There are quite literally dozens of proven and effective ways to market your MSP or IT Support firm. There’s business networking and referrals, joint venture partnerships, direct mail campaigns, newsletters and free report distribution, website marketing and SEO promotion, social media… the options available are numerous and can be executed on budgets of all sizes.
Yet there is no marketing strategy that exists that can be executed faster, with the ability to provide faster, greater results for less money than Cold-Calling.
So why are so many IT consultants reluctant to put it to work for themselves when looking for ways to expand their own businesses and land new clients?
The answers are almost always the same: “It’s uncomfortable.” “People can be rude on the phone.”, “I hate dealing with the rejection.”
Well, coming from someone who’s been using cold-calling as a go-to method for bringing in new clients just about every time I’m looking to expand, I can tell you that these are reasons typically given by people who have yet to actually use telemarketing themselves. These are the excuses of people who are afraid to try.
Because 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’ll tell you that while you will 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 remarkable. All it takes is keeping in mind three very basic strategies:
- You’re calling because you can help:If you want to guarantee that your calls will never be uncomfortable, simply remember: When you pick up the phone to contact a local business owner, you are calling to let them know of a service you offer that they likely can benefit from.You’re not calling to convince them that you’re the best consultant, or that you offer the most reliable service, or that you offer the most bang for the buck (you’ll do all this later, after you establish if there’s an interest and they want to know more).Your goal of your initial cold-call is simply to introduce yourself and determine if there’s enough interest to continue the conversation or set an appointment for a later discussion.A very simple opening such as, “Hi _________? 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, if this person’s 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, 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. There’s no reason for anything about an initial cold-call to be uncomfortable.
- Call properly targeted prospects:Start by knowing the types of clients you want to serve. What size companies do you serve? What vertical industry(ies)? What geographical locations? Call only upon companies that fit the profile of those that you serve and you will have a much greater chance of meeting prospects who will want to speak with you.You find these prospects 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 of over 18 million US based businesses for free at your local library.
- Call prospects who are pre-sold: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.Imagine… you service attorneys for example. You send local attorneys 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 attorney reading this letter has a potential need, perhaps they’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. They know if they are interested or not in speaking with you further. And your phone call is a very simple, pressure free one. It’s 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!