Making the Shift to Strategic Business Consultant: How Growing Your Customer’s Business, Grows Your MSP

Summary

It’s time to retire the copy-paste marketing tactics and implement a growth, calm mindset shift that makes you stand apart. 

In this webinar, we talk with Andrew Moon from Orange Nomad, sharing how an IT Partner’s growth is tied to building scalable solutions for clients. Solving their biggest business problems with your solutions is how you transition from business owner to business consultant. 

Along the way, you’ll hear multiple anecdotes and real-life examples from Andrew (who successfully ran his own MSP for 10 years) on how to better position your services so you can foster long-term relationships with your customers, while also accelerating your sales and revenue.

Key Takeaways

1. Andrew’s three core pillars for a simplified marketing strategy for MSPs:

  • Capture a Lead.
  • Convert a Client.
  • Create Raving Fans.

2.How to make a sizable business shift and put in the work that creates success:

  • Understand it’s all dependent on your sales process. Fix it.
  • Turn your service into a product.
  • Differentiate by promising/guaranteeing results.
  • Understand your client in and out. Talk to the staff, not just the decision-makers.

3.How thinking outside the box and looking outside the IT industry helped Andrew grow his MSP and how others can apply it in their business. What is “standard practice” for marketing and sales in one niche might be an entirely refreshing change of pace in the world of Channel sales!

4.Uncovering the most critical fears and hesitations of IT business owners, and how to overcome them:

  • Fear of closing themselves off from business.
  • Inability to say no to client requests and stick with a process.

5.How to guarantee results for your clients and actually deliver on them:

  • Implementing business strategy sessions or QBRs (quarterly business reviews) with your clients.
  • Getting QBRs away from a list of things done/tickets answered to actual strategy and business goals.

TRANSCRIPT

Shannon:

Welcome to Making the Shift to Strategic Business Consultant: Help growing your customer’s business grows your MSP. I'm Shannon Murphy, Chief Marketer at Zomentum, the IT Sales Acceleration Platform that helps the channel create streamlined, friction-free, and even enjoyable buying experiences.

Today, I am joined by Andrew Moon, aka the Orange Nomad. Andrew is a serial entrepreneur who has launched and run several successful businesses, including an MSP, which he sold in 2014. Andrew founded Orange Nomad to help MSPs, small businesses, and entrepreneurs bridge the gap between strategy and execution. For the last seven years, he's been teaching MSPs how to start and run calm companies. 

And he's recently expanded his offerings to include an MSP Growth Map - Live Training that shows you how to stop wasting time and money on expensive and frustrating “guru” products that only solve a tiny piece of the sales and marketing process. Andrew can help you start using a clear and simple system that actually works. 

Thank you so much for being here today. Andrew!


Andrew:

I'm happy to be here, Shannon. Yeah, looks like we've got quite the crowd. I recognize a few names in there. So yeah, hopefully, it won't get overwhelmed by the orange today!


Shannon:

So before we get started, I just have to say I am a huge fan of Andrew and the calm mindset that he espouses in his coaching. I don't care what kind of business you have, I think Andrew just really gets the GROWTH MINDSET and could teach anyone how to make their business better. But thankfully, he is chosen to share his talents with the MSP community. 

With that in mind, Andrew and I were a little curious about your top concerns as an MSP. And we figured we could use some data to help personalize this talk on the fly, and maybe even source that for future webinar topics as well. So I'm going to launch a poll for you all right now that is about your top sales and marketing concerns.


Shannon:

Okay, so we have 91% participated. We have 43% with marketing and lead gen leading there.  A tie between converting the sale, and productizing services. Definitely consistent issues that I hear about. And then rounding us out kind of another tie for third place of hiring/training process and perfecting the pitch. I decided to break that out. Because I think it's different than converting the sale, right? Converting the sales often a lot about activities and perfecting the pitch, you really have to understand your niche. What are the things that are important to them and kind of like make their ears perk up, which we will be getting into?

So even though you're an MSP owner, you have become somewhat of a marketing master and I would love for you to kind of start us off by simplifying your marketing strategy for MSPs.

Andrew’s Marketing Strategy for MSPs


Andrew:

“My marketing strategy is boiled down to three things. The first is capturing a lead. The second one would be converting a client. The third is creating fans.” 

