Episode 185 - 7 MSP website headlines to swipe & adapt

Episode 185: 7 MSP website headlines to swipe & adapt

Paul Green

Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Episode 185: 7 MSP website headlines to swipe & adapt
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Episode 185

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 Upgrade your marketing and sales approach from Passive to Active
  • 07:06 Seven MSP website headlines to swipe & adapt
  • 16:47 Building fruitful long-term relationships with systemised relationship marketing

Featured guest:

Steve Buzogany

Thank you to Steve Buzogany, CEO of The Appreciation Advocate, for joining me to talk about systemised relationship marketing, and how thoughtful gift-giving (as opposed to mailing out branded freebies) to prospects and clients can help build long-term relationships and move the sales cycle forward.

Steve is a recognized expert in strategic appreciation and is an author, speaker, and consultant. He has worked with nationally ranked sales leaders and teams at companies like Berkshire Hathaway, Keller Williams, and RE/MAX. Steve is best-known for his ability to leave unique, long-lasting, & positive impressions on people.

Connect with Steve on LinkedIn:

Extra show notes:

Transcription:

Voiceover:

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

Paul Green:

At the end of the day, you’re another day older, and that’s all you can say for the life of the MSP. If you recognize that reference, email me. Hello, welcome to the show. Here’s what we got coming up for you this week.

Steve Buzogany:

Hi, I’m Steve Baney from The Appreciation Advocate, and we’re going to be talking about how most MSPs are poisoning their best relationships, and doing so unintentionally, and how to correct it.

Paul Green:

And on top of that interview with Steve, later on in the show, we’re going to look at how to improve your MSP’s website’s homepage just by changing the headline.

Voiceover:

Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast.

Paul Green:

So I’m going to start you off this week with a tiny, tiny little mini audit of your marketing and your sales. And I want you to answer one question, just one question; is your marketing and sales passive or is it active? I guess with your approach to it, do you have an active approach or do you have a passive approach? Now, let me explain. And to explain, we’re going to take my favorite marketing strategy, it’s the strategy that you should be following. It’s a three-step strategy, you’ve heard this before, right? You build multiple audiences of people to listen to you, you build a relationship with those audiences and then you commercialize that relationship. Now, an active marketer and a passive marketer can have very similar approaches to this strategy, but the active marketer, which spoiler alert, they get better results, they just take it to the next step. Not far, just take it a little bit further than the passive marketer. So let me explain. You could, for example, have a number of different audiences that you are currently servicing.

So you might have your LinkedIn connections, but also have a list of subscribers to your LinkedIn newsletter because those are two separate things, you might have a YouTube channel with subscribers on there, you might have an email list. These are all standard audiences that an MSP would have. And you might be putting content in front of them on a regular basis. These are the first two steps of that strategy. So the relationship building is done through content; putting social media content onto LinkedIn, sending out a LinkedIn newsletter every week, and of course, sending out a promotional or an educational email. And that in itself is good work, but it’s still quite a passive approach to marketing because you see, the reason that we have this three-step strategy and we suggest that you do it this way is because people only buy when they’re ready to buy. And one of the hardest things in marketing is knowing when the right time is; is this the right time, or is it not the right time? It’s very difficult to know that.

And that’s why we have to do all of this activity so that on the day that someone wakes up and they are ready to have a conversation about moving from their incumbent MSP to a new MSP, you are in front of them. So herein comes the difference between passive marketers and active marketers. Active marketers just take a little step more, just add a little bit on, a little bit extra on. So for example, instead of just building two or three audiences, they’ll build even more audiences. Perhaps they will go out and do networking events in real life because that’s an audience of people, perhaps they will do webinars or seminars because actually real-life seminars, actually having people in a room, lunch and learns, I love lunch and learns, these are all extra audiences. And the active marketers, just even just one more thing can make a difference.

The active marketers are also actively trying to get people in one audience to join another audience because if you’ve got someone that sees your stuff on LinkedIn, gets your LinkedIn newsletter, has your videos in front of them and meets you at a networking meeting, as you can imagine, the chances of that person buying from you when the time is right are dramatically higher than if they’re only just connected to you on LinkedIn. So active marketers are constantly trying to push people between those audiences. You want people to be in as many audiences as possible. Now, when it comes to putting out content, the active marketers, again, just take it an extra step. So maybe they will put out seven days worth of social media content on LinkedIn as passive marketers might, but maybe they’d go the extra step. For example, if they noticed that someone commented a couple of times on their posts, then they would actually reach out to that person.

