We Were Ready To CLOSE SHOP!
My husband, Moshe, and I founded ItCon in Spring Valley, New York, back when it seems all MSPs were getting started: 2008. He wears the tech hat. I wear the sales and business hat. Problem was, we had no marketing plan and no business plan. In 2014, our twins were born – kids #5 and #6. At that point, we were not pulling any money from the business. In fact, I was giving PIANO LESSONS to make ends meet. By 2016, we were in the NEGATIVE and ready to close!
Fortunately, Moshe stumbled upon a YouTube video of this famous redhead. So, we gave ourselves an ultimatum: we would give the Technology Marketing Toolkit and Rapid Implementation Workshop a try. Either it worked for us or we would close the business. Spoiler alert: It worked well enough to earn a Top 5 Finalist in this year’s Better Your Best competition!
Adding $1,573,896 In Revenue By Shutting Down Sales For 2020
Robin, close your ears… At the beginning of 2020, I decided to do a very risky yet necessary move: we STOPPED ALL SALES. Seriously. When sales and marketing should be key to business growth, why did we shut down sales? Four reasons:
1) Our marketing needed a revamp.
2) We were leaving money on the table with our current clients.
3) Our processes needed work, especially monitoring and maintenance.
4) We needed to bolster our cyber security offering.
We desperately needed to scale from being a one-man band to a GROWTH-FOCUSED business. To start solidifying my foundation for 2020, I began the year by attending the Rapid Implementation Workshop AGAIN. From this much-needed refresher, we redesigned all of our marketing material, narrowed our target market, joined the Infusionsoft MAP 2.0 beta group and shifted from an MSP to an MSSP. Being from New York, we did it ALL very fast!
What Can A One-Day Seminar Deliver? How About A Jaw-Dropping $65,000 In MRR!
BEFORE my cyber security seminar called ITCON2019: I was practically unknown. AFTER ITCON2019: I was “The Queen of Cyber Security.” ItCon was thrust into the limelight. We went from virtually unknown to cyber security heroes.
I have no clue what possessed me to take on this risk that involved so much time and money, but I’m so glad I did. My ITCON2019 single cyber security seminar put 250 FULLY ENGAGED prospects in the seats, and we came away with $65,000 in monthly recurring revenue. Plus, we added continuous project work that has already amounted to over $1 MILLION!
I’m not one to go small. I wanted to make a meteor-sized impact with this seminar. So, here’s how I did it: First, I lined up sponsors to cover the entire cost – over $100K! Second, I learned everything I could about cyber security and dubbed myself “The Queen of Cyber Security.” Next, I crafted the seminar around the dangers of cybercrime and made it purely educational – NO SELLING. We had multiple expert presenters and even a LIVE hacking session.
To get those 250 people to attend, I was diligent about posting on LinkedIn a couple times a day, commenting on other posts and talking about cyber security to everyone. I sent countless letters and e-mails, made OVER 1,000 phone calls and even sometimes drove 2½ hours just to meet with CEOs. We landed two whale clients from this single event, and I solidified myself as an authority in cyber security. In November, we plan to have our second cyber security seminar!
Cross-Selling, Upselling And Licensing: The Often-Ignored Selling Trifecta
Although we weren’t focused on sales, I knew that cross-selling and upselling were also keys to more sales. So, as we were cleaning up our processes, we made spreadsheets depicting which clients needed which services. It suddenly became clear how we could better help each client.
Just as with our cyber security seminar, I positioned myself as having the heart of a teacher. And because we are now cyber security experts as an MSSP, we have the credibility to boot. The results of my upsell campaign were $43,000 in NEW MRR and $230,000 in projects!
If you want to make more money from your clients, it’s simple. Offer more SERVICES. I settled on a path of selling licenses for profit. We don’t charge for any security service. It’s all in the licensing. For example, I just started selling vulnerability management in the last couple of weeks. One client will bring us in $6,500 a month. Another means $5,000 in MRR. And it costs me next to nothing! You have diamonds all around you, but so few MSPs bend over to pick them up.
My One-Two Punch To Land New Clients: The Aspirin Campaign And My Cyber Security Club
We’ve been running Robin’s Aspirin campaign for a while now. I always saw it as a missed opportunity to follow up with a phone call only to have them tell me, “I’m not interested, goodbye.” So, I built a marketing add-on so they will almost always say, “YES!”
I created a free cyber security training program for end users at www.digital-diligence.com. Simply by providing their name and e-mail (essentially raising their hand that they are INTERESTED in cyber security solutions), they start regularly receiving daily videos, TechTips, webinars and more. By continuously delivering relevant content of value, it keeps my name in front of their face. In just ONE WEEK, I signed up over 1,000 end users – several of whom will become future clients.
Turning Our Shock-And-Awe Boxes Into “Employee Welcome Boxes” For Clients
Marketing is all about coming up with original ideas that your clients can’t help but notice and appreciate. In this case, we thought outside the box…with our Shock-And-Awe box. We call it our Employee Welcome Box. Now, rather than the HR department trying to explain the dangers of cybercrime, we make it EASY for our client.
Each of my clients’ new employees get a physical Employee Welcome Box. Inside the box we let them know they’ll be getting an e-mail to start them in our Digital Diligence program with a cyber security webinar embedded in the e-mail.
In addition, we include a Knowledge Base featuring everything IT-related about our client, such as instructions to log on, change your password, check e-mail safely, etc. Our clients LOVE these boxes! It saves them time and brands us as the authority.
Making Our Technology Business Reviews Special
Anyone not doing a Technology Business Review is leaving money on the table. For us, they’re not optional because we bombard clients with three e-mails and then a phone call. Next, I bring food to every TBR (that alone ensures they attend). I always try to bring something SPECIAL to my TBRs. I recently stole Robin’s idea of giving an award – a Certificate Of Beginning.
Enhancing My Credibility With Every E-Mail I Send
Your e-mail signature is one of the best ways to establish your expertise and credibility. Rather than simply feature your company logo and contact information, use your e-mail signature to set yourself apart. Currently, I feature EIGHT authority pieces in mine, including the Top 250 MSSPs and the MSP 500 Awards. In fact, the MSP 501 Award just came out, and ItCon is on the list at #17! Make yourself stand out in a sea of sameness. Make yourself a CELEBRITY. I just got a $250,000 project all because someone tagged me on a LinkedIn post.
Giftology + Infusionsoft = Multiple Impressions To Clients
I pride myself on the PERSONALIZATION of my company. Every client gets a touch TWICE a year with a personalized gift, and every end user gets a touch once a year with a gift. I believe in the power of giftology, especially when it’s a creative gift that truly speaks to your customer. We send pizzas on National Pie Day. We also send donuts, wraps or other foods. Of course, Keap makes it a snap to send gifts for client birthdays and special occasions.
While The World Faced One “C” Word In 2020, I Faced Two
Everything was finally going right with my company. The right processes. The right employees. The right revenue and profits. Then, the first of two big “C” words hit our lives. The first was Covid-19, which was like a riptide overcoming me. Working from home with six children – and our six-year-old autistic daughter who can’t watch a Zoom lesson for more than five seconds – was a real challenge. Entertaining her became my first full-time job. Managing my other five children became my second full-time job. And running my company was my third full-time job.
I guess G-d has a sense of humor because I got a FOURTH full-time job. Managing my second “C” word. Cancer. Despair wasn’t a luxury I could afford. My only option was to handle cancer with humor and get out of it in one piece. I wasn’t about to let some malignant cells decide my fate!
Because of my extremely aggressive cancer, I had to have surgery within four weeks. During a pandemic, no less. No visitors. Biweekly Covid tests. Thankfully, I did make it out in one piece (minus an organ). I can tell you that my entire perspective on life changed from that day forward. My new appreciation for life knows no bounds. Looking back at the hardships of building my business, every failure I faced only STRENGTHENED ME to conquer the biggest test of my life.
If I Can Grow My Business By 300% In One Year, Anybody Can
No matter what is thrown at you, it’s only a stepping stone to BIGGER and BETTER. Life will always present obstacles and circumstances that look unbearable. The question is: what do you do with it? Do we fall to despair and say, “I can’t”? Or do you use it to your advantage and GROW? If it’s possible for me to grow 300% in a year of Covid, six children and a special needs child at home for months on end, zero sales and a battle with cancer, it’s possible for anyone. Everyone.
I’m proud of how I faced each setback in 2020 and persevered. I’m proud of how we increased revenues by $1,573,896 and added $82,719 in new MRR! I’m proud we saw profits grow by $1,042,305. And I’m proud to have stood onstage with four other amazing MSPs as a Better Your Best finalist!