You won’t find conversations where white lies are more plentiful than those with prospects. They like to play their cards close to the chest, especially early on in the relationship. How many times have you asked how happy they are with their current MSP and received a half-hearted, “Everything’s fine”?
When you think about your experience as a prospect in your personal life, the driving force behind the white lies becomes glaringly obvious.
Recall the last time you wandered the aisles of your favorite store. A store associate probably caught you poking around, greeted you with a smile and asked, “Is there anything I can help you find?” Your response was probably something along the lines of, “No thanks, just looking.”
These interactions happen all the time, but we rarely tell the truth. We never respond with, “I’d really rather get it myself without being interrupted,” or “I’m just walking around until I can pick my kid up from his piano lesson.” As with prospects, our intention isn’t to lie. We simply don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.
(Related: World Class Growth Checklist)
Creating more honest conversations
When we’re on the sales side of the conversation, it’s our responsibility to cut through the white lies and reach the truth. Fortunately, there are some handy techniques MSPs can use to do just that. Here’s what we recommend for getting prospects to open up:
- Push for specifics. When you ask a prospect about their relationship with their current MSP, you’ll likely get a “Everything’s fine,” or “We’re happy with it.” By encouraging prospects to continue, you may unlock some key insights. If a prospect responds with “It’s fine,” you could counter with, “Many of my clients have different expectations for ‘fine’. What does ‘fine’ look like for you?” With a little nudging, you’re able to inch closer to the truth.
- Counter with a hypothetical. If you feel like a prospect isn’t being totally honest, you can lure the truth. An easy formula to follow is “When prospects say X, we often discover Y when we look deeper.” In real life, that might look like this: “When I hear prospects say they’re satisfied with the customer service from their current MSP, we often discover that their MSP only checks in twice a year and addresses their IT complaints only most of the time.” Framing the conversation this way pushes the prospect to provide more of the details they held onto at the beginning of the conversation.
- Address the “real truth” directly. Another tactic is to directly address some of the problems the prospect is likely already facing. An example: “We often find that when people like you are being honest with us, they feel like they struggle to get the full value out of their MSP because they’re not comfortable calling for a technician for smaller IT issues. Let’s talk about some ways to ensure you get your money’s worth out of your provider.” Conversations like these allow you to demonstrate value early on while easing the prospect into providing more information.
When you step into the sales conversation, remember wandering the aisles of your favorite store. You’re likely going to hold onto the truth when the sales rep approaches you, and your prospects will likely do the same. When you receive a smokescreen, use these techniques to reach the truth. Once it is uncovered, the sales conversation can begin.