What should be your MSP Sales Approach - Consultative Strategy or Packaged Process?

Summary

Selling MSP services can be unpredictable and long. 

For some managed services businesses, a laid-back approach can work. Especially those organizations that have more sales opportunities coming in than spots that they have available for new customer onboardings. It's a great strategy to set the expectation early in the process that your MSP is exclusive, and that the customer is the one who is fortunate to have found you. 

However, for some MSPs – the ones who are looking to scale from $1 million in revenue to $5 million in revenue in just a few years, for example, or the ones who don’t yet have a mature enough marketing system to completely fill their pipeline – you're not going to be able to take that same laid-back approach to sales, you need a more consultative selling approach.

Whether it is consultative or a packaged sales process, you have to pick a side. The question is “how to decide what sales process is the best fit for your MSP”?

In this webinar, we talk with Nate Freedman from Tech Pro Marketing. We address:

  • Developing a sales process you can stick to every time you engage a prospect.
  • Deciding which sales process is right for your MSP - consultative or packaged. - The answer might surprise you!
  • Walkthroughs of different sales approaches that you can adapt and use for your own business.

Key Takeaways

1.Nate’s approach to marketing and sales and why “the traditional sales approach” is broken. 

  • Customers are leading the sales process.
  • More focus on close rate instead of growth.

2.What is the Packaged Sales Approach? 

  • Can be useful for older MSPs
  • Fixed pricing and bundles
  • Works well for mature Service Providers that have enough marketing system to completely fill their pipeline


3.What is the Consultative Selling Approach?

  • No fixed pricing. Strategy changes based on each customer.
  • Useful for MSPs just starting out
  • For MSPs looking to scale from $1 million in revenue to $5 million in revenue in just a few years

4.How to do consultative selling?

  • Having qualification, discovery and follow up meetings.
  • Understanding the price to value ratio.
  • Find quick wins, give your customers insights.


5.Is a consultative sales process worth the time-invest?

  • Paid discovery makes the consultative sale worth it.
  • Even if you do it for free, it’s still worth it because you’re building the relationship. 


6.How do some MSPs mess up consultative selling? How can one become a business strategy consultant for clients?

  • Don’t just focus on technical aspects, dedicate yourself to the success of your customers' business.
  • Customer Success needs to be at the core of your business, from your marketing, to the sales process through your delivery.


7.Regardless of what sales approach you use, you’ve got to pick a side and commit to it.

  • Having a sales process nailed down to the minute is important. Work on that.

TRANSCRIPT

Shannon:

Hello and welcome to Sales Approaches - Consultative Strategy or Packaged Process?. I'm Shannon, Chief Marketer at Zomentum, the Sales Acceleration Platform built for the channel. Today I am joined by Nate Freedman, CEO and Founder of Tech Pro Marketing. He is also a featured author and trainer in the MSP industry working with clients. He also works with clients as private sales and marketing coach, Nate has dedicated himself to solving the MSP marketing problem helping owners across North America and the UK scale lead gen and win more customers. 

Thank you for being here with us today, Nate.

Nate:

Super happy to be here, Shannon. I love the webinar series you've been doing so far. Last week's episode was super powerful. I've recommended a lot of the people in my network to just go back and watch that one as well. Andrew Moon's incredible. And you've just been an awesome host on these webinars. So yeah, happy to be here and contribute to this community.

Shannon:

Thank you. Thank you. Yeah, the Andrew Moon session was great. I'm learning a lot. And I really love digging in with the experts, right. It's like, let's get away from generalities, with marketing and sales advice and you guys are experts. So let's leverage that knowledge. I know, we're all centred around helping the community and helping the channel. 

Okay, so let's dive right in. Familiarize us with your approach to marketing sales. I've heard you say before, the traditional approach is broken. Why? What do you mean by that?


Why Is the Traditional Marketing Approach Broken?

Nate:

Great. So yeah, just a little kind of background, how I got here, how I got interested in MSP sales.

Specifically it is Tech Pro Marketing. We started as an MSP lead generation company, and we help MSPs generate new leads. And we're in the situation where sometimes we would like to have great success with a client that can come back to us and say - “Hey, maybe another new customer got another new deal. And it was really great. But then we'd come along with some customers, and it's like, Nate, we've been going at it for six months, and we haven't won a new business so far.”

So that's when we made a shift in our business, instead of focusing just on lead generation, which is super important - we started really helping MSPs win new customers. 

And there's kind of more than just lead generation, there's a few components to it, I think the three major components are definitely lead generation, your offer, which was like a big part of the topic last week, which was what I was so excited about. And then sales, which is what we're going to be talking about today. 

So when we started digging deep into it with our clients, and especially the clients that were having trouble with their sales, is when we found there were like a few things going on, right? 

Number one, MSPs didn't have too much of a sales process, they maybe had a general idea of doing an audit, or collecting some type of information, and then presenting a quote, but from my background, and the sales and marketing trainer that I've been through. It really wasn't much of a process that that we've seen has success. 

Number two, we just found that MSPs going through their sales process - were getting into situations where they were collecting the prospects leading to three or four quotes. And they were comparing against everybody and concluding with, thanks for your approach, but we went with the cheapest offer. Right. And I don't know if anyone here has been in that situation, I do know some people here that have been in this situation just because personally, talking of someone this is the closest.

