Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast

Episode 22: How to get loads more client referrals

Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Episode 22: How to get loads more client referrals
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In this week's episode

  • It can be harder than you think to get business from a quality referral. You may be doing a great job but Paul explains why some people will never be able to recommend you
  • Now more than ever we need to be looking after ourselves, and this week Paul has some great tips to make sure you're doing the right thing by your business, your family and yourself
  • Also in this week's episode a BBC producer explains how to increase the chances of getting coverage in the media. And find out what an authority website is (and why you should get one)

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 back to the show, here's what we've got coming up for you today. Tara Dolby: We often get contacted by people completely out of the blue. Sometimes when you talk to them, it's a case of you've never listened to what we do. Paul Green: We're also going to be looking at how to generate more referrals from your existing clients, and a great marketing concept to introduce you to is something called authority sites. Voiceover: Paul Green's MSP Marketing podcast. Paul Green: Got a bit of a message for you today, and it's that you need to be better at looking after yourself and keeping yourself healthy and well. And I'm not talking about everything that's happening in the news and the world and all of that at the moment, I'm talking about just you running the business. Because I was talking to one of my clients last week, we had a chat on Zoom, he runs an MSP and he was exhausted, I could see it in his face, I could hear it in his words. He was mentally, emotionally, physically exhausted, and this person is normally very positive and you could hear it reflected in his speech that everything was negative, everything was a problem, every staff issue was just a major thing for him. The client that was causing them trouble, it was all just too much, too much and too much. Paul Green: He thought that call was going to be talking about marketing and dealing with some staff issues, and actually I told him to take the afternoon off despite how busy he was and to go to sleep sort of 9:00 PM and not have any beer, get a decent night's sleep and have the weekend off. So often when I'm dealing with business owners, particularly if we're talking towards the end of the week, they're exhausted, I mean utterly exhausted, and of course we all know it's a terrible vicious circle that when you're tired you reach for the wine and the wine makes you stay up a little bit longer and you become even more tired, and the busier you are the harder it is to get out of that pattern. Paul Green: I was talking to a friend of mine and a couple of weeks ago who is a psychologist, and she was mentioning something called Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, and you can Google this, you can find it. Maslow was a psychologist back in the day and he came up with a... It's like a little triangle, go and have a look at the image on Google, and it's his hierarchy of needs. And basically we have to deal with things in the correct order. So for example, it's impossible for us to even think about growing our business if we don't have the basics, if we don't have air, water, food, shelter, sleep, clothing. If we're not safe, if we don't have personal security, if we don't have the feeling that our business is generating money for us, if we don't have our health, it's impossible for us to do all of these things. And I'll put a link to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs in the show notes, but you don't need to study psychology to know at a very basic level, you've got to look after yourself. Paul Green: The goal is to be the business owner, not just for 10 years but for 20, 30, 40, 50 years. And the only way you can do that is if it's something that you can tolerate 50 weeks of the year, regardless of how many holidays you take, 51, 52 weeks of the year, you've got to be that business owner. It is about prioritising sleep, it's about prioritising family, it's about prioritising the things that really, really matter to you more than anything else even though the business is trying to drag you down all the time. And even those of us with the most well run businesses have moments where it just all becomes too much. I believe that's actually a warning flag for you, it's your body and the world telling you it's time to just stop, address the balance and have a break. Paul Green: I think as business owners, having a break is the hardest thing for us to do. And yet interestingly, the business owners I know who have the fastest growing businesses, who are the most successful, tend to be the ones that spend the least amount of time trapped within the business. And I defined trapped within the business as you have to be there for the business to thrive. It's a longterm thing to do, but if your business right now does not thrive unless you are there, that's not really a business, it's a job, and it's not a particularly well paid job. In fact, you are locked in a prison of your own design, and being utterly exhausted at the weekend or just not having that work life balance right is an early warning flag that you need to do something about it. Paul Green: Because if you don't, ultimately you're not going to be a business owner for the decades that perhaps you would like to be, because you just simply will not be able to cope with it longterm and that will impact on you, that will impact on your family and ultimately it will impact quite negatively on your business as well. Voiceover: Here's this week's clever idea. Paul Green: I'm going to try something new in today's podcast. You see a couple of months ago I put on a huge training event for a bunch of MSPs in the UK, it was called my MSP Ultimate Net Profit Bootcamp. We audio recorded the entire thing, and today I want to play you a clip from that bootcamp. It's about how you can get more referrals from your existing clients. Paul Green: Number three is referrals from existing clients. The best way to get new prospects and to drive traffic into your website is to get referrals from people. To save me talking about this for hours, get this book. This is the best book on referrals I've ever read. It's by Steve Gordon, it's called Unstoppable Referrals, and I can sum it up in 10 seconds for you, which is stop asking for referrals, start offering a referral pack. So you probably at some point, whether formally or informally have said to your clients, "Hey, look, if you know anyone that's looking for IT support, would you send them our way?" There's two big problems with that. First of all, the problem is there is a social risk in referring you. Let's take Andy, let's say Andy says to me, "Oh Paul, if you know anyone, would you send them my way?" Paul Green: And I say to Alex, I say, "Alex, your business is really screwed, you need a proper IT company, give Andy a call and we've been using it for years, he's amazing. Give him a call." And then you give him a call and it happens to be a bad day at that particular business, Andy's actually a way that day, the 12 year old technician somehow got near the phone, "Hello?" "Yeah, hi. Can I speak to Andy?" "He's not here." "Okay, do you know when he's next in?" "No." "Okay, all right I'll ring back. Thanks." That's happened in every single one of your businesses by the way. We could do... We're not going to, but we could do mystery calls into your businesses today, and Steve's is the first one. Your response to that, Steve, is immediately made me want to do it. Steve: That's a fantastic idea! Paul Green: It is a fantastic idea. It might take some time to do the whole room anyway. So if that was the referral, I'd then go back to... Or Alex would come back to me and say, "Yeah, I run the Andy guy, it was just all a bit vague," and I'm the one that's taken on the social risk of that. This is why your clients don't refer you, because the social risk of referring you is higher than the reward that they get. You will probably have one or two clients who are uber referrers, who refer you all the time, and those of you who go networking a lot will find that there are uber networkers who are really good at connecting people, but the vast majority of everyone else does nothing and doesn't refer anyone, this is because of the social risk. Paul Green: The second problem with that is people refer in the wrong way. "Hey Alex, you're looking for an IT support company, aren't you? Give Andy a ring, he's brilliant, right, you can ring him on a Sunday night at 10:30 if you server is knackered or anything and he'll just fix it for you. He doesn't care that his kids are crying and his wife's leaving him, he doesn't care about that stuff. Just give him a ring." Can you see that's the wrong referral, isn't it? So what this guy suggests in his book, is that instead of asking for referrals, you offer a referral kit. A referral kit is a book, so you say to your existing clients, in fact maybe you even give them business cards and it's got a picture of your book on it, and it says, "The guy whose team looks after my IT has written a book about keeping your business secure. Get a free copy at www.keepyourbusinesssecure.com." First person to buy that domain, buys the beers. Speaker 5: I'm sure it's been taken. Paul Green: Sure it has, I'm sure it has. But essentially that's what that book is about and that saved you an evening reading that book. But existing clients are brilliant when they refer the right way using the right methodology. Voiceover: Paul's blatant plug. Paul Green: How would you like to have direct access to me on a daily basis to help you with the marketing of your business? My blatant plug today is actually something free, it's an extra resource for you, it's a Facebook group. It's only for MSPs, it's a vendor free zone, and in that group we talk about marketing, we talk about things to grow your business, to give you more monthly recurring revenue and ultimately to get more net profit out of your business. So if you are genuinely an MSP, and I do ask you to prove it when you join that group, then just go onto your Facebook app, type in MSP Marketing in the search bar up at the top, go onto groups and apply to join. It's a closed group so I will have to... You just basically put your website address to prove that you're an MSP, I will approve your membership within 24 hours, and it would be great to have a chat to you in that group. Voiceover: The big interview. Tara Dolby: Hello, I'm Tara Dolby and I'm a journalist working for the BBC in their local radio stations department, and I've been working at the BBC for probably about 22 years now, and I've produced some brilliant programs. I work with a lot of great presenters and yeah, we've won quite a few awards and we know what we're looking for where we want a story. Paul Green: Which is what I'm interested in talking to you about, because the MSPs that I work with and that are listening to this podcast, they want to get onto radio stations like their local BBC because it's great for PR and credibility and exposure, and they want to get into local newspapers and blogs and all of that kind of stuff. But the problem that most MSPs have is they will come up with a story and it's very technology focused, and the journalists or the producers that they speak to just don't seem to be