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15255063039_1d19e03fbc_zCompanies selling managed services is a little pet peeve of mine right now. Managed services is an industry term. It’s a business model, not a service offering. Your clients aren’t buying managed services, they are buying IT support. You don’t buy “restaurant” or “grocery store.” You buy “food.” First, you need to decide how you want that food made available to you, and several things will influence your decision. Price, convenience, and selection available at the time that you want it will all be factors in the choice.
When we first began pitching managed services for clients, we used the term regularly, and our clients asked us to. It was their differentiator in the market, they said, and it was important. Except that it really wasn’t. We noticed very early that when we included the term “managed services” in our introductory or elevator pitch, the most common reply was “what?” or “what’s that?” And that, my friends, is not a good elevator pitch.

Selling IT support the right way

When selling IT support, you need to create an introductory pitch that describes what you do, not how you’re going to do it or what you’re going to do it with. The first contact you’ll likely pitch will be non-technical, and you need to sell them on an idea. They’ll need to “get it” quickly because they’ll only take a moment to decide if you’re going to get more time with them or anyone else in their organization. A great first pitch is “We solve technology problems for law firms/accountants/architects/dentists/small businesses/whatever!” Your introductory pitch is like a mini elevator pitch meant to open up a conversation, and it can be delivered to anyone you’re talking with. It’s not reserved for a particular contact or title.

Immediately after that statement, ask a question like “What do you personally think the biggest technology challenge (the company name) is facing right now?” This question allows you to use a more detailed elevator pitch that will have more impact. By inviting the prospect to tell you what they are most interested in, you can be certain you’re not going to prioritize a service that is less interesting to them over an offering that can solve a challenge that’s more top of mind.

And, more importantly, it’s organic.You aren’t leading them to a find a pain-point. You’re inviting them to share with you the first thing that comes to their mind. That’s when you can laser focus your elevator pitch on their comment. I like to be heavy on the YOU and PERSONALLY in this question. Everyone in an organization uses technology. If you speak to different contacts within an organization, each will likely have a different answer for that question. If all of those identified problems can clearly be solved with one of the solutions you can provide, how valuable would that be to your prospect?

Personalize your pitch

So, for example, if someone had asked me today what the biggest technology challenge facing my organization is, I would have said that our remote agents aren’t communicating with each other or their clients as well as they could be because they have to use three different things, and none of those things talk to each other properly. Obviously that’s not enough information for you to choose a solution for me. Ask another question. It can be a simple question like “Can you tell me more about that?” or a more pointed question like “What have you tried already to solve that problem?”

Once you have enough information, you can present your elevator pitch tailored to my specific requirements and ask for a meeting to discuss it with me and any other stakeholders. That is the meeting where you’ll begin to discuss the value of working with a company that offers fixed-fee monthly support programs and how they tie in to the problem you’re going to solve for me.

At Managed Sales Pros, we’ve built our prospecting programs around letting people tell us what they’re interested in buying instead of telling people what we think they should buy. Solving Technology Problems is the restaurant. Managed Services is what the waiter recommends.

Photo Credit: Prayitno on Flikr. Used under CC 2.0 license

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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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