Shannon:

On the other hand, if you've been in that situation, you know! Interacting there at the bottom of your screen, you can let us know now.

Nate:

And you know what, I've seen that it's come down to basically a lot of MSPs that put themselves in a situation where maybe not their service offering is not a commodity, but they're putting themselves in the situation where they're being treated like a commodity. And when you're being treated like a commodity, you know, there's a strategy for that, you know,

Shannon: 

You have to kind of take control and reverse that process. And that can be a hard dance to master for sure.

Nate:

So I think the core of that is price to value ratio, going along with how you approach your sales process. And that's why we kind of came up with this topic, which is from one of our ‘spur of the moment’ discussions - this idea of which type of sales process are you going to choose? And that's the issue that I've been seeing.

Shannon: 

Yeah.

Because I think you and I were talking about that, you're saying sometimes it's not about generating more leads, of course, people want leads, they want to fill their pipeline, but you're being very strategic about this. 

We're saying sometimes, you just need to tighten up your sales process, right? If you're only converting 5 out of 10? Well, if you got a 40% growth on your close rate, that would still be fabulous versus bringing in new leads, right? So I think that that's where you put this focus in terms of talking about exploring consultative versus exploring packages. It really is like that, I mean I am happy to contrast those in a second. But it's really about efficiency, and not being as resource intensive. So you can generate results more quickly! Right?

Nate:

Whenever you're analysing, whenever you're trying to find a problem in a solution in your customer acquisition process, you want to identify some like, quick 2x 5x levels, right? What we can do is that we can double the results or triple the results. Well, if you're getting 10 leads a month, and you want to get that to 30, that's going to be a major effort, you know what I mean? Like tripling that is going to be really, really hard. But if you’re closing 1 out of 10 leads to go to closing 3 out of 10 leads, that's not so hard. 

I think if you're only 1 one out of 10, you might be able to get up to closing for 5 out of 10 by making some smaller strategic changes. It's about finding some of these levers that you can twist and can tighten, and that's going to help you get a lot of growth, as opposed to going after these things that are going to take a lot of grinding to get out of Yeah.

Shannon: 

Yep, yep, absolutely. And we did a session with Jamie Williams, of Your Sales Energy and Tom Watson of MSPGo. They even said that, in some cases, you want to have somebody set those appointments for you so that you can focus on getting closer, right? So in terms of best use of your resources in time, if you're looking to expand maybe, it's trusting someone else to get the appointments, right? Bring in leads, and then you're refining your process in the way that you just outlined. So can you compare and contrast like consultative versus packaged for everyone, just so that we make sure that we're defined the same way?


Packaged Sales Approach - When Does It Work

Nate:

Sure. We have a few clients that are really successful, and they have just a packaged approach. Some of them even have their prices on their website, they are very open with their pricing, and they just offer good service at a fair price. You know, it's nothing, their service is not like - “Hey, we're going to come in and overhaul your business, and they’re not going to do what Andrew did. And they're not going to give you a 25% increase in your billable hours in 90 days.” 

But what they're going to do is they're just going to do a solid job of being an MSP. They come in at a price point, that's really fair. And it's actually a pretty easy deal. Because what people are seeing it’s like, Okay, well, these other guys are kind of taking me through this extended sales process. I just need to know, I just need a help desk, I need these few things. And I know what I'm paying right now. I want it to be a little better. But I'm pretty happy with this kind of lower price point offer. 

I don't know if there's anyone here from the UK, or anyone has ever heard of Ronseal before. But Ronseal is a really famous advertising campaign. They're a wood finish company like wood stain. I'm sure they're in like a lot of marketing textbooks and things like that. And their slogan was just, it does what it says on the tin, right? It does what it says on the can in the US. And like there's absolutely nothing wrong with that - to just offer a good process, a good product at a fair price. 

“And I think if you offer a good product at a fair price, you can come in, have your packages pre-set up and sell it to your audience. They'll come in and they'll say, yep, that's what I wanted.”


Our clients who are doing that, a lot of times they're just having one call with the prospect and signing them up, like right then on the spot, without even doing an audit, without even doing anything like that afterwards, because everything lines up and the price matches.  I think it's great. And I think we were even talking about it that MSPs are charging up to $250 a seat, some MSPs are charging $500 a seat. And I think that's awesome. I think as an entrepreneur, I think it actually is a better overall strategy to charge more per customer. That just as an entrepreneur or business. 

However, I think the issue is that when you use the same sales process as someone who's charging $75 a seat, or if you're just having one or two meetings with somebody, are you really going to be able to show the value between $75, $150 or $500 in just one or two meetings? I think that's where you have to think about doing a consultative sales process. That goes a lot deeper than just this kind of typical one or two meeting MSP sales process.

Shannon: 

Yeah, absolutely. If you want to be charging more, you have to show that value, right? And I think there needs to be a little bit more of an investment in the relationship. Both clients can like you, the one that is in the package process and the one that's consultative. But, again, actually, we talked about this with Andrew last week, right, like being that indispensable business consultant. Right. So I think we've talked about that discovery, the one hour discovery needs to be driven towards getting results for them. Right. And I think you said, Find good problems, or you can have a big impact, right?


Why Do Discovery Calls Need to Be Driven towards Business Results?

Nate:

Finding the million dollar problem - that's like what you're looking for through discovery. And I know, I don't want to go totally out of context. I haven't watched Andrews yet. Watch it by the way, you guys. 

Yeah, I mean, I think like, there is a couple of things going on there in terms of building relationships, finding big problems, and solving big problems and proving value, I think like as far as what I've seen is if you go through a consultative sales process, you're going to have kind of two things that are going to be to your advantage, as compared to going with like a, you know, one or two meeting sales process. 

And I don't know Andrew didn't talk about it. I think he usually actually had niched down and knew his offer so well in his market so well that he would actually do the consulting after they had signed up. 

I think what we're talking about with the consultative sales process is when you're in a little bit of an earlier stage in your MSP. So I think one thing to think about is that when you're in an early stage MSP, you're not going to be able to have these amazing results that Andrew got, you know, it's just that takes hard work, that takes time to build up to get some case studies and get some testimonials like that, where you've delivered this insane amount of value. If you're just starting out, or if you're just kind of shifting your mindset, like you just watched last week's webinar, you know, the guy wants to do that, it's going to take you some time to get there. 

And I think that's where you can bring in consultative selling. And I think that can help you bridge the gap. I would say that if you want to undertake Andrew’s strategy, and you want to go for it and you're going to say I'm going to do this for one particular niche market, I'm going to do it for law firms, I would say, well, then you need to do a really good consultative sale with 5 or 10 law firms. 

Then once you've got that, maybe you can move back to a packaged approach. 

Shannon:

Let's just talk about what a consultative approach is, because people aren't totally clear about this.

Consultative Sales Approach - When Does It Work

Nate:

So basically the packaged approach is kind of like, hey, here is a package sign up. Maybe you can even sign up on the website, make it super clear, you're not hiding anything. Everyone's got all the information, take it or leave it and it works. You do you, do what you say. But there's usually not any crazy offer with it. 

A consultative sales process is going to be a little bit different, right? It's where you're going to get a lead in. And they're going to say, Okay, so basically to get a price quote, I'm collecting price quotes, I want to get like five price quotes right now. And you might change what you say, you might instead of saying okay, well let me collect some information. And I'll email over a price quote, where you're in kind of this situation that we described at the beginning, you might say,

Shannon: 

Hey, that's the kiss of death for consultative sale, do not speak about the price conversation, you need to reserve that.

Nate: 

Yeah, and I think like me and you, we've both done this in our career, and you say, you know, your situation, I actually think that there's like a lot of potential here. 

But it is slightly complex, every business is unique, every business that we work with is unique. And I think when you work with us, you're going to want to get return on investment, right? You're going to want to have some opportunities for us to increase efficiency and increase your billable hours, you're going to want to find some opportunities where we're going to be able to reduce your expenses, right? 

If you're overpaying on certain things. And if I'm really going to deliver that amount of value to you, I don't think we're going to be able to just kind of come in and do an audit of your systems and give you a price quote, you know, not for the amount of value that I think is possible to provide to you. 

So what you would propose to a prospect like that is to engage them in some sort of in-depth discovery and consultation process and do a consultative selling. It's definitely not going to be one meeting. You know, I think you can put elements into it in a single meeting. 

But whenever I've found a huge problem, and that's really like out there for this particular customer. It's taken 3,4.5 meetings, it's taken speaking to different stakeholders at the business. You're still going to run on all your tools and scans at the technical level, but having this true desire to help, having this idea of like - you know what, before I propose a solution, because my goal here is to deliver an insane amount of value before proposing a solution, I really need to actually research the situation and come up with a solution - That's going to put you in a better position. 

And I think the two reasons why is number one, you're going to be able to actually have a pretty good idea of how you can provide value, you're going to be at the end of it, when you give your proposal, it's not going to be okay, so here are the things that we do. Here's what it costs, here are the big problems I found. Here's how I think we can solve them. And this is the business impact, I think that it's going to have the value side of it.

Shannon: 

Yes, yes. And let's start with the problem and showing or creating a solution to the problem versus the package. If you start listing like, these are the things I can do and how much they cost,, like a menu, then you're just like, these are the things I do versus these are the problems I solve.  And that's like the mind set with the conversation anytime. And sometimes it can be a confidence to write like, well, yes, I can do this. And yes, I can do that. Right. But like what is in your best interest for the type of ICP, like ideal customer persona that you want to bring on board for your business, right? And so you have to kind of slow down and say, Yes, I could do all these things. But what is it actually like, listening to what they're saying, what is the solution, the problem that they're telling me that they need a solution for? And just kind of slow it down from there?

Yeah, and it will take a lot of meetings, I think, with my consultancy, I learned that I usually had to have them for three one hour meetings. But at that point, there had been such a high level of trust that was generated, that it was not a question if I would make the sale. Right. So I think you said the same thing when we've talked before that you had a close rate of 100% when you're engaging in numerous meetings, right? Because they've put the time in. Right? So they want the relationship to work out, they want to give you a yes. You kind of have to demonstrate the reason why they shouldn't, right.

