Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast

Episode 26: How to get your technicians to upsell

Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Episode 26: How to get your technicians to upsell
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In this week's episode

  • Coming up in this week's show we're going to look at why most technicians are so bad at upselling, and how to motivate them to tell you when your clients really should be buying extra services from you
  • We're also going to look at how much you charge contract clients per hour for ad hoc work - it's probably not enough, so get ready to put your prices up!
  • Plus this week Paul talks to the people behind a brilliant cybersecurity plug-in for ConnectWise Automate and answers a question from an MSP on how to differentiate yourself from all the other MSPs out there

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 fresh new episode of the show straight out of the oven. Here's what I've got coming up for you today. Scott Springer: Bad guys always find a way in and we identified the primary ways that that happens and we built a plugin that makes taking care of those vulnerability really easy to do. Paul Green: We're also going to look at how much you charged contract clients for ad hoc work, and it's probably not enough, which is good news for your profit margins. And we're going to answer a question from an MSP about how to differentiate yourself from all of your competitors. Voiceover: Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast. Paul Green: So we do record this podcast quite a few weeks in advance, and as I'm recording this one, we're still in lockdown in the UK and my nine year old daughter and I, obviously we're in the house, we've been in the house, more or less just the two of us, every single day. You get the drill. I'm sure it's the same with you and your family. So what we've done of course is we've fallen into new patterns, brand new ways of working. She's doing her schoolwork in the morning. I'm being interrupted by her while I'm doing my work in the morning. And then the afternoons she does her own thing and I carry on working. But one of the things that we have enjoyed is every Friday we are ordering in lunch from a local deli. Paul Green: Now where we live on the outskirts of Milton Keynes, there are no shops in our village, but the next village, which is literally just half a mile away has a bustling high street full of shops and there's a deli there, which almost immediately, once locked down started, they announced that they were going to flip from being a deli to doing a sandwich delivery service. And I do believe that you should support your local independent businesses. So every single Friday we've been ordering a sandwich from them. It's nothing that's special, to be honest. It's just sandwiches. Fairly overpriced if you ask me. But we're supporting local businesses, which is the right thing to do. So we've been doing this for a number of weeks now, and it amuses me how little upselling this shop is doing on the phones. You have to phone your sandwich order through, which in itself is not great. Really they should be having online ordering, but there we go. Paul Green: So you phone through and you place your order and they're clearly in a rush and they're trying to get all the orders done in time. There's a deadline that you have to phone it through by. But they never ever try and up sell anything. Now I know, I've been in this deli, and I know that on top of sandwiches they've obviously got crisps, they've got cakes, they've got all sorts of other stuff. I've just been waiting for them to say, "Oh, do you want us to pop a packet of crisps in there for you?" Or "Which of our cakes do you fancy today?" Or something like that. They never do this. In fact, last week, when I phoned my order through, the woman who was on the other end of the phone actually said, and these were her exact words, "You don't want any crisps or anything with those, do you?" Listen to that there. "You don't want any crisps or anything with those, do you?" Paul Green: Now bearing in mind, I'm primarily ordering from this shop to help this shop. If she said to me, "Shall I pop a packet of crisps in for each of you there?" I'd probably just say, "Yeah, go on then, what's the worst that can happen?" But no, she actually said, "You don't want any crisps or anything." And it made me think about technicians and a lot of the MSPs that I've worked with, they have probably a very similar problem to you, which is that the technicians simply will not upsell, even when there's a really easy upsell opportunity in front of them. So they might be on the phone to a client. It's the decision maker, that client. That client has got a very specific problem and they know that you sell a specific service or an upgrade or a higher level of service that would solve that problem, but they don't upsell. They don't go for it. Paul Green: Why? What is it that stops them doing that? Well in my experience, the thing that stops most people from selling is fear. It's fear of someone saying no or it's fear of having to ask in the first place or it's just in general fear that, "Oh no, I'm a technician. I don't want to be seen as selling. I didn't get into tech to sell. I got into tech to fix problems with people, to help people, to do all those kinds of things. Selling is not for me. That's not something that I do." And even when they can see that it would make their lives better, they don't make that suggestion. Now, most technicians are this way. Not all of them, but most are. And what you'll typically find in MSP is it'll only take two or three technicians to be this way and all of the rest of the technicians will operate this way. It almost becomes a cultural thing. Paul Green: In fact, sometimes it's terrifying how much culture in our business is set by two or three people who are doing something in a specific way or rather not doing something in a specific way. So I think the trick for trying to get technicians to upsell, first of all, is not to try and get technicians to upsell. It's a battle that you could be having for weeks, months, and years, and I don't think it's a battle that you could ever win. So instead of asking them to actually do the selling, what we should be asking them to do instead is to ask them to spot the potential upsell opportunities. Well actually, let's not even use the word upsell. Let's use the words client delight opportunities. Because remember, most technicians want to do a great job for the clients and want to help the clients. Paul Green: So let's train them to spot when the clients really should be buying a different service or a better service or something that helps them, and let's focus on getting the technicians to tell someone about it. Now, maybe it should be you, maybe it should be the account managers, whoever it is, that will depend on the system within your business, but let's focus their attention on that. Spot an opportunity, tell someone about that opportunity. Let's have a system in place. You could even put in place some kind of reward mechanism. I mean, personally I don't think you need a reward mechanism. The reward for the technician, for most of them, will be the feeling of doing a good job. But you could say, for example, you get 10% or 5% of any monthly recurring revenue for the first year. So if they go on to buy this monthly recurring revenue service and they stick with it for the next three years, you get 5% of that new monthly recurring revenue for the next 12 months. Paul Green: Now that's an optional thing to bring in, but that will certainly make some of the technicians very focused on finding things that they think the clients should be buying, particularly when they haven't actually got to do the close themselves, when someone else will do that. So I would make this a training issue. The very first thing is putting in place that system, here's how you report this, here's who you report it to, here's how we track it, and here's the reward if in fact we do sell something to a client. And then the second thing you need to do is product focus. And in fact, what you could do perhaps is a Friday lunch and learn. Every Friday, get some pizzas in, we divert the calls over to Continuum or whatever call answering service that we're using at the moment and all of the technicians just have 30 minutes with a pizza and we do a bit of a lunch and learn. This is this service that we're selling right now. This is the enhanced level of this service. This is the benefit of a client taking this service. Paul Green: And if you were to do that every single week of the year, just think 50 weeks where your lunch and learning them about a very specific service and teaching them about all these different enhanced levels of service. For some of them that's going to go in and if you remind them every single week, 50 weeks, of the system for reporting clients who really should be taking a service like this, you can see that for many of your technicians, most of the time it's going to become systematic for them to spot these opportunities and tell you about it. And of course the massive bonus for you off this is that you get to sell more services and we all know that selling more to existing clients is the route to dramatically higher net profits. Voiceover: Here's this week's clever idea. Paul Green: Now in the spirit of increasing your net profit, let's talk about how much you're charging your contract clients for ad hoc work. And this is a debate that I have with my MSP masterminders fairly regularly here in the UK because I believe that when you're doing ad hoc work for clients who are under contract, you should be charging as much as you can get away with. And by get away, I don't mean profiteering, I mean accepting what the actual cost to you is of delivering ad hoc work. So let's put this in perspective. These are existing clients, they're under contract, they're paying you a fee every single month, it's a recurring revenue, for their support contract. They're buying other things from you, and then every now and again, some ad hoc work comes up. Now I'm going to be talking about this in pounds Sterling, but you can easily convert this over to dollars or your own local currency. Paul Green: If you're charging them 50 pounds an hour for ad hoc work, you're probably not making a profit on that 50 pounds. Because it probably costs you a lot more than 50 pounds an hour to deliver an hour's worth of value. If you think how much it actually costs you to open the doors every day. What's the cost of the office, the rent, the rates or any local taxes you have to pay, your staff, the utilities and the insurances, the debt costs, the equipment costs, all of that. In fact, it's a good exercise to have is to figure out how much it actually cost you just to open your doors every day. It's probably a lot more than you think. That means you've got to cover those costs every single day before you've actually made some money. So you've got all of that to take into account. Paul Green: Then you've got the opportunity cost and the cost of sale of an employee or a number of employees doing an hour's worth of ad hoc work for clients and because they're contract clients, you will tend to over-service them in some way. You will tend to do a very, very good job. So what's the real cost