Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast

Episode 43: What to do when prospects don't reply to your emails

Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Episode 43: What to do when prospects don't reply to your emails
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In this week's episode

  • It's an all-too-familiar tale. You've had an awesome meeting with a prospect, but when you go to follow them up... they ignore you! Or that's the way it seems. Whatever the reason they're not getting back to you, this week Paul offers a brilliant technique to get a response
  • Also in this week's show, did you know that your marketing targets different areas of your prospect's brains? Understanding which part is the most important will help to increase the effectiveness of your message
  • If you've ever wondered whether outsourcing would be right for your MSP, James Vickery from Benchmark 365 joins Paul to explains what's changed in the world of outsourcing over the last 30 years. Plus, prepare to be inspired by a brand new feature on the show - MSPs and experts in and around tech join Paul to recommend inspirational books that have had a huge impact on them

Show notes

Episode transcription

Voiceover: Fresh every Tuesday, for MSPs around the world. This is Paul Green's MSP Marketing podcast. Paul Green: Hello and welcome to another fresh podcast. Here's what we've got coming up for you this week. James Vickery: We really want to grow our business and we really want to add more people but we either cannot find the people that we need or we find them and then they're quickly sucked up by larger organisations. Paul Green: We're also going to be looking at what you can do when prospects simply don't answer your follow-up emails. It's really frustrating and I've got some practical things today that you can try. And we're starting a brand new section of the show. I've asked a whole load of special guests both from within our world and outside if they can recommend their favourite marketing or business book to you. Voiceover: Paul Green's MSP Marketing podcast. Paul Green: I came across something the other day which really resonated with me. It's one of those things that you know sometimes you read something and a couple of days later it's still at the back of your mind. Well this was a quote from an American civil rights activist called Maya Angelou and she said, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." The reason that resonated with me is that completely matches up to the kind of marketing that I recommend to MSPs all over the world. Because the kind of marketing that works best is emotional marketing. It talks to people's emotions and makes them feel something. This is what makes marketing so hard for MSPs because of course typically an MSP manager or owner is a technical person who's used to dealing with technical matters which is a very cognitive thing and they're not used to dealing with emotions and feelings, and yet when it comes to marketing, we've got to focus on feelings and emotions because these are the things that influence people. Paul Green: I've said before on this podcast, your average business owner or manager simply cannot at a cognitive level decide whether or not your MSP is a good one or not. They don't have the information. They haven't got the context. They haven't got the references and the experience to compare it against. So they're picking your MSP or not based on their emotions, based on whether or not they like you or whether or not they don't like you. This is a massive opportunity for your marketing because to go back to that quote, they'll forget what you said, they'll forget what you did but they'll never forget how you made them feel, and you've got to make them feel something, anything about your business. Paul Green: This starts with your website. This stretches across all of your social media. This goes into all of your printed literature. It's the way you pick up the phone, it's what your technicians say, and the warmth in their voice or the lack of warmth in their voice. All of these things affect how people feel about your business. If you look at some of the most successful brands in the world, brands like Apple, Nike, Microsoft even, people feel things when they think about those brands and I'm laughing because as an Apple fanboy, I think about Apple and I think, "expensive but great," and I think about Microsoft and I think, "Difficult. Disruptive." That's the emotions I have, you probably have a completely different emotional feeling when you think about Microsoft. You probably think profit margins and money and opportunities to sell things. It's funny, isn't it, how we all have different feelings and different reactions to things. Paul Green: There are two parts of our brain that come into play when we're trying to market to people and I'm going to get a bit technical with this one but we've got the neocortex and you've got the limbic brain. The neocortex is the thinking brain, so it's responsible for things like learning, language, the kind of social interactions that we do and all of the complex information is handled by the neocortex. Now most people's sales and marketing messages are directed towards the neocortex and you look at most marketing, but B2B marketing certainly, and it seems to be very cold almost, very precise. It seems to be very fact-driven. You look at all the vendor marketing and the channel and it's very, very facts driven. Not all of it