When I narrowed it down to those three things, it really simplified, for my hillbilly mind, to really understand, okay, what part of marketing is this is. What do I need to work on? For me, the toughest part was capturing a lead in the first place. If somebody asked me that question, 100 times while running an MSP, I would say generating leads is my number one problem. But when I simplified it to those three things, it became much clearer as to what I should work on where I should focus my time, and what I was good at, and what I needed to get better at.


Shannon:

Hmm, yeah, I think that's relatable for a lot of people. That's something we've even seen with our customers, right? Like, we have a Sales Acceleration platform, but you need to get leads in there to be able to work them, right. 

I feel like a lot of coaches and consultants, teach people how to make a sizable business shift, right, how to put in the work that creates success. I've heard you call it “the journey to being different.” What does that mean? What does that mean for everybody here?


What is a mindset shift? How does it make your business stand apart?

Andrew:

So actually, as MSPs, we understand the process. We're natural problem solvers, to begin with. But when we look at it, we've all been doing the same thing. I mean, I got an MSP in 2004. Well, in the early days of MSP, nobody knew what managed services was, some people don't understand it even now. But I think the general premise of managed services is that it's respected. It's the way we offer IT services now. But that was where I was doing what everybody else was doing. I was copying and pasting from marketing programs that I was part of. 

And then I realized when people started copying my stuff, when I went into a proposal meeting, and actually found a copy, somebody had swiped my proposal written proposal to a customer. That's when I was like, I have to change this. Because the customers don't know any different. Everything looks the same to them - websites, copies, proposals, sales, engagement. 

And for me that mindset shift started to happen. Like in 2012-2013, I read a book on marketing by Scott Stratton. And it really made me think about what I was actually doing. And most of what I was doing was bottom-of-the-barrel stuff. I was doing what everybody else was doing. And it was difficult, because how do I separate myself? This is where the journey to being different started for me. And this is what I promote now. 

Where I get stuck is like, how do you become different? And that's where a lot of MSPs get stuck is how do I become different. And for me, that comes with, the education process, the way that we go about educating customers to not think about price is through education. Because when it is all said and done, the only basis they have to make an educated decision is price. So, systematizing everything, and really studying marketing. 

And then when I turn our service into a product and started looking at what we were doing as a product, it actually became easier to sell it because a customer can understand a product. Yeah, they don't understand everything that we do, they don't understand RMM, they don't understand remote support, they don't understand a lot of the things that we do behind the scenes. And that's what we spend a lot of our time doing is explaining what it is we actually do. 

“And when I made a product out of what a customer can visualize, and that we help guide them through a roadmap to get from where they are right now. to where they want to go, then the light bulb comes on for a customer. Then I’m different from the way everybody else is pitching IT services. Because I'm actually giving them context.”

What do I do with this information? I did what everybody else does. Okay, let's post about cybersecurity, we post 100 articles on cyber security. Customers don't understand what that means to them. And when you give them context as to what that means to them, then that goes a long way for differentiating yourself. 


Shannon:

Yeah, you hit on some really important points. 

Education, right. In a lot of cases, the crux of good marketing is educating your audience. And in a way that's helpful. So that regardless of if they buy your product or service, they still learn something in the process.  Because the hope is that you then build trust so that they will then later come back to you or recommend you. 

Give them context - What is it? What does it mean for them? I will read through so many blogs. I have a background in content marketing. And it's like, let me tell you right now, the difference between a good blog and a crappy one is, have you written an introduction where you really sat down and thought about who was reading it on the other side, so that you could address all of their problems from the beginning to make sure, put out that promise, this is what you're going to read in this content, I'm setting the context for you for why it's important. 

And now I'm going to deliver on that promise, right? And then in terms of like, productizing, your service? I think every business needs to be able to do this. We have to kind of adopt that mindset of unboxing, right? Like when I order something online, and then I get that box in the mail, what do I pull out and learn. We can be so in love with our process that we don't understand. Like, they really just kind of care about the end result, like what is that shiny thing that they're pulling out that fulfills their dreams right there and solves those problems.


Andrew:

“Your marketing and sales process has to be looked at, through the lens of your prospect.”

What you’re posting online, we may understand the importance of it. But a customer/prospect is not always going to see it that way. When you can actually look at it through their lens, understand their problems, understand what their goals are in their business, it is just one small part of helping them get to where they want to go, not where we want to go. 

