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The Importance Of Demonstrating Your Expertise

Posted On September 23rd, 2020

Here’s a chapter for “how NOT to close a prospect.” Last month Ryan Markel brought to my attention someone who is teaching MSPs how to grow their sales departments, suggesting we engage in some manner.

Initially, I’m very interested, as I’m ever interested in bringing fresh new moneymaking ideas to my members. I instantly have ideas about how I can use someone with his purported skills to deliver more value to our members. We discuss perhaps hiring him to work with our Producers Club and Accelerators members to build out a detailed sales playbook, complete with a hiring process, compensation plans, management playbook, etc. Maybe even run a Sales Managers’ Accountability Group.

A BIG project that would not only mean a good payday, but also put him in front of 600 or more MSPs who are potential clients for him. Now, just in case you’re not picking up on it, this is a BIG opportunity. Sponsors pay us millions of dollars a year to get access to our members, and here I am, offering to PAY him for the privilege.

But here’s what happens…

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How Coaching Your Clients Leads To Higher MSP Profits (Pt. 1)

Posted On April 16th, 2019

Coach Your MSP Clients How To Buy For Higher ProfitsToo often, business owners overlook the buying power in the clients they ALREADY have and are too focused on acquiring new ones.

So in this two-part series, I’m going to discuss how you can increase sales with your current clients and turn them into the clients you want. Let’s dig in…

Part 1 of Coach Your MSP Clients How To Buy For Higher Profits: Teach Your Clients How To Buy

I received several letters from American Express in the last month about using your Amex card to pay your taxes.

Honestly, it never occurred to me to do this, mostly because I’ve never been unable to pay my taxes. But I know a LOT of  people who are in that situation and have not thought about this as an option.

Which brings me to a key point: teaching your clients HOW TO BUY.

Years ago I sought out and purchased a phone system from a vendor, only to have my current IT company grouse at me for not buying through them.

I told them quite clearly they were idiots for not educating, reminding and pursuing ME to let me know they even offered that.

A BIG question you need to ponder: do your clients REALLY know all of the products and services you could sell them? Read full article and comment →

How A Strong Unique Selling Proposition Helps MSPs Market Themselves

Posted On April 10th, 2019
At Rapid Implementation Workshop we cover the USP, or unique selling proposition, in detail: what it is, what it is not, how to develop it and how to use it in your sales and marketing to unseat incumbent providers, close more business and fight price sensitivity.

For those unfamiliar with the concept of a USP here’s the short of it. It’s a one sentence statement explaining why a prospect should choose to do business with you versus any and every other option…including doing nothing.  An example that became famous was from Dominos Pizza. “Fresh hot pizza delivered to your door in under 30 minutes or its free!”  

More often than not, most IT services businesses do NOT have a USP and are largely a “me too” business that appears to be just like every other MSP they compete against. Because of this, they start from a weak position with no authority, which leads to difficulty in selling their services at prices even slightly higher than the competition’s.

After all, if Joe’s Computer Shack appears to be delivering managed services for $20 a seat less than you, why SHOULD prospects pay you more? While I understand there IS a legitimate difference in service, quality of delivery, etc., your PROSPECT doesn’t know.

Fast Response

Not too surprisingly, “fast response” is very often brought up as one of the key differentiators many have over their competition, and it IS a good one.  “Slow” to no response, dropped balls and poor communication are all the top reasons why businesses fire their IT company and look elsewhere. But if you’re going to claim THAT as all or part of your USP, you can’t be half in. Someone who is trained and managed needs to answer the phone LIVE, ideally 24/7, but definitely between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Read full article and comment →

What Are The Steps To Properly Brand My New Startup Company? (My Answer)

Posted On August 7th, 2012

Two questions from Brad Ashmore, Practical Technology Services:

1. “Can you provide the steps to properly brand my new startup company?”

2. “What is the best way to find a qualified business partner to join me in this new venture?”

As a new startup, you have a special place in my heart because I’ve been in your shoes. And since you’re a newbie, I wanted to make sure I address both of these questions. First off, my best piece of advice I can give you is to figure out what your niche is going to be. The hardest thing to get rolling is a plain vanilla company trying to be all things to all people. One of the BEST things I did early on in my business was seek out a niche. It took me over a year of fumbling around before I found it, but it was one of the smartest things I’ve ever done. Not only does marketing get easier, but your systems and processes can be scaled more effectively and profits are higher because you become more efficient. You can also become a true expert in delivering one type of result for one type of customer, making your expertise worth more (if you’re good, of course). All of my programs talk about researching your CUSTOMERS first. Since you’re a startup, you have the ADVANTAGE of choosing who you want to make your customer. My hope is that you see it that way and don’t dismiss the wisdom in my program by thinking you can’t use it because you don’t have any customers. You just need to decide upon and research the niche you choose.  Read full article and comment →

When To STOP Marketing To Someone On Your List

Posted On July 31st, 2012

Here’s a question I often get: “At what point should you stop marketing to someone on your list?” My personal opinion is that you never stop unless they specifically tell you to stop, give you reason to believe they will never buy from you or they give some indication that they aren’t the type of client you’d want to acquire. No point in shooting bullets at targets that, even if you hit them, don’t count for anything. But for most, leads are given up on way too soon. Considering the fact that most businesses are on a 3-5 year schedule to upgrade their server or network, you need to let a prospect “simmer” for at least that long before you can count them unconvertible.

