IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Talking MSP Prospects Down the “Conversation Path”

Erick Simpson

Perfecting Client conversations is a tremendous asset. Client conversations set the tone of your business relationships, establish your brand, increase retention and satisfaction and guide prospects toward your company. All of this is achieved through an honest and crafted conversation. The “conversation path” is a way for marketers to collect information, respond to their observations, and to make the connection. Whatever stage of the 7 Step Sales Process for IT Solutions and Managed Services you are in – from prospecting to getting the referrals – talking new prospects down the conversation path ensures control, context, and in many cases, a sale.

4 Landmarks on the Conversation Path

To establish a good rapport with prospects, the conversation path must include these 4 landmarks for a successful sale.

1.   Self-reflection

Before you get started down any path, you must ask yourself this one question: “So what, who cares?” It sounds abrupt, but it is honest. You must ask yourself what it is you hope to achieve out of the relationships with your prospects whom you hope will turn into customers and clients. Why should they care about your services? It is important for you to remember that the “who cares” part of this isn’t about why YOU need the sale, but why the prospect needs you and your services. What do you hope for the prospect to gain at this stage of the sales cycle so you can guide them closer to the sale and providing you with referrals?

2.   Creating the Content

At this landmark, you need to create the content that is exactly what your prospects are looking for. Here’s the catch: you will be creating a great deal of this online. Many face-to-face technology sales meetings have been taken out of the four walls of a building and put online. Regardless of where the conversation takes place, the need never changes. You just need to find a better way of putting your brand in front of prospects. The way you do that is with content. The content of your conversation must remind your prospects of what they need and provide a solution for that need. Solid SEO strategies can help you build the bridge at this stage. At this landmark, you create the urgency with action language. It’s time for the conversation to transform.

3.   The Big Reveal

The big reveal doesn’t come at the end of the conversation journey. Now is the time to present what you offer, provide context for the content, and fulfill the prospect’s needs. This may be in the form of brochures, but in the era of digital sales, it is your MSP website and landing page. This is where you reveal what you offer and why it is the only solution for the prospect’s needs. You aren’t here to talk about why you are the greatest option; that doesn’t work if you aren’t equipped to solve their problem. If you still aren’t sure what the problem is you are solving, it is time to restart the process. You must have a good understanding of the prospect’s needs and problems before the big reveal landmark can be successful.

4.   A Humble Close

Yes, being humble is part of the conversation path. This doesn’t mean that you have to downplay your importance or imply that you are inferior. In this stage of the path, being humble reminds you to stay grounded. You are reminding the prospect that you are honored to provide them with a service or solution. Stay grounded. This is achieved with personal email responses thanking prospects for their time, it is also achieved with special thank you activities. Thanking your prospects marks the end of the conversation journey.

It is time for your prospect to move into the buying process. If your conversation path doesn’t lead to the light at this phase, it is time to restart the conversation path again. Remember, the conversation path is the way to guide the prospect’s transition to the buying process. It isn’t a one-shot process and then you are done. The conversation path is a constant journey of understanding, creating and recreating content, and optimizing your brand and image online.


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About the Author

Erick Simpson's picture

A Technology Businesses and Channel Growth and Transformation Consultant | Business Process Improvement, M&A and Integration Expert

Co-Founder of one of the first "Pure Play" MSPs in the industry, and creator of the MSP Mastered™ Methodology for Managed Services business performance improvement and the Vendor Channel Maturity Level Index™ that identifies IT channel program maturation for strategic growth, Erick Simpson is a strategic technology business growth and transformation specialist. He is experienced in improving top and bottom-line business performance by increasing operational efficiencies, boosting marketing and lead generation outcomes, accelerating sales velocity, shortening sales cycles and maximizing service efficiencies.

With over 30 years of experience in the IT industry as an Enterprise CIO, MSP, Strategic Coach and Consultant, Erick is a Business Process Improvement Expert with hundreds of successful IT Solution Provider, MSP, Cloud and Security practice business improvement consulting engagement outcomes.

One of the most prolific, recognized and sought-after  business improvement and transformation experts, authors and speakers in the industry, Erick has contributed to numerous industry publications and spoken at hundreds of events.

His published works include "The Guide to a Successful Managed Services Practice"; the definitive book on Managed Services, “The Best I.T. Sales & Marketing BOOK EVER!”, “The Best I.T. Service Delivery BOOK EVER!” and “The Best NOC and Service Desk Operations BOOK EVER!”, along with 50 Best Practice Guides.

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