Marketing? What’s That?
Taking a page from the success stories of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, Shayne Yonce and Steve Lee started the Technology Specialist in Wichita, Kansas, out of a garage in 2007. I joined the team in 2016 as the Director of Operations and have handled pretty much everything except tech work. For well over a decade, our marketing budget has been nonexistent. Before discovering Robin, we certainly never sat down and discussed how we could grow INTENTIONALLY rather than by the grace of God.
Our website was created by a “friend” for practically nothing, and that’s just about what it delivered – nothing. One day we got a wild hair and ran a single ad in a business journal. For our $12,000 ad, we didn’t get a single lead. ZERO ROI! No wonder we avoided marketing! As a result of no marketing and no direction, there were clear struggles. I remember several times when we had to chase down a client just so we could make payroll. In fact, Shayne and I had to hold our paychecks more times than I care to admit. Stuck in a rut, we could not pass the $1M mark for the last several years.
First I Opened Robin’s Red Envelope – It Took A While Longer To Open My Mind
Our adventure with Technology Marketing Toolkit began about two years ago, when we FINALLY opened Robin’s red envelope. Next thing we knew, Shayne was off to Nashville. Unfortunately, Shayne was the only person on our team who was physically AND mentally present at Robin’s workshop.
I’ll admit, we really only had one foot in the door when it came to implementing the marketing. Couple that with the fact that Shayne (aka Captain Distraction) was overwhelmed with the new material and content, we never stood a chance. Fortunately, our story doesn’t end there. Let’s call it “Chapter One.”
Chapter Two: Attending Boot Camp that next year was my wake-up call. There you are, sitting next to hundreds of IT business owners who are literally dealing with the same problems and crap that you are. You aren’t the only one who sucks at marketing…EVERYBODY sucks at it. But you all have to get on that same train and start somewhere. Yes, at Boot Camp, I finally jumped aboard and never looked back.
A Tale Of 2 Rapid Implementation Workshops: Why We First FAILED And Then SUCCEEDED
Robin’s Rapid Implementation Workshop offers a tremendous opportunity to kick-start your marketing and generate new leads, sales and monthly recurring revenue, well, rapidly. However, like anything else in life, you only get out of it what you put into it.
Our first experience with the Rapid Implementation Workshop brought a series of mistakes and missed opportunities. Fortunately, we attended a SECOND Rapid Implementation Workshop a year later where we changed our mindset, actions and results!
Mistake #1: Not Getting The Buy-In From Our Team
I thought, “Who is this Robin Robins person, and is that even a real name? How the hell is this little firecracker supposed to transform our business when she knows nothing about us?” Because I didn’t fully understand the process, I wasn’t onboard. As a result, very few of the solid marketing ideas and strategies that Shayne brought back to Kansas were actually implemented.
Solution #1: Trust The System
Attending Robin’s Boot Camp was my “aha” moment. I finally GOT it! Talking with all of those IT business owners who were dealing with our same problems and striving for similar goals was a real eye-opener. It was no longer a question of HOW can we afford this, but rather how can we afford NOT to do this? Right then and there we signed up for Accelerators Club. This time we were going to trust the process, no matter how far outside our comfort zone we strolled.
Mistake #2: Marketing Without Money
During our first go-round, we cut corners wherever possible. Rather than investing in Infusionsoft, we decided we would just send e-mails manually. I’m sure you can imagine how well that went. We also tried to “Robinize” our website ourselves. I’ll never forget how much Robin’s team tore our site apart during our website review. In the end, our cost-saving efforts cost us immensely in extra TIME and lackluster results.
Solution #2: Invest In Marketing
You cannot do it ALL yourself! Why not let marketing experts help you where they can? We invested in Infusionsoft to make life easier. Constant Contact will not get it done. Also, by having Pronto improve our website, we simply submit the landing pages we need and they’re done. EASY!
My wholehearted advice to anyone joining this program: if there’s a Done-For-You ANYTHING, and you know it will take you some serious time to do it yourself, take advantage of it. Your time is far too valuable and scarce. While we printed the material for our Shock-And-Awe box, including our 100% Money Back Guarantee Certificate and our Client Bill of Rights, we are also doing the Done-For-You TechTip postcards and Done-For-You Newsletter, and Robin’s team is scrubbing our lists. All these projects are DONE and off my plate!
Mistake #3: Target Market = Any Warm Body
I bet many of you have made this same mistake of casting your net too wide when determining your target market. We figured we could take on any client with a computer and a pulse. WRONG! Lesson learned: when you are all over the place with your target market, you are all over the place with your marketing.
Solution #3: Focus On ONE Vertical At A Time
As soon as we narrowed our target market to dentists, we could finally produce quality marketing materials, including our dental-specific Shock-And-Awe box, our testimonial book featuring local dentists, our focused website, our unique selling proposition, targeted conventions and even the little gifts we hand out. All of our marketing is now dental-focused and effective!