of delivering an hour's worth of ad hoc work to your existing clients? It is a lot more than you are currently charging right now. I mean if you wanted to be scientific about it, then maybe yes, you should actually work that out. Work out the cost of opening the doors every day. Work out the employee costs, which isn't just what you're paying them, it is of course also the cost of what they can't be doing, the proactive work that they can be doing while they're doing ad hoc work. And this is what you should be charging probably, if not double, and certainly a lot more than you're charging right now. Paul Green: And my MSP mastermind, the clients, we're pushing now 100 pounds, 110, some of them charging well over 150 pounds per hour of ad hoc work. Now that might seem a lot to you, but there's a couple of factors at play here. Not only is there making sure that you're actually making profit from it, there's also looking at it from the client's point of view, that they don't know how much ad hoc work costs, and to be honest, they don't really notice if it really is just the odd bit of ad hoc work. So when someone signs up for contract with you, that's what they're focused on. They're focused on the monthly costs. How much is this going to cost me every month? And most B2B decisions are made with the cashflow in mind, remember. We don't look at the overall cost of something. We look at what's the impact going to be on our cashflow on a monthly basis. Paul Green: So they'll be looking at that and when a piece of ad hoc work comes up, yeah, it stings a little bit, that 100, 150 pounds an hour. But do you know what? It's just a cost of getting this job done. It's only a couple of hours. It's a few hundred pounds. Fine, fine, yeah, we'll do that. No problem. And that's very much the mindset of the typical client. And this is why if you're charging them 50 pounds an hour, it's going to cost them 100 pounds. You'll charge them 150 pounds. It's going to cost them 300 pounds. Sure, that's a big difference between 100 and 300 pounds, but it's a one off cost. Their mind is not looking at this as the recurring cost of this on a monthly basis. Paul Green: Their mind is looking at this saying, "Yep, we can afford 300 pounds. We need to get this work done. Absolutely. Go ahead with that." So they don't see the cost of ad hoc work in the same way that you do. You have to remember here that your business is not a charity. Your business does not exist in order just to do work for clients. The primary goal of the business is to make net profit for you. The primary goal of the business is to give you the cash you need to achieve the life vision that you've got laid out for you. The primary purpose of the business is to pay your mortgage, to put your kids through private school, if that's appropriate, to give you and your family the resources you need to live the lifestyle that you want. To pay your staff. This is the primary goal of the business. Paul Green: And the way that we do that is we delight the clients and we make a great profit along the way. The profit is the side effect of running a great business that's there to support you, but the profits side-effect needs to be there, otherwise it's just not a fun business to run. And we've all run unprofitable businesses and it's not fun at all, which is why we've got to make sure we're making good money. So you should be examining every single stage of the process. How much net profit are we making off this, and if it's not enough, we've just got to increase the prices. Being expensive is nothing to be scared of. In fact, you should aim to be the most expensive MSP in your area, and I don't just mean just by ratcheting all the prices up. Paul Green: You've got to be aware of the front end, back end. The front end is the pricing they see when they sign up. That's your per user or per device support costs, but the backend, you should absolutely look to be as expensive as you can be, because no one's looking at the ad hoc price of having some work done at the point that they're signing up. It's just something that has to be done along the line. Therefore, we need to make sure we're making loads of net profits off it. Voiceover: Paul's blatant plug. Paul Green: We talk about these kinds of subjects all the time in my free MSP marketing Facebook group. We talk about how to make more net profit, how to get more new clients, just in general, how to grow your business. It's become the most amazing community. At time of recording where well over 750 members, every single one of them working for or owning an MSP, because this is a vendor free zone. Sorry, vendors. I do love you and you're very welcome on the show, but you're just not welcome in my Facebook group. Paul Green: So if you want to join, you just got to go, get Facebook up on your phone, type in at the top "MSP marketing," go to groups and you just tap on apply to join. The one thing I'll ask you to do is to post the website address of your MSP so I can check that you do indeed work for an MSP and we normally let you into the group within about 24 hours of applying. Voiceover: The big interview. Scott Springer: Hi, my name is Scott Springer. I'm one of the founders of Third-Wall, a new cybersecurity plugin for Automate users. Paul Green: And one of my clients actually recommended that I get you on the show, Scott, because they are a user of ConnectWise Automate and I believe they're a client of yours. They use Third-Wall and said it was absolutely brilliant, not only as a way for actually getting more money into the business and generating a new revenue stream, but also as a way for making life easy for their technicians. So do you want to just give us