Bill Gates And Steve Jobs Aren’t The Only Computer Guys Who Started In A Garage!
For as long as I can remember, I wanted to run a technology company. Even as a teenager, I worked for a small computer shop and loved it. At that young age, I approached my father and brother about starting our own computer company. We founded Whittrio, Inc. (which eventually became Stimulus Technologies), in 1995 and operated out of my brother’s garage.
I often joke that I must have missed the class in Computer Science School about how to run a business. I was practically forced to become a student of business through the school of hard knocks and by devouring tons of business books. Through that self-training, certain parts of business came easy to me: analyzing financials, policies and procedures, and, of course, the tech work. That’s where I wanted to focus ALL of my time.
But I quickly learned those areas of business didn’t pay the bills. Marketing and sales were the moneymakers. Yet marketing always seemed like a “soft” subject to me. It seemed scary. It was difficult to understand. It just didn’t come natural to me. But deep down I knew that if I wanted our business to grow, it was a necessary evil to learn.
My “First Dates” With Marketing
Marketing results were never predictable for me. Plus, there are so many ways to invest money on marketing: networking groups, SEO, Google AdWords, print ads, mailings, telemarketing… It goes on and on.
People know me as an implementer. So I did the same with marketing. I read just about every marketing and sales book I could get my hands on, including Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich, Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, Jay Conrad Levinson’s Guerrilla Marketing, Michael Gerber’s The E-Myth Revisited and many more.
Over the past 18 years, I’ve invested money in ALL kinds of marketing media, with varying degrees of success. I’d implement one marketing idea, and sometimes it would work; sometimes it would fall flat. But even if it did work, I would typically get distracted by other projects and stop focusing on marketing altogether.
When You’re Growing By 15% To 30% Every Year For 18 Years, You Question If You Can Truly Grow Even More
Although marketing was not my first love, and my inconsistent marketing approach would earn a scowl or two from Robin, it was generating the results I wanted. A lot of my growth was through internal efforts, including chamber events, networking and referrals. Sure, I was only getting lukewarm leads, but they were still leads.
Like most every MSP on the planet, I was consistently receiving Robin’s marketing year after year. I’ll admit, I was initially turned off. To me, her marketing seemed basic, wordy and a bit over-the-top. Besides, my own sales and marketing efforts were working well enough to grow every year. Changing what I was doing didn’t seem necessary. It was a gamble I wasn’t willing to take. That is, until…
I Learned A NEW Local Competitor Was Cleaning My Clock! Their Secret? A Particular Redhead Named Robin
“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” I honor that philosophy by becoming friends with a few competitors in the Las Vegas area. Over lunch last summer, my competitor friend and I spoke about a common competitor who seemed to come out of nowhere. For years, we had never heard of them. Then, all of a sudden, they were OWNING our territory.
We dug deeper. Turns out, they had signed with Robin and were growing at breakneck speed. Every month I received their newsletter, I noticed their employee count was increasing, until it surpassed ours. Last I checked, they were up to 50 employees! Cheesy or not, I knew there had to be some magic to Robin’s brand of marketing.
I knew we needed to make a change, so I jumped in with both feet. I fired my current marketing firm and signed on with Technology Marketing Toolkit, bought Boot Camp tickets as well as enrolling in Robin’s Rapid Implementation Workshop. I wasn’t about to let a competitor steal business from me!
Boot Camp Opened My Eyes To Why Robin’s Marketing Works
I understood that, as the business owner, I needed to be intimately involved in the marketing because it went to the core of how I ran my business. Plus, we had to take ownership of the material and make it our own. So I waited on implementing the Toolkit until I hired a great marketer, Sherry Lipp. Shortly after I’d hired Sherry, we were both headed to Boot Camp 2018 in Nashville.
From learning how to build multiple marketing oil wells to discovering the best practices in sales, I was overwhelmingly impressed with everything I learned over those three days. My favorite part was seeing Better Your Best winner Chris Hoose and how he transformed his business over three years using Robin’s tools. His company seemed to be a mirror of my business: growing through acquisitions but feeling stuck on the organic growth side. I took studious notes of what he did in his business and set a goal that I was going to see the same level of growth in my business after implementing the Toolkit. I decided to join Accelerators Club during Boot Camp. Next step: Rapid Implementation Workshop.