So let’s imagine you’ve got a LinkedIn post and Justin, let’s say Justin, Justin comments on your post, and you think, “Oh, that’s the second time in a month that Justin has commented on my post, I’m going to reach out to him.” Well, LinkedIn has a tool to allow you to do that, doesn’t it? LinkedIn Messages. So you’d go into messages, you’d find Justin, you’d send him a message just to say, “Hi, Justin. I don’t think we’ve ever met him real life, but I just wanted to say thank you for engaging with my content. Tell me a little bit about you.” And essentially, it’s a conversation starter. Now, that’s, what, 10 seconds of extra work. In fact, you could even template that message so that everyone who comments on you gets that kind of direct message. And let’s be honest, the vast majority of people you send that message to are going to ignore that message. But there is a great example of just taking it an extra step. The differences between passive marketing and active marketing are absolutely tiny, but I guess it’s more about a mindset than anything else.

Passive is doing these activities, sitting back, and waiting for the leads to come in. Whereas being more active about it is doing all of these activities and then saying, “Right, well the leads aren’t coming in, so I’m going to push it another 5%, another 10%. What’s one extra thing I can do that can find those people who are nearly ready, willing and able to have a conversation about switching from their incumbent MSP over to me?” All these tiny little things, they do add up. And it’s worth you experimenting with just different things to see what works and what doesn’t work in your area. I will give you one massive, massive bonus tip. The number one thing that will make the difference, nevermind all these little things like messaging people and cross-pollinating audiences, the number one active thing that will make the biggest difference is to get someone to phone these people. It’s a subject we’ve covered many times in this podcast and it’s worth you looking back through some of the previous episodes where we’ve talked about hiring a phone person. But that is possibly the number one activity you can do.

If you can find someone on your behalf to phone all of your audiences for you, the chances of you getting lucky and finding someone on the very right day, the day that they’re ready to talk about switching, your chances of getting lucky go up dramatically.

Voiceover:

Here’s this week’s clever idea.

Paul Green:

If you’re not happy with the headline on the homepage of your website, good news, I have seven replacement headlines to suggest to you in the next couple of minutes, and you’re welcome to swipe any of them and use them to replace your headline. Now, the reason the headline is so important is because of an old marketing formula called AIDA, A-I-D-A, and it stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. Fun fact, I knew this was quite an old model for marketing, I didn’t know it was as old as this. I’ve just Googled it, and AIDA was actually invented in 1898. That’s insane. That’s like 100 and lots of years ago. And it was invented by an advertising strategist called Elmo Lewis. He initially intended it as a multi-stage model for the perfect sales talk. And it kind of is if you think about it, because you grab someone’s attention, then you build up their interest in the thing you’re talking about, then you build up their desire to have it, and then you tell them to take action.

Now, on a website, the attention grabbing is done by equally really by the headline and by the image or the video that go on there. So you want an image of you or you and your team or of your clients, or preferably a video of your clients talking about you, that’s an important element. But then what about the headline itself? So most MSPs’ websites have pretty weak headlines, they’ll say things like “IT support for ‘Town'”, or just say things like “You found your perfect IT support partner.” And the problem with a weak headline is it’s kind of like imagine if you’re a top athlete or a racing driver and you’re at the most important race of your life. You’ve got one go at it. If you screw this up, you’re not going to win the race. And then as the firing gun goes or as the red lights go out, your car stalls or you don’t get off the blocks fast. That’s essentially what you are doing to yourself. You’re hobbling your chances of winning the race if you don’t have a really good headline right there on your website.

So I have for you seven different headlines. They may not be quite right for you, but you are more than welcome to swipe and adapt these, tweak them, change them, pop them on your website. And even if they’re not what you end up sticking with, if it starts you down a road, a process of just playing with different words, changing things, then I think that’s a great thing. There is no perfect one website headline for all MSPs to use. And actually, we wouldn’t want all MSPs to use the same headline because then we’ve immediately got no differentiation at all. So let me just give you these seven alternatives to swipe and adapt. So if we start with one that it’s kind of a bread and butter, is that a British term, bread and butter? I suspect it is. So bread and butter is the everyday thing, “IT support for fast-growing businesses in ‘Town Name’,” because that literally, it’s one of those, it says what you do and it says who you do it for and it says where you do. “IT support for fast-growing businesses in ‘Town Name’.”

