture). They do the work and provide you a speaking slot, for a portion of your sales.
Embracing the power of selling from the stage has transformed my MSP. We have halted most of our other marketing strategies and have shifted 100% of our efforts towards driving the right type of prospects to our speaking events. Doing so has brought us an avalanche of new opportunities and reliable, predictable sales.
If you follow these suggestions, you will be well on your way to becoming an expert.
Photo: Matej Kastelic / Shutterstock.