Episode 150: This is how to influence your MSP's prospects

Episode 150: This is how to influence your MSP’s prospects

Paul Green

Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Episode 150: This is how to influence your MSP's prospects
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Episode 150 includes:

  • 00:00 Three more powerful marketing weapons to influence your prospects
  • 08:47 How to best help your staff during the cost of living crisis
  • 19:00 Some great advice about collaboration and time management, as part of the Ultimate MSP podcast crossover event
  • 22:06 A new vCIO revenue stream for your MSP
  • 37:31 A great book recommendation about getting the most out of your day

Featured guests:

Richard Tubb shares his business advice on Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast

As part of this month’s Ultimate MSP podcast crossover event, thank you to Richard Tubb, the host of TubbTalk, for joining Paul to share the best piece of business advice he’s ever been given.

Richard provides expert advice to help IT businesses grow. Richard has worked with the owners of hundreds of MSPs to free up their time, concentrate on doing what is important and make more money.

Connect with Richard on LinkedIn:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/richardtubb/

 

Praveen Ramesh shares his business advice on Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast

Thanks also goes to Praveen Ramesh from SuperOps.ai and the host of SuperPod, for also joining Paul to share the best piece of business advice he’s ever been given.

Praveen handles all things growth and product marketing at SuperOps.ai. He’s super passionate about helping MSPs overcome their go-to-market challenges, and achieve sustainable growth – that’s the reason you will see him sharing everything he knows about marketing and growth throughout many MSP communities. When not thinking about marketing, you will see him binging videos on productivity and cricket!

Connect with Praveen on LinkedIn:
https://in.linkedin.com/in/rameshpraveen

Find out more about this September’s Ultimate MSP podcast crossover event, including the $1000 prize:
https://www.paulgreensmspmarketing.com/MSPpodcastcrossover

 

Stuart Holtby is a featured guest on Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast

Thank you to Stuart Holtby from GetInSync Strategic Management for joining Paul to discuss a potential new vCIO revenue stream for your MSP.

MSPs turn to Stuart when they are fed up with being treated as a faceless vendor caught in the MSP commodity trap. Stuart works closely with MSP owners to differentiate their firms by offering an exceptional vCIO service.  Using the GetInSync framework, MSPs gain a clear line-of-sight to their clients’ business drivers and are empowered to craft a game-changing Business-IT strategy for their clients.

Connect with Stuart on LinkedIn:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/stuartholtby/

Extra show notes:

Episode transcription

Voiceover:
Fresh every Tuesday.

Paul Green:
For MSPs around the world, this is Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast.

Paul Green:
We’ve hit a big milestone this week. Welcome to episode 150 of the podcast, here’s what we got coming up for you this week.

Stuart Holtby:
Hi, I’m Stuart and. We’ll be talking about how you can take your PCI, practice up a notch and make more money.

Paul Green:
That’s my guest Stuart Holtby, and he’s here to talk about VCIO, virtual chief information officer. It should be or could be a revenue and profit stream in every MSP. We’re going to be talking about that later on in the show. I’ve also got an idea for you to help your staff. It’s a way of helping them with the cost of living crisis that we’re going through right now, but it’s also a way of showing to them that you really care. It’s a simple idea. Won’t cost you a huge amount of money or reveal it to you later on in the podcast,

Voiceover:
Paul Green’s MSP marketing podcast.

Paul Green:
Last week on the show, I introduced you to three very clever weapons of influence, and they come from a book called Influence by Dr. Robert Cialdini, a psychology professor who focuses on marketing. Now I’ve got three more of those weapons to tell you about this week. So last week we looked at social proof, reciprocity and commitment and consistency. And the first we’re looking at today is liking. If someone likes you, you will be in a better position to influence them. And just like last week, we were saying all of the weapons of influence we were talking about were essentially core psychology. They talked to our core programming. So too does liking because our core programming that drives us today is the same programming that we had in caves a hundred thousand years ago.