Now, you may argue that there aren’t that many true fast-growing businesses, but this isn’t about what’s actually happening in reality, it’s about what the business owner or manager perceives they want to get to. So they may be a sluggish, slow, slow-growing business, but they’re thinking, “We want to grow fast, we want more. We want to be up there with the big guys.” And so they will seek out people that can help them to get there, even if they never actually do get there. So saying that you work with fast-growing businesses is always a good idea. Now, another approach is to tell them what the benefits are of working with you. So something like, and this is the headline, “The end of staff complaints about frustrating IT problems,” or you could reword that like, “Your staff will never again complain about frustrating IT problems”.

So that’s more of a benefit-led approach. And actually, I don’t know what your clients are like, but the average business owner or manager is more likely to be motivated to talk to you, to end staff winging, staff complaints than they are to increase their cybersecurity. Unless they’ve been breached or they have a very close friend who’s been breached and they know what the hell is of having a ransomware attack, it’s not as real to them as the reality of Doris moaning every day that her computer takes 22 minutes to switch on, and I’m sure we’ve moved on from Windows 7. That winging, it grinds you down eventually. Here’s another one. Now, this one you’re telling them what they’ll be able to do with your support. “Focus on growing your ‘Town Name’ business without any technology hassles ever, Guaranteed.” If you don’t like the guaranteed bit, just take that off at the end. “Focus on growing your ‘Town Name’ business without any technology hassles ever.” So this is about, it’s now more about them than it is about you. And that’s where a good headline starts.

In fact, the whole website should be more about them than it is about you. Now, we’ve got another one here. This is a bold statement headline, “Make your business’s technology better. Instantly.” I’ve put little full stop after better. “Make your business’s technology better. Instantly.” And that’s a bold statement because that’s you saying, “This is us, this is what we can do.” Here’s another version of that. “Technology strategy and support designed to make your business easier.” Technology strategy and support designed to make your business easier.” Deliberate use there of the word strategy because we want you to be their strategic partner, not just a supplier. And also a deliberate use of the word easier. I think a lot of people, yes, they want to grow their business, they want to make more money, they want to be more productive, they want their staff to whinge less. But you encapsulate that into one concept. They just want things to be easier.

I want my business to be easier. Do you want your business to be easier? Everyone wants their business to be easier. So that headline works really well with that. Right, how many have we done? 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Oh, no, we’ve got two more, we’ve done five. So I’m going to give you my favorite website headline. There are actually quite a few MSPs around the world that are using this, which is cool. And if you see one, you’ll know that it came from me. And the number I’m about to give you is the number of users that you support. But we don’t use the word users because users is a particularly unfriendly word to use for users, for people. “1,058 ‘Town Name’ people already trust us with their business, you should join them. So let’s say you’ve got 702 users, you’d say, “702 ‘Town Name’ people already trust us with Their Business, You Should Join Them. And again, if you’re not comfortable with the boldness of that statement at the end, you just take it off.

The whole point of these is not to use them verbatim. You take them, you swipe them, you adapt them. And then the final one, and this is a version of this, but which is aimed more at decision makers, “Technology Support trusted by 36 ‘Town Name’ businesses. Join them.” So as you can see, it’s a similar thing. And obviously that wouldn’t be so powerful if you had 4 clients. “Technology support trusted by 4 ‘Town Name’ businesses.” In that instance, you would use perhaps one of those other examples. But all of these could be great headlines and maybe better headlines than what you’re using right now or maybe not. In fact, if you are really proud of your headline, would you drop me an email and let me know because I love seeing great headlines. I’m not going to debate it with you, I just want to see if you’ve got a headline that you are proud of. I’d just like to see it, just for interest. And also, it’s always great to chat to people who listen to or watch this podcast. My email address is hello@paulgreensmspmarketing.com.

Voiceover:

Paul’s blatant plug.

Paul Green:

Now, this is going to sound really weird, but bear with me on this. You see, I want to invade your toilet time. Not me personally, but I do want to send in a copy of this, my 16-page printed newsletter that’s called MSP Marketing Action Monthly. Now, why do I want to get this newsletter into your hands? I’ll tell you why. If I can find some of your downtime, maybe it’s when you’re reading in bed or you’re lying on the couch or you’re drinking a beer or you’re in the toilet just chilling, that’s cool, we all do it, no one’s judging. If I can get this into your hands in your downtime, when you can spend a little bit more time reading about different aspects of your marketing and looking at the specific actions that I recommend, I reckon you’re dramatically more likely to take action. And we all know it’s only when you take action on your marketing that you actually start to see improvements. So that’s why I’ve created this printed newsletter.

