Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast

Episode 82: Should you do a QBR with unhappy clients?

Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Episode 82: Should you do a QBR with unhappy clients?
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In this week’s episode

  • There are good times and bad times to talk strategically with clients. In this week’s show, Paul wants to make sure you don’t find out it’s a bad time the hard way. You’ll discover the best times to do strategic review meetings
  • Also on the show this week, a great piece on offline marketing. Sure, online tools are easy (Facebook, Google, email etc), but there are a load of other offline tools that are just as powerful
  • Plus listen out for a fantastic interview with an MSP with a pretty unique pricing model and a book suggestion that could transform your MSP

Show notes

Episode transcription

Voiceover:
Fresh every Tuesday for MSPs around the world, this is Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast.

Paul Green:
Well, hi there. It’s great to be back with you. Here’s what we got coming up on the show this week.

Ernest Murray:
We do not have a per user price and we do not have a per workstation price.

Paul Green:
We’ll be talking about the offline marketing tools that you should be using. Almost everyone talks about online marketing tools these days, I find that the offline ones can be more effective. We’ll talk about that soon and towards the end of the show, Luis Giraldo from N-able, he’s going to be here with a great book suggestion for you.

Voiceover:
Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast.

Paul Green:
If you haven’t found yourself in this situation yet you will at some point, and that’s that you’ve booked in a quarterly business review or a strategic review as I prefer to call them. You’ve booked it in with a client, it’s been in the diary for a number of weeks and it’s coming up in a couple of days time so you think, “Well, I’ll just have a quick check of their tickets, see what kind of issues they’ve been having lately.” And you look at the tickets and your heart sinks because actually they’ve got a problem and it’s a problem that you guys just haven’t dealt with very well.

Paul Green:
For some reason the ticket’s just gone on longer than it should have done, the client’s getting annoyed, the staff were getting annoyed, and it’s actually something that you could have sorted out quite quickly but it’s created a problem. And clearly for whatever reason, and it happens, don’t beat yourself up, but for whatever reason you just haven’t dealt with that issue in a timely manner. You haven’t communicated well or there’s just generally been some kind of problem with that client.

Paul Green:
Here’s the question, should you still do the strategic review? Should you do strategic reviews with unhappy clients? Now, let’s look back at the whole purpose of a strategic review. I mean the whole point of sitting down with your client on a semi-regular basis, and the reason I don’t call them quarterly business reviews is because I think quarterly is overkill for the vast majority of clients. You’re dealing with 200, 300 seat clients, then yes, sure, quarterly is absolutely the right thing to do.

Paul Green:
But for the vast majority of your clients with 20, 30, 40 seats, quarterly is a bit overkill. You might do that twice a year or even once a year. That’s why I renamed it a strategic review. Other people call it a technology review. It doesn’t matter what you call it, the whole purpose of this is sitting down with your clients and looking at the future. That’s the point of this meeting. What we don’t want to do is be looking back at tickets and problems and all of that kind of stuff, we want to focus them on their favourite subjects, which is their business and themselves, and the future. We want them thinking about all the plans that they’ve got coming up. We want them talking about their expansion plans, what they’re going to do to grow, how are they going to adapt their business and how they’re going to improve it in the future. Because the more that they can tell you about the future of their business, the more you can integrate your MSP and the technology solutions you provide into future plans.

Paul Green:
In fact, the very best strategic reviews involve some kind of software such as managed services platform or vCIOToolbox or one of the other many pieces of software out there that will let you actually formally review what they’re doing now, where they’re going in the future, and beautifully produce a technology roadmap, an actual plan of how and what they’re going to invest in in the future. Isn’t that beautiful?

Paul Green:
Can you see the power of that? Of you and your client agreeing a year or two or three years worth of technology investment? I mean, there’s no other sector that can do this. That can sit down with… Well, very few sectors that can sit down with their clients and say, “Hey, let’s plan out the upgrades that you’re going to make in the next couple of years,” I think that’s just a beautiful thing to do. So bearing in mind that’s the real purpose of the strategic review, how do you stop current ticket problems from destroying that meeting? Because if you walk into that meeting and all they’re doing is they’re bringing in, well, this person’s unhappy that person’s unhappy. What’s the issue here? Why can’t we solve this? What’s the communication? You’re not going to agree a technology roadmap with someone at a meeting like that, are you?

Paul Green:
If the meeting starts with problems and starts with issues it’s going to be really, really difficult for you to push that forward and get them focused on the future because they’re going to be caught up in the now. Here’s the answer and it’s beautifully, beautifully simple. There are two versions of this answer. The first version is just for every client, it’s a routine thing that you do. Routinely you call or email every single client a week before you do your strategic review. And that email or that call, go whichever is best for you, whichever you prefer. All you do with that email or that call is you say, “Hey, what’s going on? Is there anything we need to get sorted before we meet?” In fact, it’s a good chance to remind them what the purpose of the meeting is, that you don’t want to make this a backwards review or a current situation review, that this is about their business looking forward.

Paul Green:
You can drop them that email or just make that call and say, “Hey, is there anything that I need to address or my team needs to address before we meet next week?” Essentially, it’s like a broom email, isn’t it? Here’s the broom, can we sweep up? Here’s the brush, can we sweep up any problems that we’ve got before we meet in a week’s time? I would do that with every client. And you might find that the phone call is more effective for that than an email because email is just another email, isn’t it? You meet them in a week’s time, you send an email today and it takes them three days to look at it and then they come back with a problem and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, it takes, it’s just not a very efficient way to do it.

Paul Green:
Whereas if you just pop in a quick call to them, A, you can reconfirm the meeting, you can reconfirm where you’re meeting because I always recommend you take them out to a restaurant or something like that but also you can ask them what current issues have you got. Now, the other way of looking at this is how do you then deal with the issue of where there is a big problem. Well, again, you pick up the phone. For this one you absolutely have to pick up the phone and you say to them, “Hey, we’re meeting next week. I’ve just been talking to my team, we’re not doing very well at the moment, are we, with this current issue. So I’m going to personally take control of this today. I’m going to get this resolved today and I’ve got a huge apology for you when we meet next week.”

Paul Green:
Essentially you’re jumping and you admit that you’ve screwed up. Because I don’t know about you, but when the business is screwed up if the very first thing you say to a client is, “Hey, we screwed up. I’m really sorry.” Then it can’t get any worse from there, if that makes sense. I always do this myself. In fact, when my clients have issues, whatever that issue is I always apologise even if actually the issue isn’t us, it’s them. There’s some misunderstanding or they can’t log in because, whatever they can’t remember their password or whatsoever, I always apologise for that and take responsibility for the issue. Because guess what? The second you take responsibility for something and you apologise and you say you’re going to fix it, whether it’s your problem or their problem then immediately the situation starts to get better. That’s just a basic of customer service.

Paul Green:
So you ring them up, you acknowledge you’ve screwed up, you say you’re going to take personal charge, whether you do or not, and you tell them that this will be resolved. And then at the strategic review, the very first thing you do is you address that issue. You say, “Hey, look, that problem we had last week, as you know it was resolved within 24 hours. I’m so sorry we’ve done on an investigation, this is what happened. This is what we’ve put in place to make sure it won’t happen again. Please accept my apology.” In fact, let’s say there was a particular user that had been really put out, you might have a little gift to give to that user and it could just be something minor. It could just be a bit of chocolate or I don’t know a bottle of wine or something like that, but you give that to your client at the strategic review and you say to them, “I’m so sorry. Could you apologise to Jason? Tell him we’re really sorry you had this issue and here’s a bottle of his favourite wine to apologise for him.”

Paul Green:
And essentially you have just drawn a line. And you can actually say, “Okay, let’s put that to one side now, let’s focus on the most important thing which is your business over the next two to three years.” And that’s how you can stop those current ticket problems, those current issues from destroying your strategic review. It’s beautifully simple but you have to take some proactive action to make sure it doesn’t derail that critical event.

Voiceover:
Here’s this week’s clever idea.

Paul Green:
All businesses love online marketing tools and for a very good reason primarily they’re free. It’s free to do Google, it’s free to do Facebook, it’s free to send out emails. Actually, it’s not really free, is it? But it’s certainly low cost. Google organic is free until you realise that you’re on page 17 of the search results and then you have to start putting resources in whether that be cash for SEO or your own time to do essentially this messier work, create some content or whatever. But most people love online marketing tools because they are relatively free, relatively low cost, they’re relatively easy, and it’s just a very easy thing to do.

Paul Green:
And that’s what makes them not so effective because certainly if you look at how much marketing the average business does today compared to, I don’t know, 15, 20 years ago. The average business today is doing a hell of a lot more marketing but spending less money on it. Because 20 years ago you had to pay for expensive adverts in newspapers, radio, magazines. You had to get in directories, you had to print stuff and post stuff and that was expensive. The vast majority of businesses didn’t do a massive amount of marketing, they relied a lot more on networking, word of mouth, that kind of stuff.

Paul Green:
Whereas these days when people think of marketing they think of sending emails and they think of doing social media, all of that kind of stuff. Now don’t get me wrong, I think the online marketing tools are beautiful and of course you should be adopting these and embracing them and using them and you should be putting out a piece of social media every day and sending out an educational email at least once a week, of course you should be doing that, but you should also be using offline marketing tools.

Paul Green:
Because the thing with the offline marketing tools is not many people are using them. Think about your post, literally the post you get to your house, 20 years ago you would get loads of posts. And I mean, loads. We forget just how much posts we used to get 20 years ago. And how much junk mail did we get? Oh my goodness. Do you remember opening the junk mail and getting annoyed? And you look at an envelope, wouldn’t you and decide, do I even open the envelope or do I just tear it up and chuck it in the bin? Whereas we didn’t get many emails and these days it’s completely the opposite, isn’t it? We get very, very little physical post but we get a million emails a day. And that’s why offline marketing tools are something you should embrace into your marketing mix.

Paul Green:
Now, there are four in particular that I’m going to recommend to you. They’re all difficult, they’re all expensive, they all require some effort, and that’s why you should consider using them. Because when something’s difficult and expensive and you have to throw some resource into it the vast majority of MSPs are simply not going to bother. This is great. Anytime you’ve got something that your competitors are probably not going to bother with that creates an opportunity hole for you, a chance for you to jump in there and do something that’s difficult and expensive because other people won’t. It gives you some huge standout ability.

Paul Green:
Let’s start with the first of the offline tools. Oh, and by the way, all of these that I’m recommending to you I have MSPs that I’m working with who are using these. I would never put something on this podcast unless it had actually been field-tested by real MSPs somewhere around the world, and all four of these have been used and are being used by MSPs that I work directly with. The first of them is something called an impact box. Now, you may have heard this mentioned elsewhere as a shock and awe box, I just prefer to call it an impact box. And I did talk about this, in fact, I did a special thing on this in the podcast. I think it was back in episode 12 which was around about February last year, February, 2020 if you wanted to go and have a look at that and immerse yourself in an impact box.

Paul Green:
But basically it’s exactly as it sounds, it’s a box of stuff you might put in there, a printed mug with your MSP’s name and logo on it and your website address. You might put in there a pen or a mouse mat or other merch and you might decide with your impact box to go high. You might put in there a wireless mouse or something like that and decide that that 20, 30 pound or dollar cost is worth it for the impact. So you put some merch in there, you get me, I’m down with a YouTube is calling them merch. You put some merch in, you put some edible stuff in there, some chocolate or some sweets or biscuits. You might put some teabags, you might put some coffee sachets, you might put alcohol in there, you have to be quite careful when you’re sending out alcohol. Know your target prospect well. You might put in there… Well, I’ll tell you what else you would definitely put in there, you would put your printed collateral in there.

Paul Green:
You might put in there any book that you’ve had written or you’ve written yourself. You would definitely put in there some printed case studies of your clients. You would also put in there your buyer’s guide if you have one of those. Essentially what you’re putting together is a whole load of stuff that you want them to read and some stuff that you just want them to go, “Oh wow, that’s really amazing. Thank you very much.”

Paul Green:
And the kind of impact you want actually is the impact that I had recently. I had an unexpected parcel in the post from SuperOps, and thank you Praveen for this. You know what it is that you sent me, but it was really impactful. And this wasn’t an impact box because this was just a gift they’d sent me as a thank you for some work that we did together. But I opened it up, it was a little hamper and it was full of green and black chocolate. And I wasn’t expecting it and I was genuinely blown away. And thank you, Praveen, and your team for that, that’s just awesome for sending me that.

Paul Green:
But that’s exactly the impact you want and that’s why we call it an impact box. You can pretty up the box itself or you can put tissue paper in there and little things, I don’t know the kind of stuff you put in there. You know how shops make perfume boxes or nice and fancy and all of that kind of stuff, that’s what you want. You might even go as far as to having your cardboard boxes printed or have some stickers printed that can go on the outside but you’re looking overall for them to go, “Oh wow.” And then pull it out and say, “My goodness, look at this. A bottle of champagne, some chocolates, some stuff.” The chances of them reading the stuff that you’ve sent them is so much higher if you have packaged it up well. This is one of those situations where the packaging really does matter.

Paul Green:
Oh, of course the one thing that you really want to put in your impact box is your call to action, your proposal, or your letter requesting a meeting or whatever it is that you want from this person that you’re sending the impact box to. Now, I mentioned a couple of things there that could go in your impact box and those are also offline marketing tools that you should be using. I mentioned there are a book, every MSP should have a book. It’s a book that you have written or you’ve had ghost written on your behalf, and it’s a book about a subject that is of interest to your intended prospects.

Paul Green:
For example, cyber security or email security. Email security in particular is a subject that they don’t really care about until they have a problem so you should be educating them about email security. And the reason for writing a book is it makes you the authority on the subject. Even if your book is self-published, and you can’t just print it out or send it to them as a PDF, you can print it out on your home printer or send it as a PDF. It has no value as that. You have to get it actually physically printed as a book. But books are written by authority figures and showing someone that you have written and published a book makes you the authority. Great positioning.

Paul Green:
I also mentioned your buyer’s guide. A buyer’s guide teaches them how to buy from an MSP because most people don’t know how to buy IT services. You know this from the number of prospects you’ve sat with over the years, they don’t really know the right questions to ask, they don’t really know the right subject areas to poke their nose into. They don’t know what they don’t know, so what if you had a buyer’s guide? Something that would tell them which was important. In fact, what you do with your buyer’s guide is you take all the things that you’re good at and you tell them that those are the things they should be looking for in their next IT support partner. Do you get the idea from that? You literally play up, you write your IT services buyer’s guide and you play it up to your strengths.

Paul Green:
A very quick blatant plug. Before my blatant plug, which comes up later in the podcast, and that’s that my service, the MSP Marketing Edge, we’ve written a book for you and we’ve written a buyer’s guide for you. So all of my members, and we’ve got more than 450 MSPs around the world now enjoying the service, they get that book written for them. It’s a book called Email Hijack. You put your name on the front, we have the IT Services Buyer’s Guide 2021. You get in and put your name and your company name on the front and they’ve been designed for you so literally all you need to do is tweak them, get them printed and you’ve instantly got that marketing collateral. We only sell this to one MSP per area, by the way. If you want to check to see if someone’s beaten you to is in your area just go and have a look at mspmarketingedge.com.

Paul Green:
Now, I also mentioned something else that should go into your impact box which is case studies. Now, this is something that you can get a writer to create for you but it’s not something you can buy from a content service like the MSP Marketing Edge. Case studies should be unique to your business. Get a writer to interview two or three of your clients. And you’re looking to take people on a journey with the case study because a case study is a story. It shows that someone had a problem, it shows what pain that problem is causing. It then shows the solution that you introduced and what the happy ending was, what the outcome was. And it always has to be a happy ending as well.

Paul Green:
Now, the beauty of doing something like this is that people are more influenced by other people like them than they are by their potential future supplier. You can say to someone, “Hey, you should do X, Y, Z.” That has so little influence compared to another business owner talking to them in their language and that’s the power of a case study. In fact, the very best way to do this kind of case study is actually to do video case studies. You get a really good videographer to interview three of your clients to produce some videos for your website and then the beauty of videos is you can produce written case studies off the back of that. You can transcribe the raw footage of the videos and of course you can take screenshots from the videos as well. You can use pictures and words within the case studies book. Your book of course will be many more words and would be longer than your videos but that’s why you transcribe the raw footage, it’s a very, very smart way of doing it.

Paul Green:
We’ve already got here in terms of offline tools. We’ve got the impact box, we’ve got your book, we’ve got your buyer’s guide, and we’ve got case studies. Now, let me come up with two other things for you, two really clever ideas as well. One really clever idea and one routine idea that you should just be doing anyway, the really clever idea is a video card. Now, I don’t mean the one that goes inside the PC. I mean, literally a video greetings card. If you go into Amazon now, and I was about to say Google, but you don’t google within Amazon, do you? Is Amazon a verb?

Paul Green:
Okay, go into Amazon now and Amazon… Doesn’t work, a video greetings card and you’ll see that there’s loads of these around. 20, 30 pounds or dollars each. It’s literally a screen and a mini computer really or a mini video player within a greetings card. And the idea is you connect it to your computer using a USB cable and you upload an MP4 to it. And when they open the greeting card they can press play and they can watch a video. Now, what would you put on this greeting card? How about that video that you just got a videographer to create for you? A video of your case studies of your existing clients talking about how awesome you are, that would be a great thing to do.

Paul Green:
Now, you could get five or 10 of these. You could put those case study videos on and you could send them out to people. Maybe you’d make it part of your impact box so instead of a case studies book you’d have a case studies video. Or maybe you’d just send it to your hottest prospects, the people you know are soon going to be thinking of switching from their incumbent MSP to someone new and maybe just maybe you’d send them these video case studies greetings card as a way to influence them to have a meeting with you. Remember people are highly influenced by other people like them, this is a very, very smart thing to do.

Paul Green:
And then we come to the more routine offline thing, and you should just be doing this every single month. In fact, this goes with my daily, weekly, monthly thing. I mentioned to you earlier that you should be sending out social media every day. You should be sending out an educational email once a week. There’s something you should be doing once a month, and it’s sending out a printed newsletter. Printed newsletters are gorgeous. And they’re not sales tools at all, they’re educational relationship building tools.

Paul Green:
Now, there are many different ways of doing printed newsletters. I like just sending out a four-page one that’s really well-designed, that’s got lots of educational content. At the risk of giving myself another blatant plug again, we supply this to members of our MSP Marketing Edge service. We give everyone a printed newsletter once a month that they can just personalise. They don’t have to do a great deal of work and then they can send that out to their hottest prospects.

Paul Green:
Now, there is a cost attached of course to sending out a printed newsletter. All of those other tools I was just talking about they’re one-off things, aren’t they? It’s a one-off impact box or a one-off video card brochure or video greetings card but the whole point of a printed newsletter is keeping you in front of people on a regular basis because we’re trying to build a relationship. People only buy when they’re ready to buy, and you’ve got to get the right message in front of the right person at the right time. That’s what the printed newsletter does for you.

Paul Green:
If you’ve got hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people in your marketing database a printed newsletter would be overkill for all of those people. What I suggest you do is you send it to your dream 100. Now the dream 100 is a concept in a book called The Ultimate Sales Machine by an author called Chet Holmes, who sadly passed away at a relatively young age. I think he had leukaemia and it’s such a shame because that is one of the best books I’ve ever read on selling, The Ultimate Sales Machine.

Paul Green:
And one of the ideas within that is that you maintain a list of your dream 100. They’re the 100 prospects that you most want to do business with. And it could be they’re your hottest prospects, they’re the people you know are going to be switching in the next six to 12 months, or they’re just the people that you literally you salivate. You rub your thighs in eagerness at the thought of them switching over to you. Those are the people that get your printed newsletter. How awesome to just send out 100 printed newsletters a month to the people you most want to do business with? And you do it month after month after month after month. It seems like a lot of work, but trust me, that printed newsletter is going to get passed around, it’s going to get pinned up on the wall, it’s going to go home, it’s going to get read on the toilet.

Paul Green:
A load of them won’t get read. They’ll get filed away or they’ll sit on desks for years and years and years but the point is it’s a physical reminder about you and that you are the technology expert. That’s all you need. All you need is to be in front of someone on the very day that they are ready to switch from their incumbent to someone new and you stand a very, very good chance of winning the business. Whatever you’re doing online now keep doing that because that’s awesome, but you know what? You’ve got to throw in some of these offline marketing methods as well.

Voiceover:
Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast.

Paul Green:
Am I a loud blatant plug when I’ve just already given myself about seven blazing and plugs? The MSP Marketing Edge will tell you, well, am I something that isn’t going to cost you money? Tell me you’ve got a copy of my free book. You haven’t? Well, here’s how you can get a copy, a physical free copy in your hands. It’s called Updating Servers Doesn’t Grow Your Business. And it’s the quick guide to marketing your MSP. To get a free copy just go to my website paulgreensmspmarketing.com. That’s paulgreensmspmarketing.com. A free book shipped to you in your hands in the next week or so if you live in the UK or the U.S. Paulgreensmspmarketing.com.

Voiceover:
The big interview.

Ernest Murray:
Hi. My name is Ernest Murray, I’m the CTO and Co-Founder of Genuine Technology Group here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest of the USA, and I’m here today to talk about our unique sales approach and our process to pricing.

Paul Green:
Because, Ernest, I’ve been stalking you for some time now. I’ve been following you in places, don’t be scared, but in places like The Tech Tribe and just seeing what people are saying about you. And I love your approach to selling, I love your approach to pricing and bundling because I think you’ve made it very, very simple and I suspect that gives you quite a lot of cut-through. Tell us what your approach is, how do you price what you sell and how do you make it easy for the client to buy from you?

Ernest Murray:
Well, Paul, it depends on your perspective. There are some people who look at what we do and they absolutely fall to pieces, they don’t understand it. It’s not something that makes sense to them and they think it’s too complicated. And there’s others who look at it and find great value to it. What we do that’s different, we do not have a per user price and we do not have a per workstation price which are the two most common methods that an MSP uses.

Ernest Murray:
Instead, we have both. We bill our clients based on the number of physical locations they have, the number of devices they have, and the number of users that they have, those are the three line items that show up plus backups and cloud stuff if that’s needed. And it’s a unique setup because it’s fixed. That includes everything. It’s unlimited onsite, unlimited remote support, we have put everything into these packages for our clients.

Paul Green:
When you’re proposing to a new client, “Hey, we want to take over your support, this is the price.” Do you just have a very simple monthly figure, and it’s a case of this is what you pay, but what happens if they add new users or if they add new devices during the contract?

Ernest Murray:
That’s a great question. It is a contract that goes up and down with the client. As they add devices during a month or add users during a month that number is going to change. But during our sales processes it’s presented as a here is a per user per device price and per location. So as they grow we grow and as they shrink our services also shrink.

Paul Green:
Treat me like a five-year old on the answer to this question, that doesn’t sound much different to charging someone on a per user or a per device basis.

Ernest Murray:
Let me tell you a bit of a story. We started with per user pricing and the very first client we brought on board was a small municipality that had a police department. We thought, “Oh, this is going to be pretty straightforward.” Well, it turns out that each police officer has a desktop computer and two computers in their patrol cars plus a bunch of random laptops and stuff turning around, so we ended up losing our shirt. It didn’t work out.

