Episode 68: Double your MSP’s sales with this one tactic
In this week’s episode There’s nothing more frustrating than getting all the way to a sales meeting… building a good relationship with your prospect… putting in your proposal… answering their questions… and then losing the sale, right at the last minute 😔 Paul and many of his MSP clients have doubled their sales conversion rate by implementing one tactic before the meeting – find out what it is in today’s episode Also on the show this week, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) no longer has to be a mysterious ‘dark art’. Want to improve your search position? An expert joins Paul to tell you exactly what Google wants you to do better Plus there’s the chance to dramatically improve how organised you are AND do it for free. Paul’s giving away premium subscriptions to Todoist Show notes Out every Tuesday on your favourite podcast platform Presented by Paul Green, an MSP marketing expert Here’s just a selection of the ‘video greeting cards’ on Amazon that you could send before prospect meetings Paul mentioned the brilliant book all about inbound content marketing They Ask, You Answer by Marcus Sheridan For a chance to win one of three 6 months premium Todoist memberships thanks to Brenna Loury, just comment on Paul’s LinkedIn post (closes 5pm GMT 16th March 2021) Sign up for Paul’s entry-level Marketing Accelerator training Paul’s special guest was John Vuong from Local SEO Search, talking about how to rank better in search results Many thanks to Manuel Bruschi from Timeular for recommending the books Atomic Habits by James Clear and A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking Please recommend a book you think will inspire other MSPs here paulgreensmspmarketing.com/podcastbooks On March 9th Paul will be joined by Paul Charnock from Plexa talking about how to sell white-label marketing services to your clients Please send any questions, ideally in audio-form (or any other feedback) to firstname.lastname@example.org Episode transcription Voiceover: Fresh every Tuesday for MSPs around the world. This is Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast. Paul Green: Hi, hello, and welcome to the show. Here’s what we got coming up for you this week. John Vuong: And what you want to do is be served up high on the first page on the ranking so that you get more traction, more clicks. Paul Green: We’re also giving some stuff away this week. I’ve got three premium subscriptions to the productivity app, Todoist. I’ll tell you later on in the show how you can win one of those. Plus, I’ve got two book suggestions for you from a productivity expert. Voiceover: Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast. Paul Green: I can’t quite believe that it’s gone this quickly, but on the 24th of March, it’s five years since I sold my first business. 2016 was when I sold that. It was a specialist marketing agency for three verticals, veterinarians, vets, dentists, and opticians. And it was a great business, really good business, fully systemised. I had 15 great staff. What’s quite cool is a lot of those staff, or certainly the best ones, are working with me again now in this business. Paul Green: And I was chatting to one of them the other day, and we were chatting about sales meetings. So he was my sales guy, my field sales guy back in the last business. And we were talking about something that we did which doubled our conversion rate. So we used to get a one in three sales result. So for every three appointments we’d go to, on average, we would sell one new client and we did one thing which doubled our sales. We moved from a one in three to a two in three conversion. Paul Green: Let me tell you what that thing is, because it’s so simple, but my goodness it’s effective. We sent them social proof before the appointment and we sent it to them in a way that was easy for them to consume and we forced them to consume the social proof if they wanted to meet with us. Let me go back a few steps and explain exactly what we did. So I sat down with some of my clients and actually filmed a video, and it was only about seven minutes long, but it was my clients talking about the successes that they’d had working with my marketing agency. Paul Green: We then turned that into a DVD, bearing in mind, we’re talking about seven, eight years ago now. So we could have sent it as a YouTube, but we turned it into a DVD because we thought it would be easier to get it on their television than it would be to get it on their computer. So we turned it into a DVD, we had that transcribed, and the transcription was turned into a book. And we actually produced good, high-quality, well we had them professionally made, high-quality DVDs and the book was professionally printed. And we would post these out to people along with written confirmation of the dates that our sales guy was going out to see them. Paul Green: And the letter, which was from me, said, “Please, can you watch this DVD? It’s just seven minutes long and read the book before the sales meeting.” And then we used to ring them up 24 hours before and say, “Hey, have you seen the DVD yet? Have you watched it?” And if they hadn’t, we asked them for a commitment. We asked them to commit to watching the DVD before we had the sales meeting. And if they were a bit, “Nah, I haven’t got time. Blah blah blah,” we actually canceled the meeting. Now, we only did that a couple of times, but it was a pretty good thing to do because it said something about the potential attitude of the client. Paul Green: So why did this double our conversion rate? Very simply, because social proof makes things safer for people. We’re driven at a very deep psychological level to do what other people are doing. There’s safety in numbers, because remember, the programming that we’ve got in our brains right now is the same programming we had when we were not at the top of the food chain. So if