How to Close Prospects: Key Takeaways from Robin Robins Producers Club

Posted February 3, 2015by Mary McCoy

Robin-Robins-company-blog-image

“All marketing is is salesmanship multiplied. If you know how to sell to a customer, you know how to market to them.”

"Marketing is fishing with a net rather than a pole.”

"You've either closed it or hosed it."

If you were at the Robin Robins Producers Club in Nashville, Tennessee last week, chances are you heard these notable quotables from the IT industry's most in-demand marketing consultant, sales trainer, and author, herself! I was lucky enough to escape the aftermath of Juno and fly down to Music City to attend her sessions and talk to the MSPs who've had tremendous success with her Technology Marketing Toolkit. As someone who frequently writes about sales and marketing best practices on our MSPblog, I walked away from the event with a better understanding of the challenges you and many other MSPs face when it comes to these core areas of your business.

While I can't give away any of Robin's secret sauce, check out my recap below! If you're not already using her services and are struggling to grow your marketing program, many of our partners swear by her, and I now see why!


Close, But No Close

Head-Trash

Robin-Robins-Booth-Shot-blogSalespeople are slimy, polyester suit-wearing sharks that will do or say anything to make the sale.

I have a technical background. I'm not a salesperson. Sales talent is born, not learned.

I feel like I'm stealing from prospects or clients when I ask for more money and try to sell them on additional services.


Be honest, you've probably thought this at least once in your careers. For many of you, sales doesn't come with as much ease as configuring a server, and that's OK! Becoming a closer is a learning process, and in order to do it, you have to get rid of these negative opinions - what Robin calls "head-trash."

Do you believe your managed IT services can truly help prospects? Do you want to team up and grow their businesses together? Will you do everything you can to ensure the protection and security of their networks? There's nothing seedy or dishonorable in that. 


5 Stages to Close

1. Qualify 

Your time is valuable, and you can't waste it on low-probability prospects. Understand why they're looking to make the switch from their current MSP or establish a business relationship with one for the first time. Know their pain points. Robin has a whole pre-meeting questionnaire and script for MSPs who join her program if you don't know how to proceed!

Make sure your lead generation process is solid and that there's a follow-up process. Are phones sent and emails answered in the way you want them to be? 




Scott-Spiro-Flaming-Grenade-blog-fix2. Discovery

By skipping this stage, you might miss a crucial underlying prospect issue that your services can either mitigate or solve! Maybe it's not just that Company X needs a stable and secure network. Maybe what Company X really needs is peace of mind, to not have to spend time worrying about IT security. What CEO has the time to wonder about these things?

 

 



 

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Is there enough common ground for us to move ahead with this sale?
  • What's the "big hairy problem" (BHP) that needs solving and what's the result they want?
  • Have you talked with the person who has the authority to make a decision?
  • Can you actually help them?
    • This goes back to Robin's head-trash argument. It's not just about making any sale.
  • Is there a high probability this will result in a sale?
    • If not, move on!

What else does Robin offer to help you market your services? A cybersecurity webinar/seminar template! You can't always assume prospects are fully knowledgeable of today's biggest security risks and implications. With these assets, you can tackle MSP marketing in bite-sized chunks!


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3. Diagnose

mk-dan-mccoy-booth-captionIn this stage, you review all of the information you've collected and make the call by conducting a network audit or at least scheduling an on-site visit. Robin reminded us that proper business positioning means you're the expert. Just like a doctor doesn't ask a patient what his/her blood pressure is, don't expect prospects to tell you what they need. That's your job! Just because a rep from Company X tells you they're backing up their data, doesn't mean they are or are doing so in an efficient, scalable way. In your first walk through, you may notice a deeper problem they were unaware of, one in need of a bigger solution. Robin urges you to not leave money on the table! 

Keep the following in mind so that you're prepared for that first appointment:

  • Plan your schedule accordingly so you show up early - don't forget to factor in travel time!
  • Have a prepared AGENDA (printed) for the meeting, including what the goal of the meeting is and what you are going to ask, do or say.
  • Dress professionally and conservatively. 
    • Wear a clean collared or logo shirt, no stains, no holes no wrinkles!
      • If you're a CEO, don't wear a logo shirt.
    • No sneakers!
  • Don't reek of perfume, cologne, or cigarette smoke
  • Take Careful notes. You’ll need them later and it shows you are paying attention.
  • Thank them and reassure them that you have some great ideas you are going to share with them based on what you learned in the pre-meeting qualification call

It's worth noting that these are only a few of Robin's suggestions.


booth-antics-robin-robins-caption-size4. Prescribe


Next, it's time to get out your RX pad and sell them your offering. Don't give them an "all or nothing" offer. Robin claims this is how lots of MSPs and IT solution providers lose sales. You have to give them Option A and B. Another mistake many of you make? Selling the prospect less than he or she needs to make the sale. Expect your prospect to try to drive the price down and only ask for the bare minimum of services. Caving in will only backfire later when something inevitably goes wrong. 

Pro Tip: NEVER email a quote. 


5. Close

You've arrived at the final stage. Now, it's time to get them to sign the agreement - don't call it a "contract" - and write you a check. Try to get their commitment in the same meeting in which you're prescribing, but be prepared for follow-up time. Don't force the sale. If it doesn't happen organically by this point, move on. "You've either closed it or hosed it."

 

This may seem like a lot of useful information, but it's really only a nugget of the MSP sales and marketing guidance you receive when you partner with Robin Robins! And don't just take my word for it! Partners like Dan McCoy of Micro Enterprises LLC, Howard Globus of ITonDemand, Jay Ryerse of Digitel Corporation, Scott Spiro of Computer Solutions Group, Inc., Charles Henson of Nashville Computer Inc., and Mike Clemmons of Bytecafe Consulting Inc. have all had their own Robin Robins success stories! 


Want more from Robin? She's a keynote speaker at Navigate 2015!

register-for-navigate-2015

 

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Meet Mary! Mary McCoy is a Demand Generation Programs Manager at Continuum, where she's worked for over two years. Mary primarily manages the MSP Blog and has consulted with hundreds of partners, lending website, blog and social media support. Before that, she graduated from the University of Virginia (Wahoowa!) with a BA in Economics and served as digital marketing intern for Citi Performing Arts Center (Citi Center), spearheading the nonprofit’s #GivingTuesday social media campaign. Like her school’s founder, Thomas Jefferson, Mary believes learning never ends. She considers herself a passionate, lifelong student of content creation and inbound marketing.


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