When I flipped that around and started looking at everything we were doing from that lens. Like it, all changed it. We were dialed into the messaging that because we understood the problem, and we were talking their language, we automatically became the person that can solve it. 

I think the other part with IT services that we get afraid of is guaranteeing our service and having a measurable result that we can get for a client. And when we started doing that, when we decided we were going to go with the niche markets that have attorneys and property management companies. Now when we started guaranteeing by signing up for us, I guarantee that we're gonna get you x that automatically made us different because no other IT companies are doing that down to this day, I have yet to see anybody that can guarantee the results that they bring for a client. And but that takes time it takes really great listening. And again, looking at things from the lens of your clients and your prospects.


Shannon:

Yep, yep, absolutely. I know I thought it was so interesting when you told me how you came to specialize as a niche like in with lawyers and legal services and you came to very much understand them deeply. And you could then say, I mean these people function from an hourly perspective, right? So in Andrews’s case, it was very easy even to say, Okay, well how much are these hours worth to you? How much is better business efficiency? For those hours’ worth, you need to understand their problems holistically, not just in one space, and that's why we titled the webinar this as well. When we're talking about growing their business, understanding all of their concerns so that you can then grow their business by being a trusted advisor. 

So I think something that anybody struggles with, regardless of their business is promising those results, right? That can be tricky tying the things you do to the results on the other side. And business impact, like things that you can count on. So how do you go about promising results? How did you workshop that with our clients, because I want everybody to leave here feeling comfortable having those conversations?


How do you promise results to your clients? - And how can you deliver on them?


Andrew:

It was tough initially when we were trying to serve everybody, like anybody that could write us a cheque. And when I was afraid to niche down and really get selective because I thought we would be cutting customers out. But when we did that, and we really started understanding what business they're actually in, and what currency that they do business in. And then it becomes makes sense. 

For attorneys,  I had one attorney in the early days of my MSP, burn me for five grand, so I was like, I don't ever want to have attorneys. But that all changed, four or five years later, we brought on a client, and we really took the time to understand all about their business. And then when you understand what business they're actually in, attorneys are in the billable hours business. And again, that's an insight that came from outside the IT industry. 

In reading the book on marketing, he used to be set up events for not really bars, but concert venues. His job is to book people into concert venues, bands, and stuff. Yeah. And that's the way he would talk about it. Okay, this band is really popular. And when, those venue owners told him, Hey, I don't really care if that band is awesome. If nobody comes here and drinks beer, I don't care how good they are. So then he understood, okay, concert venues are not in the band business and promotion. They're in the beer business. He goes - I don't care if, somebody is the worst person in town. But if they bring 100 people in here on a Wednesday night, then, I'm interested, let's talk.

I started looking at that, okay, what business are my customers really in?

For attorneys, their job is to increase billable hours. That's how they grow their company. And when we started taking on Attorney clients, understanding what the pain points were, what software they use, their language, and being able to talk about problems in their language. And then when you tie that back to how do I make them grow.  The epiphany came to me.

When we took this initial client that we took on an attorney firm. It was a husband and wife firm, and a month into it, the wife called me back in and she said, “Hey, I want to have a meeting because I want to talk about the stuff that you had for marketing. So I was like, okay. So I went in there. And that's what she said, like, her job was to grow the firm. So she said, Okay, how did you put together that welcome kit, the intro kit that you sent to us? And I had my book, my newsletters, and, a bunch of other things in there to educate them about. And she’s like we want that for the firm. So, where did you get the boxes? What graphics program did you use? She wanted to know all of those things. So she can learn how to do that for her firm. 

And that's when I was like, Okay, I'm well outside my comfort zone because I'm an IT person. But it was because I was studying marketing, and it worked. And that's what we did. We spent the next few weeks helping her get all of that together and helping her chief paralegal who was in charge of their website. And some of the other things when they would send those packages out. We spent the time to educate, we spent the time with her to help her grow her business. And, I mean, nobody else was going to do that. And I was happy to do that. But that's when the epiphany came to me is that's where the money's at. That's where the impact is that is helping my customers grow their business with what I know. Not just the tech stuff.