Nate:

Yeah, so that’s what I mean, the two major benefits of the concentrated processes, you get to find the big problems and get the value. But then this kind of other unintended benefit to it, which really, to me is an intended benefit. And I think one of the major reasons you should do it. And honestly, even if you don't even find the value or whatever the relationship you build over that time is going to be strong enough that you'll still probably win the deal. 

You know, like, just the fact that you're going to meet with someone three, four or five times, and you're a nice person and you have an honest intention to help them. They're going to be like, Yeah, I want to work with this person. I know them and I like them now.

Shannon: 

Yeah. Right. And that's really the secret to a lot of sales. Right? What likability factor do I know, like and trust?

Nate: 

Yeah. 

“So I would say, for anybody, if you take anything out of this webinar, if you're having trouble winning sales, find ways to add more interactions into your sales process. If you're just having two or three meetings with them, find a way to have a fourth and a fifth meeting.” 

One thing we did at Tech Pro Marketing, my own business, is when we were having this kind of trust issue, we were having people go to our website, apply for a call and actually book a one hour call. That was great for us, we could schedule the call. But we found that we weren't able to build a strong enough trust with the prospects over just a one hour call.

We realized we weren't building up trust. So what did we do? We just did something simple. We said, you don't schedule the strategy call, you don't schedule the one hour call on the website, You schedule a five minute call. And that's and that's what you do. And at the five minute call, we just kind of say hello, get to know you a tiny bit and schedule the one hour call. But that one extra meeting just builds a lot of trust because you know, it's like you've known them for that much longer. You're already familiar with them by the time you get to the call. So it's not like I'm talking to a stranger. Now I'm just talking to this person I kind of know already.

So like if you want to start small with this, just make sure you do a qualification call before you do a strategy call.”

Shannon: 

Yeah. And you didn't see any drop off by like adding that extra call and that extra little breadcrumb along the way?

Nate:

If anything and, we've all read this, we've all seen this, we all know it to be true, but it's really hard to face it yourself is that - The higher you charge, the more exclusive you are, the more hoops you put your prospects to jump through, the more they want to work with you. They're saying - I just want to have a call and get a price quote right now. Well, that's what they want. And we're all naturally people pleasers, we don't want to let people down and say, No, I'm not going to give it to you on this call. Because we all have this natural desire to help but this is actually hurting our sales. 

So you do have to kind of be like - I'm not going to help you right now. We'll talk about that on the next call. Because it's better for everybody, you know. 

Here's the thing, if they just do that, they would talk with five people and they get five quotes, and then they go with the lowest price quote. -  Is that really what's best for their business?  That just means they're just choosing the commodity option, they are making their decision based on price, they're not making it based on value. So by you slowing them down, and saying like - Hey, just follow our process, We're going to help you here in the end. You're actually giving them an opportunity to slow down, get to know you make the right decision for their business. It's up to you to use that, for the power of good, you know, don't be deceptive and use this to kind of sell people on the wrong product. If you can't help them. And you didn't find a million dollar problem, don't offer a solution. 

Say you know what, I think you're better off with going to a $75 provider, you know, or you just say, you know, if you're going through your third meeting, you're like, wow, this person can't afford it. And they don't need it. Just say, You know what, I think I found enough. Like, I think maybe we should just put you on our $75 program. I don't need to kind of keep putting you through this too. Just because you love me and you can pay for whatever I ask, doesn't mean you should definitely do it.

Shannon: 

Yeah, All amazing points! And I only asked because I was wondering, you know, there might be some people on the line here, like, Okay, what you like kind of inserted in their meeting. And there are some people that might get annoyed with that. But that was why I said, well, at the end of the day, are we more effective? 

Right, and I think outlining that there is a process to the customer, that potential client, I think a lot of them have respect for that. They want to see that you're not like willy nilly flying by the seat of your pants, right? I mean, as SMBs we work with a lot of SMBs. Right? And we want people who have processes that are planned, clear, yet, it's not enough to just be an expert, like, are you organized, going to show up and do the job and be a great communicator, right? And so a consultative sales process shows and demonstrates all these things in my opinion,

Nate:

 You’re exactly right.

“If you have a process for your sales, then they are just going to have to assume that you have a process for everything else in your business..”


And having a strong consultative sales process is really going to work

Shannon: 

Awesome. Awesome. So some attendees might be listening and thinking like, okay, yes, it sounds wonderful. But it also sounds like a lot of time. Right, So if we have any kind of those walls coming up, right, I don't have time, right? Is it worth the time? Invest? Right, let's, let's talk about that a little bit. 

Is a Consultative Sales Approach Worth the Time-invest?

Nate:

I think yes, it is. I think you need to understand the stage that your MSP is in, right. And I would say -  


“For all early stage MSPs, who do not have a ridiculously strong offer, if you don't have results that are just going to blow away the competition, you need to be doing consultative sales until you do have those results.” 


So I think it's not something that every business is going to have to do all the time, you know. But it is something. If you want to learn from your customers, if you want to learn how to provide value, this is your education! 

