Author: Raffi Jamgotchian
Channel Chief, ConnectMeVoice
Small business owners have a lot of needs, and it’s not easy for MSPs to uncover all those pain points with the limited time they get to speak with current and prospective clients. That’s why you have to make the most of every minute you get with decision-makers. Questions must be succinct and to the point.
Communications is the perfect example. Businesses have a number of needs, from messaging (email, chat, and text) to web conferencing, as well as others. Of course, phone service continues to play a vital role in the daily operations of virtually every organization and will surely retain that title in the foreseeable future. Never underestimate the value of voice communications in the business environment.
As an MSP, you play a vital role in supporting those services, including reviewing the costs, benefits, and features on a regular basis (think annual review or QBRs). If your customer is already using Voice over IP, you can highlight the opportunities for saving them money while keeping the features they have come to enjoy. If they purchased phones 5-8 years ago, it might be time for a facelift.
Alternately, your customer may have an on-premises system without remote access, location flexibility, and a continuity option for their Voice Over IP service. Putting on your advisor hat, you can make a case for them to upgrade to a new system without increasing their current costs. Who wouldn’t want the flexibility of VoIP without the high price and risk of maintaining their own infrastructure?
A Convincing Proposition
Voice communications sales discussions, like any complex business conversation, live and die by the pre-call plan. For VoIP, the debate should revolve around the many beneficial business features, such as the ability to plug the phone in anywhere and get a dial tone. These solutions are great for multiple location companies that may not have otherwise been able to communicate easily or SMS services with your business number.
Cost is another key benefit. If the organization currently pays for a sizable monthly fee per device or spends extra for call recording, hosted VoIP will likely save them money (while making a larger profit). They’ll also be able to integrate their business-critical applications such as Salesforce, Outlook, and Google Chrome.
Who wouldn’t want to add all those great benefits to their voice communications and save a little money at the same time?
Use Face Time Wisely
The key to connecting your customers with the right systems and features is gathering critical information as succinctly as possible. You only get so much time with decision-makers and often have many issues to discuss, so your team must make the most of those limited face-to-face conversations.
Start with the basics when discussing phone and communications needs. Ask questions such as:
- Are you happy with your current phone system and service provider?
- Do you have additional costs that you didn’t anticipate, such as annual maintenance?
- Is your current system out of warranty?
- Do your employees use their own cellphones to make business calls?
- Can I review your latest bill?
You provide a competitive quote after that last question. Use a bottom-up margin-based pricing model or slide in a suggestion like, “what if I can save you 20% off your current bill?” A brief review of their issues allows you to make quick trial closes to assess their level of interest.
Overcome the Objections
Ever hear a client say something negative about VoIP based on a friend’s or family member’s experiences? There may have some valid points. The early days of voice over the internet were somewhat problematic with weak bandwidth and unreliable reliable internet connections, and quality was certainly an issue in areas of the country where the networks were in various stages of development.
With stronger and more advanced internet connections today, as well as more cost-effective options, businesses can afford multiple lines and higher availability, including SDWAN solutions. MSPs have an opportunity to change those earlier perceptions and save their clients a good chunk of change. Get your clients a demo phone and let them try it out for a couple of weeks to evaluate the quality and features.
That’s a great way to overcome the “I’ve already paid for our phone system, why should I get a new one” objection. When companies spend thousands on on-premises systems, even if that took place 5-10 years ago, they tend to resist change. It makes sense. However, most have probably owned their solutions for 8-10 years and wrote off the investment a long time ago and are now either paying for a large annual support contract or are one failure away from a massive outage. The resulting losses in productivity and sales could devastate their business.
Another common objection involves replacing all their phones and the cost of conversion? If they already have a VoIP system, there is a good chance you can incorporate some if not all of those investments in the new platform. However, they may need to upgrade if using an on-premises system, or their VoIP phones have seen better days.
That’s an opportunity for MSPs; not a deal-breaker. You can still be the hero. Leasing is a great option for upgrading them to new phones while nixing rental fees (those “free” phones businesses use often have rental fees built-in). Of course, MSPs can always purchase the equipment and rent it back to your customer. After those phones are paid off (typically 8-12 months on average) the rest will be pure profit.
If you enjoyed this blog, you might also be interested in the blog: Five Sure Ways to Boost Your MSP’s Monthly Recurring Revenue