MSPs find prospecting difficult because they usually focus all their efforts on delivering quality service and keeping existing clients. But that isn’t necessarily the case. If you can invest enough time in your sales team and make a few changes to your existing MSP sales process, then you will win new clients in no time.
Think about this — when someone tries to sell us something, what is our first instinct? Suspicion. That’s why it is essential that your MSP sales team build a bond of trust with the prospect and do this quickly.
Your MSP salesperson should be able to make a first good impression. Study shows that a quick glance is all it takes for someone to form an opinion about you in their first meeting. That’s less than 7 seconds. And people base their opinion on various factors — your appearance (A study showed that crooked teeth leaves a person thinking you are not trustworthy. Seriously?), posture, demeanour, your clothes, etc. It sets the tone for the relationship that ensues.
First impressions are hard to change. This kind of response to first impressions is called thin slicing. This kind of response to people we meet for the first time is what researchers believe, driven by our survival mechanism — this instinctive behavior is built into our very DNA and there’s probably nothing we can do about it.
In a single mental snapshot, we decide whether the other person is likeable, competent, or confident.
If your MSP sales team is having trouble closing deals or have been unable to connect with their prospects right from the start, there’s a good chance it was because of a first bad impression. It’s important that you examine your sales team’s first point of contact with the prospect.
Here are a few tips that can help your MSP sales team make a first good impression.
Back in 300 BC, Aristotle broke down the process of communication into three parts. It holds good even in today’s modern world. These three elements are ethos, pathos, and logos.
You need credibility if you want the person to believe in the product you are selling. Without credibility, you cannot persuade the prospect to buy your product or service. This credibility lies in the MSP salesperson you truly are and how you are perceived by your prospect.
Pro tip: Demonstrate credibility by displaying strong integrity and expertise of the product.
What you say to your prospect on your first meeting should matter to them. Will your product solve a pressing problem your prospect has? Is your service the right solution for their business? If it matters to them, they will listen to you. And this adds on to the first element of ethos, making you a more credible MSP salesperson.
Pro tip: Demonstrate pathos by giving the prospect your undivided attention.
Not everyone is moved by emotions alone. There is at least a tiny sense or need to find logic in an argument or discussion. Your prospect will try to reason the solution your product or service will provide. They will not be convinced or want to invest in your product unless you appeal to their sense of logic.
Pro tip: Demonstrate logos through strategic thinking and backing your arguments with data and facts.
We humans are good at picking up on attitude. And most often this happens instantly.
Begin by focusing on the person you are going to meet. Give them your full attention not just during the conversation but also prior to meeting your prospect. You need to spend time to learn about them —
Who are they?
What do they do?
What are they looking to solve?
What are they talking about on their social channels?
Find the required information to help you focus on your prospect and indulge in conversations that will interest them the most.
Before you even say your hello, consider a few questions — Why are you there to meet them? What are you going to achieve out of the conversation? Your answers to these questions will determine how you want to greet them and project the attitude you want to personify.
Humans are good at aping. Be it emotions, style, mannerisms, we are quick to copy them. Smile as you greet your prospect. They won’t have a choice but to smile back, not only because it is contagious but also because we ape emotions. There is data to show that smiling also puts you in a good mood. And when they are in a good mood, selling is easier.
That’s all the reason you need to smile!
Don’t judge a book by its cover they say, but how often do we follow this? And if we all were followers of this good advice, we wouldn’t have a need for this post.
Study after study shows that attractive people have a better first-impression advantage. Though we can’t help the genes that are bestowed on us, we can definitely make the effort to look presentable.
Salespeople with beards give the impression that they are hiding something, making them lose their credibility. Dirty or unpolished shoes are a sign of sloppiness. Bad body odor or excess perfume is a big no. Switch away from bright clothes; go neutral.
All of this might seem unfair. We are prone to stereotyping others and draw impressions too quickly. But as an MSP salesperson, it is important to look your best because your appearance can put you ahead of your prospect.
The right way to stand is the launch position — let your arms hang loosely at the sides, shoulders down and pulled back, and your head up. This posture shows that you’re confident and in control of your space. And remember to lean in, just a little, to show that you’re interested in the conversation. While you are it, keep a distance of two feet — be respectful of the other person’s space.
Make eye contact. It shows that you’re open and interested to listen to what they have to say. And the real trick is to do the eyebrow flash — open your eyes slightly more than you normally keep them. This raises your eyebrows ever so lightly, showing acknowledgement of your prospect and what they have to say.
As mentioned earlier, one of the key things to making a first good impression is to show that you are genuinely interested in the prospect and what they are trying to solve. This requires that you step in to a more consultative role. Ask relevant and meaningful questions. All the homework that you did to study your prospect and their business requirement will pay off. It will help you plan the right questions.
Most often, sales people keep a set of generic questions handy and use them with all their prospects. If you are one of them, it’s time that you stop because this approach can make you appear uncaring and disinterested.
Always remember to ask open-ended questions. This allows room for the prospect to talk about the problems they wish to solve, making them feel like they are the center of focus. Listen and respond to them sensibly.
Asking questions shows that you deeply care about the prospect’s problem and you are interested in helping them solve it in the best way possible.
These are some simple things you can do to help your MSP sales team create a good first impression.
Focus the selling process on the buyer and not your MSP sales targets for the month. And always remember to tailor your conversation based on each prospects’ interests and communication style.
Do you have a tip that has helped you nail your first impression? Let us know in the comments below.