In this week’s episode
- Not many people have heard about the Impact Box, but Paul talks about some MSPs are using them to tip prospects over the edge and turn them into happy clients
- Also in this week’s episode; you may not realise it but you have a Hassle Bucket in your brain. And Paul explains how to stop it overflowing
- Plus special guests join Paul to discuss selling more hardware to customers and finding time to get the important stuff done
- Out every Tuesday on your favourite podcast platform
- Presented by Paul Green, an MSP marketing expert
- There is more on the concept of a ‘Hassle Bucket’ and how to manage yours here
- Here’s a link to Paul’s Facebook group for MSP Marketing
- Paul’s guest talking about how to sell more hardware to your clients was James Cust from Warranty Master
- They discussed services and tools including IT Glue, Kaseya, ConnectWise & AutoTask
- The question about how to prioritise important work came from Andy Price from Initial IT
- Our guest on the next show on 11th February to talk about the best way to re-sell Microsoft Azure will be Joseph Landes from Nerdio
- Please send any questions, ideally in audio-form (or any other feedback) to firstname.lastname@example.org
Voiceover: Made in the UK for MSPs around the world. This is Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast.
Paul Green: Got another cracker for you this week. Here’s what’s coming up.
James Cust: And we’ll be able to see real live data about their estate, and see an overview of devices which are in warranty, get the idea of the proportion of their estate, which ultimately is unprotected.
Paul Green: We’re also going to be talking about something called an impact box. It’s a bunch of stuff that you send to them in the post to push them over the edge. And I’ll be answering your question about how to prioritise what’s most important every day.
Voiceover: Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast.
Paul Green: I want to start today by talking about hassle buckets. I believe that every single one of us has a hassle bucket inside our head. So what’s a hassle bucket? Well, it’s a measure for how much hassle, how much grief and stress we can deal with at any one time.
Paul Green: And some people’s buckets are very deep. They can take enormous amounts of hassle before their bucket overflows and they run into problems. Other people’s buckets are more shallow. I don’t believe that you’re born with a specific depth of hassle bucket. I think it’s something that appears in your head when you’re a teenager and it develops as you become an adult. And in fact, you can deepen your hassle bucket over time, but you’ve got to beware, because it can also become more shallow. It can block up and overflow quite often, sometimes unexpectedly.
Paul Green: Anytime your hassle bucket gets so full that it overflows, you suddenly become unable to deal with all the things that you need to deal with in your life. Now as business owners, we do have quite deep hassle buckets, you and me as business owners and managers. So we can take on enormous amounts of hassle at any one time.
Paul Green: I think it’s something that we learn in the first few years of running a business. You think about all the things that you have to do, all the hats that you have to wear in the first few years. And the depth of the bucket is what marks out someone who’s able to be a successful business owner for decades, versus someone who does it for a few years and really struggles with it.
Paul Green: But here’s the thing about being a business owner. Your hassle bucket might be deep, but it’s also 80% full most of the time. In fact, wouldn’t you argue that part of the curse of being the business owner is that your hassle bucket is so full, so often? Because you think about all the things that you and I have to juggle all the time. We’ve got the burden of cashflow, which we have to juggle, and cashflow mentally is one of the most destructive forces when you’re running a business, if you have a bad cashflow. If you have a positive one, it’s one of the most liberating ones.
Paul Green: There’s the burden of staff, of course, because our staff are our children and no matter how old they are, no matter how experienced they are, they are looking to you as their parents. That’s psychologically how the staff/boss relationship works.
Paul Green: There is of course the burden of winning new business and it’s not so bad for an established MSP as it is for a newer one, but winning new business is difficult for all MSPs. And then of course, there’s the burden of just keeping your existing clients happy and trying to be on top of all of the work. And you can have as many systems and PSAs and processes and tools as you like, but ultimately it is a burden.
Paul Green: And the bigger you get, the more the burden is, the greater the burden is. In fact, if any sane person was to look at the hassles and burdens of running a business, they’d be like, no thanks. I’m not doing this. I’m going to run a mile. But you and I and lots of people like us, we take on that burden, and we embrace it thoroughly because we love the freedom and the flexibility and how we can grow personally.
Paul Green: Plus, of course, financially what it can do for our family and for our staff as well. If we can pay them better than someone else could pay them. So the positives of course, of owning your own business absolutely outweigh the negatives.
Paul Green: But there are various times of the year when our hassle bucket overflows. And you think back to about a month ago, when perhaps you went back to work, early January, maybe you’d had a break and you felt great. Because you’d had a load of time off. You are really buzzing and you were just desperate to get back to work and do some stuff.
Paul Green: And a month on from there, maybe you’re a little bit worn out again. I know I am at this time of year, just maybe you need a little rest again and your hassle bucket is getting near the brim, it’s getting higher. It’s a difficult thing to do. Because if the business owner’s hassle bucket is normally at 80% and yours is currently at 90% or 95%, that’s when you start to feel stressed. That’s when we start to feel overworked. It’s when we start to feel like everything’s getting on top of us.
Paul Green: How would you grade your hassle bucket right now? What level is your hassle bucket at right now? Maybe that’s a question you should be asking yourself every morning. What level is my hassle bucket right now?
Paul Green: When the hassle bucket overflows, we find it very, very hard to cope with things. In fact, it’s the small things that are more likely to push the hassle over the edge of the bucket. You’ve heard that phrase about the straw breaking the camel’s back? It’s spot on, isn’t it? You can have all these major projects and you can cope with all these major projects and then what pushes you over the edge one day is one tiny, tiny little thing.
Paul Green: Now I believe that the answer to this isn’t to stop more things coming into the hassle bucket. What you’ve got to do instead is you’ve got to install a DOA relief tap further down the bucket. Now, we traditionally see DOA, and we’ve talked about this before on the podcast. We traditionally see DOA when we’re watching a crime show on TV and the victim is DOA and it stands for dead on arrival. And we don’t want to be dead on arrival as business owners, because we want to stay alive and healthy as long as we can.
Paul Green: That’s what we’ve got business for to allow us to do that and to enjoy our lives. So we’re going to change that acronym from dead on arrival to delegate, outsource, automate. And DOA means acknowledging that despite the fact that we are the business owner or manager and we are spectacular and we do have amazing superpowers and no one can do it as well as us, and by the way, of course, no one ever will do it as us. Despite this, we can actually delegate, we can outsource and we can automate many of the things that really we don’t personally need to do.
Paul Green: Again, I’ve mentioned this before on the podcast, but it’s a great mantra to live by. You should only do what only you can do. And in fact, the business owners who thrive for decades, not just last for decades, but thrive for decades, are the ones who are constantly looking at the work that they’re supposed to be doing, the jobs that are sat in front of them and they’re asking themselves, who on my team can do this better? Who can do this quicker or easier than I can? Or, who out there in the wonderful world we live in where we can outsource nearly anything on Fiverr or on PeoplePerHour, who can do this job for me so that I personally don’t have to do it?
Paul Green: Or, how can I automate this? And thank the good Lord for APIs. The goal is to remove hassle, it’s to simplify things and give yourself an easier life. To keep that hassle bucket at no more than 80%, so actually every day is a really good day, no matter what crops up.
Voiceover: Here’s this week’s clever idea.
Paul Green: Marketing and sales are very much a science, rather than an art. They may seem sometimes like a bit of a mystery, that there’s this mystique around them, but that’s not the case. They’re just a series of processes, of procedures, of systems. They’re really no different to technology. Isn’t technology just a series of processes and systems?
Paul Green: Sure, now and again you have to apply a tiny little bit of mystique, of art, of experience, of woo and it’s exactly the same in marketing, but actually 95% of it is systemisable. 95% of it is a process. It’s following it.
Paul Green: You take someone who is a stranger and you want to turn them into a lead, which is where they’re aware of you. You want to build a relationship with them. You want to from that relationship, turn them into a prospect, where you’re starting to have a one-on-one conversation with them, and then of course turning them into a client.
Paul Green: All of that is just a process. It’s a system. You can tweak that system. You can change that process. You can make it better any time. This is why much of your marketing can be delegated or outsourced, so that other people do it for you. You retain control, but other people physically do the work for you.
Paul Green: Now, there’s a clever idea that a number of my clients have been looking at. A couple of them have put it into place and it’s called an impact box. And it’s a bunch of stuff that you send to a prospect to push them over the edge.
Paul Green: So let’s imagine that you’ve been out to see a prospect. You’ve had a great sales meeting with them and you know that they’re talking to a couple of other people, but you just want to give yourself that edge. Because the problem you have is that you could have spent two or three hours with them and they could be, oh yes, absolutely. You are the right people for us, but they have a very, very low awareness of technology. They have a very short memory. You’re reliant upon them remembering how you made them feel, because someone picks you or doesn’t pick you based on how they feel about you.
Paul Green: Now I’m excluding selling to internal IT managers. Internal IT managers, it’s not really a normal sales process because they know that technology. So exclude that for a second.
Paul Green: But when you’re selling to normal business owners or managers it’s very much about how they feel about you, because 99% of these people don’t know what they don’t know about technology. They don’t know what the right solutions are. They don’t really care. They just want it to work. But they want to put their trust in someone and we all know that get the technology wrong, and you can massively disrupt the business. So they are putting their trust in you.
Paul Green: And you could have spent a couple of hours with them. They could feel very, very warm about you, and feel that you’re the right people to trust. But three weeks later when they’re going to make that decision, do they remember that memory? Do they remember that feeling?
Paul Green: So an impact box is something that you can send to them to tip them over the edge, to make them remember you, and to make them believe that you are the right people to trust. When we say it’s a box, it’s physically a box that you send to someone, be it a cardboard box that you would fill. It’s almost like a gift pack.
Paul Green: But what you put inside is designed to make them feel special. It’s designed to make them feel that you have absolutely got their back. So what kinds of stuff would you send them? Well, perhaps the first thing you’d do is you’d send them your book. Every MSP needs to have a book, and it’s a book that you have written or that has been written for you and has your name on the front, which is of course called ghost writing.
Paul Green: Now, a book is not really a book, it’s just a business card. It’s a 48 page or whatever page business card. And it’s a way of positioning you as something special in your marketplace. People love buying from true experts and true experts become authors. So you need to have your own book, or you need to get that book written. So you’d certainly put your book in there.
Paul Green: And perhaps you’d put some other credibility materials in there, perhaps you’d put some case studies. Perhaps you’d put some testimonials. Again, all of these physical printed materials.
Paul Green: Maybe you’d have some videos. Now, if you have some of those videos, I would put them on a USB stick. Those videos being video testimonials from your clients, from your happy customers. The reason you put them on a USB stick, because it’s physical, we want them to plug them into their laptop and watch those videos. Let’s not have the conversation about the fact you could have had a virus on that USB. We’ll save that conversation for another day.
Paul Green: Some other stuff you’d put in your impact box would be some stuff they can eat, maybe some chocolates or some biscuits. Quality stuff, something that’s fun, not too expensive, but not too cheap. Maybe you could put a whole selection of chocolate bars in there. Maybe if you’d had a conversation with them about their favourite chocolate, let’s say, okay, this would be a great thing to do. Let’s say during parts of the sales process, you systemise to find out what their favourite chocolate bar is. Let’s say it’s a Snicker’s. How would they feel if you sent them 25 Snickers? Maybe 25 is too many, but you get the idea, a whole bunch of Snickers.
Paul Green: Maybe you’d put in there some cans of Coke or some cans of Diet Coke. Again, maybe you’d find out what their favourite drink is. What’s the emotional impact you’re going to have on someone if you send them a whole bunch of their favourite chocolate bars, a whole bunch of their favourite drinks, a book to read, some videos to watch?
