Author Archive

The Single, Simple Trick That Will Get 3 To 4 Times More Response From Every Single Marketing Campaign, Guaranteed

Posted On October 22nd, 2020

Any ideas on what it is? Hint: It’s the thing that got you to read this article – the headline.

The headline is “the ad for the ad.” It’s the device that, if well-written, will stop the right reader-prospect in their tracks and get them involved in reading your campaign and taking action. In the example above, I could have written “How To Get Your Wife To Chase You Around The Bedroom Like A Horny Teenager” and gotten even more response than with the one I used. I could have even pivoted off that as an example of the importance of headlines; however, I would have attracted the WRONG person with the WRONG proposition – i.e., a desperate husband looking for a little more love in his life (to put it politely). Read full article and comment →

Grow your msp

Even After Losing My First MSP And Enduring Massive COVID-19 Shutdowns, I GREW My Brand-New MSP By $89,492 In MRR In Our First 90 Days!

Posted On October 1st, 2020

Grow your msp

Our $5 Million Unsinkable IT Business
Hit A Massive Iceberg

My business partner and I started our first IT services business in 1999. Yet, rather than focus on LANs and servers like most MSPs, our business model focused more on connectivity services, including VoIP, cloud and cyber security. From day one, we locked onto the monthly recurring revenue model and grew our profitable business to $5 million. Things were good. Until…

Everything went sideways, and quickly. Life came crashing down for my business partner and best friend of over 25 years. It started with an ugly divorce, where he was separated from his seven kids. Things spiraled from there, and while I tried everything I could to rescue him, he threw it all away. I explained the situation to his ex-wife, a long-time family friend, and asked for controlling interest in our business. I told her that without 51% ownership, I would be forced to start a new company. Unfortunately, she didn’t accept my offer and went out of business.

Always one to shed positive light on every circumstance, I gained two important lessons from this experience:

Lesson #1: None of us are above it. We are all just a few bad decisions away from ruin. Like I told his ex-wife: if this could happen to him, it could happen to the Pope. 

Lesson #2: Expect the best, but prepare for the worst. Even the best partnerships can end ugly. Make sure any partnership or business agreement you have is airtight. I was fortunate I didn’t have a non-compete clause in our agreement, which allowed me to continue serving my clients.
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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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The Importance Of Holding Your Marketing Accountable To A Result

Posted On September 16th, 2020

The Importance Of Holding Your Marketing Accountable To A ResultIf I hear someone say their hope for marketing is “brand awareness” or to “get my name out there” one more time I’m gonna start a protest against slovenly, wasteful marketing. At least then I wouldn’t get my events shut down, but I digress…

To my point: Let’s suppose the “branding” folks managed an employee the same way they are suggesting you manage your marketing. The job description for “Bob” the employee would look something like this:

“Bob, your job is to get our name out there and make sure you are making people aware of our brand. Since we have no way of measuring just how effective you are, you won’t be subject to any regular meetings or reviews and you won’t have any strict hours. You can come and go as you please. Just as long as you come back once in a while and give us some assurance that you are, in some manner, shouting our name to the world, we’re all good and will continue to pay you. No one will monitor your performance. No one will attempt to measure your effectiveness or the impact you’re having on the organization. No one will look at your productivity, and we won’t tie you to specific leads, clients and sales coming in the door. We’ll just assume it’s working. Every couple of months we’ll look to see if sales have gone up. If they have, you’ll get all the credit. To assist you in this effort, we’ll give you a very hefty budget so you look your professional best. After all, we want to win the popularity contest and receive useless awards for our “creativity” or our cleverness. In fact, we’d like you to be vague, cute and clever. You’ll be dressed in the finest suits and given a Bentley to drive around in. You’ll eat at the finest restaurants, wining and dining whomever will listen to your message. Your expense account won’t be beholden to any particular type of client, but if we get enough people liking the experience, you’ll continue to be paid. If we don’t get enough sales, you can just blame the economy, the competition, who’s in the White House or any other outside factor.”

Laugh if you will, but that’s how a lot of companies manage their marketing efforts. My rule has been never to invest a marketing dollar that cannot be directly and accurately tracked back to generating a lead, a customer or a sale. Simple. That’s why my marketing is so shocking to many when they first see it; the word they use is “direct” if they’re kind, “aggressive” if they’re not.

