Episode 179 - How to max networking (events not cables)

Episode 179: How to max networking (events not cables)

Paul Green

Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Episode 179: How to max networking (events not cables)

Episode 179

Welcome to the MSP Marketing Podcast with me, Paul Green. This is THE show if you want to grow your MSP. This week’s show includes:
  • 00:00 You can’t expect ‘A Team’ game if you hire ‘B Team’ players
  • 06:18 How to max networking (events not cables)
  • 18:59 Helping MSPs shorten sales cycles and double sales – in 90 days

Featured guest:

Simon Severino

Thank you to Simon Severino, Founder and CEO of Strategy Sprints, for joining me to talk about how MSP owners can shorten sales cycles, increasing conversion rates, and double sales in 90 days.

Simon Severino helps business owners in SaaS and services discover how to be able to run their company more efficiently which results in sales that soar. He created the Strategy Sprints® Method that doubles revenue in 90 days by getting owners out of the weeds.

Simon is the CEO and founder of Strategy Sprints which is a global team of certified Strategy Sprints® Coaches which has offers a customized strategy to help clients gain market share and work in weekly sprints which results in fast execution. He is also a Forbes Business Council Member, a contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine, and a member of Duke Corporate Education.

Connect with Simon on LinkedIn:

Extra show notes:



Fresh every Tuesday for MSPs around the world, this is Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast.

Paul Green:

Greetings. Hello and welcome to episode 179. This is what’s in the show this week.

Simon Severino:

Hi, I’m Sam Severino, and if you are in sales, you know that the sales cycles, they’re becoming longer and longer. How can we shorten the sales cycle and close more deals in the same time? This is what we’re going to cover in this episode, so join us.

Paul Green:

And as well as that interview later on with Simon, we’re going to be talking about networking. No, not the networking you enjoy plugging cables in. I mean networking where you go out and meet people at events. In fact, we’re going to talk about how you can totally maximize networking for your MSP.


Paul Green’s MSP marketing Podcast.

Paul Green:

I have this friend. He’s a lovely guy, one of the most successful people that I have ever known, and he acts as a mentor to me still, and he has multiple businesses. He is constantly changing, and driving, and pushing things. He’s a real inspiration, and there’s one side of his business that if I was to be brutally honest and stand back and look at it coldly, perhaps if I was a consultant that he was paying me thousands and thousands of dollars to do, I would stand back and I would say his biggest negative behavior, his biggest downside to the way he operates is that he is constantly hiring B team players and expecting them to deliver an A team game.

Now, let me explain what I mean by this because you may be doing this yourself in your MSP, and you may be accidentally hobbling yourself with exactly this behavior. Let me explain it. When I talk about A team, B team players, this is about ability. This is about attitude. This is about all the things that you cannot train someone in. So it’s not about skillset at all. It’s about ability and attitude.

So if you think about the technicians you’ve got right now, you’ll have some technicians who perhaps when they joined you, they didn’t have the necessary skills. They weren’t ready with the qualifications and the ability to just do stuff, but what they did come in with was this amazing ability to be very open to it. They had a great attitude. They came in wanting to learn, hungry to learn, ready to throw themselves into it, to do the training, perhaps even to do stuff in their own time. They don’t complain as much. They’re very open to change, and at the same time, they just want exactly what you want, which is let’s do a great job for the customer, and let’s make some money.

So do you have technicians like that? Maybe you have technicians that are perhaps the little opposite in that they came in with qualifications, with the ability to do more things, but their mind is a little bit closed. They’re perhaps not as keen to do more training, learn more things, move onto something new. They’re perhaps a little more arms folding, if you know what I mean by that; a little more of a barrier to change. That’s the difference between your A team and your B team players.

A team could be 18 years old, and they could have no ability whatsoever in terms of actual formal technical ability, but they come in to you with an open mind. And an interesting fact, they will have ability. What am I talking about? A team go and teach themselves the skills that they want to acquire. It’s really rare for an A team player to turn up at any job that they really badly want without having learned some aspects of the job. They’re a bit rough around the edges sure, but they’ve thrown themselves into it in their spare time.