everyone else is running, you just run. If everyone else looks happy and safe and they’re content, then you’re probably going to be happy and safe and content with them. We are herd animals and we really, really are affected by what other people do and say. Paul Green: So when you can put some social proof in the form of a case study or a testimonial or some reviews, when you can put that in front of a prospect, before you talk to them about them switching from their incumbent MSP over to you, that’s very, very powerful. It de-risks the potential purchase for your future client. And I would expect to see a similar explosion in conversion rate if you were to put this into place. Paul Green: So how would you do this? Well, the very first thing you would do is you would put together something printed with social proof in it. So if you’ve got a case study, brilliant, use that. If you haven’t got a case study, hire a writer, get one written. It’s as simple as that. Case studies are incredibly powerful because they are testimonials, social proof wrapped up in a compelling story. That’s what you’re looking for. Paul Green: It doesn’t even have to be a dramatic story, it could just be a story of perhaps a client that’s just done well, maybe they’ve grown their business considerably over the last few years and they’ve been working with you in that time. So you can almost take on some of the thanks for that. You could talk about how you’ve transformed their technology. Don’t get caught up on the actual technology. Paul Green: Say you moved them from an on-prem to cloud, eh, that’s boring. No one cares about that kind of stuff. Don’t focus on the technology, focus on the story, focus on how you’ve made their lives easier, focus on how you’ve made them more productive, focus on how you’ve helped them bring on board, more staff or open new offices or things are just easy. Remember, people buy outcomes, they don’t buy technology. If you use the word server in your case study, I want you to punch yourself in the face, not actually do that, but you’ve completely got it wrong if you’re talking about solutions and technology stacks and all of that kind of stuff. Focus on the story. Paul Green: So, that’s very much the first thing I would do. And I would get that professionally designed, get it properly, professionally printed. This is not something that comes off your laser printer. This is something that a proper printer does for you and it is high quality. Because remember, this document is going to double your sales, literally double your sales. Whatever your conversion rate is now, it can double it. And yes, okay, if you’ve got more than 50% conversion rate already, I’m not going to suggest that this will sell every single person, but you get the idea. You know what I’m talking about here. Paul Green: Now, if you wanted to take this to another level, get a video put together. These days, you wouldn’t send out a DVD. That would be a bit crazy, but you could send them a link to a short YouTube video. That would be acceptable. What would be even better perhaps is to put together one of those video greetings cards that I was talking about in the podcast a few weeks ago. You can get them on Amazon. They’re not that expensive, 20, 30 pounds or dollars, and you just load an MP4 onto them. And because you’re going to actually see them at a sales meeting, you could even take it back and reuse it for someone else. Don’t try and do all of this digitally though. Remember, the whole point of this is to get stuff into their hands, physical stuff has 10 times the impact that digital stuff has because it’s real, it’s tangible, and you’re going to see them. So let’s make it real. Paul Green: Now, that’s what you can do before the meeting, Oh, I should address, would you actually cancel the meeting if they hadn’t consumed it? Well, if I was running a sales team again, I would do exactly the same thing. I would decline for us to go and see people who weren’t willing to consume the social proof. And actually, I remember reading about this last year in They Ask, You Answer by Marcus Sheridan, which is a great book and I keep recommending it and get that book. Paul Green: And actually he says in his swimming pool company, if the salespeople ring up the prospects and they haven’t watched the videos or whatever social proof he sent out to them, then they don’t go to the appointment either. And I realise this goes against everything, every single natural instinct in your body to cancel a prospect and not go to the sales meeting, but wouldn’t it be better to only go and see the most qualified prospects? And that’s the majority, the 95% that happily consume your social proof for you. Paul Green: Now, in terms of what you do after the meeting, there’s a couple of things you can do there as well. First of all, I wouldn’t leave the follow up as a sort of, “Shall I ring you next week?” That’s too vague for me. And you don’t want to be that person who’s constantly phoning the prospect because you haven’t heard from them, because that gets tiring. That’s an awful way to start a relationship with someone. I, instead, would agree with them a day and a time of when you’re going to call them. Paul Green: So you’d say something like, “Hey, when do you guys think you’re going to have a decision on this?” And they say, “Well, I don’t know. By the middle of next week, I guess.” And you say, “Great. Let me give you a call on Thursday. What’s best for you, morning or afternoon?” And your future client says, “Afternoon.” You say, “Okay, grab your diary right now. Does 3:00 PM work?” And you get them to put it in their calendar there and then. So they are scheduling when you are going to call to answer the final questions and then to, of course, collect the sale. Paul Green: And you would then send them an email to confirm that, you would send them a calendar invite, and you would write a letter to them. And the letter would