Now, it is a paid newsletter. I send it out to MSPs all around the world every single month, and it is completely risk-free. There is a free trial and you can cancel any time. So why not just give this a go? Perhaps leave a copy next to your bed, perhaps leave a copy on your couch indefinitely, leave one in the bathroom. You can see all the details and start your free trial right now at paulgreensmspmarketing.com/action.

Voiceover:

The big interview.

Steve Buzogany:

My name’s Steve Buzogany, I’m a former real estate agent turned business owner. What I do today is I help small business owners and MSPs get more referrals into their business by using gift-giving as a strategy.

Paul Green:

And you have the dubious honor of being the first former real estate agent ever to appear on this podcast. So I don’t know if we should give you a round of applause. Aren’t real estate agents up there with lawyers, CPAs, and bankers as some of the most hated professions? I can see why you got out of that. But instead, you’re here to give us gold. And I know you have gold to give us because we’re going to talk about gift-giving today as a way of attracting and retaining your prospects within your MSP. We’re going to look at referrals as well. You’ve got some awesome stuff to tell us about referrals and the idea of systemized relationship marketing. So tons and tons of stuff to get out of your brain, Steve. Let’s start by looking at you. Tell us a little bit about your background and your history. What enables you to come onto a podcast like this and talk about these kind of things?

Steve Buzogany:

So for me, I started with real estate. And so because of that, real estate is basically a relationship business. So for me, I started working really hard and then a mentor of mine said, “Hey, stop working so hard, you’re being very transactional. If you focus on the relationship, you won’t have to work as hard and then it’ll be easier to close, you don’t have to do the pitch, and then they’ll want to refer you to their family members and friends.” I was like, “Okay, that makes a lot of sense. Let’s do that.” So I did that, I ended up doing 10 deals within six months and I was like, “Okay, there’s some definitely something to this.” And then I started building from there. I got 73% of my business by referrals. I was able to take one to two months a year off, and I was making really, really good money, high six-figure numbers. So it was really good. So for me, I didn’t have to do anything. But what I became known as around the real estate office was I was the referral guy.

They’re like, “Oh, Steve, you get referrals all the time. What are you doing?” So I tell them, I’m like, “I’m giving people gifts and I’m appreciating them and I’m loving on them.” And they’re like, “Well, what are you doing?” And I tell them again and then they’re like, “Oh, I don’t have time for that.” And then constantly it was like, “I don’t have time for that. I don’t know how to do that, I’m a bad gift giver,” all the other things. And then after hearing it so many times I was like, “There’s a market for that.” And then I created The Appreciation Advocate, which is now where we just do it for them and now they can focus on doing the moneymaking activities of their business and I’ll do the referral building part of the business. And now it’s a big system that works simultaneously.

Paul Green:

Oh, I love it. Absolutely love that. So we’ll talk about your business at the end of the interview because I want to know exactly what you do and who you do it for. But obviously our audience is B2B, so primarily after other businesses to give them lots of monthly recurring revenue. You started this in real estate, I appreciate it’s been a number of years ago, but this gift-giving to get more referrals, does that work with business decision makers as well?

Steve Buzogany:

Yeah, it works with any kind of operation that has people in it. So basically, it doesn’t matter whether you’re going B2B or if you’re going… It’s really, my definition of business is actually human to human. So when you think about it, at the end of the day, every business is really just a large or a small collection of people. So if you’re trying to get access to somebody, you’re trying to get to the CEO or the CMO or whatever, just you can use gifts to get there. And if you’re trying to duplicate clients or you’re trying to expand your database and go from one client to another, and this is really important, have a similar client, meaning if you have A plus client you really, really like and they’re obsessed with you, they bought into you the way you’ve bought into them and you’re trying to duplicate that client, focus on those relationships versus as business owners, we all have those clients that are people we absolutely hate to deal with.

And obviously don’t focus your referral efforts on those because if they duplicate, you’re going to get another jerk, to put it lightly. So you don’t want that. So focus on the A’s and the A pluses. And then, if you have time, then move to the B’s and C’s, but make sure the A’s and the A pluses get touched first. Does that all make sense?