I love it when I’m hiring writers. If I have a writer or an applicant to be a writer who’s never actually formally professionally written, but they have written blogs. They’ve done newsletters. They’ve done community stuff. They’ve written, written, written, written. They might even have gotten Fiverr or Upwork and just sold their work. And they’ve thrown themselves into it because they’re desperate to get a proper professional writing job. It’s exactly the same with techs. So A team have this amazing open attitude. They have the ability to pick up stuff and they’re just amazing people and you can upskill these people, whereas B team players, I wouldn’t say it’s quite the opposite, but typically, it’s about mindset really. That their mind is closed, their ability to learn and change is closed, and it makes them less valuable.

So as I said, my friend makes this recurring mistake of hiring B team players and expecting them to deliver an A team game. So he knows exactly what the A team game looks like, but really every time he hires someone, he should be paying more to hire better people, and it is a conversation we’ve vaguely had. I think at some point we need to… Maybe I should get him to pay me thousands in consultancy fees. Because when someone pays thousands of pounds for an answer, they listen to the answer, right? This is the quandary of consulting. Exactly the same advice that no one pays for doesn’t get acted on. You pay $10,000 for it, and suddenly it gets acted on.

So you’ve got to ask yourself in your MSP, are you possibly doing the same thing? I mean, don’t get me wrong. We all make that mistake sometimes, but do we make that mistake on a regular basis? If you think right now about your technicians, are they A team players? Are they B team players? Blimey, are they even C team players? C team players should be fired, by the way. C team players are just all the bad things you can think about with your team, and I know recruitment is difficult right now, but that’s no reason to hang onto a C team player. In fact, your C team players drag everyone else down. In fact, your B team players drag down A team players as well.

The perfect business is full of highly paid, well organized, A team players who have all the resources that they need, and your job as the leader is just to stand at the side and let them get on with it. Be there when they need you, but just stand at the side and let them get on with it. Very hard to do that with B team players. So much easier with A team, and I would argue the extra $5,000 or $10,000 a year that you have to pay for that person is worth every single penny.


Here’s this week’s clever idea.

Paul Green:

There are two types of networking aren’t there? There’s the networking that makes you excited and makes you rub your thighs, and then there’s the networking that makes you sit in your car feeling a bit sweaty and a bit cold, cold clammy hands. I’m no different actually, although I don’t enjoy the networking that you enjoy, which is pushing the cables into the slots. That all just baffles me, that kind of thing. But I really don’t enjoy the networking at events, the going to events, the meeting strangers, the shaking of hands, the eating of breakfast. It’s horrendous. When I started my very first business in 2005, and I’ll be brutally honest, I didn’t know how to get new clients. It was hilarious. It was a marketing agency that didn’t know how to get new clients.

But hey, we all have to start from somewhere. So I thought, “Okay, I’m going to try 10 different things, and I’m going to see which of these things work.” That was my attitude and my mindset at the time. And one of those things was to get off my ass, get in the car, and go to every single networking meeting that I could find. And at the time, I lived in near a little town called Wellingborough in Northamptonshire. We’re talking sleepy market towns, very quiet counties in the middle of England. And so I found myself driving 50, 60 miles to go to lots of different networking events. I remember going. I think I drove, it was 100 miles to a city called Norwich, which is a lovely big city here in the UK, and I ended up getting a client. I got a marketing client from meeting them at a networking meeting. And it was a real pain because then for the next three years, every two, three months or so, I had to drive to Norwich to go and meet with this client, and it was a real pain.

Anyway, the point is it got the business off the ground. It was one of the 10 channels that worked really well. Networking, which is okay for marketing people, can be awesome for MSPs because if you think about the marketing strategy that works for MSPs, and this is my three step marketing strategy that works, you build multiple audiences of people to listen to you. You build a relationship with them, and then you commercialize that relationship. If you think about it, networking, meeting people, is great for the first step and the second step.

First of all, it’s a great place to meet people because who goes to networking events? I’ll tell you who? Other business owners, well actually other business owners, managers, and salespeople. Salespeople go there to sell, sell, sell. But actually, depending on the events that you pick, and certainly if you were to join something like a BNI, which can work very well, and go and look up your local chapter to see if there’s a space even for an MSP, because most BNIs, they only allow one type of each business in. And most BNIs, the IT side is just locked down immediately, but it’s worth asking the question at your local chapter.

Depending on which meetings you go to, will depend on the quality of the people that you meet. I can’t think of a better way to meet other business owners, people who you could do business with down the line because you meet them, and then you get to spend time talking about their favorite subject. Their favorite subject of course, is themselves, and that’s one of the secrets to networking. You do not go to networking to talk about you and your business. Let’s be honest. What you do is a bit dull anyway, not to you, and not to me, but it is to ordinary people. They find IT technology, managed services, cloud security, cyber crime, all of that, they just find it a bit dull. To them, it’s the conduit. It’s something that they have to use to get the outcome that they want. For you, it’s your entire world plus your kids. But it’s your entire world. So the worst thing you can do is to talk about you and your business and technology. Instead, you talk about their favorite subject.

You ask them about their business, lots of open questions. So tell me, what do you guys do? How long have you been doing that? That sounds amazing. What’s the best thing about this? What’s the worst thing? What’s the thing that keeps you up at night? What’s the biggest challenge? Where do you think you can take your business in the next three years? I’ve just given you there enough questions to get you through 15 minutes of conversation at networking events, and the goal of a networking event is actually to try and meet as many new people. Well, the first goal is to try and meet as many new people as you can.

So you go in, you find someone to talk to, and there’s a wonderful dynamic of networking that you can look for. If you go in and there are three people talking, and their bodies are all facing into each other so it’s a circle, that is not a group that is ready to be interrupted. It will create emotional trauma for you. Maybe not for them, but it certainly will for you if you try and break into that group.

Whereas you go and look around the room, and you see two people standing with their bodies facing away from each other, like there’s a gap for a third person. That is literally them desperate for a third person. Their bodies, their subconsciouses have opened up their circle, so a third person can come and join them. Boom, straight in there. Hi, how are you? They’re going to greet you because they’re ready for you to come in. “Hi, how are you?” you ask, and you shake their hands. You ask those questions, and then of course you’ve give them the business card. Ill talk about business cards in a second. Don’t be afraid to move on.

One of the biggest mistakes anyone makes at networking, I’ve done this, you’ve done this, maybe you still do it, is you go in, you find the first person to talk to, and you’re stuck with that person for the next two hours, and you go away from the meeting really annoyed because you spent two hours talking to a plumber that’s never going to give you any business or that’s never going to do any business with you, and you get really annoyed with yourself. The trick is go in, meet someone, shake a hand, move on. Obviously, you’ll meet people that you have met before. Shake hands again. Hi, how’s it going? How are you? Build the relationship. Build the relationship, but move on.

You have to work the room. There is value talking to the same people in 15, 20 minute bursts. You’re looking to build up the relationship over time. No one meets you on a Monday at a networking meeting and hands you a $12,000 a year contract on Tuesday because that’s just not how it works. You have to build up a relationship with you. Sure, they may call you if they have an urgent problem, and they don’t know who else to call. That can work sometimes, but the real value of networking is remember, build multiple audiences, build a relationship with them, then commercialize that relationship. So you’re meeting new people, you’re building up, meeting them regularly over time, and you’re building up that relationship with them.

Now, I promised to mention to you business cards. That’s coming up in a second. One note on food and drink. So I’ve been to breakfast events, lunch events, evening events, afternoon, morning. I’ve done the whole lot, and what I discovered very quickly is that your food and drink choices matter dramatically to the quality of the event. It’s almost like sometimes we go to a networking event, and we forget why we are there. We think we are there to fill our face with sausages, and bacon, and eggs. And you could look at that as a bonus or maybe a punishment depending on your view of breakfast. But you’ve got to put the food and the drink into perspective of why am I here? I am here to build audiences and to build a relationship with them so I can commercialize that down the line.

What that means is, for example, if you go in and there are sandwiches, you use the lunch queue as a way of talking to people, the people around you in the queue. You don’t just fill your plate up with a ton of food. You take a couple of basic sandwiches. In fact, I would argue eating and drinking light at these events keeps you nimble anyway. There is nothing worse than having a great big massive cooked breakfast and then trying to carry on a meeting. Plus your breath stinks of baked beans which is disgusting.

