Some “Tough Love” For Valentine’s Day

Robin Robins IT Sales


 Assemble any population. Randomly poll 100 business owners in your area in the IT industry. Look at your client base. Your employees. Your entire circle of friends. 100 sales people. Athletes or artists. Any small town. Your town. All the clients you serve. Here’s what you’ll find: the population can be divided into three distinct groups – 5%, 15% and 80%. 

The 5% are absolute winners, growing, thriving and making what some people would consider “obscene” amounts of money. 15% are doing fairly well, and 80% are floundering, broke, and getting nowhere. That’s true right now, in this economy, in this industry, in your town. 

No matter how you reshuffle the deck, change the circumstances or the situation, these percentages have forever stood the test of time since discovered in the 1800’s by Vilfredo Pareto (the “80-20 rule” or Pareto Principle). 

For those unfamiliar, the Pareto Principle proves that 20% of any group is responsible for 80% of the results or output. Put into the framework of IT companies in this industry (and based on surveys we’ve conducted), the percentage of IT service firms doing $5 million or more is in the 5% range, those doing $1 million to $5 million in the 15% range and the rest, 80%, are flat out struggling to break the million dollar mark or to make any real money. I can also tell you that the majority of those in the 5% are FAR MORE profitable in both a dollars and percentage standpoint than the rest of their peers. 

Why is this? What is it about the 5%ers that allows them to secure 20x or 30x results over their peers who are selling essentially the same services in the same geographic region, in the same economic environment, using the same vendors and pulling from the same hiring pool of potential employees? Do they have some insider connection? Do they have some special secret no one knows about? No, that’s how poverty-minded people think – that the world has kept some elusive secret from them and if they ONLY knew that ONE secret, they’d be wealthy and successful.

But the bigger and more relevant question you should ask yourself is: 

What Can You Change, Learn Or Do To Elevate 
Yourself Into The 5% Group As Quickly As Possible? 

Of course, there’s a chance you’re not that ambitious. Maybe you’re perfectly happy with the way things are and the income you’re making. Maybe having a company that can operate without you doing the work – and more importantly turn a profit to you, not just a salary – just isn’t important to you. If that’s you, then you most likely won’t be interested in what I’ve got to say for the rest of this letter outside of sheer curiosity or the entertainment value. But if you’re hungry and on fire to be more than mediocre… to be as successful as you can be and to actually earn the kind of money you know you should be earning, then there is a very important message in this letter you need to hear, served up without fluff and without a spoonful of sugar. If you want a rah-rah, hug-a-tree, rainbows and kittens motivational message, you won’t find it here. 

But if you want straight talk about why you’re not as successful as you should be AND what you can do about it, then shut the door, close the laptop and turn the phone OFF. You’re about to get the dose of tough love you need and want.

What The 5%ers Know And Do That The 80% Don’t, Won’t Or Can’t 

In Napoleon Hill’s best-selling book, “Think And Grow Rich,” he details 17 principles shared by the wealthiest, most successful people. These “secrets” have been shared millions of ways by thousands of authors, speakers and consultants and in numerous books on the topics of success in business, money and life. The Internet has made it easier than breathing to find “how to” information about building wealth and being successful in business. The last time I looked, there were over 1 million books on “Business” at Amazon and over a quarter of a million on marketing alone. So as the saying goes, the “jig is up.” There are no secrets about how to be successful in marketing, business, management and wealth creation. 

You already know that you need to be a sharp marketer and sales pro to be successful in business. You already know you need to be organized, highly productive and make good decisions to thrive. You already know you need to find, hire and keep great employees, build a productive culture and develop solid leadership skills. You already know that you have to understand market trends, price points and your competition to even begin to be an effective competitor and make correct decisions about the direction of your business. But, as mentioned a moment ago, you already have access to MORE resources than you could possibly consume to show you how to excel in all those areas.

So What’s Missing? 

As a serious student of personal development, marketing, sales and professional coaching AND as someone who’s invested over a DECADE of in-the-trenches research with (quite literally) thousands of business owners, vendors and leaders in the IT services industry, I believe it comes down to just a few key principles – specifically, two intertwined things – that separate those who truly know how to be consistently successful from those who forever fumble, stumble and fail. There are patterns if you’re paying attention. 

The first is how successful IT business owners think about opportunity, their business, their customers and themselves. The second is how they make decisions. Naturally, flawed thinking leads to poor decisions. As my friend Nido Qubein says, an empty bank account is a sign of a lifetime of bad decisions. 

I can assure you the unsuccessful majority is choosing to say “no” frequently to opportunities where they can gain relevant information, critical thinking, study, skill advancement, useful networking, and new ideas while they simultaneously say “yes” to trivial activities. The “no” gives them a brief, apparent gain of saving a bit of money or not having to do anything uncomfortable or slightly inconvenient. No is easy. No doesn’t need to be explained to a spouse or business partner. And in a situation where new skills and new information can be gained, no is the shortcut to not doing anything, not having more work, not having more complexity, not progressing. I understand the attractiveness of the word “no.” And the reality is, there are a lot of things you should make the decision to say “no” to like people who waste your time, incessantly checking e-mail and other bad work habits of disorganization and distraction that suck the life out of your day. 

But, bluntly, this is NOT how top income earners and performers act. We deal in the concept of the slight edge. We know that one idea…one new concept learned…can be the hinge that swings a very big door. We are not cheap or stingy with investing in ourselves because we know that investing in the development of our skills is the BEST investment that can be made by far. Not in homes, not in the stock market. And CERTAINLY not on vacations and cars we can’t afford. 

To quote Keith Cameron Smith, author of The Top 10 Distinctions Between Millionaires And The Middle Class: “Winners find a way, whiners find an excuse.” 

So now to the point of this letter and a “crass” commercial for the upcoming Boot Camp. Since I don’t know what group you are in, I’ve written a personal message for each of the three groups, with each message sure to be relevant to those who belong to that group. If you find the message not resonating with you, perhaps you need to choose a different group:

To the 5%ers: Congratulations on your decision to attend. I have no doubt you’ll be thrilled with what you observe, learn and discover at this event. How can I be so confident that you have already registered? Because the one thing I know for certain about the 5%ers is this: you can count on them to invest in themselves and to constantly seek the slight edge. They don’t have to use tired old excuses like “I don’t have the time” or “I don’t have the money” because, quite frankly, they DO have the money. And the reason they have the money is because they constantly, doggedly pursue excellence. On a selfish note, my delight in your attendance goes much, much further than the money earned from the tuition you’ve paid. Nothing is more energizing to me than collaborating with truly smart, driven entrepreneurs like you. It is one of the great fringe benefits of what I do. Your attendance is important to me because many of the other members know you or know of you, look for you, and want to meet you. They are inspired by your example as a serious student of marketing and business success.

To the 15%ers: It is, frankly, MOST important for YOU to attend over any other group. The 5%ers are already successful and, arguably, need me the least. They don’t come to events like the Boot Camp out of desperation but rather for inspiration and because of their desire to be the absolute best. That’s an easy conclusion to come to. But why do YOU need to be at the Boot Camp more than the 80%ers? 

Because often the mindset, poor habits, fear, procrastination, laziness and broken business of those in the 80% group is so far out of whack that no seminar, method or teacher – no matter how great – can fix what’s wrong. 

YOU are far from that. YOU are sitting on the edge…

The strategies and disciplines between a person who owns a 6-figure business and a 7- or 8-figure business is slight – and you certainly aren’t going to make that breakthrough by working longer hours or working harder. You already KNOW that. The key for you is finding and tweaking just a few of the things you are doing right now and finding and leveraging underperforming assets hidden in your business.

I recall a previous Boot Camp where one of my clients revealed a single, simple change he’s making in his sales presentations that has enabled him to close 74% of all the new managed services opportunities he’s had coming his way – at a HIGHER price – while his colleagues in lesser depressed areas are barely closing 10% to 15% of the same deals at lower price points. Another took ONE idea I talked about and used it to generate close to a million dollars in recurring revenue – and had that on the books at the start of the year BEFORE any other projects and without having to secure another client – a real game changer for his business. 

These are the kinds of strategies you’ll collect when you attend the annual Boot Camp. What one strategy will you hear that will double or triple the revenue you are generating from your clients? What one hallway conversation will finally give you the answer to the question you’ve been wrestling with for months? What one connection will you make that will turn itself into lifetime profits? What key change in your thinking or approach will massively and rapidly move you closer to the results you so desperately want? 

You’ll never know if you stay at home and only get to hear about the “party” after everyone’s gone home. And since you are in the 15% group, you are a hair’s breath away from securing a big breakthrough in your income and in your business to leap into the 5%, which is exactly why you need to do everything within your power to attend.

To The 80% Struggling, Directionless, and Broke: George Washington Carver said, “Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.” I suppose that is all I really need to write to those of you in this group because it pretty much says it all. This is the vast majority who “can’t” come because of some excuse thinly veiled as a “reason” that cannot be changed.

Quite frankly, there really aren’t any good excuses for not registering, but I’ll play along…

Excuse #1: “I can’t afford it.” It’s funny to me how folks who don’t think twice about spending $20,000 to $100,000 on a college education they never use or $5,000 to $10,000 on a vacation that will be forgotten as soon as it’s over will cringe at investing $1,000 into a program that they can directly and immediately apply to generate more income and secure a better life for themselves. 

As you know, I’m completely guaranteeing you’ll get what you came for or you’ll get every single penny back PLUS up to $300 in travel expenses. Name ONE investment you can make that will put that kind of guarantee on it. Not real estate. Not the stock market. Not your home. Not your business. Besides, all you need is ONE more client to MORE than make back your investment. What fool would NOT take that kind of deal?

Excuse #2: “I don’t have the time.” I know, I know…you’re too busy chopping trees to sharpen your axe. So, unless you are making some serious money, what could you possibly be too busy doing to distract you from your #1 most important priority of making more money? And exactly how is staying at home, not learning, not growing, going to solve that problem? 

Let me share a true story with you… 

I had a client make the expensive mistake of NOT attending one of my events so he could renovate a rental property he had, in order to save $500 per month over the next year. Expensive mistake. That saved him $6,000, but it COST him five to six times that since one of the strategies covered in detail was how a client of mine secured over 17 new managed services contracts, generating over $600,000 in revenue. A strategy he has now missed and will never learn because of his erroneous decision to sit that event out – but that is a PERFECT example of why he’s out of business and in a job.

Excuse #3: “It’s not the RIGHT time.” Time flies whether you’re having fun or not; and right now, we are still early into a fresh new year. A lot has been happening in this industry. We’ve seen close to 20% of the MSPs and IT consultants close their doors, out of business. Companies are NOT eager and willing to spend money on IT as they once did. And layoffs from big companies are saturating the market with a fresh crop of newbie IT “pros” offering their services for $40 per hour. With these threats looming, if “now” isn’t the right time to learn how to secure what business there is to be had in the marketplace, when is? 

I’ll also point out that many of my clients are having stellar success selling cloud computing – or at least using that buzz word to their advantage. There IS quite a bit of money to be made for those who are sharp enough and FAST enough to market with cloud solutions. Bigger accounts are being won due to larger companies wanting to simplify IT, cut expenses and offload expensive IT staff; many MSPs are now ABLE to cherry pick those prime accounts AND service them well thanks to cloud technologies. That’s why we are dedicating an entire pre-day to cloud computing and several sessions at the Boot Camp.

A Few More Things You Should Know… 

#1. This event is entirely focused on one thing and one thing only: Helping you break free of the incredible struggle to bring in MORE clients, MORE sales and MORE profits. Every speaker, every session and every attendee will be focused on this single purpose. 

#2. The sessions won’t just be about “positive thinking” or telling you to just refuse to participate in the recession. That’s just foolish.

 Optimism that is not founded in solid, concrete strategy is stupid. Instead, every session will be focused on giving you tangible, “take home” strategies to help you squeeze more productivity and profit out of every activity, every marketing campaign, heck, every MINUTE of your day for faster, greater results. And that is, of course, REAL motivation. 

#3. This is NOT about teaching you to be a better technician, crawling around under people’s desks, being on call 24-7 and staying trapped “doing” the work…that’s the job of an employee (and quite honestly, if you are only interested in that, please send in your resume. I have a few of my clients who might hire you). 

It IS about being an active participant in a unique and extremely productive environment of entrepreneurs – not technicians and managers. So, regardless of what group you find yourself in, think twice before you let this opportunity pass you by. The sum total of the results we get in business, physically, mentally, and financially, are based on the decisions we make. Make sure you are making the RIGHT one now: go to and register today.