Paul Green:

What you’re saying is, it does make sense, and what you’re saying is that like attracts like.

Steve Buzogany:

Yeah, basically. So just duplicate the ones you like and don’t duplicate the ones you don’t. Let’s keep this nice and simple.

Paul Green:

But why is that? I mean, I’ve seen that before and I’m sure many, many people listening to this right now have seen exactly the same. But why is that? Why do, let’s use your word jerks, why do jerks seem to hang out with other jerks and seem to refer other jerks? Why is that the case?

Steve Buzogany:

I think, for me, at least for me, it’s not always that they’re jerks, it’s just that their compatibility with and their personality versus when I was in real estate or even with Appreciation Advocate now, it’s just their personality doesn’t mesh with mine. And just for me, I struggle a lot with extremely, extremely, extremely nitty-gritty people. That’s why I have a business partner who loves that stuff and he can talk to clients that do that kind of stuff, that they like the details and stuff, like, “Good, you’re going to talk to Luke,” because I’m going to deal with the people who are ready to move at 100 miles an hour right now and not ask a ton of questions and do the action right now. The people that want to ask more questions, get into the details, you’re going to go with Luke and he’s going to get you there. So that’s that. We just do it differently that way. So it’s not really a jerk thing, it’s a compatibility thing.

Paul Green:

No, it’s just different personalities, yeah. And you’ve probably heard of the four-color system that lots of experts used to describe different personalities. And in fact, a friend of mine, Andy Edwards, was on, I think it was the second episode of this show back in November 2019. And he was describing, it was a long time ago, but I’m sure he was describing the four different personality types. So for example, I’m a red, but I’m a high red, so I’m exactly as you described there, Steve. It’s like you start telling me about your solution, and I’m like, “Right, that’s it, I want it, let’s do that.” And as far as I’m concerned, the conversation’s over. Just I’m sold, I want to buy it. And then the complete opposite of that is a deep blue, who will have 25 questions and they’ll need full comprehensive answers to each of those and then a week to process it. And that’s just the way that different people are.

Steve Buzogany:

Correct.

Paul Green:

Of course the hardest thing for us as marketers is understanding someone else’s buying process there, the speed that they move out or the information they need.

Steve Buzogany:

Yes.

Paul Green:

So let’s bring this down into practical things then. So you call this systemized relationship marketing. What exactly is that? And I love the idea of turning any kind of marketing into a system, because that means that it happens. So how do you turn relationship building into a system without just spending a ton of cash and seeming that you’ve wasted a ton of cash?

Steve Buzogany:

Basically, it’s all rooted in gratitude. And gratitude is the greatest of all virtues and the parent of all others. So what happens is, the only thing is with gratitude, it is a virtue, it’s not something that’s solid, concrete, that you can implement. Now, gratitude just needs a little help. And what we do is we create a plan and you attach it to gratitude, and then you have now what we call relationship marketing. And then I just built a system for doing it, where we do all the gifting and things like that. But we actually have criteria too. So for relationship marketing, when we do give gifts, our gifts have to meet six criteria in order to be a good gift. We have our bad gift list that we can go through as well. We have ranking your database and how to pick what criteria makes a good person for your database. And then we actually have to be very careful in terms of the system, making sure that it’s not a promotion, that it’s an actual gift.

Because the gift is about the receiver and the promotion would be more about the recipient. So if you’re trying to win someone over in a referral manner, you want it to be about them. You want them to remember you. The number one thing about relationship marketing is making impressions and impressions that last. So as marketers we’re always like, “How many impressions do I get for the number of dollars I spend?” One of our bad gifts on our list is experiences and events. Taking someone to dinner, to the Super Bowl, anything like that, you don’t want to do that because that’s one impression. So if you take someone to the Super Bowl, that is a $6,000 to $10,000 expense for one impression. So that’s not going to last. And after two or three weeks, they’re just going to forget, they’re not going to forget, but you’re going to move from top of mind to subconscious mind. When it comes to referrals, that’s not where you want to be because you want to be top of mind as much as possible.

Maybe give them something, we call it attacking the kitchen. So whether they’re the CEO or the CFO or whatever they are for their business and whatever kind of operation they’re running, again, consumer or business owner, doesn’t matter, or even an MSP. What I would say is your main thing is they’re people; they still go home, they all have families, they have spouses and they have kitchens. And when we attack the kitchen, we’re filling their kitchen with things that they’re going to use, like a high-quality kitchen knife from like Cutco is one of our products that we use a lot, or some wine bottle opener or that’s specific and engraved with their name on it or something like that. Anything that fits. And obviously, you cater it to who the receiver is too. So those are things we focus on to get those referrals.