Mistake #4: Letting FEAR Win
I consider this our biggest mistake because it’s the epicenter of every other mistake we made. First, we faced the fear of stepping out of our comfort zone. We weren’t “marketing people.” We were there to run a business. Second, we were paralyzed with the fear that everything that could possibly go wrong would certainly go wrong. Because of these fears during our first workshop, we only sent out five testimonial requests, didn’t send any 9-Word E-mails and certainly didn’t send any direct mail, TechTip postcards or drip marketing. ZERO!
Solution #4: “F**K It, Hit Send!”
This is my new mantra. And it feels good whenever you say it. Seriously, try it. My “F**K it, hit Send” catchphrase has caught on around the office, as well as with my husband at home. Anytime I’m fearful about anything, all that fear disappears with the click of a button. Just hit Send and – poof! – it’s done. What’s the worst that can happen? No response? Meh.
Now we’re applying this same concept to all of our direct mail marketing. It simply must be done, and there’s nothing to be fearful of. We’re getting into a rhythm, and it feels amazing. Growth feels amazing! Success feels amazing! I truly believe it was the fear of failure that held us back, but that’s gone now, thanks to Robin’s program and my new confidence.
It May Have Taken TWO Workshops To “Get It,” But Now We Got An Extra $240,432 In MRR Calculated Annually And $432,078 In Projects!
We assessed the previous year and all of the money we had wasted. Growth was stagnant. Morale was low. Looking forward, Shayne and I were in full-on “growth mode.” It was time to do something different and truly implement Robin’s marketing the RIGHT WAY.
Our Coach “Forced” Us To Generate $196,656 In MRR Through Referrals
The Technology Specialist was never a stranger to referrals. Problem was, we weren’t actively pursuing referrals…just kind of waiting for them to fall into our laps. Then, on an accountability call, Rich, our coach, asked for a volunteer. I wanted to hold myself accountable, so I raised my hand. He told us to call – NOT E-MAIL – our top five clients and ask them to refer us to someone they know.
It worked! Since that exercise, we have turned our referral program into a cash cow! Our referral program consists of adding in a bonus if the doctors can get the appointment. Plus, we continue to reward them with a free month of service. We received two referrals from a client and three from a dental supplier who has become a solid joint venture partner. From these five referrals, we have added a total of five new managed services clients, which has resulted in the following numbers:
Project Totals (both completed and scheduled) – $111,587
Monthly Recurring Revenue (calculated annually) – $196,656
25 Quarterly Business Reviews Brings $43,776 In New MRR And $320,491 In Projects!
Most of our success has come from upselling our existing clients through requesting QBRs . Using a powerful marketing piece that features “12 Ways To Protect Your Business From A Cyber-Attack”, we’ve been presenting our Cyber Security Stack to our existing clients, and many have taken advantage ! We are continuing to schedule around two to three QBRs per week, and our goal is to get ALL of our clients to add these services within a year.
We have conducted a total of 25 QBRs, which have resulted in the following numbers:
Project Totals (both completed and scheduled) – $320,491
Cyber Security Stack Added (calculated annual MRR) – $43,776
2 Pieces Of Advice To Fellow Members
Be The FIRST To Get Your Homework Done!
Here’s a secret that helped me ace Robin’s Rapid Implementation Workshop and get one marketing initiative after another completed. I knew if I was the FIRST to get my homework done and submitted, my coaches and peers would review my homework FIRST. Week after week, I would make it a priority to complete my homework fast so I could get that one-on-one advice and suggestions for improvement. At the other end of the spectrum, a couple of members missed a week of homework and were behind with the rest of the accountability calls.
There Is NO Easy Button.
Shame on you, Staples, your Easy Button doesn’t exist! If you’re looking for a shortcut to implement your marketing and transform your business, you won’t find it here. Make no mistake, it’s hard work. It takes time. But it’s SO worth it in the end!
It All Starts With A Total Mindset Shift
We’re living proof that marketing works. No, I don’t yet fully understand everything there is to know about marketing. Hell, I probably never will. But we now trust the process, and that’s enough to finally get us out of the rut we were in. The same rut that we learned many people at Boot Camp are also stuck in. Our rut? We couldn’t get over the $1M mark in the last couple of years. By attending our second Rapid Implementation Workshop and this time actually IMPLEMENTING the marketing, we are on pace to slingshot our business to $1.5 MILLION this year!
Our business isn’t the only thing that changed. So did our mindset. We are now finally in a position to say “No” to potential clients. We no longer target everyone with a computer and a pulse… We no longer feel we must take on every new client. Now we have the confidence to find only the right-fit clients we WANT to work with. That in itself is worth its weight in gold! I firmly believe the Technology Marketing Toolkit is your ticket to happiness and, better yet, your ticket to peace.