SPECIAL: Get new clients deep dive

Episode 31: SPECIAL: Get new clients deep dive

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Episode 31: SPECIAL: Get new clients deep dive

 
 
00:00 / 01:08:31
 
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In this week’s special episode

Unless you’ve reached capacity, I bet you’d love more new clients.

If this is something you struggle with (most MSPs do), then this special episode of the podcast is just for you. Listen to a real marketing deep dive between MSP owner Jim Smith and Paul Green.

Jim, from Philadelphia-based Proper Sky, has been doing pretty much everything he can to attract more clients, but reached out to Paul to see if he was missing anything. As expected, Jim was already doing some great marketing. However now with Paul’s advice, is poised to make it work even harder and is preparing to invite more new clients into his business.

The special extended episode this week has one sole focus – the full deep-dive conversation in it’s entirety. Listen as Jim discusses his MSP’s background, what marketing he’s tried so far and his honest feelings on running a growing MSP – it’s powerful stuff. There are definitely a couple of ‘light-bulb’ moments for Jim during this conversation and hopefully this special episode will help you too.

Show notes

Episode transcription

Voiceover:
Made in the UK for MSPs around the world. This is Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast.

Paul Green:
Hello, and welcome to a special extended episode of the MSP marketing podcast. Now, one of the most common questions that I’m asked by MSPs is how do I get new clients? I think it’s the number one marketing question. Because MSPs are great at retaining clients and upselling them, the challenge is always in bringing new people on board. Recently I had an opportunity to do a marketing consultation for an MSP owner. He’s not someone who’s a client. We were just chatting on LinkedIn. And I realised there was an opportunity here to do a really in-depth, if you like, a deep dive consultation for him on how to get brand new clients in a way that actually benefits you as well. And he very graciously allowed me to record the whole thing. And that’s what today’s episode is. This is about three times, four times, longer than a normal episode, but I think as you listen in, you’ll realise this has an immense power in helping you to get more new clients for your MSP.

Voiceover:
Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast.

Jim Smith:
My name is Jim Smith and I’m the owner of Proper Sky. We are a managed service provider located outside of Philadelphia.

Paul Green:
Jim, you and I caught up on LinkedIn and we started chatting on LinkedIn about your business and about how difficult it can be sometimes to get more new clients and increase your monthly recurring revenue and net profit, and all the things that most MSPs want to increase. I thought it’d be quite handy for us to have a chat and essentially for me to give you a consult, and of course this could form part of the podcast. Let’s start by just getting very brief history of your business. Tell us how you got started, how long you’ve been running, how many techs you’ve got and what kind of clients you’re working with right now.

Jim Smith:
I started in 2006. I was actually in the United States Peace Corps. We helped a lot of nonprofits and small businesses. I was stationed in a little island in the South Pacific called Tonga. It’s a small country, about 100,000 people. And one of the things that was consistently clear to me is that there were a lot of people doing IT that didn’t do it very well. And when I got back to the States I decided that instead of getting a job, I’d start my own business, helping nonprofits and small businesses with the right team. In 2006, I wrote a little script, believe it or not, that would read Craigslist. And if anybody mentioned the word server, or Windows, or Linux, or something along those lines, it would actually text me a message. 2006, it was pretty high tech and the first five people I called, four of them are still customers to this day, I believe.

Paul Green:
That’s amazing. That’s great.

Jim Smith:
That was how it started. And ironically, the first customer that I landed, I was helping them with an Ubuntu server, an Ubuntu mail server for a Nigerian arts collective. And this guy ended up partnering up with another guy in Atlanta that was purchasing dermatology practices. They purchased their first practice in Philadelphia. I helped build their data center. We helped… at the time it was a 2003 cluster server back-end. That practice grew from four providers in four offices to, I think it was almost 70 providers in 60 offices across seven states by the time we were done. And I just grew up on the back of those guys between 2006 and 2013. At one time we were… I think 12 was my staffing level at that point, then that company crashed spectacularly, and went out of business. In 2013 they were 90% of my monthly recurring revenue.

Paul Green:
Well, you did quite well to survive, because to lose 90% of your monthly recurring revenue and still be here seven years later…

Jim Smith:
I’ll tell you. We purchased LabTech. They had given me a free pass, I think, to the IT Nation Conference, which I had never been to. I went to that conference. I was sitting at the bar feeling sorry for myself and I bumped into this guy who was another MSP from Seattle. He was like, “Listen, there’s a guy that knows a lot about this, but you need to look at your business as a way for you to sustain a lifestyle and not being a technician.” And he’s like, “Take a look at the way that managed services are run and the model of it. And I think you’ll find that you’ll have some pretty good success.”

Jim Smith:
I came back from that conference renewed and I basically had a whole bunch of break-fix customers that I had picked up over the years, just small doctors’ offices and just random people that I bumped into and helped. And I basically said, “Hey, listen, we’re only selling managed services contracts. We’re not doing hourly work any longer. And if you want us to be able to help you, here’s what it’s going to look like.” And that was 2013. Now we’re back up to… we were at nine and we were hiring a new dispatcher and salesperson.

Paul Green:
So you’re up to nine staff again. Now then let’s talk about what kind of clients you’d like for the business. Is it general clients that you have just in the Philly area?

Jim Smith:
Correct. We target, right now, specifically the five counties in and around Philadelphia.

Paul Green:
Paint me a picture of what the perfect client looks like. Let’s say the phone rang today and you picked up the phone and it was someone who said, “Oh, I’ve been referred to you,” or, “I’ve been on your website,” and you say, “Well, tell me a little bit about your business.” And imagine everything they say, every single word they say, has you salivating, because you just want this person as a client and you want their business. What does that business look?

Jim Smith:
The business has significant investment in technology and that’s either in the way of cloud or they understand the value of providing accessible toolkits and just tools to their staff. That’s one of the things that we always look for is somebody that really tries to invest highly in technology. The other thing is we also look for organisations that are regulated. We have a lot of solid experience in the HIPAA and medical space. Doctors and physician groups are always pretty good fits for us.

Jim Smith:
Generally speaking, we look for people that are looking to partner with an IT company, and just outsource the headache. We want to basically serve as the virtual CIO, if you will. We don’t want them to have to worry about the day to day technology. They understand that it’s important for the organisation. They get it’s important, but they really want to be able to speak to a business owner about what their needs are and not necessarily as in a technical capacity. That’s good. And a big old budget.

Paul Green:
Yes. Absolutely. And I must, at this point, point out for most of my UK listeners will know this, but most of my US listeners won’t, which is that in the US you guys get away with charging what seems like 10 times more than MSPs can get away with charging in the UK. And we have no idea why there’s this disparity, but sometimes I see things in forums, places like the TechTribe which I’m a member of, or my own MSP Marketing Facebook group, and US people will talk about charging several hundred dollars or a couple of hundred dollars per user and here in the UK we’re charging the equivalent of $50 per user. It’s absolutely insane. But there we go. That’s just the way of the world.

Paul Green:
I’m going to come back to regulated industries later, because that’s gives me a germ of a marketing idea, which I want to come back to in a bit, but what are you doing marketing-wise right now? Let’s forget your existing clients for now and how you’re upselling them and servicing them. It’s just part of them. Let’s talk about new clients. Specifically, what are you doing right now to get new clients into the business?

Jim Smith:
A lot of what’s on your podcast resonates with me. Most buyers nowadays are a bit more sophisticated. There’s so much more information and it’s so much easier to vet the quality of a managed services provider online without ever picking up the phone. And not only that, but a customer is so far down into the buying cycle once they’re searching for managed services that they’re pretty much ready to commit, or they know exactly what they’re looking for and the sort of relationship they’re looking to establish. With all that being said, I’ve been focusing on very specific what I considered down level keywords in Google ad words. In my marketplace, it’s very expensive. It could be anywhere from $35 to $45 per click for the search term managed services.