Now, that, what we call is that’s proactive referral marketing, where we call that working by referral, which is the other way of doing things is the passive way about it, which is word-of-mouth advertising where you really just hope that someone tells other people about you, and that’s not really what you wanted. Hope is never a business strategy. Actually, if you’re proactive about creating referrals, that’s called working by referral versus word-of-mouth advertising.

Paul Green:

Okay. I have so many questions, so many follow-up questions. So let me plow through them. Give me short answers to these and then we want to come back onto to the subject of referral marketing. So you gave a great example there of a bad gift and a good gift. So bad gift being a one-off expensive experience, a good gift being a knife, a kitchen knife with someone’s name on. Give me a couple of more examples of bad gifts and good gifts.

Steve Buzogany:

Yeah, so bad gifts. Some people even just give people the thank you email and it’s part of their appreciation, they’re sending them a thank you, which that’s terrible because that’s just supposed to be the last step in any kind of purchase transaction, not actually a thank you gesture. A bottle of champagne or a food item, anything that’s consumable, it’s just one impression and then it’s gone. And then, like I said, in vendor experience, then we have flowers, edible arrangements, anything like that. They last longer than food but they’re dead in a week. And again, you move from top of mind to subconscious mind and that’s no good. And then last, we have swag bags, like swag, S-W-A-G, I would say those, that stands for stuff we all get because that’s what SWAG stands for. So when it’s stuff we all get, there’s no value in it.

It’s just going to get trashed, given to goodwill or forgotten about. So basically, gift cards are flat out lazy gifts, especially e-gift cards. Nothing communicates more that you don’t care about the relationship than that. So think of it this way, a gift is a symbol of how you see the relationship with the other person. If you give them a cheap gift or a lazy gift, you’re telling that person, whether you think it or not, it’s going to be received that way, that you don’t really care about the relationship that much and that you’re like, “Okay, well, you didn’t require enough of my time and you weren’t worth enough of my time for me to actually go out and put some effort into this, so here’s a gift card.” Or worse, an e-gift card. Think about it yourself; when was the last time you got a really bad gift? What did you think of the person who gave it to you?

Paul Green:

Absolutely. Well, I dumped her actually. That was a joke. Okay, next question. You mentioned the kitchen knife and engraving someone’s name onto it. I can see the value in personalizing the gift for the recipient, but should you, and I suspect the answer is going to be, “No, absolutely no way,” should you put your own brand, your MSP’s brand on the gift as well?

Steve Buzogany:

No, you should never put your MSP’s brand on the gift because if you’re putting your own brand on something, it’s now we’re moving from gift to promotion. And promotional items, all right, let’s put it this way, let’s go back to my real estate example when I was back in real estate. If I gave someone a cutting board with this big ass Remax brand on it, would you use it or would it be more special if I had your last name engraved on it with the address on there and the date you bought the home? Which gift do you think they would probably keep or find more valuable?

Paul Green:

Yeah. So the marketer’s eye here is twitching because of course the marketer wants to make sure that the brand’s in front of people at all times. So talk us through the psychology of every time they pull out that kitchen knife and they’re chopping up a tomato with it. Talk us through the psychology of how that relates back to your business.

Steve Buzogany:

Sure. So for me, when I first got into real estate, I was 20 years old. And I called a marketing company up that does gifting of this sort, and I wanted to work with them, but they cost way too much. And that’s one of the reasons I do what I do because it’s more affordable. But I called them up, and even though I didn’t end up doing business with them, they sent me a Cutco pair of scissors with my last name engraved on it. This was like eight years ago. And I still have them to this day, I know exactly who gave them to me, I’m sitting here on a podcast telling you and everybody else listening about this thing because that’s the kind of impression it makes. So you can use me as an example of just getting a pair of scissors. I mean, I looked up how much the scissors cost, they’re $125.

Paul Green:

Wow.

Steve Buzogany:

So think about that. $125 for an impression in my mind every day for eight years.

Paul Green:

Yeah.

Steve Buzogany:

You ain’t buying that market anywhere else.

Paul Green:

No.