but much of it and it's all driven towards trying to influence people's brains and essentially trying to influence their neocortex. Trying to get someone to understand your unique selling proposition and the small things that make you different to all the other MSPs that do exactly the same thing as you, most people try and influence the neocortex with this but the neocortex isn't really interested. The neocortex is almost an on or off type of function. It's either good or it's bad and there's not really a great deal of vagueness, of grayness in between. Paul Green: So in our marketing, we don't want to market to the neocortex. We want to market to the limbic brain. Now the limbic brain is where your experiences live. It's where the emotions live. This is where all the fun happens. It's also where the bad things happen as well because our memories and the way we feel about things all sit within there. When we're sad, it's the limbic brain. When we're happy, it's the limbic brain and it's where decisions are made as well. The very best buying decisions if not all of the buying decisions are made by the limbic brain. If you like someone or you dislike them or you think they're an idiot, those decisions are being made within the limbic brain. Now what's interesting is if you read up on it, the limbic brain has no capacity for language. All of the language is handled by the neocortex which remember is the thinking part of the brain. The limbic brain very much deals just in feelings and emotions. Paul Green: This is why you can sit in a sales meeting with someone and talk and talk and talk at them and they simply don't hear you because all they're hearing ... Well they're not hearing anything, they're feeling the emotions of being bored or being frustrated or being happy or whatever it is that they're feeling at that moment, and actually the part of their brain which is making the sales decision, should we do this or not, is not the part that actually understands language. Paul Green: Let me put this another way. You cannot talk someone into buying from you. All you can do is influence the way that they feel, and influencing the way that people feel is so easy, it's so much easier than talking at them. It's all down to showing them things that move them in one way or another, like case studies, videos, testimonials, reviews, all of these kind of things. Yes they have written words in their language, but they convey emotion. If someone else just like them trusts you, that goes a very long way indeed, which is why social proof is so important and so influential. Videos, I mentioned just then, videos are great for reaching the limbic brain because videos come away from just being about language and they become about emotions. If you've got a really well-edited video with a very clear message and it emotionally affects them in some way, of course that's going to have an influence. It's going to make a big difference to the decision that they're making. Paul Green: So here's what I'd like you to do. I want you to go back through all of your marketing. Go and have a look at your website, what's on your LinkedIn, what are you putting out on social media, your printed materials, what do they look like, and I want you to ask yourself, perhaps even assess for each piece of that marketing, is this trying to talk to the thinking brain, the neocortex, or is this trying to talk to the feeling brain, the limbic brain? You want to make sure that 80% of your sales and marketing stuff talks to the limbic brain, because it's the limbic brain that's making the decisions. 80% of your stuff should be about emotions and feelings and all that kind of stuff, and the 20% that's left should be enough brain fodder that the thinking brain, the neocortex, can rubber stamp the buying decision that the limbic brain is making. Paul Green: Now don't be put off by the fact that the vast majority of MSPs' websites and marketing materials are the other way round, that actually it's 80% of it talking to the thinking brain. They've got it wrong. This is one of those instances where you can look at what the vast majority of people are doing and do something different and most of the MSPs that I work with, I have to say exactly that. Ignore what your competitors are doing, ignore the coldness of their marketing and how logical it is and how fact-based it is. You've got to focus on the emotions because it's only when you get the emotions right and you talk to people's emotional brains that you really start to ramp up the engagement of your prospects and ultimately you get more sales. Voiceover: Here's this week's clever idea. Paul Green: Is there anything more frustrating than when you have a successful sales meeting with a prospect, everything seems to have gone in your favour, they seem engaged, the price seems to be right, the package seems to be right, and you say to them, "Right, great. I'll get back in touch with you next week and we can see how we can move this forward." Then next week you call them, nothing. Can't get hold of them on the phone. Leave a voicemail, perhaps you call again. I don't want to call a third time because I don't want to seem too keen, so you drop them an email. Nothing. They don't answer your email. Perhaps if you're tracking whether or not they've opened it, they open it but they don't answer it. That in itself is deeply frustrating, but it's just frustrating in general when people don't get back to you. Paul Green: Now there's two parts to