Episode 144: Your MSP needs a Dream 100 prospect list

Episode 144: Your MSP needs a Dream 100 prospect list

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Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Episode 144: Your MSP needs a Dream 100 prospect list
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Episode 144 includes:

  • 00:00 Why speed is of the essence for dealing with prospects
  • 10:59 Identify a Dream 100 prospect list to accelerate your MSP’s growth
  • 19:40 A productivity expert explains how to do 1 hour of work in 30 minutes
  • 46:26 A book recommendation to help you earn an MBA without the associated cost

Featured guest:

 

Blaine Oelkers is a featured guest on Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast

Thank you to Blaine Oelkers, the only Chief Results Officer®, for joining Paul to explain how you can do 1 hour of work in 30 minutes.

Blaine is a high level performer with a wealth of knowledge who is committed to helping people achieve results quickly. He brings high energy and ultra focus which is critical to quickly generate amazing results and build momentum in any business. If you are a business owner or entrepreneur in need of a Chief Results Officer, Blaine comes highly recommended.

Connect with Blaine on LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/blaineoelkers

Show notes:

Episode transcription

Voiceover:
This is Paul Green’s MSP marketing podcast.

Paul Green:
It’s another episode of the planet’s most popular MSP marketing podcast. And here’s what we got coming up for you this week.

Blaine Oelkers:
We can talk about what I like to call 21-second habits. How to create new habits in 21 seconds, not 21 days. If they told you it takes 21 days to create a new habit, someone lied to you. Sorry. We will debunk that here for you today.

Paul Green:
That’s Blaine Oelkers. He’s my special guest later on in the show, and he’s going to be talking about two things, how you can create a new habit in just 21 seconds and how to get 60 minutes of work done in just 30 minutes. We’re also going to be talking about the Dream 100, exactly what is this, and why must you put it into place in your MSP?

Paul Green:
Let me give you a very plausible real life scenario. Imagine there’s a business owner in your area. Let’s call this business owner Sandra. So Sandra has, let’s say 10 staff, and it doesn’t really matter what the business does, that’s irrelevant to this story, but Sandra has an MSP. In fact, she’s been in a working relationship with this MSP for around about five, six years. But over the last couple of years, things just haven’t quite been right. It seems to her that they take longer to answer the phone. It seems to her that they are taking longer time to fix problems. More things seem to be broken, every time she rings up, there’s someone new there. Essentially, it’s death by a thousand small cuts.

Paul Green:
You see, what’s happened of course, is that MSP has changed considerably since Sandra first joined up with them a few years ago. And actually, they’re doing very well. They’re bringing on lots of new staff, they’re adding new services, but she sees less and less of the original founder that first sold to her all those years ago, and Sandra’s starting to feel quite deep down that it’s time to move on. Of course, she hasn’t told this to the MSP yet because clients don’t do that, do they? They tell you at the point they’ve made the decision. But she’s feeling, and notice my use there of the word feeling, often when a client leaves you for someone else, it’s not a cognitive thing, it’s a gut feel. They feel as though things have deteriorated. It’s not always the case. Obviously, if you make a massive mistake, that becomes a cognitive thing as much as it’s an emotional thing, but for the purposes of this scenario, Sandra feels that things are sliding and it’s time to move on.

Paul Green:
So Sandra makes two phone calls. You see, she is active in the local community and she’s been to her networking groups and she’s been given two referrals of two, what she knows as tech support, IT support companies, because of course, MSP is jargon to her. And as we discussed in last week’s episode of the podcast, jargon is a bad thing. So she’s got two IT support referrals and she decides to make phone calls to both of them and get both of them in to talk to her and to see which she is going to move her business to.

Paul Green:
The first MSP, the first IT support company that she calls, she picks up the phone, she dials the number. That’s what a British ring tone sounds like, by the way if ever you use landlines. I don’t know anyone that uses landlines anymore, but go with it. Just put your own dial tone thing in there, but it just goes on and on and on. And she’s looking at her watch and they just don’t seem to be answering the phone. And then eventually they do pick up the phone and it’s a 12-year-old technician on the other end.

Hello? So-and-so IT.

Paul Green:
Says the 12-year-old technician. That’s cruel. I know that’s cruel. You know what I mean. It’s a 19-year-old. It’s the person with the least amount of communication skills in the business. In fact, in your head now, don’t say their name out loud, especially if you’re listening to the podcast in the office, but just in your head, think now who’s the last person in your business who should be picking up the phone. And if there isn’t a last person, then you’re doing a great job. But if there is a last person, imagine it’s that person that’s got to the phone.

Hello.

Paul Green:
And Sandra, a little bit put off by this and says, “Oh yes, hi there. I was given your name and your number by so-and-so at so-and-so networking and I’m hoping to speak to you about my IT.” And the 12-year-old says.

Oh, you need to speak to my boss. He’s not in at the moment.

Paul Green:
And cuts it off there. And Sandra says, “Oh right. What time is he going to be in?”

Not sure. Probably this afternoon.

Paul Green:
She says, “Okay. All right, thanks very much. Thank you.” And then she thinks actually, maybe I should leave my number, because they were referred to me. Obviously, this is a horrendous intro call for her, but she says, “Oh, can I give you my name and number, and perhaps you can ask him to call me?”

Okay.

Paul Green:
So she gives her name and number, she leaves it. She puts the phone down. It’s not a great experience. So then she calls MSP number two. This time it rings just once and then someone picks up the phone and it’s a warm, welcome introduction.

Good afternoon, so-and-so IT. How can I help you?

Paul Green:
And for that, put in whatever it is, the words that you want your technicians and your team to say when they pick up the phone. The point here is the phone was picked up quickly and it was a warm well communicated welcome. It doesn’t really matter who picks up the phone, so long as the person who picks up the phone is warm and friendly and they are communicating a great big smile. Not some kind of, “Ugh,” which is a pretty much a sales killer.

Paul Green:
So Sandra has the conversation. She says, “Oh hi, you were referred to me. I wanted to speak to someone.”

Paul Green:
“Yeah. No problem at all. Oh, actually you need to speak to Dave. He’s the owner here. He is currently out. I’m so sorry. Let me ask him to give you a call this afternoon. He’s due back in the office about 5:00. What’s your name and number, and I’ll ask you to give him a call?”

Paul Green:
So we’ve actually got, if you think about this here in this scenario, we’ve got the same scenario. The same thing has happened at each of the MSPs, which is that the owner is out. But at the first one, obviously it was a struggle for Sandra. She’s had to lead the selling conversation. At the second one, then the technician or whoever answered the phone has led the sales conversation, has taken their name and number, has set an expectation for when Dave the owner, will be calling back.

Paul Green:
Now without doing anything else, if it was just judge just off, what’s happened there from that phone call. And it’s an obvious question, which MSP do you think is going to get the sale? Obviously, it’s going to be Dave’s business. It’s going to be the second business. Here’s the thing and here’s how it could be turned round, because the point of this bit I’m talking about is that speed is everything. What if the person from the first MSP then called back Sandra 10 minutes later? And obviously, as the owner, as the founder of the business, we are much better communicators because we are engaged and we’re passionate and we know the right questions to ask. We ask people questions about their favourite subject, which is of course themselves and their business.

Paul Green:
So the owner of business number one calls back has a good 20-minute conversation with Sandra. She says she wants to meet with him and he’s like, “Yeah, no problem at all. Hey, I can clear my diary tomorrow morning if that suits you,” which is a great phrase to use, “I can clear my diary tomorrow.” It shows that you are prioritising the things that matter. The reality is that owner’s diary probably wasn’t that full anyway, other than dealing with reactive stuff. But what a great message that sends to prospects. “I can clear my diary tomorrow,” or what might be better is, “When’s good for you? And if I can do it, I’ll clear my diary to make sure I can meet you at your convenience.” There is a balance here between making sure you start off with an equal relationship with the prospect, but for that very first meeting, you do whatever it takes to get in there and get that meeting. That’s the point we’re talking about here is speed.

Paul Green:
Now, Dave, even the second company, doesn’t call back after 5:00, doesn’t call that evening and doesn’t call till lunchtime the next day. The damage now has been done with Dave’s business because actually his competitor, the one he is up against has not only had a conversation with Sandra already that the competitor has been in and had a meeting with Sandra before Dave’s even called them back in an ideal world, your MSP would answer the phone properly, communicate well, but then be straight back on it. If someone isn’t available, and it does happen, you set that expectation and the owner of the business does everything. If they have to extract their own teeth just to call back that prospect, that’s what it takes.

Paul Green:
It’s a bit of a weird thing to say, Paul. I don’t know where I was going with that one. The point being at pain of death, you do whatever it takes to call back that prospect when that prospect is expecting a call, because it’s not like you’re inundated with prospect calls, right? It’s not like you get three or four of them every single day and you can pick and choose. You get very low numbers of people calling in because you have been referred to them. So you should move heaven… What’s the phrase, move heaven and high water? Hell and high water? Move lots of things to get back to that prospect as soon as possible.

Paul Green:
So speed. Here’s the question to ask yourself. Maybe there’s more than speed to ask. If someone rang your MSP, when you are not there, who’s answering the phone? What are they saying? Is there a system in place so that any sales calls coming in are dealt with quickly and efficiently and expectations are set? If there is no system, you are leaving it up to possibly the lowest ability level of communication of whoever sat in your office to talk to your potential future clients. I would rather systemise my business around that than take the risk of starting it in the wrong way. That’s the first thing.

Paul Green:
But secondly, do you have a system for making sure that you as the owner, when you’re out, you get essentially a red alert call or WhatsApp message or Teams message or whatever, a red alert and the, “We’ve got a prospect. Someone wants to talk to you. This is their name. This is the business name. This is their number. This is their website. They were referred by Bob at so-and-so network. Please, can you call them before 5:00?” Because what would’ve been better than Dave calling the next day when it was convenient for him is Dave calling back at 4:00. She thinks he’s going to call after 5:00 He calls at four o’clock. That is exceeding expectations. And remember, Sandra’s making an emotional decision. She made an emotional decision to leave her last MSP, she’s going to make an emotional decision on which of the MSPs she’s going to choose going forward. And your perceived speed, the perceived speed with which you jump onto a conversation with her is going to make a massive, massive difference, and the good news is you can systemise all of that within your business.

Paul Green:
I love reading business and marketing books. I’m a prolific reader of them. Actually these days, I’m a prolific listener. I listen to most books now on Audible. I just find it easier to consume more and more books every week on Audible. Every little drive, every little walk, you consume a podcast. Maybe you’re doing that right now, or you can consume a book. And then if it’s a really good book, I will go and buy the paper version to put it onto my bookshelves. And we have bookshelves and bookshelves and bookshelves of great books throughout the house.

