Being ready for "Do you have clients like us?"

A Business Development Rep cold-calls an Executive Director of a school. The goal is to set an appointment between that Executive Director and the MSP.

After the quick introduction, not even 10 seconds into the call, the ED lands a good question.

"Okay, do you have any ISC schools as clients?"

A 2 second silence passed where you could have heard a pin drop and then the BDR replies nervously.

"Ummm. Hmmmm. I don't know."

Unfortunately, the call did not go much longer and didn't end well.

If your BDR has had similar blunders, don't worry, they might still be a great potential BDR.

In the rest of this article I'll share how to prepare your BDR for anything.


Obstacles vs Objections


First, we need to be good at distinguishing obstacles from objections.

In general, obstacles are words that push back but also show some level of interest. 

They sound like:

"Do you have clients just like us?" etc.

"Not right now."

"Send me an email."

"I'm in a contract."

Whereas objections, while we don't like them, at least they don't waste anyone's time.

Objections sound like:

"Not interested." 

"No way we're switching."

"Stop calling."

In our experience, it's better to just accept objections and move on to the next lead. This is, after all, a "number's game," which means a "no thanks" is just one dial closer to a "yes!"

However, obstacles are a different story. BDRs should handle these with finesse because those are real opportunities. 


Practice, Practice, and you guessed it, more Practice!


If we could take 120 seconds to think of a good response to "I'm in a contract," most BDRs would nail it.

However, cold-callers don't have 120 seconds to think of a clever reply, they have 1 second to pause and then respond.

The only way we've found that works consistently is to embed daily obstacle handling practice sessions. 

Practice takes 2 people -- in our case we have many BDRs who can pair up to role-play and since they are all doing it for MSPs, they understand how to impersonate decision makers.

I suggest 15 minutes a day and insist the BDR memorizes your documented responses.

In order to make practice beneficial, make sure you change it up. For example, embody a real client and persona (CEO or CFO or IT Manager) and skip the scripted introductions.


What does Good Look Like


Sorry, I won't be sharing what our BDRs actually say in a public-facing blog article (this has taken us a few years to nail), but I can suggest a simple yet effective approach to documenting your own version of what good looks like.

It's easy and it's more authentic if you use your own words anyway.

First, on an excel sheet or table, label a column with "Ostacle" and then write down all of the obstacles in that column.

The next two columns put "Acknowledgement Phrase" and "Response." 

Acknowledgement phrases are a few words the BDR should say almost automatically.

"That's a great question" or "Actually, that's why I called."

Responses are what the BDR says next -- it's the answer to the obstacle posed by the prospect.

Make sure your BDR memorizes this and there you have it!


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