this. The first part is I'm going to give you a little trick to get people to answer your emails and it's actually out of a book which I recommended ... Must have been about 10 weeks or so ago, but the book I recommended was called Never Split The Difference by Chris Voss who is a former FBI chief negotiator and he put everything that he found out and discovered about negotiation and influencing people. He put that into a book, it's a brilliant book. Go and get it on Audible or get the paperback copy and read it and scribble notes in it. One of the tricks that he suggests in there is a way to get people to answer your emails and it's very simply done by sending them an email and the email says in the subject line, "Have you given up on this project?" So you've had this meeting with someone, they've ignored your voicemails, they've ignored your emails, and then you send them this email that says in the subject line, "Have you given up on this project?" Inside in the email, it's a very short email saying something like, "Hi Dave, just wanted to connect with you and see if this is something you still want to do or whether or not you've given up on this project. Thanks, Paul." Paul Green: What this does is this talks to people at a very deep psychological level and it makes them want to answer you. Because if they have given up on it, you've made it very easy for them to say, "Actually, we changed our mind or we decided to go with someone else," or something like that. If they haven't given up on it because let's be honest, that's the case nine times out of ten, isn't it? That they haven't given up but there's a delay. They got busy or someone on the board hasn't looked at it yet or whatever the delay is. It's again an opportunity, an easy opportunity for them to just hit reply and say, "Yes, I'm so sorry, I've been meaning to get back to you, I'll do that in the next couple of days," or whatever the reply is. Paul Green: So that's an easy way to get people to answer your emails when you feel like they have given up. The second part of this though is I've got a better suggestion for you. Rather than waiting for your prospects to get back to you, I believe when you've actually seen someone at a sales meeting that you should proactively there and then book a follow-up appointment. So when you're in the meeting with someone whether that be face to face or over a video call and you finish the meeting, you actually say to them, "Okay, when's the best time for me to call you, next week or whatever, to follow this meeting up, to get your final questions and discuss the finer details and get you started?" They might say, "Well, you know, Thursday afternoon would be quite good." Instead of just saying, "Great, I'll give you a call on Thursday afternoon," you actually book in there and then. Perhaps you'd say to them, "Okay, 3:00 p.m., how does that work for you?" They'd go, "Look in their calendar. 3:00 p.m.? Yeah, actually that works," and you say to them, "Great. Can you pop that in your calendar now? I will send you an invitation as well and I will call you at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday afternoon." Then you send the invitation to them. Paul Green: You could even take that a step further and physically post a letter to them confirming that you're going to call at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, and that might seem like overkill, but actually what we're doing here is we're setting a deadline. Because nothing's worse than having a successful sales meeting and then you're just constantly following people up and waiting for their decision. That's awful, so force the decision from them. Get that decision by setting a deadline and setting a point in the diary when you are going to call them. Paul Green: Nine times out of ten, if they can't make that meeting anymore, they will actually move that meeting. They will proactively contact you to move that meeting because they cannot make it and that is a very beautiful thing. If you have this problem with your sales I promise you try this. The next time you go out to see a prospect, it could completely change the way that you do your follow-up forever. Voiceover: Paul's blatant plug. Paul Green: More than 280 MSPs around the world now trust the MSP Marketing Edge. Very simply we give you everything you need to market your MSP. The stuff that you get monthly, more stuff that you get weekly, a whole bunch of tools that you can use, and literally world-class support to help you implement it. If you're in the U.K., it's just 99 pounds plus VAT per month. In the States and everywhere else around the world, it's 129 dollars a month and there's no commitment, you can cancel anytime. All the details are at MSPMarketingEdge.com. Voiceover: The big interview. James Vickery: Hi, my names is James Vickery. I am the CEO and founder of Benchmark 365. My role I suppose in the MSP community is to help MSPs scale up profitably and we do that through a series of programs that we run at Benchmark 365 to help MSPs solve the capacity problem in their business, provide service to their customers 24 hours a day seven days per week, and work with them to improve their sales, their marketing and everything that they need to do to achieve their goals. Paul Green: I only started working with MSPs in 2016 and I remember at some point in that year I was sat in a room with a bunch of MSPs and someone told me, "Oh yeah, you can outsource a lot of the tech work to someone else," and they told me about the various players in the market for doing this including of course your business Benchmark 365. I was utterly gobsmacked and I explained to the MSPs I was with at the time, there is no other or virtually no other sector in the world where you can outsource much of the day to day work to a competent player who will do that on your behalf. I genuinely didn't understand why every single MSP didn't do this. Obviously you've been a player for some time James now in this world and we know it's a growth market and we can see that lots and lots of are outsourcing. Do you think this is a trend that's going to continue? Do you think this is a trend that's going to continue? Do you think more and more work is going to be outsourced in the years ahead? James Vickery: I honestly think it has to be and that might sound like a great deal of bias coming from where I sit but what we're seeing in the marketplace is customers are far more attuned to what it is that they want from an IT service provider. We've seen an absolute boom in technology over the last ... Certainly I've been in business for 18 years in the managed services business. We've seen it go from dusty old servers in the cupboard to cloud computing to cybersecurity. In addition to that we've seen a great deal of competition in the market as well and so for a lot of MSPs, the challenge is finding staff. The number one thing that we hear at Benchmark is that we really want to grow our business and we really want to add more people and we either cannot find the people that we need or we find them and then they're quickly sucked up by larger organisations that have bigger budgets and that have seemingly more exciting roles for them to work at. James Vickery: I think outsourcing is here to stay. I cannot see a reason why most MSPs can't utilise it in some way, shape or form to grow their business. Paul Green: So what is it then that stops MSPs from outsourcing? I have clients who have tried Continuum and some of them have ... I have clients who do use Benchmark 365 as well. I meet almost as many people who have tried outsourcing and stopped it as I do that have tried outsourcing and have embraced it and there seems to be a real split in the market. Do you see that and what is it that stops more MSPs from outsourcing more? James Vickery: I 100% see that. I think I've got two answers to that. Those that will never do outsourcing or say that they will never do outsourcing merely because of the reputation that outsourcing has earned itself. So if we go back in history Paul, technology outsourcing has been occurring since around about the early nineties. Large organisations and big telecommunication companies went to places like the Philippines and India and they set up operations over there really in order to save money and these were consumer-grade services, mobile phones, cellular phones, internet services, and they wanted to reduce the customer support to the lowest common denominator and they did that by going to offshore locations and setting up and all of us can recall horrific experiences talking to a call centre overseas in the late nineties or the early 2000s and we formed a view and an opinion that outsourcing will not work for us. James Vickery: What we have to understand is that was 30 years ago and that was a very immature first wave of outsourcing that was really just designed to save money. Today, 30 years later, you've had a significant amount of education that's happened in those marketplaces. There are schools and universities, there are large companies that have put in training programs and communication programs and technology problems that now what we're seeing in the market is a far higher calibre of communicators and technologists that are actually able to do an equivalent job to someone in a Western country such as the U.K., the U.S., Canada and Australia. James Vickery: The other point is that for managed service providers, we've formed a view that what we do is very unique and what we do is very special and that what we do, our clients are only buying from us because it's us that do it. There's this ... I think a myth that the customer is buying from the MSP because the help desk is where the relationship sits and that is not true and in fact if your business is based around a customer only buying from you because of the experience they have on the help desk and that is the only reason they're buying from you, I see that as a significant risk to your ability to scale your business for a couple of reasons. I was talking to an MSP today that said, "Look, that customer only wants to deal with Mark. Mark is is our tech, he's on the help desk, they only want to deal with Mark," and I said, "Right. Well what you've done is you've made a decision that your business cannot grow beyond Mark. In order go grow beyond Mark, you have to add an additional person." This isn't even an outsourcing problem. You'll have to add an additional person to your company and when you try to add that additional person to the company, your clients will dictate to you and say, "No, I prefer Mark work on my technical issues." James Vickery: A business might scale in that way and what we've proven out again and again and again with Benchmark is that's not what the customer wants. What the customer wants is a consistent process and they want an outcome, a positive outcome every time they call the help desk and ideally they want it as quickly as possible. Let's face it, at the end of the day