Episode 163 SPECIAL: The MSP worth 5 million

Episode 164 SPECIAL: Marcus Sheridan talks MSP marketing

Paul Green

Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Episode 164 SPECIAL: Marcus Sheridan talks MSP marketing
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Episode 164

Welcome to a special episode of the MSP Marketing Podcast with me, Paul Green. This is THE show if you want to grow your MSP.
This week’s podcast is all about our special guest, Marcus Sheridan, author of the incredible marketing book They Ask You Answer. He joins me to talk about how MSPs, through content marketing, can become THE trusted voice in their market.

Marcus Sheridan is the featured guest on Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast

Marcus Sheridan is a highly sought-after international keynote speaker known for his unique ability to excite, engage, and motivate audiences.

Forbes named Marcus “One of 20 Speakers You Don’t Want to Miss.” He has been dubbed a “Web Marketing Guru” by the New York Times and featured in Inc., The Globe and Mail, Forbes, and many more.

As an owner of IMPACT, Marcus has established one of the most successful digital sales and marketing agencies in the country. Within his speaking company, Marcus Sheridan International, Inc., he gives over 70 global keynotes annually where he inspires audiences in the areas of sales, marketing, leadership, and communication. Mashable rated his book, They Ask, You Answer, the “#1 Marketing Book”, and Forbes listed it as one of “11 Marketing Books Every CMO Should Read”.

Connect with Marcus on LinkedIn:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/marcussheridan

Extra show notes:

Episode transcription

Paul Green:
She bought because she was researching one of our competitors. Think about that. That’s the power of producing this type of content. What scares you away is when they completely ignore the subject and they say, “Only call for a quote,” which in the world of the internet, that’s like the middle finger of the internet.

Voiceover:
Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast special.

Paul Green:
So happy New Year to you, and welcome to another brand-new year of the podcast. We have got so many exciting things lined up for you this year. As we often do at the start of the year, we are starting with a special edition. And today, I am a bit of a fanboy, a bit overexcited today because we are interviewing one of my favorite authors of all time. He has written one of the best marketing books, in my opinion anyway. It’s a book I’ve read so many times and a book that we have implemented in our business and, in fact, I’ve been recommending to MSPs for a couple of years that they implemented in their business as well. And this interview today is kicking off the start of Authors Month. We have so many cool authors that we’re going to feature in this podcast throughout January. Let’s start today with Marcus Sheridan. Marcus, thank you very much for joining us. You are, of course, the author of They Ask You Answer. Do you want to just introduce yourself and start to tell us a little bit? It’s probably a story that you’ve had to tell a thousand times because it is the book. Your story is the book They Ask You Answer. Introduce yourself. Say hello, and tell us a little bit about your story.

Marcus Sheridan:
Yeah, Paul. Well, it’s great being here. And happy New Year’s everyone. We’re going to make 2023 a great year. And what a better way to start than discussing what is really how we can become the most trusted voice in our space? And that’s been my great obsession in so many ways. Certainly, I think that’s what we do as marketers and a salespeople. My quick background, the very quick 101, is I started a swimming pool company with two friends in 2001. Things were going okay up until the market crashed in 2008. Thought we were going to lose the business. That’s when I started to really learn about things like inbound marketing, content marketing. And what I heard in my simple pool guy mind was, Marcus, if you just obsess over your customer’s questions, worries, fears, issues, concerns and you’re willing to address those things on your website through text, through video, you just might save your business.
And so I said, well, we can do that. And I sat down one evening, and this was in 2009, and brainstormed all the questions I’d ever received about, in my case, fiberglass swimming pools and ground pools. And came up with a couple hundred questions. And over the next couple of years, one by one, every single evening, I’d produce an article or a video that addressed each one. And we would go on to become the most traffic swimming pool website in the world. And then I started to talk about what I had done and teach this to other companies at other events and conferences. And suddenly, I had an agency where folks from around the world were saying, “Hey, could you show us how to do that?” And They Ask You Answer would become a book. And the book has now been purchased over a couple hundred thousand times around the world. And so many companies, actually a lot of MSPs, have embraced some of the principles of They Ask You Answer. And it’s pretty exciting to see that it’s just all over the world now. So many companies do this. I speak full-time, still have the agency, still have swimming pool company. It’s been an amazing ride and all because we’re willing to answer our customer’s questions.

