Top Three Takeaways from CharTec Managed IT Sales Training

posted by Katie Lanpher on Monday, January 21, 2019 in Office Equipment Blog

Selling isn’t easy. Between customer surprises, advancements from your competition, and a plethora of potential objections, it can feel like there are more opportunities to derail a sale than there are opportunities to close one.

Though I have spent most of my professional career in marketing positions, I have worn many hats, sales included. When I was recently afforded the opportunity to attend a Sales Simplicity Seminar facilitated by CharTec’s CEO, Alex Rogers, which was a 2-Day Managed IT Sales Training Event for Technology Solution Providers, I was hoping it would help me, someone new to the Office Technology and IT industry, learn a bit about the customers we serve. Last week’s CharTec training definitely served that purpose, but what I got out of it went far beyond that. In fact, this training has me viewing sales in a much different light. Alex’s approach was refreshing and gave attendees the necessary tools in order to shift our approach from selling technology to focusing on serving the customer by paying close attention to their business needs and pain points—all while shortening the sales cycle and increasing the close rate.

Here were my top 3 takeaways:

Stick to the Sales Process, Focusing on one Close at a Time

It all starts with CharTec’s Sales Process. Alex reiterated a number of times throughout training - you must learn the process, you must live the process, and you must commit to the process!

CharTec’s Sales Process:

  1. Marketing Message/first Interaction

  2. Research

  3. Get the Discovery

  4. Perform the Discovery

  5. Get the Presentation Appointment

  6. Create the Presentation

  7. Perform the Presentation

  8. Present the Solution

  9. Get the Check/Follow Up

The steps in red are what Alex deems as “closes.” He says it’s important to keep your focus on one close at a time.

 For example, earning a lead from marketing is the very first close. Everything your marketing does should be laser focused on attracting a lead and collecting the information needed to make contact with that lead. This can include multiple touches—postcards, emails, calls, letters, event invites—whatever you need to do to secure that first interaction.

The second close is your first appointment. Any greeting you make, any content you send, and every phone call you make should have one goal in mind: to pique enough interest to secure your first appointment. This is where you not only have the chance to schedule a discovery, but it’s in this first appointment where you’ll be able to build your credibility as a technology provider. 

After that, the next close is to get a discovery on the books, and then to schedule a presentation, and so on and so forth. Do you see the pattern? Following each close, you shift full focus to the next close, keeping everything you do at each step aimed on a single goal.

The idea of breaking up big tasks or goals into smaller manageable chunks is nothing earth shattering. This approach has always been tried and true when it comes to making progress and reaching your objectives. But if you’re anything like me, my first objection to this method was that I thought it was too rudimentary to be applied to sales. In my mind, sales always seemed a different beast due to its unpredictable nature. It felt unnatural to take such a highly structured approach to something that could have so many variables and outcomes depending on what the competition is doing, what your customer’s preferences are, their needs, their budget, or what they had for breakfast that day.

But the unpredictable nature of the job is actually Alex’s argument for the process – it’s why it’s so crucial you do stick to a process like his, breaking things down in such a way that you’re enabled to focus in on one goal at a time. Keeping to the process keeps you in the driver’s seat and by laser targeting your focus for each step, you will ensure predictability by claiming control of the process.

Balance Conversations by Blending Diagnostic Questions, Global Questions, and Transitional Phrases

Have you ever answered the phone and tried to take a message for someone? You try to get all of the necessary information so the person you are taking the message for has a full picture of the situation, but you have to be careful in the way you do it.

Asking them rapid fire questions can come off impersonal at best and rude at worst.

Example:

  • Who’s calling?

  • What company are you with?

  • Why are you calling?

  • What phone number can we best reach you at?

If you aren’t careful, these questions can put off whoever is on the other end of the line. It’s your delivery of these questions that will make the difference between a pleasant conversation and a borderline interrogation.

The same is true in sales. Alex discussed the importance of diagnostic questions as a tool to build credibility by displaying an aptitude to ask relevant questions, while also probing the status of their IT environment and uncovering issues or pain points. Diagnostic questions are crucial in order to extract the necessary information from your prospect, but you must use them with care. If you simply begin rattling off a list of specific questions word for word and one after another, you will seem robotic and impersonal.