Jim Smith:
We have some traction there. I had an organisation that I had hired. I had outsourced my marketing originally to an organisation well known in the MSP space. And they had recommended doing long tail geographical landing pages. And we tried that for about a year, we didn’t get much traction. I hired on an agency… For us, it was a pretty high spent. We did a lot of content marketing. We were using outsourced content marketing, and we were doing email blasts, we were doing some social media stuff. And we also just recently turned to buying inbound links through different services. It’s kind of a hodgepodge. I’ve been focusing less on sales and I guess more on marketing. But I haven’t really found a silver bullet. I don’t really know where I need to be spending my time and energy. And that’s, I think part of the challenge.

Paul Green:
Yeah. And obviously that’s led to this conversation. Do you have… you mentioned you’re doing email blasts, is that to a database of your own prospects that you’ve put together?

Jim Smith:
Yes and no. We have not done a very good job at collecting potential leads’ email addresses. We have some capture forms on our website, the contact form. One of the projects I’ve actually been working on is we’re a ConnectWise shop, not to speak ill of ConnectWise. They’ve been a fantastic partner and I love it. But their email newsletter tool leaves a little bit to be desired. What we’ve been trying to do is integrate our ConnectWise tool with our CRM tool. In this case, we’re using Zoho. And we’re trying to set up a two way sync between the creation of accounts and prospects inside of ConnectWise that sync into Zoho, and then putting the leads into Zoho and then choosing which ones to sync back into ConnectWise, and then using Zoho as the marketing tool because there’s so much more integration and visibility into who’s looking at what on your website based on the content that you’re sending out.

Paul Green:
Yeah. That makes perfect sense. Okay. There is so much we can talk about off the back of this. I must just mention in terms of ConnectWise not being a great CRM, I don’t think ConnectWise is a great marketing tool. I’m sure I have no direct experience of it, but I’m sure auto task is the same because that’s not what they’re designed for, of course, whereas you look at something like Zoho CRM, or Mailchimp, or MailerLite, or ActiveCampaign, or Infusionsoft, which are all designed from the ground up to be marketing tools. And I think that kind of integration between the two is a good idea, although… and maybe we’ll come back to this down the line, ConnectWise really shouldn’t be used for any marketing at all. I would focus ConnectWise on delivering to your existing clients and focus Zoho or whichever CRM you’re using to focus on prospecting.

Paul Green:
And it’s only when someone becomes a client that you shift them off, off to Zoho and into ConnectWise. I realise two different systems jars with people because we all want nice elegant things that talk to each other, but actually marketing to prospects and delivering to clients are two completely different jobs with different communication levels. But we’ll come onto that if we can. First of all, you’re in a really, really good position, Jim. And apart from the fact that you’ve nearly lost the business seven years ago and you recovered, and we could have that conversation with 100 people in the same boat and 95 of them will have gone under and gone and got a job. And I don’t know about you, but that’s my idea of hell is ever having to work for someone else ever again. So genuinely, a massive round of applause to you for pulling round a business turnaround like that.

Paul Green:
Because you’ve been through that, I think it’s probably made you more resilient than a hell of a lot more people. I think many of us have been through good times and bad times and been through recessions, but to be in a position where you’ve essentially got to start again from scratch seven, eight years after years of hard work down the plug hole is a massive thing. You’ve got this mental resilience, which is awesome. I think the other thing you’ve got going in your favour is you’re doing stuff. You’re investing into SEO, SEO being search engine optimisation, you’re spending on Google ads even though it’s costing you $30, $40 a click, you’re hiring marketing agencies, you’re doing content marketing. This is awesome. Because… I don’t know if you’ve found this in your marketplace, but in most marketplaces I look at, there are very few MSPs that are actually doing any marketing at all. You take… how many MSPs would there be in your marketplace in Philadelphia? Hundreds?

Jim Smith:
Hundreds, yeah.

Paul Green:
Hundreds. Yeah. And if we were to do a Google search and look to see how many are actively on Google or how many are doing something or they’re actually putting stuff on their blog or acting on social media, it will be a reasonably small percentage of those. It’s not going to be a massive number of them. And that’s quite exciting because what that does is that it creates opportunity for a small number of players in each marketplace. And we would see this, not just in Philadelphia, not just in the States, we would see this absolutely worldwide. The fact that you understand that you need to market and you need to do stuff gives you a massive, massive psychological advantage over all of your competitors.

Paul Green:
I’ve said this a few times in the podcast over the last year or so, over the last half year or so, which is you don’t need to outrun everyone, you just need to outrun a few of your competitors. It’s like the analogy of, if you and I were in the woods and we were hiking and suddenly a bear wakes up from hibernation and starts chasing us and we run and run and run and run and run. And eventually we got to a clearing and we’re both utterly exhausted and we can’t run anymore. And you start to… you take off your shoes and you get your trainers, your sneakers, out of your backpack and you put them on your feet and I’d say to you, “What are you doing? Are you mad? We’ve got to outrun the bear.” And you say, “No, no, no. I don’t have to outrun the bear. I just have to outrun you.”

Paul Green:
And that’s all that you’ve got to do. You haven’t got to outrun hundreds of MSPs. You’ve just got to outrun two or three that are also active marketing in your marketplace. And by default, you beat the others. What I think I can help you with today, and this will be useful for all the MSPs listening to this, is to give you some strategy to put onto this, onto your marketing. You’re doing a whole bunch of tactical stuff, which is brilliant, but I think there’s just a bit of a strategy shift. And the great news is, it’s not a massive, massive difference to what you’re doing now. It’s just giving it some more shape, some more format so that it can actually be more useful for you.

Paul Green:
The first thing I want to cover off is the principle of longterm marketing for MSPs. I love working with MSPs because most of them don’t market, which is great for someone who supplies marketing services, but also because as you were saying earlier, when you win a client, you keep them for years. You’ve still got your first client that you got from a Craigslist scrape, which is pretty impressive. But then we can talk to most MSPs who have got their first, or their second, or their third client still 10, 20 years on. MSPs keep clients for a really long time. And that means your average lifetime value of a client can be absolutely massive. It can be… I’m sure that client has been with you for, well, coming on for nearly 20 years is probably spent hundreds of thousands of dollars with you over their time. The average lifetime value is massive. That means you can afford to invest a fairly significant sum of money to win a new client. Jim, do you have an idea in your head of how much you would be willing to spend to win a new client tomorrow?

Jim Smith:
That is a good question, Paul. I do not know the answer to that.

Paul Green:
But if I said to you I’ve got a client, they’re going to stick with you for another 10 years. They’re going to spend $2,000, $3,000 a month for the next 10 years and they’re yours, give me $5,000. Would you give me that $5,000?

Jim Smith:
Easily I would give you 5% of the total cost.

Paul Green:
Okay. Well, there we go. And that is absolutely the right mindset because the reality is it’s going to cost you that much to win a new client, anyway, if ever you look at how much you spend on marketing every year. It’s every single dollar, cent, pound, penny that you spend, every… add it all up, add your time in, every single hour you spend doing something and you divide it by the total number of new clients, which is probably a very small number, because most MSPs only win a handful of new clients every year.

Paul Green:
And you look at the cost of that and it’s probably already costing you a few thousand if not several thousand dollars per new clients. It’s really exciting that we’ve got this really big average lifetime value. What’s also exciting is, most MSPs benefit from something called inertia loyalty. This is one of the reasons you have these clients for so many years. Some of them, you super serve them, you’ve got special relationships with them. But then there’ll be a whole bunch of clients you’ve got that you don’t necessarily super serve them, you just look after them well, you’re not really completely embedded in their business as a partner, as much as you say you are, they’re just clients. And we all have clients like these. We have super clients and we have average clients, and then we have a couple of really terrible clients that we really should fire.

Paul Green:
And those middling clients, they stay with you partly because they’re enjoying what you’re doing, but partly out of inertia loyalty. It just feels like it’s too difficult to go anywhere else. And this is what makes your sales cycle so long, because when you’re speaking to someone else who’s thinking of switching from that incumbent MSP and switching over to you, the thing that stops them from doing it is inertia loyalty. And, Jim, maybe you’ve had this yourself where you’ve had a really good set of meetings with the prospects, they’re really engaged, they like the price, they like the service, they like you, and you know they don’t like their incumbent, they’re disappointed with their service levels, they’re disappointed with how things aren’t as good as they used to be, you put in a proposal, everything’s great. And then you call them up a few weeks later and they’ve decided to sign another contract with their incumbent, even though they don’t like them. Have you ever been in that situation?