Ernest Murray:
And I know that a lot of MSPs will come back and say, “Well, let’s do a… We only included one and a half devices or two devices per user.” That then gets confusing for the client. Anytime that they see an unexpected charge or an unexpected bill it’s an opportunity for them to re-evaluate their relationship with you. And so by doing the pricing model that we’ve got it simplified things on our side. We now have a very fixed margin, we know exactly what we’re making on every client across the board because it’s the same, it doesn’t matter how many devices or how many users they have. And at the same time we’re simplified for the client. It’s very easy for them to understand, I add a user, my number’s going to go up. It’s just like utility usage.

Paul Green:
Yeah, that makes perfect sense. You said that everything is included for the client, does that mean that you have quite a hefty per user charge?

Ernest Murray:
Yes. Depending on… We’ve got two packages. One of them is at 78 a user, one of them is at 99 a user and that’s on top of the per workstation which is very similar.

Paul Green:
But clearly you don’t find that that gives you any kind of disadvantage.

Ernest Murray:
Actually it gives us an advantage and a lot of it has to do with the way that we present it. Rather than presenting it as a this is a workstation support charge and this is a user support charge, we presented as a here is your workstation support and that’s the number that ends up getting compared to the other folks who walked in the door, is that lower workstation number. And then the user side we bundle it as a user productivity bundle and that’s where you put it in your Office 365 and your Office 365 backups and your user training and security, that’s where a lot of those per user, anything that’s a per user cost goes into that. And by calling it a user productivity bundle it defies anything that the client has seen before. There is nobody else out there presenting them with that so they don’t have anything to compare it to.

Paul Green:
I absolutely love this Ernest because what you’ve done here is you’ve put yourself in an advantaged position, you’ve given yourself a USP, a unique selling proposition. I guess if someone’s seeing two or three MSPs and they’re getting lots of different quotes in there’ll be lots and lots of different figures from the other people that they speak to. And then from yours there’s just what? As you said, there are two figures. There’s this option or there’s that option and this is the price.

Paul Green:
And even though your overall investment that you’re asking for maybe higher, they can see that there’s, I presume nothing else that they need to buy. That leads on to the first provocative question, which is, it sounds to me like you have more or less eliminated the benefit of QBRs, of quarterly business reviews. Because if the clients are already buying everything that you deliver within a bundle there’s nothing else to sell them, is that correct?

Ernest Murray:
You’re exactly right, Paul. And it makes life so much simpler on our side as well. Our team can become deeply knowledgeable in the tools that we’re including because we’re including everything that’s necessary. We want to become their IT department, we want to handle everything from CIO level strategy down to boots on the ground plugging in cables. And so by becoming that entire IT department for the client it makes their lives so much simpler.

Ernest Murray:
Clients were looking for MSP services, they are clueless about technology. They are coming to us because we are experts and they’re expecting that expertise. And when they purchase something and then there’s 10, $20,000 worth of projects that they’re always getting hounded on and they feel that they need to constantly go back and reevaluate that relationship and reevaluate or price-shop, if you will, all of the solutions that are being presented to them.

Ernest Murray:
By doing it this way where everything is included… And I’ll just tell you, we went very selfish when we were putting together our stack. We said, “What is going to make it faster and easier for us to be able to solve problems?” And those are the tools that we included, and in the process of doing that we not only reduced our tech time and the amount of time it takes us to resolve complex issues or even simple issues, but we’ve also made it where the clients have fewer problems.

Paul Green:
Okay. I’ve got a question about that. Before I ask that question I just need to know, do you do quarterly business reviews with your clients for account management purposes or have you completely eliminated the need for that?

Ernest Murray:
We do that in a form but it’s not in the traditional sense of an MSP. It’s more of a where’s your business going? What changes are you making? What challenges are you facing and how can we help you overcome those?

Paul Green:
Got it, got it. So in terms of you being selfish and putting together your ideal package and then essentially forcing new clients to come on to that package, did you have to go back and convert a whole series of legacy clients over to that new package?

Ernest Murray:
We had a few that we had to convert. And so the history of Genuine, I had a traditional MSP before we launched and my business partner had a break/fix shop before we launched. So we came together and launched Genuine Technology Group with this concept from the beginning and we did have to go back to some of his break/fix clients and some of my old MSP clients and convert them to this new way of thinking. That was a great learning ground for us as we went through that process. We did discover for some of the break/fix clients that they were desperate for a solution like this, that they were looking at potentially hiring CIOs or other technical people to fill these gaps. And we were able to provide those services to them, they were very grateful for it.

Ernest Murray:
The biggest challenge I have for folks who are transitioning from break/fix to MSP is get out there in front of your clients and just present it to them. Most are so scared of that. It is something that is entirely internal to us as the business owners. As people who come from a technology background we’re scared of presenting that new number, that bigger number, that big change. Our clients are not scared of it. Our clients understand that things change, that life moves on, that you can’t continue to do things the way you’ve always done them.

Paul Green:
Yeah, I get that. Let me ask you my second provocative question. Let’s imagine tomorrow a brand new cybersecurity piece of software becomes available and you look at it and you say, “Wow, we need that. We’ve got to add that into our technology stack.” Now, whereas other MSPs would then take that as an opportunity to go to their clients, whether it’s through the quarterly business reviews or some of the means and obviously upsell the clients onto that, you presumably would want to add that straight in. How do you do that without taking a financial hit? Do you just add it into the stack and say, “Right fine. It’s the right thing to do?” Or do you ring the clients and say, “We’ve got to add something new and unfortunately it’s going to cost you more money?”

Ernest Murray:
It depends on what it is. If there is something that’s come along like for example right now we’re looking at some solutions to better secure our physical networks to ensure that only the devices we have allowed on that network are on that network, and we’re evaluating tools to do that. For some of our clients those who especially have compliance requirements they will get that immediately. For the clients who don’t have immediate compliance requirements they will get that on their next renewal.

Ernest Murray:
We do a three-year contract with each of our clients. Pricing is guaranteed through those three years. At the end of those three years they then renew at whatever our current rates are. Think of it like versioning. Sometimes if we’re replacing something, like we’re pulling something out of our stack and putting something in to replace it we’ll have to eat those costs. If it’s something that is brand new and it’s brand new functionality then we resell it as part of the new contract.

Paul Green:
Got it. That makes perfect sense. Ernest, this has been a wonderful talk, thank you. I love the simplicity with which you’ve thrown yourself at this model and it’s clearly paying off for you as well. How can we get in touch with you and learn a little bit more about you?

Ernest Murray:
Yeah. If you’ve got any questions, concerns, or you want to chat with me more about what we do and how we do things, we’re a very open company here, you can always find me at my website, ernest.pro, that’s E-R-N-E-S-T.P-R-O, and there’s the ability to schedule time with me directly on the website there.

Voiceover:
Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast. This week’s recommended book.

Luis Giraldo:
Hey everybody, this is Luis Giraldo with N-able. The book I recommend is Value-Based Fees by Alan Weiss. The reason I love this book is because it helps me challenge the conventional hourly billing ways in favour of delivering true value and charging accordingly. Every time I read it I find a new bit of great information that has helped my MSP tremendously.

Voiceover:
Coming up next week.

Ian:
Hi everyone there, my name is Ian Maclellan from Cloud Stream Technology. I’d love to actually share with you how I bought 10 MSPs over the last five years and I share the journey of how I got to that point and what I learned on that overall road, and I’m very open to sharing all my knowledge and experience on that journey.

Paul Green:
We’re also going to be talking about whether or not you should do your own SEO, search engine optimisation. Now, I don’t know a great deal about SEO but I have some very clear opinions on whether or not you should do it yourself or get an expert to do it for you. We’ll be talking about that next week, and we’ll also be talking about how you can generate more leads with something called joint ventures. It’s where you find other businesses in your area or in your niche or vertical who have exactly the same clients as you but critically they aren’t in competition with you.

Paul Green:
And you set up a joint venture where you scratch their back and help them, and they scratch your back and help you and together you both profit from more clients. I’ll give you all the details of that, the kinds of businesses that you can do joint ventures or JVs with, and I’ll tell you how to find them. All of that is coming up in next week’s show. See you then.

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

 

 


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