Paul Green:
They Ask You Answer has made a massive difference to my business. So obviously, I’m not an MSP. I do marketing and work with MSPs, but I discovered this. In fact, I actually bought this book a couple of years before I read it because anytime anyone says to me, oh, here’s a book you should buy, I get it. I’ve got this massive bookshelf, I’m looking at it here. There’s dozens and dozens of books that I’ve bought and haven’t read. And I pretty sure this was a lockdown book when we first went into lockdown in 2020. I was flicking through the shelves and thought, oh, They Ask You Answer, that’s an interesting title. And it was one of those that I was hooked three or four pages in. And I read it across two days. Then I got the Audible version. I think you, isn’t it? Do you do-

Marcus Sheridan:
That is me.

Paul Green:
Yeah, it is. So you narrate. So I’ve listened to you while I’ve been out running. I’ve read this. And unlike many people, we have actually implemented it. So directly off the back of this, we hired a new writer. We hired a video producer. We hired a content manager, pretty much-

Marcus Sheridan:
Wow, impressive.

Paul Green:
Well, thank you very much. And you know what? It has paid off massively. So we’ve grown enormously through inbound content. And I’m not going to go into the specific details, but if you go and look at our website, you’ll see a lot of the ingredients that you, Marcus, recommend on yours. And we didn’t try to reinvent the wheel. In fact, we have a saying. This is so embarrassing to admit to this, but we have a saying in the business. What does Marcus recommend? What would Marcus do? Because the answers are in this, what’s this, $25 book. Here’s a $25 book, and all of the answers are in here and particularly when you add in all of the videos and the huge amounts of content that your impact agency puts out because, obviously, we’re subscribed to that as well. So a personal thank you from me, Marcus. You’ve made a massive difference.

Marcus Sheridan:
Yeah. You’re so welcome.

Paul Green:
What I really want to talk about is how we get MSPs to do this because I’m going to hit you now with a bunch of objections, which I can guess my audience will throw out. Let’s start with the first one. But Paul or Marcus, you said this worked for a swimming pool company. So I don’t run a swimming pool company. I run a B2B business. We are looking for business owners with 30, 40 staff. How is this applicable? Now, I know you cover this off in the book, but talk to us how this is as applicable for B2B marketing as it is for B2C.

Marcus Sheridan:
When we start this conversation, we’ve got to recognise that we all have this belief that we’re very, very different. And in many ways, we are in terms of our customers and whatnot, and I understand that. If you’re listening to this right now, let’s focus on just for a minute what we have in common. And again, if you’re listening to this, just let’s pretend we’re talking with each other. If I said to you, “Is trust fundamental to your business,” my sense is you’d say, “Yes.” “Is it fundamental to MSPs?” You’d say, “Yeah, it really is.” If I said, “Is trust going to be fundamental in 20 years,” what would you say? You’d say, “Yeah, of course it is.” And so what They Ask You Answer is, it’s a blueprint. It’s a framework for you to become the most trusted voice in your space.
And so instead of thinking, well, this guy as a pool company did it, please recognise that we’ve had thousands and thousands of companies, many of which are B2B service-based businesses, have embraced these principles. And if you’re open to it as Paul and I are having this discussion today, my sense is that you’ll say, “Okay, I could see how that could apply.” But you can’t put yourself in that corner of we’re different. You got to say, “Okay, if we did do this, what Marcus is suggesting or derivative of it, would it induce more trust?” And that’s really, again, where we have to start. If the answer is yes, then let’s not debate if we should do it. The debate should be, how do we do it? And of course I know we’re going to discuss that, Paul. We’re going to talk about how you apply these principles, and I think you’re going to quickly start to see, oh, you know what, I really can do that. I can talk about things like cost and price on my website, which assuredly is going to come up.