Paul Green:
And of course, back then we were in the middle of the food chain. So things ate us. There were also no police officers. So people would kill us. Could meet someone one loud, walking down a country lane. If the dinosaurs donate you, some other kind of cave dweller can come up to you and smack you on the head with a club. And there’s no consequence. There’s absolutely zero consequence.

Paul Green:
So that’s why we evolved the ability to instantly gauge whether or not we like someone or whether we are fearful of them. And we still have this today. When you meet people and you shake hands with them, we do form an instant sort of appreciation of whether or not this person is safe or not safe. We call it gut feel, but it’s actually the thing that’s kept us alive. And of course, because our ancestors back in cave days carry bread, and it’s weird to think that you’ve got family from a hundred thousand years ago that lived in caves. Anyway, you get the idea. So we are the evolution of that sense of feel. That sense of acceptance, that emotional gut feel because obviously we are the survivors and that makes sense from an evolution point of view.

Paul Green:
So if someone likes you, particularly, if they like you a lot, then you are much more likely to be able to influence them. Now, this is why in your marketing, you need to put you everywhere. I need to see photos of you. I need to see videos of you. I need to learn more about your story and not your boring computer story. I first got an Amigo in 1982, please do write to the usual address to tell me it came out in 1987 or whatever is the case.

Paul Green:
But I want to know about your real story. Why do you live in the city where you are? What is it about that city? You love show me your other half. Show me your kids. Tell me what you do. What are you involved in? How do you give back to the community? No one can get to like you if you are hiding behind a brand and a website and stock images, you’ve got to show people the real. You know that when you go and sit down with a prospect and you talk about their business, they bond with you in some way, they’re not picking your MSP, that picking you. And they’re doing that because they’ve formed a relationship with you. They’ve realised they like you over a couple of meetings. We can actually start doing that earlier on through our marketing. And it’s why we know that people buy from people, so show the people, the people it’s as simple as that.

Paul Green:
Now the next one that we’ve got is authority. So people in a position of authority are much more likely to influence. In the old days. This was why doctors, medical doctors wore white coats, because if you had a white coat you were an authority figure. It’s why the police, it’s why lots of people wear uniforms because uniforms set up a sense of authority within us. Now you can build authority as well. And the good news is you don’t need to wear a uniform. But what you do need to do is to act like an authority figure, authority figures write, they create books. They write blog articles. They write on LinkedIn, they write LinkedIn newsletters. They record videos. They do podcasts. They do talks and things. Authority figures are content creators. You can put those two things together. And this has been the case for a hundred years or so. This is not just a new internety thing.

Paul Green:
It is simply the case that we perceive high quality content creators to be authority figures. In fact, it’s one of the reasons why in my MSP marketing edge program, we give a series of resources to our members to help them catapult themselves into an authority figure position. So for example, we give them an IT services buyers guide, which they can tailor to their MSP and pretend that they wrote it. We give them a book called email hijack, which again, they can put their name on the front. It shows that they are a published author and we give them help doing presentations and talks. And of course, a load of video content as well. So we make it really easy to be an authority figure. People prefer buying from authority figures and are certainly more easily influenced by them. And then we’ve got the final of Cialdini’s six weapons of influence.

Paul Green:
And that final one is scarcity. When there is only a finite amount of something left, it forces us to make an opinion whether or not we want it. So restaurants will use this against us. They will say, for example, here’s the menu, just a couple of things. This is ours, this is ours, and this, we are down to the last two of those because a good restaurant does run out of dishes. And they’re not just taking out the freezer and microwaving them. And if you have a party of four and a waiter says, “We’re down to the last two of this dish,” all of that party, four instantly thinking they’ve got to make a decision of, do I want that or not? And then there’s that awkward standoff isn’t there, where three people in the party want to have it. And it’s like, no, no, no, you have it I’ll have the Curry or whatever is the case.