Jim Smith:
Absolutely.

Paul Green:
Yeah. And most MSPs have. And it’s really frustrating. And you think maybe you’ve done something wrong, but no, you haven’t. This is inertia loyalty at play. Now we need to know about this inertia loyalty because this is the thing which slows the sales down. And it comes down to an emotional decision. And, Jim, you may have heard me say this on the podcast before that the decision makers that we want to reach, the business owners and the managers who we’re trying to win over as new clients, they don’t know much about technology at all. They don’t know much about managed services, about IT support. In fact, they don’t know what they don’t know. And for that reason, they can’t make cognitive decisions about picking an MSP. They literally cannot tell the difference between one MSP and another.

Paul Green:
They can’t look at you and decide if you’re a good MSP or not. When they can’t make those cognitive decisions, it becomes a purely emotional decision. If I put this another way, your prospects are picking you or not picking you based on whether or not they like you. And this is a punch in the face for all those exams, and all those qualifications, and all those accreditations and partnerships because people are picking you whether or not they like you or don’t like you. Sure, if you can’t deliver the service, they’ll soon leave you. But the reality is you can deliver the service because you’ve kept clients for nearly 20 years. If they’re making emotional decisions, what we’ve got to make sure we do is appeal to them at an emotional level. And we’ve got to give them plenty of emotional reasons to pick you.

Paul Green:
Roughly… and we’re making these figures up now, but 80% of their decision is based on their emotional reaction and 20% is based on their cognitive reaction. In our marketing, we’ve got to give them lots of emotional reasons to pick you. And then we’ve got to give them a small amount of cognitive reason for their brain to rubber stamp the decision. Their heart will make the decision, their brain will rubber stamp it. There’s a three step strategy that I recommend for this. And there’s loads more about this on my website. If you go to paulgreensmspmarketing.com and go to the blog, you’ll see them in this four, four and a half years worth of content. There are videos, and articles, and infographics, and all sorts of stuff explaining this exact process and embellishing it and going into a hell of a lot of detail.

Paul Green:
But essentially the three step process to get more new clients and to build relationships with them is first of all to drive quality traffic, and we’re going to come back to that one in a second because that’s a biggie. The second thing then is instead of just driving quality traffic to our website, to use it to build audiences instead. And again, we’ll come back to what that means. We’re going to drive quality traffic. We’re going to build audiences. And then the third thing we’re going to do is, we’re going to build a relationship with them. If we go back to the very first of those, which is driving quality traffic, and it sounds like you’re already on top of some of the traffic sources and the three big traffic sources for MSPs are the big three platforms, Google, LinkedIn, and Facebook. And I’m not surprised to hear that you’re paying $35, $40 a click. For a major metropolitan city, that sounds about right. And Google was cheap 15 years ago. It wasn’t there, but it’s certainly not cheap these days.

Paul Green:
No, it’s not. And the downside of Google ads is that it’s a one off hit. You pay your $40, you get someone on your website and then 12 seconds later, they go back, they hit the back button. They didn’t realise they’d just cost you $40. They didn’t realise they’re literally sucking cash out of your bank account and giving it to Larry and Sergey. Actually, they’re not even there anymore, but you get the idea. Google ads are great for short term traffic, but really long term, I would be focusing on SEO on search engine optimisation to appear at the top. Now Google have completely revamped over the last five years the way they do their search listings. And it’s actually quite hard now to be at the top of Google.

Paul Green:
If you remember, five, 10 years ago, people would talk about, “Let’s get up to the top of page one of Google.” The top of page one of Google is now two swipes down on a mobile phone. It’s because most people are doing this on their mobiles. You’ve got to swipe down twice past the adverts, which look like organic listings, which is a very cruel trick that Google have pulled off. The adverts look exactly the same as organic listings apart from a tiny little green thing that says add. You got to swipe past those. You got to swipe past the map because Google has decided that IT support is a retail business and therefore it brings up the map and then you get to the top of Google.

Paul Green:
And I think longterm, you’d be better off taking those $40 per click and investing that into search engine optimisation so that you are… And that’s probably a very big ask in a city like Philadelphia. And I’m not a technical expert on SEO, but I think longterm, you want to be getting more organic placings higher up because then you’re not paying that cost per click then. You might get lower amounts of traffic from it, but that traffic is going to be higher quality. And it’s going to be people who are looking directly for what it is that you sell. That’s the first platform. Second platform is LinkedIn. What are you doing on LinkedIn at the moment?

Jim Smith:
Right now, I try to engage with different people that I’ve met. And I post. Maybe once or twice a week, I try to find something that I believe is meaningful or engaging, I guess. And then I just post there. And then I also just, once a day I reach out to vendors or I check different partners and see what they’re posting about. I try to comment and post as much as I can get involved in some partner sites.

Paul Green:
I see LinkedIn is the number one B2B marketing tool for MSPs right now. Jim, when you started the business all those years ago, if I’d said to you, “Hey, how would you like a database of virtually every prospect out there which is completely searchable? It’s virtually the most up to date database on the planet. You can search for anyone. You can connect to virtually anyone. You can message virtually anyone. Oh, and by the way, it’s free for actually pretty good functionality. Would you be interested in that?” And all those years ago you’d have snapped my hand off, wouldn’t you? It would have been amazing.

Jim Smith:
Absolutely.

Paul Green:
And that’s how we’ve got to look at LinkedIn, because LinkedIn is a bit of a pain. It does feel like everyone is there selling to us all the time and it feels like everyone’s putting content on, but the reality is it’s just a massive up-to-date database. There’s three things that I recommend you do with LinkedIn every day. And they’re the three Cs. The three Cs are connect, content, and contact. And let me take you through the three of them. The first of them is connect. Do you pay for LinkedIn, or did you pay for Sales Navigator, or is it just a free-

Jim Smith:
No, I’ve been considering it. I wasn’t sure if it was worth the money, but I’m convinced now.

Paul Green:
Okay. Well, I don’t think it is worth the money, to be honest. Apologies to anyone from Microsoft or LinkedIn that’s listening to this. But Sales Navigator is actually really expensive and all it does is it takes the brakes off. On the free version of LinkedIn, you can connect to… and if I’ve got this figure wrong, don’t shoot me because these figures change all the time, but I think it’s around about 20 a day. You can attempt to connect to 20 people a day. And for most MSPs that are spending a maximum of an hour a day on LinkedIn, that’s enough. That really is enough. And if you attempted to connect to 20 people a day, every single day, five days a week, that’s a hundred potential connections a week. Even if only 10% of those people actually accept your friend request or your connection request, you’re growing your LinkedIn audience by 10 people every week, which is pretty powerful in the long term. With all of these things, it’s the longterm is the compound that really makes the difference.

Paul Green:
One would just be connecting to… up to 20 people a day. In terms of who you connect to, you just got to ask yourself who’s out there in the marketplace that I want to speak to. And actually an uber tip for this is to find someone else who’s already connected to the people that you want and then go and look at their connections. For example, I don’t know if you go physically networking in every at all in your area, me, I find networking a bit of a drag. I don’t like getting out there, but it is quite useful to know who’s out there who are the uber networkers who are going out to meeting people, connect to them on LinkedIn and then go and have a look at their connections. Because if someone is out networking in your area two, three, four times a week or more, then they are going to be connected to virtually everyone else who is out there.

