Taking My “Underdog” Business To SUPERHERO Status
Does this sound like you? You’ve spun your wheels in your IT business for years. But you’re in a deep rut. Growing your business by improving your sales and marketing is ALWAYS at the top of your priority list…but you NEVER take action because you’re just too busy. Instead, you keep spending long hours doing what you’ve always done, hoping your results magically change (because YOU won’t change).
That was me. Since opening Sagester Associates Group, Inc., in 2001, we were the underdog. The little guy. For far too many years, we operated solely on word-of-mouth referrals. As a result, growth was unpredictable and stagnant. My average client size is under $1K a month. But this little guy had the same aspirations as he had as a kid: to be a superhero and be onstage at Boot Camp like other MSP superheroes.
Inspiration Without Action Is Worthless
I first heard of Robin in 2010. I’d get a flyer in the mail about her Boot Camp, take a quick look and toss it in the trash. This went on for a couple of years until 2012, when I got the flyer and thought, “I’m going to at least check it out.” So, off to Boot Camp I went.
Boot Camp was ELECTRIC, and I was so energized I bought the Toolkit. While at Boot Camp, I found at least 10 new things I should implement to really impact my sales, my revenue and my overall business. I was PUMPED!
Then I got back to my office, back to the day-to-day grind, and the excitement slowly wore off. My 10 great new ideas dissolved into nothing. Nothing implemented. Nothing changed. The next few years, I was stuck in my own never-ending loop of Groundhog Day. I would go to Boot Camp…get excited about the possibilities…find 10 new ways to improve my business…and get back to my office and back to working IN my business and not ON my business. (Are you seeing a pattern?)
“A Complete Shift In Mindset”
After six years of 100% excitement but 0% execution, I was finally ready to make a difference in my business. So I joined Producers Club in 2016. It wasn’t easy. In fact, making positive changes to my business was one of the toughest things I ever did.
First, it took a complete shift in mindset. Only then could I start making changes. I completely turned over all of my staff. Then I spent the rest of 2016 and 2017 putting together the foundation for growth, including changing the website, improving all of our marketing materials and hiring employees to do the marketing. In 2018, we were off and running. We improved operations, streamlined the sales process and added multiple joint venture partners so we could 100% focus on the success of sales and marketing.
A Lifestyle Change = 270 Marketing Campaigns Executed!
Most MSPs struggle to run twenty, ten or even five marketing campaigns in a year. Sagester Associates Group proudly ran a total of 270 campaigns! They don’t all produce direct results, but they ALL have an impact.
All of our marketing is designed to do three things: One – get new clients. Two – make our name a way of life for clients and potential prospects. Three – establish us as the experts in our field.
“Regular Guy” Lessons That Deliver Superhero Results
Lesson #1: Less Is More
Robin’s team provides so many great sales and marketing strategies and tactics and so much advice, your head will start to spin. Try to tackle it all, it’s INFORMATION OVERLOAD. Instead, simply take just two to three ideas and ignore everything else. Focus ONLY on those two to three ideas for the next 90 days. Next quarter, pick two or three more ideas. Set everything else aside until those ideas are fully implemented. Over time, those small ideas add up to a BIG DIFFERENCE.
Total Revenue UP 46%.
Monthly Recurring Revenue UP 22%.
And Bottom-Line Net Profits UP 642%! BOOM!
Lesson #2: Fake It Until You Make It
One of my favorite quotes is from Darren Hardy: “What do successful people and unsuccessful people have in common? They both HATE to do what it takes to be successful. But successful people do it ANYWAY.”
You must FORCE YOURSELF to do the things you hate until they become habit. Don’t just run a “diet of marketing campaigns” every once in a while. You must make marketing campaigns “a way of life.” Everybody on our team is rowing in the same direction because marketing has become a way of life for us.
Lesson #3: You Cannot Do This By Yourself
You are 85% to 90% more likely to be successful if you have someone you are accountable to. If you are a one-man shop or a small company, get yourself a coach or an accountability partner.
Also, as you grow, hire people who are better than you at the one thing you need them to do. I’m certainly not a superhero, but I surround myself with people who make me look like a superhero. My team, my Accountability Group and my mentors are a big reason why I was a Top 5 Finalist for Robin’s Better Your Best competition at Boot Camp. I could never repay them for what they’ve done in the past few years.
Our Marketing Became A Way Of Life
We don’t really think in terms of individual marketing campaigns. From the beginning, I wanted to change how we thought about marketing. Today, marketing has become a way of life. Like clockwork, 100 direct mail pieces go out on a weekly basis. And every month, printed newsletters are sent to clients, leads and JV partners, and TechTip postcards are mailed to our farm list.