if a transaction is handled for a customer, they need their password reset, they need a new user setup, their printer isn't printing to tray 2, and that gets resolved in a very reasonable timeframe, 10, 15, 20 minutes, the customer does not care who it is that executes that function. They just care that they're now able to get on with their job. Paul Green: So do you recommend to your clients that they tell the end users that it's being outsourced somewhere or do you recommend that they keep that to themselves and sort of try and ... Not hide it but not be quite open about it. James Vickery: I never recommend that we dictate at Benchmark how you communicate with your customers so if you're comfortable talking to your customers about why you've made this decision to outsource and what benefits it brings to them, then I'm comfortable with that and I think a lot of our partners have actually gone ahead and done that. One of the things that we do at Benchmark is take all of our partners through a customer success program and when we talk about this customer success program we talk about the success of our partner being the MSP, but we also talk about the success of their customers as well. James Vickery: The point of this is why are we outsourcing? What is the reason? It's not a selfish reason. The reason is that we actually want to provide a better level of service to our customers being that perhaps we want to extend our business hours, perhaps we want to attack these tickets faster than we've been able to with a smaller team. Perhaps we want to be able to provide 24-hour day service to our clients and so once we start to think about outsourcing as a customer success program, then how we introduce that to the customer is in one of two ways. It could be how you put it Paul, "Hey, we've decided to outsource, but the reason we've decided to outsource is that we're bringing all of this additional value to the table for your business and it allows our people to level up and actually focus on things that are more strategic for your business. So that's one way to look at it. James Vickery: The other way to explain it is we've simply expanded our business. We've expanded our business, we now have a larger team. There's going to be some additional friendly faces on the phone and on email, communicating with you but again the purpose of this exercise is actually to provide better service to you. Paul Green: This is great. Really good stuff. Thank you James. How can we get in touch with you and learn more about Benchmark 365? James Vickery: You can shoot an email to hello@benchmark365.com and visit our website. We have a ... Not a robot on our website, we have a live chat service on our website if you've just got some questions and like to explore things a little bit more so yeah either of those two channels or I'm quite busy on LinkedIn as you are Paul so you can find me on LinkedIn as well. Voiceover: Paul Green's MSP Marketing podcast. This week's recommended book. Richard Tubb: Hey Paul, Richard Tubb here at The IT Business Growth Expert. You asked for book recommendations, I would highly suggest that your listeners check out The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann. This has been a book that has absolutely changed my life. We're all familiar with go-getters, people who were going out there, were making things happen for themselves, but what about go-giving and this is where you put other people first. It's a strategy that I used to grow my MSP business and still use to this day. It's not only a strategy that is highly successful for managed service providers. It's just a much more fun and nice way of doing business as well. So The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann. Highly recommend it. Voiceover: How to contribute to the show. Paul Green: So if you want to join people like Richard Tubb and a whole bunch of other special guests who are going to make their book suggestions in the weeks ahead, you can actually record me a book suggestion bit of audio. If you just go onto my website, paulgreensmspmarketing.com/podcastbooks, you'll see there exactly what you need to do. There's a little script thing you can follow and there's also a list of the books that have already been suggested. Whether you're a vendor, whether you're an MSP or just someone in our world who's really interested in this kind of stuff, and there's a book that you've read that you think, "Wow, everyone should read this book," go on. Record me a book suggestion and we could feature you in a future episode of this podcast. Voiceover: Coming up next week. Heather Harlos: If you do this, customers are going to be your biggest advertisers without you having to pay a penny for it. Paul Green: That's Heather Harlos from Bitdefender. She's going to be back on the show next week, talking about the importance of getting your branding right. It's part of your overall marketing mix for your MSP. We're also going to be talking about three-tiered selling, how you can sell much more, both to your existing clients and to new clients, by offering them a good choice, a better choice, and a best choice and we're going to be talking about ensuring your business operates brilliantly, whether or not you're physically there, directing everything that's happening. That's all coming up on next week's show. See you then. Voiceover: Made in the U.K. for MSPs around the world, Paul Green's MSP Marketing podcast.
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