Paul Green:
It’s always a lot easier to say see who else is out there. Who are the lawyers who are most active? Actually, no, you wouldn’t do this to lawyers. Would you? Who are the CPAs, the accountants who are most active in the area? Who’s running advertising campaigns? Who’s the go to person for something? These are the people you should be connected to on LinkedIn, and then go and have a look at their connections to see who you’d be most interested in. And there are actually a couple of tools that you can use, which are strictly against LinkedIn’s terms and conditions, but they work. Most of them is they sit as a plugin to your Chrome. They essentially are automating human behaviour on your behalf. One of them is called Dux-Soup, which is D-U-X dash Soup, as in soup that we drink. There’s another one that’s called… I think it’s called Linked Helper. And there’s a third one that’s called Alfred, if you just google Alfred LinkedIn.

Paul Green:
And all of these just automate your behaviour for you. They do come with a health warning and you need to follow their instructions and do exactly what they say because they say they’re technically against LinkedIn’s terms and conditions, but they are all automated tools to help you with this. Our three Cs we’ve got the first C is connect, the second C is content. And you said you posted, was it two, three times a week?

Jim Smith:
Yeah. I said that’s probably fair.

Paul Green:
Okay. I would turn that into five days a week. And it might feel like that’s too much, but on social media that’s not too much because social media is constant disposable content. And the kind of content that you should be posting, I would forget responding to vendors and talking about high level stuff because what we’re trying to do here is we’re trying to build a database of people who could potentially buy from you and engage with them and build a relationship with them. I would focus on talking about things that are of interest to ordinary business owners and managers, but making sure you talk about it from their point of view. For example… I must think about something… laptop encryption, for example. And you and I know that everyone should have their laptops encrypted. Do all of your clients have their laptops encrypted?

Jim Smith:
Yes.

Paul Green:
Oh, okay. You’re actually ahead of the curve on that one then. You could write something on LinkedIn. It literally needs to be a couple of hundred words just off the top of your head of here’s why every single one of my clients has an encrypted laptop. And you would then talk about the benefits of laptop encryption. And when I say talk about them, I don’t mean the technical aspects of it, but the data safety aspects, or you could throw a story out like, let’s say you were… obviously this wouldn’t be when we were in lockdown or in quarantine. But let’s say when you’re on the way back on a train, back from the city, back home one night, you accidentally fall asleep on the train, you manage to just wake up as it’s your stop. You rush off the train. Yes, you did it. And then you realise you left your laptop on the train.

Paul Green:
If that happens to my clients, it’s a minor inconvenience because no one can access their data. No one can do anything with it. All they’ve got to worry about is getting a replacement device and we put their data back on their device for them. But if you haven’t got an encrypted laptop, suddenly you’ve left all your data for anyone to read. That could be all your client data, it could be all of your business data, it could be all of your financial details, and anyone could read it. Can you see how that’s written from the prospect’s point of view?

Jim Smith:
Absolutely.

Paul Green:
Yeah, Absolutely. And that’s the kind of content that’s a hell of a lot more interesting to them than the kind of technical stuff that we are interested in. Essentially, anything you see on any of the channel websites is not of interest to ordinary people. And maybe that’s a slightly extreme way of putting it, but it’s so easy to get caught up in latest products, vendor this, vendor that, and it just doesn’t resonate with ordinary people. What resonates with them is really basic stuff like the fear of losing data, the fear of losing that business, losing money, losing time, all of those kind of things. And we’ve got to translate all the techie stuff so that it’s of interest to them. We’ve got connect is the first C, content is the second C… Oh, and actually on content we need to… you mentioned about commenting as well. Commenting on other people’s posts is a great way to drive people to your personal profile as well, because in fact it’s a great way of getting people to friend request or connection request you.

Paul Green:
You almost want to seek out people in your city who are saying interesting things, especially those people we were talking about, who are uber connected and go and comment on their posts. Particularly if you can add some value. You can use hashtags to go and look for things like #technology, #computer, #Windows. There’s probably a thousand that we can think of. And you can do all sorts of clever search just to try and find people in your area who are talking about things that really you should be commenting on all. All of this is part of painting you as an authority figure, as someone… this is such a cliche, but a thought leader. LinkedIn defines itself as interesting people talking about the things that matter to you. Somebody from LinkedIn stood up and said that on a stage once, “LinkedIn is interesting people talking about things that matter to you.” Your challenge, Jim, is to find those people in just 10, 20 minutes every day and comment on their posts. And ultimately you’re going to get some more traffic from that.

Paul Green:
Our first C was connect. Our second C was content. And our third C is contact. As you start to build up your LinkedIn profile with the kind of people that you’d really like to talk to, you need to start contacting those people because you’re going to have a database. And there’s no point in having a database on LinkedIn unless you’re working, really working that database. There’s two types of contact that I recommend. The first is just to drop them a message. And once you connect to someone on LinkedIn, you can just message them. You can actually automate this with some of those tools we were talking about earlier.

Paul Green:
Personally, I think a blend of automated messaging and real life messaging is the right thing to do. And you might just sit and go through your database once or twice a week, go through, have a look, say, “Oh, right, David Smith. I haven’t spoken to him ever. I’m just going to drop him a message.” And you might have… it might be something that you copy and paste, but it might be just, “Hi David. We’ve been connected for a few weeks now. I run a local IT support company just half a mile, a couple of miles down the road from you. Tell me what’s frustrating you with your technology right now.” That’s quite a crossway of jumping into it, but there’s a number of different things you can do. And what I would recommend is you do what you’re comfortable with.

Paul Green:
If you’re a very aggressive salesperson and you’re not afraid to put it out there, you’d be more aggressive with your messaging. If you’re more comfortable just taking it easy and building a relationship over time, then you’d just start to get to know people. But our thinking is, we always think that everyone’s commenting and everyone’s messaging, and the reality is they’re not. LinkedIn stats I found about three or four months ago said that something like only 3% of people who are active users of LinkedIn post content once a week, or once a week, or more than once a week. It’s not everyone that’s posting content, I know. I may have that stat slightly wrong, but it’s not a massive, massive number of people. If I look, I’m connected to just under 3,300 people as of time of recording, and I get probably four messages a week that are unsolicited.

Paul Green:
You’d think with more than 3000 connections, I’d be bombarded with people trying to sell me stuff. And the reality is, I’m not. And maybe my audience is slightly skewed because I’ve been doing a lot of audience building from my side, but you can’t be scared of this stuff. The worst thing that can happen… Well, the second worst thing that can happen is they ignore you. And the worst thing that can happen is that they can send you back some abuse, but maybe we’d flip those around. Maybe it’s worse to be ignored than it is to get some abuse back because that’s still engagement, but there we go.

Paul Green:
We were talking about driving traffic. Google was one of our big platforms, Linkedin was our big platform, and the third big platform is Facebook. And Facebook is not a B2B marketing platform. Facebook is aimed at consumers. But we can use it to reach the B2B decision makers that we want in their downtime. And where Facebook really has a power for you is if you were to run some adverts on a Friday, or a Saturday, or a Sunday, you can reach people who are bored, business owners and decision makers who like to operate at a high level who are in their downtime and they’re frankly just a little bit bored. And this can be a very powerful thing to do. I think for Facebook, the power for you is running ads and run them at weekends. Now Facebook in America… adverts work much better in America than they do in the UK because you have sheer bulk numbers of people to reach. How many people live in Philadelphia?

Jim Smith:
In the Philadelphia metro, it’s something around 5 million, I believe.

Paul Green:
Yeah. That’s just enormous. And even if you said what percentage of those are business owners, it might be what? 20%, 30% something like that?

Jim Smith:
Yeah. In the MSLA, which is the census, I read like 400,000 businesses.

Paul Green:
That’s amazing. That’s 400,000 people for you to reach. No one in any city in the UK would have anywhere near those number of figures because Facebook ads work best if you’re throwing an ad at big numbers, really big numbers. You might run a campaign, Friday to Sunday, and you might limit it to $200 or $300, but still target those 400,000 business owners. And your campaign might be very simply to persuade them to come and join your email list, for example. You might have something that you’re giving away in return for them to come and join your email list.