Paul Green:
Now, one of my all time favourites, which is on this special bookshelf in my bedroom, you might think that’s a bit weird, but all of my favourite business books are there in my bedroom and often I’ll look at them last thing at night or first thing in the morning and think, “Ooh, I’m going to give that one a reread.” Well, this is one of those that deserves a reread pretty soon. It’s called The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes. It is an absolute classic B2B selling book. So it’s not about selling an MSP, but it is about B2B sales, and about 80% of what you read in there is highly relevant to you.

Paul Green:
And unfortunately, Chet Holmes isn’t here any more. He died a number of years ago. I think it was leukaemia he passed away from, and his daughter actually took over the reins of his business, which is a terrible story with a very good ending. But this book is such a classic book. I must have read it four or five times. And it’s one of those books that every time I read it, I remember something new, so something I may have read before that perhaps I didn’t act on in some way.

Paul Green:
One of the core concepts of The Ultimate Sales Machine is to build yourself a Dream 100. What’s a Dream 100? It’s a 100 clients… Excuse me, 100 prospects that you would like to go on to do business with. They’re literally, as it said in the title, your Dream 100, the most perfect people for you. And there’s a number of techniques that Chet Holmes talks about in the book to engage with those people. But the basis of it is that you put all of your attention onto that Dream 100 and you do everything you can to get them engaged with you and ultimately to get them to open a conversation with you.

Paul Green:
Now, most MSPs that I’ve worked with don’t have anywhere near 100 prospects. Well, they might have 100 leads. What’s the difference between a lead and a prospect? A lead is someone who is known to you. So it might be someone in your LinkedIn or someone in your email database, or perhaps even someone that subscribed to you on YouTube. But in terms of prospects, a prospect is someone where they are going to be buying from someone at some point, perhaps if we took that scenario of, in the last bit of Sandra, who left her MSP at the point she phones up and says, “I’ve been referred to you,” she is a prospect because she’s going to buy from someone. You probably don’t have 100 prospects in your business. So why not take 100 of your leads or doesn’t have to be 100, just pick a number. Not too small, not too big. We’ll go with 100 for the podcast. Why don’t you pick 100 of your leads and elevate them to prospect status? And they could be people who are going to be prospects next year.

Paul Green:
What if you’re having a conversation with someone now and they say, “Well, yeah, we are ready to switch, but we’re in contract till next year. Till May next year.” Well maybe then they would go into your Dream 100, so you can pay them special attention between now and May next year. Or maybe it’s just someone, the kind of business you’d really love doing business with because they’re a bigger business or they’re a trophy client or something like that. You then give that 100 businesses, those 100 prospects or near prospects, you give them special attention.

Paul Green:
And there’s lots of different things that you could do. You could invite them to webinars. Better still, you could invite them to a physical seminar or a lunch and learn. You should certainly send them stuff in the post. I would send them a printed newsletter at least once a quarter, but better still every other month or better, better still, every month than you can get printed newsletters. There’s a number of different places you can get printed newsletters, including my own MSP, Marketing Edge. We have a monthly printed newsletter that we give to our clients or our members to send off to their prospects.

Paul Green:
What else could you send someone in the post? You could clip stuff from the news, things that are relevant, take copies, print things off websites, or things that you’ve seen in newspapers, take photocopies. You remember those, don’t you? I think we call it a scan and print these days. But you could then write a little handwritten note and say, “Oh, hi. I saw this in the news. And I thought you might find this interesting.” Anything you can send them in the post is great because stuff that arrives that’s physically in their hands has so much more value or perceived value than anything you send to them digitally.

Paul Green:
However, we mustn’t forget digital stuff. Put them on your email newsletter, send them an email once a week. You could also send them a unique one-on-one email from you. Again, it could be a clipping of something you’ve seen or something you perceive to be of value to them. What if every week you looked at your Dream 100 and you tried to one-on-one touch five to 10 of those people every single week? That’s a powerful thing. And in fact, if you rotate round the whole 100, then eventually you will have personally touched, don’t make me do the maths on the fly, but you will have personally touched every person on that list within a certain time period. And that could be as simple as reading their news, reading what’s on their LinkedIn and commenting on it. “Hi, so-and-so, just want…” You could email them or send them a LinkedIn message. “Hi, Dave, I wanted to just drop you a note and say congratulations on the so-and-so that I saw on your LinkedIn. Great achievement. An amazing job.” Put that in your own words. What a thing to do.

Paul Green:
That’s the point of the Dream 100. You give them special attention. Go and get the book, The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes. There is so much in there that you will find of value. And then please do get started with your Dream 100. Don’t think too small. Don’t go for a dream 10. Remember, in the world of what you sell, it’s such a long, complicated sale that you need to play the numbers game. You need to have a number of people going at any one time. So don’t just go for 10, go for 50, go for 100. But also don’t over stretch yourself. A dream 1000 would be too much for an MSP. I think 100 is a perfect figure, but do read that book and do get it set up. It is such a powerful strategy.

Paul Green:
So I have this Facebook group, it’s only for MSPs and it’s a place to go and discuss marketing. In fact, it’s a safe place because we’ve made it a vendor free zone, so you can discuss all MSP marketing in there. And I’ve just been reviewing a post from a few weeks ago and we were talking about websites and good websites and bad websites. And an MSP I know, Stuart, actually posted a website of a local-ish competitor to him and suggested… The website was out of this world. It was so different than all of the websites. It immediately stood out. But then he suggested I call the number.

Paul Green:
So I’m going to call the number now and producer James, please make sure that you blank out the name of the MSP, because I haven’t actually asked their permission to put their, what do you call it? When you call up. IVR, is it the thing that’s like the announcing message? So I haven’t got their permission to do this, but you have to listen to this. This is incredible.

Speaker 7:
Yo. What’s up, dudes? Welcome to (censored), the home of IT and (censored). If you’ve accidentally dialled our number, then this is the perfect time to put the phone down and do some star jumps or hop on one foot, or do some squats and trim those glutes, baby. If not, then listen up, I’m only going to say this once. If you want to speak to someone who will fix your issues, obviously the IT related ones, then press option one. If you owe us money, then stop being tight and pay. Or if you want money from us, then press option two.

Paul Green:
I love it. I love it. Now, that is so different, isn’t it? Have you ever heard anything like that before? We were talking just earlier about when someone calls up, that is going to immediately grab someone’s attention. I absolutely love that. Anyway, this is the kind of stuff we talk about in this Facebook group. If you aren’t a member yet, please come and join us. It’s for MSPs only. We talk about marketing. I love that so much. Go into Facebook, type in MSP marketing at the top, go to groups and apply it to join, and we talk about all sorts of marketing stuff there. It’s great.

Blaine Oelkers:
Blaine Oelkers here and I am actually the world’s only chief results officer. So basically I help people take control of their lives by taking control of themselves. And I do that in a number of ways, but I’m happy to be here with you today and hopefully share something that’s going to help the listening audience get a little bit more done.

Paul Green:
The world’s only chief results officer. Now, someone somewhere is Googling now, chief results officer, to see if that’s in fact true, or if someone else has taken that job title. Welcome Blaine, it’s wonderful to have you here on the podcast because you are talking about one of my favourite subjects, which is, as you just said, about taking control of yourself to get more done without actually being dead, and just only able to sip a beer on the couch at the end of the day, which is no way to run a business at all. So before we start talking about how MSP owners can take back some control of their lives and be more productive with using less time, tell us a little bit about you. So what’s your background and how do you get to be to a position of being on a podcast like this as an expert in your subject matter?

Blaine Oelkers:
Yeah. So I had a couple of moments of dawning comprehension, wherein a moment the world changes. So two of those one was in college. I went to Purdue University in Indiana and I saw this ad. I’ve always been a little bit of a seeker, a seeker of knowledge, and maybe some of the listeners are also seekers of knowledge. But I saw this ad for this book called Think and Grow Rich and I sent away for it and hopefully you’ve heard of it and maybe-

Paul Green:
I did, yeah.

Blaine Oelkers:
… many of the listeners have. Yeah. So I sent away for that and it was Earl Nightingale reading an abridged version. Anyway, I ended up reading that book in college and it was at that moment of reading that book that I realised what I call what you think about, you bring about, and that your thoughts and your mindset plays a big role in how you see the world. So I had some success. I met my wife in college after reading that book. We’ve been married 30 years now, so that’s a good thing. But how I got here today was that my second moment of dawning comprehension is, my degrees in computer science, I was working for a software company and I came home from a business trip and my son, Beau, he was one year old and he kind of gave me the cold shoulder. I’m like, “Hey Beth, what’s going on here with Beau?”

Blaine Oelkers:
She says, “Well, you were gone so long, he kind of forgot who you were.”

Blaine Oelkers:
And I was like, “Whoa, whoa, wait a second.” So that hit me hard. So I realised, I remember when I was a kid, I came home to an empty home because a lot of times my brother wasn’t there and both my parents worked. So that night, I made a clarifying decision that I was going to work from home no matter what. So it took me a year. I started a couple of businesses on the side and built those up. But a year later, I left and that was 27 years ago. So I became this work from home dad and I’ve been doing that for 27 years. But what that afforded me was it gave me the time to work on self development, and I realised maybe in a divine way that I’m here to help people take control of their lives by taking control of themselves.

Blaine Oelkers:
So I started helping organisations, mostly private mastermind groups, helping them to get more stuff done and putting them in little groups and all kinds of things. And they started calling me chief results officer. I said, “Hey, that’s a pretty cool title.” So I went and I got the register, the R with a circle, registered trademark for that. So that’s why I say I’m the world’s only chief results officer, but we have some fun with that. But that gave me the ability to do that, and now thousands, tens of thousands of people I’m in charge of their weekly productivity to make sure that they get stuff done, but also keep it fun.

Paul Green:
Okay. So there’s me talking about Googling it to find out and you’ve already got the trademark. You could have just told me that. That would’ve saved me a hell of a lot of Googling. So you must have an incredible insight into what is happening in the heart and the mind of the average MSP business owner. So most people, not everyone, but most people listening to this podcast, they’re running the business, they’ve got some staff, they certainly have ambitions. They want to grow. Why would you listen to a podcast about business growth and marketing, unless you were ready to step up to something new? But I also know from having spoken to hundreds of them myself, is that there are a series of things that hold them back, and I am willing to bet a dollar that the things that I could reel off that would hold back the average MSP business owner are the things that hold back all business owners.

Blaine Oelkers:
A fair statement. Fair statement. And it comes down into two different categories. One is habits. So we can talk about what I like to call 21-second habits. How to create new habits in 21 seconds, not 21 days. If they told you it takes 21 days to create a new habit, someone lied to you. Sorry. We will debunk that here for you today. But the second one is they need to compress time. So another thing that over the years, what we developed is called the 30-minute hour. So that’s how to get an hour’s worth of stuff done in just 30 minutes.

Blaine Oelkers:
So those, compressing time and habits are the biggest things. And a maybe 10 years ago, I started a company called Selfluence, which is the art and science of influencing yourself. And the good news about both these habits and time compression is that you already know how to do it. Now, I could cite studies and neuroscience and all this stuff, but it’s very self evident. So when we talk about these things today, you’re going to realise, “Yes, I can do this. I can apply this. I’ve already done it before.” And you could master it, but we got to remember, we got to refocus you cause you might have forgot how good you were at habits and how good you were at compressing time. But anyway, we can go on in whichever direction you want to go first.

Paul Green:
Well, let’s explore those. Let’s let’s talk about 21-second habits, because I’ve read a few books, probably I’m guessing nowhere near as many as you have. But one of those is of course Atomic Habits, which I know that you will have read. It’s a great book and it talks about connecting… It’s a more realistic view of connecting things you want to do to other actions and the whole series of other things. But I’m one of those people that’s always believed you need to do something on a regular basis to turn it into habit. So tell us about 21-second habits.

Blaine Oelkers:
All right. So the first thing you realise is that kind of like what you just said, that you are already a habit master, and so we’re going to leverage that. So if you think about what new habit do you want to create now? Like going to the gym? We say create something easy just to get some traction. You can say, “Look, I know I perform better running my business if I get a workout in.”

Blaine Oelkers:
Now, if you say, “I’m going to go do three hours of workout every day,” that’s not going to happen, so start with something easy. Maybe you say 15 minutes. A new habit of working out 15 minutes in the morning before the world attacks you. But figure out what new habit that you want create, but realise that you’re already a habit master at some things.

Blaine Oelkers:
So a lot of times I’ll ask people, how many people brushed their teeth today? And every hand goes up, and you realise you’re already a habit master at things. And so I’ll share two quick stories that will illustrate it. One is my wife, the way I came about this was a long time ago, my wife, unfortunately, she used to have a nearly daily migraine headache. So the doctor said, “Look, you have to keep this log. Like what did you eat? What do you think triggered the headache? What is the barometric pressure? What’s the weather like?” And my wife would keep the log for a couple days, then she would lose it. She would forget to do it. Then she’d get another migraine. Then I’d ask her about it, wrong move. I learned quickly not to ask anything during the migraine time.

Blaine Oelkers:
But one day, what I realised was that she needed to get really consistent about this new habit. So she is a twice-a-day teeth brusher, never misses, never fails. So we just took the headache log, we put the toothbrush and a pen and the toothpaste on top of the headache log, and every day when she would brush her teeth for two minutes, like the dentists recommend, she would fill out that log. And she went 90 days in a row filling out the log because the first key to the 21-second habit is that she habit linked it to something she was already a habit master at. So that 90 days of data help the doctors, and today she can go 2, 3, 4 months without getting a migraine, so we are very blessed in that area.

Blaine Oelkers:
So that’s part one is that you link it to something that you’re already habit master at. There’s a lot of things you do daily, some things you do more than once a day, like brushing your teeth. Some things you do once a day, maybe like your first cup of coffee, things like that. And I can provide people with a whole list of different things you can link to on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

Blaine Oelkers:
And to give you a little bit more deeper power into this, for me, I had two new habits that I wanted to start. One was I wanted to do this Bible app, but the other one was I realised that I needed to take a mind shower every morning. And this really helped me in my business because the world, I don’t know, the news tends to be a little negative, social media tends to be a little bit stressful. And I realised that I eat every day, but how often do I feed my mind? And I take a shower every day, but how often do I wash out my mind? So I wanted to do this thing, what I call a mind shower. So I use an app called Headspace for that, but I wanted to do those two things every day.

Blaine Oelkers:
So then I said, “Okay, what can I have it link to?” And I realised that what’s the first thing I do every day, every morning? I touch my smartphone. I pick up my smartphone. Now, sometimes the alarm’s going off on my smartphone, but, but most times it’s not and I’m waking up and I open up my smartphone. So what I did is I moved all the apps off the front page of my smartphone, and so my homepage, when I opened it up, it was just those two apps, the Bible app, and then this mind shower Headspace app. And I habit linked me opening the phone to doing those two apps.

Blaine Oelkers:
Now, I would like a 10-minute mind shower in the morning, but sometimes I don’t have time, so maybe I’ll just do a three-minute one, but I’m not going to miss it. But here’s why. One is the habit link. But here’s step two. The step two is you need to surf the urge to want to do something. So when I open up my phone, I really want to see, did my kids text me? What’s going on in the business world? Did any orders come in? I have all these business things and personal things that I really want to check on. So I surf that urge and I make myself, I use the energy and the desire to do that, to make sure that I do those two things.

Blaine Oelkers:
So today, this morning was day 1525, I think, in a row that I’ve done that. Now the apps, they track that, which is cool, so I have verified proof of consistency. But I did that. I surfed the urge to want to do that, and the other thing is you can add some leverage saying, “Hey, here’s a reward or penalty,” based on the streak or how many times you do it. Once you get three or four days in a row, you really don’t want to break that streak. So it’s habit linking, but then surfing some type of urge.

Blaine Oelkers:
A third example would be I had one business owner and she’s like, “Blaine, you always tell me that making a plan is going to make my day go better.” 100% of the time it will. But she wasn’t making a daily plan. And I said “Ann, what do you do first thing in the morning?”

Blaine Oelkers:
She goes, “I always have a cup of coffee.”

Blaine Oelkers:
I said, “Is there any day you don’t?”

Blaine Oelkers:
“No.”

Blaine Oelkers:
I said, “Then you habit link the list to the coffee, so before you can take that first sip, you have to at least start the list. I don’t care if you do the list while you drink the coffee. That’s okay. But you start the list before you get to take that first sip.”

Blaine Oelkers:
So she linked it to the coffee, but she surfed the urge to want to drink that coffee, to get herself to do the items. So that’s the 21-second habits and you can link a lot of different things. Start simple, start small, start easy, start things that don’t have a lot of resistance, but then as you get better at it, you can link more and more things, and now I’m like a habit linking machine.

Paul Green:
Yes, yes. And I agree with everything you just said there I’ve done exactly the same myself with my morning routine. For me, it was journaling. I only journaled like five minutes each day, and I actually journal in the mornings about the previous day, which I find a more cathartic experience than at the end of the day. But I’m on day 1296, I think.

Blaine Oelkers:
Nice.

Paul Green:
I know. And nothing, nothing at all is going to let me break that streak. It’s so habit now because there’s this specific cupboard next to my bed. I come out the bathroom in the morning. I’m ready. I put my contact lenses in. Literally, I sit down and without even thinking, that journal comes out, it’s opened up and I’m read and I use a five-year diary. So I actually get a reward of reading what I was thinking about and what I was doing in previous years, which is another really cool way of gameifying it. But I love that.

Blaine Oelkers:
One thing on that is that the neuroscience, just to drive into that a little bit is the neuroscience. You are rewiring your brain when you take that time to journal and you’re looking back over the day before. Let’s say you’re finding the good things from the day before, or the things that new ideas that you might want to use from the day before. You are literally physically rewiring your brain to look for opportunities, to look for good things. So well done to you. And there’s a lot of side benefits to a lot of these habits, because what happens is in the morning especially, you are in the battle of the brain chemicals. And if you can get the good chemicals, the dopamine, the serotonin to out win some of the stress and the cortisol and the other chemicals, you will start to have better and better days. So good on you for that one and it has a lot of side benefits.

Paul Green:
Thank you. Thank you. And that rewiring of the brain you’re, you’re absolutely right. This is one of those interviews where the there’s no conflict, the guest and the host are just having a good chat about things that they agree on. But you’re right on the rewiring. In fact, I once spoke to a brain surgeon about how amazing, regardless of how old we are, our brain is able to rewire things. He would talk about things like if he did necessary brain surgery and he accidentally cut a connection, say to your hands, so your brain couldn’t use your hand, if there was any way that the brain could get through to the hand, it would do it. And it was a process, it’s called neural plasticity and if you think of anything like any kind of physiotherapy that you have, where someone’s trying to help you with a recurring injury, and it’s often about maybe if you hurt your back, because you stand to the left a bit, they’re trying to get you to stand a bit more to the right, it’s neuroplasticity. You’re literally reprogramming your brain.

Paul Green:
And we are doing this every single day. So actually when we sit down on the couch, eating a bag of chips, watching TV every night, and we do that for 20 years, that’s not natural behaviour. Cavemen didn’t do that. So we learned the bad behaviour. But then as you’ve just said, you can actually unlearn bad behaviour and learn good behaviour actually very quickly, which is awesome.

Paul Green:
Right, I want move on. I’m conscious of time. This could be covered two-hour interview, which it’s not going to become because, and that does lead me on 30-minute hours. So you said a few minutes ago that you can get an hour’s worth of work done in 30 minutes. How do you do that?

Blaine Oelkers:
Okay. So this is quite powerful. And just like the 21-second habit, this is going to be self-evident, this is going to be something that you already know how to do. You already know how to compress time. We’re just going to help you remember that. Now, before we unleash this power, I want to make sure that the power is used for good and not for evil. So my question for you is going to be this, let’s say that we did four of these 30-minute hours in a row, so we did four hours of stuff in just two hours. Now that’s going to leave you with a two-hour, guilt-free two-hour time block. And during that time, let’s say we don’t do work.

Blaine Oelkers:
Now, I’m type A, I might put some work in there, but let’s say we’re not going to do work. What are the things you would do with two guilt-free hours? So for me, I like the Peloton bike, so I have that here in my home office. I’d probably ride that. I like to hike, so I might go out for a hike. I like to connect with old friends. And then I work from home and I do like the good old fashioned nap, so I might take a nap. But that’s what I would do if I had these two hours of guilt-free time. What about you?

Paul Green:
I would go for a very long walk. So where I live, it’s just beautiful. There’s so many different walks and two hours, I could walk an hour out and an hour back with different route for each. So I’d go with that. Although, the nap option. Now you mention napping, that sounds nice. I like that.

Blaine Oelkers:
A guilt-free nap. Okay. So everyone, you have something to do, so when you start creating this extra time, what I’m saying is take a little piece of that, whatever you just thought of as the listener, whatever you thought of it, take a little piece of that, and put it back in your day, because it’s going to help you on a number of levels, brain chemical wise too, but also to restore. The biggest thing for business owners too is burnout, and then apathy and a lot of bad things happen when you don’t have some type of rest and recovery. So we want to do that.

Blaine Oelkers:
All right. Let’s talk about the 30-minute hour. So there is actually a day, for some people this day occurs more than once a year, but it’s a day where the average person is three to 10 times more productive than their average day. Now that’s three X to 10 X. We’re looking for two X. We just want to take 60 minutes and chop it down to 30. That’s two X, but there’s a day where you’re three to 10 times more productive than your average day. So do you know which day of the year that is?

Paul Green:
No, I’m not going to guess. You tell me.

Blaine Oelkers:
He’s like, “Oh, okay. I didn’t think Blaine was going to be quizzing me today.” All right.

Paul Green:
Yeah, it’s my job to ask the questions. You’re just supposed to give the answers.

Blaine Oelkers:
That’s right. I was turning the tables there. So that is the day before vacation.

Paul Green:
Ah.

Blaine Oelkers:
So now think about this, on the day before vacation, people are three to 10 times more productive than a regular day. So let’s unpack this. So I have a little acronym to help people unpack it and to create the 30-minute hours. And that acronym is PDF. Now, when I say PDF, most people know, have heard of that, especially managed service providers. The PDF. “Hey, go print out the PDF,” or, “Email me the PDF.” Okay, so here’s a quiz question for you. Just a little tech question. In the tech world, do you know what PDF stands for?

Paul Green:
Portable document format? Is that right?

Blaine Oelkers:
Oh my gosh. I got to give a-

Paul Green:
I’m not even a tech guy.

Blaine Oelkers:
You may have been the first podcast host to get that right. So congratulations.

Paul Green:
Really?

Blaine Oelkers:
Yeah. And I’ve done 40 of them this year, so well done. So that is not what it means for us, but it’s easy to remember. So I want you to think 30-minute hour, day before vacation mode, PDF. Now PDF stands for plan, delegate, focus. So let’s unpack each one of those so people can have the 30-minute hours. So the first one is you plan so much that day before vacations, because it’s so tight, you got to get so much done. You plan typically the day before, typically the day before vacation, people wake up 30 to 60 minutes earlier. So getting up a few minutes, 30, 60 minutes earlier could give you an instant extra 30 minutes in the day right there. But you wake up early, you have a clear vision for the day. You only schedule things for the minimum of time that you need to get it done. You have a clear vision and in the planning stage you’re using the 80/20 rule. So are you familiar with the 80/20 rule? Pareto?

Paul Green:
The Pareto principle. Yeah.

Blaine Oelkers:
Yeah, basically 20% of what you do produces 80% of your results. So in your planning of the day before vacation, you’re working on all 20% stuff, you’re ousting the 80. So that’s the planning aside, clear vision, well planned out. And so if you take that planning, for example, someone will say, “Blaine, could we meet to go over this new project for an hour?”

Blaine Oelkers:
And I’ll say, “Can we do it in 30 minutes?” Nine out of 10 times, they say yes. So just in the planning of my day, I can shrink down the things that are going to take an hour and push them into 30 minutes. Another thing is, in focus, we’ll talk about this too, but sometimes I’ll say, “Look, I got to write a new article.” So I’m writing a new article and I want to spend an hour doing that, but I can say, “Look, let me try to get that done in 30 minutes.” Now, there’s something we’re going to talk about here called single tasking, that would allow me to do that. But anyway, from the planning stage, I’m just scrunching things down and you’re saving time again with that day before vacation flare. So that’s plan.

Blaine Oelkers:
Delegate. The day before vacation, people delegate more than almost any other day of the year because they have to, because they know they can’t get it all done. And I like to say they think who before the do. Think who before do. So before you go do something, think who else can do that thing? So there’s a lot of delegation that goes on and a lot of deferring that goes on. So you can create some 30-minute hours just by delegating more. My wife also works from home and she’ll be like, “Hey, I’m going out. Can I run some errands for you?”

Blaine Oelkers:
Boom. “Could you take these packages? Could you pick this up?” She just gave me the 30-minute hour because I delegated away 30 minutes or really maybe I delegated to her an hour of my time. So she gave me two 30-minute hours there. But looking for that delegation and looking for that deferment onto other people, or maybe even out into the future, if it’s a low value, low priority task, so plan, delegate.

Blaine Oelkers:
But the biggest 30-minute hours come from your focus. On the day before vacation, you have this weird fierce focus and it’s this take no prisoner focus. So there’s this one word that you use more in the day before vacation than any other day, and it’s only two letters, and it’s the word no. And so people say, “Blaine, can you to this?”