interested. Why is that the case? Tara Dolby: Well I suppose what we don't want in any story is for something to come across as dry. Unfortunately technical things can often seem a little bit dry, but they don't have to. And I suppose when it comes to a press release, whether it's a technology company or whoever it is, what we're always looking for is something that's going to grab our attention in the first sentence. And if you're dealing with a local radio station, and I'll talk on behalf of what my experience has been with local radio stations, I am initially looking for something that is going to be local. So I need a reason as to why I would look at this story, because if there is something that's happening in the world elsewhere that has a technological bias, I probably won't be that interested unless I am looking for a cyber crimes expert, for example. Tara Dolby: I want to mention that in a minute because that's a useful thing to put across too, but one of the things I will probably do is I would look for a local angle and I would look for somebody who has either a local case study, or a really strong local guest who can give me the absolute categorical information that I want that is going to make the story sound exciting. So say if there was a Windows update, for example, would I want to put that out on air? No, unless something had gone wrong with that Windows update, which point, and this is what I go back to, I am looking for experts who speak really well on things, can put their message across to a lay person to explain why there's been a problem with a Windows update. That's what I'm looking for. Paul Green: So we'll come back to the experts in a second because that's a really interesting idea. But in essence what you're saying here is you don't care about the story unless it is potentially relevant to your audience, to the people that listen to your radio station. Tara Dolby: Right, well I produce a program that is very much about what people are talking about, and if there is a new story that I think they should be talking about, for example, because it's enormous, I will find a way to make it relevant so that they all talking about it. So if I get a subject presented to me, and I do get loads and loads of press releases, I probably get 10 or 12 a day, now that's a lot. So when I look at it, I don't spend a lot of time, and in the same way that if you get 10 CVs through, you're looking for something that's going to make one in particular stand out. Tara Dolby: If it's got a local line for me, I'm more likely to spend more time on it. If it comes with photographs, I'll think, "Okay, how can I make this work?" There are things that add credit to a press release, and the local line, the photos, video that might make it more explainable, these are things that make me think, "Okay I will probably spend a bit more time on this. Is there something that I can get out this that will make it relevant to our audience?" Because at the top of my mind it's always about the audience and whether it's something that I can make workable for them. Paul Green: So you touched earlier on having experts, people to add comment on stuff, and you've mentioned cyber crime as well. Can you give an example of where you would go looking for an expert to comment on something and how would you actually source that person? Tara Dolby: Interestingly, there are a couple of universities, well, we've got quite a few who are in our patch. We cover quite a big patch, we cover Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire, so we have a lots of academics out there who will provide us with information on lots of different subjects. I've also got a lot of law firms and there are lots of big business, now some of them already do this, if I've already got an established relationship with them through working on different programs and different formats, they will sometimes email me and they will say, "Keep this in your kit bag, but I've got somebody who's a really good guest who I think would be able to talk to you on this, this and this subject," and I'll think, brilliant. I'll get back to them and say, "Yeah, that's lovely," and I'll have a quick chat with that person and then when I need them I'll remember that they're there and I'll get in touch. Tara Dolby: You're working for companies who want to be able to promote what they do, that can be a really easy way of doing that, by providing local radio stations with a list of people who are good, who we know we can rely on and who are happy not to keep plugging what they do on air. Because I worked for BBC, we are not a commercial organisation, and we are not an organisation that gives a lot of name calls out to different companies. We do remain impartial, and when it comes to business we have to just be able to say this is so and so from so and so. And when a listener hears that, they're often like, "Oh, they're giving really good advice." And it's that sort of thing that can help that particular company, in terms of, "Oh, we were on the BBC and this is what we said, and actually we've proved that we can provide really good material for radio stations because we know what we're talking about." Paul Green: Yes, and even though the media landscape has changed dramatically in the last 20 years, when an organisation like the BBC or another trusted media organisation has someone on, there is a perceived credibility, I think, of that guest. So as you use guests more and more and more, you trust them more and you're more likely to have them on. What would be a really easy way for an MSP to catch the attention of someone who works at their local radio station, just for the first time, to put the idea in their head that they could be a future guest? Tara Dolby: We often get contacted by people completely out of the blue. Sometimes when you talk to them, it's a case of it sounds like you've never listened to what we do. If for example, let's go back to cyber crime, there was a story about cyber crime, you heard it on your local radio station and you thought, "Well, we've got someone who could talk about that." You then say, "Can I contact the producer of a particular show?" You just ring the general newsroom, "I've got someone that I think might be good to talk about a specific issue," find out what their names are, most of us are on Twitter nowadays, it's not too difficult to identify who we are, and then contact us directly. Tara Dolby: It won't always be successful. Some of my colleagues, they can be too busy sometimes to pick up the phone or they'll ask someone to send an email in, but it's just that little starting point. We were doing about... Completely different subject, about domestic violence a few years ago. And within the law firm itself, their PR person said, "Oh, do you know, we've got other people, we've got other experts within this law firm who I think would be really good and they can talk about a whole list of things." Now I don't use them all the time, but I know what they're good for and I know that I can rely on them to be able to provide me with somebody who is a good speaker about a specific specialism within law. Tara Dolby: Now that is great for me because like most producers, you work on quite a short timeframe. So you're looking for good people that you know will provide the goods at a very, very short amount of time. And so establishing those relationships can be quite easy to do if you can identify where you can provide people that you know we want. Voiceover: Paul Green's, MSP Marketing podcast. Ask Paul anything. Dan: Hi, this is Dan from Platinum Business Systems, you suggested I create something called an authority site, can you explain what that is and how I do it? Paul Green: Great question, Dan, thank you very much. So an authority site is a very special kind of website that you use to dominate either a specific vertical or a specific product. So it's a content marketing tool really, it allows you to come up quite high on Google searches because you packed this website with very, very tight content about this very specific subject. So Google assumes that it is an authority site, hence where the title comes from. Let me give you an example, I have a client who serves a specific vertical, I won't tell you what it is, a specific vertical with VoIP, it's a side venture for him away from his core MSP business and we've been talking recently about him creating an authority site, so he can do 20, 30, 40, 50 different articles and videos all about using phone systems, or people within this vertical using phone systems. Paul Green: And yes, there'll be a certain amount of repetition in those articles, but the point being that when someone who's in that vertical goes to look for a new phone system and they type in phone systems or, hopefully, the vertical that they're in, and phone systems into Google, his site will come up fairly high up the search results. And now this is a separate website to his normal website. So he's got his selling website that talks about the specific phone systems, obviously it's 3CX that he's selling, and it talks about their expertise and that they're already in 300 odd businesses of this kind. But this is a separate site that aims to teach people, it sets itself up as the authority on that specific subject. Paul Green: Now, obviously there is a call to action on that, it might be some kind of data capture or it might be something else, but very much this is about showing your expertise, you set yourself up as the authority in the area, which is absolutely beautiful to do something like that. Now, you could do this for your MSP. You could do it, as I say, if you're in a specific vertical or a niche, you could do it quite easily, you could set yourself up as the authority site on IT for your niche. Wouldn't work on a general basis, but it would in a niche. Or if you have a very specific technology stack, I mean, we're looking at cybersecurity right now, and we all can see that MSSPs is going to be the future, a managed security service provider. Paul Green: Maybe now is the right time to look at that and say, "Well, what if we set up an authority site on cybersecurity?" In fact, that would work very, very well for a niche, cybersecurity authority site for specific vertical, you could dominate your vertical on this subject of cybersecurity. And in fact what might only be two or three months work now, could actually pay off for years and years in the future. Voiceover: How to contribute to the show. Paul Green: I'd love to hear your question or just generally your feedback about a podcast. You can only talk to me in that Facebook group that I was mentioning earlier, the MSP Marketing one, or you can just drop me an email, hello@paulgreensmspmarketing.com. Voiceover: Coming up next week. Kevin Clune: It's really difficult to focus on growth, to do the creative side of it, and to really understand your customer's behaviour when you have all these technical issues and the day-to-day hanging over your head. Paul Green: That's Kevin Clune, he's the author of a book called the MSP Growth Funnel. And on next week's show, he'll be talking about how to pick the right marketing strategy for your MSP. We're also going to be talking about how high-performers hire other high-performers and why you've got to watch out for B players, and we're going to be talking about the world's best recruitment advert for second and third line techs. See you next week. Voiceover: Made in the UK for MSPs around the world, Paul Green's MSP Marketing podcast.
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