Paul Green:
Now, I’m going to talk about that a little bit more because do you remember, I was talking about the three step process, the three step process being drive quality traffic, the second step was build audiences or build multiple audiences, and the third step was then build a relationship with them. This is where we start to go into building multiple audiences because the longterm power of marketing for your MSP is to build some audiences and build a relationship with them. And there’s really two to three audiences that you absolutely have to build. The very first one, and the one that’s most important, is your email list. Yes, you might run some Facebook adverts at weekend, every single weekend, aimed at business owners in your area and driving them to your website and getting them to give you their email address, and essentially opt into your email database.

Paul Green:
Now, the reason you’d want them to do this is you want to have a bunch of people that you can send regular emails to. And the reason why your email list is the most important list is simply because we cannot trust Mark Zuckerberg, and we cannot trust LinkedIn, not to steal those other audiences from us, because the other audiences you want to build are LinkedIn and possibly on Facebook. And I’ll come back to that in a second. Linkedin is great. It’s a great place to build a huge following, but tomorrow morning they could change the algorithm. And that’s what I mean by them stealing it from us. LinkedIn will have its own targets, its own priorities, they could change the algorithm tomorrow, they could detect that we’re using automated tools tomorrow, you could be blocked tomorrow. It happened to me about a year ago and I’ve got a massive Facebook group, the MSP Marketing Facebook group, and as of time of recording, we’ve got nearly 800 members.

Paul Green:
And about a year ago they changed the algorithm. And most of my content stopped appearing in the news feeds of the members of my group. And luckily, very luckily, they reversed that within a couple of weeks, but I had a couple of weeks where engagement absolutely fell off the cliff, and anything I put in that group, virtually no one saw it. And I live in fear of that happening every single day. That’s why as much as Facebook and LinkedIn are great places to build audiences, the only audience that you completely control is your email lists. Jim, you said you were using Zoho CRM. I know quite a few MSPs use, and I understand there’s quite a good bit of kit which is great. Can from that, can you generate a form which goes into your website that someone can fill in to enter your database?

Jim Smith:
Absolutely, yeah. And in fact, we actually do that right now. There’s one, two, three, four forms on the website. And all of them feed into Zoho.

Paul Green:
Perfect. And what do people get when they… what does it say on the forms that they will get in return for them giving you their email address?

Jim Smith:
You’ve hit right at the heart of the issue, Paul. One was supposed to be a free consultation for a network evaluation, which I think my click through rate is like 0.06% or something. It’s terrible. The contact form is actually located in the footer of the website on every page. People scroll down to the bottom. That as a click through rate it’s not very good. And the contact form serves dual purpose where it’s sales and service. I’m going to say about 50% of the info that comes in there is either sales or some sort of vendor trying to sell something. And then the other half is support requests.

Paul Green:
Okay. So offering the free audit sounds like a great idea. It’s actually… it’s a step too far, too soon. Someone who’s just on your websites browsing around, they know… you said right at the beginning that people are becoming more sophisticated and they know that a free network audit is giving you the ammunition that you need to sell them stuff. And they’re not stupid about that. For someone who’s in a relationship with your idea, and I mean a marketing relationship, that might be inappropriate next step at some point. And we’ll come onto that in a second. But for someone who’s just browsing your website, they’re not going to give their email address to get that because it’s they’re making a commitment to you and people these days don’t like to make a commitment until they’re so, so ready to actually make that commitment.

Paul Green:
What I’d recommend you did instead, Jim, is give away some kind of information. And we call this an ethical bribe. The kind of information that you’d give away is something which can be packaged up as something they’ve got to have so much show that they will enter their contact details to do so. Now, there’s a great example of this actually on my website because now this is my second business that I’ve built using exactly this model. And by the way, all the marketing I’m talking about here is exactly what I do with my own marketing. I drink my own Kool-Aid, to use a phrase that’s passed around. If you go into my website, which is paulgreensmspmarketing.com, you’ll see on the homepage, I’m offering you a book. And it’s a book that I wrote actually four years ago, it’s called Updating Servers Doesn’t Grow Your Business. You can get a copy for free. And we shipped them, we literally send them out physically free in the USA and in the UK, and everywhere else in the world it’s a PDF. And you fill in your details.

Paul Green:
And the reason that people… and we’ve had more than 2000 MSPs now fill in their details to get a copy of that book. And in my last business, which was sold in 2016, we had 12,000 people. And that was a healthcare marketing business. And we had 12,000 veterinarians, dentists, and opticians. They happily gave over their contact details to get that book. And all of these people did that because they wanted the book. And the book was this thing called the ethical bribe. It’s something… because people don’t like handing over their contact details, but they will if there’s a compelling offer for them to do it. And you have to work quite hard to show them that it is not a con, that it is genuinely free, there’s no fix, there’s no fiddle or whatsoever.

Paul Green:
I would recommend you switch to that kind of approach. And you’d literally give them something, some information that’s free in return for their contact details, and it’s got to be packaged well. And a book is great packaging because that book… and I’ll let you into a secret, that book costs me 49 pence per copy. I had 5,000 printed. 49 pence is probably 70 cents, 80 cents, something like that, or maybe 65, 70 cents. It’s not a great deal of money. It costs me a hell of a lot more in postage than it does in the actual of printing it. But it’s the perceived value. And we write 4.99 or $4.99 on the back of that book. And that’s the perceived value of that book when actually it costs not under a dollar, under a pound, it’s not a great deal at all.

Paul Green:
I would put together some kind of packaged information, but nothing techie, nothing technical. The second you say the word network, you’re dead. The second you start talking about vendors, you’re dead. I would focus on data security. Data security is the big thing right now. It’s the hot topic. Even those uneducated business owners and managers that you want to reach, who don’t actually know much about data security, know that they don’t want to be hacked. Would you agree with this? That they’re starting to be a lot more aware of the risks of this kind?

Jim Smith:
100%. We’re actually dealing with one of our largest customers right now, their entire financial package hosting infrastructure was compromised. It took almost four weeks to get their books back.

Paul Green:
That’s horrendous.

Jim Smith:
It was the disaster.

Paul Green:
It’s a disaster. What you could do… and this is a bit sneaky and you might have to be a bit cute to this, but you could take that story and you could actually turn that into an anonymous case study. You could strip out any details that identify the business. You could strip out anything… because you don’t want to embarrass your clients of course. No one wants to do that. But that would actually be an incredible ethical bribe. A read how one Philadelphia business was hacked so badly. They couldn’t access their own accounting system for four weeks or whatever the sort of the big headline is.

Jim Smith:
The vendor was completely incommunicated. There was no communication whatsoever from the vendor’s perspective about what had actually happened. And what had happened is I had called a bunch of consultants and third parties around this and eked out the details piece by piece from these people. But it seems like nothing was siphoned off. Everything was basically encrypted, including all the files, active directory servers, everything. It was all destroyed.

Paul Green:
So they were completely screwed. That would make a great case study. You wouldn’t go into the details of it. You wouldn’t identify them. You wouldn’t go into the technical details, but you’d focus on the emotionals. What was the conversation that you had with the business owner? How did he or she talk to you when they were telling you about this problem?

Jim Smith:
We’ve been working with the CFO and she was like a ship lost at sea. She was like, “I don’t even know what to do. I don’t know which bills to pay. I don’t know what our receivables are. I have no idea what cash flow looks like.” And she was just paying bills on hunches based on what she’d think needed to be paid. It was a trying situation for her and the whole team, her whole finance team.

Paul Green:
I’ve just had an amazing idea for the title of what this could be called, the conversation you never want to have with your IT support expert.

Jim Smith:
That’s awesome. No, that’s great.

Paul Green:
Thank you. Thank you. Probably you wouldn’t call IT support expert, but something along those lines that the conversation, the phone call you never want to make to your IT support company. And you could actually tell that story. You could talk about… you could almost put words in her mouth and say that… recreate the conversation that you had. The fact she was lost. She didn’t know what to do. It took four weeks, their suppliers were ringing up. That’s amazing. Because you’ve got to look at this from what about other CFOs who are reading this and who are thinking, they’re looking at this thinking, “I cannot imagine being in this situation, that would be hell. I would lose so much time. I would worry so much. What effect would that have on my career?” Whether you go with that or do something similar to that.

