The following is an example of a question that I get from MSPs FREQUENTLY:

“Once I get the contact on the phone, say the CEO, he or she will usually say, ‘Yes, I got your information and passed it on to my IT department.’ For me this is like being placed in the Bermuda Triangle, because the IT person usually never returns calls. I am sure they fear losing their job or getting in trouble. It is nearly impossible to get a call or email back. I do try the recommended Robin Robins comeback, ‘Great, we deal with a lot of customers that have internal IT folks, but what we would like to talk to you about is a third-party validation of the security and stability of your computer network. We don’t always find something wrong, but often we’ll uncover a few areas that are not being secured or maintained as well as they should.’ I have had success with one prospect with this comeback. Most of the time, I feel they are so hesitant because they do not know who we are, even after dripping, meaning there is probably a trust issue. I am hoping you can advise, or others can share their experience in handling this scenario.”

There are subtle signs in your commentary that make me wonder if you really have a problem at all. For example, the nature of your question is “What am I doing wrong?” You didn’t articulate it that way, but that’s essentially what you are asking. Before you jump to the conclusion that you ARE doing anything wrong, let me propose some food for thought.

Rejection is an asset in sales

First off, when you are prospecting and following up on marketing campaigns, you have to realize that most people are NOT interested, nor should attempt to convince them to be. If you are going to stay sane and be successful in that role, you have to not only accept that, but truly embrace it. You should certainly not feel bad about it or worry over it.

I train my appointment setters that “No” is a perfectly acceptable, and even favored, response. We will openly tell a prospect, “If you aren’t interested, that’s fine. Just say so and I won’t call you back.” We’ll take a “Yes,” but I’d prefer a firm “No” over a call-back or no response any day of the week. I also coach my sales team to not waste time trying to convert the “No” responses into a “Yes.” It’s annoying to the prospect and it’s frustrating and draining for you. If you do manage to somehow convince them to set an appointment, they’re not going to be in an open, willing state of mind. So, when I send my sales rep to meet with them anyway, it’s a fool’s errand.

I compare prospecting to finding the aces in a deck of cards. Let’s suppose we were playing a game where I promise to pay you $10 for every ace you could find in a deck of 52 playing cards. The rules are you have only one minute, and you must find the aces by turning the cards over one at a time. You cannot pick up the deck and flip them all over at once and you cannot sort through any other way. The first card you turn over is a queen of hearts. How much time are you going to waste trying to convince me it’s an ace? If you’re smart, you’ll waste ZERO time. You’ll just keep flipping until you find the ace. That’s a lot like prospecting.

When you’re okay with a “No” and you realize not everyone is going to be interested and you don’t have to convince everyone to be interested you relax more. It will give you more confidence and it will come across in your voice. Desperation and anxiety are obvious to spot in sales-people, and prospects detect it like a dog smells fear. They won’t buy from you because they know something is “off”, even if they can’t articulate why.

So, back to your question. The CEO says they passed it off to their IT department. You could simply say, “That’s great. We work with IT departments all the time. What would you like me to do?” You don’t need a “comeback.” Your job is to find those who are looking for you, NOT to be an alchemist and turn a rock into a gold nugget.

Photo:  Constantin Stanciu / Shutterstock

Robin Robins

Posted by Robin Robins

Robin Robins is the CEO and Founder of TechnologyMarketingToolkit.com, the largest sales and marketing consulting firm in the IT channel, specializing in sales-generating marketing campaigns for MSPs, VARs, and solution providers. To date, over 7,000 IT services firms have enrolled in one or more of her programs. Visit her website for more information and to request a free one-on-one marketing consultation and marketing roadmap for your IT services firm.

One Comment

  1. Avatar

    Great article. I like the insight and relevant advice particularly with the market now, as many won’t say what they think so you just can’t waste time now chasing people that go nowhere.

    I also liked the point in how you can spend too much energy working a prospect to “handle objections” when it just creates a wall as they just continue to feel defensive rather them feel like they are having a conversation where they feel in control – and I mean a natural conversation where both parties can feel in control.

    About the problem though I didn’t get the problem exactly either!! Was the questioner concerned because his services would make the IT redundant? So therefore he is worried it would then go nowhere (as the IT ppl wouldn’t want to approve it!) Or, was he worried that he is getting the run around – when it might actually BE the IT team who decide on this! So all he should do first is to understand WHY it was passed to the IT team, then he can deal with the situation accordingly. And also asking what the CEO thought of it. Then he could still try to build up the interest or clarify misunderstandings, or, otherwise, just ask who in the IT team would be the person who would be best to talk to about this. And why.

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