Shannon:

Absolutely right. And so maybe you're not a marketing master like Andrew and you hadn't gone about creating your own box, but being interested in your clients, seeing what they're doing out there. 

It's part of your job to even sometimes just have answers, right? Oh, I saw that you guys are ramping up with like social media, how is that going? Well, maybe I could put you in touch with like, I know another agency locally here in town, this person does some work, maybe you could work, like I've had a great experience with them, maybe you can work with them, even just being a recommender. In that regard, I think is huge in terms of being able to help them with their marketing. 

Um, you brought up a great point about finding your niche. And I think you illustrated like, it can be hard for MSPs, because maybe they have a fear of closing themselves off from some business. What are their hesitations? Do you think there are some times in terms of like, dialing down into a niche, because the reason we're talking about that guys, is that's going to allow you to really understand a type of business inside out and make these appropriate business growing recommendations?

How do MSPs find their own niche and why should you not hesitate to find it?

Andrew:

My biggest fear was that if I specialize, and all my marketing messages are about attorneys. These are the only customers I'm going to get, and I'm going to be losing business. It was just the opposite. Really, I mean, we had architects, we had other vertical markets, but our specialty, our bread and butter, came from attorneys and property management. 

In fact, my property management taking off came from me doing a live event about social media. It was, probably 2006-07, the local association of apartments asked me to come to speak at their general meeting because I was helping her figure out this whole social media thing. And it was because I was naturally a tech guy, I was curious, how do I use this for my business? And I would teach her how to do it. She's like, okay, our members need to know this, too. So that was the whole discussion had nothing to do with it, or what I did. But the whole presentation was on how to use social media for apartment communities. 

And guess what happened the next day, we signed three new clients! I had emails before I got off the stage, from people that were in the audience that wanted me to come in and talk about how do we help them with their IT? Yeah, and it was again, another light bulb moment, I was like, okay, maybe there is something to this. And we really started digging deep into, what business they're in for the association. They're in the membership business, for an apartment community, they're in the business of keeping the apartments full, lowering turnover, their greatest cost is every time somebody moves out all of the stuff that they have to do to fix the apartment, and then the amount of time it actually sits empty. So how do we solve those two problems for them? So that's what we concentrated on for property management companies? And how do we use technology to help them make that process easier and faster, and make them more money? 


“When you start getting clients from nowhere, and it's because of those things that really, a lot of times had nothing to do with tech. It had everything to do with what you brought to their business and the impact you could have for their business.”


Shannon:

I think so you were able to look at Okay, this led to x more billable hours? How did you get that level of transparency from our clients so that you could point to an actual? Like how can we get to, okay, I'm going to promise you X amount more billable hours, and then being able to connect that to an actual dollar amount brought in that, that they can look at and be happy with?


How to connect billable hours to the actual dollar amount?

Andrew:

That took some time to get to that point. But we really started doing more in the discovery process, and listening and understanding way before we signed on a new client. And again, that was what having those verticals, specifications and vertical specialties did. We had a very specific process that we would put them through and we could duplicate over and over. But what we started to understand in onboarding these new customers, and listening to them ahead of time is what are the typical problems that they have. 

So we went down even further into the attorney market. When we looked at our client base, we were really good with family-owned attorneys, where there's a husband and wife, the ones that were, three different entities that were partners. In a law firm, we didn't do so well. But we understood those family-owned attorney firms that were less than six years old. So we started looking for firms with less than five attorneys in the office. 

What are the pain points that they have at that point in their business? We talked to the staff, that is the change that we made in the discovery process. And we started talking more to the staff prior to making a proposal. And then what we started to put two and two together when we debriefed after each client onboarding is, okay, they generally have these three problems, there's generally inefficiencies in their process of how they actually, keep and store data that you just won, for instance, a lot of them don't have, for us, it's a PSA tool. 

But in an attorney firm, there's their account management software, but most of those smaller firms didn't have that. So they were doing a lot of the things that small businesses did. They were duplicating efforts from one department to another. So we studied, how do we make that easier for them? how do we speed that up for them?

One particular problem that we found over and over again was that the emails that come into the paralegals, when they're dealing with a case have to be saved. And they have to be put with the case file for the discovery process. What they were doing is they were manually opening those emails, trying to figure out some way of copying or pasting them into a format that they could save a PDF, and then put it out on the server. So we actually found a piece of software vendor so they could do it with one button inside of Outlook. So they literally could take any email, create a PDF, and have it go to the server. 