Paul Green:
And this applies to everyone listening to this podcast, that kind of case study approach, particularly when you’ve saved someone, because that has a like a heroic ending where you’ve saved them and you’ve put it back to normal and you’ve put in place measures so they never get hacked again. That’s a very, very powerful thing to do. And I think ordinary people would find that quite interesting. You need this kind of ethical bribe and you then use your CRM, whichever CRM you’re using, to generate the forms on your page, which you’ve got, which is amazing. As the people feel that in, the CRM then send them over that ethical bribe. And all of this of course is automated so no human has to get in the way and screw anything up. I think what you’re looking for next then, Jim, if you don’t have this already in place is to have a standard email sequence that starts. When someone joins your list right now, do they get a series of emails or is it just a case of waiting for you to do something?

Jim Smith:
There’s no drip campaign built into the ConnectWise CRM. That was one of the major shortcomings of it. The challenge I always had, Paul, is basically managing two systems, exporting all the data out of one system and then importing it into another system. The management piece of that was really cumbersome. That’s why we looked at building a sync tool.

Paul Green:
But this is the reason then to cut ConnectWise out of this. And ConnectWise is a great system for servicing clients. And it’s not a great system for marketing. And the fact that you can’t do drip campaigns which is a basic staple of marketing shows it. I would be tempted to… and we won’t get drawn into too much of the technicals of this, but I wouldn’t be tempted to just stick with Zoho. And I’ve never personally used Zoho but I’d be very surprised if you couldn’t do what you call a drip campaign or an automated sequence of emails from Zoho when they join your list. I assume you can, anyway.

Jim Smith:
Yeah.

Paul Green:
You can, great. The reason I can understand your desire to have all your prospects in ConnectWise, but actually if you keep them all within Zoho, you haven’t got to manage two different systems. They come on into Zoho, they fill in the form themselves, they trigger a campaign and you then send them an email every week forever until one of the three things happens, either they buy and they become a client, or they die and there’s no one to talk to anymore, or they say to you, “Bye-bye,” which is, basically, they unsubscribed from you. And the standard practice to do this is first of all, you have that email sequence. Everyone who joins your list, the first… it could be five, it could be 10, but the first let’s say 10 emails that they get are always the same 10 emails. You have a standard set of emails that you send that to people. And what those emails do is those explore the most important subject. You might have an email about laptop encryption, you might have an email about disaster recovery, you might have an email about hacking, you might have an email about reusing passwords, you might have an email about dark web monitoring, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Paul Green:
Over the first 10 emails, you’re covering off all the different subjects that might emotionally affect these people. And then when you reach the end of that email sequence, you drop them into what’s called a broadcast bucket. And a broadcast bucket is where once a week you go into Zoho and you send out an email. And that’s what people would traditionally think of is sending out the email newsletter. I don’t like the newsletter format. I prefer that you just send out an email, one email, one subject. But you do get the idea from that. You have an automated sequence for everyone joining your list so you can educate them so they’re a little bit up to speed. And then because your sequence doesn’t go on forever, but because we do want to email people forever, that’s when you would have an email going out where you go in and do a broadcast every week.

Jim Smith:
Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. And then also it seems like segmenting the support amount completely from the marketing system.

Paul Green:
Exactly, exactly, because the emails you’d send to clients are completely different than you’d send to prospects. With prospects, we want to leverage fear and fear-based marketing. And we don’t have to be extreme fear-based, but something as simple as someone leaving a laptop on a train and letting someone access all of their financial details, there’s a huge amount of fear there. And most people are motivated more by the avoidance of fear than they are the opportunity to gain something. But you wouldn’t use fear-based marketing with your clients because they shouldn’t have any fear because you’re looking after them. It’s a completely different setup. It’s something like teams, for example. I’m sure your clients use teams, but they don’t use it as well as they could do.

Paul Green:
For your clients, you’d want to send them lots of information and advice on how to get better at teams. And all of which the call to action at the end would be, “Look, anytime we can help you with this, pick up the phone, call the help desk. We’d be delighted to help you, talk you through it, screen share, et cetera, et cetera.” Whereas with your prospects, you don’t want to screen share with prospects. You don’t want to support prospects until they’re clients. What you’ll do is you’ll tell them of the clever things you can do with teams, but you wouldn’t necessarily tell them how to do those clever things. Instead, you’d say to them, “If your IT support company isn’t telling you how to do this, we should have a conversation. reply to this email or give us a call on this number.”

Jim Smith:
I have a question for you. Based on some of the feedback that you’ve given me, I’m just going to work my way back here. I write a white paper or some case study that talks about, let’s say in this situation the accounting people couldn’t get access to their books for four weeks. So I write up how it was broken, the emotions that this caused, and then how we fix it. I generate that first. And then I’m going to build some landing page or some page to collect just email address, “Hey, if you want to get the whole story in a PDF form, here it is. Here’s a summary of what we talked about, et cetera, et cetera.”

Jim Smith:
And then I would potentially market that on LinkedIn as a post, and then reach out to business owners on Facebook saying, “Hey, we just wrote this great content. It was about one of our customers that lost their data for four weeks and here’s something great.” And then try to trickle in and collect these email addresses. And then once they start collecting email addresses from this content, put them into a drip campaign where I’m reaching out to them through two different channels. One channel would be a drip campaign that speaks to loss of access to these records. And then when I run out of that content, then move them into the evergreen weekly mailing list.

Paul Green:
Exactly, exactly. Because if you think about the three step system, it’s very… well, the three step strategy, it’s very simple, it’s drive quality traffic, build multiple audiences, and then build a relationship with them. And the first two are one off tasks. It’s a one off task to drive a bit of traffic. Okay, you have to repeat it weekly, but it’s a series of one off tasks. It’s definitely a one off task to build the audience. They join your email list once, they join your LinkedIn once that’s it. The thing that goes on forever is the building the relationship. And that’s the real secret of this is building relationship. And most MSPs, they might start off with that sequence, but then they get out of the habit of doing the weekly broadcast. And yet that is critical. The most critical thing.

Paul Green:
I send out two emails a week to my list. One of them is this podcast and another one is another piece of content. And it is literally. I could be lying in hospital with my arms and legs broken in traction and I would still get the nurses to proper laptop up in front of me so I could do my weekly broadcast email, because it is such an ingrained habit in me because I know even though it’s not going to generate me any cash this week, I know that it helps me to build a relationship with my audiences. And the whole thing with this is that people only buy at the exact moment they’re ready to buy. And we don’t know when that moment is. For some, it could be tomorrow. For some, it could be a week on Wednesday. For some, it could be March next year.

Paul Green:
What we’ve got to do is we’ve got to keep putting our stuff out in front of people so that we remain top of mind. Because they forget us very quickly. Your clients forget you. Never mind the prospects. If I was to ring a whole bunch of your clients and ask them what the name of your business was, they wouldn’t know what the name of your business was. They wouldn’t know if it was Proper Sky. They would just say, “Well, it’s an IT support company, isn’t it?” If the clients are like that, the prospects certainly don’t remember you, you’ve got very low name recognition as have all MSPs amongst clients. Because we haven’t got time, or money, or energy, or effort to go out and do brand marketing. Instead what we do is, we’re doing direct response marketing where we’re putting stuff in front of people regularly enough that at the point they’re interested, that’s the point at which yes, they are more likely to pick up the phone or to engage with you.

Jim Smith:
This is great, Paul. This is really wonderful.

Paul Green:
Can you see how this is the same of what you’ve been doing already, but we’re just putting a little bit more structure onto it?

Jim Smith:
Yeah, exactly. It seems systematised. And I understand, basically building an audience and regular content and then making it, humanising it. Taking away a lot of these technical details.

Paul Green:
Exactly, exactly. Because we were trying to talk to their emotions. I’ve got one final thing to give to you, Jim, and I don’t think it’s going to take you that long to get this set up because you’ve got most of the building blocks in place. You’re just reshaping them a certain way. There are three things that I recommend that you do that really will accelerate this and we’ll get you a lot faster to having you sitting down with people actually having proper sales meetings. The first of those is video. Do you have videos on your website at the moment?

