Episode 55: A clever way to manage technicians’ daily questions
In this week's episode Try as you might, you'll probably never be able to stop answering all those technical questions your team wants to 'just run by you' on a daily basis. However Paul talks you through something you can do to reduce the endless stream of questions - leaving you more time to focus on growing your business Also on this week's show - why MSPs don't do any consistent marketing... and what you can do to get better at it. Paul's joined by a special guest to unpick this issue and go through some of the latest MSP marketing trends Plus Paul's going to introduce you to a piece of paper - a special piece of paper that can go on your wall. And could ultimately change your outlook on life and work Show notes Out every Tuesday on your favourite podcast platform Presented by Paul Green, an MSP marketing expert Paul mentioned the website 4kweeks.com where you can order a poster to show how many weeks you have left to live! Find out more about Paul's entry-level MSP Marketing Accelerator training programme Paul's special guest was Steve Taylor from RocketMSP talking about current trends in MSP marketing (during which Steve mentioned the content marketing service MSP Marketing Edge) Many thanks to growth expert Jonathan Jay from The Dealmaker’s Academy for recommending the books Business Buying Strategies and Common Sense: Direct Marketing Please recommend a book you think will inspire other MSPs here paulgreensmspmarketing.com/podcastbooks Paul's special guest on December 8th will be technology leadership expert R Michael Anderson talking about how to truly be a better leader Please send any questions, ideally in audio-form (or any other feedback) to email@example.com Episode transcription Voiceover: Fresh every Tuesday for MSPs around the world. This is Paul Green's, MSP Marketing Podcast. Paul Green: Pinch, punch it's the first of the month. Welcome to December and episode 55 of the podcast. Here's what we got coming up for you this week. Steve Taylor: As crazy as that trend sounds is a lot of MSPs don't know how to market. Paul Green: We're also going to be talking about a clever way to manage all of those questions that come in from your technicians every single day. All the tech inquiries handled in one clever place. Plus we've got two books suggestions from business buying expert, Jonathan Jay. He's going to join me at the end of the show with two really great books that you should get. Voiceover: Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast. Paul Green: So I bought something a few weeks ago, and it's both inspired me and terrified me at exactly at the same time. A friend of mine mentioned that they'd bought it and that they'd started using it, and that it was actually really motivating them to get things done. And I'm quite a motivated person anyway, but I thought I could do with the reality check that this product brings. So I got myself one. What is it? It's a poster. It's a very, very simple poster. It's a plain white poster. It's at roundabout, just looking at it now, it's about A2 size. I'm not sure what that translates to in American sizes. But it's not too big. It's just big enough that I can display it, opposite my desk. And it's something that I can look out on a regular basis. Paul Green: And what's actually on this poster is a whole series of boxes. In fact, there are 4,000 boxes on this poster. And half of those boxes, well in fact, more than half for me have been filled in. Now at each one of these boxes represents is a week, literally a week in time. And when I bought the poster and I'll tell you where I got it from in a second, it came prefilled for me. So I told them that I'm 46. I gave them my date of birth and they sent me a copy of the poster where they'd filled in all of the weeks that I already had. You see, the reason that there were 4,000 weeks on this poster is that's the average lifespan. And according to the company that sold me this poster, the average person lives to somewhere between around 76 and 88. And that works out to be around 4,000 weeks. And that's the name of the company. It's actually the website is 4kweeks.com. Paul Green: So they're making probably a small fortune selling posters to people like me for about 40, $50 prefilled in with a number of weeks that have already gone. And here's the thing. This is my new Friday evening routine. When I finish work on a Friday now and I shut my laptop and that's it, the week is done. I grab my pencil and I go and fill in another week. And I'm just looking at it now. I've had this for five weeks because I filled in five boxes. And that means that I have five fewer weeks left to live. This sounds awful, doesn't it, when you look at it that way. Paul Green: But here's the thing this is almost like a wake-up call because this which yes, it's expensive, but my goodness, it hasn't helped focus me as I'm sat on Zoom calls or talking to people, or just thinking about things that I want to do with the business, my eyes glance over to the poster. It's prominently there in front of me. And I look at it and I can see that, "Oh my goodness, well, I'm 46. I've only got 1,560 weeks left." And I didn't count the boxes on the poster to get that number. I'd have to work that out via Google, but 1,560 weeks left, I've actually had more weeks already than I on average have left. And that I find incredibly motivating because it makes me realise that the age of 46, I'm young enough to do anything. I mean, literally anything. As you probably are as well, regardless of how old you are. Paul Green: But it's a real, wake-up call that every single week because gone, it can't be reclaimed. You can't live that week again. We've only got a finite amount of time and there are things that