Every campaign is created with the mindset of not only bringing in new customers and new revenue, but also positioning us as the expert. Anything that happens in a five-state radius that is related to dental IT, Sagester Associates Group is becoming the one to turn to.
Band-Aids And Aspirin = A Healthy MRR Of $1,936
We definitely lean on the Aspirin and Band-Aid sales letter campaigns for results. Because we only work with dentists, these two letters make a bigger impact due to their health-care theme. We have found that it makes more of an impact when the potential prospects can relate to the information.
By mailing out our Aspirin sales letter, we landed two new clients that represented a monthly recurring revenue (MRR) increase of $1,318, which is $15,816 each year!
Our Band-Aid sales letter also proved to be a success. We added one new client at $618 MRR and $7,416 per year!
We Snuck One New Client With Sneaky Duck!
With the Sneaky Duck campaign, we did gain one new client worth $550 in MRR. We’ve learned that not every campaign can be a home run. We believe dentists don’t respond to ducks as much as they do health-care-focused themes. I’ve considered trying a “Sneaky Tooth” campaign. Stay tuned…
A TWIST On Referrals Brings In 6 New Clients!
We run referral campaigns to our JV partners as well as our existing clients. When we started, the referral reward didn’t really resonate with dentists, perhaps because they make plenty of money. So we put our heads together and made some tweaks – and PAYDIRT! Now we also include their STAFF in the referral program. Dentists love when their staff are rewarded, and the office shares in it.
This little twist on our referral campaign resulted in six new clients, increasing our MRR by $3,490, or $41,880 a year!
Counting On JV Partners For $55,020 A Year!
JV partners deliver our biggest results by far. In our industry, dentists have multiple referral networks. They refer patients, talk to their colleagues and also trust vendors they have relationships with to connect them with the best options. We campaign to our JV partners just like we would to our prospects.
In 2018, marketing to JV partners brought us six new clients worth an impressive $4,585 a month and $55,020 a year.
Trade Show Visibility Earned Us A $13,200-A-Year Client
Sagester Associates Group does four or five trade shows per year. The primary reason behind these trade shows is to establish us as the experts in our field. Not only do our prospects see our name again and again, it gives us another opportunity to connect with our JV partners. This past year, our trade shows brought in one new client worth $13,200 a year.
Printed Newsletters Keep Us Top Of Mind
Our printed newsletters go out every single month without question. This drip marketing campaign keeps us connected to our existing clients as well as top prospects and JV partners. I get compliments on our newsletter almost every month. While we cannot positively attribute any new business to our newsletters, we know they keep our name, brand and service offerings front and center in our clients’ minds.
This Drip Campaign Nets One New Appointment EVERY MONTH!
Who says postcards rarely deliver a response? They work for us! We send out our TechTip postcards to prospects each and every month. And each and every month we get at least ONE APPOINTMENT! That’s without any follow-up phone calls!
Big Plans For Cyber Security Seminars
We do cyber security seminars on a regular basis in conjunction with our JV partners. As we continue to grow, we expect to be conducting a seminar every single month and generating more leads and sales as a result.
Thank You, Producers Club!
Producers Club is definitely the glue that holds everything together for us. It fuels my new ideas. It reenergizes me and my team every quarter. And if we ever lose sight of the company goals, Producers Club always puts us back on the path to success.
Even beyond my Accountability Group, I have an entire network of business owners ready to jump in and help whenever I need it. Whatever hurdles I’ve had, someone from my group has already solved it in their own business and offers beneficial insights.
Plus, we have implemented multiple processes and mindsets from the many speakers who come to the meetings. Darren Hardy showed us how to improve productivity; John Ruhlin taught us how to gift successfully; Chris Voss improved our negotiations; David Marquet helped with leadership; Roger Love enhanced our communication and voice; Doug Lipp improved customer service; and, of course, Robin Robins provided the foundation of all things sales and marketing.
Aggressive Goals Worthy Of A Superhero!
This year I have a goal of $2.5 million in revenue. For the record, we did $1.2 million in 2017 and $1.75 million in 2018. When I consider hitting an aggressive goal of $2.5M, my head starts to swim thinking of all the improvements we must make to reach that goal.
Presenting at Boot Camp as one of the five Better Your Best finalists is a feat of superhero proportions in my eyes. But the second we hit $2.5M this year, I’ll feel we have an entire team of superheroes all pulling in the same direction!
The true reward of all of this work has been sharing it with our family. Vacations we can afford that mean precious time together. Paying for college and giving our six children a financial head start in life. Nothing puts a smile on my face more than seeing the smile on theirs and I imagine that’s what it feels like to be a superhero.