So guess what we did? We understood how much time they were spending doing that and how much it was costing them. And then we figured out how do we help them capture that time and increase billable hours? We started looking at all of those things that were typical, just inefficiencies and figured how do we help them solve those problems and do it in our 90-day onboarding and discovery process. 

And then you go in and guarantee it. And my guarantee was, we help you increase billable hours by 25%, within the first 90 days without overwhelm, so you can go home at five o'clock. That was our marketing message. That was the dream that we were selling.


Next, we thought about how do we increase billable hours, in 90 days without adding staff? Because again, you look at pain points that we have our staff is the most expensive thing we have. So how do we make the technology go further, so they don't have to hire another paralegal, but yet not overburden their current staff? And again, putting processes in for that so we can help them with that?


Shannon:

Yeah agreed, when you niche down, you're going to be very familiar with some of those problems. And you're going to have strategies in place in your playbook of how you can address those in the future. So the first few, it might take a while, but then I think you've come to intimately know those businesses and those reoccurring issues.


Andrew:

Okay. Office politics was another one like it's an interesting dynamic when you go into a law firm, and it's completely different if you go into our property management company. But when you understand those little office politics, when you understand all of those things ahead of time, you can go in there and put your money where your mouth is because you can help them and it's generally the same across every attorney. 

But yeah, we didn't only talk to the decision-makers. The problem with that is, they're not always the ones that are actually doing the work.


Shannon:

Let's just face it.


Andrew:

They’re not paralegals. They're executive assistants, those are the ones that are actually doing the work. And those are the people that I wanted to talk to. They will also help you understand the decision-making process for that particular firm, they will help you understand office politics. 

Guess what that does for you, as a salesperson?

When you understand all of those things, and you go into a proposal meeting, if they've made it that far, then you understand how we can help your staff, increase billable hours, we can have your staff be more efficient, so that you don't have to manage as much so you can go home at five o'clock. But I wouldn't know those things if I hadn't talked to all of the staff. And the other thing it does is that you understand if there's a toxic environment there. We've made that in talking to the staff, I was just like, I don't think we want to bring them on as a customer. Because I don't think their environment can extend to us in terms of managing that client.

It is, again, all of those things, that data, that helps you make better decisions yourself.


Shannon:

We're very much asking everybody to put on their business consultant hat. So that very much gets into business strategy sessions, right? QBRs. Yeah. So you and I've talked about this, but I would love to hear your take in terms of the kind of what you think MSPs are doing and where they actually need to take it and evolve it to because I think there are some missed opportunities here.

How MSPs need to evolve QBRs to make that shift to business consultants?

Andrew:

Getting feedback on a regular basis for your customers, from your customers is very important. And that is a prime opportunity. It is difficult though because you have a series of meetings. To me, it felt like another sales thing where either I'm gonna go in and talk about all of the tickets, you put in all the problems you're having. I'm not actually having those discussions as to how we help you move further, how do we help you as a business get further down the line. So one of the things we started doing is I stopped the formal process of a QBR.

We started doing things a little bit differently. We would provide a catered lunch, and do that on a quarterly basis for our customers. And we went in and had lunch with them. It wasn't just me sending lunch, but it was an informal QBR. And once you start, it made it less awkward for everybody. 

But you would be so surprised about how much data you get about you're actually performing. And sometimes you realize, you are doing much better than you thought you were. And when you get that feedback, and when you are able to understand how people think, then you start to have those discussions, it becomes a more personal discussion, it humanizes what we do. When we started doing this informal process, we were surprised at how easy it is to actually get into conversations that would be hard to get into. And it's because you're there and you actually care. And it's not all about business.


Shannon:

Well, it’s, sitting down together to break bread, as we'll call it, versus you're at the front giving some sort of presentation on results thus far and kind of proving your value as opposed to knowing your value. Yeah, having a conversation and confidence to have that.

QBR needs to get away from a list of things that have been done, and tickets that have been answered or whatnot, and to the strategy again, having a really rock-solid discovery, as you mentioned, we're just talking about how we're improving upon the business goals, and again, a nice friendly check-in of what are your current business plans, what do you see upcoming for next quarter for the rest of the year? Right? You can't anticipate and serve them on the best level, if you're not actually asking about the business.


Evolving from a techy to being a business consultant


Andrew:

Yeah. And that's when we started tying what we do to revenue, especially for attorneys. You're in a completely different conversation. I'm now in business development conversations. I am relevant, I have a seat at the table. And I'm not just the IT guy who comes in and fixes crap whenever it's broke. And when you're putting your money where your mouth is, and you're, especially during that first 90 days, like you are entrenched in helping them grow their business, and we're measuring that I'm monitoring that all throughout that 90 days, and then we have a 90 day debrief. 

We’re asking questions such as - where's your revenue at now? Where's it at 90 days? Did we meet our goal of 25%? I'm not having tech conversations with them. I'm not talking about firewalls and switches and, anything else, we're having business conversations. And that that was a huge difference. 

Where you get to the point where an attorney is bringing you into their expansion process when you're actually having discussions as to what buildings they go into, or how they do build-out. And you're included in that discussion. That is completely different than just being a techy who comes in and fixes stuff. Yeah, you're actually helping them make business decisions that affect everything. 

And again, when you're tied into that level, that's where you want to be that keeps them from price shopping, that keeps them from wanting to shop for another service, because you're way more entrenched in their business than just the tech company.


Shannon:

Yeah.  “Andrew is indispensable to me. Now. I value his opinion and insight on these things before I make a decision.”


Andrew:

Exactly. And that was great when you sit there and look at, blueprints, and you're looking at things as to, okay, this building is this, and you're able to help them plan and execute. I mean, you can't buy that kind of level into a business other than them hiring you themselves. Those are great discussions to have.


Shannon:

Yes, yeah. We are kind of asking you guys to step outside of your lane to be a little less in love with the solutioning. Right? A little less technical. I think that that can be scary for some people, stepping outside of kind of your lane and having those conversations, I think you've given some very good tips about how to have those conversations in a way that feels more comfortable. But how, what are some other ways to kind of get people outside of their lane and get comfortable with that get comfortable with being uncomfortable,


How to get comfortable talking to business owners


Andrew:

I constantly did self-improvement. I studied, I read books that are outside of the tech industry. And when you get outside of what everybody else is doing in our industry, it really opens up completely new areas, for what you're doing, what you're wanting to do the value that you provide the experience that you want to provide. 

I went with my wife to a photography convention. I just took time to study, I studied what people were doing, I studied all of those things that we're doing, because when you think about a photographer, that's a very intimate experience. And, whether that's, especially like a wedding or your first kid, or graduations, those are emotional moments, but when you start studying how people actually market those experiences, how they deliver those experiences. 

And then I started thinking to myself, okay, how can I apply this to what we're doing? So we actually upped our game when we did onboarding. So I started doing more of those, just complete wow-type stuff whenever we were onboarding new customers. And we did that on a regular basis throughout the year. It wasn't just at a holiday time. But those regular experiences that you have to keep people coming back, and then they buy more of your services.


Shannon:

We're seeing package displays, right?


Andrew:

Yeah, that's where I got the idea. Photographers were sending out our whole disk introduction kit, right. It’s not just a plain white box with the label on it? They made that a whole experience to remember. So, I thought how do we do that in our sales process? How do I do that in our customer service process? How do I create raving fans who just absolutely will tell every single person that they know about us? Because we all like referrals? It's easy. We all think we're great salespeople, because we get referrals, but there's no selling involved.


Shannon:

They also convert quickly, because they trust us. 


Andrew:

Yeah, absolutely. So it's like, how do I get more of that? and make that a process? How do I make that a regular part of our process? The third level of marketing is creating fans. That's not just a once-and-done process for people who write you a cheque, it’s how do I provide a better service? And how do I provide more services to them? 

For instance, we brought on a customer in 2004. When I was first getting started, I had no idea how to price it. 60 bucks a seat. 10 years later, when I sold my MSP in 2014, they were $563 a seat. Wow. And that's what it was, that wasn't what it was about, how do you create those experiences so that they tell other people and that they buy everything that you sell. And that's where we were at with this customer? 

We did a lot of things that a normal IT company wouldn't do. And that goes a long way. Because after I sold my business, I got a call two years later, from the director. And she was asking me questions that her tech company should have been helping her with. But she called me three years later after I sold the business to get advice. Yeah. 