Steve Buzogany:

Most people are like, “Oh, you know what? I’ll take you out to dinner with you and your family and pay $200, $300 a night for just one dinner, get one impression,” when you could just pay $125 for one impression and make your MSP think about you forever. Makes more sense, right?

Paul Green:

I love that, I absolutely love that. Do you know, as you were mentioning this, I remembered, and I still have this, in 1991, my recently divorced mother was on the market for boyfriends and we lived in this little village in Oxfordshire, so near Oxford in the UK. And as you can imagine, the village was a buzz. It was a small village, there weren’t a lot of single people. And I remember a guy called Ron, and Ron was very smart because he tried to endear himself to my mother through her sons, so through me and my brother. And I still have the Leatherman, which is one of those multi-tool things, this goes back to ’91, this is, what, 32 years ago. But he engraved it with my name and I’ve carried that Leatherman from house to house to house.

Steve Buzogany:

That’s awesome.

Paul Green:

I know exactly where it is. It’s in my tools drawer. I use it now and again, I’m quite protective over it, because it’s so old I don’t want it to snap or anything like that. And the second you started mentioning that and I thought, “Ah, I’ve got that thing.” And it was from Ron. Well, apart from the guy that became my stepdad, that my mother actually married, I can’t remember the many other boyfriends from ’91 to ’94.

Steve Buzogany:

Yep, see that.

Paul Green:

Well done, go Ron. Yeah, it didn’t get in the sale in this opportunity, in this instance, but it certainly kept him front of mind. Okay, so let’s establish where we are. We’ve got give people gifts that they will perceive are of high value for a long time, personalized to them so they become special to them. Now, you’ve mentioned a couple of times it’s got to be a gift and not a promotional drive. It’s sounds like there’s a very fine line between the two.

Steve Buzogany:

Yeah, and I can give this to your audience, I’ll send you the link for this, but basically I have this thing called The Appreciation Six-Pack, which is a PDF of six different pages that’ll tell you exactly how to gift and not to gift. But one of the pages is Promotion versus Gift. And basically the promotion is a focus on the giver, the marketing professional and us always wants to put our logo on something as big as possible. The focus is on the giver, not the recipient. Gifts, the focus is on the recipient. Promotions are typically bought in bulk and they are of less quality, maybe buying a bunch of pens or a bunch of wristbands or bracelets or whatever, anything that has your logo on it versus what we were just talking about, gifts themselves are usually unique and of higher quality and then they’re personalized and they have deep emotional impact.

Whereas the promotions, they’re usually flash-on-the-pan impact, make the impression, move on and get to the next promotion, spinning a lot of wheels, to be completely honest. And then lastly, promotions don’t usually have a ton of staying power. They’re usually, like we were just saying, flash-on-the-pan, because their purpose is to advertise, whereas with a gift they have staying power, they’re very visible, they’re kept, they’re close to the heart, like you were saying with your Leatherman. And the whole purpose is not to advertise. With a gift, it’s actually the purpose of a gift is to build upon or establish a connection with another person. So there’s a totally different function there.

Paul Green:

Okay, let’s finally just talk about leveraging this into referrals. So that’s the goal, and many MSPs, their only marketing is referrals. It’s their lifeblood. But as you alluded to earlier, it was sitting by the computer, sitting by the phone, hoping it will ring kind of referral scheme rather than actually proactively doing something. How would you suggest to an MSP that they put in place some of the things that we’ve talked about in this interview to actually formally drive active referrals?

Steve Buzogany:

Yeah, sure. So I’ll give you six quick things I can tell you right now to increase some referrals. So one, you want to rank your database, that’s the first thing, where you pick your best people and focus on them. So I’d say pick your top 5 to 20%, whatever fits that ranking system. And then picture of it like a target. There’s the A’s and A pluses in the middle. And as you move outside the target, they become less valuable and the bullseye would be your best people. So you want to rank them. Make sure the A’s are with the A’s and the B’s with the B’s and C’s and the C’s. Then determine a budget; how much per month do you want to spend on these top 25 people or these top 10% of people that you’ve now named? Determine a budget, a gifting budget for these people. And then build a “random timeline”. By random, I mean don’t give them gifts in December when everybody else gives them gifts, don’t give them gifts on their birthday or don’t give them gifts on basically whenever a gift is expected, don’t give them a gift.

