What to Do When Selling to a CIO – A MSP Coach Perspective

By Stuart_R_Crawford
In MSP Coaching
August 29, 2012

Stuart R. Crawford / Stuart Crawford

Managed IT services providers (MSP) have busy work days, so they can appreciate that chief information officers (CIO) also have incredibly busy days. A CIO is responsible for making sure that his company has the best information technology products and services available and that all of those things run smoothly. In essence, the CIO makes sure that the business runs smoothly because in today’s world, few businesses – if any – can run smoothly without IT.

Knowing how busy CIOs are, you must respect their time. Know going in which of your products or services would be a good fit for the company you’re pitching to. Have all materials organized and easy to access when needed. If you have case studies or other documents that you want to leave behind, have them already packaged and ready to hand over.

Be sure to keep your pitch short, sweet and to the point. Don’t try to sell something that the business doesn’t need. That’s a good way to lose a prospective client. Since not all CIOs come from a technical background, try to use layman’s terms as much as possible.

Answer all of the CIOs questions thoroughly, but concisely. Don’t become so enamored with the product or service that you have to offer that you forget that you’re on someone else’s time schedule.

Listen to what the CIO has to say about the company. The CIO will have a much clearer picture of what his company needs than you. Don’t be so focused on selling your product or service that you miss key pieces of information.

Be honest. If after listening to what a CIO has had to say about her company’s needs you determine that a particular product or service might not be a good fit, say so. You’ll not only earn respect this way but also a potential fan who’s willing to recommend you to someone else.

No matter how likable you are, you aren’t going to be able to sell to a CIO, who isn’t already a personal friend or close colleague, unless your product or service costs less than what the company already uses, or you are offering a better product or service for the same price.

Selling to a CIO is no easy feat, but there are ways that you can increase your chances of success. One way is to attend the same types of trade shows and events that CIOs attend and, of course, have plenty of business cards on hand. An even better idea would be to host an event of your own that’s open to CIOs and other information technology specialists. Hosting an event that explains new technologies that have just come out or are on the way introduces you as an expert who’s willing to share information for free. It also introduces you to other IT professionals who might be able to get you an introduction to the CIOs of their companies.

There are numerous ways to get an audience with a CIO, and you once you do, be prepared to make it count.

Are you looking for MSP coaching that focuses on driving real results?  Need someone with experience in the MSP market?  Call Stuart at 289-362-3632 and take the first step to having a MSP coach that produces real results.

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