And that's the level, we were unique there, I think we need to get as an industry, make it more about the customer instead of just us. But again, that's that it takes time. And a lot of us don't have the patience for that.


“The mindset changed for me during that process is I slowed down, started taking more time, started filtering out the customers we brought on so that we can actually scale in a way that made it easy. We had a process.”


Shannon:

Yeah. I think some good self-talk for any business owner is reminding yourself as you're stepping outside your lane to not everything has to be perfect. You're trying to follow a process as best as you can. But kind of having that good self-talk to say like, I'm still learning this. And that's okay. And something that I really want to underline for everybody here too, is as you're listening to Andrew talk about photography and looking outside of the MSP community, right? The photographers are all trying to one-up each other. He just brought that concept to the space where no one was doing it. 

And so is there something to be said for your differentiator is just purely being different? Right, doing things that other people aren't doing in a fun and interesting way.

So I think with that, I'm going to go over to Q&A. 

Questions and Answers

Q: How do you define and create that unique content that differentiates you from the pack?


Andrew:

A: Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. What is the context that you can give them with your content? And I'll give you one example. I had one of my customers that said okay, I don't want to post things on my social media about Alexa. But I asked them to think about that from the pov of their customers. How many of your customers actually have one of those in their house? How many of them actually know how to use it more than just playing music? Or more than just a x number of things? Like my whole studio is automated? 

Give me context around, how do I use it? And that's one of the things I told him, I'm like, show people how to create routines, how to do things in their home. And he's like, but that doesn't help me sell to their office. I'm like it does it, it most certainly does. Because you're showing me how to deal with a real-life problem.


Shannon:

Absolutely. If there's one piece of advice I could give everyone as a content marketer is that you have to remember that there are people outside of the products that use or the services that they buy, in work as a means to an end. Like that vacation on the lake with your family, and getting to that vacation quicker. Being able to go to the dance recitals and soccer games and things like that. So how do you introduce there are efficiencies and ease of their life? So the other fun parts improve?


Andrew:

Think about it from a business perspective. Everybody's telling people about cybersecurity, and the latest hacks and breaches. What is the main problem that employers are having right now? If you're a business owner, look at what's going on? 4.2 million people quit their jobs last month here in the United States. What problem does that pose for a business owner? They now have to go find new employees. But they also have to figure out okay, how did I make sure that everything was turned off for those past employees? That's the education they need right now. How can you help me deal with that problem? If 10 people quit, I now have to make sure that everything got turned off for those 10 people, but I now have to also go find 10 new people. And I now have to make sure that they're all up to speed with all this technology stuff. 

Guess who that's going to affect? It's going to affect you as the MSP. But it's going to affect a business owner more, it's going to affect your customers more. And when you understand those things, and you get out in front of those conversations, that makes you different by itself.  Because I'm not just telling them about today's latest hack and breach. Yeah, they don't care. The problem in front of them is they got to figure out how to hire 10 new people, how to onboard them, and then how to make sure that the other 10 people that quit, can't get into our stuff.


Shannon:

Yep, absolutely. And taking those trends, being thoughtful and interpreting them for your clients.

We're talking about security, potential security breaches, and then having them onboarded. There's a whole instance in the middle there with even like interviewing, right? And that technology, that's a very time-consuming process as well. 


Q: I've been thinking about a new solution section on our website called ROI. This will be made up of rapid assessments to identify growth opportunities for the business as well as productivity enhancements driven by technology and IT automation technology. Does this seem like a good approach?


Andrew:

A: What vertical markets have you selected? What niches are you going to be targeting? That would be my first question in how do you make it more relevant to them?


Shannon:

He said healthcare manufacturing.


Andrew:

Okay, healthcare manufacturing, So you need to talk about the specific problems that they have. So that's what I would do in that assessment. If you were doing that strictly for lead generation, what I have found is it takes a lot more trust for somebody to hit your website, and then go to that level to give you a bunch of information. And that's what I found in 10 years of doing that takes, I would offer the free assessment, we would do assessments. And I wonder why nobody's filling that out. Nobody's taking us up on that. But to do that takes a lot of trust. W

When I look at that from the lens of a prospect, they have no idea who you are. They just hit your website for the first time. Now you want to get, you're asking me intimate details about my business right off the bat. Like we haven't got there yet. We haven't earned the right to ask that question and get unless somebody is in absolute pain, they're not going to give you, they're not going to go through that.


Shannon:

What do you think about that, from the lead gen process, right? So pain conversion point down here versus the top with like, awareness of the funnel, right? I don't think we know or anything about you. And I don't trust you yet.


Andrew:

Right? So, the hardest part is how do you get somebody to give you that information, to actually even become a lead. And that's what people want is things in. It sounds counterintuitive. 

“You might have a 50-page checklist of stuff that people can do to make their business safer. People aren't gonna sit there and read that give me 10 things that I can do in the next 10 minutes. That's what people want.”


That's what people will give you their information initially for, then I can follow up and start having an education process into what you're doing. How do I educate them on what those assessments mean? How do I educate them on how to do what you're in signing on with us, we can help you become more productive. Or even if you don't sign up with us if you do this, you and your employees can be more productive. 

When your customers see you leading with value, they get to the point where they're comfortable, and this is when they reach out and say, Hey, I trust you enough to actually tell you more intimate details about my business.

And when you get them to reach out to you to volunteer that, then again, that conversion process is much easier.


Shannon:

If you want to build the 10-point checklist that can make your business more efficient in 10 minutes, that is probably going to be much less resource-heavy for you to produce. And like he's saying it’s going to convince more people to give you their emails, right, so that they do enter as leads, and then you can work to gain their trust, right? 

Maybe sending subsequent emails that have this problem, we'd recommend this tool, because I think I'm connecting it to productivity enhancements driven by technology, and IT automation technology, right? You can educate them on like, have this problem, here's this tool, right? So you're educating them on a suite of services you offer, to build that trust. So it's a good idea, but I think it would be further down the funnel. 


Andrew:

You've earned that trust. So it is always gonna work better, you can do a lot more with people who already trust you enough and are writing you a cheque. But, as MSPs the hardest part is to get people in the leads in the first place so that we can actually educate them. And that's the tough part. It requires patience. 

That's how I would educate them is okay, do a webinar or a live stream, do something like this, where you don't sell anything here, we're going to give away 10 things that you can do with your business right now, in the next 30 minutes of this webinar. But if they're not in your marketing system, you can't send them those invitations. But people you connect with them LinkedIn, actually may see those invitations, they may see that you're actually wanting to educate people you're wanting to help people and may reach out to you. I've got people on this call right now who've watched my Livestream that I have on Wednesdays that are now customers and I don't do anything Selling. 

If you look at my LinkedIn, you'll watch any of my shows, I don't do any selling. But I have customers sitting here in this audience right now. Because I bridge that gap, I bridge that gap of. And that's what they want. That's what people are dying for that right now, and have been for a while. So getting back to your earlier, that's the path to different. We have the opportunity to lead a business discussion because we now have a seat at the table that we've never had before. You have now to get people to understand how important and how crucial and critical it is in their business. Like it's never - you don't have to convince people that now.


Shannon:

Yeah, absolutely. Um, let me see we had a few more chats come in. Daniel Lamas was saying sometimes we create a solution, looking for a problem thinking backwards makes sense. And Michael was following up with us on that to say, I'd like it to be a differentiator over time. No one talking about it ROI. Many still see it as it overhead. 


Andrew:

Yep, exactly. And that's why you have to tie your services to an outcome. And when you tie what you do to an outcome and actual business outcome for them, then they're dialed in, then people want to listen.


Shannon:

All right, guys. Well, I think we are at three o'clock. We will wrap up then. Thank you so much for staying engaged. Pretty much everybody stayed on the line. And I think Andrew gave you some great stories to highlight the lessons that he's teaching. Such a huge fan of how you make it so approachable, Andrew, because there's a lot of people out there coaches who embrace a growth mindset, but it's really about like Hustle, Hustle, Hustle, and not calm, setting boundaries, relying on processes.  And when you get all those things in play, then you will have the time to be the business consultant and ask those questions. 

Thank you again, everyone for your time. And I hope you all have a brilliant rest of your week and a lovely weekend.


Andrew:

Thanks, Shannon. See y'all.


Shannon:

Thanks, Bye.



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