For most MSPs, approaching IT prospects and booking appointments is their go-to strategy to grow the business.
And rightly so.
But I’m sure you’ll agree, finding these prospects and getting them to agree to a meeting isn’t that easy.
Let’s face it:
These days, attracting the right people and getting them to book with you is all about creating connections and building business relationships first.
You might have heard the term “your network is your net worth”, and that has never been more true for MSP businesses.
Why? That’s what we’re going to talk about today.
We’ve already discussed cold emailing, and today we’re going to dig deeper into how building a network of connections should be your main priority if you want to consistently book out appointments.
So if you’re wondering how to approach new IT prospects and book meetings with them, then keep on reading.
You’ll learn how to build a business network and use it to grow your MSP business.
Intrigued? Let’s get right to it then.
How to Build a Network of IT Prospects and Book Out Your Appointments
Educate to Build Connections
Before you do anything, you need to position your business as a thought leader and an authority in the IT industry.
When prospects consider you an expert and see you pop up as a prominent name in the industry regularly, they’re more likely to buy into what you’re selling and book an appointment with you.
You can educate your prospects in several different ways:
Publishing a blog on your company site will drive interested prospects to your business and show them that you know what you’re talking about.
And offering consistent advice, lessons, and tips via a blog will create a connection and build a community around your product and business.
Example: Jolera use their blog to educate their audience on important trends and issues in their industry.
You can offer quick bits of advice via social media channels to catch IT prospects on the fly.
Nate Leung, founder of NateLeung.com, says in this post:
“Social media is such an integral part of business marketing today. It allows you to get to know potential customers before they purchase, building up relationships and, best of all, is a simple and fast process.”
To add to this, a 2013 Social Media Marketing Industry Report showed that 89% of all businesses that use social media as part of their marketing strategy reported an increase in their market exposure.
Research from Twitter (image source) shows the high percentage of businesses that see Twitter as an integral tool.
Knowing who your IT prospects are is the first step in knowing what they need from you, which gives you insights into how to educate them and, in turn, builds a network.
And, if you consistently post good advice, links to useful pieces, and expert thoughts on your industry, you’re going to build a brand around that in the social media sphere.
How to educate prospects so they book an appointment with you:
- Show prospects why they need your service or product and then get them to sign up to an appointment to show them how it will benefit their business.
- Educate with the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of your industry and book an appointment around the ‘how’. We’re going to look at how you can put this into practice below.
(Seccom Global shares useful insights to its followers.)
Maintain Ongoing Marketing Efforts
Your connections now know who are you are, what you have to offer, and why they should come to you for that offer – because you’ve shown your expertise and knowledge through educating them by blogging and via social media.
Next, it’s time to create a consistent marketing schedule so you stay on their radar.
And look: your marketing strategy doesn’t have to be complex.
It can simply involve publishing a post a week or linking to several great pieces on social media. The key here is to be consistent.
Regularly showing up and offering the goods will boost conversions in the long-term as people start to know who you are and what you can offer them.
You can mix and match marketing methods, like:
- Blogging about your industry and trends
- Sharing social media links to interesting articles (your own and others)
- Publishing content on other relevant blogs in your industry
- Sending out newsletters
In short, engage in content marketing – publishing relevant and useful content on various platforms to drive your audience to your website and, ultimately, to book an appointment and buy from you.
It’s the key driving force in the most successful businesses.
As Scott Aughtmon, founder of Recession Solution, says in this piece:
“What I’ve realized is that the people who excel in their industry have learned how to make ‘the easy’ happen over and over, so they continuously have new prospects coming to them. They aren’t cold-calling, or swatting the bushes for leads. And do you know what tool they use to do this automatically? That’s right: content marketing.”
An example of a traditional ongoing marketing strategy (image source)
How to use ongoing marketing to get prospects to book an appointment with you:
Create a content marketing schedule for social media, your blog, and newsletter that you can stick to. Your strategy might look something like:
- Publish awesome piece of content on blog
- Promote it on social media
- Encourage prospects to sign up to the mailing list to get more info about the blog topic
- Nurture those who sign up with more educational content
- Reach out and get your prospects to book an appointment via email with a strong call-to-action
Use Multiple Touch Points
Just like it’s not enough to post content once a month and hope for the best, it’s also not enough to stick to one channel for reaching potential IT prospects.
Instead, you want to spread yourself across two, three, or more different channels.
Prospects aren’t likely to say “yes” to an appointment on the first point of contact they have with you, so it’s vital that you use multiple channels to create different touch points (it’s thought that seven touch points is the sweet spot).
Consider using channels like Twitter, Facebook, blogging, and LinkedIn to create a strategy that reaches more prospects. For example, a prospect who hangs out on Facebook might not see you on LinkedIn if they don’t hang out there. Therefore, by appearing in both networks at once, you increase your chances for them finding you there.
Sites like LinkedIn can be a proactive tool for building a network as well.
Anna Bratton, a strategic accounts manager at Salesforce, says in this post that she uses LinkedIn for checking out who the decision makers are with her target prospects.
She writes: “I deal with some very large multinational companies, so there can be numerous people involved. But even for smaller B2B sales, you’ll often need to influence a number of individuals.”
How to use multiple touch points to get IT prospects to book an appointment with you:
- Build and nurture relationships with prospects, rinse and repeat. Work through your marketing strategy and stay consistent.
- When someone says no to an appointment, don’t give up. Continue to educate them and provide value via multiple platforms, keep popping up on their radar, and ask again when the relationship is stronger.
These days, attracting prospects and getting their attention is all about being authentic – something the anonymity of the internet has encouraged.
So, if you want to build a network of potential IT prospects around your business, it’s vital to create relationships by educating, being consistent, and following up.
When you can do that, you’ll continuously be able to book out your appointment slots.
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