So pick your food and drink choices very carefully. It goes without saying, no alcohol. I’ve seen people knock back a couple of glasses of wine at a networking event through nerves, and guess what? It was very obvious they were drunk. Even two glasses of wine makes a big difference, and when you’re trying to meet people, that whole thing of you never get a chance to make a first impression, it’s very true. I’m picturing in my mind one particular lady I think of as wine lady because I don’t know who she is. I have no idea what business she is, but 15 years on, she’s still in my head, and I can see her face right now as wine lady.

One other thought before I tell you about business cards, one other thought about food, which is a practical thing, and I figured this one out within my first six months or so. When you go to a networking meeting, you shake hands with your right hand, don’t you? Well, that’s what most people do. You shake. You shake. You shake. You are touching all of these people, and you don’t know where their hands have been. It’s making me feel a bit disgusted just thinking about it. You could take some gel with you, but my pro tip for networking is you shake hands with your right, and you eat your sandwich with your left hand.

So even if that’s not natural behavior for you, I’m lucky that I’m reasonably ambidextrous so it doesn’t bother me. I can more or less write with my left hand, but I shake hands with my right, and I eat my sandwich, I literally touch my sandwich with my left because I know my left hand is clean. It has not touched any other human beings, whereas the right hand that’s going to need a good bleach shower, that one. It’s going to need some sterilization, that one because it’s touched all of those hands.

Right. I’ve been promising you a pro tip on business cards. When you get your business cards done, and if your business cards aren’t as good as what I’m about to suggest, spend the couple of hundred dollars or pounds to get them redone. If you go networking, you must must put your photo on the back of the business cards. I mean literally. You’ve got a business card. On the front, it should say your name, your business, or better still a headline of what you do. We keep 1,000 people in Town Name. We keep the technology running for 1,000 people in Town Name. That would be a great headline, for example. You could literally take the headline off your LinkedIn. So your name, your headline or your business name, your mobile number, and your email. That goes on the front.

And on the back, the whole of the back of it is taken up with head and shoulders photo of you. Why? Not because you are a narcissist, but because you want to get business out of the networking meeting. You see people go to these networking meetings, and they will shake hands, and meet 10 to 15 people in an hour or 90 minutes. There is literally no way on the planet they can remember anything about those people. They won’t remember most of their names. They won’t remember their businesses. Anyone that’s immediately relevant to them, they will.

If for example, you run a business where you need a new ceiling installed, and you go to a networking event, and there’s a ceiling installer guy, well, that person is going to be top of mind for you. But everyone else, they just become this mix of names and businesses and whatsoever. This is why actually good practice when you go to a networking meeting is always, even if you’re meeting people you’ve known for a while is put your hand out and say, “Hi, it’s Paul. Hi, I’m Paul. How are you?” Because it just makes life easy for them. It saves them having to pretend to not to be looking at your name badge when they are. So back to the business card.

Your photo is on there because although people do not remember names and business names, they do remember faces. This is how our brain works. Our brain primarily locks onto faces first. We remember faces, even people who say, “I’m not good with faces.” They either have a medical condition, or they’re lying because we are all at a basic programming level good with faces because this is the main identifying factor we have. You look at a tiger, right? You might not be able to tell two tigers apart, but you look at a tiger, and immediately the pattern recognition part of your brain says, “I’m going to get eaten. Run.” Or “I’m at the zoo.”

But you look at someone’s face right now and immediately there will be, even if you can’t remember who they are, there is some glimmer of recognition, and when someone sees your face on the back of your business card, six months after they’ve met you at a business networking meeting, they will think, “Oh, I remember that guy or that person. I like them. I like them,” and they make that assessment, that feeling, that emotional assessment based off their memory of how you made them feel when you meet them or when you met them. And that’s why having your photo on your business card is so important. It also becomes a good talking point as well, and you could even encourage people to get a sharpie out and draw a mustache on you and do whatever with that.

Those are all of my pro tips for networking. If you’ve got any others, it would be great to pop those into my Facebook group. We have a Facebook group that’s just for MSPs. If you go into Facebook and type in MSP marketing, go up to groups, that’s how you can join us there, and I would love to hear your networking pro tips.


Paul’s blatant plug.

