The other day, I received this message on LinkedIn from an MSP, which I’ve shortened a bit for space – but left enough for you to get the gist:
“Hi. Hope you’re doing well. We provide remote monitoring and management of PCs and servers, mobile devices, 24/7 help desk and network operations center, proactive onsite maintenance and support (desktop, servers and network), cloud migration and advisory services, e-mail solutions, including cloud, Office 365 and Gmail, wireless deployment, management and monitoring, data backup and recovery, onsite and cloud-based management and operations of network security including firewalls, antivirus, anti-malware, technology and business process optimization, strategic technology planning – quarterly business reviews. If you can give us 30 minutes, we can outline how we can assess, structure and execute a customized plan you’ll be comfortable with and confident in.”
This is the brochure approach to selling: sit across from your prospect with a brochure and say, “I’m going to flip through all of the pages in this 200+ page brochure that lists everything we do. When you see something you like, just stay stop.”
Clearly this is a fail – but don’t be too smug. This is precisely the SAME mistake I see most IT firms making in their marketing and advertising: selling STUFF. Yes, it’s long, but that’s ONLY a problem because it’s BORING and nothing more than a list of services you can provide.
Look…I know you are in LOVE with your thing – installing, supporting, troubleshooting and protecting networks, developing software, protecting data from cybercriminals – but very, very few share your interest and fascination, and even fewer value it the way YOU value it. Me? I love and value marketing, but most of my clients don’t. In fact, most see it as a necessary evil…a dark art…something they want to outsource or delegate, NOT embrace, study, learn and practice. Same goes for you. Most of the clients you’re selling to are interested in THEIR “thing,” their lives, their family, their health and finances, etc.
If you keep insisting on selling STUFF, you’re not only going to continue to get ignored, but prospects will go a step further to block you altogether, preventing you from EVER getting in. Further, this is terrible positioning. You are coming across as “just another” IT geek hawking the same products and services they can get anywhere else. Where’s the differentiation? Why should I pay attention to YOU given I already have someone doing that STUFF? How do I know you’re any better? If you want to get your prospects’ attention, you need to do better and make it about what THEY care about, what THEY are into, what THEY understand and value.
Want more? People who would respond to this type of advertising are often just looking to buy the “stuff” you sell purely on need, and therefore are the lowest-quality buyers in the pool. For example, some people buy a sofa simply because they need one or buy a watch because they need to tell time. But the HIGH-END buyers who will spend the most money are looking for a beautiful home their friends will be envious of, or a watch that is a symbol of prestige and wealth. If you’re simply selling STUFF (a sofa or watch), you completely, entirely miss out on the most lucrative buyers and get the bottom-feeders who just need “a guy” who can do the “IT stuff” cheaper or “good enough.”
For example, we sell done-for-you print and e-mail newsletters. If we sold that “stuff” as merely a newsletter service, we’d get very few buyers or interest. However, if we sell the concept of having a single marketing strategy that “does it all” – fuels referrals, cross-sells and upsells services to existing clients, increases brand awareness and customer loyalty, revives old and dead leads, keeps prospects engaged so that when they are ready to buy, they think of you first – NOW we’ve got something that will get people interested and responding. As the saying goes, sell the sizzle, not the steak; otherwise, we’re boring, uninteresting, undesirable.
So what should you offer? Ideally, you want to “sell” (offer) information that is of profound interest to your chosen target market – then craft that information (webinar, article, free report, podcast, etc.) to SELL them on a viewpoint, an outcome, a concept that will be of great benefit to them and that also aligns with what you sell. That information has to be “binge-worthy” and interesting, where they want more…where they subscribe and not only pay attention to but SEEK your next podcast, article, report or webinar. Do this, and you’ll own your market, securing a top position and erasing fee resistance. THIS is the “secret” to successful lead generation and content marketing that most don’t understand, including many who attempt to teach this concept and throw around 50-cent terms like “thought leadership” or “influencer marketing” and other marketing buzzwords they barely understand, let alone practice.
If you want a true deep dive on this topic, then make sure you attend the session I’m delivering at our upcoming IT Sales and Marketing Boot Camp, where I’ll be presenting a revealing, never-before-heard session on the REAL strategies and ingredients that go into becoming an authority in your marketplace, generating more qualified, ready-to-buy, presold leads: www.RobinsBigSeminar.com