Before Starting The American Dream,
We First Had To Flee For Our Lives
My story starts 9,000 miles away in Africa. Born and raised in Zimbabwe, I started Impress Computers back in 1993 as a distributor for technology products across Africa. Employing 150 people in five branches throughout the area, it was a pretty sizable operation. While my business was prospering, my country was in dire straits.
In the early 2000s, there was massive civil unrest and turbulence throughout southern Africa. The president ordered the invasion of white-owned farms. Violence quickly spread into the cities. Innocent people were tortured and murdered. While I had never considered abandoning my business I worked so hard to build, our lives came first.
I remember opening up a world map and figuring out where to make our escape to. Katy, Texas, near Houston, seemed like the perfect place to restart our IT business, start a family and simply be FREE and SAFE.
Starting An IT Business With Zero Contacts And No Money
Was The Hardest Thing We Ever Did
It was January 2003 when we decided to get out. First, we bought a house in Texas over the Internet. Sight unseen. Then we signed a five-year office lease. Again, without setting foot inside. Starting a new IT business is hard enough. But starting a new IT business in a new country and new state WITHOUT KNOWING ANYONE and having no access to capital was almost impossible.
Here’s the real kicker: all of the money we made from our successful IT business in Africa was essentially WORTHLESS! We endured the highest inflation rate EVER recorded…254 MILLION PERCENT! The Zimbabwe dollar fell to 8 BILLION to one to the US dollar! You might as well wipe your butt with that money since it had zero value.
Our 14-Year Rut Was Starting To Look
More Like A Grave
While we were certainly thankful to have a US-based business where we were safe, we had to work our tails off to grow at a snail’s pace. Because our business was break-fix, we started from ZERO with every new day. You hit the ground running from 7:00 a.m. to about 9:00 p.m.…then do it all again the next day.
Back then, we were doing a lot of network marketing (Chamber events and BNI), as well as Facebook ads, Google AdWords and e-mail campaigns. Because our marketing wasn’t targeted to vertical markets, we invested a ton of money, time and hard work without seeing many results. With luck, we would land a new client once every three or four months.
In 2013, after becoming US citizens, we had finally built Impress Computers to a $2 million business! Unfortunately, we took a dip in sales after the 2015 oil crash that impacted Houston. Little did we know we would spend years practically collapsing from exhaustion at the end of the days, trying to claw our way out of that rut.
Half-Heartedly Committing To The Toolkit
My wife, Mandy, had spoken a lot about this crazy redhead named Robin. Thinking it was too expensive and we could do it on our own, I simply shrugged it off. At the end of 2019, I broke down, bought the Toolkit and started a half-assed attempt at “Robin’s way.” We continued using our broken CRM and refused any of their Done-For-You services. Plus, I thought Robin’s campaigns were “too blunt” and wouldn’t sit well with our customers.
After we’d played around with the Toolkit for several months, COVID-19 hit. So many customers needed to be set up to work remotely that there wasn’t time to implement new marketing. My wife persuaded me to attend Robin’s Roadshow in Dallas…and everything changed from there.
From Skeptic To Finally Seeing The Light!
At the Dallas Roadshow, I had an epiphany: if we didn’t change what we were doing, we would find ourselves in our 60s still doing the same thing. Still in our $2 million-a-year rut. Still working 14-hour days in the hopes of landing a new client once a quarter.
After listening to so many members’ success stories, I figured if we were going to do this, we should do it properly. We went ALL IN! We attended the Rapid Implementation Workshop, became Accelerators Club members, started the migration of our CRM to Keap (formerly Infusionsoft) and got our new “Robinized” website up and running!
Hyper-Focused On Increasing Monthly Recurring Revenue
For a 28-year-old break-fix IT company, we were putting an emphasis on growing the MSP side of our business. Because we have a storefront, we have successfully divided our company to include break-fix and MSP. We now have technicians who solely work on the MSP side as well as marketing focused on growing our MSP client base. Currently, our business is 40% MSP, 60% break-fix.
At the Roadshow, we were introduced to ThreatLocker for cyber security and cloud-based VoIP hub Cytracom to improve our service offerings. And because we got everyone in the company involved, it felt like we were all working together toward the same goal. Finally, with extreme DEDICATION and CONSISTENCY, we put great effort into Robin’s marketing.
