As someone who spends a lot of time talking and writing about how managed services providers (MSPs) need to make their messaging all about the raw value they’re able to offer their prospects, I hear a lot of people say they’re frustrated that those same prospects really only seem to care about one thing and one thing only once they get into the sales process: Price.
Believe me, I get it. You don’t want to put in all of that work to make sure that you’re marketing effort truly shows “what we can do for you,” only to hear some variation of “great… but what is it going to cost me?” in return.
Over the years, I’ve personally scaled sales at Tech Pro Marketing in a way that will allow us to continue to grow without my direct involvement – something that many MSP owners tell me they wish they could achieve. However, this price-focused sales interaction often gets in the way of that goal, instead of helping it.
So how do you get out from under this type of situation in your own MSP? Thankfully, the solution is simple: You change the conversation yet again.
Your natural tendency to help is hurting you
I’ve found that many times, we bring this situation on ourselves. If your sales prospects are making absolutely everything about price, well… that’s because you’ve allowed it to happen in the first place.
Here is a scenario I often hear about from MSP owners: a prospect approaches you with a scope of services that they need and they ask for a price quote on those services, along with some questions about your company to make sure that they would want to do business with you. Because most of us have a natural tendency to want to help people and provide them answers – it’s a large part of why you became an MSP in the first place – you answer their questions and do your best to provide an accurate price quote.
The problem with this scenario is two-fold. First and foremost, your prospects are self-diagnosing their own problems. This means that they’re coming into the conversation with pre-conceived notions about what a “solution” to these problems is actually worth to them.
Self-diagnosis is a problem because it’s not necessarily accurate. Sometimes, it may not even seem to be based in reality, yet it has formed the basis of your prospect’s expectations all the same, and those expectations are going to drive nearly everything that happens after that initial point of contact.
This ultimately means that you’re failing your prospect in the sense that you’re not properly helping them diagnose their problems. If you go into a doctor’s office and insist that you have anxiety and need a prescription for a certain type of medication, he or she isn’t just going to take your word for it. They’re more than likely going to ask some follow-up questions to figure out how you arrived at that conclusion and then do their own testing to determine whether or not it’s accurate. As an MSP business owner, you should be approaching things in the exact same way.
However, that is not the biggest problem that I see in this scenario. An even bigger problem is that once you provide these answers to your prospects, they have absolutely no reason to continue to talk with you, and may never learn about the true value you provide.
Change the conversation
The good news is that there are several important steps you can take today to avoid these types of situations tomorrow. Chief among them is the simple fact that you need to properly qualify prospects before getting into any details about your services or price.
Doing a proper qualification allows you to lead the sales process from the very beginning and have the conversation that you want to have. On your next 15-minute introductory phone call that you have with a new prospect, run the call according to your agenda instead of theirs. After your quick hello, politely share your agenda for the call “On calls like this, I usually like to … does that sound good to you? Great…”
No matter what your complete agenda is, you must begin by qualifying. Don’t be rude, but come right out and ask the questions that you need answers to:
- How many users do they have?
- Where are they located?
- How much are they currently spending on IT?
Your own qualifying questions will be unique to your business. You’ll likely also save yourself a great deal of time, as well. The more specific you are with your qualifications, the more you’ll weed out those serious price shoppers because it’ll be clear from the start that they can’t afford what you offer.
Next, don’t be afraid to come right out and give them the ballpark pricing figure right away. Be open and honest about our rates. Based on what you know, come right out and tell them what you think it’s going to cost before THEY tell YOU what they think it SHOULD cost.
If they don’t flinch on your rates and they’ve passed all of your qualification questions, that’s great: you’ve got a new qualified sales lead.
At this point, by confidently leading this first sales interaction, you’ve also proven that you’re an authority and someone worth listening to. Whatever questions your prospects had prepared about price and your credentials are no longer relevant and most likely will never get asked.
You’ve changed the conversation.
Moving towards value
In the end, understand that everything I’m talking about – using that solid first qualification call to move the conversation away from price – is just one small part of a much larger story. It’s one little piece of the MSP sales and marketing puzzle.
If you’re serious about investing in this idea of future growth, understand that it’s going to be a big investment – meaning that it’s going to be a lot of work. You need to have this piece of the puzzle, yes – but you also need every other piece. You need an entire toolbox to ensure that you’re always capable of making the right move with the right prospect at exactly the right time.
How do you make sure that toolbox is fully equipped with everything your MSP needs to thrive? It’s very simple – talk to either myself or one of my colleagues at Tech Pro Marketing. We’re knowledgeable, we’re experienced and we’re willing to take you through OUR sales process to help you make a great decision with the future of your company.
If after our first 15-minute phone call, we learn that you’re just not a good fit for our services? That’s fine, too – but getting to that answer – that’s the purpose of the qualification call in the first place.
(See how easy that was?)