Computer business owners are seeking the magic bullet to selling managed services and explode their profit margins. I have found that all across the IT spectrum technology professional are challenged with discovering the secret sauce to sales. Many times their focus is on finding the perfect sales lead that is a perfect fit and ready to buy. This is what I have always called, ‘Order Taking’. Nearly any clerk can take an order from a customer that’s ready to buy. However, true IT sales means taking someone that doesn’t see the value of your services and then persuading them to have an A hah moment! The question is how can you convince someone through marketing, that’s not inclined to buy from you because of real obstacles like pricing?
The biggest issue that I have seen while conducting limited sales coaching with my computer consultant clients centers on overcoming the price barrier with end users. The issue is that many don’t see the value in spending more for proactive support on a monthly basis vs. just waiting for viruses hit them and then paying to fix it. This objection reminded me of a past sales challenge that I had to over come.
Many years ago I worked in the alarm industry at a regional distributor and as the newbie on the team I got stuck with the worst territory. The best region was in our local market Dallas, TX because there was no shipping cost to send out alarm panels, motion detectors, batteries and wire. Sales territories begin to degrade as they got further away and the shipping cost increased dramatically. The basic problem was that a security company could just go to a local distributor and save all the shipping cost by buying it over the shelf.
Of course as the newbie I was given the worst of the worst sales regions, those were out of state with super high cost of shipping. After I ran into this objection a few times I realized I was going to have to do something drastically different to succeed. I realized I was going to have to offer something better than the lowest price, because I couldn’t compete on prices at all. When I finally pulled my heard out of the box and looked around I realized that we offered a lot of products that were not being sold as much as alarm panels, motions Detectors, wire and batteries.
What caught my eye were some of the CCTV equipment that was collecting dust in the warehouse. I realized that CCTV could be very profitable for my clients, but they weren’t aware of the market. Then I realized that I could become an advisor or a teacher and bring to them a new avenue to make money that would over come any shipping issues. After all, paying a little more for shipping to get to talk with someone that will teach you how to make more money is a no brainier vs. paying a little less with your local distributor who is just a sales clerk taking your order.
What was the result on my sales strategy? I was able to double the sales in my territory even with the significant challenges that I outlined at the outset. The President of the alarm distribution company printed out the quarterly sales figures and started running around the offices yelling that I had double the sales in my territory!
What is the take away for the computer services businesses out there? True sales is learning how to teach your prospects something new that opens their eyes to a new way of thinking. Then you become a trusted ad-visor and they will be willing to pay more and the price issue will fade away as your profits soar….
More to come on how to teach your prospects in the sales and marketing process and convert more technology sales leads into customers!
John Black is the Marketing Director at MSP Telemarketing and has over 10 years experience marketing for IT providers and var marketing to help them get more IT leads that turn into IT sales.