We Never Believed In Direct Mail
Until It Brought Us Our First MSP Client!
Before discovering Robin Robins’ marketing, we focused on e-mail, blogging and digital marketing. We had never sent a SINGLE piece of direct mail. I guess we assumed nobody looked at physical mail anymore, and digital was the ONLY way to get their attention. Imagine our surprise when we mailed a few sales letters and received a call back from an eager prospect wanting to meet! That initial win became a $1,000 boost in monthly recurring revenue and $7,600 in equipment sales!
Getting our first MSP client from a new direct mail campaign was exciting. Direct mail has been our single best marketing campaign so far! We had great success with both the Closer Look campaign and the Aspirin campaign. Out of the blue, we had people phoning and requesting appointments. With such a response, we now send out 100 Aspirin campaign letters each and every week. Plus, we recently hired our own outbound telemarketer to follow up like we should.
While continuing to build on our direct mail list (up to 523 prospects), we were forced into scheduling Technology Business Reviews with clients. Since we hadn’t been doing these on a regular basis, this became a new opportunity for client upsells and cross-sells.
Our “Ready To Sign On The Dotted Line”
We just love our Shock-And-Awe box! It has become part of our process: we send out the direct mail campaign, follow up with a phone call, start sending out e-mails, and if they request an appointment, we hand-deliver our Shock-And-Awe box. Inside our box, we feature a booklet of testimonials, a FAQ sheet, which is a great opportunity to respond to objections, a Client Bill Of Rights, 10 Things We Do Better and more.
By the time we meet with prospects, they are already HALF SOLD on Impress Computers because of the one-of-a-kind impression our Shock-And-Awe box makes, as well as the credibility we had already built up. In the past, it would take a long time and multiple meetings before referral prospects considered our services. Now, the prospect is usually ready to sign on the dotted line the moment we meet. It’s like night and day.
Instant Credibility With Vertical-Specific Testimonials
Imagine you’re in the construction industry and considering a new IT firm. One IT company offers some testimonials from various industries. The other IT firm sends you a few testimonials directly from CEOs in the construction field. Plus, you’ve heard of ALL of these construction companies. Almost immediately you’re SOLD!
That’s the difference we try to make with our new testimonials. We have multiple online reviews and testimonials that are within our verticals: construction and engineering, as well as manufacturing. These vertical-specific testimonials provide instant credibility before we even meet!
“We Are All Just Too Busy”
For the longest time, we FORCED our CRM to do things it simply couldn’t. Which meant we were spending far too much time doing manual tasks and wishing for a more automated system. Believe me, we tried multiple CRM solutions: Zoho, MailChimp and iContact, to name a few. All were bunk.
While no CRM is perfect, Robin’s MAP Infusionsoft is as close as you’ll get. We are all just too busy to do all of this work manually while missing out on critical marketing automation. With Infusionsoft, we just feed our prospects into the campaigns and everything simply works in the background. Automatically. Easily.
Dedication And Consistency Are EVERYTHING
We were stuck in a rut at the $2 million mark for YEARS. Even after getting the Toolkit, we second-guessed the campaigns and refused to change our ineffective marketing approach. The minute we trusted it could work and we had faith in the system, results started rolling in.
You may not see immediate results. Heck, it could take months. But plant those marketing seeds and water them every day with consistency and dedication to keep working through that period of little or no results.
Have the tenacity to keep pushing. Have the determination to keep executing the campaigns and keep following up with phone calls and e-mails. And if you can’t do it yourself, HIRE someone. The best thing we did was hire a salesperson who is solely focused on MSP clients and an appointment setter to call prospects. Because without dedication and consistency, you’ll be stuck in your own rut.
We Are At $2.3 MILLION, With Our 2021 Goal At $2.7 MILLION!
Since we started with Accelerators Club and attended Rapid Implementation Workshop, we have added six new MSP clients, increased our MRR by about $15,000 per month and added nearly $20,000 in equipment sales!
We had been STUCK in the $2 million rut (grave) for about six years. Today we have climbed out of that rut and are at $2.3 million in revenue. Next, we plan to finish 2021 at $2.7 million! Bottom line is that we tried to do this on our own and always ended up spinning our wheels and never taking off. Now that we have achieved liftoff, we hope to soon soar among the highfliers with the buoyancy of MRR.