Paul Green: And then the cream of the impact box is a hand-written note. Now you don’t personally have to hand write this. I try personally not to hand-write anything because my hand-writing hasn’t really developed since I was 14, but I would get a hand-written note written by someone else and again, you can just outsource this or delegate it to someone on your staff or outsource it to someone in your area to just hand-write this note for you. And the hand-written note is from you to them and it’s not just a hi, nice to meet you. Here’s some stuff. It’s a hand-written note about their business.
Paul Green: It might be a two or even a three page note and it might say hi, prospect name. It was great to meet you last week and to chat about your business. I remember you saying that Snickers were your favourite chocolate bar, so I thought I’d send you a few, plus some Diet Cokes while you’re reading my book and looking at the testimonials that my clients have happily recorded for me.
Paul Green: I know that picking a new IT support company is a very big decision. I know that we got on very well at the meeting, and I think we would be an excellent choice for you. Certainly, we’d love to work with you. I wanted to send you this pack and this note, so you could see we were as keen to work with you as we hope that you are to work with us.
Paul Green: I’m available to chat to you at any point. If you’ve got any questions about joining the business, just give me a call on number, contact details, et cetera, et cetera.
Paul Green: Now, this box, which again, remember, you can systemise this. This box is called an impact box because it has a real impact. It arrives at someone’s office, whoever receives the posts has a certain amount of, wow, what’s this? It lands on the boss’s desk. In fact, maybe you’d pick a brightly coloured box, a bright yellow box with a giant red label or a green label on it saying, open me now. Urgent materials inside. So that it does have a real shock.
Paul Green: In fact, I’ve heard this called a shock and awe box before, impact box, shock and awe box. It doesn’t matter what you call it, it’s a system. You take your hottest prospects, the ones that you really want to work with, the ones that you think are most likely to sign up and you hit them with this a few days after you meet.
Paul Green: Because what it does is it tips them over the edge. It pushes them to be much more likely to pick you. And after you’ve invested all of that time and effort and energy, warming someone up and going out and seeing them, that’s exactly the position you want to be in. We don’t want to leave this to chance. We want to tick off every single possible box, so that every single prospect you go to see that you want to work with is much more likely to select you. And that is a great system to have.
Voiceover: Paul’s blatant plug.
Paul Green: I have an epic community and he’s got hundreds of members from around the world, all of them MSPs, who’ve come there to discuss marketing, sales and how to make more money out of their business. Now it’s a safe place, because we’ve made it a vendor free zone. So you can go in and ask all sorts of questions about suppliers, about what you should be selling, about marketing and about sales, knowing that there’s no vendor looking over your shoulder.
Paul Green: So if you want to join this community, it’s completely free. All you got to do is go onto Facebook and type in MSP Marketing. Up at the top you’ll see in the search results, just click on groups and you’ll see the MSP Marketing Facebook group. Click on that. Tell me which MSP you work for, and I will add you in completely free. I’d be delighted and honoured to welcome you into my community.
Voiceover: The big interview.
James Cust: I’m James, I’m the product development exec here at Warranty Master. Part of the UK team, so we’ve been operating since January, 2018. Warranty Master is an asset lifecycle management tool, which is designed to help MSPs sell more or less and service less.
Paul Green: Obviously, all MSPs know that selling tin, shifting tin, it’s no longer got the margins that it used to have. Most people are quite happy to supply hardware, but know they’re not going to make a huge amount of money on it. But do you still see there are opportunities for making good money selling more hardware to end clients?
James Cust: Absolutely. Yeah. It’s obviously the project time, which would be involved in this as well, which is another opportunity available for MSPs to gain on that front, and it’s about protecting clients as much as anything as well. So if your client is running an older or so machine, it can be inefficient for their business and it could provide security issues as well.
Paul Green: And most MSPs I guess track the devices that their clients have got, using IT Glue or whatever documentation software that they’ve got. Obviously, Warranty Master is a system that specialises in tracking those assets. What’s the advantages of using a specialist tool, rather than a general documentation tool?
James Cust: We integrate and get on very well with IT Glue actually. And the key difference between us and IT Glue is asset lifecycle management is our bread and butter, so to speak. So we are automatically pulling in all the purchase dates and all the warranty expiration dates of every single piece of equipment, which our MSP customers have got out on client’s site. And that’s coming straight from the vendor databases. And we’re helping them report on that specific information as well.
Paul Green: And you actually integrate with the PSAs as well, don’t you?
James Cust: Absolutely. Yeah. We integrate with Kaseya, ConnectWise, Autotask. Yeah.
Paul Green: So you’re dragging the information out of the other systems and then putting it in a single place, but then you also put some value on top of that. Am I right?
James Cust: Yes, absolutely. So the reporting in Warranty Master is, first of all, it’s very easy and efficient to generate and it’s very good at getting the point across to a customer the risk and exposure they’re taking into their estate. On top of that it’s very good at helping recommend which devices should be flagged through the refresh or a warranty purchase.
Paul Green: The advantage to the MSP is that you’ve got a set of tools and some reporting and some information and evidence to show to the end clients. Yes, you could sit with that computer for another two years. But the disadvantage of doing that is this. And the advantage of upgrading is this, and then that’s being provided to them at exactly the right moment.
James Cust: Exactly. Nail on the head. So there’s a feature within the reporting which helps the MSP and the end user calculate the costs of running an older or a slower machine and then it’s very easy to weigh those two numbers up versus the cost of actually buying a new machine. Quite often, the cost of acquiring a new machine tends to be the one that’s better for the business.
Paul Green: But the clients that you have got that are using Warranty Master, what are the most successful ones doing with it? So how are they leveraging the software to sell more to their clients?
James Cust: It’s a good question. We get asked that quite a bit as well actually. So some of them will automate it or schedule it, which is something which you can do within the Warranty Master portal. That can either be sent out once a month or once a quarter. So you can have this information in front of their customers, first of all, effortlessly. Second of all, on a nice regular basis as well.
James Cust: A lot of other customers are choosing to take these along to quarterly reviews or monthly reviews with their customers, and go through the reports with them in person.
Paul Green: What I like particularly about Warranty Master is that you can get started for free, so it’s a freemium model, so you get started for free and then obviously you pay if you want to unlock extra functionality. What’s the easiest way for an MSP to get started for free on Warranty Master?
James Cust: You’d go to warrantymaster.com and there are some instructions on there from where you can set up a free account. From there, the MSPs can that integrate their RMM or PSA or IT Glue if they’re using it and we’ll be able to see real live data about their estate and see an overview of devices which are in warranty, get the idea of the proportion of their estate, which ultimately is unprotected.
Voiceover: Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast. Ask Paul anything.
Andy: Hi Paul it’s Andy from Initial IT, with so much to do day-to-day, how do I prioritise what’s important?
Paul Green: Thanks Andy. Great question, and I think it’s a real problem for MSPs, because we’re all too busy, but you have the added pressure that every now and again you have to drop everything to go and fix stuff. No matter how high up you are in the organisation, no matter how divorced you are from support, the very reason that someone hires you is to fix things when they’re broken.
Paul Green: I appreciate you want to do a lot more proactive work, but you have to stop everything and fix it. How do you prioritise when you’ve got all these things that need to be done?
Paul Green: I think the answer comes in setting really good goals. You’ve got to know what it is that you’re trying to achieve with your life and what it is that you’re trying to achieve with your business. And remember, we’ve spoken about this before on the podcast that the business is there to give you a great life. The purpose of your life is not to feed the business. It’s supposed to be the other way round.
Paul Green: So you need to be very, very clear on what you want from your life and how the business is going to give you that. I’ll give you an example. I have some very clear goals for this year, in terms of my lifestyle. I’m just about to move house literally in the next few weeks. I’ll be taking on a much bigger mortgage, in fact I’ve been mortgage free for a number of years. I’ll be taking on a big mortgage. So I need to earn some more money to pay that mortgage.
Paul Green: And then I want to extend this house. I want to put another bedroom on it. I want to extend the kitchen, I want to do some stuff to this house. Who doesn’t want to do stuff to their house? So that’s going to need some more money. I’m going to need to either pay some debt or generate some capital to do that.
Paul Green: And all of this ultimately means I need to increase my own personal income this year. So that’s my goal for the business is I need to my personal income. And to do that with the business, the business has got to generate more profit, but I don’t want to spend more time working. I want to, in fact, actually work a little bit less this year. Why not? There’s nothing wrong with that. Earn more money and work a little bit less.
Paul Green: So that means I’ve got to be very strategic in the things that I sell and the promotions that I do. I’ve got to be quite smart about how we bring on new customers, how we develop our existing clients, all of that stuff. And the goals for the business drive me therefore, in terms of the things that I’m going to do this year.
Paul Green: And it should be no different in your business, you should be looking at that saying, hey, right, okay, this year, I want let’s say another 50,000 extra personal income from the business. How am I going to generate another 60, 70, 80,000 extra net profit from the business? What are going to be the things that are going to make the biggest difference? How am I going to increase the average customer value by 1,000 month or 1,000 a year say? And these are the kinds of thoughts that you should be having to look at this and say, right, this is what’s most important in the business this year.
Paul Green: Now, once you’ve got that very clear and once you’ve written that down and once you’re in the habit of looking at that every single day, suddenly prioritising becomes very, very clear to you and it becomes a lot easier. Because even though there’s lots of other things that need to be done, lots of other tasks that need to be jumped on, and I’m excluding the major emergency when everyone has to drop everything and go and sort out a client, suddenly prioritising becomes very simple.
Paul Green: It’s about doing the things that matter first. This podcast matters enormously to me. I made a 12 month commitment to this podcast. This is episode 12, so I’ve got at least another 40 episodes to go, and I have a feeling we’ll be doing this podcast for years. So I make this podcast the number one thing I do on a Monday morning, come rain or shine, no matter what else needs to be done. Because it’s the most important thing.
Paul Green: The two hours recording that podcast is more important than anything else, and all those other little jobs can wait. Now, sometimes that means I get to the end of the day and I haven’t done those little jobs, but you know what? They’re not as important as this podcast.
Paul Green: This podcast grows my list. It puts me in front of more new people. It grows my credibility, my reputation. All of those are boxes that I need to tick this year, because it’s important to my business. So what’s important to your business? Write it down, review it daily, and then do those things first.
Paul Green: And if you don’t have space to do those things first every day, you’ve got to review where are you doing your work? Do you really need to sit at a desk in your office all day, every day, or can you go and sit in a coffee shop or at a hotel or find a restaurant somewhere where you can… You just need a bit of power and some Wi-Fi and some earphones in, and you can focus on doing whatever needs to be done every day.
Paul Green: In fact, I’ve said a few times on the podcast, and I say to my clients all the time, if you can find an hour a day, just one hour a day to work on your business rather than in your business, you can change everything within 12 months. It really is that simple, so long as you’re focused on the things that make the biggest difference.
Voiceover: How to contribute to the show.
Paul Green: I would love to get your feedback on the show. What’d you want me to do more of? What do you want me to do less of? What guests do you think I should be interviewing? What subjects would you like me to talk about? Why don’t you drop me an email? It’s me at the end of the email and I’d love to have a chat with you. It’s email@example.com.
Voiceover: Coming up next week.
Joseph Landes: Taking advantage of these five suggestions that we’ve made, you can easily make up to 80% margins on Azure. You can save up to 80% off the list price of Azure.
Paul Green: That’s Joseph Landes from Nerdio. He’s going to be joining me next week for the start of a special two-part series on how you can sell more Azure and also make a lot more money from it. We’re also going to be talking next week about why you must checklist everything in your business and checklist it on paper, not on a screen. Plus, I’m going to tell you about the three plus one plan for your life.
Voiceover: Made in the UK for MSPs around the world. Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast.