Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Episode 3: Fire a client for Christmas
In this week’s episode
- It may sound drastic, but getting rid of one of your worst clients could be transformational for your business. Paul’s done it and the results were ASTONISHING
- How are your sales team selling? Special guest Scott Tyson of Auvik talks about how to increase revenue by adopting a simple sales process, how to trust your team and when it’s time to walk away from a potential customer
- Also in this episode, there’s a brilliant question answered about how to reach business owners on Facebook… details of a video service for MSP websites… and Paul explains how you can link personal goals to your business goals
- Out every Tuesday on your favourite podcast platform
- Presented by Paul Green, an MSP marketing expert
- Here’s the website for the service MSP Videos, that produces excellent video content for websites
- The special guest talking about how to run a world-class sales operation is Scott Tyson of Auvik who also mentioned Sandler sales training and the Frankly MSP podcast
- Thanks to Murray Thorpe from network and AV solutions specialist Cablers Ltd for the question about reaching business owners on Facebook
- Here’s the link to Paul’s Facebook group for MSP Marketing
- Find out more about the Pareto Principle (the 80/20 Rule) Paul mentioned
- Next week’s guest will be Louise Towler of IndigoTree, who will be explain the essential ingredients for a great website
- The email address for show feedback or any questions is email@example.com
Voiceover: Made in the UK, for MSPs around the world. This is Paul Green’s MSP Marketing podcast.
Paul: Here’s a look at what’s coming up on this week’s show.
Scott Tyson: There’s no good going into a Mercedes dealership looking for a sports car and the guy comes out and says, “I’ve got this great station wagon for you to buy.”
Paul: We’re also going to look at how the actions that you take or don’t take every single day directly affect the lifestyle that you have. And I’ve got a question from an MSP owner about how to reach business decision makers on Facebook.
Voiceover: Paul Green’s MSP Marketing podcast.
Paul: Now some will see this as controversial. You should fire more clients. And my reasoning for that is the 80/20 rule. Basically, input and output aren’t equal. And it was Alfredo Pareto who was an Italian economist and I think in the 19th century, and he one day standing on his balcony, probably having an ice cream or Cornetto, and he looked out and he realised that 80% of the peas in his garden came from 20% of the pea pods. And being an economist he went off and looked into landownership and realised that at that point 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. And this is where the 80/20 rule comes from, the Pareto Principle. 80% of the hassle in your business comes from 20% of the clients, and you can do 20% within themselves. If you’ve got a hundred clients, 20 clients, who create most of the hassle, 20% of that 20% are the real hassle ones, which is of course four people.
Paul: So the majority of the hassle in your business comes from four clients, if you’ve got a hundred clients, does that make sense? Most business owners in fact just get a bit scared of firing clients because all we see is the loss of revenue. But what we don’t see is the impact of that revenue. In the last business I had where I had lots of staffers, I had 15 staff in a marketing business which I sold in 2016, and we had one particular client called Steve. Steve was that client that when his name came up on the VoIP phone, you literally felt the whole atmosphere drop in the office. People were looking at each other to see who was going to pick up the phone and no one wanted to speak to him, because Steve was just wholly unreasonable. It wasn’t so much what he was asking for is the way he was asking and everything was difficult and nothing was never good enough for him. You know that because you’ve probably got a client like that too.
Paul: I was so removed from doing day to day work for the clients by this point of the business’s history that I wasn’t feeling the Steve pain, but my staff were. Two or three of them mentioned this over a couple of weeks and then I fired Steve, so I fired the client. The effect on my staff was amazing, it was like the whole office just suddenly came up again. Suddenly they felt that I had really got their back. So I was their leader, I was their boss, I was the owner of the business, but they felt like I had got their back. And actually if you look at how human psychology works, because we are all programmed with a hundred thousand year old programming in our brains. And so a hundred thousand years ago we lived in a cave as part of a tribe and there was a tribe leader. And our whole psychology is based around that leader protecting us and us helping that leader.
Paul: What we have today in our office is the same psychological setup as we had living in caves a hundred thousand years ago. So when the leader fires someone, which is the same as the leader slaying a dragon, of course everyone feels a lot closer to the leader. What was interesting was that that revenue from Steve, it was about eighteen thousand pounds. That revenue from Steve was replaced within a week. Because of course suddenly my team had so much more time to do stuff, they weren’t sitting around being unhappy doing stuff for Steve or whingeing about Steve. They were just getting on with doing it and we replaced that revenue very quickly. So my challenge to you as we start to hurtle towards Christmas is wouldn’t it be a great Christmas present for your team if you said to them, “Do you know what? For Christmas I’m going to fire the client that you all hate the most.” And you probably know who that’s going to be and you’ll probably know the revenue impact.
Paul: But could you imagine what a great Christmas present that would be for your staff to be able to fire the person that they hate the most? Also, what affect is that going to have on your retention in January? People have some time off over Christmas and they come back to work in January and they think, “I don’t want to do this anymore.” What a great motivator for people to have their worst client fired just before they go off, they have a little bit of a break. It’s going to affect your retention in a positive way in January. So, fire a bad client for Christmas, let your staff decide who it’s going to be, take the revenue impact on the nose. You will replace the revenue, the business will be easier to grow, everyone will have a better life apart from the client you fired. They’re probably used to being fired by suppliers all the time because if they’re rude to you, they’re probably rude to everyone.
Voiceover: Here’s this week’s clever idea.
Paul: One of my lifetime habits is getting up really early in the morning and working on the business. Early in my life I was a radio presenter. I did 13 years in media, 10 of them on the radio. And for many of those years I was working in some capacity on breakfast shows, either reading the news or actually doing the breakfast show in the morning. It got me, kind of late teens, early twenties developed this habit of getting up at four in the morning and that hurts. That’s painful. But when I started a business in 2005 I translated that into getting up at five in the morning. And the reason I did that was not because I couldn’t sleep, but because I was so keen to build that business. I knew exactly what I wanted to achieve with it and I knew that that was going to chew up a whole load of time. And pretty much since then, I only do it four days a week now, I do it Monday to Thursdays. I get up at five in the morning and I work on my business.
Paul: Not in, so no emails, no social media, no paying invoices, admins, because that’s working in the business. No, doing the delivery work and working on the business is things that get you more new clients. Things that get those clients to buy from you more often and things that get your clients to spend more every single time they buy. Now what’s interesting is, if I look at everything I’ve achieved in the last, what is it 14 years business wise, I don’t consider myself particularly smart. I don’t consider myself to be more switched on than the average business owner. I’ve met a lot more smarter operators than me. Everything I’ve achieved in the last 14 years, which is building up a business from nothing to over a million turnover, selling that business and then obviously what I’m doing now with MSPs and IT support companies, it’s all come down to 90 minutes a day. .
Paul: And that’s really my big idea. My clever idea for today is that if you think about the lifestyle that you want to live and what you want to achieve with your life, it’s the stuff that you do every day that directly gets you there. And I have a lovely diagram that I do with my clients. Get a sheet of paper or flip chart or something and you right at the top the life stuff that you want to achieve. For me right now I’m moving house so I just want a bigger house and there are specific things I want in that house. I want the gravel driveway and I want to a place where I can park a Tesla model S next to that house and a, specific charging points. And I could get the Tesla now, but it’s the Tesla and the house together are a vision in my head.
Paul: There’s some of the life stuff regarding holidays and lifestyle and stuff as well. Now all of that life stuff has to be funded by my businesses. So the next step underneath the lifestyle goals is to write down the business goals. We can all make a bit more net profit by cutting costs and doing things on the cheap. But I mean sustainable long term net profit that will exist year in, year out. So already now I’ve directly linked my lifestyle to how the business performs. If your business is going well, you’re mentally and physically happy and healthy, and when business is bad, you know you’ve been there. When business is bad, everyone knows about it. And as much as you try not to take it home, you do, you can’t help but do it. Then if we come down the line, we come down to strategy.
Paul: So for an MSP would be increasing monthly recurring revenue and getting onboard new clients, and the strategies are right for most MSPs. And then you come down to the tactical stuff and the tactical stuff is the stuff that people always want to jump into, and that’s where you’d look at getting new clients would be LinkedIn, it might be Facebook, it might be going to events, it might be networking if you can handle it, increasing monthly recurring revenue would be about strategic reviews with clients. It would be about finding more services to sell. It would be using the profit matrix, which I’m going to cover off in a future edition of the podcast, et cetera, et cetera. And then the final thing at the bottom is what do I do every day? And this is how I filled my 90 minutes every morning for the last 14 years.
Paul: It’s having a bit of paper like that and saying, okay, my 90 minutes this morning is going to be implementing and executing some of the tactics. The tactics of course support the strategy, the strategy supports the goals and the goals support the lifestyle that I want. And you can draw a direct line from the stuff that you’re doing every single morning directly up to the lifestyle that you want to live. In fact, you kind of have to, because that’s the direct link. We don’t realise when we have these big lifestyle goals, this, “Oh, I’d love, I’d love to go to so and so next year for, for a couple of weeks. That would be great.” Or, “I wish I could do this.” You can do anything. But you’ve got to link it down to the actions that you take every day. This podcast is a really important way for me to reach MSPs around the world and this podcast is, is a difficult thing for me to do.
Paul: It’s two hours of recording time every week, I’m spending money on editing and hosting and all that kind of stuff, but I do it because the action of doing this podcast over that period of time will help me to reach my lifestyle goals. It really is as simple as that. So whenever you can find time every day, whenever that is, and 60 preferably 90 even better, 120 minutes every single day to do stuff working on the business, and it’s implementing tactical stuff that supports the strategy, that supports the goal, that ultimately gets you the things you want in your life.
Voiceover: Paul’s blatant plug.
Paul: So this is one for my listeners in the UK and it’s about getting more prospects engaging with you faster. The easiest way to do that is with video. For 2019 video is the engagement tool to use. Now, you personally may not like watching videos from businesses, but you have to remember not everyone is like you. And many people will happily sit and watch a good 60 to maybe 70 second video when it’s on a website.
Paul: So we have a service called MSP Videos and the URL is mspvideos.co.uk. It is only in the UK at the moment because it is a joint venture between me and my very good friend Darren Wingham. Now Darren, what makes him good is he’s a storyteller. So for example, we’ve just produced some videos for one of the MSP, one of the IT support companies I’m working with and he’s filmed their clients talking about the MSP. So the video that goes onto their homepage will not be the MSP talking about themselves. It will be the MSP’s clients talking about how good the MSP is. What a great point of differentiation. And Darren’s gone out and he’s told a story in that video. So if you would like that kind of thing for your business, go to mspvideos.co.uk.
Paul: You can see all the details. You can see some sample videos. You can see Darren, I think I’m on there as well and you can contact Darren and you can chat to him about getting that done for your website. Now if whether you use Darren or not, and certainly if you’re outside of the UK, you need videos on your website, so there are two types of videos. There’s the one that goes on your website which is the professional polished version. That’s, if you like, the sampler of your business, better as I say to get the clients talking about you than you talking about you. But then on social media you don’t need polished videos. That’s where you can be literally you just talking to your mobile phone. The more video you can do, the better engagement you’ll have with the prospects and it’s building a relationship with them. Because down the line some of those people who are engaging with your videos today will become the clients of the future.
Voiceover: The big Interview.
Paul: I live in a new city in the middle of the UK, which is called Milton Keynes. 10 minutes from my home, completely by chance is the UK and EMEA office of Auvik Networks. And I came across Auvik Networks in January when they actually interviewed me for their podcast, which is called Frankly MSP. It’s a great podcast by the way, you should go in and seek that one out. It’s one of the best MSP podcasts there is. And a couple of weeks ago I just nipped over to the offices to interview this guy.
Scott Tyson: So my name is Scott Tyson. I’m the managing director of Auvik Networks. I look out for all the business that’s in the EMEA region.
Paul: You’ve made a career out of running sales teams, growing businesses, and most MSPs really struggle with this. So if they’re in front of someone, it’s easy because you can talk with passion and with knowledge. The difficulty they have is getting enough leads and just getting enough sales. And when they start taking on sales teams, often there’s a feeling of what are my sales people doing? Am I being mugged off?
Scott Tyson: It’s a very common thing to feel that way. It depends on the people you bring in. It depends on the induction and the training that you give and it depends on the support that you give on a day to day basis. So I’m dead against micromanagement. I never liked it myself as a young sales guy coming through and I never performed well under that type of management structure. So I guess you mirror what way the success that you’ve had. And the success I had was giving people enough tools, giving them support, knowing that you’re there and being able to support them. And you will have a better performing sales team.
Paul: I guess it’s also about having the right KPIs in place.
Scott Tyson: The simple KPI or the first KPI you’ve got to have is here’s your revenue target. After that is how many leads need to come in, give us this many SQLs, that many SQLs give us this many demos. And it goes through the pipeline all the way out to verbal approval for a sale. We know all the numbers that we need to hit in order to hit that number at the end of the month. So here at Auvik we have a BDR team, the BDR team, get those leads into OTLs, which has over the line. So that means a demo with our sales team, the sales team then take that through a process of discovery, demo, trial and closure. Don’t forget though that closer can also mean you’re not a right fit for us, let’s move on to the next one. From a sales perspective, you do hold onto leads for as long as you possibly can before you repo them. We’re trying to make it an environment here where if you know that sales is not going to happen, you abandon it and you go on with the next one.
Paul: So you know if we get a hundred leads coming in and our funnel continues to be efficient and operates as it should do, then that would generate 20 sales at the bottom of it.
Scott Tyson: Yep, that’s exactly right. It used to be the old hundred, ten, one formula. Remember you used to get a hundred leads come in, you’d get ten to an SQL level, sales qualified lead level and one of them would close. Now, we all know that’s a very simplistic formula, so what we do here at Auvik is really look at the numbers every day, every week, every month to make sure that that cadence is actually accurate to what the number is that we need to hit for our growth trajectory as well as feeding our sales team. You know, the last thing you want is a sales team sitting there on their hands, not doing anything.
Scott Tyson: The best performing sales team are always busy, are always looking for the close. The other thing I really want to emphasise, and I say this a lot now with the sales people coming in is, it’s not wrong and it’s not dirty to ask for a close. It’s not an ugly word, that close word. You know, you can ask for the sale. And I guess that’s one thing that I try and help with my teams that I’ve worked with and it’s certainly what we’re trying to do here at Auvik now globally, is to make sure our sales team know to ask for the close.
Paul: Do you teach your sales teams specific strategies and tactics? Or do you just teach them to be good listeners?
Scott Tyson: And that’s a really good point Paul actually because one of the things that we all do as salespeople is eventually go through some form of sales methodology. I’m Sandler trained, so I’m very much a David Sandler person that I love following the submarine and so forth. That’s the way I do it. One of the things that we are really emphasising here at Auvik is having a methodology. Regardless of what methodology it is, making sure you’ve got one. And that means discovery, discovery, discovery, discovery, discovery, I don’t want people just selling features and benefits. Gone are the days, there’s no good going into a Mercedes dealership looking for a sports car and the guy comes out and says, “I’ve got this great station wagon for you to buy.” I’m not after station wagon, I’m going to walk out. So I want people to ask, “Why are you looking at Auvik? What can we do to help you?” Just asking all these questions and then we can show whether Auvik’s a fit or not.
Scott Tyson: And again, it’s not a dirty word to say, you know what? It’s not the right product. We can move on. We’re getting enough leads into to be able to do that. The biggest thing is listen, listen, listen and sell to what that customer’s points are. Then you’ve got a better chance of closing that sale.
Paul: What support do you give to the MSPs that are your clients to help them sell your product into their end decision makers?
Scott Tyson: That’s probably the best question. I’ve been with a number of IT companies in my career, and I have to say that Auvik as a vendor is probably the best company I’ve seen that gives tools to be able to assist our MSP customers of how to sell their companies, in general, to their customers. We’ve spoken about our Frankly MSP Podcast, it gives tactics and abilities. You do a fantastic one yourself where you’re trying to help MSPs become better business people.
Scott Tyson: What we do as a vendor, we have a lot of tools, a lot of documents. We have a set of documents called a Prospect Pitch and Sell Bible, if you will, and what that does is shows MSPs how to go out and sell their companies. And that gives them the ability of becoming business people as opposed to techies that have fallen into the world of MSP. And all the MSPs I know of, have really engaged in and embraced that information because that information is freely available. People have done it, people have got the scars and so forth. You use the experience that’s out there and that’ll help grow your business.
Voiceover: Paul Green’s MSP Marketing podcast. Ask Paul anything.
Murray: Hi, I’m Murray Thorpe from the Cablers. I was just wondering if you can give me some advice on how to reach business owners on Facebook.
Paul: Thanks Murray. There is some debate about this. Can you reach business owners on Facebook? I believe you can, although LinkedIn is a better platform for reaching people just because it is the business platform. I think Facebook has a certain level of engagement. As I said earlier about videos, if you’re not into videos you can’t assume other people are. It’s the same thing. I know many IT people really hate Facebook. They’re on it kind of just because you know, Facebook is not going to go away as a platform. It may, but they will own the next platforms. Because they already have Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger and all of these other things. So I think the best way to reach business owners on Facebook is primarily to try and attack them in their downtime. Someone who is sat at work during the day, who has a great gatekeeper who isn’t letting you through, their guard is down in the evenings and their guard is down at the weekends. And that’s the time to reach people.