Give them a gift when they least expect it because you want the shock and awe factor. Give it to them on March 24th or give them to it on July 18th or some kind of random day in the middle of nowhere where no one thinks anything’s coming and they get this gift and it’s like, “Whoa.” So that’s why I said build a random timeline. So pick your budget and then decide when during the year do you want to give these gifts, have the gift list, so have some go-tos. That way, when it’s time to order your next round of gifts, you just go to the plan that you have already built and you put it all together and it’s like, and now you just start doing it versus trying to come up with a new idea every quarter. And then, so we have this thing called The Juice. So when people gossip, it’s always like, “Oh, we’re talking about the juicy stuff.” So what I would say is know people’s juice. Whenever we talk about or have a conversation with people, they’re constantly spilling their juice.

You have already talked about how your mom was divorced in ’91 and that the juice there was that she dated people until ’94, she was remarried and she got this guy named Ron who gave you this Leatherman. You went through all this stuff that I could completely turn around and gift, make a really great experience for you. But every person’s like that. No offense, you’re not unique to that, that’s not unique to you. Everybody’s like that. So you got to know their juice. Whenever you are talking about your top MSPs, your best relationship, you got to know them and you got to get to know them. And if you don’t know them, it’s an excuse to call them proactively and say, “Hey, let’s get to know each other a little bit more or whatever.” And you can come up with creative ideas for that. And then last but not least, let’s not forget the basics, guys.

Write a personal note with a personal message handwritten from you to them. If you don’t have a huge budget, you can just send your MSPs a thank you note, “Hey, just want to let you know I really appreciate the fact that you let us do what we do to help you out. And just wanted to make you aware of it. Thanks. You’re the best, appreciate you.” Personal note directly from you. That’s a really great thing.

Paul Green:

I love it. Steve, thank you so much. I’ve just had, there was horrendous epiphany of what if my mother actually listens to this podcast? Because I don’t think she knows it exists, but what if she’s figured out how to use Spotify or Audible or, oh, that’s horrendous, what a thought that is. I’m going to get a very angry text message at some point, that’s for sure. Steve, you mentioned earlier that your business does this for MSPs so that they don’t have to, so they can focus on building their business and you can focus on systemizing the relationship marketing. Tell us briefly a little bit about how you do that and what’s the best way for us to get in touch with you.

Steve Buzogany:

Yeah, for sure. So basically what we do, I went through a lot of it just right now with all of those different things. So we build out your plan for you and to do the shipping and the handling and the wrapping and the personal note-writing, all that does take a ton of time. It takes hours, sometimes as much as a month depending on the order size that you’re trying to do. So we just want to make sure we give you your time back so we just do it all for you, you do what you do, we’ll take care of this part. We’ll get you the referrals, all you got to do is call behind the gift and just be like, “Hey, I sent you a gift a couple of days ago, just wanted to make sure you got it.” If they don’t call you first, because the gifts we send are usually pretty good.

So you usually get the call instead. But outside of that, I mean, if it’s something you guys are trying to do to make a bigger impact on the MSPs, I would say just send me an email directly. We’ll talk about it a little bit because everybody’s got a different plan. So just send me an email at steve@appreciationadvocate.com and we can just talk about whatever your goals are and your people, and we’ll take it from there.

Voiceover:

Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast. This week’s recommended book.

Dan Albaum:

Hi, I’m Dan Albaum, author of The Impact Makers: Voices of Leadership. But the book I want to talk about and recommend to you is Value Merchants. And this is so important in today’s highly competitive marketplace; how do solutions providers really maximize the value and the revenue from their developed solutions? And this book is great, it breaks down a whole process around the concept of customer value management, where you use facts and data to support the value proposition for your solutions. So can’t recommend it more. Please go and check it out.

Voiceover:

Coming up next week.

Paul Katzoff:

Hi, I’m Paul Katzoff. We’re going to be discussing how, as an MSP, you can differentiate yourselves regionally, locally, or nationally from other MSPs, win clients and grow, grow, grow.

Paul Green:

If you’re listening to me on a podcast platform, please do subscribe. And if you’re on YouTube, also hit that little bell thing as well so that you never miss an episode of the show, because on top of that interview next week we are doing a marketing AMA, an ask me anything. And I would love to get your marketing questions. You can email me, hello@paulgreensmspmarketing.com. And by the way, it’ll be the real me that replies to you. Join me next Tuesday and have a very profitable week with your MSP.

Voiceover:

Made in the UK for MSPs around the world, Paul Greens MSP Marketing Podcast.