confirm that you were calling them. Why do you do all of these things? Because print, of course, is better than digital. And this, again, keeps it real, makes it tangible and keeps it real. If they cannot make that decision by then, or for whatever reason they’re not available, they will phone you or email you to reschedule. There is virtually no risk of you becoming that person, that sales person who’s chasing them up. This is a beautiful, beautiful way for you to schedule when the start of your partnership is actually going to happen. It is gorgeous. Paul Green: Oh, and of course, when you send that letter, you also sent a printed copy of your proposal. So you send the proposal as a PDF or whatever you do right now. You send that instantly. You meet with them at 5:00 PM on Wednesday. They have that by 8:00 PM on Wednesday. That’s really important, but you also send them a printed copy and that goes with the letter that you send them to confirm when you’re calling up to get their decision. Paul Green: There’s one final thing that you can do, and this is a really smart thing. You assume that they have spoken to five other MSPs. So you assume that there has been a whole load of people sitting in their boardroom talking technology to them. And here’s the thing, they won’t remember which of those people are from which business, because all IT companies have very similar sounding names and if they’ve met a lot of people, there’ll be struggling to remember which person represented which company. So we are going to make it easy for them to remember that they need to buy from you. Paul Green: With anything that you send to them before or after the sales meeting, you make sure there’s a photo of your face on there. And it needs to be a recent photo as well. So there’s no point using the photo from 10 years ago when you were a lot thinner and less gray. It’s got to be an up-to-date thing, because what you want is that they pick up that letter, they pick up the letter or anything that you’ve sent them and they look at it and they go, “Oh yeah, yeah. That was the guy. That guy.” Paul Green: And you want them to look at it and have a warm, emotional reaction when they look at your face, because this is the way they’re going to feel when they are clients. If they have a warm, emotional reaction to you now inside at an emotional level, they will perceive that you are safer, they will perceive that you are better at what you do, and that you are the right choice. Because remember, no one ever buys from a company, people buy from people. Certainly in this space, they’re buying you and your team. So remind them who you are, make sure there’s a photo of you on everything that you send to them before and after every sales meeting. Voiceover: Here’s this week’s clever idea. Paul Green: I tell you what’s clever, being more productive. And one of the ways to be more productive is to use productivity software. A couple of weeks ago, I had on Brenna Loury from Todoist and Todoist is the productivity software that I use, you can see it at todoist.com. I love it, probably because I’m comfortable with it and I’ve used it for a number of years now, but I find it incredibly good for just getting stuff out of your head, organising projects, organising tasks. You can do collaborative stuff with it, I choose not to do that, but my entire life is in Todoist. It’s one of the apps, in fact it’s pretty much the only app I look at seven days a week. Paul Green: Yep. I even arrange my weekends with Todoist, of course I do, there are things that I want to get done. I’ve never forgotten a birthday, that’s important anyway. I’ve never forgotten anything because it’s all there in Todoist. And maybe you’d like to have a go with it as well. There is a free version that you can try at the website, but Brenna very kindly gave me some codes, three sets of codes, each of which will give you six months of Todoist Premium. And I think Todoist Premium, the benefit is it just syncs up across all of your devices, which really is what you want. You want exactly the same features on your computer as you do on your phone. I’m actually just bringing it up on the website here. Here we go. Premium, what that does is it allows you to have a lot more projects. You can have reminders. You can upload files, comments, and all sorts of other stuff. Paul Green: So, if you want to win one of these six month subscriptions completely free, all you got to do is comment on a LinkedIn post that I created. And what we’ll do is we’ll just pick three comments at random. Now, to save you trying to find my LinkedIn post, because it’s really quite difficult to find content on LinkedIn sometimes, we’ve set up like a redirect URL to it. So if you go to paulgreensmspmarketing.com/todoist. You can find the address in the show notes. Let me give it to you again. paulgreensmspmarketing.com/todoist, that will redirect you to that post on LinkedIn. Leave a comment there and we will pick someone at random after the closing date, which is two weeks from the release of this podcast. So this will close on Tuesday, the 16th of March around about five o’clock in the UK. Get your comments on there now and you could win one of those three subscriptions to Todoist. Voiceover: Paul’s blatant plug. Paul Green: You and I can work together on the marketing fundamentals for your business. Let’s get your website right. Let’s get your LinkedIn right. Let’s talk about the marketing strategy that works the best for MSPs all over the world. And we can do this in a series of live Zoom calls. You see, every single month I start a brand new marketing accelerator. It’s my entry-level course and already hundreds of MSPs have been through it. There’s some spaces for you if you want to start, either March’s course or April’s. If you go onto my website, you can see all the details and see how incredibly low priced it is. I do explain on the website why we price it so low. Just