MSP and CSP lingo is the discipline-specific terminology we sling around like confetti during our business conversations. We “assume” that everyone sitting around the business table understands what we are talking about.
But do they?
You tell me that if I don’t understand your technical language, then I shouldn’t be doing business with you. Then again, when I used the term MSP in my last post, I received many respectful inquiries from extremely intelligent engineers and PhD’s about just what the heck that acronym stood for.
MSPs (managed service providers) and CSPs (Cloud service providers) often are information technology (IT) services providers that manage / assume responsibility for providing a defined set of services to their clientele either proactively as the MSP and/or CSP (not the client) determines that services are needed or based on a subscription model.
Those inquiries were generated by the folks you could be doing business with. Prospective customers.
Depending on where we all sit around the business table, we hear the same things differently. The members of an executive team or buying committee may not “get” what you are talking about.
These decision makers expect you to comprehend when your MSP and CSP lingo creates sales barriers. Except you and your team are too busy slinging the lingo. You interpret their head nods as affirmation, not disinterest.
Take a good listen to your communication patterns with various tiers of customer contacts. Who are these folks, anyway? What is their perspective? How have they been trained to process your input?
Your MSP and CSP lingo crashes into their own professional lingo. You both may be saying the same word. You both may translate that one word into two completely different expectations for business outcomes.
Especially when you are selling to businesses where decision makers wear multiple hats. Your overuse of MSP and CSP lingo creates the perception that it may not be easy to do business with you.
There’s no value in in a strategy your customers don’t understand.
Let’s say you have a special event and invite lots of small and medium size business owners to attend. Your VP of Sales gets in front of the crowd and tells stories and warms up the audience. You even have some satisfied customers offer glowing testimonials.
Then your technical folks start talking about how your company’s products, services and platforms create their magic. It’s time for The Demo.
Your team is really on a roll. Except you are not, at all. You’ve been selling to yourselves instead of your customers.
Somewhere along the line your team crossed the interface between what the customers know, how they are used to speaking about what they know, and what they don’t know.
You overwhelmed them conceptually. Dead silence. Polite nods. A few brave members of the audience get up for more cookies and soda and then hit the door. The rest stick it out and don’t respond to your follow up.
You started explaining what you know using MSP and CSP lingo. That’s all well and good once the sale is made and you are implementing with other technical folks.
Your team’s slinging around MSP and CSP lingo intimidates your buyers instead of defining your team as experts.
Are you creating a compelling case for doing business together?
If I can’t understand what you are talking about, that means you and your team aren’t doing a good job of listening to me and my team.
To-Do: Start recording and listening to all of your daily customer conversations – from your customers’ perspective. Replay and discuss with your team. Tally up the number of times your team used MSP and CSP lingo.
To-Do: Correlate each call with its respective business outcome. How can you refine your over-dependence on MSP and CSP lingo so you don’t create sales barriers?
This post was brought to you by IBM for Midsize Business and opinions are my own.
Babette N. Ten Haken is a business coach and management consultant. She remodels startups and small-to-medium size manufacturing and service companies experiencing difficulty with growth and unpredictable revenue streams. Babette’s book on cross-functional business development and collaboration strategies, including tools, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com.