Sometimes You Need a Trojan Horse

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If you remember your Greek history, the Trojans were able to invade an enemy city by hiding in a Trojan horse which was brought

Trojan horse in Canakkale, Turkey

Trojan horse in Canakkale, Turkey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

inside of the gates. Once on the inside, the Trojans were able to accomplish their goals. This story reminds me of the challenges that MSPs and IT consultants have in “getting inside the gates” of a new prospect’s organization.

There are many tall and strong walls, gatekeepers, and barriers that keep IT consultants and MSPs outside of the prospect’s organization. Many MSPs and IT consultants make the mistake, and it is a tragic mistake, of trying to break through these walls. You have to understand that all of the prospects that you are attempting to gain an audience with are operating in a state of “okay”.

Now, their IT infrastructure, network design, etcetera can be horrible. But, from their point of view, it’s okay; they’re getting along. The traditional prospecting strategy essentially says, “Whatever you’re doing is wrong; I will do it better.” It may be that you’re saying that you’re a better technician than whoever is currently managing their IT infrastructure. It may be that you’re claiming to have a better technology or solution to whatever they may have. But, remember, they are getting along.

So, this is where the Trojan horse comes in.

When I was a rookie with IBM, the first product that I sold was the IBM typewriter. I was having great deals of difficulty getting into large accounts to get large orders of typewriters. I was making quota, but I was doing it one or two machines at a time and, believe me, that is the hard way to go.

I came upon the idea of selling carbon paper, which was an IBM product, to the accounts that were keeping me out. The “Trojan horse” in this case was the carbon paper.

Not only did I sell it, but I offered to deliver it to the secretary’s desk. This added a level of convenience as well as a level of value to the purchase of a commodity that typically was ignored by both vendors and customers.

But, here’s what the Trojan horse did for me. It got me inside of the gates. I got past the lobby, past the guards, past all the gatekeepers, and got to meet the people that could help me sell large quantities of typewriters and word-processing machines.

The secretaries viewed my extra service as a tremendous convenience, and many of them became my ally and assisted me in my efforts to meet the top decision-makers.

Stop and look around our industry. Are there Trojan horses that you can sell?

Remember, all you want to do is get inside of the gates. Some of the Trojan horses that come to mind are things such as:

  • The training courses to teach employees how to use various software, or
  • Short sales cycle items like backup services or helpdesk services

Whatever the product or service is that you sell, it should be low-cost, it should be a transactional decision, and it should offer value.

Your customers will appreciate the fact that you’re not trying to upset the applecart. Remember, it’s working… from their point of view. But, you are offering them something that will help them achieve their goals; and that’s important. Then, as you are inside of the gates, you will start to achieve the progress towards the intersection of trust and timing. When you’re there, that’s when you’ll take the account over.

Stop banging your head against the wall. Find a Trojan horse, sell it, build a large portfolio of these customers, and you’re well on your way to creating a strong MSP business. As always, I wish you…

Good Luck and Good Selling!!!

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