Paul Green:
Yes, yes. In fact, well, let’s move on to that because that’s the biggest objection that I come across from MSPs. In They Ask You Answer, you talk about the big five, and they’re the five biggest areas that make the difference. And the first of those is pricing and costs. So I run a Facebook group for any MSP to join to talk about marketing and business growth. And we recently put something on there about putting your pricing on your website or using a pricing calculator because, of course, the answer to… In your book when someone says to you, “How much does a swimming pool cost,” your answer, of course, is it depends because it depends on a myriad of different factors. And it’s exactly the same for an MSP. The answer is always it depends. So we talked about pricing calculators and all these other tools, and there was a plethora of angry, negative comments.

Marcus Sheridan:
But, but, but, but.

Paul Green:
Exactly. Exactly. Paul, how can you? We would never do this. Blah, blah, blah. So let’s address that. I would say that’s biggest negative factor, is most MSPs are terrified of putting their pricing on their website. And I suspect you’re going to say to me that most business owners are terrified of putting their pricing on the website.

Marcus Sheridan:
Yeah, that’s right. Okay, so let’s start here. To your point earlier, there’s five subjects that you, me, all of us that are listening to this right now tend to research before we reach out to a company. We also know that in the B2B space that the average buyer’s 70% to 80% through the buyer’s journey before they reach out to a company. In other words, they’re vetting us online to death before they reach out. And while they’re vetting us, they want know five main things. And here’s the five things that you, me, we all research B2B, B2C. Here’s the five. We want to research cost. We want to research problems or negatives. We want to research comparisons. We want to research reviews, and we want to research best or most or top. So cost, problems, comparisons, reviews, best. Those are what we call the big five. Now, as buyers and consumers, we’re obsessed with learning these things before we reach out to a company, and as businesses, we don’t want to talk about these things. And so it creates a paradox of wants, and we call that ostrich marketing, as you read about in the book, the ostrich bearing its head in the sand saying, ah, I hope this problem goes away.
Now, foremost, of course, is cost and price. Now, let’s first go back to what I said earlier. If you could talk about cost and price in a way that would help educate your buyers, would they appreciate it? Would it induce more trust? Of course, the answer is yes. And then if I said to anybody that’s listening to this, “If you’re on a website and if you’re looking for cost and price information, you cannot find it, what’s the emotion you experience,” they’re going to say, “Oh, I get frustrated.” And if I said, “Well, in that moment of frustration, do you say, ‘Oh, I’m sure it’s on this website somewhere. I’ll just keep looking,'” “No.” If I said to you, “So in that moment of frustration, do you say, ‘Well, of course they’re not talking about cost and price. They’re a value-based business. I’m going to call them on the phone instead,'” you’re like, “No,” because you as the buyer, you as the searcher, you keep doing what? Well, you keep searching, and you search until what happens? You find what you’re looking for. And generally speaking, whoever gives you what you are looking for, most of the time, they’re going to get your business. If not your business, they’re going to get first contact, first phone call.
And so people say, “Well, okay, I get that, Marcus. Yeah, that’s true for me.” Again, “But, but, but.” Well, there’s three reasons why we tend not to talk about cost and price on our websites. First reason why we tend not to talk about cost and price is we say things like, well, every job is different, and therefore, it depends. And we have a very customised solution, et cetera, et cetera. Okay, that’s fine. So if I came to you, if you were an MSP and I said, “Can you help me understand what would drive the cost in this industry? In the IT space, what drives the cost of an MSP up? What are the factors,” anybody could say, “Oh yeah, I could explain those factors.” If I said to you, “Can you help me understand the factors that would keep the cost of an MSP down,” you could explain those as well. If I came to you and I said, “You know what, you gave me a quote, and your competitors gave me a quote too. Some of you are more expensive. Some of you are less expensive. Can you help me understand why there’s a delta in the industry in terms of MSPs,” you could do that too. And, of course, how many times have you had to do that? You’ve had to do it a bunch of times.