Jim Smith:
I do not.

Paul Green:
You don’t. Okay. Video, we talked earlier about engagement and how we want to emotionally engage them. Video is the number one engagement tool. Nothing beats having videos. And I have a service in the UK, which unfortunately is not open to you in Philadelphia because my partner won’t fly to Philadelphia, which is very selfish of him. It’s a great place to go. Why wouldn’t you do that? But if you go and have a look at mspvideos.co.uk… it is a British site, mspvideos.co.uk, and on that site, you can see a whole series of examples of the kinds of videos you want on your website.

Paul Green:
And you’ll see there are some great examples of primarily the ones to look at are where the clients are talking about the MSP. Because if you could imagine someone coming into your website and seeing… instead of whatever’s on your website at the moment, they see a video and the video is your best clients, three or four of them talking about how great your business is. And from a pure persuasion point of view, your clients are a thousand times more persuasive than you could ever be. There’s literally nothing that you could say they couldn’t say better, because they can be more persuasive. This is what we call social proof. And social proof is where most people prefer to do what most other people are doing. And if they can see that already here’s some business owners in this area and they trust Jim and his team, therefore they must be people worth trusting.

Paul Green:
Video is a really… it’s an absolute must. And it’s the kind of thing that even if you have spent a couple of thousand dollars recreating these style of videos that you’d see on my website, it really is worth doing it. And the clients that I’ve got that have put these videos on their website, they see a return quite quickly. Some of them, not all of them, but some of them see a return really quickly because they are persuading prospects. Video is the first thing I recommend.

Paul Green:
The second thing I recommend is that you use direct mail. Direct mail is physically sending stuff out to people. I don’t know, again, if you do any posting so far to people at the moment.

Jim Smith:
I don’t, I don’t. It’s new to me.

Paul Green:
Okay. Well, the beauty of direct mail is, and I don’t know if this is the same for you as it is for me, but 20 years ago I had too much in the posts and didn’t really get many emails. And now in 2020, I have far too many emails and I get very little in the post. I don’t know, is that the same for you?

Jim Smith:
Yeah. Oh, yeah, it’s definitely similar here.

Paul Green:
Okay. Direct mail is beautiful because it has a huge standout factor. If you do direct mail well, and you can do it badly and you can do it well. Badly is sending out crappy laser printed things on really thin paper in nasty envelopes, everything’s very thin, tacky, nasty, that’s a bad way to do direct mail. A great way to do it is to send out beautifully designed, beautifully printed stuff on thick paper, that’s gone into nice envelopes. That’s got a stamp on it as opposed to actually being franked. Because it has got a stamp on it, a real person must have done it. And if you were to send that, take that email sequence that we were talking about earlier where you’re sending out 10 emails to people when they join your list. Once you’ve got someone’s email address, you can pretty much go and look up their website and find out their address.

Paul Green:
What if as part of that automated sequence, and you can automate these kind of things, you sent out a very, very nice piece of direct mail that was just introducing them to your company. And obviously you’d make it more about them than about you, because all good marketing is more about the prospect than it is about the seller. But you sent something out, it couldn’t even be a four page piece of direct mail that’s nicely folded, it’s full colour, it’s been done for you perhaps by a service like Stannp, which is S-T-A-N-N-P .com. It looks like stamp, but it’s actually S-T-A November, November, P .com, which operates in both the US and the UK. And do you know that you can automate, they have APIs, you can automate sending out a piece of direct mail to someone via your CRM and using Stannp.

Paul Green:
Now, imagine what an impact that’s going to have on them. It’s going to have a huge impact on them, that you could take that a step further using the word impact. And we’ve talked… a company if it’s been on the podcast before on up, we’ve talked about using something called impact boxes. In fact, yes, this was in the podcast a number of weeks ago. An impact box is where you send a box of stuff to someone. You don’t just send them just a letter, an introductory letter, but there’s an introductory letter and there might be some free gifts in there, there might be some chocolate bars, there might be a mouse mat, if people still use mouse mats, it might be a beer mat, you could have some branded stuff. This is the kind of stuff that can let your imagination go wild.

Paul Green:
And you’re restricted really by budget and the imagination, and that’s all. But there’s a real power of sending stuff out to people. And I don’t know if this is the case in the US, I suspect it would be, but here in the UK print is really cheap right now. And that’s because over a number of years, lots of printers bought lots of really, really big printing machines. And they’re just being underused right now. The cost of printing has come down dramatically, and I’d be very surprised if that wasn’t the case in the States as well. And of course you can send it to another state, or in other parts of the country and have printing done elsewhere and have it shipped over to you because shipping, of course, is relatively cheap these days. I definitely think you should do print.

Paul Green:
The third thing that I think you should do, which would really catapult your relationship with people forward is to get someone to call your databases for you. So you’ve got your LinkedIn database, you’ve got your email database, you might have a Facebook database as well, people you’re connected to on Facebook. If you wanted retail businesses, you might have an Instagram database as well. Or if you’re really passionate about Twitter, you might have people you’re connected to on Twitter. The thing that really moves your relationship forward though, with all of these people, is somebody picking up the phone and calling them on your behalf. And this is not telephone selling. This is not a telesales job, because telesales, we all have negative thoughts when we think about telesales. Telesales is an awful job. It’s people who don’t want to make the phone calls, ringing people who don’t want to receive their phone calls, spam calls.

Paul Green:
No one likes making or receiving those. But what we’re doing is warm calling. And you want someone typically a back to work mum would be great for this. Someone to come and sit in your office for two to three hours a day, and they’re just picking up the phone and they’re calling people on your behalf. And the conversation literally should be, “Oh, hi, David. It’s Sandra here calling from Jim Smith’s office at Proper Sky. He just asked me to give you a call.” And then the conversation goes on from there. And what they’re doing is they’re building the relationship on your behalf. They might ask key questions, just such as, “Do you have someone looking after your IT right now? Oh, you do. Okay. And do you know roughly when your contract ends?” We all know the power of knowing when someone’s contract is up. Or you might ask them the best question anyone can ever ask the prospect, which is, on a scale of one to 10, where one is awful and 10 is amazing, how would you rank your current IT support company?

Paul Green:
And obviously if they rank them highly, there’s not much of an opportunity for you there, but if it’s anything seven, six or below, there’s a massive opportunity for you there. And then the follow up question from that could be, why did you give them that score? Which is really good at uncovering what it is that they’ve done to emotionally unengaged their existing clients. But there’s a real power in this. When I had my healthcare marketing business, the one I sold in 2016, we had 12,000 prospects. We sent two emails out a week, so that’s 24,000 emails a week going out. And we had a three strong team of people. We called them the telephone intervention team. And their job was to ring people who clicked on emails.

Paul Green:
We had a couple of thousand clicks a week. That meant that they were active. These people were alive. They’re reading our stuff, they’re consuming our content. We rang them. We didn’t ring a couple of thousand. We rang probably a few hundred every week. And then the job of the telephone intervention team was to book a sales meeting. And that was it. And it might’ve taken them something like 40 to 50 to maybe even 70, 80 dials to get hold of. And I think we needed to speak to 15 to 20 people to actually book a sales meeting. But it meant that each person in a day could book one, maybe two sales calls. And just off the back of sending 24,000 emails a week and having three people phoning those people, we were able to keep two field sales executives, two field sales reps, busy, out on the road, seeing people. And that was the system that we used to grow and to maintain that business. And it was beautiful.

Paul Green:
And do you know what? If I owned an MSP tomorrow, I would put exactly that system in. Everything we’ve just talked about here, I would do that. Now you wouldn’t necessarily scale it to that height, but someone making calls for two to three hours a day. And I would suggest the next step is not jumping straight to a sales meeting. The next step is probably 15 minutes on the phone with Jim, or whoever does the selling, whoever is the technical salesperson within the business, which I guess would be you, wouldn’t it?

