Overcoming the biggest objection to managed services

Karl Palachuk

It can be a difficult sale to move from break/fix to managed service. To be honest, most very small businesses have a lot of trouble with this. They somehow think they're saving money by deferring an expenditure. And, to be honest, ROI (return on investment) arguments are lost on most small businesses. SMB owners tend to believe that discussions of ROI are just smoke and mirrors to take more of their money.

So how do you get buy in?

The “Killer objection” 

First, here's the truth that you know and your client doesn't: They need someone to manage their desktops just as much as they need someone to manage their server and network.

The client thinks they understand their technology needs, but they don't. And, take it from me, telling the client that they don't understand is not a good sales strategy. So you push the brave new world of managed service. 

And you get the killer objection: "We're getting what we need right now." Remember: What the client believes is true to him. You can't say, "No you're not." 

If there's a key to success, it's this… Don't argue about all the things that are the SAME. 

The hardest sale in the world is to say that you're exactly like the competition only better. If you say you're the same only better, then you create a commodity and you're forced to charge less. 

It’s all about differentiation

Here's the most important six-syllable word in sales: differentiation. 

The only way to overcome the Killer Objection is to differentiate yourself from the competition. Why? Because you can't tell the client that he's wrong or that he's not getting what he needs. You need to present something different enough that the client comes to this conclusion himself. 

Don't talk about what you do. Or what you do better than everyone else. 

To the untrained observer (Joe Client), we all look the same. We all do the same thing. Every consultant is the same and does the same. So if he's getting something, he's getting what he needs; even if he's getting something from you. 

If your competition is your competition, then you need to differentiate yourself from your competition. If your competition is yourself, then you need to differentiate your break/fix business from your managed service. 

And the key to differentiation is as obvious as it is difficult: Don't mention anything that's the same – focus 100% on what's different.

For example:

With managed service:

  • all security updates are applied automatically
  • you'll get a monthly report that details . . .
  • any work that's needed to fix the operating system and software on the desktop is included.
  • you get hosted spam filtering at no additional cost.
  • your people can open as many service tickets as they want – for no extra cost.
  • the first three hours of labor to set up a new machine are included.
  • you get free roadmap meetings to plan your technology growth.

Make your own list, and detail every little thing you include in your managed service offering. Well, everything that's different. For each bullet point, you want the client to say: "Okay, I'm not getting that." 

Throw in a few stories. Here's one we love:

Remember in 2007 when Congress changed the date of the time change related to daylight savings time? Microsoft came out with a dire warning that the world would end. We went to a newish client and said, “Hey, on managed service, we can take care of this whole thing for no extra charge.” 

When they paused, we said "Okay, we'll take care of it on 70 computers for $200." 

They said yes. We scripted the whole fix in our RMM tool and spent 15 minutes on the job. But the client saw the power of what we could do with our managed service tools. 

So they signed. 

When you finally get to the point where you can talk about this logically, you'll have the chance to say that it takes about half an hour per month – on average – to maintain the desktops. And your managed service offering comes out to about $65 per month.  

So the only real differences are:

1. You get your money in regular, predictable chunks. [The client gets regular, predictable costs.]

2. The client gets a higher level of service on all machines beginning on day one.

Conclusion 

The Killer Objection is "We're getting what we need right now." 

The Killer response is to focus 100% on the benefits that the client is not getting with reactive, break/fix work. 

You will never convince the client that he's not getting what he needs right now. Only he can come to that conclusion himself.  But you can give him the tools he needs to make that decision.

(Used with permission of Karl W. Palachuk, SmallBizThoughts.com)