And so really there’s four major questions on this whole it depends, we’re a customised solution spectrum. What drives cost up in an industry? What drives cost down? Why are some companies so expensive? Why are some companies so cheap? They’re not the same two things, by the way. They’re different things. And so that is how you teach what we would call value proposition in an industry. What makes one s P more valuable per se from a service deliverability standpoint than somebody else? And if I said to anybody that’s listening to this, “Do you think it’s important that your prospects understand what defines value within the IT space,” they’re going to say, “Of course, IT outsourcing, any of that.” So they’re like, yeah, yeah, I really need to know that because that’s our value prop right there as a company. It’s our value prop system. Okay. So that’s the first reason why we don’t talk about it. It depends. It’s actually one of the easiest to address. It’s one of the most important because by educating, you can decom commoditise.
Now, the second reason we say we can’t talk about cost and price., We say things like, well, our competitors will find out. That’s pretty silly because if I went to any MSP and I said, “Do you have a pretty decent sense as to what your competitors charge,” they’re going to say, “Yeah. Of course I do. I’ve been in the game long enough.” And so if you have a good sense as to what they charge, it therefore means, yes, they know what you charge, or at least they have a sense for it. So this is the big secret non-secret. Everybody acts like nobody knows what everybody’s charging when, in reality, everybody’s got a pretty good sense as to what everybody else is charging.
And the final reason why we say, hey, I can’t talk about cost and price is we say things like, well, we tend to be more expensive. And if we’re more expensive and they see we’re more expensive, we just might scare them away. But in reality, and you know this if you’re listening to this right now, the thing that scares you away as a buyer, as a consumer, as a researcher isn’t when a company takes the time to really educate you on value proposition and what drives cost in the industry. What scares you away is when they completely ignore the subject and they say, only call for quote, which in the world of the internet, that’s like the middle finger of the internet because how many of you say, geez, I just can’t wait to call for a quote? It’s not the way you think today. It’s not the way your buyers think today. And so you are like your buyers in many ways. If it would frustrate you, it’s frustrating them. And so those are the three major reasons.
Now, people might hear that and say, yeah, but I’m still not completely sold. Listen, folks. Here’s what we’re saying. It is your job to teach the industry what drives cost in your space. It’s your job to define value. If you don’t do it, somebody else will. And at a minimum, I would suggest that you do that. Many of the companies that we’ve worked with, because cost and price is one of the first pieces of content we help them produce because it’s such a huge lead generator, they become more, not less, specific over time in terms of the information that they’ll give, Paul. And the reason for that is because the lead quality gets better over the course of time too. It’s really fascinating. So as where they might start and just talk about, hey, here’s what drives costs up and down, then they might say, well, your average MSP is between $5,000 and $15,000 a month depending on X, Y, Z, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. And so they start to give ranges.
And so last thing I’m going to say about this, one of the best ways to produce a cost and price page of your website is to look at it like this. And this is true in most industries, and I believe it’s pretty true with MSPs too. In most industries, there’s essentially a three-tiered pricing system. So what I mean by that is there’s low end, middle end and high end in terms of what the packages look like, deliverabilities, if you will. And so imagine writing a piece of content that says, okay, here within the MSP space, you’re going to find three different types of MSPs that you’re going to get pricing from. Now, what we would consider the lower end would generally include the following services. And generally, you’re going to see this price range for that group. Middle end, you’re generally going to see these services and generally going to see this price range. Higher end, generally these services, generally these price ranges. Now, here at Marcus Sheridan’s IT Solutions, we generally fall in the middle to upper ranges of what you’ve just been explained. Now by doing that, the person saying, wow, you’ve just given me more than 90%, 99% probably, of the marketplace. It’s incredibly powerful. Folks, this is what your buyers want. This is what you would want, and that’s how you talk about cost and price on your website.

Paul Green:
That’s brilliant, Marcus. Thank you. In fact, what I’m going to do is I’m going to clip that answer and I’m going to provide that to all the MSPs that I work closely with because you have obviously more succinctly than I could possibly do told us why we need to have pricing or, at the very least, a pricing calculator on our website. So let’s look at the other big things you suggest, the other big tools. Now, some of them make perfect sense. So for example, when you talk about writing about problems, that makes sense. And the MSPs I recommend this to, it makes sense to them as well. But then as recommended in They Ask You Answer, I suggest to them that they write reviews and comparisons of their competitors and they directly name their competitors. And often, they look at me as if I’ve gone completely crazy.

Marcus Sheridan:
Okay. So there’s a lot here. And obviously, if you’re listening to this, hopefully when you read the book, you’re going to see it and understand it differently. Everything here is rooted in the questions, the worries, the fears, the issues, concerns that your potential customers are asking and therefore searching. And if they’re asking it and searching it, they’re getting their answer from somewhere. And so the question becomes, are they going to get it from you? Now, let’s take an example for a second. I live somewhat near Richmond, Virginia. And so certainly if I was looking for, let’s say, an MSP, I might go online right now and say, “Who are the best IT outsourcing companies in Richmond, Virginia?” That’s how in my just typical business owner sense I would research it. Now, me, because I’ve spoken with so many MSPs, I’ve worked with MSPs, that’s the language we use within the industry, but most of our clients don’t actually use that language when they’re searching as much. Some do, but a lot of them do not. They talk about IT outsourcing, a lot of stuff like that.
And so what’s Google going to give them? They’re going to show them something. Google’s goal is to give the best, most specific, relevant answer to the question. And so could you produce an article that talks about who are the best IT outsourcing companies in the Richmond, Virginia area? Absolutely. Could you mention your competitors? Of course. Could they find that information easily regardless of you? Yes. And so to give you a sense of how I did this with my pool company, it’s same thing. Don’t think it’s different because it’s not. I used to get asked all the time questions like, “Marcus, who are the best pool builders in Richmond, Virginia?” So I decided to write an article about it. Who Are the Best Pool Builders in Richmond, Virginia: Review/Ratings. So that’s the title. Okay. So if you listen to this right now, go to Google and type in, “Who are the best pool builders in Richmond, Virginia?” You’re going to see the article. And I listed five of my biggest competitors, and I didn’t even put myself on the list of five because I didn’t want to sound braggadocious.
Now, people might say, that sounds crazy, but if you think about it, number one, if they’re reading the article, they’re on my website and I’m winning anyway. Number two, the fact that they see that we’re willing to address that question, they’re like, wow, this company’s different. They’re special. I’m just amazed with how honest they are. And it’s just one of those things where I’ve had lots of crazy experiences. One of the companies on the list that for best pool builders in Richmond, Virginia, is called Pla-Mor Pools. And this lady calls me up one time back in the day, and she said, “Marcus, as the craziest thing happened. I was so close to signing a contract with Pla-Mor Pools, but before I signed that contract, I decided to go online and research their company. And as I researched their company, I stumbled across this article that you guys had written. And so I said, these guys are so honest, I should probably call them too.” And, of course, you know what happened. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be telling you the story, and bang. That’s just how it goes. She bought, and she bought because she was researching one of our competitors. Think about that. Think about that for a second. And that’s the power of producing this type of content.
Our core belief is buyers, they’re not dumb. Eventually, they’re going to become informed. So we have to accept that because they’re going to be informed, they can either learn it from us, or they can learn it from somebody else. Do you want your competitors to be the ones that are controlling all the conversations in your space, or would you prefer that to be you? That’s the simple question that you have to answer if you’re listening to this right now. And personally, I just don’t like the idea of them learning from anybody else. I want them learn from me.

Paul Green:
So what makes me laugh, and I think this is in the book, I’m pretty sure I got this from the book, is that you have told your direct competitors exactly… And by that, I mean your direct swimming pool competitors. You’ve told them exactly what you do, what you’ve done and how you’ve done it, and still, none of them have actually picked this up and done it for themselves.

Marcus Sheridan:
A lot of people listen to this podcast today, Paul, and they’ll be like, yeah, that was kind of cool. I see what he was saying. It does make sense. But they’re not going to do anything. Less than 5% of anyone that listens to this podcast today are going to take any action whatsoever. And that’s not a knock on your audience. That’s just called humans. Less than 5% of my audiences when I speak in public are going to do the thing. I’ve taught over 1,000 swimming pool companies exactly the framework as to how we became the most trafficked, arguably most successful swimming pool company in the world, Paul. And of the 1,000 plus that I’ve taught, I’ve never seen even one, even one, do it as well as River Pools. I saw one do it maybe half as well as River Pools. So why? You can take a horse to water, but you can’t make a drink.
And so that’s why there’s always room on top. People say to me, sometimes they’re like, “Well, what happens if all my competitors do this?” It’s like, seriously? Seriously? That’s not the conversation you should be having because, otherwise, you wouldn’t have become an MSP. That’s the funny thing about MSPs. Most MSPs didn’t start as MSPs. They started, and they were selling something else. And it wasn’t managed services, but it became managed services. Take the copier space. A lot of them started off. They were just selling copy machines. But they realised, ah, long term, there’s a better business model out there for us. It’s called being an MSP. And so they became an MSP. Maybe they still sell office equipment, but fundamentally, what’s driving their recurring revenue is that MSP. It’s funny to me that we realise we look ahead. If we’re listening to this podcast, we’re in the business we’re in because we’re saying this is where the marketplace is headed. Do you really think the marketplace is headed in a direction where you can’t find cost and price online and learn about it? Do you really think the marketplace is headed in a direction where people can’t get their common questions, worries, fears, issues, concerned answered? Come on, y’all. It all is obvious, isn’t it?
If we’re being really honest with ourselves, the future is full of getting whatever we want whenever we want. That’s how it works. And so the arms race is, who can give it to them faster? And I’m not going to sit there and debate with the marketplace and say, well, I just don’t like it like that. It’s the way that life is. It’s the way that life is. It’s the rising tide. Tide’s going to come up, whether you move your lounge chair or not. People are going to start watching more and more videos, just like they have in the last 10 years, whether we like video or not. Marketplace doesn’t care about our opinions. It does what it does.

Paul Green:
Yeah, that is absolutely spot on. So right. I have a 12-year-old, a 12-year-old daughter, and just watching how she consumes information, how she Googles things, it’s a completely different way, a different relationship with information and with data than certainly than I have even now. We are in the same year, but she does things in a totally different way. And, of course, video. Video is completely different. There is always video on. I know she’s in the house because there is video playing, and it’s either YouTube or Netflix or Disney or Prime or something else. And I understand from the other parents that their kids, their preteens are exactly the same. Well, these kids in 10, 15 years time, they’re making buying decisions in offices. And they’re going to be influenced in a very different way to today’s decision-makers. In fact, we don’t even have to look ahead 10 to 15 years. I think we can look at the amount of YouTube video that’s being consumed, and it just goes up and up and up every single year. Now, this is a good bridge to your second book, which is called The Visual Sale. It’s another great read. And, of course, this is more about or this is just on video. So what’s the message from this second book of yours?