Jim Smith:
Yeah. Right now it is. Yeah. But basically, yeah, pre qualifying the sales lead. Yeah.

Paul Green:
Great. You’d be delighted to have two 15 minute phone calls a week with prospects.

Jim Smith:
That would be fantastic.

Paul Green:
Wouldn’t it be? Well, that would change everything because that would turn into one, maybe two sales meetings every week. And we all know that actually you get to a point very quickly where you don’t want any more of those sales meetings because there’s only a finite number of new people that you can onboard.

Jim Smith:
Exactly.

Paul Green:
I think we’ve reached a natural end, and you can imagine I could talk for another five hours about stuff that you could do, details that we’ve skipped over. Have you got any questions, Jim? And I’m more than happy to be available to you on email and off the end of this recording I’ll give you my email address. And you’re more than welcome to as you’re implementing this to just keep talking to me and that’s my way of saying thank you for sharing this with our audience, but what are the questions that you have right now-

Jim Smith:
I think one of the challenges I have, I’m moving as a business owner from doing the work to managing the work. And I think one of the challenges I have is freeing up either the time or the funds to get high quality marketing work done, writing those articles for me is tedious. And it’s emotionally draining. I’ve had a hard time generating this content. But what I found is that the five or six blog posts that I’ve actually spent the time to write have 10 times more engagement than any of the stuff that I’ve purchased. Is there a service that you recommend, is there a point that you recommend, is there a strategy? Where do I set that line as an owner that has these time constraints on generating good stuff that people want to read while not watering down the messaging or anything along those lines?

Paul Green:
Can I ask how old you are, Jim?

Jim Smith:
40.

Paul Green:
40. Okay. Do you have a family?

Jim Smith:
I do, I do. It’s a three year old and a four year old.

Paul Green:
Oh, perfect. Okay. I have a nine year old. Kids are great at that age, aren’t they?

Jim Smith:
Yeah.

Paul Green:
Until they turn into teenagers and then they stop being fun, I’m told. You want to spend more time with your family, but you also want to grow your business so you can get more cash so the family can do the things that the family wants to do. We’re all looking for a balance of time, and cash, and family, and fun because you want to have some fun as well, but also we want to do some meaningful work. And that’s really interesting you said that when you go through the pain of writing that blog article, you get a better response from it. And no wonder, because you’ve got a passion for it that no one else will have.

Paul Green:
There’s a wonderful acronym that I use a lot, which is DOA. And if I said to you that let’s say I’ve been watching CSI Philadelphia, if such a thing exists, and the guy was DOA, what would that traditionally mean?

Jim Smith:
Dead on arrival.

Paul Green:
Exactly. And that’s what we as business owners will be if we keep trying to do everything in the business. There has to come a point where we flip that acronym round and we turn it into something else. We turn it into delegate, outsource, automate. And I think this is the secrets to being a successful business owner who also doesn’t get divorced and sees their kids loads. And also has lots of cash in the bank. You’ve got to take every single job that has to be done. And you’ve got to ask yourself, “Do I really need to do this?” Because you should only do what only you can do. And the reality is there are a billion writers out there who can write this content for you.

Paul Green:
Can you delegate it to someone on your team? Probably not this job. There are many other jobs you can. Technical jobs, especially, if you’re caught doing any kind of technical work, but something like this, you couldn’t delegate, therefore could you outsource it in some way? There are a couple of platforms for you to look at. One is called fiverr.com. Fiverr has two Rs at the end. And the other one is called peopleperhour.com. Fiverr seems to be international, PeoplePerHour seems to be more UK based. There’s one which seems to be more stateside based and that’s upwork.com. And what these platforms are, they’re places where you can hire people to do services on your behalf.

Paul Green:
If you went into these platforms and typed in article writing, and you’ll see, there are a lot of article writers out there, and you want to pick for a writing job, you want to pick someone who is based in your country and speaks your language natively because you don’t want to have any kind of language barriers. There’s lots of things you can outsource offshore, to other countries, but writing isn’t one of them. This is one of the things that has to be done by someone that lives in your country and speaks your language. You’d go in there and you’d look for a writer. And what I would recommend to find the perfect writer is that you give the exact same brief to three or more writers that you like the look of.

Paul Green:
You go and look at their portfolios, you look at their costs, and you’ll soon find three or four that you’d like the look of. But then you give those three, or four, or five, exactly the same job. And what I would recommend that you do is you record a short MP3 brief, and that’s how you ensure that they all get exactly the same brief. It could be… let’s pull back on laptop encryption again. It could be that you want to do an article on laptop encryption. You literally grab your phone, you record a brief, you tell them about why it’s important, you talk about what you want to get over in the article, you remind them that it’s got to be written to appeal to an ordinary person who doesn’t know about technology. And then you’d send those different writers that exact brief.

Paul Green:
Then you get back your three, four, five pieces of work and you can now compare those pieces of work. You can see which piece of work you liked the best. And that’s a great way to find a new writer. You then agree to talk to them. It might be weekly. It might be monthly. But essentially, you jump on a video call or a phone call together and you talk about the subjects you want them to write. And essentially, Jim, you write the content without having to write it. You make sure you record that call. Let’s say it was, you were talking about disaster recovery and you’d say, “Right, let me give you a case study of disaster recovery gone wrong.” And then you talk and we switch you on. And we have five minutes of you talking about this and how the client was an idiot, and this and that, and this and that, and this and that.

Paul Green:
And at the end of it, you’ve given that writer loads of content. And because they’ve been recording it, they can go and get that transcribed somewhere like rev.com or one of the other transcription services available, and they can literally take your words and then just shape your words and put some structure into it and make sure the grammar is correct and all of that kind of stuff, because we don’t speak as well as we write, we speak in a completely different way to our written skills, but a good writer would be able to turn that content round. It’s your content that has taken you five to 10 minutes to get it out of your head and it’s someone else to spend a couple of hours shaping it into great written content.

Jim Smith:
That’s great. That’s great advice.

Paul Green:
Thank you. Thank you. By the way, that system for finding writers, loads of the people I talked to in the MSPs I worked with have tried that and it worked beautifully. And then you can stick with that writer on the platform because these platforms… they’re places for you to find people to do work, but they also make it safe, safe for both you and the seller, actually. You pay money into the platform to show that you’ve got the money, but you don’t release the money until you’re happy with it.

Paul Green:
It’s like PayPal used to be 20 years ago. It was kind of an escrow system. What I’ve found is, when you’ve worked with someone for a couple of months and you’re loving their work, you just come off platform. And you have to be careful how you have that conversation because the platforms don’t like it, but there’s no point you paying their fee… Well, put it all this, you can pay less money and they can earn more money if you come off platform, but obviously you need that relationship and that trust first, because once you come off platform, there’s always that risk that the quality is going to go down or you’re not going to get what you’ve paid for.

Jim Smith:
Okay. That’s great.

Paul Green:
Lovely. Jim, thank you so much. You’ve been absolutely brilliant and I hope that’s been useful to you. I’m going to give you my email address in a second when we stop the recording, but thank you so much. And I genuinely hope that if you can put some of this stuff into place, that it’s going to make such a difference to you getting more new clients into the business.

Jim Smith:
Oh, absolutely. We could do a case study followup in how I took your advice and the impact it’s had on my business. That, I think, would be a great second followup podcast. I can’t thank you enough for the time and the energy. And I’m sorry I didn’t find your podcast sooner, that the quality is stellar. Paul, you do great job, you share a lot. And I’ve been enjoying everything about it. It’s been wonderful

Voiceover:
Coming up next week.

Paul Green:
Next week, we’re back to our more usual format. I’ve got an interview with Darren Wingham. He’s an MSP video specialist based in the UK. And he’s going to tell you how to influence people on your website through the power of using video. We’re also going to talk about the most frictionless call to action on your website, how to get people to book more phone calls with you. And we’ll start to look at a marketing super power of understanding how prospects think. Essentially, if you want to influence what they buy, you’ve got to look through their eyes. See you next week.

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

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