Can You Teach An Old Dog New IT Marketing Tricks?

istock_000008572826xsmall1It’s a common expression that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks but what about teaching a computer consultant new IT marketing techniques?  The old ways that I am talking about are the tried and true method of selling prospects by conducting a needs assessment, where you try to identify pain points.  This is the approach that just about every IT guy is familiar with and for the most part they are very skillful at squeezing out the very last drop of issues and problems that a business which in pain is having.  The question that we are asking is how difficult is it to take the average managed services provider and teach them new sales techniques that put them out of their comfort zone?  The technique I am referring to is the ability to sell to a business that doesn’t have any immediate pain.

Of coarse we are not addressing whether it’s possible to sell a business that isn’t in any immediate pain right now, because we have documented that already.  We are discussing how difficult it is for the average consultant to pick up the new skills needed to achieve this goal.  The reason I am raising the question is because of one computer business owner that I trained several times with a slide show presentation on exactly what to say when a prospect didn’t have pain.  Finally, I went on some real IT sales leads where He was going to use this presentation.  However, I was disappointed that this tech gravitated right back to conducting the old needs assessment.  This is when I began to have serious doubts that we could ever achieve a breakthrough.

The experience I had with another sales training candidate started to confirm my fears that teaching these new IT services marketing tactics was going to be nearly impossible.  After extensive training this other tech did in fact go through with presenting the new ideas in a slide show presentation with a live prospect.  However, it was clear that this was not well rehearsed and a few errors were made.  All in all it was a decent attempt that would have been light years ahead of the average tech sales presentation.  Unfortunately the consultant I was training lost complete confidence in the program and was ready to return to the good old fashion needs assessment.

Now the good news and the reason there is hope that we can teach the old dogs new tricks is what happened next with the last consultant I had trained.  The prospect that had caused such loss in confidence had mailed a thank you card expressing great thanks for the presentation and that he was looking forward to the final proposal!   After that we went on another sales call together where the prospect just simply had no needs and the needs assessment turned out to be a dead end.  When the presentation was offered the prospect got excited and loved the entire presentation to build a desire on ‘wants’!  Now I believe there is hope that some dedicated IT providers can learn to sell to prospects that don’t have needs and sell based on wants!


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 sales.