Marcus Sheridan:
The revised version of They Ask You Answer has a lot of the video stuff in there, but I wanted to write a book just specific to video. I’ve a co-author there, Tyler Lessard of Vidyard. And the thing about video, most of us know we should do video. We just don’t know what are the videos that are actually going to work, that are going to move the needle. And it’s not those dumb about us videos that you see all day long. Trust me, that’s not what’s moving the sales needle. That’s not what your sales team is saying they need. And so we talk about the types of videos that are going to drive revenue. And if it’s okay, I’ll just share one of my favorite ones.
In the book, and you see it and They Ask You Answer as well, we’ve got what’s called the selling seven. The selling seven are the seven types of videos that have the greatest impact on the sales process. And the first of the selling seven is what we call the 80% video. And what’s the 80% video? Well, if you talk to most MSPs and you say, “When you have a sales call, what percentage of the questions are pretty much the same questions that you get from the prospect every time,” most folks are going to say about 75%, 80% are the same questions every single time. And so I would ask, “Well, why do you keep answering those same questions over and over again? Is it efficient?” No, of course it’s not efficient. What would happen if you not only answered those questions, but they knew the answer to those questions, before that meeting they had heard the answers taught by you, they had seen it from you? How would your initial sales meeting be different at that point? And now all of a sudden it’s like, wow, they’d be much more informed. I’d spend more time selling, less time teaching, et cetera, et cetera.
So we suggest to every client that you produce an 80% video. 80% video addresses those most repeated questions that you know they’re going to ask in that first sales call or second sales call, whichever one you want to target. And that video is going to be a little bit longer because you’re probably going to be addressing on average 7 to 10 most repeated questions. So the video could easily be 5 to 15 minutes, could even be longer, which is okay. People get caught up in length of video because we see these dumb stats for, hey, this is what works on Facebook. But it’s not about Facebook. It’s not about TikTok. It’s not about that. It’s like the length of video is more contingent with where is the buyer in that buyer’s journey. So if they’re getting ready to spend money, they’ll spend the time to watch the video. Trust me. Our average customer has watched over 30 minutes of video with my swimming pool company. And so it’s like we know the stats on this, and the stats are way higher than most people realize in terms of the willingness of buyers to consume content. It’s just the way that it works.
And so the 80% video, the key is you produce it for every major product or service that you sell. And then before the initial sales call, you send it to them, and you say something like this. You say, “Hey, Paul, I know we’re going to be meeting this Friday, but also know that you’ve got a lot of questions and some potential worries or fears with this decision that you’re going to ready to make. And so I’m sending you this video. It’s going to answer seven most common questions people have about outsourcing their IT. Okay? And here’s some of the questions it’s going to answer. It’s going to talk about this. It’s going to talk about this. It’s going to talk about this, all of which you should know. And ideally, you should know that before our first call. This way, our time together is going to be much more productive. So with that, Paul, will you take the time to review this video before our call on Friday?” And so that’s how it would sound. But by doing that, Paul’s going to say, “Yep, sure. No problem.” And now all of a sudden, it’s going to be a very different sales call. So that’s the power of using content in the sales process. But it starts with making the right type of content, the right types of videos. That there was the 80% video.

Paul Green:
Thank you, Marcus. You’ve been so generous with your time. And I just want to wrap up what we’ve been talking about here and actually turn it into an action, a definable thing. Now, when we started doing They Ask You Answer, we essentially did everything that you said in the book not to do. So we did it kind of halfheartedly. We didn’t resource it properly. And guess what? It just lingered around for a bit. It was a bit of a pain. It was a millstone around my neck. And then I reread They Ask You Answer, and it’s like, duh, Marcus said this would happen. And it did. So that was when we resourced it properly. So that was when we hired content manager. We took video more seriously. And even today, we’re adding more resources in so we can produce more content because we already have seen and are seeing the return on this. So as we’ve already said as well, it is human nature not to take action, to intend to take action but to not take action. And because this is such a big subject and because you do need to resource it properly, how would you recommend an MSP? Where would you recommend an MSP get started with this?

Marcus Sheridan:
Okay. Here’s the first thing I would do if I was you, and this activity is so valuable. I want you to sit down with a pen and paper, not with your computer, pen and paper. And I want you to really write down if somebody needs an MSP or if they have, let’s call it, IT issues or whatever thing is, write down all the questions that they would have. Write them in complete sentences. If they knew they want to hire an MSP, write out the question. Write all the questions they would have. By the way, if you don’t come up with at least 50, you’re just being intellectually lazy. All right. Now, once you’ve done that, second step, put a check next to each one that you’ve thoroughly answered on your website. Now, the answer there is going to be less than 10% probably, less than 10% from most of us. And then I want you to say or ask, are you okay with that? Is your buyer okay with that? Your customer, are they okay with that? Would you be okay with that? Of course, the answer is no, you’re not okay with that. That’s why you listen to a podcast in the first place, because you don’t want to be average. You want to be great.
Now, once you do that, then you need to read the book They Ask You Answer because it’s going to show you how you answer all those questions because while you’re brainstorming them, you’re thinking, I don’t know how we could answer that. Don’t focus on that. Just write the dang things down. They Ask You Answer, the book, is going to show you how to do it through text, through video, and then it’s going to show your sales team how to up your digital selling game too along those same lines. It’s really cool like that. So that’s the second process.
Third process is if you want to do it, you have your leadership team read the book too. Okay? But don’t go and try to teach your team after you’ve got excited about They Ask You Answer how they should all be talking about cost and price on their website because at first, they’re just going to yell at you and say you’re crazy. So you got to do it in such a way that you build the foundation. You asked me about cost and price, and it took me about 10 minutes to explain all the why’s behind it, Paul, because there’s no shortcuts around it. It’s like it takes a while to explain why we should talk about cost and price and how to talk about cost and price on a website. Now, by the end, most people are like, huh, actually, that’s pretty viable. That’s possible. Oh, I could do that. Before, they were just saying, there’s no way I could do that. Now they’re like, I see what he’s saying. I see why we should. I see how we could do it. No, we’re not going to put ourselves in a corner. Okay, this makes sense to me now. That’s what’s happening there. And so that’s what you need to do as well.
So have them read the book. And then once you’ve done that, now meet together and say, “Are we going to become the most trusted voice in our space? Is that a goal of ours?” If we want to become the most trusted voice in our space, the steps, the action items you need to take, they’re in the book. They’re in the book. They’re all right there. You just follow from that point.

Paul Green:
Wouldn’t it be so cool even if just one MSP was inspired by this interview to go and do They Ask You Answer properly? Could you imagine? If that is you, if are the MSP and you go and do this and you come back to this interview, drop me an email sometime in 2024 to let me know that this was the thing that started you off because as I’ve said throughout this whole interview, I do genuinely believe They Ask You Answer is the longterm marketing strategy for all MSPs. It’s just beautiful. Marcus, thank you, again, for your time. So we know what your book is called. We know you can get it on Amazon at bookstores. It’s on Audible read by yourself. Your second book is The Visual Sale. Now, for anyone that wants to reach out to you or engage with you, what’s the best way to do that?

Marcus Sheridan:
Definitely on LinkedIn, folks. If you’re listening to this and you use LinkedIn, you’ll find me on LinkedIn. I generally produce at least one post a day that’s high quality, and it’s not some silly motivational quote or something like that. It is really meant to share something with you of value, and that’s where I’m connected with so many people. So find me on LinkedIn. You can also email me directly, marcus@marcussheridan.com. Marcus@marcussheridan.com. If you had a question as you’re listening to me today and you just didn’t feel like you understood something or need an idea, again, email me at marcus@marcussheridan.com. But, Paul, this was great. You’re doing a great job. You’re doing a great service to the MSP space. I can see why your agency has grown and why you’re successful and why you’ve helped so many MSPs grow too. So keep up the good work on your end. I’m really impressed.

Voiceover:
Coming up. Coming up next week.

Matthew Pollard:
Hello. My name’s Matthew Pollard, and I’m the author of the best-selling Introvert’s Edge series. If you’re an MSP and you’re an introvert, you need to watch this episode because I’m going to share with you why you can actually outperform your extroverted counterparts, and I’m going to talk you through an exact way that you can utilise to differentiate yourselves so you don’t find networking and sales so uncomfortable and so you don’t have to constantly battle on price.

Paul Green:
We’ve got another author next week. His name is Matthew Pollard. He’s the author of a couple of really, really good books that you are going to love. One of them is called The Introvert’s Edge. It could practically have been written for many of the technician-driven MSP owners that I meet. So he’s here on the show next week. We are also returning to our normal format. In fact, I’m going to be talking about the ultimate MSP marketing system. I’m going to be talking about that over the next few podcasts, and we’re going to be talking as well about how to sell more to your existing clients. Now, don’t forget we’re on YouTube. We’re adding a new video every single day. You can see those at youtube.com/mspmarketing. Join me next Tuesday, and 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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