Paul Green:
Now, how would you use scarcity in your MSP? Because the reality is you have very little scarcity. It’s software doesn’t run out, does it? I know the number of licenses run out, but you just buy more licenses. And we’ve kind of had a bit of scarcity with hardware, with the supply chain disruption, but that’s not a long term thing. I prefer to deal in long term stuff in the podcast, because that stays relevant to you. Even if you’re listening to this in the year 2032, welcome to you from the future if you’re listening to this in 2032. If you are, could you email me if I’m not retired or dead or something? Hello at Paul Green’s MSP marketing.com would just be really cool to hear from someone in the future. Anyway, it’s a hot summer evening as I’m recording this, I think the weather’s get into my brain.

Paul Green:
The scarcity that you’ve got within your MSP, the only scarcity is project time, technician time. So I think scarcity can be leveraged when you’re doing your strategic reviews with your existing clients and you’re talking to them about their roadmap, we mentioned roadmaps last week in the podcast as well. Roadmaps are great because you get someone to sign it or if they’re committing themselves to it.

Paul Green:
A technology roadmap can also be great for getting them to make a decision. Hey look, you said, you want to do this, this and this. That’s going to be 80 hours of project time. We don’t have that time now, the earliest we can do is three months time. Did you want to do it in three months or did you want to book it in for, let’s say spring next year? And you can actually get people to make a commitment to, if you like, reserve the scarcity, the only scarce resource you’ve got, which is your project time. So please do go and have a look at this book Influence by dr. Robert Cialdini, it’s on Audible. It’s a dry read, but it’s a great read. And there are so many cool marketing and psychology things that you’ll learn from it.

Voiceover:
Here’s this week’s clever idea.

Paul Green:
Weirdly considering it was how I made my living for the first few years of my adult career, I kind of try and avoid the news now. And I don’t know about you, but I find the general news just to be very negative, especially at the moment the cost of everything’s going up, inflation’s going up interest rates, no one can afford to buy a loaf of bread. It’s an absolute nightmare. And I just choose to insulate myself from that. So I want to know what’s going on, but I just don’t want the general negativity pushing down on me. Maybe you are the same. I find a lot of business owners are very similar in this way, but of course I am aware of the cost of living crisis. Certainly that’s what we’re calling it here in the UK, wherever you are, maybe you are experiencing a similar thing.

Paul Green:
I know within the US, there’s a similar thing happening as we in the US just a few weeks ago and lots of talk of inflation and gas prices going up. And the reality is it is having an impact on ordinary people. The cost of living, just being around every day, it’s costing more. And as a side note, I don’t think this is something you should worry about for your business. Even as we go into recessions, I hate saying that recession word, but this recessions are cyclical. They come round. It doesn’t really matter. All the recession means is instead of the growth line being slightly up, the growth line is slightly down. It doesn’t really mean anything. Yes, it’s going to impact some of your clients. Yes. You may use a client. You may use some lose some users as some of your clients shrink down.

Paul Green:
I see recessions as opportunities, because if you are fast and fun and you’re full of energy and you’re going for it and the kind of person that listens to a podcast like this is that kind of person, I think this is an opportunity. There’s lots of old, slow MSPs out there that aren’t changing. They’re not reviewing what they do and adding new services and keeping up to date. Even in the six years that I’ve been in this world of MSPs in the channel, everything has changed and everything is going to change every, I think, seven to 10 years in our world. So I think if you are staying on top of stuff and you proactively marketing and you’re doing things, you honestly have nothing to worry about. If anything, you are going to take clients, you’re going to win more new clients and you will come out of this recession better and bigger than you were going in.

Paul Green:
And there are literally thousands of case studies of businesses that were built or grew hugely during bad economic times. It doesn’t all have to be doom and gloom, but that’s a side note. That’s not really what I want to talk about. What I want to talk about is the impact of the cost of living on your team. You see, as the business owner, you have the ability to take money out of the business anytime you need to, so long as there is money there, of course. But we do this as business owners. If there’s money in the bank account, we can dip into that bank account and we can take some of that money out. Of course the accountants and the bean accountants have got to make it right somewhere, but we have access to cash. And we forget as business owners, certainly when you’ve been doing it for a while. And I’ve been doing this since 2005, which is a very long time and you kind of forget what it’s like to be on a fixed income, which is what probably the vast majority of your team are.

Paul Green:
There is an amount of money that they earn. And when that money is gone, they either have to borrow that money or they have to find a way to earn some extra money. It’s a fixed income. So for people on a fixed income, when the cost of living goes up, when petrol store gas prices are going up, when energy prices, general food prices, transport, when all of that goes up, even if it’s just by a little bit, when you’re on a fixed income, then obviously that has an impact. Now you already probably give pay rises to your staff and certainly on a regular basis, that’s something you should be doing because of the cost of living is going up.

Paul Green:
But pay rises are expensive and I’m actually not a fan at all of just handing out pay rises willy-nilly. The idea that everyone should get a three, four, 5% pay rise every year, just because they’d stayed with you for another year, I don’t believe in that. I believe that you give the best people pay rises and you give them big, generous pay rises on an irregular basis, but I’m not suggesting you give your team an extra pay rise. What I am suggesting is that if you choose to make a one off award, give them a one off payment to help them with the cost of living. Now, the reason you’d call it a one off payment is you don’t want them to think that this is something you’re going to do on a regular basis because the problem with bonuses, or pay raises is if they happen on a regular basis is people come to expect them.

Paul Green:
If you give them a 3% pay raise every February say then every February comes around, people are expecting that pay rise. And I’ve seen MSPs get to reposition where they’re having to justify to their staff why they can’t give them a pay this year. And because the business hasn’t performed so well, it’s crazy. Shouldn’t be like that. So you could make a one off payment to your team to help with the cost of, or the rising cost of living. And that might be a few hundred pounds, a few hundred dollars, whatever is comfortable to you. But really importantly, you just give them that as a one off. I mean, what you could do is you could time it carefully. For example, here in the UK, gas and electricity prices have gone up quite dramatically. After years of them being sort of artificially capped by the government or something like that, but they’ve gone up and they’re going up again in this fall, this autumn and they’re going to go up again in the new year.

Paul Green:
And a lot of people are paying twice as much now for their gas, electricity than they were paying before. So it would make sense if you were in the UK, for example, to time your one off payment, to the point at which those bills go up and if we look at what this actually is, it’s you saying to your staff, “I understand, I understand that the cost of living has gone up and here is a one off bit of money just to help you out.”

Paul Green:
Now, if they choose to go and spend it on a PlayStation and not on electricity, that’s their choice. That’s nothing to do with you. The point is that you are showing them empathy. We talked about empathy. Didn’t we? A number of weeks ago in the podcast, you are empathising with your team and their position.

Paul Green:
Now, if you are going to pay it, let’s say in two lumps, so lump in one month and lump couple of months later, what you should do if you decide to do this is you should tell them about it now. So you might say to them, “Hey guys, I’m going to do a payment to help you with the cost of living in two months time, I’m going to give you this much, two months after that, I’m going to give you that much.” Why would you tell them about that now? Because you get the benefit, in fact, you get three big benefits. You get the wow factor of telling them, let’s hope they don’t listen to this podcast, the wow factor of you telling them, and you’re showing that you’re in tune, then you get the payment and then you get the second payment. So you get three sort of emotional benefits from you making that payment.

Paul Green:
I think you should do this with pay raises and bonuses as well. If you’re going to give someone a bonus, tell them about it a month before they get the cash so you get two impacts from it. If it’s pay rises and announce it two months before, so you get all of the emotional benefits and the desire to retain, the desire to stay. Obviously retention is something we all have to think about right now because of how difficult it is to recruit technicians. Have a think about that. What would be a reasonable amount of money? I don’t know. I think that depends for you talking to some UK MSPs a couple of weeks ago, we said probably around about 500 pounds, which is about $600 maybe, would be a generous thing. Obviously split into two payments for cash flow. Depends how many staff you’ve got depends how much the cost of living has gone up.

Paul Green:
One of the MSPs I work with says all of his technicians, they live with mom and dad. And so what’s the point of giving them money to help with the electricity bills, because it’s never going to get to the electricity bill. They’re going to spend it on beer and games. So I completely get that. So I think you do it in your own situation. Just want final aside on this, if you are in the UK, there is also a tax benefit which gives the benefit, I think it’s around six pounds a week. So all of your staff can fill in a form and we’ll put a link to this in the show notes, all of your staff can fill in a form and online through the government gateway thing. And basically they tell the government that they work from home on a regular basis, which I’m sure they do.

Paul Green:
They do don’t they do. Yes they do. So they will then get the equivalent of, I think it’s a tax benefit, but it’ll save them the equivalent of six pounds a week. Well that adds up six pounds a week, six pounds a month. I can’t remember it’s six pounds or something. It’s free money. So it’s free money for working from home and they don’t have to fill in a tax return, which is critical because ordinary employees hate filling in tax returns. We do it because we have to, most people will choose not to do it, but they literally just fill in a form and it adjusts their tax code thing. So we’ll put a link to that in the UK, wherever you are in the world, it’s perhaps worth having a look at your local tax laws just to see, is there any kind of work from home benefit or allowance or something or is there anything else?

Paul Green:
Can you help your team to claim that kind of allowance? Certainly for that UK one, because it requires people sitting down filling in a form. I would recommend if you are going to do that, you actually sit down with your team and do it. You could do it as a team thing and over lunch, it takes like 10 minutes to do, but you are kind of almost forcing them to do it, to save them money at no cost to you, but they get a bit of extra benefit. So you go and have a look and see what local benefits there are available to you in your local area.

Voiceover:
The ultimate MSP podcast crossover.

Paul Green:
Just before we get to this week’s big interview, we’ve got something a little bit different for you. September is such an important month for growing your business because people come back from their summer, vacations, their holidays and they kind of get their head down and plow on with doing as much as they can to grow their business throughout the next few months, before we get to the Christmas break. Now the ordinary business owners are managers that you want to reach, they’re doing that right now, which makes it a great opportunity for you to reach out to them, because this is the point, they’re starting to make their big plans and implement them. So I’ve got together with a bunch of other great MSP podcasters around the world and together we are sharing our knowledge, our best ideas throughout September. Today it’s Richard Tub and Pravin Ramesh.

Pravin Ramesh:
Hey folks, this is Pravin Ramesh from SuperOps.ai. I’m super excited to be part of this ultimate MSP podcast crossover event happening in September. And as part of this, I wanted to share the one piece of advice that I have followed being part of a startup and in my personal life as well. We grossly overestimate what we can do in the short term and highly underestimate what we can do in the long term, and when I say short term, it’s like six months, one year, and when I say long term, it’s five years, 10 years. So it’s these unsexy little things, boring tasks done with deliberate practice and deliberate improvement over time, that ensures that your results starting and leads to massive success. I think as humans and as businesses, we grossly underestimate the power of compounding. And once they realise that when someone gave me this advice, my life changed forever.

Voiceover:
The ultimate MSP podcast crossover.

Richard Tub:
Hey Richard Tub here, the host of Tub Talk the podcast for IT consultants. Now we are celebrating the ultimate MSP crossover event all through September. So here’s the best piece of business advice I’ve ever been given. Don’t try to do this alone. Running a managed service provider business can be a hugely rewarding endeavor, but it can be a lonely tough slog. One way to mitigate this and accelerate your growth is to seek out like-minded individuals and communities. For instance, I’d highly recommend you attend a local peer group where you can speak to other MSP owners about your challenges and fast track your solutions. You can also get involved in communities like the tech tribe and CompTIA, where you soon realize that your fellow MSP owners can help you.

Richard Tub:
You might also seek out mentors and coaches, people who have been there and done that. In short, don’t try to do this on your own. You can grow your business a lot faster and have a lot more fun. If you seek out people to surround yourself with, for advice and encouragement. Now I’ll be back on that ultimate MSP crossover show on the 30th of September. And remember you can win $1,000 by posting about our crossover on LinkedIn. Use the hashtag MSP podcast crossover to enter the drawing.

Voiceover:
The big, big interview.

Stuart Holtby:
So hi, I’m Stuart Holtby and I’m from GetInSync and I’m here to help IT professionals get unstuck and get in sync.

Paul Green:
And what we mean by that of course is helping them to win lots more business, which we’re going to talk about later on in the interview. Now you are an MSP owner yourself, Stuart. So tell us a little bit about your background. How did you get started and what kind of business are you running now?

Stuart Holtby:
Yeah, when I started Paul, we weren’t really called on MSP. So I started in 1989 and yes, that’s correct, 1989, that’s before cell phones and internet. So carried a pager and did all that. And we built our business on the burgeoning course of networking. That’s how we began well back. Some of your listeners will know Novel and I think that’s kind of gone by the dinosaur, but we used to be the Novel certified partner. And of course then back then it was really novel to connect two or more computers and share a printer. And that’s how we grew. So we grew to about 35 employees and then moved into the dot com space and everyone knows the history of that. And so when we hit the dot com we shrank back down to smaller size and that’s where we are now.

Paul Green:
Okay. And what was the point that you shifted your business model away from the old fashioned break fix and more into managed services?

Stuart Holtby:
Well, we started amount of services, sort the mid, like I said, 1995. They didn’t really call it MSP back then we called it virtual IT. So we were your virtual IT group and you could actually obviously contact us. And back then it was kind of a weird financial model because you used to have a bank of money with us and then you would draw from that. So it was kind of almost like a prepaid service, but it was not really kind of geared as a monthly recurring revenue. It was more along the lines. So we knew that was a zero sum game because we had to sit around for the phone to ring for us to make money. And someone had to have a problem for us to make money. So, that’s just a completely zero sum game. So that’s when we started moving into that more, I guess, what is now called managed services. And so we moved into that in the late nineties, but we also moved into the dot com business and started doing websites, web portals, and pretty much driven by customer need.

Paul Green:
Sure. And today would you say you’ve got the standard… I’m going to put standard in speech marks, but the standard managed services model, so monthly recurring revenue and they pay you a fee, whether or not there’s a problem, and of course you’re doing proactive work as well. Is that the model that you’re up today?

Stuart Holtby:
Well, actually it’s interesting. We’ve sort of moved away from all of the actual speeds and feeds, wires and pliers, and we really turned the business into what is, I think, referred to as a virtual CIO. We like to call it more key account management or fractional CIO whereby, more on the consulting side. So digital transformation and we are really turning around it teams and their organizations. So senior executives usually bring us in when their IT isn’t working the way they want. And so we work closely with MSPs and we help them get them unstuck and get out of rut, show them sort a fresh way of thinking and particularly leveraging that digital transformation to develop new business for their clients.

Voiceover:
Sure, sure. So we’re going to talk about your platform, GetInSync in a little while, first of all, just go back and explore this VCIO. Now I’m guilty of letting that phrase come out now and again, in the podcast, VCIO. Now we all know, most of us know what it means, virtual chief information officer, but it’s one thing to understand what the acronym stands for and it’s another thing to actually understand what that means. Assume that I’m a seven year old, teach me what a VCIO is. Tell me I was a seven year old, Stuart.

Stuart Holtby:
It’s really designed to take a practical view of how technology can make a business more money. That’s it in a nutshell. So what I mean by that is that instead of focusing on speeds and feeds, wires and pliers, let’s talk about growing revenues, so the top line, let’s talk about shrinking expense, so the bottom line, or what’s really in the news these days is reducing risk. So that’s fortifying your environment so you’re protected against the bad guys.

Paul Green:
And I assume that because this is a more strategic thing, you are taking a higher level approach and therefore you are charging a lot more, even though you are doing less stuff for the clients.

Stuart Holtby:
Yeah. It’s not, it’s mostly that strategic element whereby you’re aligning the business’s strategy with the IT strategy. And so if the business, for example, let’s just say, for example, one of their initiatives is to be more environmentally friendly. Well, that’s sometimes lost on the traditional IT guys. They’re like, well, that doesn’t mean anything to me. Well, but then it does because how can you be more environmentally friendly by providing unique technologies? Well perhaps you can digitize all the paper in the organization, and if you’re by digitizing all the paper, you’re actually saving the environment. So there’s a number of ways you can connect those initiatives that look a little fuzzy to the historical or the traditional IT guy and you can kind of relate it back to how you’re going to push that or that thrust forward for the business.

Voiceover:
And what kind of business owner or what kind of management team really thrive with that kind of service?

Stuart Holtby:
The IT leadership are looking for that coaching and teams of IT managers really are looking for that variety of pertinent topics that help that business succeed. And what I mean by that is that usually we get some tremendous success and people rave about our work from the way that we approach it in terms of our operating model. So what we look at is how can we leverage what you own already within your organization? So it’s kind of those hidden IT assets. A lot of technology gets underutilized. So what we’re trying to do is really turn on the technology you already have and really make that resource, if you will, available to the business. Does that make sense?

Paul Green:
Makes perfect sense. So you have a platform called GetInSync, which you supply to MSPs and it allows MSPs, well, tell me if I’ve got this correct that your platform allows MSPs to identify, sell and deliver these VCRO services. Have I got that right?

Stuart Holtby:
Hundred percent. And so what it does is it really provides that… We know it’s hard for it professionals to really get that client’s business strategy. And because often it’s, I don’t know, fuzzy. So there’s a really good saying your strategy needs a strategy. But so what we do is we have this GetInSync platform that’s specifically designed for MSPs to help it professionals really see their high level business opportunities and help their clients make that smart it investment and grow their company. Most MSPs turn to GetInSync when they need to gain a clear line of sight to the business drivers and really implement and craft a game changing business IT strategy that delivers business innovation. So we often see the differentiators there are really… MSPs are being more commoditized, and so this gives them a unique differentiator so they can have more of a face because I think one of the biggest risks with MSPs is they’re becoming that faceless vendor caught in the MSP what I call commodity trap.

Paul Green:
Yeah, yeah, totally. And more of a commodity you become the less value people see in what you do, which is quite ironic really. Obviously you’ve gone from being a supplier to ordinary businesses to actually creating this platform to help MSPs. What was your a-ha moment for want of a better phrase, the moment when you realized, hang on, there’s an issue here. There’s a problem. And I could build something or create something to fix that problem.

Stuart Holtby:
Well, it was interesting because in the rush to help our customers, we’d always get them what they asked for, but then we discovered it wasn’t what they needed. And they were very frustrated with that. And so we needed a way in which to understand their true needs and get their real requirements. And so the only way that we could do that is by putting in a decision management system, which is what GetInSync is, to really take that frustration away. Often the old story, person gets off the aircraft with a magazine and says, “Get me one of them.” Well, it’s really not what you need, but it’s what you’re asking for. So it’s really frustrating dealing with that and the other a-ha moment was we were frustrated with giving away all the advice for free.

Stuart Holtby:
So I think what’s unfortunate, MSPs, there’s gold all around their feet. They’re just not picking it up because the other a-ha moment was we got introduced to a strategic consultant from a very large charted accounting firm and he came in and our client introduced me as the IT guy, “Well meet our IT guy. This is our new strategic consultant.” Wait, wait a minute. Why aren’t you asking me? Because they didn’t know. They didn’t know we did that kind of service. We could provide that kind of or perform those kind of functions. So again, we are faceless to the business. So that was the other a-ha moment.

Paul Green:
So this is really about taking things that almost any MSP can do the ability and knowledge and actually repackaging it in a way where it has a higher perceived value for the clients.

Stuart Holtby:
That’s right. And we have some MSPs that are charging. Like I always say to them, close the front door, close the back door service the calling you already have. And so we have some MSPs that are charging 5,000 a month for fractional CIO services. And the customers are delighted by the fact that they can hire and get a CIO for what it would normally cost them at half the price. So they see it as a super discount. And think of it, fractional CIO or strategic account management is what we like to frame it as more so it’s that key account management is really what it’s about. So sometimes the client doesn’t even need to know you’re being a fractional CIO to them. You know what I’m saying?

Paul Green:
What stops more MSPs from selling this high level consulting, this high level strategy work? Do you think it’s confidence?

Stuart Holtby:
It’s that, but it’s also, I acknowledge that it’s not for the faint of heart. You’re being called into the boardroom. You’re getting out of the server room and getting into the boardroom. It can be, but with the GetInSync method, we prepare you for all of that. So we take you through an eight part framework, we call it the eight eights where you advocate, orchestrate, facilitate, iterate, integrate. It goes on. But the point being is that we prepare you for all that so that you have confidence, like you say, it is a bit of a lack of confidence and we acknowledge it’s not for the faint of heart, like I say so, but we prepare you for all of that. And really it’s to get rid of the unhealthy perceptions of MSPs, what they have today, because there’s a lot of really, really strong people within these MSPs that we’ve come and it’s a diamond in the rough.

Paul Green:
Yeah, I love that. There’s something you said earlier about, there’s plenty of gold at your feet. You just got to go and pick that gold up, which I think is an epic phrase. So tell us a little bit more about the GetInSync platform. So is it a mixture of training and support? How exactly does it work?

Stuart Holtby:
Well, it’s traditionally known I guess if you will, in the IT world as portfolio management. So it’s IT portfolio management, but it’s more than that. It’s an akin to QBRs, so quarterly business reviews. We take all of the information that we know about the client and we put it into the GetInSync framework, into the platform, which it comes with awesome SAS tools and so forth. And then what happens is that the rich information starts to, if you will, bubble up into this dashboard and gives you that strategic capability to make really informed decisions.

Stuart Holtby:
So what we’re saying is the QBRs are sort of dead. It’s an outdated approach because think of brushing your teeth every quarter and thinking you have good hygiene, you know what I mean? What we’re trying to say is that you need to be doing this in a real time, kind of having that real time dashboard and information at your fingertips, to be able to pivot with the business and understand what their real pains are, what client are they trying to land? What revenue or goals are they trying to meet and then really tailor the IT investments to meet those challenges of your client. So, like I say, it really opens you up and endears you to the client because of course you’re talking their business.

Paul Green:
And the best way to support someone or sell something to them is to be in their shoes to understand what their priorities are, their fears, their worries, and their needs. So this is great stuff. So Stuart, tell us what your website address is, and what’s the best way to get in touch with you.

Stuart Holtby:
So the website is getinsync.ca. So spelled exactly as it said, and you can also reach out to me on LinkedIn. So it’s Stewart with a U Stuart Holtby, H-O-L-T-B-Y. Reach out to me on LinkedIn and we can get you plugged in and have that great conversation, how you can pick up that gold. And again, the necessity is what? The motherhood of invention did I say that correctly? So this was exactly what we did after the dot com blowout, and we just tried to bring that enterprise thinking into midsize and smaller businesses and been very successful at getting, like I say, folks really rave about it and you get endeared to them. Because now, like I say, you’re talking about their business.

Voiceover:
Paul Green’s MSP marketing podcast. This week’s recommended book.

Adam Wood:
Hi, this is Adam Wood. My book recommendation is Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning. You win the morning. You’re going to win the day and help more people.

Voiceover:
Coming up, coming up next week.

George Smith:
Hi everyone. George Smith here from Augmentt. Join me and Paul for the podcast next week where an Irishman and an Englishman will talk about a Canadian company making waves across the globe with stats management. Don’t want to miss it.

Paul Green:
Subscribe to the podcast wherever you listen so you never miss an episode, because also coming up next week, we’re going to be talking about cause related marketing. It’s essentially helping charities, but using the help that you’re giving to charities or some other the kind of organization, turning it into a marketing advantage for your MSP. We’ll also be looking at the ham in the pan. And this is something which has come out of a great book I’ve been rereading recently called Traction and it’s about us doing things the way they’ve always been done and forgetting why we started to do those things in the first place. We’ll explore that more next week. We have a ton of new content for you on YouTube. We’re adding two to three new videos a week at youtube.com/mspmarketing. So please do check that out and join me next Tuesday, have a very profitable week in your MSP.

Voiceover:
Made in the UK for MSPs around the world. Paul Green’s MSP marketing podcast.

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