Paul Green:

If you want more pro tips on more MSP marketing subjects, we’ve got it covered. There’s a YouTube channel for you to go and enjoy, immerse yourself in the whole world of growing your MSP. Just go on to youtube.com/MSPmarketing or if you’re on an app, just type in into the search bar MSP marketing.


The big interview.

Simon Severino:

Hello everybody. I’m Simon Severino, and I do only one thing. I coach business owners on how to double sales in 90 days. That’s what we do. We are the team Strategy Sprints, a management consultancy, and we help with shortening sales cycles, increasing conversion rates, and finding a way to market that is full of integrity, and that it’s actually fun.

Paul Green:

And with the promise like doubling your sales in 90 days, you don’t need to do anything else. That in itself is a great business. Simon, thank you so much for joining me on the show. I want to talk about some of the sales problems that many MSPs face, and let’s see if there’s some things that you can recommend to improve those things. Now, in particular, we’re going to talk about how long sales cycle seems to be for MSPs. We’re going to talk about the fact that sales can be very much everything’s happening right now or there’s nothing happening at all, and there’s no smoothening out of the process. Before we do, let’s just set some credibility up for you. So tell us about your background and what enables you to be a consultant in sales.

Simon Severino:

In 21 years, I’ve started with the big brands that you will probably know. I did the strategy for BMW, for the biggest brands that you are using probably. And from there I have developed tools and techniques for go-to market that I now share with small digital agencies like IT teams, business intelligence teams, UXUI teams, marketing teams, consulting agencies, agencies that are similar to ours because we have found out that the problems that of a B2B sales cycle are very similar also for other B2B teams. And so we have started collecting them and sharing them. It became a book, the “Strategy Sprints” book. It became the Sprint University 274 templates that help people just put in half an hour into go-to market activities, and then get feedback from a Sprint coach, improve it quickly and then ship it.

And so we have done this with now over 1,000 agencies, and you can find many case studies at strategysprints.com. We help them increase conversion rates, have more fun with sales, have more accountability in their team, and also aligning better the product and the product experience and the selling part of that, which sometimes is disconnected. And also the most important thing is really to get that sales time reduced because then when you increase the frequency, you can have a totally different monthly number that you hit.

Paul Green:

Yeah, that makes perfect sense. And you can always tell as the host of a podcast when you’re interviewing a natural born salesperson because they cannot stop themselves from selling their own business. So well done for getting a really good plug for your business in early. We will talk later on about your Sprint system and what exactly you do. Let’s pick up what you were just saying there about shortening the sales. So many MSPs have this issue that you cannot get people to buy before they’re ready to buy. So someone’s switching all of their technology and their IT partner from their incumbent MSP over to a new MSP. Because it’s so big, it’s such a massive deal that can cripple their business if it goes wrong, and they don’t really understand it, and there’s a certain element of inertia loyalty in there, better the devil you know, that I believe, is what creates this very slow sales cycle. What would you say to MSPs to help to speed something like that up?

Simon Severino:

There are three levels of sales. One is the team accountability. So what’s the culture? Do we have a culture of prospecting that multiple people on our team are doing prospecting all the time? And do we have a good pipeline review meeting per week and a deal review meeting per week? We can Zoom into those, and see what is it actually. So B2B sales is made of three levels. One is team accountability. Do we all prospect, fill pipeline, and report on the opportunities that we have created every week? The second level is the deals level where we Zoom into specific negotiations or deals that we have coming up.

Let’s say next week you have a meeting where you can close a $100K IT contract. Now you want to have a deal review, meaning that you look at the sales materials, the sales flow, the sales script, how are you prepared to close that deal? And you have a helpful format for others to coach you on this to practice the objection handling with you, to practice the de-risking with you because sales is always creating risk on the other side. There are 11 risks that we have to look at in a B2B sales conversation. And the conversation goes from the beginning to closing.

You have actually not just one closing but 11 closings. At the beginning. You are asking for their time. So the risk for them, what if I waste my time talking to this person? And then the meeting, and then the visualization, the goals, the proposal, the statement of work, the concerns, etcetera. We can go through all of them and Zoom into them, and see how can we de-risk each of those 11 steps. And if we de-risk them, that increases the conversion rate. This will not yet shorten the sales cycle, but it will increase the conversion rate, which also increases frequency of your sales overall when you have a higher conversion rate. A good goal would be to have 40%, 50% conversion rate, and usually teams that we coach have a lower one. They are around 20%, 30%.

So this one level is increasing the conversion rate. But looking at these 11 things, we ask them to share a recording of a Zoom sales call with us, and then we go through those 11 points, and give them feedback on all 11, how they did it, and what they might try to reduce risk. And we have templates what they can do in each stage to reduce risk. Because you are always putting the buyer in a risk position when you say, “I do your support,” there is a lot of risk, time risk, quality risk, money risk. So those are all risks. And what is your plan? What do you have prepared for them to de-risk it? So this is something that we have to look at.

Paul Green:

So let’s come back to the risks in a second. When you were talking about setting up or doing pipeline reviews and looking at deal reviews, I think for the vast majority of MSPs, that’s just simply not on their radar. Even I know of some relatively large businesses, MSPs we’re talking 15, 20, 25 staff where still, sales is very much an ad hoc thing. It’s a case of if a lead comes in, we chase up that lead. If it goes turns into a meeting, great, we go to the meeting. If we win the business, great. But there’s certainly not what I would call a very organized systematic approach to sales. Do you believe that’s the only way you can get good at sales is to take that systematic approach to it?

Simon Severino:

Yeah, let’s go one step back and say if people tell me that they’re probably in turtle stage. We talk about three levels of an agency of a B2B business, turtle stage, cheetah stage, dog stage. So in level one turtle, that’s how it feels, ad hoc, unorganized, chasing opportunities. And when you do that, many, many times the team is confused, is stressed, is not happy, and is not fast. So in 90 days we want to move from being underwater like a turtle, which is reacting to opportunities, to cheetah mode, which creates opportunity. Now you are fast like a cheetah. And from there, because the intensity is too much to stay always in cheetah mode, we want to move to happy like a dog. So the goal is fast like a cheetah, happy like a dog, and going away from this reacting to things ad hoc.

So how do we get there? There are seven baby steps, but maybe we focus on the first two that you just asked about, the deal review and the pipeline review. So the pipeline review is a meeting that happens once a week. Most of our clients do it on a Monday. And in this Monday meeting, all salespeople come together, and ideally also non-sales people who are creating opportunities. For example, you might have the people delivering in the project join the meeting because they can tell you opportunities from current clients to upsell or cross-sell or get referrals. So don’t think that sales is done only by the sales team. You have a huge opportunity basket by involving also the marketing team and also the operations team, even the technicians doing the work because they know what the client needs next. And they have the trust because they’re not the sales guys. They’re the people who actually solve the problem. So they have enough trust that if they ask for three referrals, they get three referrals.

If you import a salesperson once a month, they don’t have the same level of trust. So first, think about the composition of the weekly pipeline meeting, and then it’s really important when you start looking at the pipeline that there are just five questions allowed. And it starts with each member of that meeting starting with these are the opportunities that I created this week. This is the volume, the size potential. This is the percentage, the probability that I’m going to close this in the next three weeks. And then this is the agreed next step with the potential buyer.

And if you are in sales meeting, you know that at some point you start going tangents. You go, “Oh, this meeting, let’s talk about this. Oh, I tried this new material. Look at this material.” And so you start going into single deal discussions. It’s natural. We want to help the person close the deal, and so we go into deal review, but deal review is a separate format that you then can either start the next day and schedule for the next day, or like most of our clients do, they have a dedicated weekly slot for the deal review. So you have the pipeline review, how many opportunities did we create this week? And you have the deal review. Let me help you close this deal.

Paul Green:

Yeah, okay, that makes perfect sense. Finally, Simon, let’s just return back to those 11 risks. Now, I don’t think we’ve quite got time to go into detail on all 11, but can you briefly take us through the concept of the risks that the buyer takes on board? And we mentioned this right at the beginning, I talked about inertia loyalty, that it sometimes feels easier to them to stay with their incumbent than it does to come to move on to someone new. So take us through what some of those risks are, and what we can do to mitigate those risks.

