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Overview Technology Solutions: Have Meetings With Customers ‘When Nothing Is The Matter’

‘You can’t have those difficult conversations … during an emergency. It’s supposed to be on a good day when nothing is the matter that you’re really talking about and dissecting the business’ relationship with technology and how to get there’ says Ryan Coyne, vice president of Overview Technology Solutions.

Ryan Coyne, vice president of New York-based solution provider Overview Technology Solutions, makes it very clear to his customers that it’s important he be proactive, not reactive. And that applies to not just the products the company installs, but the conversations he has concerning IT.

Coyne and Marc Menzies, president and CTO of Overview Technology Solutions, spoke at CRN parent The Channel Company’s NexGen+ conference in Anaheim, Calif., about how having quarterly business reviews (QBRs) can unearth hidden revenue opportunities.

“A QBR is not a sales pitch, even though it also is,” Coyne said. “It is not a social gathering, even though it also is. It’s really about wins, challenges and opportunities, identifying those, highlighting them and addressing them together. This is a community approach.

“You have to have conversations when nothing is the matter,” he added. “You can’t have those difficult conversations … during an emergency. It’s supposed to be on a good day when nothing is the matter that you’re really talking about and dissecting the business’ relationship with technology and how to get there.“

It’s also important, he said, to have multiple department heads at the meeting, not just the technicians or CEOs.

[Related: Edge Solutions: Solution Provider Community More Relevant Than Ever Before

Coyne said a phrase he uses frequently is, “And that’s exactly why.” He said when used correctly, it can grab someone’s attention, get somebody to attend a meeting or ease their frustrations.

“They’re prepared to have the conversation, meaning they have a solution and all of us are very quick on our feet, but saying that disarms them,” Menzies said.

To encourage those to join a business review meeting, the executives said to include an agenda in the calendar invite that teases new information and bullet points the topics that will be discussed.

The agenda and its objectives are important because they lay out what you are looking to get out of the call that is in service of the customer. Menzies said it’s also important to educate the customer on new products and solutions.

“The QBR for me became my method of control over both the organization and the client relationship,” Menzies said. “If I did not do that, I would not be where we are now because we like visibility.”

Statistics and data points can be helpful during the call, according to the executives.

“So much of IT is the iceberg below the water,” Coyne said. “[Customers] have no idea what goes into so much of IT, and they shouldn’t have to. They’re paying to be not burdened with what happens below the water.”

Be engaging with the customer during these quarterly or monthly review meetings, Coyne said. Ask open-ended questions, let them tell you stories about their business, ask if they feel fully supported, ask about their pain points, preview new products and have an action plan if they come to you with a concern or issue.

“My favorite quote from Henry Ford is, ‘If I had asked people what they want, they would have said faster horses,’” Coyne said. 

Rexx Igunbor, owner of PC Lan Services, a Milwaukee-based solution provider, said his biggest takeaway from the talk was about having those conversations with his customers.

Even though he doesn’t see customers face to face, he enjoys regular meetings to understand their challenges and needs.

“If you don’t have the conversation, you don’t know anything about the business,” he said. “You know about providing technology but how relevant are you if you don’t know anything about their business and the challenges that they’re going through?”

 

 

 

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