Examples of Diagnostic Questions:

  1. "Besides this location, are there any other remote locations?"

  2. "Approximately how many people in each location?"

  3. "Are you primarily 8-5, M-F or do you have extended hours and days?"

  4. "Do you allow employees to bring in their own devices or do you supply them?"

  5. "Do you have a dedicated I.T. person, or does another employee handle those tasks?"

Instead, transform a one sided, question and answer process into an engaged conversation. Alex recommends you practice using transition phrases to soften the conversation, seek deeper, and understand more:

Examples of Transition Phrases:

  • Can I ask you a couple specifics about _____?

  • "Besides the obvious goal of ____________, can I ask what else most concerns you?"

  • "Rather than go into a generic pitch, to make sure we are on the same page, can I ask you a couple specifics about ________?"

  • "How does growth affect your ______?"

  • "Well let me ask you this, to what extent does _____ affect _______?"

  • "I’m not surprised to hear you say that…”

  • “Well let me ask you this then…”

  • “With that being said…”

  • “In the event that…”

  • “With this in mind…”

  • “To put it another way…”

  • “That brings us to…”

  • “Keeping these points in mind…”

  • “Let’s begin with…”

Another tool Alex endorses is that of Global Questions. Global Questions can be used to escalate your conversation and dive deeper into a topic in order to identify implications. The answers to these questions will give you the ammunition you need to brainstorm all the business implications that can result from the issue your prospect is describing to you.

Examples of Global Questions:

  • "Like what?"

  • "What else?"

  • "And then what happens?"

  • "How so?"

  • "Why do you say that?"

  • "How will that affect?"

  • "How do you mean?"

  • "How So?"

By combining Diagnostic Questions, Global Questions, and Transitional Phrases, you’ll find a stride in the conversation and become fully equipped to identify potential opportunities for your MSP.

Talk Less About Technology Solutions and More about Their Business Needs/Pain Points

To be blunt, the decision maker does not care what kind of spam firewall you recommend, what new bells and whistles are available, or whether the label on their computer reads Dell or HP.  

Here’s what they do care about:

  • Making more money

  • Being more efficient

  • Having happier employees

Being able to hold a conversation is one thing, but to be successful in the CharTec Sales Process, you have to come prepared to take the pain points of your prospect and implicate out how they might impact various areas of their business.

If your sales reps are able to focus their conversations around these objectives, your solutions will sell themselves because, through your solution, you’ll be able to help your customers make more money, be more efficient and keep employees happier. The trick is to ask questions that relate your prospect’s issues and pain points back to their overall business goals. You can do this using some of the conversational tools we discussed in the previous section. Doing so will help your prospects to understand the hindrance their current technology is having on their operation and big picture business goals, creating a genuine need for your help.

For example, say in your first appointment your prospect complained about slow computers. By using a combination of global questions and transitional phrases, you could ask them specifics about the extent to which their slow running computers affects their ability to respond to their customers’ needs in a timely manner? Or approve funds? Or the level of satisfaction their employees get from their jobs? Or the number of deals they can close in a day? Asking questions like these show you are listening and learning about them and their struggles and shines a light on how a single issue can impact multiple areas of the business that are key in their overall success.


Alex no doubt has a unique approach and delivery, but he keeps participants engaged and is spot on in his teachings and execution. While this approach was very specific to IT, these concepts are adaptable to any industry. His perspective has helped me see sales as more of a customer service or business consultant role. By simply shifting your mindset about selling from pushing technology to assessing their current state, identifying implications, and matching needs with solutions, you will position yourself favorably-- not just in terms of closing the sale, but to meet the long-term needs of your customers.

To learn more about CharTec, please visit their website:

https://chartec.net/

If you're interested in attendeding a CharTec Training, sign up for one of our upcoming Sales Simplicity Seminars, happening March 5-6, June 11-12, and November 12-13!

 

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About The Author

Katie Lanpher joined the GreatAmerica Office Equipment Group in 2018 as a Content Marketing Specialist. With a background in digital marketing, she employs many tactics that contribute to the growth of the Office Equipment Group's online presence, including social media, e-marketing, and search marketing. Katie works closely with team members from varrying departments to write, edit and distribute content that our office technology dealers will find valuable as they grow their businesses.

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