Simon Severino:

Yes. So when most people say closing, and they think of one thing, it’s actually 11 steps. And in each one we need to de-risk. The first close is you want time from them. You want half an hour on the phone or a Zoom call. Now you are asking for time. The risk on their side is, what if I waste half an hour? So we have to de-risk what will happen in that call. And with our clients, we help them create a small set of these are the three things that you can expect from this call. This is what’s going to happen, and this is what you can expect as a result of the call. One, two, three, results.

Then you have the meeting. In the meeting, how can you visualize how can you create a flow of things? That is value in itself because they’re not buying the product. They are buying the experience that they have with you. Are you creating value in each experience? So the next close is when we talk to them and explore what they want, what they need, what the difference is, and where we can bring them, what’s the value that we are creating? Are we helping them take decisions better? Are we helping them see their business model in a sharper way? Are we helping them know more about their field? We should know more about the field that we are talking about if we are experts, and so that you should actually get as a value. And then this is the discovery call.

Then comes the next stage where you make a proposal, and this is not yet the statement of work. You make a proposal, an oral proposal. I propose this to you, and now you check their reaction, and you start the first set of negotiations. They will come with concerns. Many people call them objection handling. So you start triggering the first objections. We call them concerns because we think they are very relevant concerns. We want to respect them and take them very seriously. We are prepared with a set of 15 concerns because you are hearing probably the same 10 to 15 concerns all the time. So you can start writing them down, preparing for that. You don’t prepare during the sales call. You prepare before.

And so that’s the next set of de-risking because they hear that you have a plan for each of those concerns, that you are openly listening, and that you have an answer. You have a plan for that, a process that shows them this is how we deal with these concerns, the quality concern, the timing concern, the cost concern, the what if it doesn’t work concern, the how will you measure the quality concern, the how quickly will you see that it doesn’t work and you will react concern. These are all very valid concerns.

And then the last part is closing the deal, and very important is the post sales. Now, continuously monitoring satisfaction and addressing issues promptly, also celebrating unlocks, celebrating activations, which will then increase the probability of a referral or a lower churn rate, which means a higher retainment rate or also an upsell or a continuation of working with you.

Paul Green:

I love it. Simon, thank you so much. Just very briefly, tell us a little bit more about your business, that Sprint methodology that you were talking about earlier, and what’s the best way for us to get in touch with you?

Simon Severino:

We coach business owners on de-risking the sales process, shortening the sales cycle, and generally supercharging their sales and having more fun in sales, more accountability in the team, and more fun in sales. You can find our book “Strategy Sprints” wherever you buy books, and you can find us at strategysprints.com.


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

Graham Allcott:

Hi, I’m Graham Allcott. I’m the author of “How to Be a Productivity Ninja,” which is a great book, but the book I’m going to suggest is this book, “The Artist’s Way,” by Julia Cameron. It’s a book, it’s a course in discovering and recovering your creative self. Now, I read this a good few years ago, and I’ve since reread it, and it’s a really remarkable book that helps you to frame your creativity in different ways. It also really helps me to overcome procrastination and overcome a lot of the fear and self-doubt that we often have when we put creative ideas out there. My belief, and I think the book really backs this up, is that everybody needs to be creative in some way, and “The Artist’s Way” is just, it’s a peerless book. You’ll hear this book recommended in lots of different places, and she’s written lots of more sense, but the essence is in here. And for me, it really was one of those handful of books that has really changed my life. So go and read “The Artist’s Way.”


Coming up next week.

Brian Davidson:

Hi, my name’s Brian Davidson. I’m going to be on the podcast next week. I own a digital agency called Match Node, and I be talking Facebook ads, more specifically, how you can reach B2B audiences on Facebook next week.

Paul Green:

Wherever you are listening to this podcast right now, or if you are watching it on YouTube, please do subscribe and hit the bell notification so that you never miss an episode. On top of that interview with Brian next week, we’re starting a new series looking at why your clients aren’t terrified of cyber crime. Why aren’t they? We’ll delve into the psychology of why not and exactly what you can do with it. We’ve got more content for you at youtube.com/MSPmarketing. Join me next Tuesday, and have a very profitable week in your MSP.


Made in the UK for MSPs around the world, Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast.