When There Are No Real Consequences, Poor Performance And Mediocrity Flourish – Part 1 Of 2

Except for two very brief periods of my professional career, I’ve been in sales my entire life, my income directly tied to my ability to successfully hunt. As an entrepreneur, this has served me very, very well given the fact that ALL business owners and entrepreneurs are SALESPEOPLE on a “commission plan.” The real question is, are you any good at it?

I heard Zig say a long time ago, “Timid salespeople have skinny kids” and “Your raise was effective the minute YOU became effective,” and bought into both of those mantras, lock, stock and two smokin’ barrels. I also had the advantage of working for multiple organizations where salespeople weren’t given leads, much less anything akin to sales support. No coaching, no scripts, no list, no marketing, no sales tools. Just the two-part training of 1) “Good luck,” and 2) “Hang in there.”

The only “marketing” and lead generation at my disposal was cold-calling – and I learned how to be great at it, blowing away my quotas and rarely failing to hit a goal. Today, all the successful CEOs I know running big, multimillion-dollar companies they built from the ground up (not the ones put in place by a private equity company to run an organization that was already built) share a similar background.

ALL have direct sales experience and understand what it means to carry a quota successfully. They know how to go out into the wild and hunt successfully, even without all the tools you need, being successful in unfavorable circumstances. They understand the structure and core principles of selling – the process, the expectations, and the pitfalls and travails you need to navigate to succeed.

However, when you get into the smaller MSPs, it’s very rare to find an owner with any sales experience. Based on my rough polling, it’s less than 10%. At a recent workshop, I asked this question, and only three people out of a room of 50 had ever had a sales job. Only one could honestly say he did it successfully, the others saying they had a job briefly, or they were more sales support vs. a hunter. My advice to all of them was to take a part-time job selling Cutco knives to get the experience and training they needed to sell something. They laughed, but I was as serious as a three-day-old jalapeno popper at a truck stop.

Here’s one of the biggest lessons you gain from being in sales with a GOOD sales-driven company: if you don’t perform, you get fired. There are very real, very negative consequences for your failure to perform. Further, your failure is very public. A good sales-driven organization ranks their salespeople by performance and posts everyone’s numbers and rankings for all to see. Nobody likes to be at the bottom of the list week after week.

This is a big contributing factor to why so many MSPs stay small. If they don’t grow, they don’t get fired. There are no real negative consequences hanging over their head. Sure, they’re not making the money they want, but they’re still making some money and covering the bills. While they may not be thrilled, they’re comfortable – and being comfortable beats the alternative of the stress, uncertainty, fear and anxiety that comes with prospecting, negotiating and SELLING, as well as the subsequent stress of having to fulfill on the services sold. Therefore, staying small and failing to implement a productive sales function in their business is actually, in an odd way, MORE appealing.

Put another way, the vast majority of MSP owners are NOT motivated to become wealthy or even financially independent. They’re not motivated to be the #1 firm in their area or in their niche, to be best in class or grow the company to the point where they aren’t the single point of failure. They’re solely motivated by ONE thing: to make just enough money to continue to be their own boss.

The #1 reason MSPs join a coaching program is because they want someone to hold them accountable – at least, that’s what they say. When I offer my real “accountability plan,” they back off fast. Here it is: We agree to a set of performance goals (a quota) that you must achieve by a certain time frame in sales, profits, MRR and marketing KPIs.

You’ll get input and I’ll prevent you from setting them so high that you’ll fail, but I’m not going to let you sandbag and make it so easy you could hit it by accident. Once we have that documented and are in agreement, you write me a check for $10,000, and I say, “Go!” If you don’t hit your quota, I keep the money. You wanna play? I’ve yet to have anyone say yes.

That’s because they know they NEED accountability but don’t actually want it. And because there aren’t any real immediate consequences to their failings, they merrily row right along, pretending to improve, settling for a lot less than they could, slow-walking everything.

The commonality among the MSPs I’ve worked with who have grown and are profiting big is that they are able to put pressure on themselves to perform. To give themselves a quota and bust their arse in achieving it, no excuses. This is the same for all top-performing salespeople too. They don’t see their quota as a suggestion but as a mandate that MUST be met, come hell or high water. 

This is why all salespeople need a quota that they are… (Read part 2 now)

If you’re an owner of an MSP or IT services business, who wants a proven blueprint to get more high-value and appreciative clients WITHOUT discounting or doing all the quoting, closing and prospecting work yourself, you MUST attend our 2-day MSP Sales Roadshow. Click below for a special offer and to register.

There’s no doubt about it: Robin Robins has helped more MSPs and IT services companies to grow and prosper, liberating them from stagnation, frustration, drudgery and low incomes. For over 20 years, Robin has been showing MSPs and IT services firms how to implement marketing plans that attract higher-quality clients, lock in recurring revenue streams and secure high-profit contracts. Her methods have been used by over 10,000 IT services firms around the world, from start-ups to multimillion-dollar MSPs. For more information and a FREE copy of The MSP’s Ultimate Guide To IT Services Marketing And Lead Generation, go to https://www.technologymarketingtoolkit.com


Be Notified When New Robin's Rants Are Published


Upcoming Events

Stay Up To Date

Thousands Of MSPs Trust
MSP Success Magazine
For The Best Industry News, Trends and Business Growth Strategies

Never Miss An Update