If you're having a sales problem, and you're not willing to put this effort in, I think you're not going to get out of your sales problem. So I think this is the solution to your business problem. As a short term, you're going to win more deals, but it's also your solution to be able to provide an amazing offer that gets amazing results. And I think then once you get to the point, if you've done this 5 times, if you've done this 10 times, and then you're like, Okay, I know if I do this, I can actually help our clients like, you know, increase billable hours by 25% without increasing more staff. Like I know we can do that. I figured out a way to do that. Then you can actually go back to the commodity approach. And you can Say on your call, it's going to be a lot different, it's going to be a lot different than earlier on like, Yep, we're an MSP, and we provide all these services, and we're going to do it for you. And this is the price. Like if you're just doing that you don't have a value offer, you have to have your value to offer ratio correct. 

So that's why I'm saying like, our clients are having success with it. They're at like around $7,500 a seat, and they've got the ronseal approach - we do what it says on the tin. But if you've gone through this consultative selling, you've sold big packages, because you've found big problems, and you've made big solutions for them, then you can come back to the packaged approach where you're going to do differently. 

This time, you're going to say, you know, over the past year, we've been working with small businesses, between $1 - $5 million in revenue that have 10 to 50 users, you know, whatever your sweet spot is. And we've on average, we've helped each of them increase revenue by 20%. And actually lower their IT costs by 10%. For one client, we actually did a cost avoidance of $1.5 million over the next five years. We have openings for this program every month, and we're booked for the next two months. Is this something you think is the right fit for you? 

That's going to be a totally different pitch than the kind that this early stage package approach offers? Because, you know, you've got no leverage in that case. But once you've done it, you've put the work in, you've built the leverage, you can go back to it.

Shannon: 

Yeah, yeah. And I think that’s an important kind of journey to go on. Right? We start with the package process might be like $100, to see, we go to a personalized consultative process to $250 a seat. This is now about efficiencies of scale, in terms of being an entrepreneur, that you become so good at solving these problems with a personalized approach, you learned all the lessons, that now you can apply them in a way that is simply just more efficient.  And I don't think that you have to go down on the price in that case, right?

Nate:

You don't have to because your offer is so much more powerful. And you believe in it. And you've got proof.

Shannon: 

Yeah, awesome. Awesome. No, thank you for watching. I just wanted to underline that for everybody. Because I think that that's an important point, and your company is going to evolve. And there'll be times that one approach is better than another, and you might play around with it. And it's okay, but it's just deciding the difference. I think we've also outlined that maybe with consultative sales, you might want to have maybe around like five touch points, I think you said minimum, right. But we're always trying to maximize that.

Nate:

You still may do the consultative approach every once in a while, you know, so you still need to sharpen your skills, because, what got Andrew moon to get these amazing results in 2014, it's going to be different in 2021, so you do have to keep working, keep learning. 


“So you may want to do one of these consultative sales, once a quarter, you know, something like that, to keep learning, to keep getting better, and to keep figuring things out.” 


It's not something you ever stop doing. And there are things that you can also do with your current customers, you know like - Hey, we were working on a new program, we're working on a new offer, and we want to kind of test it out on you guys, if you're interested. I think selling to your current customers is awesome. There's no reason why you can't do this type of concentrated program with them. So I think constantly improving your offer is important. And, you know, using the consultative sales approach, even with current customers, is something that you're going to always be using.

Shannon: 

I love that as a way to test it. And obviously, to make those upsells as you're adding additional products or adding your cybersecurity offerings, bundles, things like that. Where do you feel like what would be the potential pitfalls that people need to look out for? Right, like where do some MSPs maybe mess up consultants selling?

Potential Pitfalls in a Consultative Sales Approach - Where Can MSPs Mess Up

Nate:

I think the big thing is that they are limited by their belief that they can only provide services. And they're thinking that - at the end of this, I'm going to be pitching the services. I've already vetted all these great vendors. I have the best cybersecurity vendor and it's awesome and I know it's the best service. 

And I think you have to honestly, think about what is the right solution for this particular client. And truthfully, like, if you guys are clever, and I think most MSPs are really clever, you can probably make your offer a lot more profitable than going in with just some pre-planned services that you want to sell, you know. 


“So I think that probably the biggest thing is to get out of this thing, get this idea out of your mind and think that the processes that I'm doing here are going to be much more important than tools.”


MSPs, a lot of times, the first thing I hear them do, when they do their business, when they start up, they come to me and they say, Nate, I just started my MSP. I've hooked up with five different vendors, I've got all the best vendors to do this, the markets are going to love it. And I'm just like thinking in my head, it's like, you just did product-focused marketing, which is so hard to do. Before you choose your vendors, you really may want to just start talking to some customers to see what the actual needs are out there. 

So, you know, I think that's probably the biggest, the biggest thing is that they get so tied to the services, they have such a strong belief in the services. And that's great, and you want to but you have to understand that, if you're just packaging up the services, it's not going to be very valuable, because someone else is probably going to come in and do it cheaper than you, you know, and unless you're the cheapest, you're not going to get the deal. 

So I think you have to change your mindset from being a service provider. Right? And that's why I'm against the word sorry, guys against the word managed service provider. It's our industry term, but I just don't like that it's got the word service provider in it. Because we all know, and I've been preaching this for years, we all know that - It's not about selling services, it's about selling value. Right? So you have to change your mindset from being a managed services provider to a value focused entrepreneur. 

