A Managed Service Provider's Guide to Sales and Marketing by yaofenjin


									        Kutenda and brings you

A Managed Service Provider’s
             Guide to
    Sales and Marketing
       by Michael Cooch, CEO of Everon

    A Managed Service Provider’s Guide to Sales and Marketing
                                                         by Michael Cooch, CEO of Everon

With all of the offerings and opportunities available for MSPs, the challenge for Service
Providers has become less about having an offer that businesses are asking for and more about
making businesses aware of what you can do for them. The problem is most service providers
are unsure of where to begin when it comes to generating awareness and effectively marketing
their businesses. If you’re like most service providers and you’ve been hesitant to put the time
and budget into risky marketing strategies, A Managed Service Provider’s Guide to Sales and
Marketing is for you.

Kutenda brings you this tried and tested guide filled with proven techniques so you can take
the guesswork out of growing your business. In this guide, Mike Cooch, CEO of Everon (an
MSPmentor Top 250 company), reveals his approach to sales and marketing. Mike has worked
tirelessly throughout his career, investing his time and money to discover and fine-tune his
approach. Now, you too can leverage Mike’s strategies to grow your MSP today.

In A Managed Service Provider’s Guide to Sales and Marketing by Michael Cooch, CEO of
Everon, you’ll learn:

       Lead generation
       Logistics of prospecting
       Cold call tactics
       Follow-up tips
       Referral processes
       Successful sales principles
       The ideal elevator pitch
       Effective sales management

NOTE: If you’re interested in learning more about specialized marketing services
available to Managed Service Providers, contact Kutenda at
Sales@Kutenda.com or call 303.416.4727.

    A Managed Service Provider’s Guide to Sales and Marketing
                                                           by Michael Cooch, CEO of Everon

Lead Generation
1. The most important thing you can do before prospecting for leads

There are two questions you really need to answer before you ever have your first prospecting
conversation. Most salespeople and business owners never even ask themselves these
questions, let alone figure out the answer.

This is a huge mistake, because the answers to these two questions are the most important
factors in determining how successful you will be with your prospecting efforts.

The two questions are:
      1. Why should my prospect care about me and what I have to say?
      2. Why should my prospect choose to work with me over all of the other comparable
      options they have available to them in the marketplace?

If you can’t clearly answer these questions, your prospecting and sales efforts will limp along
without the impact you surely must hope to achieve.

In every sales situation, whether it is happening consciously or not, the prospect is asking
themselves two questions:

"Why should I give my attention to this salesperson? Do I really care?"
"Why should I choose to work with this company versus the other one down the street?"

It’s your job to provide them with an answer. If you don’t have an answer to these questions
clarified in your own head today – get started with this immediately.

2. How much to spend on acquiring a new client - Total Lifetime Value

Before you plan your lead generation and marketing/sales efforts, you really must understand
the concept of Total Lifetime Value (TLV) of your clients, otherwise you won’t know how much
money you can spend to acquire a new client.

The TLV calculation does exactly what its name implies; it tells you the total value of the client
over its lifetime. In other words, it tells you how much your client is worth to you, which is the
cranumber that determines how much you are willing to spend to get a client.

How do you calculate TLV? I would suggest you use the following formula:
Average revenues from client over lifetime of service relationship X Gross Margin %

So let’s say that your typical client is worth $5000 per month and on average they stick around
for 3 years. This means that this client brings in a total of $180,000 in revenue over its lifetime.
Let’s further say that you operate at 50% gross margins. This means that the amount of money
that is actually returned to you from your work with this client to cover expenses and generate
profit is $90,000.

Theoretically you could spend $90,000 to acquire this customer and still break even. Now, that
wouldn’t leave you with any money to cover any of your operating expenses, so it’s not a
realistic strategy in the long term.

A more realistic strategy can be found by multiplying the $90,000 by whatever percentage of
your budget your business model says you can spend on sales and marketing and still have a
viable business. Let’s say that the total combined number is 15% of total revenues.

That means you could spend up to $27,000 (15% x $180,000) in total sales and marketing
expenses and still be operating within the framework of your business model! If you were to
find a way to operate with even higher gross margins, you could spend even more money.

There is an old saying in direct marketing circles that goes something like this:
"The company that can spend the most money to acquire a customer wins."

Effectively, if I know the TLV of my clients and you don’t know the TLV of yours, you are going
to be very hesitant to spend the kind of money you could to win new business, which means
that I’m going to beat you all day long out in the marketplace!

You must calculate your TLV so you know how much money you can spend to acquire a
customer; otherwise you may not be putting in the appropriate amount of effort to be
competitive in the marketplace.

3. Segment prospects and identify target customers

Introduction to customer segmentation

One of the most damaging statements every made in the history of business is:

"The customer is always right."

Why is this one of the most damaging statements ever? Because too many people take that
statement and expand it in their minds until they think that they have to do anything and
everything for every customer.

Not all customers are created equal!

We've all had customers that want everything in the world, but don't want to pay for it. We've
also all had customers that won't actually listen to our advice, and then get upset when they
haven't had their problems solved.

These customers are called Killer Customers, and you need to learn to identify them and deal
with them appropriately, or they will suck the life out of your business.

This idea - that I could run my business without bowing down to every demand of every
customer - was a revelation to me. I first grasped the concept when I read the book Killer
Customers: Tell the Good from the Bad--and Dominate Your Competitors. It's a great book; you
should add it to your business library.

The point of the book is that you should get really good at telling the good customers from the
killer customers, and then ditch the killer customers so your competition can have them and
get bled to death (that may not be how the author would summarize it!).

How to segment

In my experience, the keys to customer segmentation are the following:
    1. Know your target customer very well
    2. Train your salesforce to find target customers and provide incentive to make sure they
        don't sign killer customers
    3. Have a process for continuously reviewing your customers to weed out the killer
        customers that you accidentally let on board
    4. Have enough service offerings to match the various needs of your clients' desired
        service levels
Doing any one of these things will help you out a lot, but doing all four will result in increased
profits, happy customers, and happy employees - a combination that's hard to beat.

We'll cover specific strategies and tactics for customer segmentation in the rest of this course
topic. If you execute on these on a regular basis, you will see profits rise consistently over time.
Profile your ideal client

Perhaps the most important thing you can do to ensure profitability at your company is to:
    1. Really know your ideal client
    2. Design your services to fit the ideal client
    3. Be very disciplined about not working with clients outside of your ideal profile
By following these three steps religiously, you can create a very efficient sales and service
delivery system that eliminates unnecessary costs.

Most companies in our industry - in any industry for that matter - will take business from
anyone that wants to give them money. This is awfully tempting and may seem lucrative in the
short run, but is very costly and damaging in the long run.

Profile your ideal client
The first step in this process is usually ignored. If you don't profile your ideal customer, you
can't possibly do steps #2 and #3.

Profiling your ideal customer is very easy, and it's actually an exercise that your team will enjoy
participating in.

The outcome you are looking for is to create a very brief description of whom it is you want to
do business with. One paragraph with a few bullet points. The most important factor in creating
an effective profile is that it contains both of the following:
    1. Demographic information
    2. Psychographic information

Demographic information is the black and white statistical information about your ideal client.
Factors such as:
       Type of technology they use

Psychographic information is the "softer side" of the description about your ideal client. It's the
psychographic information that is the most valuable of the two as it really tells you how you
should shape your sales and marketing messaging to be most appealing to your prospects.

Psychographic information includes:
      The challenges they are facing
      Their attitudes and beliefs
      What they value

Combining the two is powerful

By combining these two types of information, you get a real understanding of your ideal client.
This makes it easier to identify them and to design ideal solutions for them. An example profile
could look something like this:

We work with solo dentists in the greater Denver area that have just recently established their
first practice. These dentists are typically just getting started in their careers; often having just
finished dental school and typically aged 30-35. They are anxious to get off to the right start
with their practice, and are usually very technology savvy, having grown up with computers.
They value having the latest technology in their practice to help them be more efficient and
profitable. They are not afraid to make investments that have a clear ROI and really value their
vendor relationships.

You get the idea, and if you ran into one of these dentists versus an older dentist that had a 25
year old practice and was set in their ways, you'd know it right away. That's what you want! If
everyone in your company - especially your salespeople - can clearly identify the ideal client,
you'll spend much less time, energy, and money on clients that aren't a good fit.

Segmentation through multiple layers of service

We said that an MSP should have enough service offerings to match the various needs of your
clients' desired service levels.

One size does not fit all when it comes to offering services to your clients, so you need to have a
variety of services if you want to keep your clients happy and keep your business profitable. At
the same time, you can't let your service offerings become too rambling or out of focus, or you
will destroy your service delivery capabilities and cost structure.

So how to accomplish all of this?

The key is to really understand the target market you are going after, and to thoroughly
understand the cost/benefit of your service offerings.

Who is your target client?

It's absolutely critical that you really know this. If your answer is "anyone with a network", you
are in big trouble. Small companies and big companies both have networks, but their service
needs and how they want to be worked with are dramatically different.

Let's say that you are targeting small law firms in particular. You may know that their most
pressing needs are:
    1. Speedy performance of desktops and laptops
    2. 24-7 access to their case management systems
    3. Handheld support
If you know your market this well, then you can structure service offerings that match their
needs and protect your profitability.

Designing segmented service offerings

In this case, you could easily develop three service offerings:
    1. A desktop/laptop support service
    2. A service with the above and case management support
    3. Both of the above and handheld support
You are effectively layering additional benefits into each service package. If you know your cost
to support these really well, it becomes pretty easy to also put layered pricing in place that
properly compensates you for the effort you are putting forth in the service.
You can also layer based on things like response time, access to higher level of engineers, SLA's,
etc. There is really no limit to the creative things you can do to layer your services, as long as
each additional layer has obvious value to your client.

In this scenario, a lot of law firms will choose to sign up for option 1 or 2, and not find value in
signing up for the handheld support. That additional layer may not seem like it's worth the
extra expense. That's ok, as long as you:

Control the variables
In the scenario described above, many of the law firms that don't sign up for the 3rd layer of
service are still going to call you for handheld support.

This is fine, as long as you have a way to control your variable costs and make sure you bill for
the additional costs of supporting this client.

This is where it is absolutely critical to have a PSA package like ConnectWise, Autotask, or
Tigerpaw in your business that allows you to use distinct billing codes. In this case, you would
need an hourly billing code that resulted in the client receiving an additional invoice for services
outside of their contracted agreement.

Success - with the proper agreement structure and PSA billing codes in place, you have
successfully controlled your costs and billed for the additional effort you put forth for this
client. Again, this can be done for just about anything, as long as you have proper billing codes
in place and your staff has the means to easily (or better yet, automatically) identify the right
codes to use at the right time.

Easier to sell
The beauty of having multiple packages like this is that it becomes easier to sell your ideal
services. We've found over time that people generally do not like to choose the cheapest or the
most expensive packages. Why? The fear of buying the wrong thing and/or getting ripped off -
fears commonly associated with both the cheapest and most expensive products. The middle
seems "safe".

If you know this is true, you can consciously design your middle package to be your most
profitable. The majority of people will be drawn to this package by their own instincts; you just
need to make it an attractive offering and your sales and profits will come easier.

4. The logistics of prospecting

Good prospecting isn’t something that happens by accident. In fact I would say that a good
prospecting process is something like a factory. Good prospecting happens when a salesperson
follows a specific process very consistently day in and day out.
To make sure this is accomplished, you must ensure that the right systems are in place and that
you and your team follow-through consistently.

Schedule prospecting time
When you’re a busy owner or even a busy salesperson the easiest thing in the world to do is
select a second time slip off of your calendar. There is always something more important that
comes up each day and it becomes easy to let their prospecting time on your calendar get
pushed around.

You absolutely must not let this happen. Every salesperson should have scheduled a dedicated
time on their calendars that is 100% devoted to prospecting. This time should be held as
absolutely sacred. Come hell or high water, prospecting should be done during that time every
single day.

One of the most impressive examples I’ve ever seen of this was from one of our first clients at
Everon. Two Harvard MBAs were starting their first company, and realized that they had very
little time to get revenue coming in the door. Although they had 1000 things to do each day
including finding new employees, finding vendors to work with, and developing their products
and services, they realize that the most important thing that they could do was to find new

During my first meeting with the founders of this company, I was surprised when one of the
first things that they told me after they said that we would be working together was that I
shouldn’t bother calling them after 8 AM or before 6 PM. That didn’t leave very much time in
the day to work with them as far as I was concerned.

Why were they so strict about this?

Because from 8 a.m. to 6 PM every single day, they sat together and did nothing but prospect.
They knew that the single most important thing that they could be doing every day was finding
new prospects and finding new revenue. Until they do that nothing else mattered. This was the
greatest example of prospecting discipline than I had ever seen.

It would be hard to maintain this kind of discipline once a company got going, but it would also
be the most powerful thing that a business could possibly do. These gentlemen knew their first
priority so clearly that the major that nothing else got in the way of it. This is exactly how
salespeople at your company should treat their prospecting time each day.

Let’s make sure that we have a clear understanding of what schedule prospecting time means.

It doesn’t mean researching prospects to call on.
It doesn’t mean reading the paper to find new prospects.
It doesn’t mean organizing your list.
It doesn’t mean putting together proposals.
And it certainly doesn’t mean spending 15 minutes getting coffee.

It means prospecting: making phone calls, sending e-mails, and having conversations with
potential clients. Everything else can be done later.

Schedule administrative time
As I said above, everything other than selling can and should come second. Just as you should
schedule solid blocks of dedicated prospecting time, you should also schedule solid blocks of
administrative time.

If someone asks you to send them a proposal or anything else that will require your manual
effort to complete, do your best not to let it interrupt your prospecting time. You can usually
accomplish this by asking your prospect, "No problem Mr. Prospect, do you mind if I get that to
you at the end of the day (week)?"

In almost every case, this will be fine. This strategy allows you to do the administrative work
necessary at a later time that is convenient to you and doesn’t interrupt your prospecting time.
Contrast this to the typical salesperson reaction, which is to get excited that somebody actually
gave them the time of day, then spend the rest of the next several hours putting together the
perfect proposal for the prospect. That’s good prospecting time they burned putting together
something that could have waited until a better time to be done.

Get a large prospect database to call on
In order to make the most of your prospecting time you need to have a large list of prospects to
call on. As I mentioned above prospecting time is not to be used for finding new prospects, it’s
to be used for calling on new prospects. That means that you should have your list developed
and organized before you start your prospecting time.

An aggressive cold caller can make 100 calls per day. To be able to do this, they have to have a
large database and the confidence to call each prospect without doing research. There are
many resources available that can provide you with quality information about business owners
in your area as well as provide details about the nature of their business the size of their
business the revenues that they have the employees that they have and even their technology
purchasing habits.

Make the investment to get a database that is large enough to keep your salespeople busy and
high-quality enough to make each call efficient. In addition, you should always be adding to the
size of this database by putting in new prospects from people that you meet and business card
that you collect.

Record every detail of each interaction with your prospect

Keeping very good, detailed notes of each interaction with your prospect turns your database
into gold. When your database gets filled with rich information about each prospect, sales start
to come more frequently and more easily.
              • What type of systems do they prefer?
              • When was the last time they made new system purchases?
              • What’s their favorite baseball team?
              • When do they do their budgets?
              • Who makes the final decisions when it comes to IT purchases?
              • Who are they currently working with?
              • What are their favorite hobbies?

All of this information should be diligently recorded after every interaction with your prospect.
You can use this information in the future to give you the best chance of success.

Use ticklers to ensure that you touch your prospects at least once every ninety
We have found over time that 90 days is the maximum amount of time that you should let pass
without making some sort of contact with your prospects. After 90 days, people tend to forget
that you even exist.

The simplest way to do this is to create a tickler file that reminds you when somebody needs to
be contacted. Each time you make contact with the prospect you should immediately record
your notes and schedule the next contact that you’ll make.

This requirement to contact each of your prospects at least once every 90 days really
determines the size of the prospecting database that each salesperson needs. For example, let’s
say that a salesperson will consistently make 50 prospecting calls each day. Now let’s further
assume that there are 22 working days in each month, and therefore 66 working days in each
90 day period.

The math says that the salesperson could theoretically only be effectively working a database of
3300 total prospects. Using these calculations will help you determine the size of the database
you need to purchase for your sales team to work.

Of course, during the 90-day period, your salespeople will find database records that aren’t
good, or will find businesses that will never be a good fit for your services. Because of this it is
necessary to continuously update the database with fresh prospects - this should probably be
done formally as a company every 90 days, and should be done continuously by your
salespeople by adding prospect information from business cards they collect at networking
events or from referrals.

Use a CRM system
Given the audience that is reading this, I shouldn’t have to spend any time on this, so I won’t.

Make paperwork simple
When you understand the importance of making enough time for prospecting, you realize that
everything else needs to be done very efficiently. This includes sales paperwork and proposals.
Every good salesperson will tell you that they spend too much time on paperwork. The reason
for this is that it’s true. Doing paperwork and other administrative tasks is a necessity of every
business job. However, when it comes to salespeople every minute that they spend doing
administrative work is a minute that they aren’t selling.

Make administrative work and the creation of proposals at your company as simple and
efficient as possible. In fact, if you can, take it out of the salespeople’s hands completely, and
give it to an administrative assistant. This may not be practical at your company, but that
shouldn’t stop you from doing everything you can to make the paperwork process streamlined.

Create boilerplate proposal templates that your salespeople can modify for the needs of a
particular prospect very quickly and very easily. Get them back to selling as quickly as possible.

Learn to use the phone
It seems that every sales trainer in our industry stresses the importance of getting an in-person
appointment with your prospect. Getting an in-person appointment is very important, but only
if you get the appointment with someone who actually needs your services, is qualified for your
services, and can pay for your services.

For this reason you should learn to use the phone as your most effective sales weapon. The
phone is still one of the most efficient ways to reach a large number of prospects, and should
be used to your advantage.

When you find someone that expresses interest in your services don’t just rush to set an in
person appointment. Take the time to pre-qualify the person over the phone to determine if it
is really wise to spend the time meeting with this person. One in person meeting per day with
the wrong prospect can kill your prospecting efficiency.

5. Successful cold calling

Cold calling techniques
I know people don’t want to hear this, but cold calling works and is a foundation of any small
business prospecting campaign. Yes, other things may seem easier and more effective, but cold
calling has been around for a long time for one reason – it works.

We built our business for three years doing essentially nothing but cold calling. We had no
money, we had no marketing people, and we didn’t have any of the ideas I’m about to share
with you – all we had was time and a desire to get off the ground. So we picked up the phone
and started dialing.

It’s not sexy.
It’s not easy.
But it works.

To this day, our salespeople make 50+ sales calls each and every day. I think this will always be
the case.

You’ve got to learn to love the phone!

Cold calling expectations
The reason most people dislike cold calling is because they have the wrong expectations. If you
think that every call you make is going to result in someone being glad to hear from you, then
you will of course be sadly disappointed.

However, if you understand that for every 50 calls or so you are likely to get one good
appointment that may lead to business, then you will be able to find success.
50 calls for every appointment may not sound like a great ratio to you, but considering you can
make 50 calls in one day, it’s not that bad. The way to improve that ratio is to "warm up" the
calls you make, and every one of the additional techniques we cover will help you do so.

Cold calling scripts
Every call you make should have a script that you follow. You should always be testing and
refining your script based on what works for you. Try one script for a week and carefully record
your results, then try another script that is slightly modified from the original for a week and
compare the results. Continuously work this process and your script will continuously improve.

There are all kinds of ideas on how to cold call. Some of it comes down to personal preference
and what feels comfortable to you, but it should primarily be based on performance and
results; after all, most people find any cold calling uncomfortable – you can’t let that stop you!

The following script works. I first heard it from my friend Andrew Morgan, but I had always
practiced something similar to, if a little less refined than, this myself. I’ve broken it down
below to illustrate the specific steps of the call. These steps are critical; the specific language
you use at each step is less so. It goes like this:
        1. Get their attention
        Use an opening line that will get them to pay attention to you. Just using their name is
        "Jim - Mike Cooch with Everon here."

        2. Lower their defenses
        Humor is often a great way to get them to lower their defenses and be more receptive
        to your conversation.
        "This is a sales call; I’m sure you’re excited."
Or you may have something local going on that you could reference:
"I’m glad I caught you at your desk; most people are at home mourning that Patriots’
loss last night!"

Just find something that fits your personal style and gets them relaxed a bit.

3. Set an up-front contract
An up- front contract is a way of laying down some ground rules/commitments that
make your prospect more comfortable and will give you a better chance of success.
At this stage of the prospecting call, an example would be: "Look, I know I’ve caught you
off guard and I know you are busy. If I promise not to take more than 3 minutes of your
time, could I ask you a few quick questions to see if it makes sense for us to continue
speaking with each other?"

4. Ask questions that demonstrate your knowledge of their world and challenges
An example at this stage in a prospecting call is to say something along the lines of:
"Typically when speaking with other (Their title)’s in your industry, I find that they face
the following challenges:
        Challenge 1
        Challenge 2
        Challenge 3
Do any of these challenges resonate with you?"

This type of question is an opportunity for you to establish credibility and demonstrate
your knowledge, while giving the prospect the opportunity to "raise their hand" by
acknowledging a challenge.

5. Respect the up-front contract you made!
When you’ve used up your initial time say, "Mr. Prospect, I’ve used up my three minutes,
but it seems like we have something to talk about. Do you have a little more time to
continue now?"

This shows that you do respect their time and keep your word.

6. Lower their guard even more and demonstrate proof of your capabilities at the
same time
At some point, the prospect will most likely ask something along the lines of "How are
you suggesting that you’ll help me solve my problems?” to which you should reply with
something along the lines of:
"Well, Mr. Prospect, I’m not sure that I can. But here is what we did for a similar
company in your situation."

       By doing so, you keep yourself from going into a pitch about how you can make their
       world perfect without even knowing the details of their problems - a common
       salesperson affliction!

       7. Set another up front contract
       "Mr. Prospect, I think the best way for us to proceed is to meet and spend some time
       discussing your specific business needs. If I promise to keep it to 45 minutes, can I come
       to your office next week to meet with you?"

       8. Set the appointment, if that is your objective.
       Again, it’s the process behind this cold call that is most important, not the specific
       language you use. The entire call structure is designed to get a conversation and
       establish credibility with the prospect.

There are many other cold call script structures, and many of them will work for you.
Experiment with several and use what works best for you. Just stay away from anything that is
overly gimmicky, and keep in mind that the cold call is just the first step in an often long sales
cycle, so do everything you can to leave a good impression and establish yourself as a trusted

V.I.P. Selling
We ensure that we are making the right impression and adding value in every call by practicing
what we call V.I.P. selling. V.I.P. selling means that every conversation we have with a client
should meet the V.I.P. criteria:
               1. It should add VALUE
               2. It should create INTEREST
               3. It should POSITION your company and yourself as a thought leader and trusted

Perhaps not every call will accomplish all three, but you should always get 2 out of 3. This
means that calling to "just check in" is not acceptable - it’s a waste of an opportunity to have a
more engaging interaction with your prospect!

Instead, call with an introduction to somebody else they would want to know, or tell them
about an interesting event, or a great article you read about their industry.
Something…anything…to make the call more relevant to the prospect.
Warming up the prospect

Ideally you find a way to warm up every call you make to a prospect, so it isn’t really a cold call.
Most people find this creates a much more comfortable prospecting environment because it
gives them a reason to call the prospect.

What exactly does "warm up" a call me?

It means a number of things:
              • The prospect has heard of you before the call
              • The prospect was expecting your call
              • You have a specific reason to call that is of interest to the prospect
              • You’ve already done something of value for them that triggers a sense of
              • You have a relationship with them that is of interest

You get the point. It doesn’t have to be all of these things at once – any single factor will help –
but the more you have, the better off you are.

When these factors exist, the call is less cold. The prospect is more receptive to hearing from
you, and you are usually more comfortable with contacting them.

If you believe, like I do, that the far majority of managed services sales will happen in a face-to-
face meeting with a prospect, then the point of all of these tactics is to help the salesperson get
a meeting. If you are an owner or Sales Manager reading this, it is critically important to involve
your salespeople in the decisions around these campaigns so they are confident that what is
being sent represents them well and helps them get in the door.

Specific tactics for warming up the call

Send a sales letter with "lumpy mail"
A very common sales strategy for warming up a prospect is to send them a letter first, then
place the follow up call referencing the letter.

There are many theories of what the letter should be about. One of the most famous books
that addresses this technique is called "Selling to V.I.T.O." by Anthony Parinello. It goes into
great detail about what specifically should be in the letter and how it should be used.

I'm less concerned about the specifics of the content of the letter. I am more concerned that it
gets the prospects attention, gets opened, and is memorable.

For these reasons, I highly recommend using what’s called "lumpy mail". Lumpy mail is just as
its name describes – lumpy. An example would be an envelope that has something large stuffed
inside of it. Because of the odd shape the envelope takes because of what’s inside, the piece of
mail is lumpy and really stands out from others in the stack of mail. This almost guarantees that
it will be looked at.

If it gets looked at, it’s very likely that it will be opened. And if it gets opened, and you put
something interesting inside, it is very likely to be memorable.

Let’s assume all of this has happened. How much easier is it for the salesperson to now call and
say, "Did you like the X I sent you?" or "This is Mike, I’m the person that sent you X"?

It’s much easier! Your salesperson is more confident and having more fun because they had
something specific to reference and the prospect is more likely to welcome your conversation
out of a sense of reciprocation.

There are a million ideas on how to use lumpy mail. The best resource I’ve found for ideas is the
website www.3Dmailresults.com. They will send you a free course on how to using lumpy mail,
and they can serve as your source for "lumpy" products.

Get their free course and study the principles of how to use lumpy mail effectively, and then get
creative with how you execute on the concept; there really is no limit to the number of things
you could do.

This technique is one of the best ways to leverage your time. You can reach a huge number of
people with direct mail, and by using "lump mail" techniques, you can make sure that what you
are doing will stand out in the mind of your prospect. Once you’ve found a campaign that
works, you simply repeat it over and over again.

Send an article or report
Sending an article or a report to a prospect is similar to sending a sales letter, but it adds a
degree of perceived value and thoughtfulness to your approach.

Put yourself in the prospect’s shoes. If you receive a letter from someone saying that they will
be calling soon to introduce themselves, it has limited value – primarily just creating awareness.
However, if you receive a report or article that’s of interest to you with a note attached that
says, "I thought you might enjoy reading this…" you now attach the value of the article or the
report to the person that sent it to you.

As the salesperson, you are effectively "borrowing" the value of the article or report.
This is one of the easiest things in the world to do. You don’t have to be the genius that wrote
the article or report – just find one, cut it out or photocopy it, and send it along to your
prospect with a hand written note. Then follow up with a phone call to introduce yourself.

It’s best, but not necessary, if your handwritten note adds something of additional value to the
article or report. If your note shows some thoughtfulness or expands on the ideas of the article
or report, then you gain an extra degree of additional credibility with the client.
Invite them to an event
Inviting a prospect to an event can be one of the most enjoyable ways of warming up an initial
contact. People love to leave the office to do something different every once in a while, and
they particularly enjoy it if it’s on somebody else’s dime, makes them feel important, and is

The number of things you can do here is unlimited, and really depends on the time and money
you want to put into the event, as well as the one-on-one time you hope to achieve with each
prospect at the event.

For example, a popular use of the "invite someone to an event" strategy is taking someone to
see a local professional sports team. Salespeople and business development people have been
doing this for ages for one reason – it works! The downside is that this can be pretty expensive;
the upside is that it takes virtually no effort to plan and it gives you great one-on-one time with
your guests.

As an alternative, try events such as Small Business Roundtables in which you invite a number
of small business executives – say 10 or so – to a private event at a nice hotel conference room
so you can ask them their thoughts about business trends, use of technology, etc.

Position these events in such a way that the business executives feel honored to be invited
because we are acknowledging them as experts and influential in their local business
community. During this type of event, do very little in the way of selling our services, but get a
ton of good connections, build good relationships with influential people, and get good one-on-
one time with prospects for the several people on our staff that you’ll have attend. The sales
flow naturally as a result of the impression you make on our prospects.

Finally, you can put on many local seminars of our own about topics related to small business
technology. You should be able to attract anywhere from 10 to 25 qualified prospects to these
types of presentations.

Seminars such as this serve as an excellent way to position your company and your people as
thought leaders and experts. They can cost a significant amount to host, and they don’t give
you as much one-on-one time with the prospects, but they do serve as a great way to impress a
significant number of prospects.

Note: see the "marketing seminars" section in Lead Generation for more information on how to
hold these events

No matter what the event, it’s nice for a salesperson to have an invitation to extend to a
prospect; it feels like you are giving them a gift. This makes for a totally different call versus
calling in to speak to a cold prospect with nothing but your elevator pitch in hand!

Speak at local business groups and events
Public speaking is probably the fastest way to create credibility in the eyes of most people.
Speaking at local conferences, events, and industry trade shows or meetings in particular is a
great way to establish yourself in a local community and get the word about your services out
to a large number of prospects. These types of events are happening all the time, so there is
literally no limit to the number of opportunities.

These events allow you to borrow from the pre-established credibility of the organization you
are speaking for. People assume "if he’s speaking at such-and-such conference, he must be the

real deal". This gives you an immediate and dramatic advantage over those that don’t speak in

Speaking at events like this gives you several opportunities from a sales perspective:
              1. Call to invite prospects to the event
              2. Collect business cards and have conversations at the event
              3. Follow up via phone call and email after the event

That’s three touches that all have the event as an obvious reason to get in touch with the
prospect, making it much easier to get a conversation, and pre-qualifying the prospects that
showed up based on their interest in the subject and taking the time to attend.
In order to execute on this idea, you must get comfortable with the idea of being a thought
leader. Most people aren’t comfortable with this; they get a sensation known as Imposter
Syndrome, where they assume that they aren’t smart enough or qualified enough for the role
they are playing. You must not fall victim to this.

The truth is that if you are in this industry and have been for a decent amount of time, you have
a ton of valuable information to share. Take some time to document those ideas and organize
them into a thoughtful presentation, then practice delivering it until you feel very comfortable
that you are an expert on the subject. You need to sell yourself first!
It only takes a few good presentation topics to fill your calendar full of speaking engagements
each year, so be disciplined enough to develop them and book your first presentation!

Do Drop offs
I just learned this one recently, but it’s a proven strategy that I plan to deploy aggressively.
Drop offs are very similar to the lumpy mail concept we covered earlier, but instead of being
mailed, they are delivered in person by the salesperson. Delivering them gives the salesperson
the opportunity to do a little bit of discovery while at the client’s office, and sometimes meet
with the prospect immediately.

I don’t know who originally created this strategy, but I learned it from a District Sales Manager
at ADP.

If you aren’t familiar with ADP, they are a nationwide giant that provides a variety of services to
small businesses – largely focused around payroll and HR administration outsourcing. My
understanding is that they have somewhere in the neighborhood of 15000 sales reps out in the
field! We all have something we can learn from them.

ADP uses drop offs very successfully to help their salespeople get in the door with new
prospects. My contact at ADP says it’s by far the number one way they go about getting
appointments with prospects; that’s enough for me to hear. Specifically, for every 25 drop offs
he does, he gets in the door with about two-thirds of those! Any salesperson would kill for
those kinds of number!

How do you use drop offs? It’s very simple:
             1. Identify a target list of prospects – I would keep this to 30 prospects or less per
             salesperson per campaign
             2. Identify a theme for your campaign messaging – examples could be
             "protection" or "security" if you are marketing a data protection service
             3. Choose a product that:
                     a. You can buy in bulk at an affordable price
                     b. Is related to the theme you chose
                     c. Will get the attention of the prospect
                     d. And ideally is something they will want to keep around and use
             4. Have it branded with your company logo if there is an affordable and
             appropriate way to do it – you can get this done with almost any product
             5. Write a note or sales letter to go with the product
             6. Deliver the product to the prospects office, addressed directly to the prospect
             you hope to meet with
             7. Follow up the next week with phone calls and email, identifying yourself as the
             person that brought the gift and asking for an appointment

A very high number of people will accept your call or respond to your email, and a good
number of those will agree to meet with you to discuss your services.

The more creative you are with these ideas, the better. Get a number of people in your
company to brainstorm ideas and give a small reward for the best idea – you’ll come up with
some very clever ones.

There are two very important things you should consider when using this strategy:
                  1. The number of drop offs a salesperson can reasonably do in a month is not a
                  huge number perhaps 50 or so. However, the number doesn’t need to be huge,
                  because this idea will get them in front of a very high percentage of their
                  2. You can afford to spend considerably more money on each of the drop offs
                  (as compared to the "lumpy mail" concept or other similar marketing tactics due
                  to the high success rate. Keep in mind the concept of Total Lifetime Value when
                  you develop your campaigns and spend enough money per drop off to give them
                  some real firepower.
To illustrate, if you were running a campaign about security, you could have your salespeople
deliver a nice padlock, or you could spend more money and have them deliver a personal
fireproof mini-safe. Which do you think would get a better return for your money? You’d have
to test and measure the ROI to be sure, but my bet is that the personal safe would get your
salespeople in front of a dramatically higher number of prospects.


No matter what warm up strategy you are using, you must have an organized strategy for
following up with the prospect after the initial contact. SO MANY salespeople give up after one
or two attempts to follow up with a prospect – this is ridiculous! Often it can take more than 8
touches to make contact.

Keep in mind that you are trying to reach a very busy businessperson, and you are interrupting
them to try to get their attention. The likelihood of you getting in touch with them on the first
shot is very slim. You need to follow a specific follow up strategy that gives you the best chance
at success, and doesn’t make you look like a stalker. I would suggest something like this:
        5 days after initial deliver/contact – Phone call
        +2 business days – Email
        +2 business days – Phone call
        +3 business days – Email
        +2 business days – Email
        +3 business days – Final phone call

If you haven’t reached your prospect at this point, they probably aren’t interested right now
and you should make a graceful retreat – for the time being. Leave them a message saying
something along the lines of,
        "It must be a very busy time for you right now, which I understand. Please take down my
        name and number and give me a call if you can free up some time. Otherwise, I’ll stop
        trying to reach you for now."

Leaving messages
Whether or not to leave voicemail during your phone call attempts is the point of much debate
in the sales industry. I’m not going to take a strong position on when or when not to in this
guide, but I will tell you one thing for sure:

If you are going to leave a message, make it a good one!

As the CEO of a company, I get a lot of sales calls. I also get a lot of voicemails from salespeople.
Most of them are horrible!

When I say horrible, I am not suggesting that the salesperson needs to have a perfect script for
leaving a voicemail. What I am suggesting is that if you are going to leave a voicemail, it should
               • Professional sounding
               • Clear
               • Slow enough that I can actually hear what you are saying and write down notes
               • Repetitive – give your name and phone number multiple times throughout the
               message; it is such a pain in the neck when somebody gives it once quickly at the
               beginning of the message and I have to replay the message three times to get
               their name and phone number written down!

And finally…whatever you do…don’t try to guilt the person into calling you back; I can’t believe
how many people try this!
       "Jim, I’ve got something really important to discuss – I don’t know why you won’t call me

It makes me 100% sure that I DON’T want to call them back, and that they’ll never get my

If you are going to leave messages, be clear, professional, and courteous.

6. Overcoming the fear of prospecting

There is a phrase that I often hear in this industry:

"I can sell our services to anybody, if I could just get in the door with more of the right

Well, that’s the trick, isn’t it?

How do you find more qualified prospects that will give you the time of day?

Most people find prospecting to be the hardest part of sales, and with good reason. Prospecting
generally means picking up the phone to make 100 phone calls and only getting one or two
people to even give you the time of day. It’s such tough work that most people find themselves
unable to do it for very long.

After so many calls and so many rejections, most people start to let the weight of their
perceived failure break them down. Pretty soon, it gets to the point where just picking up the
phone causes a reaction in their stomachs that makes them feel nauseous. Once they hit this
point, the classic signs of someone who is afraid to prospect start appearing:
                • Doing extensive research before being willing to make a call
                • Spending more time on coffee breaks, smoke breaks, and lunches by
                themselves than time with prospects.
                • Spending more time looking through job listings on Craigslist than they do
                talking to prospects

Eventually this downward spiral creates what amounts to an impossible psychological
roadblock to sales success. If a salesperson is that defeated mentally, the sales process is
stopped before it has even started.

This condition is called "sales reluctance" in the sales training industry, and is so common that it
is the subject of hundreds of books and countless training programs. Due to sales reluctance,
thousands or millions of sales careers have ended before they ever had a chance of seeing their

Now I’m not going to try to tell you that the prospecting process is all roses and sunshine. It
isn’t. People are going to hang up on you, lie to you, and treat you like a second-class citizen.
These conditions are just a reality of the sales career, and anyone that tells you they can teach
you a sales process that won’t involve these tough realities is selling to your wishful thinking.
In spite of this, there are millions of people making big money, enjoying their careers, and living
a fantastic lifestyle because of their ability to sell. If you want to join their ranks, you must
overcome your fear of prospecting. I would suggest that there are three keys for doing this:
                 1. Accept the challenges of your sales career and committing and re-committing
                 each day to not letting them defeat you mentally.
                 2. Learn to focus on the behaviors that lead to sales success, rather than focusing
                 on the results of each individual attempt.
                 3. Learn strategies, techniques and tools that give you the best chance at success
                 and at avoiding as many of the unpleasantries of sales as possible.

You alone are responsible for achieving the first two steps. There are a number of great
resources out there to help you overcome the fears of call reluctance.

You need to learn the strategies, techniques and tools that work for you when selling managed
services to small business clients. Please set your expectations correctly.
None of what you are going to learn is going to make the sales process a walk in the park, and
anybody to that tells you that they can do so is just plain lying to you. However, using the
material presented here, you will make the sales process easier, more fun, and more successful
if you apply what you learn enthusiastically and consistently over time.

7. Referrals

One of the best and most well known ways of finding new business is through introductions and
referrals. Most people in our industry rely way too much on these, so I hesitate to even bring
them up. However, it is still a great strategy, and one that is rarely used to its potential

Most salespeople are limited in their effectiveness at getting referrals for three reasons:
             1. They don’t have a process for asking for them
             2. They don’t develop a network of strategic referral relationships to leverage
             3. They don’t have a formal referral program that clearly identifies rewards

Without doing these three things, you will still get referrals; you just won’t get nearly as many
of them as you possibly could.

A process for asking for referrals
If you just expect people to think of giving you referrals on their own, you’ll get a very small
percentage of your satisfied clients to actually do so. The reality is that even if they love your
service, it’s just not top of mind for them to work to get you additional business.
You have to ask, and you have to have a process for doing so if you want to reach your full

The strategy for this goes back to our section about asking smart questions earlier in this
document. If you ask someone "do you know anyone else that could benefit from my services?"
you will more often than not get a "Hmmmmm….nope." in return.

It’s not that they don’t want to help you; it’s just an easy answer that gets them off the hook,
whether they are consciously doing it or not. You have to have a better script to ask for
referrals if you want to raise your chances at success. I would recommend something like this:
         "Bob, as you can imagine, I get a lot of my business from referrals given to me by
         satisfied clients. Since you seem pretty happy with the work we’ve delivered to you, I was
         wondering if you would be willing to introduce me to other people you know that might
         be a good fit for my services?"

They will say yes or no here. If yes, proceed to the rest of the script. If no, you’ve just uncovered
that you probably have a problem with this client that you need to dig into.
       "Great, thank you. Bob, do you mind if I try a quick exercise to see if we can come up
       with any names of people you could put me in touch with? Great. Keep in mind, these
       don’t have to be people you think or know have an immediate need for our services – I’d
       just like to meet people that could potentially find value in our services – it always pays
       to have more contacts out in the marketplace."

At this point, take them through an exercise to get their brains working on your behalf, and
should provide you with names of qualified clients or strategic relationships:
                1. Do you know anyone starting a new business?
                2. Do you know anyone moving offices?
                3. Do you know anyone that recently downsized their business?
                 4. Do you know anyone running a company that is experiencing rapid growth?
                5. Do you know a good small business attorney?
                6. Do you know a good small business CPA?

These questions are specific, so they get specific results. Just about everyone you talk to will be
able to come up with a few names when asked this list.

When you get the names, it’s best if you can get your client/contact to make an introduction for
you. Have them send an email copying both of you, or even make a call while you are sitting
there. If they aren’t comfortable or don’t have the time, don’t press the issue. Just get the
name and contact info and give them a call. Make sure you reference the referrer’s name!
        "Hi Susie Lawyer, Bob asked me to give you a call…"

Building strategic referral relationships

Each sales rep should actively build and cultivate a list of potential referral resources with which
to keep in touch. If you are selling to small businesses, the most likely and strategic candidates
are those people whose profession brings them in daily contact with business owners -
commercial real estate brokers, accountants, lawyers, telecom sales reps, office supply sales
reps, payroll sales reps, HR outsourcing reps, etc.

Each sales rep should make it a point to build a list of ten referral partners that they actively

Once you have identified a potential referrer, you need to build an ongoing relationship with
them that goes beyond the casual and occasional ask for referrals. You ideally want to form an
alliance with this person, so that they are always looking for business for you, and you are
always looking for business for them. Otherwise, the alliances really aren’t alliances at all; they
are just lunch-buddies. You don’t need lunch-buddies, you need new business!

To get the relationship to the level of a strategic alliance, you need to get commitment from the
other person to actively look for deals, and you need to provide compensation in the way of
referral bonuses or introductions to possible clients.

Once you’ve built your network of alliances, you need to make a point of staying in touch with
them and constantly remind them of the services you can provide. I would suggest that, as a
minimum, every one of your strategic alliance partners should be put on the following contact
             • Monthly - phone call
             • Quarterly - in person meeting, breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc

You should use these contacts not to just "touch base"; you should use it to remind them of
your ideal client, tell them about new services you are offering, give them case studies about
clients you’ve delivered great service to, etc.

The following script is a good one for building the initial alliance relationship. Keep in mind - you
should use these conversations and meetings as a time to feel out the quality of your potential
partner just as much as you should be selling your alliance idea to them. The last thing you want
to do is get partnered up with someone that is a C player in their industry; they’ll just drag your
reputation down. You can only reasonably plan to keep in touch with about 10 referral
partners, so make them good ones!

Initial call script to get an in-person meeting
       "Hi Bob - this is (name) from (IT company), how are you doing?
       Great. How is business? Yeah, it’s a tough time for everyone right now – which is actually
       the reason for my call.
       I’m trying to make a conscious effort to keep in touch with the people that could
       potentially benefit from the referral program we have at my company, and you came to

       mind. I was wondering if I could buy you breakfast, lunch, coffee soon so we could catch
       up and see if there is a way we might be able to help each other out.
       How does next X-day look for you?"

In-person meeting
Make small talk; ask them how they are doing, what’s new in their life, etc. Feel them out –
would they make a good partner?
       "Look Bob, I think we are running in pretty similar circles in terms of the business owners
       and executives we are talking to on a daily basis – so I thought we might be able to help
       each other get more business and make a little more money.
       As I mentioned, we have a pretty aggressive referral program right now that allows me
       to reward you pretty substantially for any business you are able to send our way. I know
       you probably have a lot of other contacts in our industry – and I would never ask you to
       refer us business if you didn’t feel 100% confident in our abilities – but I thought it was
       worth discussing."

Make sure to start with a discussion of how you might be able to help them find
more business!
• We will never embarrass you by putting on high-pressure sales approach
• We promise only to attempt to sell to prospects that we believe we can add real value to
• We can make payment to you, your company, or your favorite charity if you feel
uncomfortable/like there is a conflict of interest

Discuss the details of your plan; give them your referral program materials and business card.
Make sure to make the following points:
Try to incorporate some specific ideas on how you can help their clients:
• Real estate broker: if you have clients that are about to move, we can offer an evaluation of
their networks, do move services, put in technology that will lower their expenses, etc.
• Business broker/lawyer/accountant: If you have a client that is about to buy a new business,
we can help evaluate the technology assets, risks, etc.

Once they are pretty comfortable with you/you with them
Use the brainstorming script that you used with your clients when asking for referrals:
       Bob, do you mind if I try a quick exercise to see if we can come up with any names of
       people you could put me in touch with? Great. Keep in mind, these don’t have to be
       people you think or know have an immediate need for our services – I’d just like to meet
       people that could potentially find value in our services – it always pays to have more
       contacts out in the marketplace.

At this point, take them through an exercise to get their brains working on your behalf, and
should provide you with names of qualified clients or strategic relationships:
                1. Do you know anyone starting a new business?
                2. Do you know anyone moving offices?
               3. Do you know anyone that recently downsized their business?
               4. Do you know anyone running a company that is experiencing rapid growth?
               5. Do you know a good small business attorney?
               6. Do you know a good small business CPA?

If you follow this process consistently, stay in regular contact with your referral alliance
partners, and have a bonus program of some sort to reward them – you will get referrals from
this group. We’ve found that it does take all three components, however, so don’t expect it to
work well if you only have two out of three!

If you follow a conversation process similar to this, you will get exponentially more referrals.

Lead Conversion

8. The shift you must make....

Before you can be successful in marketing and selling managed services, it you must first make
a shift in your thinking that only you have control over.

Our experience in this industry is that the far majority of people tend to think like technologists
first, and sales and marketing people last, if at all.

In this industry or any other, this mind set is the number one killer of growth. You are too
focused on the doing of the work, and not nearly focused enough on the selling and marketing
of the work.

If you want to grow beyond a small business, you must make the shift to being a sales and
marketing company that happens to deliver technology services as its product, instead of being
a technology services company that happens to do sales and marketing.

If you make this shift, you will find your efforts rewarded with a healthy, growing business.
If you don’t, you’ll struggle to grow and every new client will seem to come only after a
challenging, long sales cycle.

Learn to love to sell
Selling is the foundation of any good business. If your business struggles with sales then
everything else is a struggle. It’s not any fun being in business every day with the lack of
customers, a lack of revenue, or a lack of profits-they can make business feel like trying to push
a snowball uphill.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Just about everybody can learn how to sell effectively and when you do business becomes fun
again. If you are in business for yourself you probably enjoy the experience of helping your
clients and you just wish that you could have more clients to help and that they would enjoy
and place value on the service that you’re providing to them.

But it all starts with the sale.

Almost everybody has a strong opinion about selling and salespeople. You’ll usually find that
people either love selling, or they absolutely hate selling and everything associated with it-
including salespeople. Our beliefs about selling usually come from a combination of social
stigma about who a salesperson is and how he goes pitching their wares, and from your own
personal experiences of rejection when trying to sell something. Usually this combination of
factors leaves people with a very bad taste about selling.

Many of the smartest people we know, if asked about a career in sales, would laugh in disgust.
The possibility of a career in sales is something they would never even consider; they would
believe that it was too far beneath him to take on such a role in society.

This is incredibly unfortunate, because this attitude is probably the single factor that is most
responsible for limiting their career progression and potential income.

But you’re different.

By reading and focusing on these materials, you’ve acknowledged that sales is an important
part of your career and that you are committed to improving your abilities in the realm of
selling – whether you are a full time salesperson, or a business owner wearing many hats.
Congratulations on taking this step; most people will never get that far. You, on the other hand,
have committed yourself to learning the skills and knowledge that’s necessary to have a
rewarding sales career and to build your business.

But our hope for you is greater than just learning new skills and knowledge.

We want you to learn to have fun selling. We want you to enjoy the process of finding your own
clients, creating your own revenue, and controlling your own destiny. The person who is willing
to work hard every day to create revenue has one of the noblest positions in our economy. You
make things happen. You create jobs. You are the fuel that fires the economic engine of our

It’s probably obvious by now that we don’t take the subject lightly. We're very big believers in
the power of entrepreneurship; the power to lift people and economies to their greatest
potential by creating individuals and organizations that feel accountable to themselves, to each
other, and to their society as a whole.

America has long recognized the role of the entrepreneur as a hero in our society. Our country
was founded by entrepreneurs who were unwilling to accept the status quo in their lives, thus
creating an environment of opportunity that has thrived for over 200 years.

But let’s not be fooled by the word entrepreneur. It’s a long word that many people have a hard
time saying, let alone spelling. What’s most important is that we understand the core skill of
those people with word entrepreneur on their resume. I would suggest that if you ask 100
successful entrepreneurs what the most important skill they have that has allowed them to
create their companies and create their success that almost all of them would tell you that it’s
their ability to sell.

You should be proud of your ability to sell.
You should be proud of your ability to create jobs.
You should be proud of your ability to wake up every morning, face rejection, and still have the
guts to go after your dreams.
And most importantly, you should be proud of the fact that you are connecting clients with the
products and services that will help them accomplish their goals.

This is the essence of selling: providing value by connecting those with a need with those with a
solution. In complex sales such as managed services this doesn’t happen on its own. People
don’t typically wake up in the morning looking for a new managed services provider. This is the
case in most businesses, which is why a successful salesperson is still the most highly paid
profession in the world.

Selling can and should be something that you enjoy. It is our hope that you spend just as much
time learning to have fun with the process of selling as you do learning specific techniques
strategies and knowledge to make you a better salesperson. When you’re having fun everything
comes easier, including sales.

9. Five foundations of an effective sales initiative
           Foundation #1: the right people
           Foundation #2: effective compensation plans
           Foundation 3: Effective training
           Foundation #4: effective sales management
           Foundation #5: Have products worth selling

10.Sales principles that lead to success

Every activity worth pursuing has a set of guiding principles or philosophies that when known
and accepted make everything easier. A light bulb seems to turn on when people absorb them for
the first time.

The following business principles are some of our favorites. You may know them too - if so they
have probably already had a very positive impact on your life:

"Nothing happens until someone sells something."

"Salary earns you a living, equity earns you wealth."
"Work on the business, not in the business."

When these principles are unknown or ignored, everything is harder than it needs to be.
Achievement comes slowly and with difficulty.

Selling in this industry is no different – there are principles that need to be learned and practiced
to make your life easier and get the results you desire.

The principles described below have served MSPs in this industry very well. Learn them and do
your best to incorporate them into your business every day. Let them guide your decisions and
behaviors and your sales efforts will be more successful.

Principle #1: YOU are responsible!

That’s right, YOU.

Sales and marketing is the #1 job of anyone reading this guide, even if (especially if!!) you are
the founder of the company. You sell your employees on your vision, your clients on your
abilities, and your investors on the potential of your business.

If you think being a good technician is your #1 job, you will remain a small company (if this
concept is new to you, your very first homework assignment from this guide is to buy a copy and
read E-myth).

If you want to remain a very small company, that’s fine. But don’t complain that your company
isn’t growing or that you aren’t making as much money as you want to. Rather, accept your fate
as a very small company and don’t get stressed when you don’t grow.

That’s not meant to be harsh, just honest.

If you want to grow to be a bigger company – one that gives you freedom of finances and time –
then you have to be absolutely diligent about building a sales and marketing engine at your

If you are a salesperson reading this, YOU are also responsible. Every company that you will go
to work for has its flaws. The products should be better, the services should be better, marketing
should do a better job of finding you leads.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that someone else is responsible for your success or failure as
a salesperson – it isn’t true. Accept that you are 100% responsible and get to work!

Whether you are the owner of the company, or a salesperson, know your goals and have the guts
to develop the skills and behaviors necessary to go after them.

Principle #2: Know your goals and track your results

I’m a big believer in goal setting. Everyone at our company has written goals for each month,
quarter, and year. It’s been proven over and over again that people who have set written goals for
themselves and regularly review their progress against those goals have a dramatically higher
chance of actually achieving them than those that don’t.

Don’t deny yourself the extra firepower of knowing your goals and clearly articulating them on
paper. You should create a personal goal setting routine that is reviewed and updated regularly.
And I’m not just talking business goals; I’m talking personal goals that get you juiced to come to
work and bring your best every day.

The trick is to then translate those goals into the daily sales behaviors you need to achieve the
goals you’ve laid out. In other words, to earn enough money to go on that big vacation three
months from now you:

• Need 3 more clients

• Which means you need to send out proposals to ten qualified prospects

• Which means you need to have 30 meetings

• Which means you need to make 100 calls per day

You get the picture.

If I just tell you that you should make 100 calls per day for the rest of the year, it will hit you
with a thud. But if we are able to draw a clear line between making 100 calls per day and
achieving your personal dreams, we will create energy and passion in your work!

Principle #3: Consistency is key- you must make time for prospecting every day

If there is one characteristic that stands out amongst all of the best salespeople I know it’s that
they are consistent. They get to work early, work their game plan, and repeat it day after day
without fail.

This is a secret to sales success at your business. Someone must be prospecting at all times.
Every minute that someone is not prospecting is a minute that can never be re-gained.

Whether you are the salesperson or you have hired someone else to play that role, make sure that
dedicated time is set aside every day for prospecting, and that this time is considered SACRED

The number one killer of prospecting consistency is not being organized and disciplined. The
number two killer is call reluctance, which is why you must…

Principle #4: Expect rejection and don’t take it personally

Taking rejection personally when you’re a salesperson is kind of like getting down in the dumps
if you don’t hit every single basketball shot. In basketball it is impossible to make every shot,
and if you let missing get into your head then you’ll never be a championship-caliber player.

The same is true for prospecting. Rejection is just a part of the game. You must recognize this
and learn not to take it personally so that it does not slow down your prospecting efforts.

The best way to do this is to focus on the process, not the result. Most people experience call-
reluctance when making cold calls because they are so emotionally attached to the results of cold
calling - being hung up on, having people tell you no, etc.

This is natural, of course, but you must not let it stop you from making progress! The best way
we’ve found to not get emotionally carried away is to focus on the process, not the result. Focus
on the specific techniques you are using and how well you are executing on them - the results
will fall in line.

The reality is that for even the best cold callers, a majority of calls will end in not getting an
appointment with the prospect. If you focus on this and see it as a failure, you’ll never sell much.

Principle #5: Have an objective for every call

Each and every prospecting call you make sure have a specific, measurable goal. As I’m sure
you understand by now, if you have a specific objective for any situation, you are much more
likely to make that objective a reality.

The same goes for prospecting. Before you pick up the phone or walk in that door, make sure
you know what you are trying to accomplish. Is it:

• Getting an appointment?

• Learning the decision maker’s name?

• Determining their budget?

• Inviting them to an event?

• Educating them?

The objective of a prospecting call isn’t always to get an appointment or make a sale. Because of
the long-term nature of the sales cycle in the MSP industry, it is often that the objective of the
call is something other than appointments or immediate sales.

Principle #6: Don’t spend time on the wrong prospects

Having the wrong customer in a managed services relationship is a killer.

It eats up the time and morale of your team and distracts you from your good customers.
Good customers start as good prospects. Bad customers start as bad prospects.

You must profile the characteristics of a good customer and have the discipline to turn away
prospects that don’t fit the description.

You will not turn a bad prospect into a good customer!!!

It doesn’t matter how big the deal is or what the prospect tells you about how the relationship
will be after you have signed a deal- it won’t turn into a good customer. You must make sure that
you don’t bother bringing the wrong customer into your portfolio of business. The sale won’t
stick and neither will the commission – it’s a waste of time for everyone involved.

Principle #7: Look for people who are interested in buying today

The primary objective of prospecting is to find someone that is interested in buying your services
TODAY. This should be top of mind during your prospecting activities.

Some simple laws of mathematics make this a critical principle to abide by.

You only need to sign one or two deals per month to have a successful career selling managed
services. The challenge is that it’s very easy to let a month slide by without having signed a deal.
This happens when you get so carried away with nurturing long-term prospects that you don’t
make the time to hunt for immediate opportunities.

Now don’t get me wrong – you MUST nurture your long-term prospects as well, but it shouldn’t
be your primary objective as a salesperson; it should be your secondary objective.

Your primary objective should be to look for business that is going to close in the next thirty
days – whether that comes from a new prospect or one you’ve been working for years.

So let’s look at the math behind this.

Let’s say that perhaps 1 in every 100 business is looking for your services today. The number is
probably actually smaller, but we’ll keep it simple.

Now let’s say that you are a very aggressive cold-caller and will make 50 calls every single day.
Let’s also assume that the chance that you’ll actually get through and get a conversation with the
right person at these companies is 5 percent – that’s probably generous.

That means that the chances that you’ll get a conversation with someone looking for your
services immediately is…well…I’m not a math genius, but the odds aren’t very good.

The point is this: if you spend all of your time on long term prospects, you aren’t going to sign
any deals this month unless they just happen to fall in your lap. That means that your prospecting
process must be good at identifying people who have a problem they are looking to solve

Principle #8: The sales process establishes the relationship

The sales process is the start of the client’s relationship with your company. You’d better make
sure that you know how to get it off on the right foot!

You must ensure that your sales process and salespeople reflect the values of your company and
avoid doing anything that will set you up for future problems.

Like what?

Lying – for some reason it’s become socially acceptable for salespeople to "bend the truth" to try
to win business.

Discounting – "Sure Mr. Prospect, we’ll knock $15/hour off of our rate to get in the door." Now
the client knows they just have to push and they can get a big discount on your services, and ruin
your profitability.

Giving away time – this has become a common marketing tactic in our industry. Do a job for
free to get in the door. Bad news. What precedent does it set with the client when you are willing
to give away the only thing you have to offer them?

Your salespeople need to demonstrate and protect the value of your services at all times during
the sales process, or you will always be considered a low value vendor.

Principle #9: Get the relationship

As I said before, you will have long-term prospects to nurture – eventually they will become the
lifeblood of your sales pipeline.

In every case, in every interaction, you should try to establish a positive relationship with the
person you are prospecting.

People buy from people they like and trust.

Try to add value to their life on every interaction you have with them.

This can be done by providing helpful information, telling them a good joke, giving them a gift,
introducing them to someone of value – there are a million possibilities.

If you establish a relationship, they will think to call you when they are looking for services.

Principle #10: Make sure that no single deal becomes too important to you

There’s nothing worse than seeing a salesperson struggle to close an important deal that they’ve
been spending all of their time on, and then having that deal fall through. The salesperson was
putting all of their eggs in one basket and it didn’t pay off.

The reason for this is that the salesperson was not doing enough prospecting. They found what
they thought was a hot deal and they started to spend too much time on that one deal at the
expense of finding possible new prospects.

The solution to this is to make sure that you have a large database of prospects, and that you are
always working a large enough number of prospects that you never become reliant on the
success of any one deal.

11.Sales techniques to grow your business

Your elevator pitch
Before you start talking to anyone about your company, you should develop your elevator

The elevator pitch is so named because the idea is that you should be able to deliver it on a
brief elevator ride when the stranger next to you asks what you do for a living. You don’t have
much time, so you want to make it clear, concise, and memorable.

There are a lot of theories about how to deliver a great elevator pitch, and I happen to think
that most of them are wrong. Here’s why:

Most people take the “elevator” thing a little too seriously. They think they’ve got to come up
with something that in 30 seconds or less perfectly explains what it is they do and is memorable
enough to leave a lasting impression. After all, when that person walks out of the elevator two
floors from now, you won’t have a second chance.

This was perpetuated by Silicon Valley lore that said that the way you raised big money for a
start up was by seeing Mr. Hot Shot Venture Capitalist at his favorite coffee shop and in 30
seconds dazzling him with your perfect elevator pitch. If he immediately saw the light, you had
access to unlimited amounts of money. If he didn’t, you went back to your job flipping burgers.

It’s a silly fable that has created a lot of goofy elevator pitches!

I think there are two flaws to this approach to elevator pitches:
     1. That’s a lot of pressure, and it is incredibly rare that you are going to be able to pull this
         off without sounding a bit weird or ridiculous
     2. How often do you meet someone and strike up a situation with the expectation that
         they are just going to walk away from you in 30 seconds?!

I think the only time this might be a reality is in Hollywood, where as soon as someone realizes
you don’t have the power to give them a role in the next George Clooney movie, they ditch you
and move on to the next person at the party without saying a word.

But let’s assume for a minute that the rest of us are actually participating in normal society. In
99% of cases you are going to have more than thirty seconds with the person. In this case, what
is the real goal of your elevator pitch?

The answer is best given by one of my favorite sales quotes:

"The seminal skill of the salesperson is to get the prospect talking."
Mark Fitzgerald, Sandler Sales

Amen, Mark.

The point of your elevator pitch is to get the other person talking! Have a conversation with
them like normal people. This gives you time to learn about them, and them time to learn
about you, in a pace and tone that doesn’t sound like a ridiculous pitch.

So, assuming you agree with this, let’s look at the different ways to put together an elevator
pitch. If you don’t agree with me – no problem – you can always go back to doing things your

The Old School Elevator Pitch
The traditional way of doing an elevator pitch would have me saying something like this:

“My name is (name); I work at (your company). We’re the leading provider of managed IT
services to businesses sized 10-200 around the country. We’re unique because we were one of
the first companies in the country to provide almost all of our services remotely.”

Gag! It sounds so stale and silly, and it makes you sound like a salesperson. I’m sure you could
find some elevator pitch book out there that would give you some formula like:

   1. State your name
   2. State the name of the company you work for
   3. Describe what the company does, using a word like “leading, #1, superior, or top
   4. Describe your target audience
   5. Describe what makes you so unique that the person you are talking to will be jumping
      out of their skin to tell their friends.

Just follow the formula and you’ll have such a memorable elevator pitch that everyone will be
finding business for you! Right.

The reality is that you have people thinking “oh brother!” and heading to the punch bowl to get
away from you. What should you do instead?

The Alternative Elevator Pitch

Keeping in mind that the point of your elevator pitch is to get a conversation going, I would
suggest that the ideal elevator pitch would leave a person asking,

“What do you mean exactly? Tell me more.”

In fact, if you were to use this elevator pitch in a room full of people who work really hard to
script the perfect elevator pitch (say…at your local Chamber of Commerce event!), the people
you deliver it to will probably be thinking,

“Gee, that guy really needs to work on his elevator pitch.”

If that’s the case, you are doing it right!

So what would a good elevator pitch sound like? I would suggest something like this:

“Hi, I’m (name) – I help companies use technology to be more successful.”

Well what the hell does that mean, (name)?


The logical question after I say something like that elevator pitch is, “Well what exactly does
that mean?”

Congratulations, you’ve just started a conversation!

This elevator pitch is clear, short, doesn’t sound silly, and was vague enough that the person
you are talking with would have to ask for more details. That’s exactly the goal!

Watch your tone

Don’t sound like you’re from Disney
I think that the next most important thing you can work on before making a lot of real sales
contact with prospects is your tone.

I used to be terrible with tone.

I am a product of customer service businesses. I worked at restaurants and did internships at
Disney World – it was ingrained in me at an early age that you were supposed to do everything
with a big smile on your face and a ring to your voice.

Let me ask you: when somebody cold calls you and the first thing you notice is that they have a
ridiculously chipper voice, what is the first thing you think?


The first dead giveaway that somebody is making a sales call is when they follow the old rule of
"make sure you smile when you are calling"!

Everybody knows you are a salesperson from the second you get on the phone.

Let me ask you a second question: if you were getting a call from a seasoned businessperson
that you knew you could trust and that had valuable advice to give, do you think they would be
calling with the same tone in their voice?

Probably not. They have a totally different attitude about their call, because they know they
have something of real value to offer you and they feel no need to grovel for business.

That’s the way you need to sound.

You want to come across as a seasoned business advisor, not a kid straight from training at
Disney World.

Don’t sound like you’re calling the Oval Office, either
On the other end of the spectrum, but just as common, is the salesperson that sounds
completely scared and intimidated. I’ve been guilty of this as well.

You would swear that some salespeople were calling the President of the United States on
every call – they sound so scared! That doesn’t work either. If you’re not confident in yourself
and what you have to offer, why should anybody else be?