Paul: So I would focus on primarily two things. Number one is organic reach. Facebook pages are okay and you need a Facebook page because it’s one of the default things you have to have to be in business. Like having a website. But the algorithm that Facebook has has put less focus on Facebook pages over the last couple of years in favour of Facebook groups. Now if you operate within a certain vertical, then a Facebook group is an absolute must have. I have my MSP Marketing Facebook group, which you’re welcome to join. Just go into Facebook, type in at the top MSP Marketing and go to groups and you’ll see it and join it. For verticals, if let’s say you worked with accountants or CPAs as they’re called in America, you would start a technology for accountants Facebook group or email hijack advice for accountants or some. So something like that.
Paul: And then you can see the more relevant it is to someone, the more likely they are to do something. So that’s quite hard to pull off in a geographical area. Because business owners in certain area, they don’t identify with that as much as they identify with the thing that they do. So that’s the kind of the organic thing, groups and pages and then it’s about posting regular content. Groups, you have to just keep content coming every day. I mean even now, and I’ve got well over 500 people, all MSPs in my Facebook group, I still every day, well four, five days a week put content on because it keeps the engagement. The trick with all of these is the more they engage with you, the more they see your stuff in their timeline. Because very few people go to these groups or go to your page, but your content appears in their timeline, in their feed.
Paul: The more they engage with it, the more they see of it, the more they see of it, the more they engage with it. Facebook has this figured out perfectly. So when someone stops looking so much at your content, they see less of your content. It’s why you have to keep the engagement levels very high. I think the real opportunity for MSPs and IT support companies though is Facebook ads. Because you could just pay to reach people, ironically, it’s really hard to reach owners, business owners of MSPs on Facebook. But if I was running your business, I would find it very easy to reach the people I want to reach. Accountants, lawyers, dentists, all the kind of people you want to reach, very easy. You just type in dentists and you set the filtering in Facebook ads to dentists, business owner. I wouldn’t say it’s easy use, but he’s not difficult either. It’s just a little bit clunky.
Paul: You put a picture up, which you can use a stock image if you must, or a video and you just write some texts. And when you know you’re talking to owners of dental practices it’s so much easier to put the right message in front of them. It really is. I think in terms of what content you would use. Well look at it this way, imagine it was dating. We don’t ask people to get married straight away. Maybe we do in Vegas, but in the rest of the world we don’t do that. So it’s the same in business. Picking an MSP is a major emotional decision because they are trusting you with all the stuff which can destroy their business. This is why the sales cycle is so slow for MSP sales. So I personally wouldn’t just do a straight out and out advert of here’s us, this is our name, this is our address, we do IT.
Paul: You might get some traffic to your website off of that, but I don’t think you’ll get much interest. I would focus on building audiences and getting people to connect to you on LinkedIn. Yes, you can send them from Facebook to LinkedIn. If you can’t do a direct link, you can do it via diversion on your website. So, I would focus on getting them to do that or getting them to join a Facebook group, if you’ve got one. Again, you can’t advertise directly a Facebook group link, but you just fudge it. You just send them off to your website and then your website redirects them to the Facebook group. Or even just in joining your email list and downloading a report or a book that you’ve written or something like that. And look for engagement because the very best clients and the best opportunities come when you get people to join an audience and then you educate them over a period of time. Because the best sales come from getting the right message in front of the right person at exactly the right time and Facebook is just a tool to start that conversation.
Paul: That’s all it is, but it’s a very powerful way of doing it.
Voiceover: How to contribute to the show.
Paul: So you can reach me easily via my email address. It’s firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also come and join me on my Facebook group, I mentioned this earlier. Just open your Facebook app, type in at the top MSP Marketing, go into groups, and there I am, right at the top, the MSP Marketing Group. Just tap on to join and I will add you in within a few hours. And I’m in that Facebook group seven days a week. It’s really easy to ask me stuff there and interact with me there.
Voiceover: Coming up next week.
Louise Towler: It’s really important that the words are very reassuring and you don’t just talk about the geeky stuff that perhaps people might be searching for in Google.
Paul: We’re also going to be talking about the power of taking it offline, using direct mail and physical print to try and get more prospects and ultimately more clients for your MSP.
Voiceover: Made in the UK for MSPs around the world. Paul Green’s MSP Marketing podcast.
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