MSP Marketing Blog

Using Marketing Math To Hit EVERY New Year’s Goal You Set For Yourself With Certainty

Posted by Robin Robins On January 9th, 2019

Of the four M’s of marketing – Market, Message, Media and Math – the one that many don’t like is the math. Marketing is, at its core, applied psychology plus math; you can get the psychology side really, really right (offers, message, USP, etc.) but totally and completely miss your mark if the numbers side of the equation doesn’t add up; and since the New Year is when most people are setting goals for themselves, you MUST know the MATH side of the equation or you’ll frustrate yourself (and your staff) by constantly falling short of goals – and it’s VERY demoralizing for a leader to constantly set goals they don’t hit. Not knowing marketing “math” also makes it impossible to manage new sales reps, because you won’t be able to work backwards from their goal to tell them how many activities (calls, connections, appointments, proposals, etc.) they will need to conduct to hit their quota; worse, you won’t know if they HIT or MISSED their quota until it’s too late to do anything about it.

Example: A client calls in and wants to know if sending 50 Bad Date letters a week is “good.” I can’t say if it is “good” or not without knowing his specific goals. If he wants to add $1 million to his business and the average client is worth $2,000 a month, then JUST sending 50 Bad Date letters a week is NOT a sufficient plan. At $2,000 a month, he’ll need approximately 42 clients. If his close rate is 30%, he’ll need 142 proposals generated; if 50% of all leads generated are not qualified, not ready to buy now and don’t move to an appointment, he’ll need 284 leads per year and about 7,100 prospects to target per quarter if we assume an average 1% response rate to the campaign each time it’s sent (284 ÷ .01 is 28,400, then divide again by 4 to assume we remarket to that same group every quarter with a different type of lead generation campaign and offer). Based on HIS SPECIFIC GOAL, he would have to send out 546 Bad Date letters per week to hit $1 million in net new business that year if that’s ALL he was doing AND if his goal was to add $1 million in revenue with an average price point of $2,000. Read full article and comment →

Where Does Your Marketing Become Counterproductive?

Posted by Robin Robins On December 26th, 2018

This is a discussion I had with a client, paraphrased, that I just had to share. It went something like this…

I’m signed up here but I have to tell ya, I really don’t like marketing and I have a lot of issues with it. I hate being “marketed” to. I screen all telemarketing calls and never call them back. I filter all promotional e-mails into the trash bin, and I use a free, throwaway e-mail anytime I sign up for something. I also hate using tacky gimmicks like charging $9.95. It’s TEN BUCKS! Or using deadlines and testimonials and big promises. It all seems so hokey to me. BUT I desperately need to grow my business and generate more sales. I’ve been doing this IT work for almost 30 years, I’ve never generated more than $300,000 in sales and I’m exhausted. If I don’t figure this out, it’s gonna kill me. I hope you can help.

Geez. Outside of that, Mrs. Lincoln, what didn’t you like about the play? I give the guy credit because he’s aware and willing to admit he needs help with the head trash holding him back. Further, I know there are a LOT of people who think and feel the way he does, but just won’t admit it OR they won’t allow themselves to see how it’s holding them back in business. Doing so would require them to change and actually DO marketing, which they simply cannot bring themselves to face.

Quite honestly, I don’t like a lot of these things either. I personally HATE the robocalls I get from marketing companies, the fake checks in the mail and the SPAM e-mails that flood my inbox. But that doesn’t mean I don’t use telemarketing, direct mail or e-mail marketing to get clients. Any tool used improperly can have adverse effects. Give a paint brush and easel to two guys. One paints a magnificent picture, the other a stick figure. Is it the paint and easel’s fault? Of course not. Same goes with marketing. Intrusive, unwelcome, scammy marketing or high-pressure, brute-force selling is rarely effective OR smart. That is not what we’re doing around here, folks.

Further, you have to take YOUR personal preferences and biases totally and completely out of the equation when marketing and selling. YOU are NOT your customer. Your customer thinks differently, behaves differently, values things differently than you do. You and your customer have totally, completely different backgrounds and knowledge of the services you are selling.

And finally, you have to focus on the results and what the numbers are telling you, NOT your personal beliefs, what you want to work, what you like and favor. Testing and measurement tells us marketers what “tactics” are working, and which ones aren’t. I will warn you: you must run a REAL, unbiased test. If you “try” the strategy of offering a higher-priced, luxury-option managed services level in your next sales call, but you deliver it unenthusiastically and reek of uncertainty and fear, THAT “tactic” is going to appear not to work. Same with having an untrained, bored, unskilled person making telemarketing calls. Their numbers may make it appear telemarketing doesn’t work for you, your clients, in your town. That’s why you have to also look at the results others have gotten, not just your own metrics, especially when forging new ground and implementing a tactic or a strategy for the first time.

One final piece of advice: changing your mindset, and how you feel and think about marketing, sales, wealth and growth, is essential to success; and one of the fastest and best ways to impact that positively is to hang around peers who think and act the way you are aspiring to. Going to the five o’clock buffet with your friends is NOT going to help you lose weight. Going to the advanced class of fit, trim, healthy people and telling them your ambition and asking them for advice WILL. As a member here, you are in a NEW place. Most do not know what you now know, much less practice it.

How To Put More Jingle In Your Pocket By Staying In Touch With Your Clients

Posted by Robin Robins On December 12th, 2018

Money In Your PocketI have emphatically stated and long taught the importance of FREQUENT and MEANINGFUL communication with your clients as well as key strategic partners and centers of influence (association directors, sponsors, referral partners, etc.). Practically every business I know fails to do this effectively, some more than others. The best way to communicate, I believe, is a well-written MONTHLY newsletter that is printed and MAILED, but I’m constantly fighting the quarterly or biannual newsletter, or the desire to simply e-mail it to everyone. I DON’T recommend either of these approaches because 1) in order for it to be a publication clients look forward to getting, it must have frequency, and 2) e-mail is a very unreliable way to get your marketing out, with as many as 80% of recipients never seeing it, much less opening it and reading it. You also cannot replicate the feel of getting and opening the printed newsletter – and that TANGIBLE communication matters a great deal. Read full article and comment →

Why You Shouldn’t Fear “No” When Selling IT Solutions

Posted by Robin Robins On November 28th, 2018

Neon SignHere’s a question I received from a client that I get some version of FREQUENTLY:

“Once I get the contact on the phone, say the CEO, he or she will usually say, ‘Yes, I got your information and passed it on to my IT department.’ For me this is like being placed in the Bermuda Triangle, because the IT person usually never returns calls. I am sure they fear losing their job or getting in trouble. It is nearly impossible to get a call or e-mail back. I do try the recommended Robin Robins comeback, ‘Great, we deal with a lot of customers that have internal IT folks, but what we would like to talk to you about is a third-party validation of the security and stability of your computer network. We don’t always find something wrong, but often we’ll uncover a few areas that are not being secured or maintained as well as they should.’

I have had success with one prospect with this come­back but most of the time I feel they are so hesitant because they do not know who we are, even after dripping – there is probably a trust issue. I am hoping you can maybe advise or others can share their experience in handling this scenario. Thanks…” Read full article and comment →

How To Keep The “Hidden” Decision Maker From Cooking You Like A Thanksgiving Turkey

Posted by Robin Robins On November 14th, 2018

Wives Testimonial CoverOne of the most productive and useful things you can do to work on your marketing and sales for your IT business is NEGATIVE PREPARATION: think of every reason a prospect won’t buy – every obstacle, concern and issue that causes anxiety – then go to work in preparing your process to address it EARLY and, ultimately, address it, minimize it and hopefully eliminate it.

An excellent example of this is a new piece we’ve recently added to all Accelerators Club welcome kits to address a COMMON objection/hurdle we must overcome: the wife of the guy who comes to the seminar, signs up for Accelerators and then has to go home and tell her that he just spent a few thousand dollars on a marketing “seminar.” Often (but not always) the wife is not too happy about it. She may have experience with him buying other “self-help” programs, memberships and marketing only to come up with zeros, so her confidence in marketing and, candidly, her confidence in HIM is low. Therefore, she ONLY sees the money that won’t be going to a new remodeled kitchen, a new car, a vacation, etc. I appreciate their concern. They often don’t know anything about me, much less about marketing. They have no experience with my organization and they haven’t sat through the “pitch” to see what they are getting – and that’s EXACTLY why we need this piece and why YOU need a similar one as well for marketing to your MSP clients. Read full article and comment →

How Easily Are You FOOLED By An Idiot In An Expert’s Costume?

Posted by Robin Robins On October 17th, 2018

Gorilla on DeskJohn Edwards, the psychic medium known for talking to people’s dead relatives, makes millions selling tickets to two-hour events all over the world where he performs (key word: PERFORMS) his psychic feat to people wanting to believe in the afterlife, the ability to connect with lost family members and who have an intense curiosity to discover if he’s the real deal. What he’s actually doing is called a cold read, where a “psychic” can propose a vague statement (“I sense someone with a G or a J name…?”) and then watch for confusion OR confirmation, asking the subject to interpret the image he’s seeing. This is exactly what Chris Voss describes as a “label” in his book Never Split The Difference. You make a statement (“It seems like you’re uncomfortable about the price?”) and watch their reaction. Either they agree they ARE, which opens the discussion, OR they CORRECT you. Either way, you learned something.

What Edwards has working for him is that the people who attend his event WANT to believe and ARE searching for a connection; therefore, one is made. What you also don’t see on the videos and TV shows is that much of the session is carefully edited, sections cut and pasted together, so it appears everything he says makes a connection. The “hit” that lands and surprises the person is filmed, then their reaction is replaced again and again in the same sequence, making it appear that everything said is met with surprised confirmation. Read full article and comment →

A Big, Misunderstood Secret To Premium Pricing In Your IT Services Business

Posted by Robin Robins On October 3rd, 2018

Tips on how to charge a premium price for your IT Services Business.When you want to show how filthy rich and successful you are, details matter. That’s why you need to have gold-plated staples, sold in packs of 24 for $175. Or how about a Tiffany tennis-ball-canister … for $1,500? And if you really want to show off on the courts, you can hydrate yourself with a $60,000 bottle of Icelandic glacier water that has been mixed with 5 milligrams of real gold dust. ALL of these are real products that people really buy.

Begs the question, how in the hell does someone get away with what is clearly a ridiculous fee for such “ordinary” items? Hint: it’s the secret to selling ALL premium-priced goods and services. It’s NOT about the thing, but what owning the thing gives you. What most people don’t understand is that it MUST be “ridiculously” expensive to increase its appeal. That’s part of what they are buying – the story they can tell, the exclusivity and the bragging rights. There is a global belief that quality and high price go together – so if you are going to SAY you’re the “top quality” IT firm above all your competitors, you must charge more for the story to ring true. Read full article and comment →

Increase IT Services Sales By Making It Easier To Buy

Posted by Robin Robins On September 19th, 2018

Easier To BuyOne night in 1936, Sylvan Goldman, owner of the Humpty Dumpty supermarket chain in Oklahoma, sat in his office trying to figure out how to get customers to buy more groceries. Observing clients as they shopped, he noticed that many of them were struggling to carry the normal shopping basket provided, particularly the moms with kids. Once they got to their limit of what they could carry, they stopped shopping. That’s when he came up with the idea of the first shopping cart with wheels.

At first, the idea was not well-received. Men found it effeminate and women thought it was suggestive of pushing a baby carriage. One woman angrily told Goldman, “I’ve pushed my last baby!” To combat this, Goldman hired a number of male and female models to “shop” and push the carts around, as well as having greeters who welcomed shoppers and explained how the carts were to be used. From this little invention, Goldman became a multimillionaire. Read full article and comment →

“But Direct Mail Doesn’t Work In MY Business…”

Posted by Robin Robins On August 6th, 2018

Mail BoxI WISH I could show you the marketing example I’m about to tell you about, but I must have accidentally thrown it out. It was an EXCELLENT example of why you need to be meticulous about cleaning and validating your lists BEFORE you send any kind of direct mail campaign to it. It was a rather elaborate (expensive) mailer sent to my OLD address advertising pool maintenance services. For starters, the address is over two years old, which shows they didn’t run this through the NCOA (National Change Of Address). Second, they didn’t verify I was a pool owner. Yes, I am NOW, but the letter was mailed to the OLD address where we didn’t have a pool, and my name is not on any “pool supplies” website or list because I’ve never bought pool supplies. We get everything through our current pool company. My guess is they simply rented a list of higher-end homes in the area and mailed it instead of renting a list of people who have purchased pools supplies, toys, tools, etc. Just wasteful and stupid. That’s probably why it was the one and only promotion I’ve ever received from this company – it “didn’t work.” Read full article and comment →

Ring-Ring! Is There ANYBODY There Who Can Take My Money?

Posted by Robin Robins On July 3rd, 2018

Ring RingAt every Rapid Implementation Workshop (www.RapidImplementationWorkshop.com), I take attendees through an exercise of secret shopping each other’s businesses.

The scenario we give them is this: You are the Operations Manager of a company with 26 employees. Your server keeps rebooting, and your current IT company can’t come out to fix it until Tuesday of next week (three days from now). You’re fed up, and you’re calling to find another IT company who can help. The question is, “Is this something you can help me with and what do you charge?”

In the 22 classes I’ve run, each with 20+ business owners in the room, NOT ONE company has ever:

  1. Asked all the appropriate qualifying questions they should. The above scenario is NOT relayed to the person answering the phone UNLESS they ask specific questions, such as “How many employees are at your location? Do you have more than one location? Are you currently working with another IT firm? If yes, why are you calling us? Are you under contract with them?” You get the idea. We have it at the ready in case they ask. They never do.
  2. Ask for the order. In a rare few cases, and I do mean FEW, the person answering the phone said they could get someone out there that day and did quote a price. However, I’ve NEVER had someone ASK FOR THE ORDER. The instruction for the secret shopper is to play FULL OUT and let them take the order or book the appointment to come out IF they take it that far. Very, very few actually do, and even then, they often fail to take down the person’s name, address and contact information. They just quote a price and shut up.

Read full article and comment →