Shannon:

Absolutely. Yeah, that was a brilliant way to put it. And I think you've told me like, you know, if you want to be a consultant, if you want to be consultative, you have to be that coach, that mentor, that teacher, right? I think when they're choosing their services, it's like, you are falling in love with your own process. You're like - oh, look, I put together this special recipe. It's so unique and beautiful. And like, don't you want it? It's like, somebody else can maybe do the same thing. Right? So the defining factor is not the services, it's you and what you bring to that experience. Right?

Nate:

Exactly. If you're coming from this idea of like, I'm an engineer, and I'm going to hire people to do all this coaching, I'm going to hire people to do my selling, I'm going to hire people to be the inspiration for my customers. You know, it's possible, but you have to hire somebody very good. 

If you are not willing to be the inspiration for your clients, you're going to have to pay someone who can and you're going to be looking at $200,000 - $300,000 a year, for somebody to do that. Not saying it's impossible, you know, maybe it's even taking on a partner. But I think, yeah, until you've learned your own way for delivering value, and you have a really good way of doing it. 

Coaching your clients, I think that's one of the number one ways you can do it. How many MSPs do I know that are using EOS, the entrepreneurs operating system, right? It's a great business tool set. So many MSPs are using it so many MSPs are good at it. And there's so many elements to it - like your score card, PTO, all these other a lot of the Human Resources tools that actually rely a little bit on technology. Why can't you guys come in and help implement some of these things, you know, and go beyond just being like, hey, you know, if you have EOS, and you have a scorecard, I can help automate part of it. But actually being like you know, Mr. Client, You told me you're having this problem with your marketing, right? And what I noticed is, you guys actually aren't tracking how many leads you're getting. One of the things that we do at our business is we have a scorecard for every department and our marketing scorecard is where we track what the leads are, what the sources are, and how many are coming in. And then when we set our quarterly goals, we can track against that. I think what would be a cool thing for you is if we just let my data engineer go through your CRM, see how many of you have historically gotten, set a goal for you, and then set a scorecard that connects directly to your CRM. 

This is like a total data engineer job. It’s a total IT job. 

But if you don't have this strategic mind set, and this willingness to get super deep with your customers and really kind of learn how you can really help and just be brave enough to offer solutions that go beyond what you're planning to sell, you're going to be stuck without providing that service.”

Shannon: 

Yeah, knowing that in the business value, that is palatable, right there. They're not going to question that investment with your MSP or your MVP, right, manage value provider I see here.

Nate:

I am going to coin with whoever said that.

Shannon: 

I did a little poll while you were talking. And I was just curious, like, where people are, packaged? conclusive? I don't have a sales process. Right. So we're, we're showing that right now, I think a lot of people are on board with consultative, there are 64% of those that responded and that's so good to hear. And I hope that these were some good lessons for you guys. 

I think it's important to underline how Nate just mentioned that in customer success, you have to be that business advisor. So it's getting to know them very well through the discovery and then maintaining that relationship and checking in to always be providing business value. I have heard you say before, that, you know, there's two approaches, but you have to pick a lane and work on it. So why do you say that? Why do you feel like there's an emphasis on committing right now?

Why Do You Choose between These Two Sales Approaches?

Nate:

The first thing I learned when I worked with my very first sales coach was this importance of having a sales process. And like a lot of businesses, I talk to MSPs they say -  I have a sales process. Like we do this, and we kind of do this, and then this might happen

But I think what people don't understand is that, like, you need to have a sales process down to like the minute of what you're doing in your process.”


One MSP was on a call yesterday with his business partner. They're like chatting in the background while they're doing this discovery call with a client. And they're like, they want to spend 15 minutes on this one particular section about what we call it building your ‘island of sadness’. And I think that's one thing that most people do know about in the consultative method. They know that it's like, I need to ask questions, to get my customers, my prospects to tell me all the problems, they have like to spew it out. Get them there. You know, like, if there's no true pain, it's going to be really hard to sell an expensive solution, because I'm doing pretty good. If you're asking and they're like, No, my IT is perfect. I love my IT guy. It's like, why are we on this call back? So you do need to get to that? And like, yeah, that was a thing right? 

They get right and back to each other, in their private chat, like, keep going, you got five more minutes, four more minutes, you know, and then like after that 20 minutes of the call, then they switch to the next part. Okay, I'm ready to switch gears. 

And like, we start with a script, usually with our clients, like we start with a word for word script, because it's hard when you first start. But I think once you do it a few times, you can move to a framework. And I think like also, the deeper you get into the consultations, the less of a structure you need.

Nate’s Three-step Framework

But I think you do need to know like, hey, number one, I'm going to do a 15 minute qualification call, right. And we talked about kind of, in my own experience, why we did a qualification call for a certain reason to add in those more touch points and build more relationships.

Then I'm going to do a one hour discovery call. And I'm going to cover this five point agenda. And I think if you guys have taken any Sandler sales training, or some of these traditional sales training, they always tell you, like, have an agenda for your call. So know your flow for that call

Then we're going to actually ask for the business and ask them to commit to our ongoing consultative discovery process. And you can do it like a paid one or free one. And I think with a lot of our clients, we do a paid one. And I think it's back to the thing that we talked about that it's like when you start charging for things, people put more value on it. But also, if you just get someone to commit to a free discovery, which is I think more like what you did Shannon, where it was like, we're going to do three meetings. I'm not going to charge you for these three meetings, but I need you to commit to three meetings with me. It gets the same effect in terms of winning the deal, because at the end, they still are going to move forward with you. 

So I think the charge is not something you're thinking about for financial gain. It's something you're thinking about in terms of like, what makes sense for this prospect, what's going to be more appealing to them to pay for or to not pay for? I know lawyers - they always charged for discovery, right? So they're probably like - If you go to a lawyer, like it's free, why would you do that for free? But if you go to a company that's totally unaware of what discovery means, they never heard of it. They don't understand consultative selling. If you go and get, you're going to pay me $10,000 over the next month to meet with you five times, that might be a little bit of a shocker. 

So you can have paid, you can have free, but just knowing that you're going to have one meeting, two meetings, three meetings for me five meetings, six meetings, seven, and what is the flow for each and every one of these meetings? So that's the type of process that we're talking about. And for the first 1,2,3 meetings, you may even have a complete script that you use.

Shannon: 

Yeah. And we all need to start out with some training wheels, right? If this isn't something that comes naturally to us, we haven't been career sales people, sometimes we need that script to kind of help get us comfortable, right? We have to give it up to our sales people, right, those people that build out to teams, and they're just like smiling and dialling all day, it's not a comfortable place to be in. But at the end of the day, if you love what you do, I think a consultative sale is a place for your passion, can really show too, in terms of - they've given you a problem, it's unique, and now you get to create a personalized solution for them. And I think that that can be really exciting and rewarding to a lot of MSPs, IT channel partners, right.

What about taking ownership of the business, right in terms of that follow up process. And we've talked about the sales process, getting it down. I love what you just laid out for us now in terms of your processes with helping guide others, because I think people do thrive off details, right. But going to the other side of that once they're already a customer. I think that being a true business consultant requires a lot of ownership over the business. So I guess walk me through how you consult and coach people on where you have to start treating your clients business sort of like it's your own?

Before That All-out Sales Push, Make Sure You Have a Customer Success System


Nate:

Yeah, I think the first thing to do is just think about the things that you do in your own business first. Most of us here are entrepreneurs, we started a small business. Like I mentioned EOS, but there's more to it. Andrew does the shock and awe box. And that's a great thing that he does in his own business. 

I know most of our clients, they have this great customer feedback loop. Whenever someone submits a ticket, at the end of the ticket, they will say, how did we do? And then if you give them a five star, it says great, would you leave us a review on Google and I've seen some MSPs have tons and tons of Google reviews from this type of strategy. 

So there are things that you do in your own business. Start there by helping your customers. You have a lot of value that you know, because you're a business owner, because you're someone who's passionate about business. So yeah, you want to start implementing them and doing them at your customers' businesses. You don't necessarily have to go to your customer's business and work the front desk, but think of the things that you've personally had success with. And if you want to start trying to find new ways to add value, new ways to kind of be like, Where can I kind of consult these businesses on? Maybe try some things yourself, take some training, and work them in your own business first. 

In terms of being a coach, being a mentor. I think it's just about like, you know, being open and honest, sharing, not trying to like be anything you're not, I think the least for me and the most for my customers, like we know we're all on a journey here together, you know, it's like no other business expects another business to be perfect. We know that you're growing, right? We're growing together. That's why we hired you as our IT company, because we want to scale. And you're on the same journey. 

“So I think relating with them, you know, and just kind of experience sharing. And not necessarily feeling like you have to give advice, but that if you share your experiences, that's going to be more powerful.”


And so, you know, having experiences and just being a passionate entrepreneur yourself.

Shannon: 

Yes, yes. Excellent advice, I think I get it. Yeah, Do those check-ins, ask how things are going, don't be put off, if they're not super forthcoming with details, right? Just keep asking questions, making conversation. Sometimes business owners need that therapy with somebody else who can relate right? And the fact that you have been there that you're an entrepreneur? There's so many ways in which you maintain that relationship.

Question And Answers

Q: How many Sales should I get a month?

Nate:

You have to think in terms of leading indicators and lagging indicators. 

So what you're talking about in sales, that is the most lagging indicator that something that you find out at the very end? You know, you don't have anything to tell you if there's a lot of things that are going to tell you how many sales you're going to get before then. So I think you need to work your way back from that. And you have to say, if you're a salesperson, how many leads they have, I get it. Right? And then how many leads? Am I turning them into meetings? And then from how many meetings - Am I getting them to agree to go into my consulting discovery process? And then how many of those am I closing? 

If you're a growing MSP, most of the clients that we work with are somewhere between $1 and $5 million in revenue, I think if you're in that space, you're going to want to be getting somewhere around 3 - 4 high quality leads each month, you know, and then I think if you can convert one of those, two of those per month, you'd be in a really, really good position for most MSPs. And I think you'd actually be in a position where you'd have trouble on the delivery side. 

I think 8-10-12 clients is a lot for a growing MSP. So sales also depend on the size. You know, I think like if you have a 10-user company, that's going to be easy to bring on and on board. 150-user companies are going to be a lot different. So I think just maybe think more about how many leads you're getting, and then what your close rate is on those. And I think you're basically if you have a good opportunity, someone that's got a good need, you've got a good offer. I think there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to close like 40% of your meetings.

Shannon: 

Fabulous. I love those guys, because sometimes people say oh, it depends, right? Nate gave you very solid numbers on how many leads, how many you should be closing, and what your close rate should be. So thank you, that was Fantastic! And Aaron says thank you as well.

Q: You mentioned about increasing the touch points, any tips on how to approach the first interaction? The five minute one?

Nate:

Great, that's a super awesome question. Thank you for asking that. 

Email me for free access to his private training where I actually give you the flow and everything in that training. And I can even give you my script for it. 

But basically what you're going to do in a five minute interaction is you do have to consider a little bit of how the lead came in, whether they came to you through an outbound channel or an inbound channel. But what you're really going to do is just something like this - “Hey, Mr. Prospect, thanks for connecting. Is now still a good time just to connect for like 5 or 10 minutes? I just have a few questions for you.” And immediately they're going to be like, well, I thought I was going to be asking you the questions here. You're asking me that. Okay, Yeah, Okay. All right. Great. And then you just go straight into qualification. 

Right? So tell me about your guy's current company. You're working with an IT firm right now. Oh, okay. They want to see if they're the right fit for me. Okay. Do you mind me asking how much you are currently paying? How much are you spending on it? Right. Find out if they're in the right neighbourhood. And then once you find that out, you know, whatever your three, four or five qualification questions that you need to know for your particular business, then you're going to go and you're going to have kind of a similar pitch every single time. And it's going to say something cool, thanks for sharing that. So I think you know a little bit about us from however you found us. But basically, what we are is We are an IT support company, we act like in an IT department for businesses that we don't have one, the main thing that makes us different is we really work to deliver our clients return on investment, we want their investment with us to be something that we're delivering back and return on investment through either increased efficiency, or cost savings, cost avoidance, if we can find some ways to do that. Based on what you told me, it sounds like we should spend an hour talking. Can we schedule like an hour to deep dive into everything? Next week? And that's it.

Q: Would you consider a change in the consultative strategy if the client is currently with an existing MSP?

Nate:

I would say that's like the time where you really want to do it. You know, because that's the time where you can just show that it's like, oh my gosh, my MSP didn't even ask me this. Like, how could it be? Are they that dumb like, I've been working with them for two years, they didn't even ask me this one basic question. So like, it's so much easier to say, - you know what, this is not something where we're going to displace your current MSP. At the end of our consultation, we're going to hand you guys the roadmap, we're going to give you guys this paid consultation. So we're going to create an IT strategy for you. And you guys can, if you feel like you want to do it on your own or handle it internally, you can do that. If you want to stay with your current MSP, that's totally fine. But most of the clients after we're done with, they do decide to work with us because they've got the competence in us. But absolutely, you can stay with your current MSP. It's not a problem at all.

Q: I am looking for a firm to set appointments for us. Any recommendations on that?

Nate:

Um, I think that's a really challenging question to answer. So, like at Tech Pro Marketing, a big part of what we do is lead generation and helping set appointments. I think when people hear appointment settings, they're hearing things like cold calling, Right. I think that's kind of the main thing for it. I can't give a recommendation for cold calling. That's not a tactic that we use to sign. We had done this in the past and we found that especially in today's day and age, cold calling is getting harder and harder, especially if it's done by an outside firm. 

If you're doing it internally, you're going to have a lot more success in terms of having someone who's a terrific appointment setter. A major thing that I see MSPs get wrong is that  they think that setting appointments is going to lead to them winning new customers. But that's not always the case, you need to have three elements to winning new customers. Appointment setting is huge, right? Lead Generation is huge. But what is important is going to have a strong offer, having a strong business, having great testimonials, right? 

And this is the lesson I told you guys early on, it's like, well, we're doing amazing, we're the best lead generation company ever. But, you know, part of it was that we just had the best clients ever, you know, and then when we got some clients who had a weaker offering, like, oh, lead generation for MSPs is really hard. So, you know, you have to think that there can be a great  lead generation company that can be a great appointment setting company, but you're not always going to get the same results. Because your offer is not going to be the same. 

I would say your offer and your sales process are two things that you can really take care of. And then if those things are really strong, you're probably going to have success with any lead generation company, any appointment setting company because they're going to have an amazing thing to say when they try to set the appointment.

Shannon: 

Hmm, okay, no, that's a good reminder that we just have to have the proper foundations before we get started with hiring the firm. 

So before we wrap up, I do want to remind you Nate said, if there's one thing you remember, if there's one thing you take away, you need to find ways to add more interactions to that sales process, right. So remember that you have his email at Tech Pro marketing, if you want to follow up on how to add interaction points. 

And of course, if you're curious about Zomentum at all, feel free to email me, we help at least on the platform side of things to manage those interaction points and make it really seamless. So I want to thank you all so much for joining us today. I really love downloading all this information from these wonderful channel experts. So please continue to join us. We have webinars weekly in November, and then a few events through December as well. So make sure that you're following Zomentum so that you can keep up to date with all of these events. 

All right. Thank you. Bye, everybody.








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