the 60 second rundown of what Third-Wall is and what it does? Scott Springer: So we built Third-Wall because we found that people, MSPs in particular, but anybody who tries to manage cybersecurity, it really struggles and leaves a lot of gaps. It doesn't matter how good their firewall, how good their antivirus is, bad guys always find a way in. And what we did is we identified the primary ways that that happens and we built a plugin that makes taking care of those gaps in vulnerability really easy to do. We have an interface that's smooth, that's simple, and it provides a whole another level of protection. It replaces things like scripts, group policy, which is unfortunately not very effective in this world, and it replaces things like training and awareness, which everybody says, "Oh don't do that." And we all know how effective that is. So this gives an automated way to both lock down the environment for cybersecurity and also some very interesting ways to respond to threats that are happening real time. Paul Green: So the MSPs that do buy this from you, what's the mix between those who buy it simply as a tool to reduce workload and stop their clients getting into trouble versus those who actually use this as a revenue stream and go on and sell it? Scott Springer: Based on our discussions with clients, I estimate that over half of our clients, and we have well over 500 clients now, use this to make additional revenue, substantial additional revenue and it really helps them in another way as well. Whether or not they charge for it, it's used as a big differentiator for them as they're battling for business, and I know you're big on that. When you've got an ability to go and offer a much higher level of cybersecurity... Some of our clients at the trade shows, they come by us and they actually say, "Please don't sell this anymore. It's our secret weapon. It's how we get new clients." That's just something that we do, but again, about half of them, we think, are actually selling this either as a premium tier of cybersecurity or we have some features that are standalone features that people are selling as well. Paul Green: Can you give us a specific example of how people are upselling this as an advanced security package? Scott Springer: One of the biggest things is we have three different policies and we're very policy driven that don't normally exist within people's environments that are very targeted towards ransomware. And they're quite effective. I mean there's no such thing as 100% protection against ransomware. We have three different policies that are targeting ransomware. One to detect it when it gets in, in many cases. To prevent it from launching, and that actually reacts to an attack in progress. So we've got that and that's often given our clients a way to upsell. People are afraid of ransomware. It's always in the headlines. So when you have an ability to prevent ransomware, that's a big selling point. Paul Green: So is ransomware typically the big money maker for your clients, then? Scott Springer: For many of our clients it is, but we... Actually, one of the things that we've incorporated into Third-Wall is a user log on report, which sounds so mundane, but it's actually quite difficult to create. There's a lot of software out there that you can buy that does user log on reporting, but we just build it in and we're very inexpensive because of how we built this. And what our clients have found, we built this for cybersecurity auditing, a lot of different legal requirements say you must do log on reporting and keep it as an archive, so that's why we built it. What our clients have found that when you can do user log on reporting, it's an amazingly powerful and sellable tool for MSPs to sell to their clients because it allows them to do employee management. You can tell when people are logged on, you can tell them their computer's locked or unlocked, and that becomes an objective tool and they're making a ton of money off of that. Our clients call that pure gold. Paul Green: Scott, that's brilliant. Thanks very much. What's the best way for us to get in touch with you? Scott Springer: Well, our website is www.third-wall.com. There is a dash in the middle. And there's contact information. There's a way to sign up for free trials and webinars. I can tell you when people see a webinar, we have about a 90% close rate, because they do think it's an exceptional product and well positioned and it gives them tools that they just can't get anywhere else. So we're growing fast and people recognise how valuable we are. Voiceover: Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast. Ask Paul anything. Martin: My name's Martin from Limbtech. How do I make my MSP look different to all the others? Paul Green: Great question, Martin, and it's a question which every MSP should answer because actually most MSPs look the same as all of their competitors. What we're talking about here is developing something called a USP, a unique selling point, or a unique selling position. What is it that makes your MSP different from all of your competitors in the mind of your prospect? And this is something that most MSPs struggle with, and I've got to be honest, I struggle with this when I'm working with MSPs because all MSPs do essentially the same thing in more or less the same way. Yeah, there are different flavours of doing it and different preferred technology stacks and different preferred methodologies. But essentially from the uneducated prospect's point of view, you do the same as your competitors. Paul Green: And you go and look at most MSPs' websites and they all look the same. They got the same stock images, they've got the same messages, they've