we want to do, right? There are things that you want to do with your life. There are things that I want to do with my life. And this poster is a very, very clever way of reminding you, that every single week, if you're not moving closer to where you want to be, it's almost a bit of a failure in a way. Very, very motivating idea. Paul Green: So listen, if you've got 40, $50 to burn on a very expensive printed piece of paper, but something that can really, really give you a reality check on where you are with your life and how you're doing in terms of the things you want to achieve. Then the websites, as I said is 4kweeks.com. They do two variations. They do just the poster on its own. And then they do a poster that comes in a frame. But I did check with them just before I bought mine and the frame is one of those that you have to open it from the back. So you have to get like a flat screwdriver in and open up the little bits on the back, like a standard picture frame. And to me seems you'd have to do that every week, that's a bit pointless. Paul Green: So I said to them, "Look, you need to go and get one of those picture frames that opens up like a book. You can almost open the front so you can colour it another week and then you can shut it." Me. I just bought the basic one, which is just a poster. It arrives in a rolled up tube. And I can see it's going to look a bit tatty in the years ahead. Maybe I'll get a second one. But what an eyeopening thing, this is. Paul Green: What's also cool as well is because I work from home and I actually work downstairs in our living area. I have a big sort of stand up, sit down desk in our living area. And my daughter has come over to my desk a couple of times, and she's looked at the poster and she's obviously the first time she's like, "Daddy, what's this? What have you got a poster with all these boxes filled in?" And I said to her, "Well, all those are all the weeks that have already gone in my life. And if it was your life, you would be around here and look how few weeks you've already lived. But look, you've got 70, 80 years worth of weeks ahead of you. You're very lucky. But do you know what that time is going to go very quickly." Now, she's 10. So she doesn't understand just how quickly time really does go. But that's something that's going to be in front of her for the next five, 10 years, however long she's stuck before she goes off to university, I guess. Paul Green: And to me is a great life lesson to her. And certainly something that maybe when she's an adult, maybe when she's 21 or 25 or 30, maybe I'll buy her one of these. I'm sure they'll cost a lot more than $40 by the time we get 20 years in the future, but you get the idea. This is the kind of stuff we should be teaching our kids, isn't it? The value of the right kind of mindset of thinking the right kind of way and valuing everything that we're doing with our time every single day. So if you've got that $40 to burn, go and have a look 4kweeks.com. As much as I thought it was a very expensive piece of paper, it really has triggered for me some very interesting thoughts. Plus of course, some great conversations telling people like you about this. Voiceover: Here's this week's clever idea. Paul Green: If you have an issue with your technicians asking you questions, technical questions all day long, you are going to absolutely adore this idea because it's a problem that one of the MSPs that I worked with had. And we were sat in a room just a few weeks ago, talking about this issue. How do you stop the technicians bombarding you all day long with questions, questions, questions? Now, there are two types of questions that your staff ask you. There are stupid questions, and then there are reasonable technical questions. So stupid questions, which I think we've talked about on the podcast before there are things like, "Where did I get more sugar from?" Or, "We've run out of paper." Or those kind of pointless, stupid things. "How do I access this database?" The stuff that really, I do know the answer to, they just either can't be bothered to look it up because they're lazy or because you're there. And often when the boss is there, it's just easier for them to ask. Also, it's kind of a bizarre way of them showing you that they're working. That's what they do. Paul Green: So we're not talking here about those stupid questions. We're talking about technical questions. Now, there may be a level of stupidity to the technical questions, but obviously I'm not a technical person. So I don't know what kind of questions your technicians ask you. But assuming that you are the highest technical authority in the business, it's fairly reasonable for them to be able to ask you technical questions. How exactly would you tackle this? Do you know why this is happening like that? Those kinds of things. The problem is you've got a better and bigger job to do than answering their technical questions and giving them technical guidance. Your primary job is growing the business, is making more net profit, is bringing on board more new clients, is selling more monthly recurring revenue services to your existing clients. That's the primary job and primary role of the business owner and always should be. Paul Green: But of course you need to give them some time every day to answer those technical questions. So what I suggested to my client a few weeks ago was that he had two or three calls a day for decisions, technical decision calls. There might be one first thing in the morning, or perhaps in a half an hour after the phone lines have opened. There might be one at lunchtime and there might be one near the end of the day, perhaps an hour before the end of the day. And what he'd have to do is he'd have to train his staff to not just pick up the phone and call him, to not just email him or mention him in a ticket, or WhatsApp him or one of the many different ways that his staff managed to get in touch with him. But instead to save it for the call. So they would know they had 10 minutes of direct access to him on the phone or on a Zoom call or whatever format he's gone for. And that would happen two or three times a day. Paul Green: And a couple of things would happen here. First of all, if it's really urgent and it had to be sorted there and then, then they would probably make their own decision. And sometimes wouldn't, we just want our staff to make a decision even if they make the wrong decision? Often we're just happy that they have made a decision. So that's the first thing is the really urgent stuff they might just go ahead and make a decision on. The second thing is they then start to collect together their thoughts and collect together their questions. And what you typically find with something like this is actually when you collect it together into specific sessions, there aren't as many things to ask as they think there are. Paul Green: When they're doing something just on the fly, suddenly comes into their head. They don't know how to do it. They shoot off a question to you or they email you or ring you up immediately. And they're waiting for a reply. Apart from the fact that everything seems to just kind of come to a halt while they're waiting for that reply, it feels like they've got lots to ask you. When you actually ask them to pull it together. And preferably they'd have to document it somewhere. It'd have to be almost like an agenda for each call, just so that there was no impromptu stuff. It's a case of, "Right, this is what I want to ask you. This is the problem we've got. It's there on a written agenda for us to talk about." Paul Green: What I suspect you'll find over a period of time is that you don't need as many of those calls as they think you do. In fact, you'd probably start with three of those calls a day. And I reckon within a couple of weeks, you could just drop down to one, let's say at lunchtime. It's almost like a lunchtime check-in. Now I'm making the assumption here. Of course, that you're not in the office with them. If you are in the office with them, this wouldn't work because you're there, you're available. Paul Green: But I really recommend that you try very hard to get out of the office and to get away from your staff and try and find somewhere to go and work. Somewhere where you can go and work on the business and not be caught up in the business. But if you do that, make sure you have these kinds of calls or some kind of way for them to check-in with you on a regular basis, to talk to you about the technical problems that they're trying to solve ultimately on your behalf, because it's your business. And over time, I'm convinced that you will find the amount that they need you goes down and down and down. And this is a cause for celebration because it helps them to see that actually they can fix their own problems. And it also means that you will have more of your own personal time to go and grow the business. Voiceover: Paul's blatant plug. Paul Green: We've introduced a brand new entry level marketing program. It's incredibly affordable. We've deliberately priced it so that it's easy for you and me to start a marketing relationship. And we've called it the MSP Marketing Accelerator. Now what it is is a five week live training program and we start a new program every single month. So what we do is we jump on a Zoom call for about 60 to 90 minutes once a week for five weeks. And across those five weeks, we discuss the most important things to get your basic marketing sorted. Paul Green: So we talk about your website, how to profit from LinkedIn. We talk about how to build audiences of people to listen to you. We talk about how to build marketing campaigns, to commercialise those audiences. And then we look at a success blueprint, which is a whole series of other things that you need to do within the business. Along the way you can ask me anything. So it's me personally, that's presenting these Zoom calls. You can ask me absolutely anything, and we can literally chat on the call or chat on email. And as I said, the idea behind this is that I can start a working relationship with no more than 10 MSPs every single month. And we will be doing this throughout 2021. Now, we have a program that starts in eight days time. Or if you listen to this on the day of release, it starts a week tomorrow on Wednesday, the 9th of December. And at time of recording, we have, I think it's one place left on that. Paul Green: And we've got another program that starts in January, on the 7th of January, but we're doing them at different times as well. So we've got some later, because I'm based in the UK, so some later in the day, some earlier in the day. This is deliberately aimed at everybody, wherever you are, whichever time zone you're in, I'm fairly confident that we've got a program that would work for you. And it means that you and I can start some kind of work together. And we've also got a whole load of bonuses in there as well. I've put all the details on a webpage. If you go on to PaulGreensMSPmarketing.com/accelerator, you'll see all the details of what's in this program. And you'll also see how affordable we've made it. It's just in the UK £49 pounds plus VAT. And for the rest of the world, it's $69US, which is absolutely a steal for five to seven hours of live training with me directly. Paul Green: But as I say, the whole point of this is for us to start a marketing relationship. If I can, wow you in that five-week program, there's a pretty good chance that maybe we'll do something else together and maybe you'll come onto one of my other programs. So go and have a look. It's at PaulGreensMSPmarketing.com/accelerator. Voiceover: The big interview. Steve Taylor: Hey, there, I'm Steve Taylor with Rocket MSP, podcast creator for MSPs. Paul Green: And of course you worked with lots of MSPs as well. And I know that marketing is a really passionate thing for you. I know this because we spent an hour on your podcast a few months ago, which was a really enjoyable hour. We were broadcasting live in video as well. And then obviously you sent out the edited highlights of that. But we had a really, really interesting conversation about marketing. And I think you're one of the MSP marketing geeks or nerds that I've got in my head of people to go to, to get new ideas from. So Steve, tell me some of the marketing trends that you're seeing amongst MSPs right now? Steve Taylor: Well, I think the biggest trend is a lot of MSPs don't know how to market as crazy as that trend sounds. And because of that, there's a lot of MSPs that just aren't doing it at all. What I've actually been recommending to them. And there's going to be a lot of Brown on my nose. I've been telling all of them to go check out your Marketing Edge because it really is making it easy. Because the most important thing for any business that wants to be successful with marketing and getting your name out there, the brand recognition, getting people to know, like, and trust you, is to be in front of people everywhere. Steve Taylor: So social media, hit everybody on every possible social media platform you can think of. Have a lead magnet on your website. And that's what I consider, "Fill out this form, name and email address, and we'll give you this awesome PDF or something." Right? You have to give them a reason to give you their information. Video is becoming huge right now. I mean, that's honestly, one of the reasons why I'm doing my podcast is because that's a great way to get in front of MSPs, which is my target market. Paul Green: It is. And thank you for the gratuitous plug there for my service. I do appreciate that. But let me ask you a question, cause we've established a number of times on this podcast that a number of, well, let's say the majority of MSPs don't do marketing. And by don't do marketing, we mean they don't do consistent marketing, systematic marketing, that happens every single day, every single week, every single month. And we've covered before the reasons why that doesn't happen. It's to do with the fact that you've got so much monthly recurring revenue. Is to do with the fact that the client retention is so good. So let me ask you this question, Steve, what's something that any MSP could do today or tomorrow, which would just get them started on that path of doing some marketing? Steve Taylor: The easiest thing any of you can do is to just start posting. Even if you're posting, "Hey, I read this really neat article" with a link to the article, and it doesn't matter if you're linking them out to Business Insider or Forbes, as long as they see that you are posting something and you are making that recommendation, you're doing something. Something is almost always better than nothing. Paul Green: So I completely agree with you that something is better than nothing, but that's something that's still got to be consistent. Hasn't it? So how do you advise MSPs to make sure that they don't just link to that Forbes article today, but they find something tomorrow and something else the day after? Steve Taylor: The best way to do things is to automate. As we found, always works best at our own business for doing tech support. You should automate as much of your marketing as you possibly can. So as you're reading in the morning, make note of articles that you think are worth sharing and have a day where you've got maybe an hour or two blocked off, I really don't think it should take you that long. But have time blocked off once a week where you automate your marketing. Because these articles, you don't have to find an article written today every single time, just something freshish. So just block off time schedule out all of your posts for the week or even for the month, if you can get crazy. That way, you don't have to go on and remember to post something every single day, multiple times a day, you just have to do it once a week. Paul Green: And do you know what I've got to say there's so much content out there. I mean, for our MSP marketing Edge and a couple of partners that we work with, we're outputting somewhere between 70 and 80 social media posts a month. So we don't output those all in one go, we do some monthly stuff and some weekly stuff. But it's surprising just how much is out there. This is the wonderful thing of working with tech. I'm kind of glad I'm working in technology and not with dentists. I can't imagine there'd be a great deal of content to give to dentists to share. But there is so much out there because of course technology is all about change and our whole world is being reshaped by technology right in front of our eyes right now. Paul Green: Steve, let me change subjects and ask you about some of the MSPs that you're working directly with. The ones that are seeing the greatest progress right now that are getting the most number of leads coming in, that are getting the most traction with prospects. Are they the ones that are doing all the kind of digital marketing stuff that we're talking about here? Or are there other things that they're doing as well? Steve Taylor: Honestly, yeah, it's the ones that are getting out there and spending time or money or both, if they have the luxury of having both available. The ones that are doing the marketing, the more marketing, the more leads I'm seeing. It's insane because with cold calling, people always say, you have to get a 100 nos before you get a single yes. Digital marketing is in my mind, sometimes even more difficult because you could send out 5,000 emails before you get a single reply saying, "Hey, that's something I'm interested in." Because with digital marketing, it's literally just streams of content in people's faces all day, every day. So in order to get yourself to stand out is even difficult to kind of master. Paul Green: So let me address the elephant in the room, which is the time delay. So if you do some digital marketing today and you do some more tomorrow and you do some on Thursday and Friday and Saturday and Sunday. And loads of MSPs have started to do this, but of course they don't get a return quickly. You don't get the phone ringing off the hook instantly, or you don't get a dozen emails sat in your inbox tomorrow morning. How do you help to set expectations for the MSPs that you're working with? There is that time delay, and sometimes that time delay can be an enormous amount of time. Steve Taylor: That really is one of the most important things that I try and stress is that this is all stuff that is going to take a tremendous amount of time before you start to see any results. And it's almost one of those things that works best with the farmer analogy. You're going to start to plant the seeds and water the seeds, and it's going to be months before you get to finally pick and eat any of the fruits that you've planted. Right? So marketing is the exact same way. It's going to take time because people aren't going to see an ad and immediately go to, "I know, like, and trust this guy, and immediately I'm ready to give him $1000s." Paul Green: But to take that farmer analogy even further. The beautiful thing is once you've sown those seeds and you've kept watering them and the plants have started, the plants keep delivering don't they? So, hunters go out, get something, kill something, but it's a one-off activity. It's a huge amount of work to get a feast. Whereas the farmers, I think are the ones who benefit in the long term. Steve Taylor: Absolutely. Paul Green: And that's what we see with marketing, isn't it that the people who do this, as I say consistently systematically day in, day out, week in, week out for a very long time, they're the ones who get that huge momentum going. And the feast just keeps on giving and keeps on giving in the long-term. Steve Taylor: Absolutely. Paul Green: Okay. Steve, thank you. So tell us a little bit more about Rocket MSP and how we can find out more about you. Steve Taylor: Well, you can go to rocketmsp.io. Easiest thing to know is that we are a peer group. We have one big peer group, all of the members. And then we even have a smaller peer groups within Rocket MSP, where we might meet weekly to talk about our successes, our challenges that we're facing, help each other to overcome these challenges and keep each other accountable as we work on growth for our business. Voiceover: Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast. This week's recommended book. Jonathan Jay: Hi Paul. I recommend two books. First book, the amazing Business Buying Strategies by Jonathan Jay, which clearly if you're going to grow your company, growing via acquisition is going to be the best way to do it, if you want to do it quickly. The second book I am going to recommend, I'm just looking on my bookshelves here for one that, Common Sense: Direct Marketing by Drayton Bird, D-R-A-Y-T-O-N. Drayton Bird. Common Sense: Direct marketing by Drayton Bird. Fantastic book, and timeless. Voiceover: How to contribute to the show. Paul Green: I've got both of those books and they're both cracking reads. If you've got a book suggestion and you think my audience would love to hear it from you, it doesn't matter who you are, or whether you're an MSP, a vendor, someone not even from our world. If you've got a great business or marketing book that you think everyone should be reading, you can actually record a little voice message just like Jonathan did. If you go onto my website, it's all explained there. There's even a little script that you can follow. You don't have to download anything. You can press a button on the webpage to leave your book suggestion. And I've even conveniently listed all of the books that have already been suggested. So you don't repeat something another guest has already recommended. You just go into Paul Green's MSP marketing.com/podcastbooks. Voiceover: Coming up next week. R Michael Anderson: They have to stop being the Superman or Superwoman and getting in and fixing all the problems themselves. Let go of that control and really become the director. Paul Green: That's our R Michael Anderson. He's going to be here on the show next week, talking about how you can be a better leader and grow your business through excellent leadership. Far, too many of us are managers rather than leaders. And he's got some great advice for you in next week's show. We're also going to be talking about Google Optimize. It's a free tool that Google gives you to split test your website. You've probably heard of AB split tests before. It's something that the big tech companies use all the time to make their web pages a lot more efficient and ultimately generate them more revenue. Well, that exact technology is available to you to try in your website. And I'll tell you next week, how you can get started. We're also going to be looking at how you can use your QBRs, your quarterly business reviews or strategic reviews as I prefer to call them, to actually generate new content for your website and for your social media. There's a whole load of stuff packed into next week's show. I look forward to seeing you then. Voiceover: Made in the UK for MSPs around the world. Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast.