Picture this: you’re on your way to a new prospect to sell your Managed Services. Your pitch is prepared, you plan to bring your standard story in which your entire range of services passes by. You treat each topic with care and emphasize its value. You have your charts, facts and figures in order and pump yourself up with good music before you enter the room.

They listen intently to your pitch and tell you they want to think about it some more. You go out like a king, but a few days later there is the message: they are going for another provider after all.

What on earth happened?

You’re on ten, but they might need you on four.

In fact, there are a few things wrong with this approach.

First, it may put some prospects off when you immediately throw your entire service package over them. I’m not saying this is always the case, there are people who want you to take care of everything for them so at least they don’t have to think about IT. And they are willing to pay for it. Are you looking for just that target audience? Then you will have to qualify them. I wrote about this in my earlier blog: 7 traits of the perfect prospect.

Other prospects are a bit more cautious. They may just be looking for one phone line and don’t need hosting, Internet connections and complicated call flows at all.

Just act normal, you’ll be crazy enough. They want you to start with a small technical project, and that’s a good way to start quietly, because you don’t want to scare them off.

Second, you may not speak their language. Prospects have a need in their minds that they want to fulfill. They may want to lower their costs by going to the cloud or better protect their data.

If that’s what they want, selling them a whole slew of Managed Services right away is the wrong approach.

But then, are Managed Services dead?

Absolutely not. You just often need a fresh perspective or niche before selling Managed Services.

Selling Managed Services: here’s what you need to think about

But how do you do it right? I have some tips that have always helped me along the way:

Find the interface between profit and comfort

Before tackling a new niche, it is important to strategize. You look for a niche that has a lot of value, but is also within your company’s reach – without taking months to hire qualified staff. Make sure you offer a range of services that you get a lot out of but don’t have to be in a split for.

And make sure you enjoy it yourself. If you have a penchant for a particular technology, you are bound to have more success in selling.

Make sure you properly qualify your customers first

We just talked about this: before your pitch, make sure you know exactly what your client is looking for. A good inventory is really vital. Make sure you have an understanding of what projects are coming up and check if they are somewhat up your alley. If those projects are in your niche, you know what direction to take the conversation.

This comes back to the point I made earlier: if they are open to buying full Managed Services and want to be completely unburdened in their IT, you really shouldn’t sell yourself short.

Your first pitch is not your only pitch

Don’t think of your pitch as something one-off. You always have multiple opportunities to sell something to your customers. Really don’t let account management lie, because upselling is going to earn you a lot. You could include this in your service visits or supplier reviews. Show the progress you have made with your projects and record areas for improvement.

In doing so, you show that improving IT can help your customer achieve new goals. Since you already have an existing relationship you are doing them a big favor with this.

Selling Managed Services from a specialty

Today it is important to have something that sets you apart from all your competitors. Specializing yourself in a particular service and being known for it puts a firm foot in the door. From there, you can firmly establish your sales organization and expand your services on an account-by-account basis. Work on the relationship and go from there. Don’t be an MSP in the sea of MSPs, but take a big step forward with your own niche. Selling Managed Services starts with a focus.

Ito Niemeijer works as a partner manager at Steam-connect. Follow him on LinkedIn.