If you’re looking to acquire new clients for your MSP business, you have literally dozens of effective marketing strategies you can use.
Business networking and referrals, joint venture partnerships, direct mail campaigns, newsletters and free report distribution, website marketing and SEO promotion, social media… there really is no shortage of options when looking for tested, proven methods for marketing your business to prospective new customers.
But one strategy stands apart from all others as being able to produce faster results and capable of bringing in greater volumes of new prospects for far less money than any other marketing strategy available.
That marketing strategy is Cold-Calling.
And yet, while it stands apart as being faster and cheaper than any other method, it also stands alone as being almost universally feared by just about every computer consultant I know.
I recently ran an informal survey asking approximately 1,800 IT consultants and MSP business owners which method of marketing was their least favorite. The vast majority responded, “Cold-Calling”. When asked why, the answers were almost always the same:
Funny thing though… when I asked how many cold-calls these respondents actually made, almost none of them made over 100 calls - EVER. Many respondents never even once made a single call.
Clearly these are the excuses given not by experienced telemarketers but by those who are afraid to try.
If you speak to anyone who’s actually done cold-calling long enough to get past the initial fear of it (which doesn’t take long at all), you’ll find they tell you that yes, while you can run into the occasional rude person, most folks you speak with on the phone are actually quite pleasant – even if they aren’t necessarily interested in what you’re offering.
Cold-calling doesn’t have to be uncomfortable at all. And if you give yourself the chance to discover this for yourself, you’ll find that the results you can achieve can be quite astounding. All it takes is keeping in mind three very basic strategies:
When you pick up the phone to contact a local business owner, you are simply calling to let them know of a service you offer which they may be able to benefit from.
Your goal when making a call isn’t to twist someone’s arm into hearing you out or talking until you're blue in the face trying to convince this prospect why you’re so fantastic. Your goal isn’t even to try to make a sale.
The goal of your initial cold-call is simply to introduce yourself and determine if there’s enough interest from the prospect to continue the conversation or set an appointment for a later discussion.
A very simple opening such as, “Hi prospect’s name? This is Robert. I’m a computer consultant located a few blocks from you. I was just calling around letting some of my fellow local business owners know about our service and seeing if there might be a need… I was wondering if you have computers that you need to maintain and if you might be interested in getting them to operate more reliably.”
Sound too simplistic? Well I can tell you, if this person has any frustration with computer problems there’s a good chance they’ll want to continue speaking with you. If this person isn’t 100% satisfied with his or her current consultant, they’ll speak with you. If they have someone in-house but have been considering outsourcing their IT needs then they’ll speak with you.
If there’s an interest, the sales process will continue.
If not you simply say, “Thank you, have a nice day” and move on. If they’re not interested then you’re not interested in wasting time trying to convince them about anything you have to offer. You only want to spend time talking to prospects who want to speak with you. They’re out there. Just keep calling and you’ll find them.
If you want a better shot at finding potential prospects who are interested in speaking with you then start by knowing the types of clients you want to serve. What size companies do you serve? What vertical industry(ies)? What geographical locations?
A computer consultant calling an owner of a small accounting firm will have a much better chance of engaging in a conversation if he can specify that he’s a computer consultant specializing in supporting accounting firms with fewer than 50 employees and happens to be located just a few blocks away.
The best way to find highly-targeted prospects is by acquiring a good list. You can purchase a list from many reputable list providers. If you’re located in the US, you can access the excellent ReferenceUSA database, which contains statistics and contact information for over 18 million US-based businesses for free at your local library.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could call a prospect for the first time and before they ever answered the phone they already knew all about your service, exactly how it could benefit them and if they were already interested in speaking with you further?
This is very easily accomplished if you send a well-written sales letter prior to making your first call.
Let’s stick with the example that you service accountants. You send local accountants a sales letter that describes the services you provide and nicely details all of the great benefits they’ll receive when using your services. If the accountant reading this letter has a potential need then perhaps he'll call you. Perhaps not.
But when you follow-up with your phone call a day or two later… they already know who you are. They know what you’re offering. And they know if they are interested in speaking with you further – or not.
So your follow-up phone call is a very simple, pressure-free one. You should quickly get to a response of either, “Let’s talk” or “No thank you.” Either way, your call moves along very efficiently.
Cold-calling can be tremendously effective in bringing new clients to your IT support business. No other form of marketing can let you contact as many new prospects for less money with potentially faster results.
However, the most important strategy for you to follow when implementing cold-calling into your marketing efforts is to remain persistent! There ARE potential new clients for you out there who are in need of your services right now and they will be glad you’ve reached out to them. But you’ll never find them unless you keep calling!