Blaine Oelkers:
“No, no, no, no. I’m going on vacation. I’m out of here.” So use that word no a lot more and realise the things you don’t do on the day before vacation. You’re not watching the Netflix eating the chips on the couch, no chit chat, no long emails, no shiny objects, no getting lost in the internet. You’re not doing any of that stuff. You have this fierce focus and you stay on schedule. And typically, because your time is so limited, you use timers. So that’s another one. I use a lot of timers during the day. I have a little sign in my office that says, “Day before vacation mode, PDF,” to help me remember that fierce focus, I keep that. So I use a lot of timers. I’ll just tell Siri, I’ve got an iPhone, “Set a timer for 15 minutes, 30 minutes.” Whatever it is, but I’m using those timers.

Blaine Oelkers:
The other thing on the day before vacation with your focus is you become a tasking master and there’s three types of tasking that can generate 30-minute hours. One is single tasking, multitasking and batch tasking. So single tasking, that’s like what I talked about, you’re going to write an article or you have to put a contract together or a bid proposal, stuff only you can do as the business owner. So what you do is you can get an hour’s worth of that stuff done in 30 minutes if you single focus on that. What I mean by that is the phone goes in airplane mode, as scary as it may seem, but you turn off all the distractions.

Blaine Oelkers:
You tell people, “This is the time I’m doing the contracts to proposals that have to get done. I’ll talk to you in an hour,” or every day at 11:00. We’ll have a little meeting but before that from 9:00 to 11:00, I’m going to be working on this stuff where you shut out the world and you turn off all the rings, dings and bings and all the internet windows, all that stuff, and you single focus. I’m telling you, you can get an hour’s worth of stuff done in 30 minutes by using that highly concentrated undistracted single focus.

Blaine Oelkers:
The second way you can have the 30-minute hour in tasking is multitasking, which gets a bad rap. People say you can’t do it, it’s bad for you. But here’s the deal on multitasking. Multitasking is when you can do two things at the same time without sacrificing the quality of either one. So for example, I have to drive somewhere on the day before vacation, it’s going to take me 30 minutes. I could listen to my favourite ’80s rock music, that’s one option, or I can make those two or three calls that I know I need to make. So while I’m driving the car, I’ve got hands-free phone, I’m very safe about it, but I can make phone calls and drive the car, both with high quality.

Blaine Oelkers:
I used to love to have family time, but I love to exercise. So taught the family how to play tennis, and then we’d go out for an hour’s worth of family time and tennis. Combined in one, I got two hours of stuff done instead of exercising separately. So you are looking for that. Maybe you’re doing housework or you’re going for a walk, and you can listen to great podcasts like this. There are times where you can do two things without sacrificing the quality.

Blaine Oelkers:
And then the last one is batch tasking, and that’s where you batch things together. So day before vacation, you got three errands. You’re not going to run an errand, come back, run an errand, come back. No, you batch them all together. The same thing though, works for telephone calls. Batch them together, you’re much more efficient. You can get hour’s worth of calls done that if you, if you were going to spread those out throughout the day, push it all into one time block. So you can batch.

Blaine Oelkers:
Also, you can batch by computer work, phone work, and also you can batch by context to people. And what I mean by that is my wife and I, since we both work from home, we could interrupt each other all day, but we don’t. We have a little shared note in our iPhone, and when we think of something for them, we put in that note. And then we typically have lunch together, then when we’re by that person, with that person, then we have this whole list and we haven’t interrupted them all day long. So if you’re working with staff, having that office hours time set, but having your single focus time, single batching time set, as well as that batch timing, where they do have access to you is really a big saver.

Blaine Oelkers:
And there’s other things you can do technology wise. You and I talk pretty fast. I don’t know if they could listen to this episode at one-and-half-times speed, but some people can. Some people can, so that works. And the last thing is that the overarching day before vacation mode is that it releases the inner perfectionist in you because done is better than perfect. You got to get it done, you’re going out of town. And if you bring some of that back in bring some of that back into your daily life, you will get twice as much done in half the time, and you will take 60 minutes and put it down into 30 minutes.

Paul Green:
Blaine, thank you so much for your time. You are, of course, the chief results officer, the only chief results officer in the whole world. Just remind us how we can get in touch with You.

Blaine Oelkers:
Yeah. Easiest thing is just opt in for my TEDx Talk. So Blaine B-L-A-I-N-E- TEDx, T-E-D-X .com, and we’ll get connected there. And if I can help you in any way, happy to do it.

Harry Brelsford:
Hi, I’m Harry Brelsford, founder of SMB Nation. I’ve got special permission to recommend my own book, The Pocket MBA. It’s a book that does the finder, minder, grinder professional services model, and it’s for all of us that don’t want or need a real expensive MBA. You can find more information, it’s a vanity domain named pocket.mba. That’s pocket.mba

Mike Andrews:
Hi, this is Mike Andrews from NovaBACKUP. I’ve been in the backup and data protection industry for 25 years. Next week, we’ll be going back to the origins of cloud backup and bring us today as it pertains to MSPs. We’ll be discussing the challenges evolving within the ever-changing market and the future of where backup is heading.

Paul Green:
Do subscribe wherever you listen to this podcast so you never miss an episode. On top of Mike’s interview next week, we’ll be talking about standard operating procedures, and I’ve got a very clever idea for you to build a whole bank of them and systemise your MSP one day at a time. We’re also going to be talking about something called authority sites. What are they, and how would you use them to attract new prospects with your MSPs marketing? We’ve got a ton more content for you as well over on YouTube, just go to youtube.com/mspmarketing. Join me next Tuesday and have a very profitable week in your MSP.

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