How to Close Clients
At the point in time that you are in front of your customer, you have to identify what their motivation for choosing a MSP is and play to that. All companies shop on price and we all know how to win that, but how do you convince a decision maker to choosing based on quality, experience, availability, customer service and awesomeness?
Statements like “We are not going to be the cheapest, but we are going to be the best at customer service, responsiveness, and proactive solutions that prevent you from have high cost outages in the first place” go a long way in turning customers away from the dark side, which is making a decision solely based on price. You have to find out why a decisions maker is looking to make a change in their IT provider, and focus on that. Their reasoning can be anything from our internal “IT Guy” is going somewhere else and we didn’t want to replace him to “The last company had no customer service”. There are lots of reasons why a company might make a change, but there are a few things that are certain..
- They are worried – IT is their livelihood and the decision that they make is going to mean good or bad things for them. Convey nothing but confidence and experience. Do not give them any reason to think that you are anything less than Bill Gates incarnate sitting in front of them.
- Their reputation is at stake – if they choose poorly then the whole company will despise their decision making and possibly them personally. Ensure them that you are there to make them look good.
- They have a bottom line to worry about – price is always a deciding factor; however, don’t let it be the only deciding factor… make it one of 4 or 5 deciding factors.
1. Give them examples of how proactive maintenance (which clearly your MSP is the best at) has saved other customers from costly downtime.
2. Show them how your superior customer service and bedside manor are unparalleled. This creates a better working environment and how you can save the customers money.
3. Point out how your top rated experience and education puts them ahead of the curve so that they do not have to fear the future of IT because you are looking out for them and their future.
4. Throw in something that nobody else does. For example, you do a bi-annual lunch and learn with the company and the employees on security, or how to get the most out of their new software or something like that… and you do this for free. Education in the software space has the best ROI of any expenditure that the company can make and they are getting it for free… BOOM you win.
Price Correctly – Price your service offering in line with you competition, compete on service, not on price. The top tier providers trade clients on bedside manner, not price.
Limit Competition by aligning yourself with the other top 2 competitors in your market. Create differentiators among them and yourself.
Soft Sell and build trust. The easiest way to build trust while soft selling, is to recommend your competition. That sounds crazy, but if you say something like, “Here is the bottom line, there are only 3 top tier IT providers in this market. We all do IT, we all value the client, and we all honestly do a very good job. Top tier providers rarely lose a client because they messed up somewhere. It is kind of like changing a doctor, it doesn’t mean that he was a bad doctor, it is just that you did not care for their bedside manner.”
This is where you recommend your competition, say something like “I recommend that you call ABC IT, and 123 MSP, they are the only other companies in this area that I would feel comfortable with my parent’s company using if I got hit by a truck. But since you are talking to me, let me show how we are a little different that ABC IT, and 123 MSP.”
This is where you damage your competition in your client’s eyes while sounding like you still think they are worth using. Say something like this, “ABC IT company started out as a phone company before they got in IT, so they struggle with the complex IT issues that a company like yourself would experience, they have great customer service, but the clients that we have moved over to ourselves that used to use them shared comments like they were a little slow resolving issues with our more complex systems.”
Here is another way to damage your competition in your client’s eyes, say something like this.”123 MSP” is a sales driving company, they know how to build value, and focus primarily on new sales to run their company. The problem is that because so much of their labor force is in sales, we find that they really have not invested in technical staff to build or solve complex issues. At least that is what the clients that have come over from them to our service have said to us.”
Clients want customer service, people to answer the phone, sell them hardware, software, and solutions, but what they really want is for you to tell them what they need and build confidence in your ability to take care of them. Once you build trust in your technical ability, while chipping away in that area of your competition all the while saying that all three of you are the best in your market, your potential client will have begun to consider you an expert, and will trust you because you have objectively given them information on the top 3 IT providers that they need to talk to.
I have found that many times, the client will not even bother calling your competition, and if they do, they will simply use it to validate your high pricing because you have priced your service offering in line with your most expensive competition.
Develop great relationships with your best customers and have them create testimonials, videos, examples, and references. These will become the clients that you use when you are asked for a reference.
Go find some vanity clients. These are clients that have a great reputation in the community, they are usually some sort of non-profit, or service industry that has a lot of community involvement. Folds of Honor was a good one in a market that I use to work in, wounded warrior project is another good one. Find some clients that everyone loves, and it will add to your credibility.
Also find a nationally recognized franchise, or company that has a local branch but national credibility. Many of these organizations allow their local branches to source their own IT providers, and in grabbing these clients, future clients will assume that you are much larger, and more awesome than even you think you are. These clients become Social Proof that you are able to serve, offer, and deliver IT solutions.
Have more Google reviews than anyone else by 3Xs. Then you can say that you are the most highly ranked and rated. Google your competition and make a list of them with the number of their google reviews, make it a priority to get a Google review from all of your existing customers, as well as their vendors, suppliers, employees, etc. Make sure to continue to grab google reviews, still become Social Proof, but will also allow you to stay top on Google.
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