go onto paulgreenmspmarketing.com/accelerator. Voiceover: The big interview. John Vuong: Hi. My name is John Vuong. I’m from Local SEO Search. I started the agency seven, eight years ago now and still loving what I do. Paul Green: So John, I’ve been so excited to get you onto the podcast because I want to talk about one of the dark arts of marketing, SEO or search engine optimisation. Now when I talk to MSPs, often they say to me, “Yeah, I know this is really important. I know we should do stuff on it, but it seems really expensive or it seems really difficult and there’s so much conflicting advice.” So John make this nice and clear for us, what SEO basics should all MSPs be doing with their website and with all of their digital marketing? John Vuong: Search engine optimisation is ultimately what Google looks for in terms of matching the website with the users and ranking them on that first page of Google. And there’s going to be a lot of search queries, a lot of different long-tail, short-tail questions that your customers are actively asking Google on a daily basis. And what you want to do is be served up high on the first page or potentially on the first page on the ranking so that you get more traction, more clicks, more potential leads and clients. John Vuong: So for me, the first thing I always tell customers is, run a really good, solid business fundamentally. What I mean by that is, foundationally you need to understand what sets you apart? What’s your unique selling proposition? What is your core values like? So put that in writing in your website and content in the forms of visual, images, written, audio, whatever format it is, understand who you’re really targeting and speaking directly to them with a visual representation digitally on your website. John Vuong: And that’s your major asset piece in terms of this whole search world. And if you understand the fundamentals of delivering good quality content that answers a question and problems by solving that problem, then you have a better grasp of how search will work for your potential customers to serve you up as a potential lead for you. Paul Green: I love that. So rather than trying to do clever stuff that will affect Google or influence Google, your foundations are, get your basic marketing right and run a good business, have good basic content marketing. What do you see are the most common mistakes that the average MSP makes with their websites, with their SEO? John Vuong: There’s gaps in the marketplace. People are misled. They’re over promised, under delivered. They don’t really understand this whole mine of what search really entails, right? There’s over 200 signals that Google is constantly changing their algorithm on a daily basis. But what you need to ultimately understand as a business owner is, who are you serving up? What’s the purpose that you’re bringing to the table? And how can you make it easy for your potential prospect or that ideal avatar of yours to then eventually take on that content piece to then move along the buying journey to potentially be a customer or a lifelong customer of yours? John Vuong: And if you understand foundationally how to run a business, and then there’s pillars alongside building a proper SEO campaign. So building a good website that hits all the checklists of a responsible website, secure website, fast loading, great UF, great content, conversion, copy, great images, compress, loading fast in different mobile platforms, et cetera. But then you look at, what is going on in the mindset of why Google ranks a website? As much as you put out there in terms of content, what are other people saying about you? Right? John Vuong: So it comes down to referrals and word of mouth. What are some of the other link factors? Where are you published? Are you published in some of the other associations or publications that are thought leaders? Because you, like anyone, want the best user experience. If you’re going to check out a website, you want to make sure that website is credible and the expert in their own domain. So if you want to position yourself like that, you need to be an expert in your own domain, right? John Vuong: So, figure out how to be that expert, that go-to guy or business for your industry. And really niche down, really focus on what differentiates yourself from everyone else and really pigeonhole yourself before you try to do a shotgun, broad approach, because there’s so many websites, billions of website, millions of websites competing for the same terms as yours in the same market, even. So how do you differentiate? And that’s the biggest factor in terms of search, I feel. Paul Green: Almost getting the strategy right before you try and do the tactical stuff. So let me ask you a provocative question. What does an SEO agency actually do? John Vuong: We do a lot of strategy. We do a lot implementation. So here at our agency, we have seven kind of departments and we work in alignment, collaboratively to ensure that all our clients then become thought leaders in their own domain without knowing anything like digital. A lot of these clients that we work with are service providers, which are professional services that are great at what they do. They’ve been doing it for five, 10, 20 years, but they have no clue how search works and they don’t want to know. Just like when you hire a plumber, someone’s been doing it for 20 years, but they come in, they fix a problem, and you just pay them 400 quid because they know what the issue is to diagnose it and get it fixed right away. John Vuong: So for us, we know the problems, which is we know what your competitors are doing, we do a lot of analysis, we do a lot of benchmarking, competitive analysis to figure out where the gaps are. Then we go in, do a lot of keyword research. We do a lot of development work on fixing the issues foundation. Then we go and start building the authority, which is potentially writing good content, getting some links out there, getting your reputation out there, making sure that Google recognises you to become more of a thought leader. John Vuong: By doing all these social interactions and a lot of different strategies, we would say, to ensure that you then get picked up by Google and also your prospects too then become more aware that you know what you’re doing, to position yourself as an expert. And that’s ultimately what it takes to then give you more movement and traction on search engine results page as well as your potential prospects seeking out your service. Paul Green: And presumably, when you get this right, this is the kind of stuff that keeps you in a good search position for a long period of time, because you’ve done it properly, you’re not just using gimmicks? John Vuong: Exactly. And that’s one thing a lot of businesses don’t really understand. Running a business is not easy. There’s no fast or easy tricks to hack the system. Search engine results, or SEO, is very similar to running your bricks and mortar business shop. It takes time to understand how to run a business and then let alone learn how to gain traction, to become a thought leader or expert. John Vuong: It doesn’t happen overnight, it may not happen in months, it may not even happen in a couple of years. Depending on how competitive your landscape is, it may take you multiple years based on what kind of traction, what kind of keywords do you want to dominate in, and who you want to ultimately become in the marketplace? So all of these are big factors, but I would say, understand the benchmark of where you sit today versus who your major competitors are to give you a realistic perspective and timeline on where you want to get to is key. Paul Green: Excellent. Thank you, John. Tell us a little bit about your business and how we can get in touch with you. John Vuong: So the agency that I run is called Local SEO Search. We’re based in Toronto, Canada, but we service clients all across North America, UK, and Australia. You can check us out on www.localseosearch.ca. And we’re full service boutique agency that helps business owners, small, medium sized, B2B kind of businesses not have to worry about SEO because everything we do is really catered towards boutique, focusing on delivering every aspect that you need to worry about for SEO for you, so you don’t have to worry about any aspects of it. Voiceover: Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast. This week’s recommended book. Manuel Burski: Hello, I’m Manuel Bruschi, CEO of Timeular. I have two books to recommend. One is Atomic Habits by James Clear, which is a great book which can help you to establish tiny habits every week and compound them to a big gain over the year. And the second one I would like to recommend is A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking, a book which helps you to put everything in perspective and shows you actually how tiny we are, which might be not that uplifting in the moment, but I’ve never come across a book which manages to explain such complex topics in such a interesting and entertaining way. Voiceover: How to contribute to the show. Paul Green: Hey, do you have a book suggestion just like Manuel did there? Perhaps a book that you think other MSPs would find absolutely fascinating? Listen, whether you’re a vendor, whether you’re an MSP, whether you own one or just working on, maybe you’re from outside our world and you stumbled across this podcast, you are welcome to give me a book suggestion. And you can actually do it on a page of my website. It’s really easy to do. If you go to paulgreensmspmarketing.com/podcastbooks, there’s actually a list there of all of the books that we’ve had recommended so far in the show and right down at the bottom of the page, there’s a little script and even a little orange button you can press and record some audio and send me your book suggestion. Paul Green: So go on, why not do that now? If there’s a burning book in your mind and you’re thinking, “Ah, this is a brilliant book. Everyone should be listening to this or reading this book,” then go into paulgreensmspmarketing.com/podcastbooks. Voiceover: Coming up next week. Paul Charnock: We’ve now got six monthly revenue streams that MSPs can sell. Paul Green: That’s Paul Charnock from plexa.co.uk. They’re a marketing agency based in the UK with a great idea for you. What if you could sell marketing services to your clients, such as websites, SEO, other kinds of things that are related to computers? Maybe you’ve had clients say to you in the past, “Hey, you guys do websites, don’t you? Because that’s a computer thing.” And maybe you’ve had to turn them down. Well, they can white label these kind of marketing services for you so that you can sell them on to your client. Paul’s going to join me on the show next week to explain how it works and how you can create new, monthly-recurring revenue streams selling stuff that you don’t even need to supply because all the hard work is done by them. Paul Green: We’re also going to talk next week about something called gamification. It’s how you can get your staff, yourself, even your clients to do things by making it fun and turning it into a game. And you’ll have seen this yourself. You’ll have had some of your vendors use gamification to make your onboarding fun. The challenge is, how can you make stuff fun for the people that you’re working with? And we’re going to look at what a marketing funnel is. What is a marketing funnel and what should yours be? I’m going to take you through the number of steps that the average MSP has as its marketing funnel, right from them being a suspect, to them being a bonded client. And I’ll explain exactly what those terms mean along with everything else in next week’s podcast. Have a great week. See you then. Voiceover: Made in the UK for MSPs around the world. Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast.