How are you doing today?
I've done a long series of video calls over the last five days with my long-standing MSP clients, plus also a bunch of new MSPs I've just started working with.
On the whole it seems like most people are doing OK, both business-wise and emotionally. This level of disruption can be quite difficult to deal with. Everyone is having their ups and downs, right?
If you're not in the place you'd like to be, then you owe it to yourself, your family, staff and clients to do what you can to address that, before you're at risk of spiralling down further.
I've always found that proactively taking action gives me a great sense of wellbeing, and peace of mind. So here are 12 actions you could take next week to give your MSP a boost.
Part 1) Look after your team
Call each member of your team
Not for any particular reason. Just to check in and see how they are. Being at home every day is starting to get monotonous for some. The feeling that you're thinking of them will give them an emotional boost.
Send them an unexpected present
Alcohol or chocolate is the easy choice. Or maybe something inexpensive and cool like a retro games console. The emotional effect of a gift turning up with no notice and for no reason - especially if it's something they can enjoy with the whole family - can be huge.
Get them doing training
Lots of my clients are reporting the number of tickets being down this week, and their non-furloughed staff having less to do. In which case, get them training. Give them a budget and some places to find relevant online training courses (have a look at Udemy, Pluralsight and CBT Nuggets).
They can pick which course they want to do (it must be relevant to their work and signed off by you, of course). When they've competed the training, get a video call booked with them where they must give you a verbal summary of what they've learned. Make sure they know in advance they are going to have to do this. That makes it a critical step to guarantee they engage with the training, not just sit through the videos 🙄
Part 2) Protect cash in the bank
Review your fixed overheads
If you haven't already done so, review your fixed costs. There are companies around that will find cheaper utility costs and do the switching for you. If your office is a big overhead, at least pick up the phone to your landlord and have the conversation about a payment holiday, or temporary payment reduction. Also review all licences; just in case you're paying for licences you aren't billing out. Make sure you talk to big vendors about extended payment terms (better the cash is sat in your bank account than theirs).
Secure cash flow options
Get new personal credit cards with no annual fee to give you an instant line of credit, just in case. I always keep 2-3 credit cards in my safe, with about £30,000 of credit available. Haven't had to use them for years, but it's good knowing that instant credit line is there if ever I needed it. I could just draw down and lend that money to the business.
Keep your cash in different pots
If you have a lot of cash in the bank, set up another bank account with a different bank. This is to give you some level of protection if your bank goes kaput. The principle of this applies worldwide. In the UK, deposits of up to £85,000 per bank are protected by the FSCS. Which makes a second account elsewhere a no brainer. There's been a lively conversation about this in my MSP Marketing Facebook group this week.
Part 3) Keep working hard to retain your existing clients
Pick up the phone
Call the clients you haven't heard from in a couple of weeks. You want to constantly reinforce your position as a trusted advisor. Remind them what government support is available if they haven't already applied for it.
Send them a personalised gift
Something small and not too extravagant. For example, if they have been talking about their young kids being at home, you might send a family board game they can all enjoy (Dobble is simple and brilliant).
Consider a weekly lunch and learn
Just because your clients have Teams doesn't mean they know how to use it properly. You could easily start a weekly series of lunch and learns to show them how to get the most out of the technology they are using. They prepare a sandwich and dial in; you do a 20 minute session each week on a specific useful feature. Could be on any aspect of 365 used by a bulk of your clients.
Part 4) Work even harder to win new clients
Double down on marketing with my 3 step client acquisition system
People are making decisions to leave their lazy incumbent MSP every day... they're just not ready to take action yet. My 3 step client acquisition system allows you to build some rapport with them. I truly believe there is going to be a mass of clients switching MSP in the next few months (what I'm calling The Great Big Client Grab). I explain the 3 step system in this automated webinar.
Call old prospects to check how they are
Dig out the details of everyone you've ever spoken to, who didn't become a client. Swallow your discomfort. Then give them a call. You never know how their circumstances may have changed since you last spoke to them. One of the keys of marketing is getting the right message in front of the right people, at exactly the right time. Call enough people and eventually one of them will say "I'm so glad you called, because...". Others will agree to a proper meeting or a review in a few months' time.
Revamp your website
This is a great time to throw some time and effort into your primary marketing tool - your website. There are 5 areas to consider:
- Design: Does it look and feel like a 2020 website? Remember, your site is being compared to all other websites, not just other MSPs
- Content: The prospects you want to reach and engage with don't know what they don't know about technology. They're making decisions based on feelings, rather than logic. So you have to engage with them emotionally and also give their brain some fodder to rubber stamp the buying decision. If there was one thing that makes most MSP's websites crap at hooking in new prospects, it's lack of emotional engagement in the content. Put another way - most decision makers are going to pick you or not based on how much they like you and the business... not based on your technical competence
- Video: Nothing engages people more than videos of your clients talking about how great you are. MSP Videos is a joint venture service of mine, and my partner Darren is already starting to queue up filming work for after the lockdown ends
- Data capture: The basis of my 3 step marketing system is to build audiences and then build a relationship with them. The safest audience is your email list. That starts with decent data capture on your website. You need a good CRM (Mailchimp is good enough for 80% of MSPs. or look at an enhanced tool such as ActiveCampaign), a data capture page, and an ethical bribe - something you can give to prospects in return for their contact details. I provide an ethical bribe in the form of a book called Email Hijack (that you can brand as your own) to clients of my MSP Marketing Edge
- Call to action: Have you made it as easy and frictionless as possible for people to enquire? Sending an email or filling in a form isn't as compelling as them booking a 15 min phone chat on your live calendar, provided by Calendly or Microsoft bookings