Happy “Not-So-New” Year!

Here’s a crazy idea: instead of resolving to start something new, why not make a resolution to focus on fundamentals and actually follow through on something old?

Last month, I delivered a back-to-basics MSP marketing event we call our Rapid Implementation Workshop where we go over the building blocks of a marketing and new-client acquisition plan.

One of the attendees, a long-term top-level peer group member of mine, said to me at the end of the two days, “This was far better than our quarterly Producers Club meeting. While it was a lot of things I already ‘know,’ it was delivered in such a way that I feel I have a much better grasp on the fundamentals.

He did not say, “Geez, Robin, I come all the way to Tennessee to hear you talk about the same stuff you’ve already covered with me six years ago!” Let me point out that this MSP is very successful, growing, and profitable. He does not “need” to hear me talk about the fundamentals of picking a target market, developing a unique selling proposition, building a list, doing QBRs, or prospecting. But he wants to go back to basics because he understands that successful MSP businesses are built entirely on execution of fundamentals, not fads and shiny objects. He’s not jumping from guru to guru, idea to idea, trying this, trying that. He is not growing his business on tricks and gimmicks but on implementation and continual improvement of the fundamentals.

To my point, all successful marketing and sales systems in the MSP industry are built on tried-and-true fundamentals. So, the question is, what are some fundamentals that may be lacking in your MSP business today? Well, let me count . . .

Fundamental #1: PROSPECTING

As Zig Ziglar oft said, “Nothing happens in business until somebody sells something.” Yet how many days/weeks/months go by in most businesses where zero prospecting or selling is done, where often sales prevention is happening with more regularity?

Doing the technical work is comfortable and preferred—but pointless unless you can find a person willing to give you sufficient money to do it. If you want a New Year’s resolution, how about forcing a quota on yourself for prospecting every day, every week, every month? Even a one-man band can easily prospect a minimum of 25 new companies a week, and that paltry effort would produce a list of 1,300 by year-end, not to mention the addition of more sales, more clients, more profits. (For the record, a sales rep can prospect 25 people by phone and email in about an hour. I’ve timed it. So that means I’m only asking you to commit four to five hours a week to this, given you need a little time to get the list and you’ll want to make more than one phone call.)


Most people don’t achieve their goals in life because they never create a plan to achieve them. Let’s take adding new clients as an example.

Lots of MSPs will tell you they’d like to add one to two new MSP clients a month. That’s their “goal.” However, if you ask them to show you the backwards math that details how many proposals they’d need to create to get two new clients based on their close rate, how many first-time appointments they’d need to go on with new prospective customers to get the proposals in the first place, and how many MQLs (marketing qualified leads) they’d need to get the appointments that will produce the proposals to get the clients they want, and then how many raw leads they’d need to generate to get the number of MQLs they need, they’re clueless.

Quite simply, a goal without a plan to get there is a wish, and as Grandpa Gustafson said about wishes in the movie Grumpy Old Men, well . . . Google it.

Fundamental #3: FREQUENTLY MEETING With Existing Clients

So many MSPs step over dollars to pick up dimes by totally, completely ignoring their current paying clients, not going deeper into those accounts, not ferreting out referrals, not leveraging their stories and results to get another one like them. One member recently wrote that he just paid off over $60,000 in personal debt thanks to one email I forced him to send to his clients. That potential was there, locked up, hiding in plain sight, waiting to be realized. All it took was the correct application of a fundamental.

Another fundamental under this umbrella: QBRs done well. Based on rough polling of MSPs, less than 20% of them routinely do QBRs with their clients, and of the ones who do them regularly, they only conduct them with less than 20% of their customers, leaving 80% to the “call us if you need us” plan.

This is so epically stupid, there are no words. Not only do you fail your customers in being their IT leader and trusted advisor but you miss the opportunity to align their environment with your technology stack, providing you more profits and efficiency while simultaneously improving their stability and lowering their risks. Sure, some clients aren’t worth doing a QBR with, but my question would then be, why are you keeping them as a client at all? Maybe you can’t fire them all in one fell swoop, but you could start replacing them once you get a marketing system in place, which is exactly why every MSP, even the “busy” ones that are too slammed to take on any more clients, should be doing ongoing, consistent marketing. If nothing else, it gives you the ability to shed low-margin, PITA (you can figure it out) clients who aren’t a right fit for you.

Fundamental #4: CREATING A Business That Stands Alone In A Category Of One

This is a matter of what you do so well, and so uniquely, that you have no competition. Totally redefining what you do and who you do it for, abandoning all industry norms and standards. Going rogue and having an entirely different organizing system for your customers and how you market and sell to them. To quote my friend and mentor, Dr. Nido Qubein, “The easier it is to replicate what you do, the less you get paid to do it.”

When you look at how dysfunctional most MSPs are, it’s not all that hard to stand out, but it does require attention to detail and a huge dose of determination to execute, determination to set standards and manage to them, and determination to settle for nothing less, which brings me to another key fundamental . . .

Fundamental #5: A DETERMINATION To Succeed

I am not, by far, the most skilled salesperson, copywriter, leader, manager, or entrepreneur. Many outpace me (although the number I outpace is vast).

I am, however, pigheaded and determined to succeed and achieve my personal objectives. Every day, my goal is to have more net worth and equity banked than I did the day before. I look at my sales receipts daily. I am determined to make every day a money day, not just a day to get stuff done. Also, not just sales, but equity and recurring revenue—more new members, more events booked, more consulting days scheduled. Not a day should pass without me doing at least one thing, often several, to move that goal forward. One email. One phone call. One new sales letter or initiative. This year, why not set a goal every morning to dedicate at least one thing to “money-getting”?

Most people—and particularly businesspeople—are resigned to miserable conditions, blaming everything beyond their control, hating the people, the circumstances, the situations they find themselves in, both in business but also in their personal lives. Suffering. To paraphrase Thoreau, most men live lives of quiet desperation.

You might have been there once. Maybe to a certain degree, you still are there in some respects—but that’s why you are reading this. You crave the skills, the ability, the superpower to choose differently and create the life, the business, the body, the income you want, settling for nothing less, developing a short fuse of tolerance for anyone or anything that stands between you and your most desired outcomes. I applaud you for that.

So, as we journey into this shiny New Year, let’s refocus on fundamentals and recommit to brilliant execution of what you already know you should be doing but aren’t. As the saying goes, only the pig—not the chicken—is truly committed to breakfast. This game you enlisted in—running and scaling an MSP business—requires committed implementation of fundamentals. It’s a lot to ask, but the gains at the end are huge and well worth the investment.

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



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