In a business builder interview I did with Dean Jackson, he gave some powerful insight into this question. Dean has spent the greater part of his professional career developing marketing strategies for realtors. One of the strategies he teaches them is to use a monthly newsletter and/or postcard to stay in front of potential prospects so that when that prospect is ready to sell their house, they will think of that realtor and give them the business. Simple. Given the fact that most people don’t sell their house all that often, this question comes up frequently with his clients as well because sending a monthly MAILED newsletter year after year can get pricey.

But Dean shared that one of his clients who was excellent at tracking and reporting numbers showed him recently that only 5% of the leads they generate decide to list their home with his real estate practice in the first 3 months of showing interest. But, 10% would list with them within 3-6 months, and 40% would list with them in the 6-12 month range. Even more interesting is that 25% would list with them 12-18 months after their initial contact, and 20% after 18 months. That means a full 45% of the clients they acquired came in AFTER the SECOND year of marketing to them. If they gave up marketing to these leads after 3 months, they would be missing out on 95% of the business they could get. And given the fact that most real estate deals represent thousands of dollars in commission, I think it can easily be argued that the money invested over 2 years in monthly newsletters is a BARGAIN compared to the return. Read full article and comment →

Some “Tough Love” For Valentine’s Day

Posted On February 12th, 2012

5%…15%…80% 

 Assemble any population. Randomly poll 100 business owners in your area in the IT industry. Look at your client base. Your employees. Your entire circle of friends. 100 sales people. Athletes or artists. Any small town. Your town. All the clients you serve. Here’s what you’ll find: the population can be divided into three distinct groups – 5%, 15% and 80%. 

The 5% are absolute winners, growing, thriving and making what some people would consider “obscene” amounts of money. 15% are doing fairly well, and 80% are floundering, broke, and getting nowhere. That’s true right now, in this economy, in this industry, in your town. 

No matter how you reshuffle the deck, change the circumstances or the situation, these percentages have forever stood the test of time since discovered in the 1800’s by Vilfredo Pareto (the “80-20 rule” or Pareto Principle). 

For those unfamiliar, the Pareto Principle proves that 20% of any group is responsible for 80% of the results or output. Put into the framework of IT companies in this industry (and based on surveys we’ve conducted), the percentage of IT service firms doing $5 million or more is in the 5% range, those doing $1 million to $5 million in the 15% range and the rest, 80%, are flat out struggling to break the million dollar mark or to make any real money. I can also tell you that the majority of those in the 5% are FAR MORE profitable in both a dollars and percentage standpoint than the rest of their peers.  Read full article and comment →

The Biggest Revenue Opportunity Overlooked By Most IT Businesses

Posted On December 12th, 2011

Just recently I hired a personal trainer (a.k.a. “Mean Old Luke”). Nothing too surprising here EXCEPT that I’ve been a member of two gyms in this area, one for 2 years and the other for over 4 years—both who sell personal training. Yet neither of them has ever attempted to try and upsell me on any of the other services they offer including babysitting, swimming lessons, tanning and supplements. There may be more services I could list here but I don’t know about them. I’m also a former paying client of dozens of other service-based businesses in this area that I’ve stopped buying from, never to receive a simple postcard, newsletter or other outreach to a) try and get me back or b) figure out why I stopped buying.

This is a HUGE, glaring mistake made by the majority of businesses out there that cause them to leave thousands of dollars in potential sales on the table. That’s why I don’t want to hear any whining and complaining from businesses that “things are slow” when they’ve not lifted a finger to stay connected with their clients. And with social media and e-mail being free, there’s zero excuse for this.

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Why Being A “Good” Technician, Manager, Salesperson Or Entrepreneur Is NOT Enough – You Need To Apply The “Second Effort”

Posted On August 5th, 2010

Vince Lombardi loved to talk about the concept of the second effort. In fact, it’s the basis of a short sales training movie created in 1968 that is still showed to sales teams in training programs today. Lombardi is famous for showing his players football clips of receivers who almost caught the ball, but let it slip through their fingers. Then he’d show clips of players who made the second effort; same situation, but when they realized the ball was slipping through their fingers, they dove and caught the ball just before it hit the ground. Other clips were of running back who were almost crushed but managed to somehow wiggle free and made the touchdown.

His point in showing these clips was to point out that everyone makes the first effort. To even get on his team you had to do that; but so did all the other players on the opposing teams—and those standing by waiting for an opening to get on the team can do that. But if you want to be great, you have to go beyond that. He knew the difference between the good players and the great ones is that the great ones always make the second effort despite their first failure or setback. Just doing everything the coach expects of you is not good enough for the great players—and that CAN already be a lot. They are compelled to go beyond that every time and THAT is why they succeed.

In business, the fact that you’ve decided to cobble together some type of services offering and go into the marketplace and ask for a check shows you’ve made the first effort. But remember this: your competition is able to do that. Hiring, managing, bookkeeping, marketing, selling and customer service are bare minimums of running a business. You HAVE to be at least average at these things in order to survive. And for many, those FIRST efforts are just about all they can handle which is why they struggle to get ahead. Read full article and comment →