got the same boring pictures of data centers and network cables and everyone seems to look the same. So the challenge then is to A, find something that you genuinely do differently or a way of working that's different to your competitors, which to be honest is quite hard, or maybe B, you take a completely different approach to it. And this is the approach that I recommend. Instead of focusing on what you do and how you do it, which your uneducated don't really care about anyway, they just want the outcome. I would focus on the people who do it and the people are the only true differentiation you've got from your direct competitors. Now by the people, I primarily mean you and your staff, but you can also leverage your clients as well. Let me explain. Paul Green: If I was to go into your websites today, what would I see? Would I see you describing the services that you offer and the geographical area that you cover or the vertical you cover and all of that stuff. What I should be seeing right there on the home page and on the about us page, which are the two most important pages of any website, I should be seeing instead people. I should be seeing you, your senior techs, your business partner, maybe even the rest of your staff. I should be seeing people, people, people, people. If it's just you and a bit of help in the business, so essentially you're a one man band, then let me just see you and let me see your story. Tell us, the readers, tell us why you started your own business and why you're so passionate about delivering IT support. Paul Green: If you've got enough staff, then pop your staff on the website as well. Let's see pictures of you and your team. Let's see the people who are going to be delivering the service. Let's read a message from your team or something like that. No one can copy your staff. So they can copy anything else that you put on your website. Absolutely anything. You can come up with some very clever texted headlines, but other people can and if they can, they will copy it. But they cannot copy you and your staff. They cannot copy your personality. This is why I branded my business Paul Green's MSP Marketing. In the four years since I've been going, there were a host of copycat competitors that are just cropped up in the UK and abroad and that doesn't bother me at all. It's irritating, but no one can be me. Absolutely no one can copy me. There's only one me. Thank God. Paul Green: But it's a clear point of differentiation and I decided very early on I was going to embrace that differentiation. So getting you and your staff and pictures and texts and stories and all of that stuff on the website is the perfect differentiation. The other way of doing it, if you really don't want to make it about you is to make it about the clients, and the only really effective way to do that is to have a video of your clients on your website talking about you. So this is a beautiful thing to do and quite a number of people have done this already. If you want to see examples, you can go to a website, It's MSPvideos.co.uk, which yes, is a service of mine, which unfortunately we only offer in the UK at the moment. But you can go and see sample videos of how to get your existing clients talking about you. Paul Green: So you've got to think about it from the prospect's point of view. They come to your websites and there is a video of one of your favourite clients talking about how wonderful you are. So you're not talking about you, the clients are talking about you, and that is a beautiful piece of differentiation. It's beautiful because future clients are more likely to believe what your existing clients are saying and more likely to be influenced by it than anything that you say. So there's the challenge for you is look at your website, look at your direct competitors, because that's your clear point of differentiation. Your website is the display of the differentiation, and then go and find a way to make it different using either you or preferably using your clients, talking about you. Voiceover: How to contribute to the show. Paul Green: I'd love to get your question on the show as well. If you want to just do an audio recording for me, literally grab your phone, just record a little audio question. You heard how Martin just did it there. Say your name, say the business you work for, and then record your question and then just email that through to me. Doesn't matter what the format is. You can email it directly off your phone. The address is hello@paulgreensMSPmarketing.com. Voiceover: Coming up next week. Heather Johnson: And then everything's different. You're in a new reality. And it is scary. It is very easy to get in the mindset of, "I'm just going down with the ship." But you don't need to do that. Paul Green: That's Heather Johnson from Gozynta, she's here next week with her husband Brian, and they're going to be talking about the new normal that we're going to be facing when all of this starts to settle down and how you can spot some huge opportunities amongst the chaos. We're also going to be talking about growing through acquisition, whether or not you'll be able to pick up some of your competitors because of everything that's happening right now. I'm going to be talking about what doesn't seem to be the most interesting subject, but we know it's an important one because it's the one that's most likely to keep us up at 4:00 in the morning. It's cashflow management. We've got a whole ton of advice for you. I'm going to speak to you next week. See you then. Voiceover: Made in the UK for MSPs around the world. Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast.


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