Somewhere in between…

Now, please don’t get me wrong. I’m not asking you to try to pretend to be someone you’re
not. Rather, I am simply suggesting that you should just be conscious of not letting your tone
get out of control, particularly over the phone. People pick up on it and label you right away.

Instead, you should do your best to sound…well…"neutral".

Learn to ask good questions

               “The seminal skill of the salesperson is to get the prospect talking.”
                                  -Mark Fitzgerald, Sandler Sales

This is one of the most important quotes about sales any salesperson could ever hear and
absorb. The majority of time in your conversations with prospects should consist of you asking
them good questions that:

       1. Allow you to control the flow of the conversation
       2. Uncover their needs
       3. Uncover their goals
       4. Establish you as an authority
       5. Qualify the prospect
       6. Move the sales process forward

Unfortunately, most salespeople still tend to do the "show up and throw up" model of selling,
not giving their prospects enough air time to let the salesperson know their needs and wants.
This wastes time, annoys the prospect, and results in fewer sales.

Instead, a salesperson should "dumb up"!

By this, I mean they should use questions to get the prospect to do more talking instead of
blabbing on like an "expert" and never letting the prospect talk.

There are techniques to asking good questions, which we will cover here. They aren't rocket
science, but they do take some practice to do well.

Principles of Question Based Selling

1. Prescription without diagnosis is mal-practice
A common problem in selling is that salespeople often fall into the trap of giving proposals,
quoting solutions, or discussing prices before they even know the exact challenges of the
customer, and therefore what they really need.

Use questions to avoid getting caught in this trap.

If someone prematurely asks you for a proposal, say:

"I don't know what I would put in it. What problem exactly are you looking to solve?" or
something similar.

If they ask how much your service costs, say something like:

"I don't know. Let me ask you a few questions to determine exactly what offering you would

2. People prefer to be listened to, rather than listen to you
People like the sound of their own voice, and don't typically like to be sold to. Let them do the
talking. By asking them good questions, you can effectively get them to sell themselves.

3. People respond in kind

If you ask a stupid or gimmicky question, you will get the same in your prospect's response.
Make your questions sincere and professional. Additionally, if you ask questions that lead to
dead-end responses, you are going to get a lot of dead-ends.

"Are you interested in discussing some options for IT services for your business?"


Awkward silence.

Use thoughtfully structured questions that will stimulate conversation. Don’t give your prospect
easy ways to dodge a conversation, and you will find yourself having more conversations.

Techniques for Question Based Selling

1. Ask open-ended questions
Open-ended questions are those that won't result in a simple "Yes" or "No" answer, which
means they engage the other person in active conversation with you. There is a simple formula
to make sure you are asking open-ended questions, which is to try your best to start each
question with one of the following words:
Go ahead and try to ask a Yes or No question using this formula - it's very difficult!

NOTE: be careful with Why questions. Ask them carefully and softly so that you don't come
across as confrontational or questioning someone's judgment!

2. Stop giving away your knowledge
Most salespeople give away too much knowledge and effort without getting anything in return.
Most salespeople have a real desire to show how smart they are, so they jump right in to
presenting their expertise.

The problem with that is two-fold:

a. You don't yet have a good understanding of their pain
b. You haven't really engaged them in the process of connecting with their frustrations

People are motivated by their pains and frustrations - even more so than they are by their
desires and wants (in most cases). That's why people typically look for IT help when there is a
problem; they rarely buy proactively.

Your job is to get them to really identify and associate with their pains so they get themselves
into a buying mood. The best way to do this is to ask questions and let them talk rather than
launching right into a presentation that demonstrates how smart you are.

3. Use Reverse Questions to control the conversation
Reverse Questions are questions in response to someone else's questions.

Oftentimes you will get asked a question that you:

a. Don't know the answer to
b. Don't know the true intention behind it
c. Don't want to answer because it is too early in the sales process

You can use Reverse Questions to thoughtfully control these situations.

"That's a great question, why do you ask that?"

"Why is that important to you?"

"Has that been a problem for you in the past?"

Role Play!

It's way too easy to read this lesson and think that it's common sense and get the false
impression that you don't need to practice asking good questions.

Don't fall into this trap!

I'm telling you with 100% certainty: if you haven't practiced asking good questions over and
over in role playing exercises, you aren't very good at it! Practice, practice, practice - and you
will be able to use questions to control your sales conversations.

Principles of handling objections

Most salespeople don’t spend nearly enough time perfecting their objection handling. This
really is pretty ridiculous when you consider that there are a very limited number of objections
you could realistically run into during a call. If you take the time to get to know them very well,
and have your best responses ready to go, you’ll see dramatically improved results.

As with other areas of sales, objection handling has its own set of principles for success:

1. Have a script, but don’t sound scripted

Have your best responses scripted out, but practice making them sound natural, otherwise
you’ll create a negative "salesy" impression in the mind of your prospect. This is particularly
true with objections; people want to feel like they are being listed to, not that you are just
regurgitating a slick response to anything they have to say.

2. View objections as a gift
When someone objects to specific facets of your offering, they are letting you know two very
important things:
              a. That there is some interest in buying your products or services, otherwise they
              wouldn’t still be talking to you, and
              b. The specific thing they are objecting to is what’s holding them back from
              pulling the trigger. All you need to do is handle their objection.

If you don’t understand this, you will pack up and leave as soon as they throw an objection your
way, when you really just need to stay and address the objection.

3. Don’t answer un-asked questions!
This is one of the most common challenges for less-experienced sales people – they get into a
panic mode and just start answering objections that haven’t even been raised! You must learn
to keep your mouth shut and only answer what needs to be answered, and nothing more. Any
other time spent could just get in the way of the sale.

And when they do raise an objection or ask a question, don’t assume you know the root of their
questions; ask them to clarify before giving them a response:
               a. "Which means what to you?"
               b. "That’s a great question, why do you ask?"
               c. "Has that been a problem for you in the past?"
               d. "Is that a serious concern?"
               e. "Is that important to you?"
               f. "Why is that important to you?"

By asking these clarifying questions, you’ll get the prospect to talk some more and reveal what
it is they are really after. Often times they’ll end up just dismissing their own objection as not
really being that important!

4. Bring up potential problems or concerns directly and work with the client to solve them.
This may seem counter to point #3, but sometimes it’s actually best if you raise the objection
yourself, rather than waiting for them to. If you know that there is a problem that needs to be
overcome in order for you to work together, then bringing it up yourself makes you look honest
and credible, and it enables you to get the prospect to suggest their own solution. When they
suggest a solution, they are much more likely to feel good about it versus feeling like they were

Here is a model to follow (I learned this from the Dave Sandler book titled "You Can’t Teach a
Kid to Ride a Bike at a Seminar", which I highly recommend!):

"We may have a problem here."
"What is that?"
You state your concern and ask,
"Do you see a way to overcome this?"

You could be bringing up any number of things that you know are common problems:
               • They’ve never budgeted for IT support in the past and you are concerned they
               don’t have the funds available
               • They have very outdated systems but want a flat-fee support plan
               • They keep focusing on getting a lower rate, and you don’t drop your prices.
Whatever it is, it may be best to bring it up yourself. This is particularly true if you are getting
toward the end of the sales process and it hasn’t been covered directly yet; don’t wait until to
last minute.

5. Agree with them before you try to counter; it feels less combative.
Some salespeople let objection handling turn into a fight with the prospect; never let that be
the case. You always want your prospect to feel like you are on their side and not trying to cram
something down their throat. When you get an objection, practice responding with language
       "I can see why you would say that, and many of our customers said that at one point…"
       "You’re right, we are priced towards the top of the market, and here’s why…"

By using language like this, you sound much more agreeable, and you avoid butting heads with
your prospect.

Universal objections
As I said, there really is a short list of potential objections that you are going to face. If you don’t
believe me, get your sales team together and brainstorm a list. You’ll find that most of what
you come up with is actually a slightly-different worded version of another, and you’re final list
will likely be around a dozen objections.

Here is the list we came up with:
                 1. We are happy with our current provider.
                 2. Someone internal takes care of our IT.
                 3. I don’t have time to speak with you right now.
                 4. Not interested.
                 5. Why don’t you send me your literature to review?
                 6. We don’t have any money budgeted for this; call back later.
                 7. Timings not right; check back in X months.

               8. The person you need to speak with wouldn’t be interested in this.
               9. We are in a spending freeze right now…don’t even bother.
               10. Your prices are too high.

Ten measly objections! You’re not going to let ten measly objections get in your way, are you?!

Take the time to script out the best responses to these that you can possibly come up with and
practice them until you know them cold.

Note that some of these objections are more likely to come up when doing your initial prospect
(Not interested), while others are more likely to come up later in the sales process (Your prices
are too high).

It’s important to consider this, as your objection handling strategy has different objectives
depending on where you are in your sales cycle.

If you are doing a cold call, the objective of your response is really just to keep the conversation
moving forward.

Later on in the sales cycle, the objective of your response should be to actually overcome or
address the objection, otherwise the deal won’t close.

Can one email add $20k in sales overnight? Yes, here’s how…

Successful MSPs do quite bit of marketing to try to keep their managed services sales engine
running at a high speed. They use Internet marketing tools to market on the Internet, direct mail,
hold events, speak for associations - they try to do it all, and they are continuously working to
refine their approach and increase their volume.

But sometimes the best marketing tactics aren’t really planned in advance at all, they just come
from someone in your company using their common sense. We experienced one of these
situations recently, and it’s something everyone in the industry should be sure to use

The head of our Professional Services group was sick of our clients dragging their feet on
projects. He felt that many of our clients had every intention of doing the work, but they were
just taking their time since summer was starting and they would rather plan their vacations than
plan their projects!

But this was screwing up his numbers, and he was set on hitting his goals. What did he do? He
sent a simple yet effective email to all of our clients telling them to GET THEIR PROJECTS
DONE or they would risk being delayed when we got a flood of projects signed at the end of
summer (like we always do).

And guess what happened?

We added $20k in cash flow immediately to the month of June, and another $20k+ booked for
the early part of July.

Just from sending one email. (See below for the actual email text!)

This illustrates a very important concept in direct marketing:

Very clearly tell your prospects exactly what you want them to do. When you do, the likelihood
that they’ll actually do it increases significantly.

Now, summer isn’t the only time this email can be used. I can think of several others off the top
of my head that will work with slightly different language:

   1. End of year
   2. Before tax season
   3. Before a major industry event (if you focus on a vertical)

Get creative. Look for opportunities, and SEND THE EMAIL! It is simple, cheap, and incredibly

Text of the email:

Hi “Insert Name”

With summer coming around and people taking vacations I just wanted to reach out to you
because we have sent you a proposal for a project in the last few months. Typically every year
there is a lull in project work around the beginning of the summer but then in July and August
there is a rush to try to get projects completed before the fall busy season starts up again.

In light of this and the economy right now, projects that are signed over the summer with the
expectation of being completed in July, August, and September of this year will be completed on
a first-come first-serve basis. What this means is that if you are holding off to sign a proposal
and wait too long you may not be able to have your project completed when you need it.

If you have the ability to sign your proposal now and start work in June or July you can
guarantee your project will be scheduled and you won’t have to worry.

Please let (YOUR COMPANY) know if what your plans are so that we can get everyone
scheduled accordingly.

Thank you and have a wonderful summer!

12.Effective sales management for busy MSPs

Principles of effective sales management
If our industry is known for being bad at sales (which it is!), I think it's even worse at sales management.

Why is that?

First and foremost, I don't think most people in our industry actually do any sales management. We hire
a salesperson, give them a desk and a phone, and tell them to find clients. No training, no ongoing
support, and no specific performance expectations to make sure they are on track. And we wonder why
salespeople don't do well.

Sales is a very difficult job. I think it's the hardest in business. It can also be the most rewarding. But
trying to be a successful salesperson at an organization without effective sales management has got to
be dreadful for all but the very best, most self-sufficient of salespeople.

So how do we get on track? How do we establish proper sales management in our industry and at our
individual companies? The first step - it's always the first step - is to understand the key principles of the
job that will lead to success.

Principle #1 - The Sales Manager's job is to develop salespeople, not sales

I'm sure you're thinking, "What in the hell is he talking about? I want sales!"

Well, yes, of course you want sales. I do to. But it's important that those sales come from your
salespeople, not your Sales Manager!

You see, most Sales Managers were at one time very good salespeople, and often the one thing they still
want to do more than anything is to sell. Closing a deal is usually a lot more fun than trying to manage a
salesperson (that's why it's usually a mistake to promote your number one salesperson to the Sales
Manager position - it's very different skills and a different mindset)! But that isn't the Sales Manager's
job, and they need to get that through their head or your organization won't develop the sales engine
you need to grow.

The Sales Manager's #1 job is to develop his or her salespeople. When they accomplish this objective,
the sales at your company will grow.

Principle #2 - You aren't responsible for motivating your salespeople

You can't motivate anyone. People are either motivated or their not - it's your job to find the ones that
are and hang on to them for dear life, while weeding out the ones that aren't very quickly.

Now, don't get me wrong. You can spark someone's motivation with the right compensation plan,

incentives, and sales competitions - that very clearly is the Sales Manager's job. And you can do your
best to guide their energy in the most productive manner to get results - this is often critical with

But it's not your job to motivate them. If you have accidentally let someone slip on to your sales team
that doesn't have an absolutely burning desire for success - get rid of them quickly. You don't have the
time or resources to try to change that person.

Principle #3 - Accept the fact that most of the salespeople you hire won't be successful

This one can be a hard one for to accept. I take great pride in my record of hiring all-stars at our
company, and I expect that every person I hire should be very successful.

The harsh reality is that sales is so tough that most people just won't cut it, no matter how hard you or
they try to make it work.

Over the last year, I have picked every effective Sales Manager's brain that would give me a few minutes
of their time, from several different industries. One of the questions I always ask is "out of ten
salespeople you hire, how many will be successful?" The answer I always seem to get is "about three".


If we had that kind of track record when hiring for other positions, we'd be in miserable shape. I've seen
studies that show that roughly 25% of all salespeople account for 70-80% of all sales that happen in this
country, across all industries. That means that most salespeople just aren't cutting it.

This has a huge negative impact on our industry. I can't count the number of people in our industry that
I've heard say "I hired a salesperson last year and he didn't work out. I'm not sure I can afford to hire
another one!”

Hire a salesperson. Singular. That's a recipe for disaster. You need to expect that you are going to go
through a number of salespeople before you find one that really fires on all cylinders, which brings us to
our next principle.

Principle #4 - Constantly look for new sales talent - you ALWAYS have room for a top salesperson!

Great salespeople are tough to find, and worth their weight in gold. And they are not usually out looking
for jobs - they are already successful where they're at. So you have to be on the lookout constantly to
try to find that next great addition for your team.

And you can't just leave it to chance. You need to develop a recruiting process that works and work it so
you can create a pipeline of salespeople to join your organization. And when you find one, make them

an offer. Now! Don't wait until you have room in the organization or in your budget - make room! If you
miss the opportunity for a great salesperson today, you will likely not have an opportunity with that
person again for years to come.

How to create a sales plan that motivates your salespeople and consistently
achieves your goals
A sales plan is the first step for success in meeting your sales objectives. It sets the tone for the
team, and it determines the resources that you'll need to invest in to be successful.

One of the failures of many Sales Managers is that they create their sales plan and assign their
salespeople a quota without participation from the salesperson, and that quota is the same for
everyone. This sets salespeople up for failure and often delivers lower performance than they
could otherwise get.

What's a better way?

A better way is to involve your salespeople in the development of the plan. This gets them
enrolled in the process, makes them aware of company goals, and creates a sales plan that is
personalized to the individual motivation levels and performance expectations of your
salespeople. The process for doing so is pretty simple:

Step 1 - Determine your company-wide sales goals

Perhaps you want to grow by 20% this year, which equates to $200,000 in new revenues for a
company currently doing $1 million. Factor is a 10% churn rate on that $1 million in revenue,
and you now have to come up with $300,000 in new revenue to reach your goals.

Step 2 - Determine how many salespeople you need to realistically hit this goal

Let's make a few assumptions:

       The average salesperson in our industry signs one full managed services deal per month
       (according to the top consultant in our industry)
       The average size of that deal is roughly $3,000/month in recurring revenue
       The average managed services client will spend an additional 30% on non-recurring
       project work

If those numbers don't seem exactly right for your business, tweak them accordingly. Whatever
you come up with, plug the numbers into a table that shows the sales you would expect to get
each month for the year and how this adds up over the course of the year. How much does one
person generate? Is that enough? If not, you'll need to plan on more salespeople to make up the
difference, and you better get hiring (you can safely assume that your salespeople won't find
their first deal until their fourth month; don't forget to factor this into your forecast!).

Step 3 - Share these numbers with each member of your sales team and ask them to tell you
their goals

Sit with each salesperson and walk through these numbers. Explain why your company goals are
what they are. Explain how you determined the number of salespeople you need and what
"average performance" is. Then ask them what they believe they'll be able to generate this next
year by themselves.

In almost all cases, the salesperson will tell you a number that is above the average - sometimes
way above it. This is, of course, what you want a salesperson to tell you! You want them to have
confidence in themselves and expect to do better than an average salesperson. Who wants to be

But as we already know, most of our salespeople are actually going to fall short, and a handful
are going to do much better than the rest. Which makes the next step critically important.

Step 4 - Ask them to commit to a minimum level of performance

This is the number that they should be willing to bet their life (and most certainly their job!) on.
This is the number that if they don't hit, you will be 100% justified in showing them the door. If
the number they commit to is too low for you, you probably need to find a new salesperson. The
one you have is willing to commit to getting it done - which all great salespeople are.

If the number they commit to is a reasonable one, confirm it with them. Then confirm it again.
Ask them how they came up with the number. Make them sell you and themselves that there is
no way they are going to miss this number. Then hang it on the wall in front of their desk for
them to see every single day. This will create an absolute burn in your best people to make sure
that they never miss - which they occasionally might - shit happens. But if you find that you have
a salesperson that misses a couple of months in a row, and doesn't seem to have an ulcer about it
- get rid of them - they aren't a top performer, and they most likely will never be.


You may think that my approach to managing salespeople seems a bit cold or harsh. I understand
where that feeling comes from, but I honestly don't believe it's true. Sales is a very tough job, and
not everyone is cut out for it. Managed Services sales is an even tougher job, and even fewer are
cut out for it.

In my opinion, a plan like this gives a salesperson the best chance at success. If they aren't able
to meet their goals, they probably aren't ever going to be a great salesperson. I believe it's best
for everyone if they find that out as soon as possible so they can make a transition and start
looking for the thing that they will be great at in life.

This type of sales planning process gives you the best chance possible at getting consistent
results. You must take a disciplined approach to using it and recruiting and terminating
salespeople based on it, or your sales will suffer.

How to conduct sales role-playing that leads to rapid performance improvement

"How do you get to Carnegie Hall?"


The average salesperson doesn't practice enough. Great salespeople practice all the time;
constantly reviewing the best way to deliver their lines, and religiously fine-tuning their
approach based on real-world feedback. It's your job to make sure that your average salespeople
get enough practice in, and role playing is a great way to do it.

I learned this approach from Jack Daly, a phenomenally successful salesperson and entrepreneur.
He claims it's the single best way to increase the performance of your salespeople in a rapid
fashion. If he says it, it's worth a listen!

The right way to role-play

The Jack Daly model of role-playing looks like this:

        Three people role playing together
        One person sells, the other objects, the other listens and takes notes
        Rotate each person through each role in one sitting

As you can see, it's a very simple process. But don't be fooled, it's also very powerful and
effective, for a few reasons:

    1. This can be done every day. It only takes about 30 minutes, so it can be done at lunch,
       first thing in the morning, or at the end of the day.
    2. It gives the salesperson the opportunity to "try out" different approaches in a safe
       environment, instead of trying them out with your prospects.
    3. It gives each salesperson the ability to pick up the "gold nuggets" that other salespeople
       have in their repertoire. Every salesperson has a line or two that's pure gold; it's a matter
       of getting this cross-pollinated throughout your team.

Make it a habit

Make it a point to instill this into your culture so that it becomes a daily habit - it will create
results. And use this with your service team as well! You'll be shocked and appalled when your
first do it and hear the inconsistencies in how your team is dealing with your clients!

By using role-playing, you can create a more consistent sales and service delivery.

Set goals and keeping your sales team accountable

               S.M.A.R.T. GOALS (Specific-Measurable-Actionable-Realistic-Timely)

               90-Day Goals

               (Lose 5 pounds, save $3000, go to Europe, etc.)


               (Find 10 new clients, improve my calls to meetings ratio, etc.)


               Sales per month

               $_________ 3 month total sales $_________
               Earnings per month
               $_______ 3 month total earnings $_______

               6-Month Goals






           Sales per month
           $_________ 6 month total sales $_________
           Earnings per month
           $_________ 12 month total sales $_________
           Earnings per month
           $_______ 12 month total earnings $_______

           One-Year Goals





           Sales per month
           $_______ 6 month total earnings $_______

NOTE: If you’re interested in learning more about specialized
marketing services available to Managed Service Providers, contact
Kutenda at Sales@Kutenda.com or call 303.416.4727.

Kutenda’s Ignite services package is available to you for 50% off for a
limited time. That’s just $199/month for proven professional grade
marketing. Offer expires April 1st. Call or email to secure your


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