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Grabbing Attention

Posted On September 9th, 2020

attentionTo the right is a favorite “article” from the Weekly World News (the only RELIABLE news outlet these days) that I keep in my files as inspiration for a marketing campaign somewhere in the future. I DO think an ad run like this around Halloween with an offer to “exorcise the demon” in your computer would do really well – but I suspect many would not use it for fear of criticism, particularly from “love thy neighbor” Christians who would heap fire and brimstone on your head because they find this deeply offensive (but hey – in THIS day and age, if you’re not pissing someone off by noon every day, you’re not trying at ALL).

But the MAIN point of sharing this with you: a stern reminder that you HAVE to figure out how to get your prospects’ attention with your marketing or your marketing will fail miserably. This is why I encourage “lumpy” or odd direct mail – it makes a much more significant impact than a plain vanilla postcard or “professional” letter. So, a few things to keep in mind:


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How To Motivate Salespeople

Posted On September 1st, 2020

Salespeople I have an important point to clarify. While I’m 100% bought into the idea of creating systems and processes in a business and advocate it constantly, there is one HUGE inherent flaw in that thinking: assuming that systems run themselves.

Any time you have a human being involved in or contributing to a system, you have a WILD variable that is essentially out of your control. Yes, you can (and should) train, monitor, coach and manage. But if someone isn’t self-regulated and self-motivated to follow the system and put into place your coaching and training, nothing will make it work.

Over the last few years I’ve dialed in the appointment-setting process of my company to a science: who to call, when to call, what to say. We clean, verify and highly target the list. We have automation and dialers that make everyone far more efficient. Also, we do weekly training and have a competent sales manager in place who keeps an eye out to make sure the trains run on time. Yet not all reps hit quota all the time, and some have had to be let
go for non-performance. How is that possible? Because there’s still a human element to the system that I have no control over.

That’s why it’s critical to hire the right type of people as PART OF THE SYSTEM.

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While Our Core Client Base In The UK Was Locked Down, We Still DOUBLED Our MRR And Added £302K In NEW Revenue!

Posted On September 1st, 2020

Mark Cronin,

MSC IT Solutions

Without Marketing, There’s Zero Leads And Zero Hope For Growth

Living in the small coastal town of Hartlepool in North East England, I believe I bring a unique perspective of running an MSP from “across the pond.” My IT journey began when I left high school at the age of 16. Classroom education was never really for me, so I went into an apprenticeship and worked my way up from the bottom.

I ran three different businesses, including owning my own wedding DJ service with a staff of eight. As an IT contractor, I followed the work around the UK and even lived in a for 20 months! I made a lot of mistakes in business and lost a lot of money, mainly because I had a bad habit of jumping in feet first without first listening, learning and following a plan.

I wasn’t about to make those mistakes again when I started MSC IT Solutions in 2016. Unfortunately, I fell into the all-too-common mistake of doing ZERO MARKETING! Without spending a dime on marketing, every bit of work came from word of mouth and referrals. Because I ignored marketing, I picked up maybe one new client a year and a smattering of project work. Nothing predictable. No new leads. No wonder growth was stagnant.

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Nice Is A Path To NOWHERE

Posted On August 27th, 2020

In one of my favorite books, Harry Beckwith’s What Clients Love, is this story:

NICE IS NOWHERE. You do NOT want everyone to like what you do.

Ian Schrager created a revolutionary chain of elite hotels. His properties are to hotels what Salvador Dali paintings are to art – not for everyone. Schrager expressly designs his hotels for one traveler in 25. “Let 24 of 25 despise them, for all I care,” he has said. “Just so one in 25 loves them.” Can any marketer afford to write off 96% of the public? Schrager’s small hotels net more than $20 million a year (2003).

He’s since sold his hotel group, but has made a small fortune on his approach. His idea of being different and “not for everyone” is scary as hell to most businesspeople, though. In a world where “Likes” and followers are the new status quo for being successful in business (entirely a FALSE metric if viewed in isolation from other critical metrics like profit), and online trolls abound and pressure you to conform to their viewpoints, it CAN feel “dangerous” to stand out and take an unpopular view. Disapproving things and shaming and bullying others is a full-time job for many, a pastime for many. Believe me, I know.

It’s in conflict with everything you’ve been taught about service and the customer always being “right.” Choosing to be deliberately and blatantly against the majority is a stance that will challenge every fiber of your being and test your self-confidence. Read full article and comment →