Filling Your Pipeline with IT Opportunities – Sales Talk Tracks15 Sep, 2014 By: Michael Amiri, Continuum
As office equipment dealers face the challenge of transitioning their sales focus from traditional copy and print sales to managed IT services, there are key considerations that can ease the transition and increase chances of success. Clearly, this is not an easy transition. Copy and print sales reps know how to sell, but they know and understand the ins and outs of the copier and printer world. After years of selling these tangible items with specific features, it’s difficult to start selling a completely new and different type of service. How does one begin to engage customers in an IT conversation?
Let’s eliminate the mystery of selling IT services with some steps designed to help drive success. First, it’s important to understand how a given customer’s IT needs are currently being served. The size of the organization helps predict if they are outsourcing 100% of their IT services, or if they have a certain number of in-house technicians. Be sure to make the conversation more personal by asking your IT contact what specific day-to-day challenges they face in supporting the organization’s technology needs. Once you understand their challenges, you are in a solid position to uncover opportunities to help and offer assistance.
Whether an organization outsources or in-sources clearly defines how best to engage in conversation and identify potential opportunities. If they outsource 100%, learn what pain points exist with their current provider, and then determine what services you might provide. Talking “outsourcing” to IT techs can make them feel threatened, since this is their area of expertise. If asked how everything is going with IT services, of course, techs are going to report that everything is great – it’s their domain. With in-house IT people, be cognizant that these conversations are delicate – you are threatening their territory. But when done correctly, you can “join their team” by conveying you are there to help alleviate their pain points and provide assistance in delivering IT support that can ensure business continuity.
Continuum Managed IT Services provides sales enablement tools, as well as comprehensive sales training to help office equipment sales reps make this transition successfully. We understand that you know how to sell; we simply provide sales enablement guidance to help sell this new additional service, and create a pathway to immediate success. ContinuumU, our self-paced online learning center available to all Continuum Partners, offers a variety of comprehensive technical training sessions. As a Continuum partner, dealers have free access to conversation “cheat sheets” and other proven-to-work tools that streamline the transition to selling IT services.
Trust me, if your customers like dealing with you on the copy and print side, they would love to purchase IT services from you as well. Organizations like one-stop shopping – so it only makes sense to provide IT support to diversify your product mix, expand your customer relationships and create a sustainable future for your business. To make that happen, the right conversations need to take place – ones that are vastly different than the traditional copy and print conversations. But, your customers are ready to purchase IT services from you. Are you ready to engage them?
For more information, visit: http://www.continuum.net/OE.
Michael Amiri and his dealer support team can be reached at OE@continuum.net.
Mr. Amiri is a 20-year veteran of the IT industry, Michael Amiri is Director, Office Equipment Industry at Continuum Managed IT Services, the industry's only channel-exclusive provider of fully integrated managed IT services solutions. He has built a team of resources at Continuum that is dedicated to supporting the office equipment channel and its efforts to maximize both efficiencies and profits with managed IT service offerings. Prior to Continuum, he was a co-founder of an IT holding company. He writes a monthly blog for imageSource, providing tips for office equipment dealers making the transition to managed IT services. (http://www.imagesourcemag.com/industry-news/michael-amiri) He has been a featured speaker at dozens of industry-related events, including many BTA events.