Our Awesome Clients Spent THEIR Time Selling OUR Business!
After getting back from Boot Camp, we immediately started our Rapid Implementation pre-workshop homework assignments by reaching out to our clients and asking them for testimonials. It was a great opportunity to hear some excellent feedback from our most satisfied clients.
We received 35 responses to the initial e-mail blast. My favorite was from a client who had recently written an amazing blog post about our company. In the blog, they talked about how easy it was to change to Stimulus, as well as how much better our service was compared to our competitor’s. If we had never asked for that testimonial, we would have never known about that blog post. We sure were grateful!
A 9-Word E-Mail That Delivered $108,000! That’s $12,000 A Word!
Armed with brand-new testimonials and prepared to work hard, Sherry and I headed to Franklin, Tennessee. Almost immediately upon our arrival, Robin asked us to send out a 9-word e-mail.
We sent that e-mail to 82 lost or no-decision quotes from the prior year, so I expected crickets. I was shocked when we received nine replies, including one from a prospect we thought had moved on. They would be worth $108,000 to us over their new three-year contract!
Perhaps The Easiest Way To Pad Your Paycheck
In addition to the 9-word e-mail, Robin had us send out a cross-sell e-mail to our existing clients. We sent out 39 e-mails to current managed services clients who did not have VoIP service through us. We received 10 requests for more information, which turned into five assessments and one sale.
For this e-mail, we worked the numbers so we could provide SPECIFIC cost savings to our clients. Plus, the story about our client who paid their current carrier to get out of their contract makes the savings even more real. Finally, with a 20-minute call, I made it super-easy for them to take that next step.
Too many IT business owners are hesitant to send out cross-sell e-mails to their client base. They think it looks like a greedy way to “sell them” something new. Guess what? As a business owner, you ARE a salesperson! It’s your #1 job. Plus, the clients who responded were THANKFUL I suggested our VoIP service.
12 Weeks Of Learning, Implementing And RESULTS
We got right to work on redesigning our website with a new “Robinized” version. As you can see, the photo of our team dominates the home page and speaks to the size and capabilities of Stimulus. Shortly after going live, our salesperson, Leslie Johnson, asked a prospect if he needed any referrals to speak about our services. He told her he didn’t because he had read through all of our testimonials published on our site. That was all he needed to KNOW we would be a great service provider!
Next project: our first newsletter. Colorful and fun, our newsletters feature Robin’s content and our design. We wanted to customize it enough to be unique from the other MSPs in Las Vegas that use Technology Marketing Toolkit. We have been sending out around 1,000 newsletters each month since April 2018.
We also signed up for Infusionsoft for MSPs. Because this CRM is built around Robin’s campaigns, it makes it a cinch to implement the Toolkit. We collected our different lists and imported them all into Infusionsoft. With 9,000 contacts and 2,500 of them as active clients, we are working as a team to scrub the lists using the Toolkit’s cleaning script. To prepare for our first direct response mailing, we scrubbed about 500 contacts in three weeks.
Our first direct response mailing was the Bad Date campaign. In the first round, we sent out 170 letters and have set two appointments as a result. We are looking forward to continuing this campaign over the next quarter. Bring on the responses!
Why It’s All Worth It: We Closed 57 New Customer Agreements Worth $24,924 In Additional Monthly Recurring Revenue
Although I feel like we just started implementing the Toolkit into our sales and marketing processes, we have made great inroads already. Our unique page views have increased 175% since April 2018. Plus, for the keywords “IT service Henderson,” we are now ranked #1 on Google! Since implementing the new site, we have had three qualified leads come in through the contact form!
From a sales perspective, we have closed 57 new customer agreements, worth $24,924 per month in monthly recurring revenue. That’s an increase of 20 more agreements from 37 over the same period in 2017!
I feel like we are just getting below the tip of the iceberg with the potential to generate new business. Over the last eight months, we have built a great team internally with training from Robin’s team. We continue to implement the marketing and sales processes that I had always wanted to but didn’t know exactly how to.
I am overwhelmed and completely grateful for the depth of knowledge provided by Robin and the TMT team to help MSPs like me to grow. By adopting her marketing and business strategies, I know we will reach and surpass her other Vegas clients. I am ready to be the next Chris Hoose and win the Better Your Best contest in the future!