IT Provider Network - The Podcast for Growing IT Service Providers http://www.itprovidernetwork.com Helping MSP’s CSP’s and Outsourced IT Technology Providers build and grow their computer business Tue, 04 Dec 2018 12:42:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 I’m Terry Rossi, a 20-year veteran in the computer industry, and part of a successful software development, managed service provider and IT outsourcing firm that works with clients worldwide. With this podcast, I hope to share successful strategies, frameworks, tips and tricks to help you grow your MSP business and drive profit to your bottom line. We will dive into sales, marketing, service delivery, human resources and ways to establish and improve your corporate culture. I want to help you build a best in class IT managed service provider! #WeAreIT Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean episodic Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach terry@itprovidernetwork.com terry@itprovidernetwork.com (Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach) 2017 - Terry Rossi - All Rights Reserved Worldwide Helping Managed Service Providers and Outsourced IT Technology Providers build and grow their computer business. IT Provider Network - The Podcast for Growing IT Service Providers http://itprovidernetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/powerpress/ITPN-CoverArt.png http://www.itprovidernetwork.com terry@itprovidernetwork.com TV-G Weekly Drive to the Finish – Themes and how you can use them – ITPN-EP41 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/drive-to-the-finish-themes-and-how-you-can-use-them-itpn-ep41/ Tue, 04 Dec 2018 12:41:40 +0000 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/?p=903    

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Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean 17:26
What do Jordi Roca, Chris Brogan and Michael Porter have to do with your MSP? http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/what-do-jordi-roca-chris-brogan-and-michael-porter-have-to-do-with-your-msp/ Wed, 17 Oct 2018 11:18:45 +0000 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/?p=895 What do Jordi Roca, Chris Brogan, and Michael Porter have to do with your MSP? As I am sure all of you do, I get inspiration from all different kinds of places.   This week three different things caught my attention, Let me tell you the stories and then we can talk about how that applies to our businesses. Jordi Roca Jordi is the youngest of three boys and perhaps the most talented pastry chef in the world, but he wasn’t always “that guy”.   He started out as many of us do,  a little lost and just going through the motions in his brothers’ restaurant. Jordi was much younger than his two older brothers Both of which were already running a successful fine dining restaurant. Jordi worked around the restaurant essentially just doing time, putting in his shift then heading out partying all night.  He was young and to be honest really didn’t care about anything. Jordi struggled to find himself and make his mark in life.  Until one day when his boss in the restaurant had a terrible accident. He fell off a ladder and was out for an extended time.    At this time Jordi’s brothers' restaurant  L SAYYA CAAN ROCA was already a one star Michelin restaurant and they had a lot to lose. Jordi stepped up and faithfully reproduced the recipes that he mentor left in a wooden box in the restaurant.  They were good but nothing spectacular and when Jordi stepped out of his comfort zone and try to make his own dessert it was less than stellar. It wasn’t until Jordi decided to take a class on ice cream that it all changed for him. His instructor was teaching about the importance of the air in ice-cream, not just the fact that you need to have airy ice cream but also that you need to have clean air so that the ice cream doesn’t take on any off-putting flavors. Jordi thought about it on the way home and then decided to think about it another way.   What if he used the air to put flavor into the ice cream? The next morning, he went into the restaurant and as crazy as this sounds, he blew cigar smoke into the ice cream as it was being made.   After it set up he gave it to his brothers to taste and the rest is history. His “Trip to Havana” dessert as its called is now world renown.   If you order it at El Celler de Can Roca,   you’ll get what looks like a cigar-shaped ice-cream sandwich in a glass ashtray.   It looks like a cigar and the smoke-infused it heightens the experience. By the way, El Celler de Can Roca is in Spain and has been ranked the best restaurant in the world in 2013 and continues to be ranked in the top 5 restaurants in the world.  It now boasts a Michelin 3 star rating and Jordi is at the top of his game.   Jordi learned to take inspiration from everywhere and everything.   He looked outside of his environment and has reaped huge rewards because of it. Chris Brogan The second mentor I learned from this week is Chris Brogan.    If you don’t know who Chris is,  Chris is an accomplished Author of a bunch of books, including the bestseller “Trust Agents” and has spoken for or consulted with the biggest brands you know, including Disney, Coke, Google, GM, Microsoft, Sony and many more. In addition to working with the big guys Chris also does group coaching with small businesses through his Owner Insider program and that’s how I know Chris and his business partner Rob Hatch. His best free work comes out on his weekly email which he sends every Sunday.  If you want to get on this mailing list, you can do that at ChrisBrogan.com.   In this week’s newsletter, he talks about his secret to success and fame, and he has fame in air quotes although he is famous, at least internet famous 😊 The big takeaway from the newsletter article was one line Chris said, “I made a career out of looking at “the way things are” and then wondering “but why hasn’t anyone done <blank>”.” He talked about how on blog after blog, podcast after podcast or coach after coach all were all preac... What do Jordi Roca, Chris Brogan, and Michael Porter have to do with your MSP?

As I am sure all of you do, I get inspiration from all different kinds of places.   This week three different things caught my attention,

Let me tell you the stories and then we can talk about how that applies to our businesses.

Jordi Roca

Jordi Roca - Trip to Havana

Jordi is the youngest of three boys and perhaps the most talented pastry chef in the world, but he wasn’t always “that guy”.   He started out as many of us do,  a little lost and just going through the motions in his brothers’ restaurant.

Jordi was much younger than his two older brothers Both of which were already running a successful fine dining restaurant.

Jordi worked around the restaurant essentially just doing time, putting in his shift then heading out partying all night.  He was young and to be honest really didn’t care about anything.

Jordi struggled to find himself and make his mark in life.  Until one day when his boss in the restaurant had a terrible accident. He fell off a ladder and was out for an extended time.    At this time Jordi’s brothers’ restaurant  L SAYYA CAAN ROCA was already a one star Michelin restaurant and they had a lot to lose.

Jordi stepped up and faithfully reproduced the recipes that he mentor left in a wooden box in the restaurant.  They were good but nothing spectacular and when Jordi stepped out of his comfort zone and try to make his own dessert it was less than stellar.

It wasn’t until Jordi decided to take a class on ice cream that it all changed for him.

His instructor was teaching about the importance of the air in ice-cream, not just the fact that you need to have airy ice cream but also that you need to have clean air so that the ice cream doesn’t take on any off-putting flavors.

Jordi thought about it on the way home and then decided to think about it another way.   What if he used the air to put flavor into the ice cream?

The next morning, he went into the restaurant and as crazy as this sounds, he blew cigar smoke into the ice cream as it was being made.   After it set up he gave it to his brothers to taste and the rest is history.

His “Trip to Havana” dessert as its called is now world renown.

 

If you order it at El Celler de Can Roca,   you’ll get what looks like a cigar-shaped ice-cream sandwich in a glass ashtray.   It looks like a cigar and the smoke-infused it heightens the experience.

By the way, El Celler de Can Roca is in Spain and has been ranked the best restaurant in the world in 2013 and continues to be ranked in the top 5 restaurants in the world.  It now boasts a Michelin 3 star rating and Jordi is at the top of his game.

 

Jordi learned to take inspiration from everywhere and everything.   He looked outside of his environment and has reaped huge rewards because of it.

Chris Brogan

Chris Brogan chrisbrogan.com

The second mentor I learned from this week is Chris Brogan.    If you don’t know who Chris is,  Chris is an accomplished Author of a bunch of books, including the bestseller “Trust Agents” and has spoken for or consulted with the biggest brands you know, including Disney, Coke, Google, GM, Microsoft, Sony and many more.

In addition to working with the big guys Chris also does group coaching with small businesses through his Owner Insider program and that’s how I know Chris and his business partner Rob Hatch.

His best free work comes out on his weekly email which he sends every Sunday.  If you want to get on this mailing list, you can do that at ChrisBrogan.com.

 

In this week’s newsletter, he talks about his secret to success and fame, and he has fame in air quotes although he is famous, at least internet famous 😊

The big takeaway from the newsletter article was one line Chris said,

“I made a career out of looking at “the way things are” and then wondering “but why hasn’t anyone done <blank>”.”

He talked about how on blog after blog, podcast after podcast or coach after coach all were all preaching the same about stuff.  Essentially each other’s best practices.

He felt he was able to leapfrog his competition by looking past the “What is” part of the question and asking “What COULD Be” question instead.

In our businesses, I’m not sure we take enough time to look at the “what could be” question on behalf of our clients or prospects.

Michael Porter


The last one of my mentors this week was Michael Porter and his lessons on competitive strategies.

He says there are essentially only three ways to compete

  1. Cost Leadership – Low-Cost Leader in the industry or market
  2. Differentiation – Be Unique and be rewarded with a premium price
  3. Focus – Be extremely narrow in your offering and be the best

In two of my mastermind groups, one internal and one external we talked about differentiation.

In our industry, providing Managed IT services, it is increasingly difficult to set your company apart from the competition, but it is possible, just like it was possible for Jordi Roca and Chris Brogan in their highly competitive markets.

Such uniqueness might relate to consistency as in McDonald’s, reliability as in FedEx, status as in American Express, or quality as in BMW.

 

Creating a unique and valuable position in the marketplace by having a key series of differentiating activities isn’t easy but it’s extremely valuable.

Doing it can set your company up for long-term success, most times freeing you up from pricing pressure and much competition.

How are you differentiating your business?

I’d love to hear from you and understand how I can help you accomplish your goals and move your company forward.

Let me know what you think.   Drop me a note or comment below.

 

 

 

 

 

If you want the recipe head over to IT Provider Network/jordi for a copy.

 

 

http://www.four-magazine.com/recipes/joan-rocas-cigar-smoke-ice-cream/

]]>
What do Jordi Roca, Chris Brogan, and Michael Porter have to do with your MSP? As I am sure all of you do, I get inspiration from all different kinds of places.   This week three different things caught my attention, - As I am sure all of you do, I get inspiration from all different kinds of places.   This week three different things caught my attention,

Let me tell you the stories and then we can talk about how that applies to our businesses.
Jordi Roca


Jordi is the youngest of three boys and perhaps the most talented pastry chef in the world, but he wasn’t always “that guy”.   He started out as many of us do,  a little lost and just going through the motions in his brothers’ restaurant.

Jordi was much younger than his two older brothers Both of which were already running a successful fine dining restaurant.

Jordi worked around the restaurant essentially just doing time, putting in his shift then heading out partying all night.  He was young and to be honest really didn’t care about anything.

Jordi struggled to find himself and make his mark in life.  Until one day when his boss in the restaurant had a terrible accident. He fell off a ladder and was out for an extended time.    At this time Jordi’s brothers' restaurant  L SAYYA CAAN ROCA was already a one star Michelin restaurant and they had a lot to lose.

Jordi stepped up and faithfully reproduced the recipes that he mentor left in a wooden box in the restaurant.  They were good but nothing spectacular and when Jordi stepped out of his comfort zone and try to make his own dessert it was less than stellar.

It wasn’t until Jordi decided to take a class on ice cream that it all changed for him.

His instructor was teaching about the importance of the air in ice-cream, not just the fact that you need to have airy ice cream but also that you need to have clean air so that the ice cream doesn’t take on any off-putting flavors.

Jordi thought about it on the way home and then decided to think about it another way.   What if he used the air to put flavor into the ice cream?

The next morning, he went into the restaurant and as crazy as this sounds, he blew cigar smoke into the ice cream as it was being made.   After it set up he gave it to his brothers to taste and the rest is history.

His “Trip to Havana” dessert as its called is now world renown.

 

If you order it at El Celler de Can Roca,   you’ll get what looks like a cigar-shaped ice-cream sandwich in a glass ashtray.   It looks like a cigar and the smoke-infused it heightens the experience.

By the way, El Celler de Can Roca is in Spain and has been ranked the best restaurant in the world in 2013 and continues to be ranked in the top 5 restaurants in the world.  It now boasts a Michelin 3 star rating and Jordi is at the top of his game.

 

Jordi learned to take inspiration from everywhere and everything.   He looked outside of his environment and has reaped huge rewards because of it.
Chris Brogan


The second mentor I learned from this week is Chris Brogan.    If you don’t know who Chris is,  Chris is an accomplished Author of a bunch of books, including the bestseller “Trust Agents” and has spoken for or consulted with the biggest brands you know, including Disney, Coke, Google, GM, Microsoft, Sony and many more.

In addition to working with the big guys Chris also does group coaching with small businesses through his Owner Insider program and that’s how I know Chris and his business partner Rob Hatch.

His best free work comes out on his weekly email which he sends every Sunday.  If you want to get on this mailing list, you can do that at ChrisBrogan.com.
]]>
Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean 11:00
Marketopia 4U2GROW Conference – 3 Key Takeaways http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/3-key-takeaways-marketopia-4u2grow-conference/ Tue, 25 Sep 2018 13:33:36 +0000 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/?p=870 It seems that there is a new conference for IT Service Providers almost every week and making the decision on which conference to attend can be tough.  There are big conferences,  Channel X, IT Nation, and DattoCon come to mind.    Medium size shows like Robin Robbins Bootcamp, Gary Pica's Snizzfest and Marketopia's 4U2GROW conference. I was fortunate to attend Marketopia's 4U2Grow conference for the second time a couple of weeks ago.   If you remember back to episode 31 of the IT Provider Network, Outsourcing your appointment setting, I talked about the pros and cons of outsourcing telemarketing for lead generation. I signed up with Marketopia at the 2nd annual 4U2Grow conference last year.  For MSP's they offer the normal plethora of marketing services.  Website design, Email Blasts, Pay Per Click and SEO services but their big seller for MSP and Vendors alike are callers.  1/2 time or full-time telemarketers cold calling on behalf of MSP's to end users and vendors to MSP's. Marketopia clearly is doing a bunch of things right.   This year they were named to the INC 500 list in position 232.  Marketopia,  having scaled its revenue at an impressive 2041% growth rate has joined the ranks of others on the INC 500 list including ClickFunnels (#76), KnowBe4 (#96) and Pax8 (#68). Their conference 4U2Grow and the associated roadshows are a big part of their success.  This conference for their clients and prospects is an educational event with little or no direct pitching but the Marketopia sales team are always looking to close deals at the show.  Jeff Laws and Austin McCord are gently working over their prospects and trying to make deals before the end of the show. On day one of the conference, I was asked to host a VIP Mastermind for existing Marketopia clients.  It was an intimate group of MSP's big and small from all over the county.  We talked about what's working and what isn't.   It was honest and straightforward.   If you have listened to this podcast for a while you know that I call it like it is,  if you are trying to BS me I will call you out on it. I did it, called some people out,  a few times in the MSP's mastermind and with Marketopia too.  We are in an industry that is constantly changing and I made sure I let Terry Heddon, the CEO of Marketopia know where I saw some BS in the industry but that's a whole different podcast. So what was my big takeaway from the conference?  Well, I had a few.  Most of them came from Terry Heddon or his wife Andrea but Adam Slutski formally of connectwise fame.   Here they are. 1 - We have a lot of business in our existing client base that we may not be capitalizing on.   We need to make sure we are doing our best to sell our whole stack to as much of our client base as possible. Here are strategies for increasing sales into your existing base.: Identify products or services that your client could buy but doesn’t. Develop a plan for expanding your relationship with contacts within the account. Keep trying to add value for all the contacts you know at the client. Give clients ideas on how to improve their business operations - become more efficient, more profitable and improve their customer servide. Make customers feel they have a special relationship with you. Identify your customer’s customers and help them win. 2 - We need to be more strategic in our marketing. Specifically our about us page. Did you know your website's "about us" page is the 2nd most visited page on your website second only to the home page.  Do they still call it a home page? Put some effort into your about page,  have a listen to Tools for publishing and monitoring your social media networks for some tips on your About Us page.   Also, check out Hubspot's Awesome About Us Examples for more inspiration and this great article on How to Write an About Page. Heres a couple common Mistakes You don’t have an About Page It seems that there is a new conference for IT Service Providers almost every week and making the decision on which conference to attend can be tough.  There are big conferences,  Channel X, IT Nation, and DattoCon come to mind.    Medium size shows like Robin Robbins Bootcamp, Gary Pica’s Snizzfest and Marketopia’s 4U2GROW conference.

I was fortunate to attend Marketopia’s 4U2Grow conference for the second time a couple of weeks ago.   If you remember back to episode 31 of the IT Provider Network, Outsourcing your appointment setting, I talked about the pros and cons of outsourcing telemarketing for lead generation.

I signed up with Marketopia at the 2nd annual 4U2Grow conference last year.  For MSP’s they offer the normal plethora of marketing services.  Website design, Email Blasts, Pay Per Click and SEO services but their big seller for MSP and Vendors alike are callers.  1/2 time or full-time telemarketers cold calling on behalf of MSP’s to end users and vendors to MSP’s.

Marketopia clearly is doing a bunch of things right.   This year they were named to the INC 500 list in position 232.  Marketopia,  having scaled its revenue at an impressive 2041% growth rate has joined the ranks of others on the INC 500 list including ClickFunnels (#76), KnowBe4 (#96) and Pax8 (#68).

Their conference 4U2Grow and the associated roadshows are a big part of their success.  This conference for their clients and prospects is an educational event with little or no direct pitching but the Marketopia sales team are always looking to close deals at the show.  Jeff Laws and Austin McCord are gently working over their prospects and trying to make deals before the end of the show.

On day one of the conference, I was asked to host a VIP Mastermind for existing Marketopia clients.  It was an intimate group of MSP’s big and small from all over the county.  We talked about what’s working and what isn’t.   It was honest and straightforward.   If you have listened to this podcast for a while you know that I call it like it is,  if you are trying to BS me I will call you out on it.

I did it, called some people out,  a few times in the MSP’s mastermind and with Marketopia too.  We are in an industry that is constantly changing and I made sure I let Terry Heddon, the CEO of Marketopia know where I saw some BS in the industry but that’s a whole different podcast.

So what was my big takeaway from the conference?  Well, I had a few.  Most of them came from Terry Heddon or his wife Andrea but Adam Slutski formally of connectwise fame.   Here they are.

1 – We have a lot of business in our existing client base that we may not be capitalizing on.   We need to make sure we are doing our best to sell our whole stack to as much of our client base as possible.

Here are strategies for increasing sales into your existing base.:

  • Identify products or services that your client could buy but doesn’t.
  • Develop a plan for expanding your relationship with contacts within the account.
  • Keep trying to add value for all the contacts you know at the client.
  • Give clients ideas on how to improve their business operations – become more efficient, more profitable and improve their customer servide.
  • Make customers feel they have a special relationship with you.
  • Identify your customer’s customers and help them win.

2 – We need to be more strategic in our marketing. Specifically our about us page.

Did you know your website’s “about us” page is the 2nd most visited page on your website second only to the home page.  Do they still call it a home page?

Put some effort into your about page,  have a listen to Tools for publishing and monitoring your social media networks for some tips on your About Us page.   Also, check out Hubspot’s Awesome About Us Examples for more inspiration and this great article on How to Write an About Page.

Heres a couple common Mistakes

  1. You don’t have an About Page
  2. I can’t find your name or credentials
  3. I don’t know what you look like
  4. You’re writing is boring
  5. You use video alone
  6. You go on and one
  7. You think the about us page is about YOU

3 – Great tips for Hiring ANYONE

I actually did three podcasts on hiring. and I am  releasing a book called “Hiring in the Digital Age : Tips to take the pain out of interviewing, hiring and onboarding new people in your small business” . I think Adam Slutski, former Connectwise CRO and now strategic advisor to Marketopia, gave a great talk on hiring salespeople.  While Adam concentrated on salespeople I think his advice applies to almost anyone we hire in our businesses.  Some of his key points were

  • They need to be quick thinking – You need a flexible thinker
  • They need to be insightful – You need someone that is a quick study
  • Then need to be determined – this is not a quick or easy sale
  • They need to be Passionate – Proud, Goal Oriented, and customer focused.

I think this applies to everyone in our companies

 

 

 

 

 

 

]]>
It seems that there is a new conference for IT Service Providers almost every week and making the decision on which conference to attend can be tough.  There are big conferences,  Channel X, IT Nation, and DattoCon come to mind.
I was fortunate to attend Marketopia's 4U2Grow conference for the second time a couple of weeks ago.   If you remember back to episode 31 of the IT Provider Network, Outsourcing your appointment setting, I talked about the pros and cons of outsourcing telemarketing for lead generation.

I signed up with Marketopia at the 2nd annual 4U2Grow conference last year.  For MSP's they offer the normal plethora of marketing services.  Website design, Email Blasts, Pay Per Click and SEO services but their big seller for MSP and Vendors alike are callers.  1/2 time or full-time telemarketers cold calling on behalf of MSP's to end users and vendors to MSP's.

Marketopia clearly is doing a bunch of things right.   This year they were named to the INC 500 list in position 232.  Marketopia,  having scaled its revenue at an impressive 2041% growth rate has joined the ranks of others on the INC 500 list including ClickFunnels (#76), KnowBe4 (#96) and Pax8 (#68).

Their conference 4U2Grow and the associated roadshows are a big part of their success.  This conference for their clients and prospects is an educational event with little or no direct pitching but the Marketopia sales team are always looking to close deals at the show.  Jeff Laws and Austin McCord are gently working over their prospects and trying to make deals before the end of the show.

On day one of the conference, I was asked to host a VIP Mastermind for existing Marketopia clients.  It was an intimate group of MSP's big and small from all over the county.  We talked about what's working and what isn't.   It was honest and straightforward.   If you have listened to this podcast for a while you know that I call it like it is,  if you are trying to BS me I will call you out on it.

I did it, called some people out,  a few times in the MSP's mastermind and with Marketopia too.  We are in an industry that is constantly changing and I made sure I let Terry Heddon, the CEO of Marketopia know where I saw some BS in the industry but that's a whole different podcast.

So what was my big takeaway from the conference?  Well, I had a few.  Most of them came from Terry Heddon or his wife Andrea but Adam Slutski formally of connectwise fame.   Here they are.

1 - We have a lot of business in our existing client base that we may not be capitalizing on.   We need to make sure we are doing our best to sell our whole stack to as much of our client base as possible.

Here are strategies for increasing sales into your existing base.:

* Identify products or services that your client could buy but doesn’t.
* Develop a plan for expanding your relationship with contacts within the account.
* Keep trying to add value for all the contacts you know at the client.
* Give clients ideas on how to improve their business operations - become more efficient, more profitable and improve their customer servide.
* Make customers feel they have a special relationship with you.
* Identify your customer’s customers and help them win.

2 - We need to be more strategic in our marketing. Specifically our about us page.

Did you know your website's "about us" page is the 2nd most visited page on your website second only to the home page.  Do they still call it a home page?

Put some effort into your about page,]]>
Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean 12:47
Tips for High Performance Remote Teams – ITPN-EP38 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/tips-for-high-performance-remote-teams/ Tue, 11 Sep 2018 14:16:04 +0000 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/?p=861 Are you getting the most out of your remote team members? In his excellent article, Rob Rawson, of the Time Doctor website.  Rob lays out 25 tips for high-performance remote teams.   In this episode of the  IT Provider Network Podcast, I am going to go through the article and give you my take on how to get the most from remote teams. Since 1994 roughly half of our team has been remote.  Always full-time W2 type employees but with the freedom to work wherever they lived. Compensate for the fact you aren’t bumping into each other. Find a way to facilitate conversation via chat and screen sharing. Don’t forget to make these members feel like a member of the team, even though they aren’t there in person. Have a chat room open at all times. You could use Skype, Teams, HipChat or Slack. Keep the Chat channel open. On that same note, don’t overload team members with chat or email. Make sure they aren’t subscribed to too many channels. Choose the communication style that is right for that member. This comes into play with homebased employees or foreign employees. Is an email, phone call, chat or video call most appropriate? Use tools like loom.com and screen sharing tools such as GoToMeeting, Zoom, etc. Video conferencing is also important. It brings the remote employee into the work space and they get to collaborate in real time with peers. This also makes everyone in the call stay more focused. Set up a daily huddle with that team member. Weekly meeting and monthly meetings are also important. Set up a communication structure for effective communication. Use tools to collaborate on documents and spreadsheets. Microsoft Office 365 or Google tools are great tools to get a document up and collaborate on it. Use a project management system. Make sure you are using it and are holding your employees accountable while ensuring they are using it and using it your way. Make sure you have systems that drive everything people do in your company. You need a standardized way of doing things that you are following and always improving that you are working with. Allow some degree of flexible works hours but have some consistent hours. People working from home typically want some flexibility in their work hours. That’s okay but you have to keep core working hours that your whole team can be working, including that remote employee. Track their work output, whether the team is working virtual or not. Measure productivity in your team. What are the indicators of success? Make sure you have communicated what you want to have done and what the measurable goal they need to accomplish is. Don’t just track it but check in regularly about the progress of their work. You might be really disappointed if you wait until the deadline. If you check in during the process, you can help negate any issues and get the team member on track, if need be. Rescue Time is a tool that can be used to track how much time you spend doing certain things each day. Organize a system of overlapping for communicating in different time zones. Have time, a good chunk of your day, where the entire team is working at the same time. Do a quarterly review to see how your team members are doing and coping with working remotely. If your company is not doing a good job of making them feel like they are a part of a team, it’s easy for them to become lonely, possibly start feeling irritated and isolated. When you are hiring new employees, always try to get a ‘try before’ you by period. Give them a short project to complete before making a commitment. Some people lie on their resume or have the ability to tell a good story in the interview process. In reality, they may not have the chops. Try to test them first and are really a good fit. Make sure you pay your virtual employees well so they will stick around and work hard for you. This is true even if this is an overseas person. It’s important to make sure they are the right fit for yo... Are you getting the most out of your remote team members?

In his excellent article, Rob Rawson, of the Time Doctor website.  Rob lays out 25 tips for high-performance remote teams.   In this episode of the  IT Provider Network Podcast, I am going to go through the article and give you my take on how to get the most from remote teams.

Since 1994 roughly half of our team has been remote.  Always full-time W2 type employees but with the freedom to work wherever they lived.

  1. Compensate for the fact you aren’t bumping into each other. Find a way to facilitate conversation via chat and screen sharing. Don’t forget to make these members feel like a member of the team, even though they aren’t there in person.
  2. Have a chat room open at all times. You could use Skype, Teams, HipChat or Slack. Keep the Chat channel open.
  3. On that same note, don’t overload team members with chat or email. Make sure they aren’t subscribed to too many channels.
  4. Choose the communication style that is right for that member. This comes into play with homebased employees or foreign employees. Is an email, phone call, chat or video call most appropriate? Use tools like loom.com and screen sharing tools such as GoToMeeting, Zoom, etc.
  5. Video conferencing is also important. It brings the remote employee into the work space and they get to collaborate in real time with peers. This also makes everyone in the call stay more focused.
  6. Set up a daily huddle with that team member. Weekly meeting and monthly meetings are also important. Set up a communication structure for effective communication.
  7. Use tools to collaborate on documents and spreadsheets. Microsoft Office 365 or Google tools are great tools to get a document up and collaborate on it.
  8. Use a project management system. Make sure you are using it and are holding your employees accountable while ensuring they are using it and using it your way.
  9. Make sure you have systems that drive everything people do in your company. You need a standardized way of doing things that you are following and always improving that you are working with.
  10. Allow some degree of flexible works hours but have some consistent hours. People working from home typically want some flexibility in their work hours. That’s okay but you have to keep core working hours that your whole team can be working, including that remote employee.
  11. Track their work output, whether the team is working virtual or not. Measure productivity in your team. What are the indicators of success? Make sure you have communicated what you want to have done and what the measurable goal they need to accomplish is. Don’t just track it but check in regularly about the progress of their work. You might be really disappointed if you wait until the deadline. If you check in during the process, you can help negate any issues and get the team member on track, if need be.
  12. Rescue Time is a tool that can be used to track how much time you spend doing certain things each day.
  13. Organize a system of overlapping for communicating in different time zones. Have time, a good chunk of your day, where the entire team is working at the same time.
  14. Do a quarterly review to see how your team members are doing and coping with working remotely. If your company is not doing a good job of making them feel like they are a part of a team, it’s easy for them to become lonely, possibly start feeling irritated and isolated.
  15. When you are hiring new employees, always try to get a ‘try before’ you by period. Give them a short project to complete before making a commitment. Some people lie on their resume or have the ability to tell a good story in the interview process. In reality, they may not have the chops. Try to test them first and are really a good fit.
  16. Make sure you pay your virtual employees well so they will stick around and work hard for you. This is true even if this is an overseas person.
  17. It’s important to make sure they are the right fit for your company, for the work and to conduct work remotely. Some people can’t sit in their house and work. Some people need to go into the office. Distraction and isolation can be issues when working from home.   Take a listen to episode 28 of the IT Provider Network Podcast – Taking A Good Look at your Team
  18. Have a standard onboarding process and education system for your new employees. Pay attention to the first 90 days of your virtual employees onboarding.
  19. Put some effort into trying to make friendships with your staff and your remote employees. Spend some time and money putting together cultural team building type exercising that can work remotely. There are plenty of them out there.
  20. If possible, get your team together at least once a year to meet in person.

 

 

Special Thanks to the team at ID Agent for including me in their “This Week in Breach” newsletter.   Get in touch with them if you want to add a great prospecting and cyber-s

Referenced in this podcast

ID Agent  Dark Web Monitoring

Robin Robbins CyberSecurity Marketing Roadshow

UseLoom screen and video email extension for Chrome.

[0:00] I am welcome to take two of the it provider Network episode 38 on managing remote employees.
I’m having a rough morning here getting the podcast put together but I did want to thank a few people.
Let me start with the folks at ID agent who were kind enough to list me in their weekly security breach newsletter I think it’s called this weekend breach.
Under The Heading podcasts were listening to so thank you Kevin Lancaster and the team and ID agent I do appreciate the support,
[0:33] I also want to thank you for writing in and giving me some great comments and feedback some reviews on iTunes I met some nice new people this week.
We had a new listener from Scotland who I was happy to talk to.

[0:48] And it’s those cards and letters that make this a lot easier to do at 6 in the morning.
I also wanted to say that I’m heading out to the market opiates for you to grow conference tomorrow so if you’re heading down to Clearwater Florida hopefully around this hurricane that’s coming.
I’ll be down there I’d love to run into you so make sure you look me up also I’m heading out to Robin Robin’s cybersecurity marketing Roadshow in Boston.
In a couple weeks and I’ll be happy to meet with anyone out there.

[1:25] Music.

[1:42] Did I want to talk about managing virtual teams and some tips that you can use to do that I found a great article on time dr.com.
Talking about managing a high-performance virtual team so let me just go through some of these suggestions they make.
So the first one is compensate for the fact that you’re not bumping into each other
and I think this is a really good one you know what in a real physical office you have people bumping into you in the lunchroom walking down the corridor stopping in your office to say hello that doesn’t happen with the remote team member so you need to find ways to facilitate that
remotely chat is a good way to do that,
collaboration tools are a good way to do that screen sharing is a good way to do that if you want to share a concept or problem with the remote team employee.
The big thing to remember is to remember that they’re there right to include them as part of your team.
The second thing that they talk about is having a chat room open constantly so that’s pretty easy for us whether you Skype or teams or slack or hipchat.

[2:46] Keep the chat channels open we use teams internally for most of our people but we also use another tool called sococo which
our development team uses not uses the concept of different rooms so you can actually see where your employees are in the room everything in the lunchroom or maybe you weren’t there in the war room or in the particular project room.

[3:08] Very helpful if you see they’re deep in the project room are there in the stealth room we call it and you don’t want to bother him but if they’re in the lunchroom then you know you can go and have casual chat with him.

[3:19] Searching you want to be aware of is that you’re not overloading them what that shot or email.
Make sure that your team members if you use slack or teams they’re not subscribed to too many channels you know to make sure they’re not involved in everything they won’t be getting anything done,
to be leery of that.
The fourth thing is choose the right communication style for that member now this really comes into play a lot with home-based employees or,
or foreign please right so you want to be careful about the communication style use because some of them won’t be appropriate
or certain people at certain times to let me give you an example,
I email if you want something quick use email if you want if you needed instant you might use a chat if you’re doing a meeting I would recommend a video chat or a video of the meeting,
obviously, phone calls are good anytime and other times you might want to just create a recorded video and send that off so that the person can listen to it.
When it’s convenient for them.

[4:23] You some tools to do that you know the one I like right now is use Loom u s e a l o o m.com totally free,
right now anyway Chrome extension that you can use to quickly record a video with your camera and your screen share and shoot a write off in an email use loom.com.
I also want to use screen sharing tools so if you need to share screen maybe use TeamViewer or join. Me or go to meeting or Zoom or.
Connectwise disconnect tool was just the Name Escapes me right now.

[5:01] The other thing you want to do is use video conferencing so every meeting we have in our company we use video conferencing it does two things one it brings the remote employee into the workspace that get to see a face with a name I get to collaborate in real-time with their
their peers and also makes everyone on the call stay much more focused,
because they have a camera on them they’re not fiddling with their phone and not typing on the keyboard or looking at another screen I highly recommend use video conference calls whenever you do a meeting.
Speaking Beauties want to set up a meeting you want to have it at least a daily huddle with that remote team member,
hopefully with the team but if not you can do a one-on-one and then I talked about this before but I like him eating rhythm of a daily huddle quick,
stand-up 10-minute meeting a weekly meeting that in our group is usually about 30 minutes and then a monthly meeting for either the entire company or the entire division,
that has some training component to it so set up a meeting rhythm.

[6:05] You also want to use tools to collaborate on documents in spreadsheets you know you can do this with the Microsoft tools now or Google Drive.
Either way, you use a tool that you can actually get a document up on the screen and collaborate with it if you can collaborate in real-time in the same document.
At least use a screen share where you can see each other screens,
one of the things that drive me crazy is my senior guys tend to rescue they’re their junior people but they don’t share the knowledge when they’re doing it use that same time that you using to fix the problem,
to educate someone that’s it more Junior in your team you get a double whammy for it well worth the time.
Make sure you use a project management system so hopefully all of your using some sort of PSA or project management system,
make sure you use it make sure you’re holding your remote employees accountable to using your system and your way.

[7:00] Speaking of systems Implement systems make sure you have systems that drive everything people do in your company you need a documented standardized way of working that you’re constantly working on and.
Moving forward with you also want to allow some degree of flexible work hours but
have consistent hours so what I mean by that is people working from home typically won’t want or need some flexibility in their working hours whether or working mom or someone that has
you know someone at home they have to have to take care of her young children doesn’t matter
often times they need some flexibility in their working hours and that’s okay but I think you really still have to keep score,
working hours that your whole team can be sure that that remote employee going to be working.

[7:56] Tractor work output whether or not your team is virtual not you need to measure productivity in your group
so what are the key indicators of success what’s the clear outcome that you’ve communicated to them that you want to get done
what’s the measurable goal that you need them to accomplish
and I encourage you not to just track it but make sure you make sure you’re checking in regularly about the progress of their work because if you wait till the end when the deadline is is approaching,
you might be really disappointed and how do you check in once a week,
follow the progress of the of the work being done maybe you could have nipped it in the bud and got the employee on the right track.

[8:37] So can just track everything that they’re doing you know
one of the other things we use internally and it’s not for a big brother micromanagement thing but we use a tool called rescue time and it’s just really for the employee but it’s the understand what they’re spending time doing every day
how long did they have their e-mail open how long were they on a social media site how long did they spend in connectwise,
take a look at rescue time try to get your culture and your employees to have a culture where there are cognizant of the time they’re spending on their computer and what they’re actually doing and getting done.

[9:13] So the next step is too organize a system of overlapping times for communicating in different time zones and I talked about this a little bit you need to have time.
Hopefully a good part of your day where the entire work staff is working so for us it’s pretty easy we have employees from New Jersey to California that’s three time zones,
we just make everyone work East Coast time so if you have to if you’re in California you have to start your day at 6 in the morning sometimes 5 in the morning.
But you’re done at 2 in the afternoon so you’re working 9 to 5 or 8 or 8 to 5 or 9 to 6 East Coast time,
but you have your afternoons to yourself so that’s kind of the trade-off we make with our employees not to a little bit harder if your employees in India or the Philippines,
they’re typically 12 hours apart or up to 12 hours apart I guess I should say so you have to find some overlapping window and won’t be the whole day but it can be some part of the day.

[10:13] Next step is to do a quarterly review see how your team members are coping with working remotely you know it’s it’s a lonely sometimes when you work remotely from home and.

[10:25] If your company is not doing a really good job of making them feel like a team member and making them feel like part of the team.
And it’s very easy for them to get frustrated and feel isolated so make sure you put a calendar invite on your calendar to check in with them quarterly.
Just more of a you know hey how you doing kind of call nothing formal but just to let them know that you’re you know there that you’re there and they can feel the love.

[10:52] The other thing that’s important to remember is when you’re hiring new employees.
Always try to get specially when the remote always try to get a try before you buy. Or give them a short project to work on before you make a commitment you know some people.
Flat out lie on the resume some people can tell a good story and they’re in the resume in the some people can tell a good story in the interview but in reality they don’t they don’t have the chops they don’t have the work product so it’s always best to try to
try to test them first and make sure they really really have the chops.

[11:29] You also want to make sure you’re paying well you know we pay our virtual employees the same or more than anyone else so make sure you pay them well and will stick around and work hard for you this goes to.
This is true even if it’s is an overseas person you know I recently just lost one of my great guys that I had in the Philippine he worked for me for 9 years.
So you know he didn’t work for me for 9 years cuz I was treating him like a second-rate citizen he worked for me for nine years because we treated him like a team member we paid him well and.
You did a good job for us that’s all I want have anyone that works with us so treat your virtual team members well.

[12:11] We also want to make sure that they are the right fit for your culture and they’re the right fit for virtual work,
not everyone can sit in their house and work you know frankly I can’t I have to go into the office I like that ability to mix it up every day to see what’s going on too,
I distract myself by going to the lunch room I’m not sure I’m cut out for working home so you have to make sure that the people you hire are actually cut out for that you know do they have a quiet place to work,
do they have children in the house it’s going to distract them.
Do they have a noisy environment that they live in you no distractions isolation these can all be issues when you’re working from home.
You also want to create a standard onboarding process and education free new employees just like anyone that’s working in your office you want to.
Pay attention to the first 90 days of your remote employees onboarding that can really mean the difference between a successful employee or one that doesn’t fit.

[13:13] And lastly I would say that you definitely want to put some effort into trying to create,
friendships with your remote employees with your staff so spend some time and money putting together cultural.
Team building type exercises that can work remotely and there’s plenty of them you don’t have to be in person all the time.
Bill the team but it is if it is helpful so I would say not only build those virtual relationships also.
If it’s at all possible get your team together at least once a year to meet in person fly Mall in put them up in a hotel.
Rent a conference room whatever you have to do but get everybody together for a day or two to take photographs to go on a team building exercise to break bread and to get to know each other it’ll be well worth your time.

[14:00] So I hope that’s helpful.
As always I thank you for tuning in I know your time is valuable and I know you have a choice in what you listen to so I do appreciate that you’re listening to the it provider Network.
If you could do me a favor please leave us a review on iTunes or Stitcher wherever you listen to your podcast.
And share this episode with some of your MSP friends if you know anyone that would benefit from listening to the podcast that’s really the only way I get to spread the word since,
you know I don’t do interviews or have anyone out there plug-in for me,
it’s only by you the listeners and my efforts that the word gets out about the it provider Network so I do appreciate it.
Have yourself a great day today is September 11th 2018 I would be remiss if I didn’t remember the terrible tragedies that occurred here in 2001.
I remember it like it was yesterday and my heart goes out to all the Fallen people that died that day the First Responders that were so brave.
And to the terrorists go screw yourself have a great day.

 

]]>
Are you getting the most out of your remote team members? In his excellent article, Rob Rawson, of the Time Doctor website.  Rob lays out 25 tips for high-performance remote teams.   In this episode of the  IT Provider Network Podcast, In his excellent article, Rob Rawson, of the Time Doctor website.  Rob lays out 25 tips for high-performance remote teams.   In this episode of the  IT Provider Network Podcast, I am going to go through the article and give you my take on how to get the most from remote teams.

Since 1994 roughly half of our team has been remote.  Always full-time W2 type employees but with the freedom to work wherever they lived.

* Compensate for the fact you aren’t bumping into each other. Find a way to facilitate conversation via chat and screen sharing. Don’t forget to make these members feel like a member of the team, even though they aren’t there in person.
* Have a chat room open at all times. You could use Skype, Teams, HipChat or Slack. Keep the Chat channel open.
* On that same note, don’t overload team members with chat or email. Make sure they aren’t subscribed to too many channels.
* Choose the communication style that is right for that member. This comes into play with homebased employees or foreign employees. Is an email, phone call, chat or video call most appropriate? Use tools like loom.com and screen sharing tools such as GoToMeeting, Zoom, etc.
* Video conferencing is also important. It brings the remote employee into the work space and they get to collaborate in real time with peers. This also makes everyone in the call stay more focused.
* Set up a daily huddle with that team member. Weekly meeting and monthly meetings are also important. Set up a communication structure for effective communication.
* Use tools to collaborate on documents and spreadsheets. Microsoft Office 365 or Google tools are great tools to get a document up and collaborate on it.
* Use a project management system. Make sure you are using it and are holding your employees accountable while ensuring they are using it and using it your way.
* Make sure you have systems that drive everything people do in your company. You need a standardized way of doing things that you are following and always improving that you are working with.
* Allow some degree of flexible works hours but have some consistent hours. People working from home typically want some flexibility in their work hours. That’s okay but you have to keep core working hours that your whole team can be working, including that remote employee.
* Track their work output, whether the team is working virtual or not. Measure productivity in your team. What are the indicators of success? Make sure you have communicated what you want to have done and what the measurable goal they need to accomplish is. Don’t just track it but check in regularly about the progress of their work. You might be really disappointed if you wait until the deadline. If you check in during the process, you can help negate any issues and get the team member on track, if need be.
* Rescue Time is a tool that can be used to track how much time you spend doing certain things each day.
* Organize a system of overlapping for communicating in different time zones. Have time, a good chunk of your day, where the entire team is working at the same time.
* Do a quarterly review to see how your team members are doing and coping with working remotely. If your company is not doing a good job of making them feel like they are a part of a team, it’s easy for them to become lonely, possibly start feeling irritated and isolated.
* When you are clean 15:43
6 core functions you need to pay attention to in your MSP business ITPN-EP37 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/6-core-functions-you-need-to-pay-attention-to-in-your-msp-business/ Mon, 20 Aug 2018 11:22:53 +0000 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/?p=851 In today's episode of the IT Provider Network Podcast,  I am going to share a thought process that was shared with me by my coach Alex Charften.     As you know if you have been listening to the ITPN podcast for a while,  we do a lot of forward planning in our company.   We follow the Gazelles Scaling Up methodology  Each division sets "rocks" or objectives for each quarter but there never seemed to be any congruity between these rocks and the real things that needed to be improved in our company. Once I started looking at these 6 core functions our quarterly objectives really started to become dialed in. The Six Core Functions in your MSP Lead Generation - Everything you do to generate a lead.   Getting a prospect to raise a hand Lead Nurturing - What you do to nurture that lead and turn them into a customer Conversion - After the prospect has told you they are a buyer - what you do to propose and close the deal Delivery - What you do after the signed contract or PO is received  - the steps you take to deliver your service Retention - The processes and procedure you use to keep your clients.  In an MSP this would be the work of the service and VCIO type teams Resell and Upsell - What are you doing to get your clients to buy more of your products and services - usually the work of your account manager.   Start looking at these 6 core functions in your business.   Rate them from 1-5 and revisit that rating every 90 days or so.   Start working on the lower scoring functions that are at the top of the list.  In other words, if Lead Generation and Retention are your problems work on lead generation first. If you concentrating on any efforts in your company that don't directly help improve these core functions, you are probably floundering.     In today’s episode of the IT Provider Network Podcast,  I am going to share a thought process that was shared with me by my coach Alex Charften.     As you know if you have been listening to the ITPN podcast for a while,  we do a lot of forward planning in our company.   We follow the Gazelles Scaling Up methodology  Each division sets “rocks” or objectives for each quarter but there never seemed to be any congruity between these rocks and the real things that needed to be improved in our company.

Once I started looking at these 6 core functions our quarterly objectives really started to become dialed in.

The Six Core Functions in your MSP

  1. Lead Generation – Everything you do to generate a lead.   Getting a prospect to raise a hand
  2. Lead Nurturing – What you do to nurture that lead and turn them into a customer
  3. Conversion – After the prospect has told you they are a buyer – what you do to propose and close the deal
  4. Delivery – What you do after the signed contract or PO is received  – the steps you take to deliver your service
  5. Retention – The processes and procedure you use to keep your clients.  In an MSP this would be the work of the service and VCIO type teams
  6. Resell and Upsell – What are you doing to get your clients to buy more of your products and services – usually the work of your account manager.

 

Start looking at these 6 core functions in your business.   Rate them from 1-5 and revisit that rating every 90 days or so.   Start working on the lower scoring functions that are at the top of the list.  In other words, if Lead Generation and Retention are your problems work on lead generation first.

If you concentrating on any efforts in your company that don’t directly help improve these core functions, you are probably floundering.

 

 

]]> In today's episode of the IT Provider Network Podcast,  I am going to share a thought process that was shared with me by my coach Alex Charften.     As you know if you have been listening to the ITPN podcast for a while, Alex Charften.     As you know if you have been listening to the ITPN podcast for a while,  we do a lot of forward planning in our company.   We follow the Gazelles Scaling Up methodology  Each division sets "rocks" or objectives for each quarter but there never seemed to be any congruity between these rocks and the real things that needed to be improved in our company.

Once I started looking at these 6 core functions our quarterly objectives really started to become dialed in.
The Six Core Functions in your MSP

* Lead Generation - Everything you do to generate a lead.   Getting a prospect to raise a hand
* Lead Nurturing - What you do to nurture that lead and turn them into a customer
* Conversion - After the prospect has told you they are a buyer - what you do to propose and close the deal
* Delivery - What you do after the signed contract or PO is received  - the steps you take to deliver your service
* Retention - The processes and procedure you use to keep your clients.  In an MSP this would be the work of the service and VCIO type teams
* Resell and Upsell - What are you doing to get your clients to buy more of your products and services - usually the work of your account manager.

 

Start looking at these 6 core functions in your business.   Rate them from 1-5 and revisit that rating every 90 days or so.   Start working on the lower scoring functions that are at the top of the list.  In other words, if Lead Generation and Retention are your problems work on lead generation first.

If you concentrating on any efforts in your company that don't directly help improve these core functions, you are probably floundering.

 

 

]]>
Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean 12:31 Finding your USP in a Purple Ocean http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/finding-your-usp-in-a-purple-ocean/ Wed, 08 Aug 2018 13:52:26 +0000 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/?p=842 In this episode of the IT Provider Network Podcast, I am going to share an exercise with did to determine where our Purple Ocean lies.     Join me as I talk about through the process of finding your USP or Unique Selling Position and how it can help you get more deals. The strategy I talk about in this podcast is from the book Blue Ocean Strategy available on Amazon.   In this episode of the IT Provider Network Podcast, I am going to share an exercise with did to determine where our Purple Ocean lies.     Join me as I talk about through the process of finding your USP or Unique Selling Position and how it can help you get more deals.

USP Strategy Canvas

The strategy I talk about in this podcast is from the book Blue Ocean Strategy available on Amazon.

 

]]>
In this episode of the IT Provider Network Podcast, I am going to share an exercise with did to determine where our Purple Ocean lies.     Join me as I talk about through the process of finding your USP or Unique Selling Position and how it can help yo...


The strategy I talk about in this podcast is from the book Blue Ocean Strategy available on Amazon.



 ]]>
Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean 15:00
Your Best Prospects Are Your Existing Clients ITPN-EP35 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/your-best-prospects-are-your-existing-clients/ Sun, 22 Jul 2018 15:38:38 +0000 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/?p=834 In today's episode of the IT Provider Network, I want to talk about one of our most important assets and one that is often neglected. I would bet that many of you are like me in your business, you sell hardware and software to your clients when they have needs.   They call or write to you when they have a new user and need a new computer.  You might even have your VCIO call on them to drum up hardware refreshes or new technology initiatives but I’ll bet that you can’t tell me all your clients know about all your offerings. Today I want to talk about some ways that you can market to and capitalize on our greatest assets – our clients. Your Best Prospects Are Your Existing Clients Your best prospects are your existing client.  If you have been marketing only to cold or warm prospects then you are missing a big segment of buyers that are already buying from you. Take some of your marketing efforts and work on reselling, upselling and cross-selling into your existing client base. I know that I have not done a great job having a formal, consistent marketing plan for our installed base.   I just realized that not only do our clients not know about all of our offerings but all of our team members don’t either! Heres some new strategies to try get your hands around this often overlooked segment of your business.   Try This   Keep in Touch – It’s important to have regular communication with your clients, and I think it should be a multi-faceted approach to outreach. The owner, the sales team and the service team should all have regularly scheduled outreach to the base.   The medium for these touches can and probably should be varied.   For example, the VCIO might send out a monthly email,  The service manager might have a quarterly call with the power users and the owner to owner communications might be face to face meetings or a lunch along with regular calls or letters. Reassure Them on their Purchases – Every time a client purchases something from you, follow up with them after the purchase to reassure them of the purchase. This is also a great time to make sure there are service related issues.    If your terms are Net 30 make this call about 15 days in to make sure the client is happy and the product or service you delivered and the invoice is top of mind. Give your Clients the Best Deals – Doesn’t make you crazy when you hear your cable TV provider offering great new customer deals on TV. Doesn’t it make you question why they don’t value your business,  you know the customer that has been with them for 5 years?   Well, your clients feel this way too. Let them have it First - Extend your best offers to your existing clients and do it before you announce it to the world.  People want to be valued and they always want to be let in on a secret or a private sale. Remember the Golden Rule – Always work to build rapport and continued trust with your base. This is where some of the multi-faceted communication can come into play.     Remember people do business with people they know and trust.  If you want some tips on building rapport I recommend you listen to Building Rapport with Employees, Prospects and Customers – ITPN-EP003   Be Real and Consistent   Be real and consistent and start doing this right after the sale.   As part of your onboarding procedure make sure you include a follow-up to their first purchase   Make sure you thank them for the purchase Re-affirm the value of your company Reassure them that signing up for your service was the right move, it make economic sense and this is the start of a long term relationship   Make sure you write this thank you in your authentic voice.  Use this thank you note as a way to tell the buyer you will be contacting him from time to time to alert him of things important to their business.   Strive to show your passion for providing great service and the fact that you truly value their business. In today’s episode of the IT Provider Network, I want to talk about one of our most important assets and one that is often neglected.

I would bet that many of you are like me in your business, you sell hardware and software to your clients when they have needs.   They call or write to you when they have a new user and need a new computer.  You might even have your VCIO call on them to drum up hardware refreshes or new technology initiatives but I’ll bet that you can’t tell me all your clients know about all your offerings.

Today I want to talk about some ways that you can market to and capitalize on our greatest assets – our clients.

Your Best Prospects Are Your Existing Clients

Your best prospects are your existing client.  If you have been marketing only to cold or warm prospects then you are missing a big segment of buyers that are already buying from you.

Take some of your marketing efforts and work on reselling, upselling and cross-selling into your existing client base.

I know that I have not done a great job having a formal, consistent marketing plan for our installed base.   I just realized that not only do our clients not know about all of our offerings but all of our team members don’t either!

Heres some new strategies to try get your hands around this often overlooked segment of your business.

 

Try This

 

  1. Keep in Touch – It’s important to have regular communication with your clients, and I think it should be a multi-faceted approach to outreach. The owner, the sales team and the service team should all have regularly scheduled outreach to the base.   The medium for these touches can and probably should be varied.   For example, the VCIO might send out a monthly email,  The service manager might have a quarterly call with the power users and the owner to owner communications might be face to face meetings or a lunch along with regular calls or letters.
  2. Reassure Them on their Purchases – Every time a client purchases something from you, follow up with them after the purchase to reassure them of the purchase. This is also a great time to make sure there are service related issues.    If your terms are Net 30 make this call about 15 days in to make sure the client is happy and the product or service you delivered and the invoice is top of mind.
  3. Give your Clients the Best Deals – Doesn’t make you crazy when you hear your cable TV provider offering great new customer deals on TV. Doesn’t it make you question why they don’t value your business,  you know the customer that has been with them for 5 years?   Well, your clients feel this way too.
  4. Let them have it First – Extend your best offers to your existing clients and do it before you announce it to the world.  People want to be valued and they always want to be let in on a secret or a private sale.
  5. Remember the Golden Rule – Always work to build rapport and continued trust with your base. This is where some of the multi-faceted communication can come into play.     Remember people do business with people they know and trust.  If you want some tips on building rapport I recommend you listen to Building Rapport with Employees, Prospects and Customers – ITPN-EP003

 

Be Real and Consistent

 

Be real and consistent and start doing this right after the sale.   As part of your onboarding procedure make sure you include a follow-up to their first purchase

 

  • Make sure you thank them for the purchase
  • Re-affirm the value of your company
  • Reassure them that signing up for your service was the right move, it make economic sense and this is the start of a long term relationship

 

Make sure you write this thank you in your authentic voice.  Use this thank you note as a way to tell the buyer you will be contacting him from time to time to alert him of things important to their business.

 

Strive to show your passion for providing great service and the fact that you truly value their business.  Send a small gift if your budget allows.  Brownies or cookies for the office is a nice touch.

 

Lastly, if you didn’t sell them on your main offer, your managed services, but instead on a smaller thing like backup or some digital marketing then use this first contact to offer them best pricing for an upgrade to your main offer.

 

Upsell or Resell Right At or After the Initial Sale

 

If you can, you should try to upsell the client right at the initial sale.   If you use a quoting software like Quotewerks or Connectwise Sell then you should include optional items on your quote.  If this is hardware, always include a service contract.  Experiment with discounting add-on services on this initial quote.  Make it a good discount but make it time sensitive.    Don’t just add it on the quote, follow-up and put some effort into closing the add-on sale.  You will be surprised how many of these deals you can close with little or no more effort.

 

Perpetual Selling – Are you doing it?

How many UPS’s do you sell?  Are you putting those UPS’s on any sort of track for battery refreshes or replacement?    How about servers,  are you selling them with a service contract?  Are you following up on those contract expirations or letting them lapse.

 

The key is to have systems and a regular cadence in place to follow-up.  In our business we use two tools to help us with this,  IT Glue and ConnectWise Manage,  by having accurate hardware information stored in our systems we can follow up every month with warranties that are expiring.

 

Let the Marketplace Decide

 

The bulk of us are selling the same products and services, but where we have a chance to outshine our competition is by creating a unique offer, an offer that really resonates with our buyers.

 

Have an open mind,  adopt a beginners mindset and educate your client base.  Think of new and creative ways to bundle and package your products and services that will excite your clients.  Belief me your clients aren’t excited about spam and virus protection.

 

In the words of Jay Abraham “People are silently begging to be acknowledged, informed and given advance opportunities and led to action”

 

That’s it for episode 35 of the IT Provider Network.   If you are not ready on my mailing list, go to www.itprovidernetwork.com and get signed up.   Last week I released a private LinkedIn sales training I did for my team to the list and there is more to come.

Thanks for tuning in and as always I appreciate your comments, ratings and reviews.

 

 

 

 

]]>
In today's episode of the IT Provider Network, I want to talk about one of our most important assets and one that is often neglected. - I would bet that many of you are like me in your business, you sell hardware and software to your clients when they...
I would bet that many of you are like me in your business, you sell hardware and software to your clients when they have needs.   They call or write to you when they have a new user and need a new computer.  You might even have your VCIO call on them to drum up hardware refreshes or new technology initiatives but I’ll bet that you can’t tell me all your clients know about all your offerings.

Today I want to talk about some ways that you can market to and capitalize on our greatest assets – our clients.
Your Best Prospects Are Your Existing Clients
Your best prospects are your existing client.  If you have been marketing only to cold or warm prospects then you are missing a big segment of buyers that are already buying from you.

Take some of your marketing efforts and work on reselling, upselling and cross-selling into your existing client base.

I know that I have not done a great job having a formal, consistent marketing plan for our installed base.   I just realized that not only do our clients not know about all of our offerings but all of our team members don’t either!

Heres some new strategies to try get your hands around this often overlooked segment of your business.

 
Try This
 

* Keep in Touch – It’s important to have regular communication with your clients, and I think it should be a multi-faceted approach to outreach. The owner, the sales team and the service team should all have regularly scheduled outreach to the base.   The medium for these touches can and probably should be varied.   For example, the VCIO might send out a monthly email,  The service manager might have a quarterly call with the power users and the owner to owner communications might be face to face meetings or a lunch along with regular calls or letters.
* Reassure Them on their Purchases – Every time a client purchases something from you, follow up with them after the purchase to reassure them of the purchase. This is also a great time to make sure there are service related issues.    If your terms are Net 30 make this call about 15 days in to make sure the client is happy and the product or service you delivered and the invoice is top of mind.
* Give your Clients the Best Deals – Doesn’t make you crazy when you hear your cable TV provider offering great new customer deals on TV. Doesn’t it make you question why they don’t value your business,  you know the customer that has been with them for 5 years?   Well, your clients feel this way too.
* Let them have it First - Extend your best offers to your existing clients and do it before you announce it to the world.  People want to be valued and they always want to be let in on a secret or a private sale.
* Remember the Golden Rule – Always work to build rapport and continued trust with your base. This is where some of the multi-faceted communication can come into play.     Remember people do business with people they know and trust.  If you want some tips on building rapport I recommend you listen to Building Rapport with Employees, Prospects and Customers – ITPN-EP003

 
Be Real and Consistent
 

Be real and consistent and start doing this right after the sale.   As part of your onboarding procedure make sure you include a follow-up to their first purchase

 

* Make sure you thank them for the purchase
* Re-affirm the value of your company
* Reassure them that signing up for your service was the right move,]]>
Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean 11:11
Is this a six-inch putt? ITPN-EP34 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/is-this-a-six-inch-putt/ Fri, 08 Jun 2018 13:41:33 +0000 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/?p=821 Visioning Update I wanted to give you an update on the visioning process that my company went through two weeks ago when we met on the tail end of the Gazelles spring summit in New Orleans.   I detailed what visioning is and why you need it in episode 33 of the IT Provider Network but in case you missed it here is a quick overview. Visioning is looking into to the future and describing what success looks like then. At that point in time.   It’s now the how to; it’s the motivation and the direction. It is what success then looks and feels like in the future. A successful visioning document should be • Inspiring. To everyone that will be involved in implementing it. • Strategically sound. That is, we have a decent shot at making it happen. • Documented. You need to write your vision down to make it work. • Communicated. Not only do you have record your vision but if you want it to be effective, you have to tell people about it too. So we set out to create our first vision for the company 24 years after we started it. Our senior management team is made up of 7 people, so the way we started the process was by deciding on a time frame,  for us it was 2022 and that we were going to be visioning for the whole company, not any single division or department. Then we all went off and wrote. I encouraged people to think positive about what was possible and to be free with their ideas.    We all handed them in anonymously to our coach who compiled them and sent them back to us combined to review before we met in New Orleans. Once we all got together for our onsite meeting, we put the combined document up in a google doc.   We read each visioning entry and highlighted parts and pieces that really resonated with us. It was awesome to see how seven different people, most of who have been with our company for 10+ years had different desires and direction for the company.   Some addressed specific product directions,  others staff size, and what the office space looked like in 2022.   It was fascinating to get everyone's viewpoint, and we were able to pull some great things out of every person's document. So once we had a bunch of highlighted sections, we tasked three people to craft them into three parts of a new document.   The first part about overall company vision highlights,  the second for our software development division and the third for visioning specific to the managed services division.   Once we have this combined document, we will hone it and redraft it then share it with our staff. To give you an idea, here are some of the highlighted phrases that'll  be shaped into the next draft. "We have created a culture and work environment that has attracted some of the best developers and network engineers in the area and have continued to build upon our mission of being our clients “Partner in Technology." "Education is a key part of our culture and our business - it comes to life through ongoing internal and external training for our staff, customers and business partners." "We have worked hard to build multipliers in the organization and that is paying off in large dividends, by having an empowered workforce." "MRR is our life blood, the LTV of our clients allows us to spend quite a bit of time, money and effort to keep a client." "Our recurring revenue stream has increased 400% since 2018 with the addition of the new service offerings sold as an annual subscription." "The management team, regardless of their location, still follows its roots and meets daily to make sure that PICS is always growing and evolving." " We have started a foundation that donates a portion of our profits to charity.   In addition, the foundation does many community projects to enrich the lives of employees and of those around us.  " So I hope some of these statements inspire you.  I know they inspired me!   Get going with a visioning project in your company. Visioning Update

I wanted to give you an update on the visioning process that my company went through two weeks ago when we met on the tail end of the Gazelles spring summit in New Orleans.   I detailed what visioning is and why you need it in episode 33 of the IT Provider Network but in case you missed it here is a quick overview.

Visioning is looking into to the future and describing what success looks like then. At that point in time.   It’s now the how to; it’s the motivation and the direction. It is what success then looks and feels like in the future.

A successful visioning document should be

• Inspiring. To everyone that will be involved in implementing it.
• Strategically sound. That is, we have a decent shot at making it happen.
• Documented. You need to write your vision down to make it work.
• Communicated. Not only do you have record your vision but if you want it to be effective, you have to tell people about it too.

So we set out to create our first vision for the company 24 years after we started it.

Our senior management team is made up of 7 people, so the way we started the process was by deciding on a time frame,  for us it was 2022 and that we were going to be visioning for the whole company, not any single division or department.

Then we all went off and wrote.

I encouraged people to think positive about what was possible and to be free with their ideas.    We all handed them in anonymously to our coach who compiled them and sent them back to us combined to review before we met in New Orleans.

Once we all got together for our onsite meeting, we put the combined document up in a google doc.   We read each visioning entry and highlighted parts and pieces that really resonated with us.

It was awesome to see how seven different people, most of who have been with our company for 10+ years had different desires and direction for the company.   Some addressed specific product directions,  others staff size, and what the office space looked like in 2022.   It was fascinating to get everyone’s viewpoint, and we were able to pull some great things out of every person’s document.

So once we had a bunch of highlighted sections, we tasked three people to craft them into three parts of a new document.   The first part about overall company vision highlights,  the second for our software development division and the third for visioning specific to the managed services division.   Once we have this combined document, we will hone it and redraft it then share it with our staff.

To give you an idea, here are some of the highlighted phrases that’ll  be shaped into the next draft.

“We have created a culture and work environment that has attracted some of the best developers and network engineers in the area and have continued to build upon our mission of being our clients “Partner in Technology.”

“Education is a key part of our culture and our business – it comes to life through ongoing internal and external training for our staff, customers and business partners.”

“We have worked hard to build multipliers in the organization and that is paying off in large dividends, by having an empowered workforce.”

“MRR is our life blood, the LTV of our clients allows us to spend quite a bit of time, money and effort to keep a client.”

“Our recurring revenue stream has increased 400% since 2018 with the addition of the new service offerings sold as an annual subscription.”

“The management team, regardless of their location, still follows its roots and meets daily to make sure that PICS is always growing and evolving.”

” We have started a foundation that donates a portion of our profits to charity.   In addition, the foundation does many community projects to enrich the lives of employees and of those around us.  ”

So I hope some of these statements inspire you.  I know they inspired me!   Get going with a visioning project in your company.   If you don’t have a management team then write for yourself.   Share it with your team or if you don’t have a team share it with your cat.   The key is to take some time,  step away from day to day and see yourself in the future.

One of the visioning statements I just read was about multipliers.  I can’t remember if I ever spoke about the book Multipliers by Liz Wiseman but I encourage you all to get it and read it.   If you want to help the podcast out with a few sheckles, then buy it from the Amazon link which is in the show notes at www.itprovidernetwork.com/34.

The book goes details how great leaders use their intelligence to amplify the smarts of those around them.    Instead of draining energy and capabilities out of them by being diminishers.

One of the concepts in the book is the technique to expect peoples best work.  This is not expecting your staff to always come to you with the solution but to have done their best work to come up with some possible solutions.

It reminds me of a story.  I was at a sales meeting with a CEO and we were interrupted by one of his junior managers that needed help with a problem.   He started rambling off the issue at hand and soon the CEO looked up at his young manager and asked, “Is this a six-inch putt?”

The young manager put his head down, meekly said no and walked out of the room.   When he left I asked the CEO,  “What did you mean when you said is this a six-inch putt?”  He told me that he expects all of his management team to drive the ball down the fairway and get the ball on the green.   He told me that his job is not to figure everything out,  it is to provide guidance and direction after the legwork is done and his staff has put thoughtful consideration into the problem.

Ask yourself – is your team if they are coming to you with six-inch putts?  If not start expecting more from them.    Build your team of multipliers, and it’s like getting double the staff without double the payroll costs.

]]>
Visioning Update I wanted to give you an update on the visioning process that my company went through two weeks ago when we met on the tail end of the Gazelles spring summit in New Orleans.   I detailed what visioning is and why you need it in episode... I wanted to give you an update on the visioning process that my company went through two weeks ago when we met on the tail end of the Gazelles spring summit in New Orleans.   I detailed what visioning is and why you need it in episode 33 of the IT Provider Network but in case you missed it here is a quick overview.

Visioning is looking into to the future and describing what success looks like then. At that point in time.   It’s now the how to; it’s the motivation and the direction. It is what success then looks and feels like in the future.

A successful visioning document should be

• Inspiring. To everyone that will be involved in implementing it.
• Strategically sound. That is, we have a decent shot at making it happen.
• Documented. You need to write your vision down to make it work.
• Communicated. Not only do you have record your vision but if you want it to be effective, you have to tell people about it too.

So we set out to create our first vision for the company 24 years after we started it.

Our senior management team is made up of 7 people, so the way we started the process was by deciding on a time frame,  for us it was 2022 and that we were going to be visioning for the whole company, not any single division or department.

Then we all went off and wrote.

I encouraged people to think positive about what was possible and to be free with their ideas.    We all handed them in anonymously to our coach who compiled them and sent them back to us combined to review before we met in New Orleans.

Once we all got together for our onsite meeting, we put the combined document up in a google doc.   We read each visioning entry and highlighted parts and pieces that really resonated with us.

It was awesome to see how seven different people, most of who have been with our company for 10+ years had different desires and direction for the company.   Some addressed specific product directions,  others staff size, and what the office space looked like in 2022.   It was fascinating to get everyone's viewpoint, and we were able to pull some great things out of every person's document.

So once we had a bunch of highlighted sections, we tasked three people to craft them into three parts of a new document.   The first part about overall company vision highlights,  the second for our software development division and the third for visioning specific to the managed services division.   Once we have this combined document, we will hone it and redraft it then share it with our staff.

To give you an idea, here are some of the highlighted phrases that'll  be shaped into the next draft.

"We have created a culture and work environment that has attracted some of the best developers and network engineers in the area and have continued to build upon our mission of being our clients “Partner in Technology."

"Education is a key part of our culture and our business - it comes to life through ongoing internal and external training for our staff, customers and business partners."

"We have worked hard to build multipliers in the organization and that is paying off in large dividends, by having an empowered workforce."

"MRR is our life blood, the LTV of our clients allows us to spend quite a bit of time, money and effort to keep a client."

"Our recurring revenue stream has increased 400% since 2018 with the addition of the new service offerings sold as an annual subscription."

"The management team, regardless of their location, still follows its roots and meets daily to make sure that PICS is always growing and evolving."

]]>
Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean 11:02
Visioning – Why you need it and how to do it. ITPN-EP33 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/visioning-why-you-need-it-and-how-to-do-it/ Sun, 20 May 2018 23:52:50 +0000 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/?p=813 Visioning and the Deli Man If you’re on the IT Provider Network mailing list you know that tomorrow at 5 am I am heading out to New Orleans for some team building and to soak in some fresh ideas at the Gazelles Summit. Come Together Because my management team is in 4 different states and three different time zones it’s going to take the better part of Monday to get everyone down south. We’ll get settled in then on Tuesday and Wednesday, the team along with our Gazelles Coach Doug Diamond will be at the summit. The Gazelles Scaling Up Summit The summit, or more formally, the Scaling Up Summit is tailored to business owners interested in growing their companies. Over the course of two days, we will learn from award-winning authors. Soak up some techniques and methods for building better leadership, strategy, marketing, sales, operations, and finance. We will be in a room full of mid-market firms representing a variety of industries ($5 million to $500 million), for great interactive learning, networking, and idea-generation. This summit will be my second Gazelles event, and I am looking forward to it. I encourage you to attend events that are outside of the IT Industry to keep growing your company. Then on Thursday, we have rented a private conference room, and the eight of us are going to go heads down into a visioning exercise. So that’s what I want to talk with you about today. Visioning, why you would want to do this and how you can do it in your company. About Ari Weinzweig At my first Gazelles Summit in 2016, I met Ari Weinzweig. He spoke on Leadership, and I purchased all his books. Ari is one of the co-founders of the Zimmerman Community of Businesses, some food-centric businesses in the Ann Arbor Michigan area of the united states. What started as a 1300 square foot deli in 1982 is now a 60 million dollar business with the deli still at the heart of it. For more information on Zingermans check out their About Us page. The Zingermans Community of Business or ZCOB employees over 600 people and now is over ten different food-related businesses. You don’t grow a deli into a 60 million dollar business like that without visioning. About My Grandson Visioning is kind of like Walt Disney’s Imagineering, or for a better everyday example, it is what every young child does when they daydream. They never think about what’s NOT possible only what is possible. When my grandson Liam, who just turned four, is visioning he is building massive Lego cities, and waging battles with Batman and Joker. He doesn’t question batman's superpowers he assumes that he has them. Visioning works the same way. It’s looking to the future and describing what success looks like then. It’s now the how to; it’s the motivation and the direction. It is what success then looks and feels like in the future. Ari describes a successful vision as • Inspiring. To everyone that will be involved in implementing it. • Strategically sound. That is, we have a decent shot at making it happen. • Documented. You e need to write your vision down to make it work. • Communicated. Not only do you have record your vision but if you want it to be effective, you actually have to tell people about it too. This is the How not the Why Step 1: Pick your Visioning Topic Because visioning can be used for just about anything, it's important to start by being clear about what you're working on. Next week the PICS Team is looking out to 2022, and we are visioning on the whole company. If you start using visioning for your company you could do visioning on the company, a division or department, a project or even a smaller event. The process is the same; you want to see what success looks like before you execute. For most MSP’s, visioning should probably start at the organization or company level. Step 2: Pick your visioning time frame As we discussed in step one after you pick the topic, you need to choose the period of time where you want to describe suc... Visioning and the Deli Man

If you’re on the IT Provider Network mailing list you know that tomorrow at 5 am I am heading out to New Orleans for some team building and to soak in some fresh ideas at the Gazelles Summit.

Come Together

Because my management team is in 4 different states and three different time zones it’s going to take the better part of Monday to get everyone down south. We’ll get settled in then on Tuesday and Wednesday, the team along with our Gazelles Coach Doug Diamond will be at the summit.

The Gazelles Scaling Up Summit

The summit, or more formally, the Scaling Up Summit is tailored to business owners interested in growing their companies. Over the course of two days, we will learn from award-winning authors. Soak up some techniques and methods for building better leadership, strategy, marketing, sales, operations, and finance.
We will be in a room full of mid-market firms representing a variety of industries ($5 million to $500 million), for great interactive learning, networking, and idea-generation. This summit will be my second Gazelles event, and I am looking forward to it. I encourage you to attend events that are outside of the IT Industry to keep growing your company.
Then on Thursday, we have rented a private conference room, and the eight of us are going to go heads down into a visioning exercise. So that’s what I want to talk with you about today. Visioning, why you would want to do this and how you can do it in your company.

About Ari Weinzweig

At my first Gazelles Summit in 2016, I met Ari Weinzweig. He spoke on Leadership, and I purchased all his books. Ari is one of the co-founders of the Zimmerman Community of Businesses, some food-centric businesses in the Ann Arbor Michigan area of the united states. What started as a 1300 square foot deli in 1982 is now a 60 million dollar business with the deli still at the heart of it. For more information on Zingermans check out their About Us page. The Zingermans Community of Business or ZCOB employees over 600 people and now is over ten different food-related businesses.

You don’t grow a deli into a 60 million dollar business like that without visioning.

About My Grandson

Visioning is kind of like Walt Disney’s Imagineering, or for a better everyday example, it is what every young child does when they daydream. They never think about what’s NOT possible only what is possible. When my grandson Liam, who just turned four, is visioning he is building massive Lego cities, and waging battles with Batman and Joker. He doesn’t question batman’s superpowers he assumes that he has them.

Visioning works the same way. It’s looking to the future and describing what success looks like then. It’s now the how to; it’s the motivation and the direction. It is what success then looks and feels like in the future.

Ari describes a successful vision as

• Inspiring. To everyone that will be involved in implementing it.
• Strategically sound. That is, we have a decent shot at making it happen.
• Documented. You e need to write your vision down to make it work.
• Communicated. Not only do you have record your vision but if you want it to be effective, you actually have to tell people about it too.

This is the How not the Why

Step 1: Pick your Visioning Topic

Because visioning can be used for just about anything, it’s important to start by being clear about what you’re working on. Next week the PICS Team is looking out to 2022, and we are visioning on the whole company. If you start using visioning for your company you could do visioning on the company, a division or department, a project or even a smaller event. The process is the same; you want to see what success looks like before you execute.
For most MSP’s, visioning should probably start at the organization or company level.

Step 2: Pick your visioning time frame

As we discussed in step one after you pick the topic, you need to choose the period of time where you want to describe success. There’s no right or wrong answer for the timeframe, but according to Ari, visioning works best if you go far out enough to get beyond present-day problems but not so far out that you have no sense of how you will actually get there.

Because our industry changes so fast I think 3-5 years is a reasonable timeframe. Some visioning may occur in 2 years and some as far out as ten years. Next week we are looking to 2022.

Step 3: Get your head on right

Take ten minutes and speed write about your companies successes. Remember times you have saved a customer, times you have been proud of your success or the success of one of your employees. Write down as much good stuff as you can think of for ten minutes. If you’re just starting out and don’t have ten minutes of proud moments you’ve done in your business, then think about stuff you are proud of in your life. The idea here is to be feeling positive and getting your head away from the day to day problems in your business.

Step 4: Write the first draft of your vision.

Writing down your vision is hugely important. Before you start writing, here are a few technical tips. If you follow them, the work will be way better:

· Put something wild out there. Get past the 39 reasons why it won’t work. · Put down what pours out of your brain, not what other people want to see or even what you think they want to hear. Get out of your own head. Let it go.

· Write as if your vision has already happened. “We now have…”, “Our business is now…”. “We’ve accomplished …”.

· Keep writing for 15 to 30 minutes, regardless of how silly you sound. Try not to lift your pen off the paper. If the thought of actually writing with a pen is so very foreign to you then set a timer on your phone and just start typing.

· Build your personal passions into what you write. Don’t write a vision that you aren’t a part of. What will you be doing at that point in the future?

Step 5: Review and redraft

Put your visioning document away for at least a day then when you’re ready to revise it, read your draft through from start to finish.
Read it carefully but don’t erase anything. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to edit the content and the language. As you read through again, keep Ari’s rules for a successful vision in the back of your brain
Does this sound inspiring? If I were reading it out loud would my staff be behind it?
Do I get excited when I’m reading it? Am I excited about my vision of the future?
Look for vague statements in your document like “We have more clients than ever” or “Profit is at an all-time high”; instead, use real numbers that mean something to you, and you will be able to articulate to your staff. “We now have over 100 clients on our managed service plan”. Our MRR is 40% of our business and 50% of that revenue is on 36-month contracts. More discreet things like that.
Think about critical financial numbers that define success looking forward to that period.

Step 6: Revise a little more – but just a little.

I say a little because you can get stuck in this step forever.
If you want to, take this second draft and make additional changes. Don’t get stuck here. At some point, you need to share your vision with your team.

Step 7: Ask for Input

In step seven this is where you finally, and usually a little timidly, share your vision document with people you trust and that you can offer opinions on the document. Try to remember not to get defensive but listen attentively and take lots of notes. When you turn your vision into strategy, these suggestions might be valuable.
For my team, we all wrote our vision document independently, and then our coach merged them all without any author information. Before this coming Thursday, we will have all read and marked up each other’s documents to discuss as a group.
It should be interesting as even though we meet weekly and for some of us we have worked together for over 20 years, we are all going to have different approaches and biases as to how the future should look. I’m looking forward to reading the different visions and seeing where there is alignment and diversion.

Step 8: Share the vision with your Peeps

Remember that the vision is the why not the how. Keep this in mind when you explain your vision to your team. More than likely you will get many questions about “how” you are going to accomplish your vision, and there is also a good chance that your answer will be “I don’t know.” That’s totally OK this is the WHY you are going to do something, not the HOW.

Don’t let the haters get you down. You might have some of these two in your bigger group. Don’t let them bring you down. If this were easy, everyone would be an entrepreneur. It isn’t easy, but you got this.

Try it in your company and let me know how you make out. In an upcoming episode of the IT Provider Network we’ll go through turning your vision into the strategy to accomplish it, and if you are on the IT Provider Network mailing list, I will share with you our 2022 vision after its completed in the upcoming weeks. Sign up for the mailing list at www.itprovidernetwork.com/visioning.

Anyone that is signed up before I complete the document will get a copy in your inbox when it’s completed. This will be the only time you can get it so if you have been on the fence about signing up now is the time to do it.

PS:  The steps in this post come right from the man himself Ari Weinzweng you can hear an interview with him and Verne Harish on youtube.

 

]]>
Visioning and the Deli Man If you’re on the IT Provider Network mailing list you know that tomorrow at 5 am I am heading out to New Orleans for some team building and to soak in some fresh ideas at the Gazelles Summit. Come Together If you’re on the IT Provider Network mailing list you know that tomorrow at 5 am I am heading out to New Orleans for some team building and to soak in some fresh ideas at the Gazelles Summit.
Come Together
Because my management team is in 4 different states and three different time zones it’s going to take the better part of Monday to get everyone down south. We’ll get settled in then on Tuesday and Wednesday, the team along with our Gazelles Coach Doug Diamond will be at the summit.
The Gazelles Scaling Up Summit
The summit, or more formally, the Scaling Up Summit is tailored to business owners interested in growing their companies. Over the course of two days, we will learn from award-winning authors. Soak up some techniques and methods for building better leadership, strategy, marketing, sales, operations, and finance.
We will be in a room full of mid-market firms representing a variety of industries ($5 million to $500 million), for great interactive learning, networking, and idea-generation. This summit will be my second Gazelles event, and I am looking forward to it. I encourage you to attend events that are outside of the IT Industry to keep growing your company.
Then on Thursday, we have rented a private conference room, and the eight of us are going to go heads down into a visioning exercise. So that’s what I want to talk with you about today. Visioning, why you would want to do this and how you can do it in your company.
About Ari Weinzweig
At my first Gazelles Summit in 2016, I met Ari Weinzweig. He spoke on Leadership, and I purchased all his books. Ari is one of the co-founders of the Zimmerman Community of Businesses, some food-centric businesses in the Ann Arbor Michigan area of the united states. What started as a 1300 square foot deli in 1982 is now a 60 million dollar business with the deli still at the heart of it. For more information on Zingermans check out their About Us page. The Zingermans Community of Business or ZCOB employees over 600 people and now is over ten different food-related businesses.

You don’t grow a deli into a 60 million dollar business like that without visioning.
About My Grandson
Visioning is kind of like Walt Disney’s Imagineering, or for a better everyday example, it is what every young child does when they daydream. They never think about what’s NOT possible only what is possible. When my grandson Liam, who just turned four, is visioning he is building massive Lego cities, and waging battles with Batman and Joker. He doesn’t question batman's superpowers he assumes that he has them.

Visioning works the same way. It’s looking to the future and describing what success looks like then. It’s now the how to; it’s the motivation and the direction. It is what success then looks and feels like in the future.

Ari describes a successful vision as

• Inspiring. To everyone that will be involved in implementing it.
• Strategically sound. That is, we have a decent shot at making it happen.
• Documented. You e need to write your vision down to make it work.
• Communicated. Not only do you have record your vision but if you want it to be effective, you actually have to tell people about it too.
This is the How not the Why
Step 1: Pick your Visioning Topic
Because visioning can be used for just about anything, it's important to start by being clear about what you're working on. Next week the PICS Team is looking out to 2022, and we are visioning on the whole company. If you start using visioning for your company you could do visioning on the company, a division or department, a project or even a smaller event. The process is the same; you want to see what success looks like before you execute.
For most MSP’s, visioning should probably start at the organization or company level.]]>
Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean 16:45
Maybe your managed services offer sucks? http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/maybe-your-managed-services-offer-sucks/ Wed, 18 Apr 2018 15:15:07 +0000 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/?p=802 Yeah...maybe it does. Are you having problems landing new clients or converting your break-fix clients to managed services?  If that’s the case, maybe you should step back and look at how you're positioning your products and services in the market.   Maybe just maybe your offer sucks? In this episode of the IT Provider Network, I am going to share with you a new way of looking at how you communicate with your prospects and clients and how you can close more business. <INTRO> I’ve spent the last year or so really studying online marketing, and marketing and selling in general.  I’ve attended a ton of conferences, availed myself to some of the best thought leaders, and I’ve come to realize that I should have started studied the phycology of marketing and selling a lot sooner in my career. So much of what we do and say can influence the minds of the buyer.  I have talked about the belief of the sales team in recent episodes, but today I want to talk about the beliefs of the buyer and how what you offer and how you offer it is a big part of their buying decision. First, let's talk about your offering. What are you offering?  How are you pitching managed services to your clients?  If you like many of us, you are pitching some form of the four blocks that Gary Pica has traveled the world telling us about at conference after conference.   With all due respect to Gary, it’s old news, and there were probably three other managed services providers that already walked into your prospect and pitched the same thing. The Four Blocks If you haven’t heard of the four blocks, here's a quick introduction.  They consist of four distinct service groups. Centralized Services – This is everything you can do with your RMM tool. Patching, Disk Cleanups, Anti-Virus, Anti-Malware and all of the other stuff that you can leverage to your client base. Network Administration – This is what Gary calls you “Superpower”. Personally, it has never been for my company, but Network Administration consists of everything that you do for your clients to standardize them.  Network Administration is documentation, standards adoption, server maintenance and things like that. Helpdesk – This one is pretty self-explanatory and probably the bulk what most full-service MSP’s are really delivering regardless of what they are selling. Technical Consulting or VCIO - This is the part of your service delivery where your technical consultant which may be you meets with the client and helps them make a technology budget, strategize on future direction, and utilize technology in a way that moves them forward. If that looks a lot like your offering, congratulations, you have a commodity offering.   Except perhaps the last one, technical consulting, your prospect doesn’t really care. Unless they have had a significant security breach or some regulatory body is pressuring them,  they don’t care.  Patching, Spam, Virus,  they don’t care,  believe me, I’ve seen their eyes glaze over many many times. So how should you define your offering?  If you need to include more,  your offering needs to include things that fulfill THEIR desires and alleviates THEIR fears. Here’s a couple of tips on really zeroing in on what they want.   Remembers buyers don’t buy what they need; they buy what they want. What your prospect wants So what do they want... they want the same things you want as a business owner. To attract more business To be more competitive To have a more efficient workforce To put more money to the bottom line So let’s craft an offer that helps them achieve those things.   I know what you’re thinking,  but Terry I’m an IT guy, not a business consultant.  I get that.  I feel ya, but maybe we can craft an offer that incorporates what you do and deliver it in a way that gives the prospect what they want.   Start with a new offer. The first thing I would say is to start with a new offer. Yeah…maybe it does.

Are you having problems landing new clients or converting your break-fix clients to managed services?  If that’s the case, maybe you should step back and look at how you’re positioning your products and services in the market.   Maybe just maybe your offer sucks?

In this episode of the IT Provider Network, I am going to share with you a new way of looking at how you communicate with your prospects and clients and how you can close more business.

<INTRO>

I’ve spent the last year or so really studying online marketing, and marketing and selling in general.  I’ve attended a ton of conferences, availed myself to some of the best thought leaders, and I’ve come to realize that I should have started studied the phycology of marketing and selling a lot sooner in my career.

So much of what we do and say can influence the minds of the buyer.  I have talked about the belief of the sales team in recent episodes, but today I want to talk about the beliefs of the buyer and how what you offer and how you offer it is a big part of their buying decision.

First, let’s talk about your offering.

What are you offering?  How are you pitching managed services to your clients?  If you like many of us, you are pitching some form of the four blocks that Gary Pica has traveled the world telling us about at conference after conference.   With all due respect to Gary, it’s old news, and there were probably three other managed services providers that already walked into your prospect and pitched the same thing.

The Four Blocks

If you haven’t heard of the four blocks, here’s a quick introduction.  They consist of four distinct service groups.

  • Centralized Services – This is everything you can do with your RMM tool. Patching, Disk Cleanups, Anti-Virus, Anti-Malware and all of the other stuff that you can leverage to your client base.
  • Network Administration – This is what Gary calls you “Superpower”. Personally, it has never been for my company, but Network Administration consists of everything that you do for your clients to standardize them.  Network Administration is documentation, standards adoption, server maintenance and things like that.
  • Helpdesk – This one is pretty self-explanatory and probably the bulk what most full-service MSP’s are really delivering regardless of what they are selling.
  • Technical Consulting or VCIO – This is the part of your service delivery where your technical consultant which may be you meets with the client and helps them make a technology budget, strategize on future direction, and utilize technology in a way that moves them forward.

If that looks a lot like your offering, congratulations, you have a commodity offering.   Except perhaps the last one, technical consulting, your prospect doesn’t really care.

Unless they have had a significant security breach or some regulatory body is pressuring them,  they don’t care.  Patching, Spam, Virus,  they don’t care,  believe me, I’ve seen their eyes glaze over many many times.

So how should you define your offering?  If you need to include more,  your offering needs to include things that fulfill THEIR desires and alleviates THEIR fears.

Here’s a couple of tips on really zeroing in on what they want.   Remembers buyers don’t buy what they need; they buy what they want.

What your prospect wants

So what do they want… they want the same things you want as a business owner.

  • To attract more business
  • To be more competitive
  • To have a more efficient workforce
  • To put more money to the bottom line

So let’s craft an offer that helps them achieve those things.   I know what you’re thinking,  but Terry I’m an IT guy, not a business consultant.  I get that.  I feel ya, but maybe we can craft an offer that incorporates what you do and deliver it in a way that gives the prospect what they want.

 

Start with a new offer.

The first thing I would say is to start with a new offer.   What I mean is make your offer look like something entirely new in their eyes.  If it’s an improvement, they’ll be less likely to bite.

Let me explain.  If I gave you two options which one would you prefer?

  • Put an additive in your gas tank and get 50 miles per gallon making your car twice as efficient.
  • Get behind the wheel of an all-electric Tesla and get 50 miles per gallon.

Wouldn’t you go for the Tesla?   Is this making sense?

if you go in and tell them how break-fix doesn’t work, that the “old” IT guy was incentivized on their systems not running well you’d be right but you’d also be forcing your prospect to admit to themselves that they made a mistake.  They would also have a ton of pre-conceived notions about why any improvement to what already has failed will fail again.

There is a lot more to this, then the choice between a new car and an additive, but the gist of it is that to help your prospect to “improve” you need to get them to admit that they previously made a mistake with their old solution.  In their minds, they need to shed all the false beliefs that what your offering isn’t more of the same thing that has already failed them.

Improvements are hard and come with baggage – New offerings don’t.  They don’t require the buyer to wrestle with the fact that they already failed.

Does this make sense?

Address and break down their false beliefs

So what you want to do is shape your offering to address and break down their false beliefs.

We all have beliefs, and they guide us in our decisions.   Whether or not these beliefs are true they influence us.  When you pitch them your new offering, their minds will immediately fill with beliefs that have been formed from their experiences.

Figure out what experience or experiences have shaped the possible objections around your offering.     Figuring this out isn’t easy, but it’s key to your long-term success.

You know how hard it is to get a new appointment.   You need to improve on every one of them.   Whether or not you are the one going on the sales call or someone on your sales team.    You need to do a post-mortem on every appointment.  Document each and every question the prospect asked.  These questions will help you build stories around their objections and general questions.

Pre-Framing

Pre-Frame them.  Get them in a state of mind that they are receptive to your new offering.  Do this by telling stories that counteract their false beliefs.  Tell stories that include what they have traditionally done, tell them why it doesn’t work then show them why your offering does work.

Think about this example:

  • You’re at a conference and someone says, “There’s this MSP, Terry Rossi, who thinks he’s somebody, making a podcast for MSP’s.  You should hear it!  Go to itprovidernetwork.com”
  • You’re at a conference and someone says, “There’s this MSP, Terry Rossi,  he’s built an MSP that has been in the top MSP’s worldwide for the last six years, You should hear it! Go to itprovidernetwork.com

Those two statements have pre-framed you to think differently about me before you ever saw or heard my offering.

You need to start working on this.  Be intentional about it.  You’re going to feel uncomfortable at first with it but roll with it.   Everybody sucks at the beginning.  You’ll get better, and the stories will flow easier.  If you can’t include yourself or your company in the story, then borrow someone else’s story.  That’s ok too.  Don’t lie but they don’t need to be your stories.

It’s Iterative

Remember that as you plant new stories in their mind, the buyer will have new objections.  They may not voice them but they will pop into their heads.  Anticipate them and keep displacing them during your conversation.  You can say something like,  “You may be thinking…”.

The pre-framing stories, will dispel their false beliefs and lead them to their own conclusions, the conclusion that you want.

The conclusion that your offer is the correct one.

All without selling, you’re telling stories, and they are changing their minds.

Position your company as the only solution

Now that you’ve redefined your offering, you’re addressing the wants of your prospect instead of what you think they need.

I want you to remember to pitch your offering with absolute conviction.  Your solution is the only solution for your client.

Address the things they desire the most – profit, revenue, productivity, uptime, whatever you come up with.  The desires that you derived from the notes from your previous appointments.  Use those wants to make them believe that the only way to get them is with your offering.  What you are offering today.  Right then and there.

The Last Thing…The One Thing

And remember the last thing you say,  the last thing you talk about is going to be the thing that they remember.  Make sure you leave them with your best stuff.  Close strong with a recap of all the parts of your offer.  If you don’t recap it they are only going to remember the last feature or benefit.  Recap it all

That’s it for episode 32 of the IT Provider Network.  I received some great feedback from listeners this week, and for that, I am truly grateful.  Thank you for listening!

Let me know what you think of this episode?   Shoot me an email at terry@itprovidernetwork.com

If you have a moment, please head over to iTunes or Stitcher or where ever you listen to the IT Provider Network and give me a rating and review.  Each one of them really makes my day.

 

]]>
Yeah...maybe it does. Are you having problems landing new clients or converting your break-fix clients to managed services?  If that’s the case, maybe you should step back and look at how you're positioning your products and services in the market. Are you having problems landing new clients or converting your break-fix clients to managed services?  If that’s the case, maybe you should step back and look at how you're positioning your products and services in the market.   Maybe just maybe your offer sucks?

In this episode of the IT Provider Network, I am going to share with you a new way of looking at how you communicate with your prospects and clients and how you can close more business.

<INTRO>

I’ve spent the last year or so really studying online marketing, and marketing and selling in general.  I’ve attended a ton of conferences, availed myself to some of the best thought leaders, and I’ve come to realize that I should have started studied the phycology of marketing and selling a lot sooner in my career.

So much of what we do and say can influence the minds of the buyer.  I have talked about the belief of the sales team in recent episodes, but today I want to talk about the beliefs of the buyer and how what you offer and how you offer it is a big part of their buying decision.

First, let's talk about your offering.

What are you offering?  How are you pitching managed services to your clients?  If you like many of us, you are pitching some form of the four blocks that Gary Pica has traveled the world telling us about at conference after conference.   With all due respect to Gary, it’s old news, and there were probably three other managed services providers that already walked into your prospect and pitched the same thing.
The Four Blocks
If you haven’t heard of the four blocks, here's a quick introduction.  They consist of four distinct service groups.

* Centralized Services – This is everything you can do with your RMM tool. Patching, Disk Cleanups, Anti-Virus, Anti-Malware and all of the other stuff that you can leverage to your client base.
* Network Administration – This is what Gary calls you “Superpower”. Personally, it has never been for my company, but Network Administration consists of everything that you do for your clients to standardize them.  Network Administration is documentation, standards adoption, server maintenance and things like that.
* Helpdesk – This one is pretty self-explanatory and probably the bulk what most full-service MSP’s are really delivering regardless of what they are selling.
* Technical Consulting or VCIO - This is the part of your service delivery where your technical consultant which may be you meets with the client and helps them make a technology budget, strategize on future direction, and utilize technology in a way that moves them forward.

If that looks a lot like your offering, congratulations, you have a commodity offering.   Except perhaps the last one, technical consulting, your prospect doesn’t really care.

Unless they have had a significant security breach or some regulatory body is pressuring them,  they don’t care.  Patching, Spam, Virus,  they don’t care,  believe me, I’ve seen their eyes glaze over many many times.

So how should you define your offering?  If you need to include more,  your offering needs to include things that fulfill THEIR desires and alleviates THEIR fears.

Here’s a couple of tips on really zeroing in on what they want.   Remembers buyers don’t buy what they need; they buy what they want.
What your prospect wants
So what do they want... they want the same things you want as a business owner.

* To attract more business
* To be more competitive
* To have a more efficient workforce
* To put more money to the bottom line

]]>
Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean 14:00
Outsourcing your appointment setting – ITPN-EP31 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/outsourcing-your-appointment-setting-itpn-ep31/ Thu, 29 Mar 2018 00:32:56 +0000 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/?p=793 In the last episode of the IT Provider Network, Episode 30, we talked about building an inside/outside sales organization within your company. In today's episode, I want to share with you my recent experiences outsourcing telemarketing and appointment to a 3rd party. INTRO Episode 31 has taken quite a while to get recorded. I have had a crazy end to the winter. I attended three different conferences and launched the beginnings of another business. My first conference was PodFest 2018 in Orlando. Podfest is an excellent niche event for independent podcasters. Over the last two years, it has really exploded as more and more people are becoming aware of podcasts. Companies like NPR and podcasts like Serial have done a lot to bring podcasts more mainstream. The second conference I attended was Traffic and Conversion in San Diego. I have to tell you it's nice to go to sunny California in the middle of a noreaster back east. Traffic and Conversion is a large conference focusing on the latest tips and tricks to get more people to your website and convert more of those visitors to buyers. I learned a lot, but when I was done, I thought my head was going to explore. I put a couple of videos on Instagram with some good takeaways, if you're interested you can follow me @TerryRossi on Instagram. Drop me a DM and let me know you're a podcast listener and I will follow you back. Last weekend I was at a conference for my new business. Before I tell you what it is, you have to promise not to judge. I am going into the Specialty Coffee business. I have a roaster, and my business partner and I are building a cafe'. I am like a madman learning the art and skills required to one day make great coffee and some tasty treats. Right now the coffee I am roasting tastes like crap, but it is getting better with every roast. Like the computer business, there is SO MUCH to learn. I am really enjoying it. I know this sounds bizarre, but I have been involved in the hospitality industry since I was 13 so it's not that far off base... ok maybe a little. So CoffeeFest in Baltimore was the third conference I attended just last week. And now I am down in Orlando again for Funnel Hackers Live, Russell Brunson's event learning about sales funnels and all the people that make millions selling weight loss and supplements and dreams! Why? Because I can, and I am genuinely interested. I heard a quote today from Gary Vaynerchuk. He said, and I am paraphrasing, without the f-bombs, our smartphones are like the TV sets of the 1960's, and he's right. We have built-in distribution, built-in networks and all we need to do is build shows and create audiences. I encourage all of you to build your audiences and figure out how to keep selling to them. And most importantly do what floats your boat. This isn't a dress rehearsal. So make a long story short, that's what has taken me so long to get this podcast out the door. About Outsourcing your Appointment Setting So back to the business at hand. Should you outsource your appointment setting or built it up in-house. Well, I'll cut to the chase, and tell you, I don't know. As I mentioned in Episode 30 of the IT Provider Network podcast, I had an inside sales, telemarketer, appointment setter for almost ten years. He was heads down, nose to the grindstone, dialing for dollars all day every day BUT I think I was really lucky. I had one guy for ten years making 80 dials a day. I think that's an anomaly. I think it is more typical that you would be hiring someone almost continuously. They are a different breed, and if you are a small business with one caller, it will be hard to keep and motivate that person. I'm not saying it can't be done just that you might spend a good amount of time, hiring, training and firing people that don't get it done or fit your culture. The caller in a smaller MSP could be on an island. Being told NO most of the day and being the only one in your department... In the last episode of the IT Provider Network, Episode 30, we talked about building an inside/outside sales organization within your company. In today's episode, I want to share with you my recent experiences outsourcing telemarketing and appointment ...
INTRO

Episode 31 has taken quite a while to get recorded. I have had a crazy end to the winter. I attended three different conferences and launched the beginnings of another business. My first conference was PodFest 2018 in Orlando. Podfest is an excellent niche event for independent podcasters. Over the last two years, it has really exploded as more and more people are becoming aware of podcasts.
Companies like NPR and podcasts like Serial have done a lot to bring podcasts more mainstream.

The second conference I attended was Traffic and Conversion in San Diego. I have to tell you it's nice to go to sunny California in the middle of a noreaster back east. Traffic and Conversion is a large conference focusing on the latest tips and tricks to get more people to your website and convert more of those visitors to buyers. I learned a lot, but when I was done, I thought my head was going to explore. I put a couple of videos on Instagram with some good takeaways, if you're interested you can follow me @TerryRossi on Instagram. Drop me a DM and let me know you're a podcast listener and I will follow you back.

Last weekend I was at a conference for my new business. Before I tell you what it is, you have to promise not to judge. I am going into the Specialty Coffee business. I have a roaster, and my business partner and I are building a cafe'.

I am like a madman learning the art and skills required to one day make great coffee and some tasty treats. Right now the coffee I am roasting tastes like crap, but it is getting better with every roast.
Like the computer business, there is SO MUCH to learn. I am really enjoying it.

I know this sounds bizarre, but I have been involved in the hospitality industry since I was 13 so it's not that far off base... ok maybe a little.

So CoffeeFest in Baltimore was the third conference I attended just last week.

And now I am down in Orlando again for Funnel Hackers Live, Russell Brunson's event learning about sales funnels and all the people that make millions selling weight loss and supplements and dreams!

Why? Because I can, and I am genuinely interested. I heard a quote today from Gary Vaynerchuk. He said, and I am paraphrasing, without the f-bombs, our smartphones are like the TV sets of the 1960's, and he's right. We have built-in distribution, built-in networks and all we need to do is build shows and create audiences. I encourage all of you to build your audiences and figure out how to keep selling to them. And most importantly do what floats your boat. This isn't a dress rehearsal.

So make a long story short, that's what has taken me so long to get this podcast out the door.

About Outsourcing your Appointment Setting

So back to the business at hand. Should you outsource your appointment setting or built it up in-house. Well, I'll cut to the chase, and tell you, I don't know.

As I mentioned in Episode 30 of the IT Provider Network podcast, I had an inside sales, telemarketer, appointment setter for almost ten years. He was heads down, nose to the grindstone, dialing for dollars all day every day BUT I think I was really lucky. I had one guy for ten years making 80 dials a day. I think that's an anomaly.

I think it is more typical that you would be hiring someone almost continuously. They are a different breed, and if you are a small business with one caller, it will be hard to keep and motivate that person.
]]>
Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean 9:32
Inside Sales Process Build or Buy? – ITPN-EP30 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/inside-sales-process-build-or-buy-itpn-ep30/ Sun, 25 Feb 2018 13:39:58 +0000 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/?p=783 Inside Sales and Appointment Setting Build or Buy One of the questions I hear the most is how can we get more leads so we can build our business. Well, there are a few ways you can do it, and today I want to share with you my experiences with telemarketing or appointment setting. At our MSP we have experience in both building an in-house inside sales program and more recently outsourcing it to an industry-specific appointment setting service. In the next two episodes of the IT Provider Network Podcast, I'm going to be talking about the ugly truth behind appointment setting, inside sales or telemarketing or what every term you use for dialing for dollars. Today lets talk about building an inside sales operation. <INTRO> Building your Team As I am recording this February is coming to a close. We have had a wild two months so far this year at our MSP. We have two new people on our sales team, and my a-number-one closer has been promoted to our chief revenue officer. It's always great to promote from within, but it presents some level of risk as well. What if your best salesperson is not a great leader? Have you just simultaneously lost your best salesperson and made a bad hire? It happens all the time. Like any hire, you want to do your best to make sure the candidate you're considering is the best candidate for the job. Lucky for us, this internal promotion is working out great. He is building a team and doing his best to do what he always does take care of our customers and help us build the company. My First Salesperson If I flash back to 2008, I hired my first salesperson for the MSP side of our business. It was an older guy that was seasoned in sales or though I thought. It's hard to remember the details now, but I know my thought process was "let's bring on a sales guy" and build an MSP. One guy can handle everything, cold calling, networking, proposal generating, and closing. In reality, he wasn't a great salesperson, and I was nuts to think that any one person could be truly proficient in all those sales activities. Luckily both of us knew we needed some help and this "older guy" and I say this in quotes, recruited one of his former co-workers. This former co-worker was now out CRO and in late 2008 my inside/outside sales team was born. That's what I called it inside and outside sales. Inside sales were responsible for two main things cold calling and database maintenance. Outside sales were responsible for everything else. Everything after the 1st appointment was scheduled, that was the responsibility of outside sales. Building an Inside-Outside Sales Process There were a bunch of things we had to do to get this inside-outside sales process to work, and I guess it started with finding and buying a cold list. Back in 2008, we decided on using Hoovers for our list purchase because they had an offering that was pretty unique at the time. Instead of just buying a list with some defined criteria, we could use a data selection form and just export records from Hoovers into our PSA. In our case, this was ConnectWise Manage. As our needs changed we could change our export criteria. Hoovers is now part of D&B, and they seem to offer the same type of service. I haven't purchased anything from D&B Hoovers since 2016, but back then it was about $5000 a year for 10,000 downloads. About two bucks a record if you manage to extract all 10,000 leads. For the 5k you were able to have up to 3 users and use more functionality. For me though all I wanted was the data extract. We also have bought "lists" from places like the local chamber of commerce, the local TIP club, and other vendors but the bulk of our original list which we still mine today is from Hoovers. Whatever service or list you buy know that it is a cold list, meaning that these companies and contacts have probably never heard of you and the data in the list is going to need some work to be useful. Inside Sales and Appointment Setting Build or Buy One of the questions I hear the most is how can we get more leads so we can build our business. Well, there are a few ways you can do it, and today I want to share with you my experiences with telemar... Build or Buy
One of the questions I hear the most is how can we get more leads so we can build our business. Well, there are a few ways you can do it, and today I want to share with you my experiences with telemarketing or appointment setting. At our MSP we have experience in both building an in-house inside sales program and more recently outsourcing it to an industry-specific appointment setting service.

In the next two episodes of the IT Provider Network Podcast, I'm going to be talking about the ugly truth behind appointment setting, inside sales or telemarketing or what every term you use for dialing for dollars.

Today lets talk about building an inside sales operation.

<INTRO>
Building your Team
As I am recording this February is coming to a close. We have had a wild two months so far this year at our MSP. We have two new people on our sales team, and my a-number-one closer has been promoted to our chief revenue officer.

It's always great to promote from within, but it presents some level of risk as well. What if your best salesperson is not a great leader? Have you just simultaneously lost your best salesperson and made a bad hire? It happens all the time. Like any hire, you want to do your best to make sure the candidate you're considering is the best candidate for the job.

Lucky for us, this internal promotion is working out great. He is building a team and doing his best to do what he always does take care of our customers and help us build the company.
My First Salesperson
If I flash back to 2008, I hired my first salesperson for the MSP side of our business. It was an older guy that was seasoned in sales or though I thought. It's hard to remember the details now, but I know my thought process was "let's bring on a sales guy" and build an MSP. One guy can handle everything, cold calling, networking, proposal generating, and closing.

In reality, he wasn't a great salesperson, and I was nuts to think that any one person could be truly proficient in all those sales activities. Luckily both of us knew we needed some help and this "older guy" and I say this in quotes, recruited one of his former co-workers. This former co-worker was now out CRO and in late 2008 my inside/outside sales team was born.

That's what I called it inside and outside sales. Inside sales were responsible for two main things cold calling and database maintenance. Outside sales were responsible for everything else. Everything after the 1st appointment was scheduled, that was the responsibility of outside sales.
Building an Inside-Outside Sales Process
There were a bunch of things we had to do to get this inside-outside sales process to work, and I guess it started with finding and buying a cold list. Back in 2008, we decided on using Hoovers for our list purchase because they had an offering that was pretty unique at the time. Instead of just buying a list with some defined criteria, we could use a data selection form and just export records from Hoovers into our PSA. In our case, this was ConnectWise Manage. As our needs changed we could change our export criteria.

Hoovers is now part of D&B, and they seem to offer the same type of service. I haven't purchased anything from D&B Hoovers since 2016, but back then it was about $5000 a year for 10,000 downloads.

About two bucks a record if you manage to extract all 10,000 leads. For the 5k you were able to have up to 3 users and use more functionality. For me though all I wanted was the data extract.

We also have bought "lists" from places like the local chamber of commerce, the local TIP club, and other vendors but the bulk of our original list which we still mine today is from Hoovers.

]]>
Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean 16:40
Employee Success Plans – Helping your Employees Succeed – ITPN-029 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/employee-success-plans-helping-employees-succeed-itpn-029/ Sun, 04 Feb 2018 18:51:20 +0000 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/?p=773 Hello Again! Hi before we get started on Employee Success Plans I wanted to take a minute to re-introduce myself. My name is Terry Rossi and I am the co-founder of an award-winning Company (I always wanted to say that, in the 23 years we have been in business I never have).   We are a company with two halves.   We develop, sell and implement an enterprise document management solution to manufacturers all over the world and we are an MSP, we provide outsourced IT services to companies in the New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York City area. I started this podcast about one year ago, this week I think, as a way to help others that are either just starting out, or stuck crossing the chasm in growing or scaling their company. My business partner and I have weathered many storms since we started and through it all we have always been profitable, we have always been able to pay our people.   We’ve done a lot of things right but we’ve also made a lot of mistakes. It’s from those mistakes I hope you can learn something that you can bring back to your business. Something that will help you, build, grow or scale your business. About PICS ITech Our MSP, PICS Itech,  is HQ’ed in Mt. Holly NJ in a building that we own.   At this time we are employing just under 30 people and we have many employees that have surpassed 10, even 20 years with the company.   I am proud of that fact, and it is sound like I bragging, I might be a little but really I am trying to impress on you that you can grow and scale your business and compete with the best in the world.   We are currently working in over 17 countries for some of the largest company names in the world and we are a small little technology company in the suburbs of Philadelphia. My role in the company is basically to head up the MSP division and act as the COO for the company. I have my hands in everything from IT, service delivery, marketing, sales, finance, vendor relations, and unclogging the sink when it needs it. If this is your first time listening to the IT Provider Network podcast, thank you for tuning in.   The podcast is the first part of the IT Provider Network. Later this year I will be announcing some exciting community and collaborations announcements, online courses that I am working on and other in-depth ways the IT Provider Network can help you.   I have several coaching clients now but my schedule is such that I won’t be able to work with all of you one-on-one so figuring out some group offerings is high on my list. So without Further ado, here's episode 29 of the IT Provider Network Podcast. <intro>   Employee Success Plans   As you know in our company we do a lot of planning and goal setting.   Each year we sit down in Q4 and plan the annual initiatives for the next year. We plan these at the company level but as soon as we have decided on what the company is going to focus on for the next 12 months we immediately start to break those initiatives down to smaller more manageable chunks. How we do it is that we break them down by division.  If you remember we have two distinct divisions on our company, a software development division that sells a product to manufacturers worldwide and a managed services division that provides outsourced IT services in our regional area.   So we start by breaking down the initiatives by division.   Then by quarter. We have found that 90 days is the right amount of time to get our “rocks” or goals down. What I want to talk to you today is how we break these rocks down to each and every employee that works at PICS.   We do this with something we call our Employee Success Plans or ESP’s. Manage To Win The concept of an ESP was part of a hiring system I purchased from a great leadership coach named David Russell. Many of you probably know David, he is at a lot of the industry trade shows and also has a podcast called NO BAD BOSSES where he interviews business leaders but David’s bread and butter is from his... Hello Again! Hi before we get started on Employee Success Plans I wanted to take a minute to re-introduce myself. My name is Terry Rossi and I am the co-founder of an award-winning Company (I always wanted to say that, Hi before we get started on Employee Success Plans I wanted to take a minute to re-introduce myself. My name is Terry Rossi and I am the co-founder of an award-winning Company (I always wanted to say that, in the 23 years we have been in business I never have).   We are a company with two halves.   We develop, sell and implement an enterprise document management solution to manufacturers all over the world and we are an MSP, we provide outsourced IT services to companies in the New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York City area.

I started this podcast about one year ago, this week I think, as a way to help others that are either just starting out, or stuck crossing the chasm in growing or scaling their company. My business partner and I have weathered many storms since we started and through it all we have always been profitable, we have always been able to pay our people.

 

We’ve done a lot of things right but we’ve also made a lot of mistakes. It’s from those mistakes I hope you can learn something that you can bring back to your business. Something that will help you, build, grow or scale your business.
About PICS ITech
Our MSP, PICS Itech,  is HQ’ed in Mt. Holly NJ in a building that we own.   At this time we are employing just under 30 people and we have many employees that have surpassed 10, even 20 years with the company.   I am proud of that fact, and it is sound like I bragging, I might be a little but really I am trying to impress on you that you can grow and scale your business and compete with the best in the world.   We are currently working in over 17 countries for some of the largest company names in the world and we are a small little technology company in the suburbs of Philadelphia.

My role in the company is basically to head up the MSP division and act as the COO for the company. I have my hands in everything from IT, service delivery, marketing, sales, finance, vendor relations, and unclogging the sink when it needs it.

If this is your first time listening to the IT Provider Network podcast, thank you for tuning in.   The podcast is the first part of the IT Provider Network. Later this year I will be announcing some exciting community and collaborations announcements, online courses that I am working on and other in-depth ways the IT Provider Network can help you.   I have several coaching clients now but my schedule is such that I won’t be able to work with all of you one-on-one so figuring out some group offerings is high on my list.

So without Further ado, here's episode 29 of the IT Provider Network Podcast.

<intro>

 
Employee Success Plans
 

As you know in our company we do a lot of planning and goal setting.   Each year we sit down in Q4 and plan the annual initiatives for the next year. We plan these at the company level but as soon as we have decided on what the company is going to focus on for the next 12 months we immediately start to break those initiatives down to smaller more manageable chunks.

How we do it is that we break them down by division.  If you remember we have two distinct divisions on our company, a software development division that sells a product to manufacturers worldwide and a managed services division that provides outsourced IT services in our regional area.   So we start by breaking down the initiatives by division.   Then by quarter. We have found that 90 days is the right amount of time to get our “rocks” or goals down.

What I want to talk to you today is how we break these rocks down to each and every employee that works at PICS.   We do this with something we call our Employee Success Plans or ...]]>
Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean 12:05
Taking a Good Look at your Team – ITPN-028 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/taking-a-good-look-at-your-team-itpn-028/ Sun, 28 Jan 2018 17:05:23 +0000 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/?p=760 Taking a good hard look at your team If you have listened to the IT Provider Network for any amount of time, and thank you for doing that, you will know that I am a big fan of outside coaches.   Mostly to help me do better at things that I am not good at, like taking a good hard look at my team and helping my find A Players. Oh before I forget,  one of my favorite coaching teams is Chris Brogan and Rob Hatch.  I am a member of their Owner Insiders group and I just received notice that the pricing is going up.   If you listened to this podcast you know that by using this link RIGHT AWAY you might be able to still get the old pricing and save yourself about a grand a year.  Either way, it is a great value but signup now to get the grandfathered pricing that I have. Owner Insider Group Signup In this episode of the IT Provider Network podcast, I am going to share with you some of the strategies we have implemented when looking at the number one resource in our company; our team members. Q1 is almost over - Is Time Flying or Standing Still Here we are almost two months into the new year and two third through the first quarter. Time really flies when you’re having fun.   It also crawls when you’re not.   Dealing with personnel issues is when time stands still for me. I despise it. The Land of Misfit Toys I can’t comment on your business but sometimes in mine, it seems like the land of misfit toys. If I am being honest we have some great people but we have some less than great people too. I haven’t always been the best at hiring, and sometimes my hiring choices were based on an immediate need, not a well thought out process.   You know what I'm talking about when your ONLY engineer quits and you are forced to do all the work. Those kinds of hires. Been there done that. But I digress. I’ve grown since then and thankfully so has our company.  I have built resilience in my team, processes, and documentation so that our company is not so reliant on one person Rest assured,  that wasn’t always the case. Even though this episode is not about hiring I will tell you that you need to strive to remove as much of the emotion from your hiring process, be as objective as possible and think carefully about your hires. Look for A Players to fill every role.   Chances are you will be living with your decisions for a long time. It's in the way we communicate I have a new thought and it is my mantra for 2018. What separates us from the competition is NOT our team but the way we communicate with our clients. Every company in the world brags that they have the best people, or the best team and most of them really believe that they do but the truth of the matter is that we all can’t have the best people.   We just can’t.   Even though we all can't have the best team we can do everything possible to make ours better. So what can you do to continually improve your team and leverage the most expensive, most important resource in your company?  What can you do to improve your team?   What can you do to continually raise the performance bar of your company so that you can achieve WORLD DOMINATION?   Well in the next two episodes of the IT Provider Network I am going to present two techniques that we have implemented in our company. In this episode, I am going to talk about ABC Rankings and in Episode 29 I’ll be telling you how we use ESP’s or Employee Success Plans.   Using these techniques together I think go a long way to build excellent teams. ABC Ranking -  Not your grandfathers forced ranking First, let’s talk about ABC ranking. This is the process of ranking your team into A players, B players and C players.   It’s highly controversial mostly from what is referred to as “forced ranking” or “stacked ranking”. The difference of between ABC ranking and forced ranking is that in forced ranking everyone fits in one place on the bell curve. The top 20% is are the A players and the middle 70% are the B players and finally, Taking a good hard look at your team If you have listened to the IT Provider Network for any amount of time, and thank you for doing that, you will know that I am a big fan of outside coaches.   Mostly to help me do better at things that I am not good... If you have listened to the IT Provider Network for any amount of time, and thank you for doing that, you will know that I am a big fan of outside coaches.   Mostly to help me do better at things that I am not good at, like taking a good hard look at my team and helping my find A Players.

Oh before I forget,  one of my favorite coaching teams is Chris Brogan and Rob Hatch.  I am a member of their Owner Insiders group and I just received notice that the pricing is going up.   If you listened to this podcast you know that by using this link RIGHT AWAY you might be able to still get the old pricing and save yourself about a grand a year.  Either way, it is a great value but signup now to get the grandfathered pricing that I have.

Owner Insider Group Signup

In this episode of the IT Provider Network podcast, I am going to share with you some of the strategies we have implemented when looking at the number one resource in our company; our team members.
Q1 is almost over - Is Time Flying or Standing Still
Here we are almost two months into the new year and two third through the first quarter. Time really flies when you’re having fun.   It also crawls when you’re not.   Dealing with personnel issues is when time stands still for me. I despise it.
The Land of Misfit Toys
I can’t comment on your business but sometimes in mine, it seems like the land of misfit toys. If I am being honest we have some great people but we have some less than great people too. I haven’t always been the best at hiring, and sometimes my hiring choices were based on an immediate need, not a well thought out process.   You know what I'm talking about when your ONLY engineer quits and you are forced to do all the work. Those kinds of hires. Been there done that.

But I digress.

I’ve grown since then and thankfully so has our company.  I have built resilience in my team, processes, and documentation so that our company is not so reliant on one person Rest assured,  that wasn’t always the case. Even though this episode is not about hiring I will tell you that you need to strive to remove as much of the emotion from your hiring process, be as objective as possible and think carefully about your hires. Look for A Players to fill every role.   Chances are you will be living with your decisions for a long time.
It's in the way we communicate
I have a new thought and it is my mantra for 2018. What separates us from the competition is NOT our team but the way we communicate with our clients. Every company in the world brags that they have the best people, or the best team and most of them really believe that they do but the truth of the matter is that we all can’t have the best people.   We just can’t.   Even though we all can't have the best team we can do everything possible to make ours better.

So what can you do to continually improve your team and leverage the most expensive, most important resource in your company?  What can you do to improve your team?   What can you do to continually raise the performance bar of your company so that you can achieve WORLD DOMINATION?

 

Well in the next two episodes of the IT Provider Network I am going to present two techniques that we have implemented in our company. In this episode, I am going to talk about ABC Rankings and in Episode 29 I’ll be telling you how we use ESP’s or Employee Success Plans.   Using these techniques together I think go a long way to build excellent teams.
ABC Ranking -  Not your grandfathers forced ranking
First, let’s talk about ABC ranking. This is the process of ranking your team into A players, B players and C players.   It’s highly controversial mostly from what is referred to as “forced ranking” or “st...]]>
Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean 20:49
If you want to 10x your MSP you need the right mindset – ITPN-EP27 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/want-10x-msp-need-right-mindset-itpn-ep27/ Fri, 12 Jan 2018 02:16:44 +0000 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/?p=745 Want to 10x your MSP? Some people say that 10x’ing your business is easier than doubling it. Doubling it requires you to make continuous small improvements. You’re using your current people, processes, and capabilities but just trying harder.   Striving for 10x growth, on the other hand, requires whole new levels of creativity and innovation. It means making massive steps forward in your businesses efficiency, your resourcefulness and value creation you create. In today’s episode of the IT Provider Network, I am going to share with you 3 changes you need to make in your mindset to set you up for 10x growth. Then I share with you five actionable items you can use to achieve it. Start with your mindset Who are you hanging out with? The first thing you need to evaluate is who are you hanging around with? Who are you spending your time with? Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously coined the phrase that we are the average of the five people you hang around with,  the five people you spend the most time with. Rohn’s rule suggests that the five people you spend the most time with shape who you are. Its based on the law of averages, which states that “the result of any given situation will be the average of all outcomes.” Were in business, we know many people, but the few who are closest to us have the most significant impact on our way of thinking and our decisions. I would add that I have always felt the 5th person is you. Your thoughts, fears, and conditioning greatly affect your ability to succeed. Free yourself from the relationships that are holding you back. Free your mind from the messes you have made over the years. Try to up-level the people around you. I hate to say "up-level" but find people that have traits or skills that you need and admire and get close to them. One of the best ways to do this if you don’t have a large circle of friends or if you live in a rural area is by joining a mastermind group. I think of a mastermind group as a group of like-minded people that are equally vested in their success and want to share with others like them. Get out of your office, go work from a conference room. Change your surroundings, your peeps and start to change your life. You need Confidence You need confidence and confidence isn’t something everyone is born with. It’s a muscle and one way to exercise it is to continually celebrate your wins and use them to gain insight into how you can improve your efforts in the future. Every Monday our leadership team has our weekly huddle. We start it off by going around the room and sharing 5 minutes of personal and professional good news from the previous week. For over a year I struggled to share some good news with the team, our meetings are on Monday and I honestly couldn’t remember anything that didn’t occur in the last 24 hours. Sad but true. My achievements for the week were gone from my memory. When I started thinking about it, the problem was much bigger than my weekly huddle. I had no written record of my achievements or my company’s achievements, of my wins, of the company wins. How could I adequately celebrate our wins and tout our accomplishments if I couldn’t remember them? From that point on I started jotting down achievements in my one-note as soon as they happened. There are lots of ways to do this including a daily journal. For me, I just make a note in an ongoing one-note page and then I have it to refer to. Break it down Break down your activities into smaller tasks so that you can celebrate each task being completed as a win. For example, if you had a new years resolution to get to the gym, don’t just put “go to the gym” on your task list. Put get a water bottle, check. Lay out clothes, check. Charge Headphones, check. Plan workout routine, check. Drive to Gym, check and finally Lift More than before, check. By breaking this down, you have much more opportunities for l wins, all of which help build confidence. Want to 10x your MSP? Some people say that 10x’ing your business is easier than doubling it. Doubling it requires you to make continuous small improvements. You’re using your current people, processes, and capabilities but just trying harder. Some people say that 10x’ing your business is easier than doubling it. Doubling it requires you to make continuous small improvements. You’re using your current people, processes, and capabilities but just trying harder.   Striving for 10x growth, on the other hand, requires whole new levels of creativity and innovation. It means making massive steps forward in your businesses efficiency, your resourcefulness and value creation you create.

In today’s episode of the IT Provider Network, I am going to share with you 3 changes you need to make in your mindset to set you up for 10x growth. Then I share with you five actionable items you can use to achieve it.
Start with your mindset
Who are you hanging out with?
The first thing you need to evaluate is who are you hanging around with? Who are you spending your time with?

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously coined the phrase that we are the average of the five people you hang around with,  the five people you spend the most time with.

Rohn’s rule suggests that the five people you spend the most time with shape who you are. Its based on the law of averages, which states that “the result of any given situation will be the average of all outcomes.” Were in business, we know many people, but the few who are closest to us have the most significant impact on our way of thinking and our decisions.

I would add that I have always felt the 5th person is you. Your thoughts, fears, and conditioning greatly affect your ability to succeed. Free yourself from the relationships that are holding you back. Free your mind from the messes you have made over the years.

Try to up-level the people around you. I hate to say "up-level" but find people that have traits or skills that you need and admire and get close to them. One of the best ways to do this if you don’t have a large circle of friends or if you live in a rural area is by joining a mastermind group. I think of a mastermind group as a group of like-minded people that are equally vested in their success and want to share with others like them.

Get out of your office, go work from a conference room. Change your surroundings, your peeps and start to change your life.
You need Confidence
You need confidence and confidence isn’t something everyone is born with. It’s a muscle and one way to exercise it is to continually celebrate your wins and use them to gain insight into how you can improve your efforts in the future.

Every Monday our leadership team has our weekly huddle. We start it off by going around the room and sharing 5 minutes of personal and professional good news from the previous week. For over a year I struggled to share some good news with the team, our meetings are on Monday and I honestly couldn’t remember anything that didn’t occur in the last 24 hours. Sad but true.

My achievements for the week were gone from my memory. When I started thinking about it, the problem was much bigger than my weekly huddle. I had no written record of my achievements or my company’s achievements, of my wins, of the company wins. How could I adequately celebrate our wins and tout our accomplishments if I couldn’t remember them? From that point on I started jotting down achievements in my one-note as soon as they happened. There are lots of ways to do this including a daily journal. For me, I just make a note in an ongoing one-note page and then I have it to refer to.
Break it down
]]>
Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean 18:04
All I want for Christmas is an EASY Button – ITPN – EP26 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/want-christmas-easy-button-itpn-ep26/ Fri, 22 Dec 2017 16:55:28 +0000 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/?p=727 All I want for Christmas is an Easy Button. Doesn't everybody?   Don't you just want to pay a monthly fee to a coach and have your sales problems disappear? How about by a marketing program and have the leads fly in? Or Pick up a reporting tool and have your BDR's go really easy. We all want an easy button and guess what? So do our clients.   <INTRO> You need to Pay Attention I have a huge client that I have had for many years.  I started providing MSP services to them in 2008 and have steadily grown with them as they have developed.   In 2008 they had 95 desktops, and now they have 315.  For the last several years I have also had an employee on site at their campus, and the client is worth over 50k a month to me. I know this because I am preparing to meet with them at the beginning of the year to talk about our services,  to talk about our relationship.   We're having this meeting because we made a couple of stupid mistakes. My Spider senses were tingling For the last three months or so I have been telling my service manager and sales team that we need to get out to the customer and meet with the principles.  We have been working with them so long that most of the conversations we have are with upper managers but not the partners in the business.   I had this feeling; you know that little tingling in places you don't want tingling when you're talking about business.   My spider senses were tingling and I didn't like it. Sure enough,  my phone rang,  it was this client, and when they call me it's never good.  They wanted to have a meeting with me to discuss a few things.. At the top of the list were agreements and billing. Here is what happened.  Over the years we had taken away their easy button. In 2008 I presented to them an all-in approach to IT.  They loved it and signed up right away.  We signed two agreements that year with them.   One for our managed services program and one for a BDR. How did we get here? In 2017, 9 years later we had no less than 7 agreements with them and when I pulled the last three months of invoices there was a stack over a 1/2 thick.   We had our managed services agreement, our onsite employee or streamlined IT agreements, 3 BDR agreements, a MAC support agreement and a Remote DBA agreement.  All with slightly different billing details, expiration dates, and pricing deals.    To make matters worse because we never wanted to rock the boat all of these agreements were on our "old paper".  The original version of our MSP contracts from 2008.   We had taken away their easy button.   As I started thinking about this, everything I touched seemed to come back to the lack of an easy button.   For example,   a new marketing vendor we are using to help us with our overall marketing strategy just finished working with us to develop an 18-month marketing plan.   This was a one-off project for $10,000.00 and the deliverable was the plan.  They did a great job and overall we were very happy with the result so we decided to continue on with them, month to month, to help flesh out the plan and execute on it.   They sent me an EchoSign type agreement,  you know the kind where you sign online, and in that simple one-page agreement was a link to their terms and conditions.   If you clicked on the link you were taken to a webpage, and the terms and conditions were on a webpage.   Think about it, who's to say that the "referenced" T&C's from today are the same ones listed on the website in the future if something became litigious.   So I asked them to include the terms and conditions in the EchoSign document,  not to change a single word simply to include the T&C's in the document I was signing.   This started a series of requests for me to meet with the owner of their firm, and discuss the change, and get the reasoning behind the T&C's being online etc.   They took away my easy button   All I want for Christmas is an Easy Button. Doesn't everybody?   - Don't you just want to pay a monthly fee to a coach and have your sales problems disappear? - How about by a marketing program and have the leads fly in? - Or - Doesn't everybody?
 

Don't you just want to pay a monthly fee to a coach and have your sales problems disappear?

How about by a marketing program and have the leads fly in?

Or

Pick up a reporting tool and have your BDR's go really easy.

We all want an easy button and guess what? So do our clients.

 

<INTRO>
You need to Pay Attention
I have a huge client that I have had for many years.  I started providing MSP services to them in 2008 and have steadily grown with them as they have developed.   In 2008 they had 95 desktops, and now they have 315.  For the last several years I have also had an employee on site at their campus, and the client is worth over 50k a month to me.

I know this because I am preparing to meet with them at the beginning of the year to talk about our services,  to talk about our relationship.   We're having this meeting because we made a couple of stupid mistakes.
My Spider senses were tingling
For the last three months or so I have been telling my service manager and sales team that we need to get out to the customer and meet with the principles.  We have been working with them so long that most of the conversations we have are with upper managers but not the partners in the business.   I had this feeling; you know that little tingling in places you don't want tingling when you're talking about business.   My spider senses were tingling and I didn't like it.

Sure enough,  my phone rang,  it was this client, and when they call me it's never good.  They wanted to have a meeting with me to discuss a few things.. At the top of the list were agreements and billing.

Here is what happened.  Over the years we had taken away their easy button.

In 2008 I presented to them an all-in approach to IT.  They loved it and signed up right away.  We signed two agreements that year with them.   One for our managed services program and one for a BDR.
How did we get here?
In 2017, 9 years later we had no less than 7 agreements with them and when I pulled the last three months of invoices there was a stack over a 1/2 thick.   We had our managed services agreement, our onsite employee or streamlined IT agreements, 3 BDR agreements, a MAC support agreement and a Remote DBA agreement.  All with slightly different billing details, expiration dates, and pricing deals.    To make matters worse because we never wanted to rock the boat all of these agreements were on our "old paper".  The original version of our MSP contracts from 2008.

 

We had taken away their easy button.

 

As I started thinking about this, everything I touched seemed to come back to the lack of an easy button.

 

For example,   a new marketing vendor we are using to help us with our overall marketing strategy just finished working with us to develop an 18-month marketing plan.   This was a one-off project for $10,000.00 and the deliverable was the plan.  They did a great job and overall we were very happy with the result so we decided to continue on with them, month to month, to help flesh out the plan and execute on it.

 

They sent me an EchoSign type agreement,  you know the kind where you sign online, and in that simple one-page agreement was a link to their terms and conditions.   If you clicked on the link you were taken to a webpage, and the terms and conditions were on a webpage.   Think about it, who's to say that the "referenced" T&C's from today are the same ones listed on the website in the future if something became litigious.

 

So I asked them to include the terms and conditions in the EchoSign docum...]]>
Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean 11:12
Year-End Planning in our MSP – ITPN-EP25 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/year-end-planning-itpn-ep25/ Thu, 07 Dec 2017 17:15:40 +0000 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/?p=706 Make the Most of 2018 with Year End Planning It’s that time of the year. We have less than one month left to wrap it all up. In today's episode of the IT Provider Network Podcast, I want to walk you through some of the things we do to plan for the upcoming year.   December is always a crazy month for us. We are a Sub Chapter S corporation which is a type of tax structure in the US that requires that your corporate year end on the calendar year. So most small businesses are scrambling in December to wrap everything up and get their financials in order to minimize their tax position. We are no exception. What I want to share with you is a high-level overview of what we do to close out and plan for the upcoming year. It consists of three main tasks Cleaning up the financials and getting the books in order Reflecting on what you have done during the year to help us going forward. Making Plans for the next year based on what we have learned. Getting your our House in Order Let's get right into the financial work that we need to do at the end of the year. Just like life, after January 1st there are rarely any do-overs. So you need to make sure you have everything in your business the way need it to be before you close out the year. Here are some financial things you should take care of, and let it be written – let it be said. I AM NOT A FINANCIAL ADVISOR. If you are the owner and you are also a W2 employee then you need to make sure you have satisfied the “safe harbor” requirements of the IRS or that you have made sufficient estimated tax payments to cover your W2 income and any other disbursements from the company. This will ensure you don’t pay any penalties. If you have a company retirement plan like a 401k or IRA. Make sure you are taking full advantage of the tax savings that this affords you. If you are over 50 (like at least one of us) then you can even do catch-up contributions. Today that means you can sock away an extra 6 grand. If you were lucky enough to have a profitable year, you need to look at your tax liability and see what you can do to minimize your exposure. Talk to your accountant about this although they usually aren’t much help. A common strategy is to get your bank account down as low as possible before year end to minimize the tax liability. This is sometimes a double edge sword. You might have loan covenants or guarentees to the bank that you are going to have some cash. You also might need some cash to actually run your business in the next year! Paying yourself a bonus, taking a shareholder distribution, repaying your owner loan, paying down credit card balances, paying down credit lines, or paying off other debt will not create deductions that result in tax deferrals. These strategies are simply re-distributing the money that belongs to your business, into other forms that are still tied to the company in some way, and thus don't qualify as operating expenses. If you are going to put this plan in place, you must actually be paying expenses or purchasing equipment that goes toward improving or maintaining the operation of your business. Go through your income statement and really analyze your “goes-intas” and “goes-outas” . See where you are making money and where you aren’t. See where the holes in the bucket are and were you are spending your cash. Remember the old saying, “Revenue is Vanity, Profit is Sanity, and Cash Flow is King”. Look at all your recurring charges. Products and services, you are using or not using in your business. Now might be a good time to pre-buy for next year or to cancel if you are not getting value for the expense. Gifts or Cards If you are going to send your customers a holiday gift you should have this ready to go by the 2nd week in December. Often, I know we are scrambling to get something out before the holiday week. Try to avoid the added stress and plan early. If gifts aren’t in the budget or that’s just not your th... Make the Most of 2018 with Year End Planning It’s that time of the year. We have less than one month left to wrap it all up. In today's episode of the IT Provider Network Podcast, I want to walk you through some of the things we do to plan for the upc... It’s that time of the year. We have less than one month left to wrap it all up. In today's episode of the IT Provider Network Podcast, I want to walk you through some of the things we do to plan for the upcoming year.

 

December is always a crazy month for us. We are a Sub Chapter S corporation which is a type of tax structure in the US that requires that your corporate year end on the calendar year. So most small businesses are scrambling in December to wrap everything up and get their financials in order to minimize their tax position.

We are no exception.

What I want to share with you is a high-level overview of what we do to close out and plan for the upcoming year. It consists of three main tasks

* Cleaning up the financials and getting the books in order
* Reflecting on what you have done during the year to help us going forward.
* Making Plans for the next year based on what we have learned.

Getting your our House in Order
Let's get right into the financial work that we need to do at the end of the year. Just like life, after January 1st there are rarely any do-overs. So you need to make sure you have everything in your business the way need it to be before you close out the year.

* Here are some financial things you should take care of, and let it be written – let it be said. I AM NOT A FINANCIAL ADVISOR.
If you are the owner and you are also a W2 employee then you need to make sure you have satisfied the “safe harbor” requirements of the IRS or that you have made sufficient estimated tax payments to cover your W2 income and any other disbursements from the company. This will ensure you don’t pay any penalties.
* If you have a company retirement plan like a 401k or IRA. Make sure you are taking full advantage of the tax savings that this affords you. If you are over 50 (like at least one of us) then you can even do catch-up contributions. Today that means you can sock away an extra 6 grand.
* If you were lucky enough to have a profitable year, you need to look at your tax liability and see what you can do to minimize your exposure. Talk to your accountant about this although they usually aren’t much help. A common strategy is to get your bank account down as low as possible before year end to minimize the tax liability. This is sometimes a double edge sword. You might have loan covenants or guarentees to the bank that you are going to have some cash. You also might need some cash to actually run your business in the next year!
Paying yourself a bonus, taking a shareholder distribution, repaying your owner loan, paying down credit card balances, paying down credit lines, or paying off other debt will not create deductions that result in tax deferrals. These strategies are simply re-distributing the money that belongs to your business, into other forms that are still tied to the company in some way, and thus don't qualify as operating expenses. If you are going to put this plan in place, you must actually be paying expenses or purchasing equipment that goes toward improving or maintaining the operation of your business.
* Go through your income statement and really analyze your “goes-intas” and “goes-outas” . See where you are making money and where you aren’t. See where the holes in the bucket are and were you are spending your cash. Remember the old saying,
“Revenue is Vanity, Profit is Sanity, and Cash Flow is King”.

* Look at all your recurring charges. Products and services, you are using or not using in your business. Now might be a good time to pre-buy for next year or to cancel if you are not getting value for the expense.
* Gifts or Cards If you are going to send your customers a holiday gift you should have this ready to go by the 2nd week in Decem...]]>
Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean 26:10
MSP Feedback and Questions Part Two ITPN-24 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/msp-feedback-questions-part-two-itpn-24/ Mon, 27 Nov 2017 00:18:21 +0000 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/?p=683 Tackling your Questions on Building, Growing or Scaling your IT Service Provider Business.   I’m Terry Rossi and in this episode of the IT Provider Network podcast, I want to share with you some of the feedback I have received on the show as well as some of my opinions on the questions you’ve sent in.  We are going to talk about getting started, sales compensation, contracts and more. Happy Thanksgiving! Crazy week this week for me.  It was Thanksgiving week in the US which means my company was closed Thursday and Friday, but it also means that many of my customers are closed too so we had a bunch of projects to be done during the downtime. I had two large-scale data movement projects to do myself.  One was a multi-location lift and shift to the cloud for a tier one automotive manufacturer and the other one was a series of big database dump and loads for over the counter pharmaceutical manufacturer.   I started on Wednesday night, the day before Thanksgiving and I am just finishing today Sunday.   To make matters worse,  I am sick.  I have the worst type of illness known to man… the man cold.    Misunderstood by most females, the man cold can be totally debilitating. I suffered through but it wasn’t easy  :)   I hope everyone in the US had a great holiday and enjoyed a little downtime and that you’re ready to hit it hard this week.  Remember you have 34 more days to kick it in the ass for 2017 and then the year is over.   Questions from Steve in MN -Starting an MSP Our first couple of questions today comes from Steve in Minnesota – the first one is What advice would you give someone who is working a full time IT job who is looking to break away and start an MSP?   A couple of things come to mind right away.  First is to understand that it is a big risk.  According to Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months. A whopping 80% crash and burn.   That’s not great odds but it doesn’t mean you can’t beat them.   Starting as a solopreneur with a skillset in IT it’s pretty easy to take the risk because if you really have chops but somehow still fail you should easily be able to get a job again.   If you do decide to bust out I would look for to secure a key client.  The client can be your sugar daddy.   If you work for an IT provider now don’t even think about poaching their clients but go find one on your own.   Ideally, this client should be able to cover your initial nut, your bills, and keep food on your table.   I don’t know you Steve but chances are you are a techie and you aren’t going to have any problem with the technical work but you really will need to force yourself to do the non-techie type work.  In particular SALES.   You can’t launch a successful business sitting in front of your computer.  You need to force yourself to get out and meet people, ASK for business,  give away services to prove your worth but then ASK for a deal.  Ask for the business.  Make sales and marketing a consistent part of your week.   Schedule it and then execute.   If you are buying tools,  go for cloud-based monthly services.  I think you can get Connectwise Manage monthly for as little as a 2 user commitment.  Heck, don’t even buy any tools, use a master MSP like Continuum or Collabrance.   I’ll put linked to all of these services in the show notes at the itprovidernetwork.com/episode24   And lastly, don’t forget about your silent partner Uncle Sam.  I have seen many soloprenuers think that if they bill $100 that’s $100 profit.  Sorry, Charlie, you have another hungry mouth to feed.  The mouth of the government.   I’m not a financial advisor but if you put away 30% of your revenues you should be in decent shape come April 15th.   There is way too much to go into but let me just remind you of a couple of important things. Corporate Structure. Start an LLC or a Sub Chapter S corporation if you are in the US. Tackling your Questions on Building, Growing or Scaling your IT Service Provider Business.   - I’m Terry Rossi and in this episode of the IT Provider Network podcast, I want to share with you some of the feedback I have received on the show as well a...  

I’m Terry Rossi and in this episode of the IT Provider Network podcast, I want to share with you some of the feedback I have received on the show as well as some of my opinions on the questions you’ve sent in.  We are going to talk about getting started, sales compensation, contracts and more.
Happy Thanksgiving!
Crazy week this week for me.  It was Thanksgiving week in the US which means my company was closed Thursday and Friday, but it also means that many of my customers are closed too so we had a bunch of projects to be done during the downtime.

I had two large-scale data movement projects to do myself.  One was a multi-location lift and shift to the cloud for a tier one automotive manufacturer and the other one was a series of big database dump and loads for over the counter pharmaceutical manufacturer.

 

I started on Wednesday night, the day before Thanksgiving and I am just finishing today Sunday.   To make matters worse,  I am sick.  I have the worst type of illness known to man… the man cold.    Misunderstood by most females, the man cold can be totally debilitating.



I suffered through but it wasn’t easy  :)

 

I hope everyone in the US had a great holiday and enjoyed a little downtime and that you’re ready to hit it hard this week.  Remember you have 34 more days to kick it in the ass for 2017 and then the year is over.

 
Questions from Steve in MN -Starting an MSP
Our first couple of questions today comes from Steve in Minnesota – the first one is
What advice would you give someone who is working a full time IT job who is looking to break away and start an MSP?
 

A couple of things come to mind right away.  First is to understand that it is a big risk.  According to Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months. A whopping 80% crash and burn.   That’s not great odds but it doesn’t mean you can’t beat them.   Starting as a solopreneur with a skillset in IT it’s pretty easy to take the risk because if you really have chops but somehow still fail you should easily be able to get a job again.

 

If you do decide to bust out I would look for to secure a key client.  The client can be your sugar daddy.   If you work for an IT provider now don’t even think about poaching their clients but go find one on your own.   Ideally, this client should be able to cover your initial nut, your bills, and keep food on your table.   I don’t know you Steve but chances are you are a techie and you aren’t going to have any problem with the technical work but you really will need to force yourself to do the non-techie type work.  In particular SALES.

 

You can’t launch a successful business sitting in front of your computer.  You need to force yourself to get out and meet people, ASK for business,  give away services to prove your worth but then ASK for a deal.  Ask for the business.  Make sales and marketing a consistent part of your week.   Schedule it and then execute.

 

If you are buying tools,  go for cloud-based monthly services.  I think you can get Connectwise Manage monthly for as little as a 2 user commitment.  Heck, don’t even buy any tools, use a master MSP like Continuum or Collabrance.   I’ll put linked to all of these services in the show notes at the itprovidernetwork.com/episode24

 

And lastly, don’t forget about your silent partner Uncle Sam.]]>
Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean 30:45
ConnectWise IT Nation 2017 Key Takeaways -ITPN-23 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/it-nation-2017-how-to-embed-yourself-into-your-customer-base/ Thu, 16 Nov 2017 17:12:43 +0000 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/?p=661 My Big Takeaways In this episode of the IT Provider Network, I want to share with you some of the top takeaways from the massive ConnectWise IT Nation conference in Orlando last week. 3500 IT Peeps and plenty of cocktails Over 3500 attendees attended the two-day conference put on by ConnectWise, makers of ConnectWise Manage, Automate, Connect and Sell and the newly announced ConnectWise Unite.  As always it was an outstanding conference for anyone in IT. My Crew I took Brian and Alan my Chief Revenue Officer and Service Manager to the conference this year.  We started the conference with the IT Nation Gives event where about 30 of us spent the morning at the Primrose Center, a home for disabled adults.  We divided and worked on several projects to improve their lives.  Painting, Yard Work, Baking Cookies with the Residents and of course delivering some technology to help the residents!   It is such a great event and Heather Ptak from ConnectWise does a great job putting together the IT Nation Gives event.  Thank you, Heather, for being one of the good ones! For me, this year was my TENTH IT Nation and boy has it changed since the first one I attended in 2007.   Back in 2007 the conference and the hotel were paid for by ConnectWise.  I remember attending the first one and thinking that it was one of the best conferences I had ever attended.    Just for the record, I attend a lot of conferences, and not just in IT,  I attend Social Media, Digital Marketing, ERP, Podcasting, and other conferences if the topic interests me – I am a constant learner.   The IT Nation Meetup of Podcast Listeners I caught up with a bunch of IT Provider listeners at the Off the Grid party.  It was really great to be able to put a face to a name and to hear the podcast is making a difference for real people struggling to build, grow and scale their business.  Thanks so much for taking the time to seek me out. I also want to thank everyone for the emails and questions.  I am going to do a Q&A show next so make sure you call or write and I will do my best to help you solve your challenges. So back to IT Nation, IT Nation is still one of the best shows you could possibly attend.  Go next year regardless of the PSA or RMM you use, it totally doesn’t matter. About the Company For those of you that are not ConnectWise partners,  let me tell you a little about the company ConnectWise.     Started by Arnie and David Bellini, two brothers, who had and still have a small MSP in the Tampa area.  ConnectWise has become a powerhouse in the IT and Managed Services Arena because of its domination with their PSA software. I remember back in 2007, I was looking for a PSA system, although I had no idea that was what it was called back then, and I stumbled across ConnectWise and the whole managed service industry. It has everything I was looking for in the software and it opened my eyes to another industry that I could launch into that would replace the MRR or monthly recurring revenue that was fading from our ISP, our Internet Service Provider Business. The Product(s) Anyway back to ConnectWise,  they have been killing it for years and the software, at least the in-house developed software, key to the success of our business.  Their product suite includes: ConnectWise Manage – A PSA or Professional Services Automation suite ConnectWise Automate – A RMM or Remote Management and Monitoring tool ConnectWise Sell – A quoting tool that integrates with the tools I mentioned. ConnectWise Control – Screen Sharing and Remote Control   At during the keynote, they announced ConnectWise Unite which I’ll tell you about in a minute or two. The conference kicked off with Arnie Bellini giving the Keynote to the audience of over 3000 people.  The main stage presentations are always impressive.  The stage and A/V setup is first class.   This year’s keynote was centered around two themes. My Big Takeaways In this episode of the IT Provider Network, I want to share with you some of the top takeaways from the massive ConnectWise IT Nation conference in Orlando last week. 3500 IT Peeps and plenty of cocktails In this episode of the IT Provider Network, I want to share with you some of the top takeaways from the massive ConnectWise IT Nation conference in Orlando last week.
3500 IT Peeps and plenty of cocktails
Over 3500 attendees attended the two-day conference put on by ConnectWise, makers of ConnectWise Manage, Automate, Connect and Sell and the newly announced ConnectWise Unite.  As always it was an outstanding conference for anyone in IT.
My Crew
I took Brian and Alan my Chief Revenue Officer and Service Manager to the conference this year.  We started the conference with the IT Nation Gives event where about 30 of us spent the morning at the Primrose Center, a home for disabled adults.  We divided and worked on several projects to improve their lives.  Painting, Yard Work, Baking Cookies with the Residents and of course delivering some technology to help the residents!   It is such a great event and Heather Ptak from ConnectWise does a great job putting together the IT Nation Gives event.  Thank you, Heather, for being one of the good ones!



For me, this year was my TENTH IT Nation and boy has it changed since the first one I attended in 2007.   Back in 2007 the conference and the hotel were paid for by ConnectWise.  I remember attending the first one and thinking that it was one of the best conferences I had ever attended.    Just for the record, I attend a lot of conferences, and not just in IT,  I attend Social Media, Digital Marketing, ERP, Podcasting, and other conferences if the topic interests me – I am a constant learner.

 
The IT Nation Meetup of Podcast Listeners
I caught up with a bunch of IT Provider listeners at the Off the Grid party.  It was really great to be able to put a face to a name and to hear the podcast is making a difference for real people struggling to build, grow and scale their business.  Thanks so much for taking the time to seek me out.

I also want to thank everyone for the emails and questions.  I am going to do a Q&A show next so make sure you call or write and I will do my best to help you solve your challenges.

So back to IT Nation, IT Nation is still one of the best shows you could possibly attend.  Go next year regardless of the PSA or RMM you use, it totally doesn’t matter.
About the Company
For those of you that are not ConnectWise partners,  let me tell you a little about the company ConnectWise.     Started by Arnie and David Bellini, two brothers, who had and still have a small MSP in the Tampa area.  ConnectWise has become a powerhouse in the IT and Managed Services Arena because of its domination with their PSA software.

I remember back in 2007, I was looking for a PSA system, although I had no idea that was what it was called back then, and I stumbled across ConnectWise and the whole managed service industry.

It has everything I was looking for in the software and it opened my eyes to another industry that I could launch into that would replace the MRR or monthly recurring revenue that was fading from our ISP, our Internet Service Provider Business.
The Product(s)
Anyway back to ConnectWise,  they have been killing it for years and the software, at least the in-house developed software, key to the success of our business.  Their product suite includes:

* ConnectWise Manage – A PSA or Professional Services Automation suite
* ConnectWise Automate – A RMM or Remote Management and Monitoring tool
* ConnectWise Sell – A quoting tool that integrates with the tools I mentioned.
* ConnectWise Control – Screen Sharing and Remote Control

 

At during the keynote, they announced ConnectWise Unite which I’ll tell you about in a minute or two.

The conference kicked off with Arnie Bellini giving th...]]>
Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean 30:03
Getting the most out of IT NATION – A Guide to Conferencing – ITPN-22 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/getting-the-most-out-of-it-nation-a-guide-to-conferencing/ Sun, 05 Nov 2017 23:43:52 +0000 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/?p=646 Tips for getting the most out of IT Nation or any conference for that matter.  I've been going to IT Nation for the last ten years so I hope you'll get something out of my experiences.   Even if you are not a Connectwise partner you can use this tips for any conference you attend. Getting Ready – Before you go   Book your flights and your hotel room.  I usually book the hotel as soon as possible and get the flights a little later hoping for a less expensive farther out. If you can stay at one of the “conference hotels” at the convention center.  All the action is happening at the conference.  There really is no reason to go anywhere else.  You don’t need a car,  just use a Mears shuttle or Uber. Before you leave for the conference do whatever you can to simplify your life.  For example, I am on a ton of email aliases so I can keep my finger on the day to day operations in the business but I don’t really need to be.   When I travel I remove myself from almost everything I can so that I am not so easily distracted. Make sure you have and pack your business cards.   Conferences are a great place to build relationships with other MSP’s, Vendors and the conference hosts.  If you’re not involved with a peer group, this becomes especially important.  Don’t just exchange business cards but try to build a quick rapport with the person you are speaking with.   If you want some tips on building rapport check out episode 3 of the IT Provider Network Building Rapport with Employees, Customers and Prospects or get and listen to  “How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less” by Nicholas Boothman.  It’s about a 3hr listen so you may be able to get it read on the plane ride down.   If you don’t yet use Audible, you should.   If you signup with the link on the show notes for this episode you’ll earn me a couple of bucks and you’ll get 2 free books when you sign up.   You can find the link and the show notes at itprovidernetwork.com/itnation   Download and configure the Conference App.   This will be your conference playbook.  By getting it ahead of time you can plan the sessions you want to attend and not have to worry about carrying a bunch of stuff around a very large  Convention Center. Sessions Speaking off sessions.   This will be my tenth or eleventh IT Nation and in my opinion, there are three type of speakers   Connectwise Educators – These sessions are usually done by a Connectwise employee either with or without a customer. Usually, these are how-to type sessions about how to use the software better. Connectwise Partners - These sessions are usually done by a Connectwise partner either with or without a customer. They usually have some good content that is loosely associated with the product or service they are selling.   It isn’t a sales pitch session. Thought Leaders – These are some of my favorite sessions. Broaden your mind and listen to something or someone that doesn’t always look at the world where IT is at the center of it.   Your Unpaid Board of Directors Think of IT Nation as an unpaid board of directors.   Figure out topics you need help with and lock them in your memory.  Use these questions as icebreakers when you network at the event.  Don’t just be a taker though,  give your advice freely and completely.   Don’t give people BS answers give them everything you have.  Remember you can tell 100 people your secret sauce and only 1 of them might actually act on it.   Execution is the secret to success and most people don’t have the discipline to do it.   And lastly, before you go, think about signing up for a pre-conference workshop or helping out with the IT Nation Gives event.  Sea Level Consulting, Gary Pica / TruMethods, Marketopia, IT Glue and others have pre-conference events for a small extra fee.   IT Nation Gives is a philanthropic event when Connectwise shuttles you a location in Orlando and a group of MSP’s and Connectwise employees work to help a... Tips for getting the most out of IT Nation or any conference for that matter.  I've been going to IT Nation for the last ten years so I hope you'll get something out of my experiences.   Even if you are not a Connectwise partner you can use this tips f... Getting Ready – Before you go
 

Book your flights and your hotel room.  I usually book the hotel as soon as possible and get the flights a little later hoping for a less expensive farther out.

If you can stay at one of the “conference hotels” at the convention center.  All the action is happening at the conference.  There really is no reason to go anywhere else.  You don’t need a car,  just use a Mears shuttle or Uber.

Before you leave for the conference do whatever you can to simplify your life.  For example, I am on a ton of email aliases so I can keep my finger on the day to day operations in the business but I don’t really need to be.   When I travel I remove myself from almost everything I can so that I am not so easily distracted.

Make sure you have and pack your business cards.   Conferences are a great place to build relationships with other MSP’s, Vendors and the conference hosts.  If you’re not involved with a peer group, this becomes especially important.  Don’t just exchange business cards but try to build a quick rapport with the person you are speaking with.   If you want some tips on building rapport check out episode 3 of the IT Provider Network Building Rapport with Employees, Customers and Prospects or get and listen to  “How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less” by Nicholas Boothman.  It’s about a 3hr listen so you may be able to get it read on the plane ride down.

 

If you don’t yet use Audible, you should.   If you signup with the link on the show notes for this episode you’ll earn me a couple of bucks and you’ll get 2 free books when you sign up.   You can find the link and the show notes at itprovidernetwork.com/itnation

 

Download and configure the Conference App.   This will be your conference playbook.  By getting it ahead of time you can plan the sessions you want to attend and not have to worry about carrying a bunch of stuff around a very large  Convention Center.
Sessions
Speaking off sessions.   This will be my tenth or eleventh IT Nation and in my opinion, there are three type of speakers

 

* Connectwise Educators – These sessions are usually done by a Connectwise employee either with or without a customer. Usually, these are how-to type sessions about how to use the software better.
* Connectwise Partners - These sessions are usually done by a Connectwise partner either with or without a customer. They usually have some good content that is loosely associated with the product or service they are selling.   It isn’t a sales pitch session.
* Thought Leaders – These are some of my favorite sessions. Broaden your mind and listen to something or someone that doesn’t always look at the world where IT is at the center of it.

 
Your Unpaid Board of Directors
Think of IT Nation as an unpaid board of directors.   Figure out topics you need help with and lock them in your memory.  Use these questions as icebreakers when you network at the event.  Don’t just be a taker though,]]>
Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean 15:53
Tips for Better Prospecting – ITPN-021 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/tips-for-prospecting/ Tue, 24 Oct 2017 14:22:35 +0000 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/?p=638 Get Out of Your Head and Get More Prospects In this episode of the IT Provider Network Podcast, I want to share with you some ways to do a better job prospecting,  get more first appointments and land more MSP contracts.   However, I just want to clear the air right away, if you're looking for a silver bullet you ain't going to find it here. I am going to share with you some of what we've done to get over 15,000 contacts in our database and hundreds of first appointments over the last 10 years and why I think that's the key to your ongoing success. Everyone is in Sales Regardless of how many people you have in your company everyone that works for you is in your sales and marketing departments. Make sure you communicate this to them and they understand that EVERYTHING they do is a reflection on your company. The way they are seen in the "outside world" is how you will be perceived. The way they look, how they dress is a 100% reflection on your company,  the company that you have built. After we land a new client we always schedule an all-hands meeting with the team to take them through the sales process that occurred with the new client. We talk about the leadership of the new company, the reason we feel that they trusted us with their IT needs and what were the key points we brought up with them in the sales cycle. We try to get the whole company preaching from the same hymn book so when they are talking about the company, our services or our team we are all using the same vocabulary and everyone in the company becomes part of the sales force. You need to schedule for successful Prospecting Prospecting and lead generation is tough for some of us. When I was building out my team one of my first hires was a sales guy. I thought that I could get one guy and he would be my sales guy for everything. I thought he could fill all the roles I needed. I thought he could be successful doing: Inbound Lead Response - answering phone calls and emails Outbound Prospecting - cold calling and list building Proposals and Closing - Hunting and Closing Deals Account Management - Working our Installed Base for new opportunities for upsells and cross-sells. The truth of the matter is this was completely unrealistic and would even if he was able to be successful in all these roles something would suffer. So what do you do if you can't afford to hire for all four roles? You need to dedicate time to and measure your efforts in all for activities. Start by putting the thing you despise doing on your calendar and do it! You need to shut off your cell phone, turn off your browser and buckle down and do the hard stuff. For me, this would be cold calling… Get out of the Office You can't meet people from behind your desk or by sticking your head in a computer. You need to get out there and network. You won't be good at this at first and you may feel uncomfortable but start building your network in person. Think about events during the work day but also ones in the early morning or evening. Try to attend a mix of tradeshows, industry events, meetings, and seminars. Don't forget seminars and meetings where your prospects live. Offer to speak at THEIR industry events, spend time at events with your clients. They can introduce you to their peers. Plan for Follow-Up As they say, the fortune is in the follow-up.   When you are networking have a plan to follow up and cement the relationships you are building.  There are a lot of ways to follow up and I encourage you to find out what works for you but the key is to just do it.   Make a system for yourself and follow it.  If you use Connectwise, Hubspot or any other tool that allows for some marketing automation you can assign a track to a prospect and have that track or workflow assign you an activity.  If you are using LinkedIn, drop the new contact into your CRM and make a note of any mutual connections so that you can use that to get leverage with the new prospect. Get Out of Your Head and Get More Prospects In this episode of the IT Provider Network Podcast, I want to share with you some ways to do a better job prospecting,  get more first appointments and land more MSP contracts.   However, In this episode of the IT Provider Network Podcast, I want to share with you some ways to do a better job prospecting,  get more first appointments and land more MSP contracts.   However, I just want to clear the air right away, if you're looking for a silver bullet you ain't going to find it here. I am going to share with you some of what we've done to get over 15,000 contacts in our database and hundreds of first appointments over the last 10 years and why I think that's the key to your ongoing success.
Everyone is in Sales
Regardless of how many people you have in your company everyone that works for you is in your sales and marketing departments. Make sure you communicate this to them and they understand that EVERYTHING they do is a reflection on your company. The way they are seen in the "outside world" is how you will be perceived.

The way they look, how they dress is a 100% reflection on your company,  the company that you have built.



After we land a new client we always schedule an all-hands meeting with the team to take them through the sales process that occurred with the new client. We talk about the leadership of the new company, the reason we feel that they trusted us with their IT needs and what were the key points we brought up with them in the sales cycle. We try to get the whole company preaching from the same hymn book so when they are talking about the company, our services or our team we are all using the same vocabulary and everyone in the company becomes part of the sales force.
You need to schedule for successful Prospecting
Prospecting and lead generation is tough for some of us. When I was building out my team one of my first hires was a sales guy. I thought that I could get one guy and he would be my sales guy for everything. I thought he could fill all the roles I needed. I thought he could be successful doing:

* Inbound Lead Response - answering phone calls and emails
* Outbound Prospecting - cold calling and list building
* Proposals and Closing - Hunting and Closing Deals
* Account Management - Working our Installed Base for new opportunities for upsells and cross-sells.

The truth of the matter is this was completely unrealistic and would even if he was able to be successful in all these roles something would suffer.

So what do you do if you can't afford to hire for all four roles? You need to dedicate time to and measure your efforts in all for activities. Start by putting the thing you despise doing on your calendar and do it! You need to shut off your cell phone, turn off your browser and buckle down and do the hard stuff. For me, this would be cold calling…
Get out of the Office
You can't meet people from behind your desk or by sticking your head in a computer. You need to get out there and network. You won't be good at this at first and you may feel uncomfortable but start building your network in person. Think about events during the work day but also ones in the early morning or evening. Try to attend a mix of tradeshows, industry events, meetings, and seminars. Don't forget seminars and meetings where your prospects live. Offer to speak at THEIR industry events, spend time at events with your clients. They can introduce you to their peers.
Plan for Follow-Up
As they say, the fortune is in the follow-up.   When you are networking have a plan to follow up and cement the relationships you are building.  There are a lot of ways to follow up and I encourage you to find out what works for you but the key is to just do it.   Make a system for yourself and follow it.  If you use Connectwise, Hubspot or any other tool that allows for some marketing automation you can assign a track to a prospect and have that track or workflow assign you an activity.]]>
Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean 20:13
Just Eat It, it’s good for you ITPN-EP20 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/just-eat-it-its-good-for-you-itpn-ep20/ Sun, 15 Oct 2017 20:59:44 +0000 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/?p=620 Like your momma said,  "Just Eat It,  It's good for you!" In this episode of the IT Provider Network, I wanted to talk about the lifetime value of a customer and why you should "Just Eat It" sometimes to keep your customers happy and keep them paying you month over month. I also go over the Marketopia 4U2Grow conference I just attended and a little about their service offering.  Marketopia is part digital marketing agency part outsourced sales appointment setter.  It was a good conference but the real value was being able to vet them out as a provider and talk to some of their customers before I signed on the line for the next year. If you know the Internet Marketeer Russell Brunson of Click Funnels fame, he always quotes one of his mentors and his philosophy on what to pay to acquire a customer.  To paraphrase,  "He who can pay the most for a customer wins".   This is especially true for us as MSP's.  If we can get a new customer and keep them happy it can often be worth $250,000 or more. Is it really worth it to charge a small extra fee and risk a $250,000 client? The big reason you should "Eat It" is the lifetime value of a customer. I did an analysis and the lifetime value or LTV of my client base was over anywhere between 250k and 600k.  In addition, I have one client with an LTV of over 8.5 million.   That's not chump change and everyone on your team should be aware of just how important your customers are to your business. Bitcoin, Etherum and Litecoin and the whole cryptocurrency revolution - Get Some! Coinbase is a secure online platform for buying, selling, transferring, and storing digital currency. I have used them since 2014 and they are like the TD Ameritrade of the digital currency world. I also invited everyone to open an account with Coinbase.   If you do you and I will both get $10 in bitcoin to help fund our retirement.   If you haven't gotten involved in cryptocurrency and you have a couple of bucks to gamble with I strongly encourage you to open an account at Coinbase by going to startbuyingcoins.com - I appreciate the 10 bucks in bitcoin and wish you luck with your cryptocurrency.   Like your momma said,  "Just Eat It,  It's good for you!" In this episode of the IT Provider Network, I wanted to talk about the lifetime value of a customer and why you should "Just Eat It" sometimes to keep your customers happy and keep them paying ... In this episode of the IT Provider Network, I wanted to talk about the lifetime value of a customer and why you should "Just Eat It" sometimes to keep your customers happy and keep them paying you month over month.

I also go over the Marketopia 4U2Grow conference I just attended and a little about their service offering.  Marketopia is part digital marketing agency part outsourced sales appointment setter.  It was a good conference but the real value was being able to vet them out as a provider and talk to some of their customers before I signed on the line for the next year.

If you know the Internet Marketeer Russell Brunson of Click Funnels fame, he always quotes one of his mentors and his philosophy on what to pay to acquire a customer.  To paraphrase,  "He who can pay the most for a customer wins".   This is especially true for us as MSP's.  If we can get a new customer and keep them happy it can often be worth $250,000 or more.

Is it really worth it to charge a small extra fee and risk a $250,000 client?
The big reason you should "Eat It" is the lifetime value of a customer.
I did an analysis and the lifetime value or LTV of my client base was over anywhere between 250k and 600k.  In addition, I have one client with an LTV of over 8.5 million.   That's not chump change and everyone on your team should be aware of just how important your customers are to your business.
Bitcoin, Etherum and Litecoin and the whole cryptocurrency revolution - Get Some!
Coinbase is a secure online platform for buying, selling, transferring, and storing digital currency. I have used them since 2014 and they are like the TD Ameritrade of the digital currency world.

I also invited everyone to open an account with Coinbase.   If you do you and I will both get $10 in bitcoin to help fund our retirement.   If you haven't gotten involved in cryptocurrency and you have a couple of bucks to gamble with I strongly encourage you to open an account at Coinbase by going to startbuyingcoins.com - I appreciate the 10 bucks in bitcoin and wish you luck with your cryptocurrency.



 ]]>
Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean 16:06
Lessons from Gary Vaynerchuk and the Magic Castle – ITPN-EP19 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/lessons-gary-v-magic-castle-itpn-ep19/ Mon, 02 Oct 2017 01:28:36 +0000 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/?p=582 I heard Gary V or Gary Venyerchuk doing a Q&A the other day and he was answering a question about the influx of content creators and how one can stand out in a crowded space.   He said,  "In a crowded mature market, you need to be better than the other guy". Ok, I might buy that you need to be good but I would also add you need to be memorable.  You need to create moments with your clients. There is a new book coming out that was the inspiration behind this episode of the podcast.  It by an author team, known as the Heath Brothers.  Chip and Dan Heath have written some great business books among them: Switch - How to change things when change is hard. Made to Stick - Why some ideas survive and others die. Decisive - How to make better choices in life and work Their upcoming book The Power Of Moments which if preorder TODAY by going to the IT Provider Network website  will come with 5 great bonuses from the Heath Brothers.  This offer expires on October 3rd so if you want it  follow the simple instructions on how to preorder the book you can  get the 5 great bonuses from the authors.    Go to the itprovidernetwork.com/moments for the instructions. I heard Dan Heath talking about The Power of Moments on the Tony Robbins podcast.  In their book, they talk about the difference between moments and true experiences.  Dan gave the example of Disneyland and how if we were to evaluate the experience as the sum of all the time we spent at Disneyland we would probably prefer to stay home on the couch.   No sore legs,  long lines,  hot and humid days but we don't evaluate experiences based on the average of the whole experience we evaluate and remember them based on moments that occurred in that experience. When I was listening to him recount this, I was thinking about attending a football game.  I am outside of Philadelphia Pennsylvania and our NFL team the Eagle have some crazy crazy fans.   The spend an entire day in the freezing cold to watch a game that if you were to average it down would be much better experienced in front of the TV than in a freezing cold stadium.  But again that's not how we remember things,  we look at the peaks and remember them. Dan Heath talks about positive moments being created in four different ways: Elevation - Experience that rise above normal day-to-day stuff.  weddings, speeches, etc. Insight - Love at first sight,  Fed Up with a job or relationship.  These happen in an instant Pride - Moments when you are truly proud or have stood up for something you believe Connection - a Team working through a tough problem - relationships are formed for life. It's a really interesting subject and what I took from this is that we need to create moments with our business. He gives a couple of examples of how businesses who maybe weren't the best in their industry or they were in very crowded industries have created moments with their customers and employees that make them rise to the top of the field. The first one, I bet you have all heard,  here's a sound byte of one of the moments the company has made. That's a Southwest Airlines flight attendant performing a federally mandated safety briefing in a very memorable way, in a way that creates a lasting impression with the passengers.   They actually studying this and this one thing alone could be tied back to a 140 Million Dollars in additional revenue - IT COST THEM NOTHING. The next great example is the Magic Castle hotel in California.  I have actually heard of this hotel on two occasions now.  It is a little old junkie hotel in Los Angelos,  I actually stayed at one that looked like this hotel two days ago for a wedding.   Non-descript little lobby,  clean rooms but nothing fancy.  Little old pool and those small little bars of soap in the bathroom.   If you have ever been to the Jersey Shore the shore is littered with these little hotel/motels. The thing that sets the Magic Castle apart is that the... I heard Gary V or Gary Venyerchuk doing a Q&A the other day and he was answering a question about the influx of content creators and how one can stand out in a crowded space.   He said,  "In a crowded mature market,
Ok, I might buy that you need to be good but I would also add you need to be memorable.  You need to create moments with your clients.

There is a new book coming out that was the inspiration behind this episode of the podcast.  It by an author team, known as the Heath Brothers.  Chip and Dan Heath have written some great business books among them:

* Switch - How to change things when change is hard.
* Made to Stick - Why some ideas survive and others die.
* Decisive - How to make better choices in life and work

Their upcoming book The Power Of Moments which if preorder TODAY by going to the IT Provider Network website  will come with 5 great bonuses from the Heath Brothers.  This offer expires on October 3rd so if you want it  follow the simple instructions on how to preorder the book you can  get the 5 great bonuses from the authors.    Go to the itprovidernetwork.com/moments for the instructions.

I heard Dan Heath talking about The Power of Moments on the Tony Robbins podcast.  In their book, they talk about the difference between moments and true experiences.  Dan gave the example of Disneyland and how if we were to evaluate the experience as the sum of all the time we spent at Disneyland we would probably prefer to stay home on the couch.   No sore legs,  long lines,  hot and humid days but we don't evaluate experiences based on the average of the whole experience we evaluate and remember them based on moments that occurred in that experience.

When I was listening to him recount this, I was thinking about attending a football game.  I am outside of Philadelphia Pennsylvania and our NFL team the Eagle have some crazy crazy fans.   The spend an entire day in the freezing cold to watch a game that if you were to average it down would be much better experienced in front of the TV than in a freezing cold stadium.  But again that's not how we remember things,  we look at the peaks and remember them.

Dan Heath talks about positive moments being created in four different ways:

* Elevation - Experience that rise above normal day-to-day stuff.  weddings, speeches, etc.
* Insight - Love at first sight,  Fed Up with a job or relationship.  These happen in an instant
* Pride - Moments when you are truly proud or have stood up for something you believe
* Connection - a Team working through a tough problem - relationships are formed for life.

It's a really interesting subject and what I took from this is that we need to create moments with our business.

He gives a couple of examples of how businesses who maybe weren't the best in their industry or they were in very crowded industries have created moments with their customers and employees that make them rise to the top of the field.

The first one, I bet you have all heard,  here's a sound byte of one of the moments the company has made.

That's a Southwest Airlines flight attendant performing a federally mandated safety briefing in a very memorable way, in a way that creates a lasting impression with the passengers.   They actually studying this and this one thing alone could be tied back to a 140 Millio...]]>
Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean 23:07
MSP Feedback and Q&A – ITPN-EP18 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/msp-feedback-qa/ Mon, 25 Sep 2017 13:47:28 +0000 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/?p=569 In this episode of the IT Provider Network Podcast, I want to share some great listener feedback and do some Q&A for our listeners. We're going to talk about Selling into prospects that have an embedded long-term IT person Implementing Connectwise Manage and some outside services Renting or Buying Office Space Pros and Cons of providing company vehicles How do I handle Certs and Training   Special Thanks to the following for their feedback and questions William Burham Singularity Solutions JD Keith Technology Solutions Wayne Brockwell Brockwell and Fite Rich Welch Spark Tech LLC Show Links The Datto Recovery Time and Downtime Calculator IT Glue's Waste Calculator - Calculates wasted productivity due to poor documentation Stack Advisors - Connectwise Automate and Manage Consultants ProVal Tech - Connectwise Automate and Manage Consultants In this episode of the IT Provider Network Podcast, I want to share some great listener feedback and do some Q&A for our listeners. - We're going to talk about Selling into prospects that have an embedded long-term IT person
We're going to talk about

* Selling into prospects that have an embedded long-term IT person
* Implementing Connectwise Manage and some outside services
* Renting or Buying Office Space
* Pros and Cons of providing company vehicles
*
How do I handle Certs and Training


 

Special Thanks to the following for their feedback and questions

William Burham Singularity Solutions

JD Keith Technology Solutions

Wayne Brockwell Brockwell and Fite

Rich Welch Spark Tech LLC
Show Links
The Datto Recovery Time and Downtime Calculator

IT Glue's Waste Calculator - Calculates wasted productivity due to poor documentation

Stack Advisors - Connectwise Automate and Manage Consultants

ProVal Tech - Connectwise Automate and Manage Consultants

]]>
Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean 17:40
Steps to take when a Key Employee Quits – ITPN-EP17 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/steps-to-take-when-a-key-employee-quits/ Sun, 17 Sep 2017 14:04:49 +0000 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/?p=537 You're having a great day when one two of your key employees walk in and quit! I've been in business for over 21 years and I have had more than a few key employee come and go.  It is part of what you signed up for when you became a business owner and entrepreneur.  Unfortunately, I walked in on Monday morning and had not one but two employees give their notice to quit.   Actually one quit and the other one retired. Now What? My two employees quitting had nothing to do with each other but you may find times when you have a mass exodus in your company and that's when the shit really gets serious.  But for the purposes of this podcast, let's just assume you are losing one key employee.   What should you do? Take a second to Breathe Speaking for myself (because that's the only one I can speak for),  my initial reaction when someone quits is to blow fire either into their face or through the phone line!  Over the last twenty-some years, I have learned its much better to just slow down and take a few deep breaths. If the person is sitting across from you this might be hard to do and maybe you want to postpone the discussion for a few minutes if that will help you get your act together.   Your first reaction is to take it personally but most times it isn't. Top performers or key employees don't just work hard on your business they work hard on themselves too, if you want to build a team of the best people you need to expect turnover especially if they have outgrown the role you have for them.    If you cannot provide them with advancement then you should expect them to go chasing after a new opportunity.   Before you speak to the key employee that is leaving, try to adopt a mindset of being grateful for what they have brought to your team. Then open your mouth... And have a warm, friendly conversation with your key employee that is moving on.   Try to get to the real reason they are leaving but don't judge or disagree.  Whether they believe it or not at this point is irrelevant.  They feel it.    Leave your ego at the door, most times we are the employee bear at least some of the blame as to why they are leaving. Remember you have NOTHING to gain by making this adversarial.   You have everything to gain by acting with respect and warmth.  Think about that quick answer you might need a month from now, or that glassdoor review the employee might give you or the fact that if times changes there may come a time that you would want this employee back on your team.  I have hired back a few employees over the years. Decide what you want There may be times when you what to really fight to keep this key employee.   You will need to make a split decision on what you want to do.   Some people, usually when they are desperate, will make a counteroffer to the employee.   Unless they are truly a key employee then I would suggest you re-think this.   Making a counteroffer at this stage is often like when a couple has decided to divorce and then they decide to reconcile.  The damage is already done, there is a lot of healing that needs to occur.  Most times this is not worth it in business. Set your Expectations Make sure you review any employment agreements and your expectations for the future.   If there are references in your employee agreement about customers, other employees and intellectual property make sure you remind the employee that these exist and they are non-negotiabl. A word about non-competes We have them in all of our agreements but we don't always enforce them.  Most of the time when a good employee is leaving it is because either you cannot or will not give them what they need.    Why would you hold them to a non-compete?  Make sure they understand they are to have no contact with your employees or your clients but other than that set them free.   Tell your Team and Turn a Negative into a Positive First and foremost you need to be honest with your team about the key employee leaving. You're having a great day when one two of your key employees walk in and quit! I've been in business for over 21 years and I have had more than a few key employee come and go.  It is part of what you signed up for when you became a business owner and ... I've been in business for over 21 years and I have had more than a few key employee come and go.  It is part of what you signed up for when you became a business owner and entrepreneur.  Unfortunately, I walked in on Monday morning and had not one but two employees give their notice to quit.   Actually one quit and the other one retired.
Now What?
My two employees quitting had nothing to do with each other but you may find times when you have a mass exodus in your company and that's when the shit really gets serious.  But for the purposes of this podcast, let's just assume you are losing one key employee.   What should you do?
Take a second to Breathe
Speaking for myself (because that's the only one I can speak for),  my initial reaction when someone quits is to blow fire either into their face or through the phone line!  Over the last twenty-some years, I have learned its much better to just slow down and take a few deep breaths.

If the person is sitting across from you this might be hard to do and maybe you want to postpone the discussion for a few minutes if that will help you get your act together.   Your first reaction is to take it personally but most times it isn't.

Top performers or key employees don't just work hard on your business they work hard on themselves too, if you want to build a team of the best people you need to expect turnover especially if they have outgrown the role you have for them.    If you cannot provide them with advancement then you should expect them to go chasing after a new opportunity.   Before you speak to the key employee that is leaving, try to adopt a mindset of being grateful for what they have brought to your team.
Then open your mouth...
And have a warm, friendly conversation with your key employee that is moving on.   Try to get to the real reason they are leaving but don't judge or disagree.  Whether they believe it or not at this point is irrelevant.  They feel it.    Leave your ego at the door, most times we are the employee bear at least some of the blame as to why they are leaving.

Remember you have NOTHING to gain by making this adversarial.   You have everything to gain by acting with respect and warmth.  Think about that quick answer you might need a month from now, or that glassdoor review the employee might give you or the fact that if times changes there may come a time that you would want this employee back on your team.  I have hired back a few employees over the years.
Decide what you want
There may be times when you what to really fight to keep this key employee.   You will need to make a split decision on what you want to do.   Some people, usually when they are desperate, will make a counteroffer to the employee.   Unless they are truly a key employee then I would suggest you re-think this.   Making a counteroffer at this stage is often like when a couple has decided to divorce and then they decide to reconcile.  The damage is already done, there is a lot of healing that needs to occur.  Most times this is not worth it in business.
Set your Expectations
Make sure you review any employment agreements and your expectations for the future.   If there are references in your employee agreement about customers, other employees and intellectual property make sure you remind the employee that these exist and they are non-negotiabl.
A word about non-competes
We have them in all of our agreements but we don't always enforce them.  Most of the time when a good employee is leaving it is because either you cannot or will not give them what they need.    Why would you hold them to a non-compete?  Make sure they understand they are to have no contact with your employees or your clients but other than that set them free.

 
]]>
Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean 23:09
3 Things I learned at Robin Robins Cyber Security Bootcamp – ITPN-EP16 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/3-things-i-learned-at-robin-robins-cyber-security-bootcamp/ Sat, 02 Sep 2017 21:21:18 +0000 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/?p=518 Building a Cyber Security Practice in your MSP It takes more than great tools to build a new cyber security practice.  The tools are important but so is the right mindset.  Wrapping up my month of conferences, here are my takeaways from the Robin Robins cyber security bootcamp She used to work for Tony Robbins,  did you know that... isn't that funny? Last week I attended a Robin Robins Roadshow with a focus on cyber security.   She gives excellent value to IT service Providers and MSP's looking for marketing help but she also has some pretty good life and business advice.  Robin said,  "I really beleive that IT providers should make alot of money,  you take on alot of risk and your are agents of good in the world".  I never really thought of it that way and  I took away three big ideas that I need to implement in my business.   Three things that I think all MSP's suffer from at one time or another. We need to understand who we are selling to and tailor our message Traits of the Buyer The Importance of a Persona Tell Stories that Resonate We need to believe in the value our offering and not be afraid to charge more for it. We are agents of good in the world We assume tons of risk as entrepreneurs and that should be rewarded New Tools we are delivering and new threats our customers face are driving up all in seat prices (AISP) If you don't have reasonable customers willing to allow you  profits then dump them We need to upsell and cross sell into our base We often neglect to sell into our best prospect base - our customers. We need to We need to segment our lists so that we can market directly to the exact people that are most likely to buy. We need to know exactly what our customer have bought and what they have yet to buy. Some great new vendors to help build your Managed Cyber Security Business At the Roadshow,  I rekindled some vendor relationships and built some new ones.   There were some great solutions to help you build your managed security practice. Robin Robins Infusionsoft Offering Robin Robins has an excellent offering if you are interested in investing in content management and marketing automation platform.  You can buy infusionsoft from them directly but buying directly from Technology Marketing Toolkit gives you some HUGE advantages. You’ll get SEVEN complete and interlocking cyber security campaigns. This will include a website opt-in sequence, a cyber security e-mail drip series, a webinar campaign, cross sell campaigns, a prospecting campaign for NEW clients, You’ll receive a marketing campaign flow chart that gives you an easy, visual blueprint of how every campaign works in Infusionsoft. Short, on-demand videos will show you how to use every key feature in Infusionsoft. You also get support from Robins team and access to buy new campaigns as they are created. If you are interested in this solution please contact Robin Robins' team at the Technology Marketing Toolkit and tell them that I sent you so I can earn a small commission. WebRoot Active Endpoint Protection WebRoot - We have used WebRoot for a couple of years now and really like the solution.   Switching from Vipre we have found a marked improvement in the efficacy of WebRoot.   It is a multi-vector endpoint protection product, meaning it protects your end users from much more than traditional AV or Malware products. RapidFire Tools and the Detector SDS RapidFire Tools has been making great assessment tools for quite some time.  They are a staple in the industry for doing pre-sales assessments or "free network audits".  Their new product called the Detector SDS (Service Delivery System) gives you the tools you need to configure, sell and deliver your own branded internal cyber security services -- across your entire client base.   If you want to look at their toolsets you can find all of their products on their website at www.rapidfiretools.com. Building a Cyber Security Practice in your MSP It takes more than great tools to build a new cyber security practice.  The tools are important but so is the right mindset.  Wrapping up my month of conferences, It takes more than great tools to build a new cyber security practice.  The tools are important but so is the right mindset.  Wrapping up my month of conferences, here are my takeaways from the Robin Robins cyber security bootcamp
She used to work for Tony Robbins,  did you know that... isn't that funny?
Last week I attended a Robin Robins Roadshow with a focus on cyber security.   She gives excellent value to IT service Providers and MSP's looking for marketing help but she also has some pretty good life and business advice.  Robin said,  "I really beleive that IT providers should make alot of money,  you take on alot of risk and your are agents of good in the world".  I never really thought of it that way and  I took away three big ideas that I need to implement in my business.   Three things that I think all MSP's suffer from at one time or another.


We need to understand who we are selling to and tailor our message

* Traits of the Buyer
* The Importance of a Persona
* Tell Stories that Resonate

We need to believe in the value our offering and not be afraid to charge more for it.

* We are agents of good in the world
* We assume tons of risk as entrepreneurs and that should be rewarded
* New Tools we are delivering and new threats our customers face are driving up all in seat prices (AISP)
* If you don't have reasonable customers willing to allow you  profits then dump them

We need to upsell and cross sell into our base

* We often neglect to sell into our best prospect base - our customers.
* We need to
* We need to segment our lists so that we can market directly to the exact people that are most likely to buy.
* We need to know exactly what our customer have bought and what they have yet to buy.

Some great new vendors to help build your Managed Cyber Security Business
At the Roadshow,  I rekindled some vendor relationships and built some new ones.   There were some great solutions to help you build your managed security practice.
Robin Robins Infusionsoft Offering
Robin Robins has an excellent offering if you are interested in investing in content management and marketing automation platform.  You can buy infusionsoft from them directly but buying directly from Technology Marketing Toolkit gives you some HUGE advantages.

* You’ll get SEVEN complete and interlocking cyber security campaigns. This will include a website opt-in sequence, a cyber security e-mail drip series, a webinar campaign, cross sell campaigns, a prospecting campaign for NEW clients,
* You’ll receive a marketing campaign flow chart that gives you an easy, visual blueprint of how every campaign works in Infusionsoft.
* Short, on-demand videos will show you how to use every key feature in Infusionsoft.

You also get support from Robins team and access to buy new campaigns as they are created.

If you are interested in this solution please contact Robin Robins' team at the Technology Marketing Toolkit and tell them that I sent you so I can earn a small commission.
WebRoot Active Endpoint Protection
WebRoot - We have used WebRoot for a couple of years now and really like the solution.   Switching from Vipre we have found a marked improvement in the efficacy of WebRoot.   It is a multi-vector endpoint protection product, meaning it protects your end users from much more than traditional AV or Malware products.


RapidFire Tools and the Detector SDS
RapidFire Tools has been making great assessment tools for quite some time.  They are a staple in the industry for doing pre-sales assessments or "f...]]>
Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean 24:50
How to get Free Marketing Assistance – ITPN-EP15 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/how-to-get-free-marketing-assistance/ Sun, 20 Aug 2017 14:25:54 +0000 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/?p=467 Conferencing In this episode of the IT Provider Network, I am going to share with you some of my observations from conferences I have just attended and show you how you can get free marketing assistance from your partners. ASCII Summit ASCII www.ascii.com I attended the 2017 ASCII summit for NY and NY a couple of weeks ago.   It was great to connect with the ASCII leadership team, the vendors and my peers in New Brunswick.   ASCII is the oldest and largest group of independent IT solution providers, integrators, and VARS in the world.  Founded in 1984 by a really interesting guy named Alan Weinberger.  They cater to IT professionals by providing the following benefits: Purchasing Discounts Better pricing for Distribution -  2% to 15% additional discounts E&O Professional Liability Insurance - Group purchasing power equals more value for the money Free Marketing Assistance Done for you eNewsletter - they design and deliver a monthly newsletter for you. Done for you social media service - postings to Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In on your behalf Networking Large Membership since 1984 Network of Peers for out of town clients One off purchasing without authorizations through other members with authorization Knowledge ASCII Summit's 2017 Keynote Frank Abagnale - "Catch Me if You Can" Industry Advocacy and Group Buys Work with Manufacturers and Distributors to resolve issues Initiate Group Buys for ASCII Members XChange 2017 Hosted Conference by The Channel Company is different in that you are paired up with your peers in boardrooms.   12 MSP's or solution providers are pitched in 25-minute sessions by qualified vendors that are paying for the conference.  I was in the Mid Market 2 group with a great bunch of people.   From the board rooms and the keynotes, this was some of the most important take aways to help you build, grown and scale your business. Observations and Offerings Datto Free Marketing Assistance MarketNow offering - private label MindMatrix Done for You Webinars Datto Partner Portal Intermedia Has the king fallen? VoIP Service and Free Phones MDF Funds Intermedia Partner Portal AeroHive Cloud Managed Wireless 100% Channel Focused - Great Partner Program New Wall Plate Access Point and Switch WAAS offering through Synnex Partner Program Information David Russell - Manage To Win Certified LEADER Program  - Leadership Training Gary Pica - TruMethods Formula Won Program What you should do right away If you are a Datto partner,  sign up for MarketNow and drive traffic to your business If you are not working with a coach, get one!  It's like having a non-voting board of directors Check out AeroHive and the viability of starting a "Wireless as a Service" offering in your company. If you want to get more out of conferencing, check out this free course from Michael O'Neal of the Solopreneur Hour called Conferencetopia             Conferencing In this episode of the IT Provider Network, I am going to share with you some of my observations from conferences I have just attended and show you how you can get free marketing assistance from your partners. ASCII Summit ASCII www. In this episode of the IT Provider Network, I am going to share with you some of my observations from conferences I have just attended and show you how you can get free marketing assistance from your partners.
ASCII Summit
ASCII www.ascii.com
I attended the 2017 ASCII summit for NY and NY a couple of weeks ago.   It was great to connect with the ASCII leadership team, the vendors and my peers in New Brunswick.   ASCII is the oldest and largest group of independent IT solution providers, integrators, and VARS in the world.  Founded in 1984 by a really interesting guy named Alan Weinberger.  They cater to IT professionals by providing the following benefits:
Purchasing Discounts

* Better pricing for Distribution -  2% to 15% additional discounts
* E&O Professional Liability Insurance - Group purchasing power equals more value for the money

Free Marketing Assistance

* Done for you eNewsletter - they design and deliver a monthly newsletter for you.
* Done for you social media service - postings to Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In on your behalf

Networking

* Large Membership since 1984
* Network of Peers for out of town clients
* One off purchasing without authorizations through other members with authorization

Knowledge

* ASCII Summit's
* 2017 Keynote Frank Abagnale - "Catch Me if You Can"

Industry Advocacy and Group Buys

* Work with Manufacturers and Distributors to resolve issues
* Initiate Group Buys for ASCII Members

XChange 2017
Hosted Conference by The Channel Company is different in that you are paired up with your peers in boardrooms.   12 MSP's or solution providers are pitched in 25-minute sessions by qualified vendors that are paying for the conference.  I was in the Mid Market 2 group with a great bunch of people.   From the board rooms and the keynotes, this was some of the most important take aways to help you build, grown and scale your business.



Observations and Offerings
Datto

* Free Marketing Assistance
* MarketNow offering - private label MindMatrix
* Done for You Webinars
* Datto Partner Portal

Intermedia

* Has the king fallen?
* VoIP Service and Free Phones
* MDF Funds
* Intermedia Partner Portal

AeroHive

* Cloud Managed Wireless
* 100% Channel Focused - Great Partner Program
* New Wall Plate Access Point and Switch
* WAAS offering through Synnex
* Partner Program Information

David Russell - Manage To Win
Certified LEADER Program  - Leadership Training
Gary Pica - TruMethods
Formula Won Program
What you should do right away

* If you are a Datto partner,  sign up for MarketNow and drive traffic to your business
* If you are not working with a coach, get one!  It's like having a non-voting board of directors
* Check out AeroHive and the viability of starting a "W...]]>
Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean 16:14
Why most MSP’s Suck at Selling – ITPN-EP014 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/why-most-msps-suck-at-selling/ Wed, 09 Aug 2017 19:15:06 +0000 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/?p=409 Most MSP's and specifically MSP Owners suck at selling!   There I said it!  At one time I identified myself with the majority of the issues that this podcast addresses.  But not anymore and I am going to show you how you can improve at selling in your own MSP.   I am going to show you how to suck less! The way I see it there are at least five things that cause MSP's to suck at selling: They are always chasing the shiny new object. Vendors are always trying to get us to expand our portfolio,  tool vendors are always trying to convince us that a new tool will solve the problem.  Not always the case. They don't know how to conduct a proper sales call What is your objective for the meeting?  Do you have an outcome in mind? They fail to plan for the sales event Did you do your research?  Are you prepared to speak to the prospect? They have no formal sales training, process or metrics I know you know all about patching but have you invested in learning sales techniques and methods They are doing too many one off sales events Are you cold calling or worse patching computers?    Spend your time doing one to many activities In this episode, we will talk about ways to improve these shortcomings along with how to sell at the top of the buying ladder.   I will also share with you some of the metrics I use to measure my sales team and what you can expect when you start measuring your efforts.   I forgot to mention a great book to help you build rapport in the first two minutes of your sales call.  It is How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less by Nicholas Boothman.  Let me know your thoughts on the podcast and the book.  I  would love to hear other ways you think we can suck less!   Most MSP's and specifically MSP Owners suck at selling!   There I said it!  At one time I identified myself with the majority of the issues that this podcast addresses.  But not anymore and I am going to show you how you can improve at selling in your ...
The way I see it there are at least five things that cause MSP's to suck at selling:

* They are always chasing the shiny new object.
Vendors are always trying to get us to expand our portfolio,  tool vendors are always trying to convince us that a new tool will solve the problem.  Not always the case.
* They don't know how to conduct a proper sales call
What is your objective for the meeting?  Do you have an outcome in mind?
* They fail to plan for the sales event
Did you do your research?  Are you prepared to speak to the prospect?
* They have no formal sales training, process or metrics
I know you know all about patching but have you invested in learning sales techniques and methods
* They are doing too many one off sales events
Are you cold calling or worse patching computers?    Spend your time doing one to many activities

In this episode, we will talk about ways to improve these shortcomings along with how to sell at the top of the buying ladder.   I will also share with you some of the metrics I use to measure my sales team and what you can expect when you start measuring your efforts.

 

I forgot to mention a great book to help you build rapport in the first two minutes of your sales call.  It is How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less by Nicholas Boothman.  Let me know your thoughts on the podcast and the book.  I  would love to hear other ways you think we can suck less!



 ]]>
Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean 17:16
Helpdesk – What gets measured gets improved – ITPN-EP013 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/helpdesk-gets-measured-gets-improved/ Sat, 29 Jul 2017 19:05:14 +0000 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/?p=377 What gets measured gets improved – HelpDesk In today's episode of the IT Provider Network we are going to discuss ways you can improve your service team and specifically your helpdesk by holding your team accountable to some metrics. Volume – How many tickets are you generating on a daily, weekly, monthly basis Response – How fast are you responding to and solving customer problems Noise – What are your ticket types and who are your noisy customers Production – Who on your team is getting it done and who is playing on their phone Helpdesk Volume How many customers, end points, reactive and proactive tickets are you servicing and how is this going to effect your helpdesk. Number of customers This is important because smaller customers are much harder to service that fewer larger customers.   You will find as you grow your business you might need to weed out some of the smaller older customers that you have because they will abuse you! In general, we strive for a customer with 20 users or more and we like them to have 30 users or more. Number of Locations Same rules apply – more locations more places to roll trucks too, more internet connections to go down and more network devices to support. If you are supporting many multi-location customers make sure you include a built in adder in your pricing so that you can compensate for these extra costs. Number of End Points This might be your #1 determination in your monthly billing. Many MSP’s bill their clients by having their RMM tools report to the PSA the number of agents you have installed in the field and then this drives quantity counts to your agreements which in turn you use to bill your clients.    We use ConnectWise Automate (formally Labtech) and with Automate we have the ability to count and report through the Plugin,  server, workstation, printer, router, other device counts to Connectwise Manage for billing.  We have a mix of clients.  Older Ones that we bill by endpoint but our newer clients are all user based.  This alleviates any fear a client has over extra laptops, tablets or mobile phones. We’ll take about pricing in an upcoming episode of the IT provider network but we have moved to user based pricing because it seems to align better with what our clients want to measure...headcount. Reactive / Proactive Ticket Counts These counts are very important to build and scale your service delivery team and running an effective helpdesk.  Knowing and monitoring your ticket counts is key to correct staffing. At our company, we track everything in real-time with dashboards and our dispatch portal but we report via our daily huddles on yesterday’s metrics.  We use a combination of Connectwise's Report Writer along with a great third party tool called Brightgauge. Brightguage integrates with many tools including Connectwise, Quickbooks, IT Glue, BMS by Kayesa, Datto, Continuum, Autotask and many others. Brightgauge allows you to securely import your data, organize and analyze it then create outstanding dashboards scorecards and reports. Pricing starts at $229 a month and goes up to over a thousand a month, so it's not inexpensive but it is well worth the price.  You can find more information as well as the Brightgauge Podcast at www.brightgauge.com Getting back to helpdesk ticket counts.   We report # of tickets opened,  # of tickets closed, #total open tickets for ticket volume.   This gives us two data points to make sure we are keeping up with the volume.   Are we closing more that we opened and is the total # of tickets moving down? Helpdesk Response How fast are you able to respond and resolve your customer's issues. At the end of the day, this is one of only two things your clients really care about.  How fast can you solve my problem and how much does your offering cost? If you do a good job at the first one they will care much less about the second one.  But know this,  if you don’t service them well then they will ... What gets measured gets improved – HelpDesk In today's episode of the IT Provider Network we are going to discuss ways you can improve your service team and specifically your helpdesk by holding your team accountable to some metrics. - In today's episode of the IT Provider Network we are going to discuss ways you can improve your service team and specifically your helpdesk by holding your team accountable to some metrics.

* Volume – How many tickets are you generating on a daily, weekly, monthly basis
* Response – How fast are you responding to and solving customer problems
* Noise – What are your ticket types and who are your noisy customers
* Production – Who on your team is getting it done and who is playing on their phone

Helpdesk Volume
How many customers, end points, reactive and proactive tickets are you servicing and how is this going to effect your helpdesk.
Number of customers
This is important because smaller customers are much harder to service that fewer larger customers.   You will find as you grow your business you might need to weed out some of the smaller older customers that you have because they will abuse you!

In general, we strive for a customer with 20 users or more and we like them to have 30 users or more.
Number of Locations
Same rules apply – more locations more places to roll trucks too, more internet connections to go down and more network devices to support. If you are supporting many multi-location customers make sure you include a built in adder in your pricing so that you can compensate for these extra costs.
Number of End Points
This might be your #1 determination in your monthly billing. Many MSP’s bill their clients by having their RMM tools report to the PSA the number of agents you have installed in the field and then this drives quantity counts to your agreements which in turn you use to bill your clients.    We use ConnectWise Automate (formally Labtech) and with Automate we have the ability to count and report through the Plugin,  server, workstation, printer, router, other device counts to Connectwise Manage for billing.  We have a mix of clients.  Older Ones that we bill by endpoint but our newer clients are all user based.  This alleviates any fear a client has over extra laptops, tablets or mobile phones.

We’ll take about pricing in an upcoming episode of the IT provider network but we have moved to user based pricing because it seems to align better with what our clients want to measure...headcount.
Reactive / Proactive Ticket Counts
These counts are very important to build and scale your service delivery team and running an effective helpdesk.  Knowing and monitoring your ticket counts is key to correct staffing.

At our company, we track everything in real-time with dashboards and our dispatch portal but we report via our daily huddles on yesterday’s metrics.  We use a combination of Connectwise's Report Writer along with a great third party tool called Brightgauge.

Brightguage integrates with many tools including Connectwise, Quickbooks, IT Glue, BMS by Kayesa, Datto, Continuum, Autotask and many others. Brightgauge allows you to securely import your data, organize and analyze it then create outstanding dashboards scorecards and reports.

Pricing starts at $229 a month and goes up to over a thousand a month, so it's not inexpensive but it is well worth the price.  You can find more information as well as the Brightgauge Podcast at www.brightgauge.com

Getting back to helpdesk ticket counts.   We report # of tickets opened,  # of tickets closed, #total open tickets for ticket volume.   This gives us two data points to make sure we are keeping up with the volume.   Are we closing more that we opened and is the total # of tickets moving down?
Helpdesk Response
How fast are you able to respond and resolve your customer's issues.

At the end of the day,]]>
Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean 18:27
The 2 Times Rule and how to it can make you more money -ITPN EP012 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/how-to-get-more-hours-in-the-day/ Fri, 14 Jul 2017 18:55:29 +0000 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/?p=324 The Early Days Back when my business partner and I started the company in 1995,  we were a couple of "snot nosed kids" as my mother used to call me when I was young.   We were really good at what we did which was installing and implementing ERP software for manufacturers.   We weren't however very good with finances.    We were fortunate in that the company started off with a bang.  We were traveling to some of the largest companies in the world and we were the Red Adair's of our eco-system.  Saving manufacturers for countless hours of downtime and really helping them get the most out of their software investment. It wasn't long, about 15 days if I remember right when we needed to bring on our first team member.   and that's when our accountant introduced us to what is still called today in our company, the 2 Times (2x) rule. In today'ss episode of the IT Provider Network, I am going to introduce you to the 2X rule and the concept of LER or Labor Efficiency Ratio as well as give you so actionable ways you can get more out of your days.   The 2 Times Rule So the 2X rule was pretty simple,  our accountant told us for each employee we brought on we needed to have 2 times that amount in revenue. If we hired a 100k a year guy we needed to product 300k of revenue with that employee to stay solvent and make a profit.    That rule held fast for many years in our company, and it became a major part of our hiring decisions over the years.   We always did our what-if analysis on a spreadsheet that became known as the "Death of PICS" spreadsheet.     Back in the days of time and material billing a 100k resource that sat on the bench for a while could literally be the death of your company. Fast forward to the last few years,  we have continued to grow and our business has continued to evolve.  Our managed service division is more than 50% recurring revenue and our enterprise software division is moving to SAAS and more recurring revenue too. Because of the growth, we are no longer a flat organization, and our costs continue to go up.  We now have two buildings, double the amount of licenses and computers and of course, the whole world is moving to a recurring revenue model so our spend is becoming more of an operational expense (OPEX) than a capital expense (CAPEX) Because we now have some managers that are not revenue producing so we needed to revisit the 2X rule and make some adjustments. What we found is that the old 2X rule is really called LER or Labor Efficiency Ratio and LER was still a good measure of how efficient we are as a company, a division, for a customer or as an employee. Direct LER = Gross Margin /  Direct Labor Costs In simple terms, it's the 2x rule but now we shoot for a higher number closer to three. For 2017  The higher the number the more efficient you are being with your resource but there is a point where LER grows too high and you are really stressing out your staff.   You need to find out where that tipping point is for your team and anticipate the need to hire more staff before they start walking out on you. If the LER is low then you may have uncovered some problems in your company,  either excess or poorly trained staff,  needy customers, wasteful practices, lack of procedures or problems in your procurement or service delivery. Add LER or if you like the 2X rule to your arsenal of metrics for your company, but don't look at it in isolation.  It is only one metric that needs to be part of your planning and strategy. Enough of that boring bean counter stuff , and my apologies to all you bean counters let's talk about some actionable ways you can get more done and increase your LER. Marketing Have a Blueprint for making content Blog Format - Use an AIDA template (Attention Interest Desire and Action) Webinar - Use a Project Plan to get everything you need to be done when you need it Webinar - Use segments to break up the content The Early Days Back when my business partner and I started the company in 1995,  we were a couple of "snot nosed kids" as my mother used to call me when I was young.   We were really good at what we did which was installing and implementing ERP softwa... Back when my business partner and I started the company in 1995,  we were a couple of "snot nosed kids" as my mother used to call me when I was young.   We were really good at what we did which was installing and implementing ERP software for manufacturers.   We weren't however very good with finances.    We were fortunate in that the company started off with a bang.  We were traveling to some of the largest companies in the world and we were the Red Adair's of our eco-system.  Saving manufacturers for countless hours of downtime and really helping them get the most out of their software investment.

It wasn't long, about 15 days if I remember right when we needed to bring on our first team member.   and that's when our accountant introduced us to what is still called today in our company, the 2 Times (2x) rule.

In today'ss episode of the IT Provider Network, I am going to introduce you to the 2X rule and the concept of LER or Labor Efficiency Ratio as well as give you so actionable ways you can get more out of your days.

 
The 2 Times Rule
So the 2X rule was pretty simple,  our accountant told us for each employee we brought on we needed to have 2 times that amount in revenue. If we hired a 100k a year guy we needed to product 300k of revenue with that employee to stay solvent and make a profit.    That rule held fast for many years in our company, and it became a major part of our hiring decisions over the years.   We always did our what-if analysis on a spreadsheet that became known as the "Death of PICS" spreadsheet.     Back in the days of time and material billing a 100k resource that sat on the bench for a while could literally be the death of your company.

Fast forward to the last few years,  we have continued to grow and our business has continued to evolve.  Our managed service division is more than 50% recurring revenue and our enterprise software division is moving to SAAS and more recurring revenue too.

Because of the growth, we are no longer a flat organization, and our costs continue to go up.  We now have two buildings, double the amount of licenses and computers and of course, the whole world is moving to a recurring revenue model so our spend is becoming more of an operational expense (OPEX) than a capital expense (CAPEX)

Because we now have some managers that are not revenue producing so we needed to revisit the 2X rule and make some adjustments.

What we found is that the old 2X rule is really called LER or Labor Efficiency Ratio and LER was still a good measure of how efficient we are as a company, a division, for a customer or as an employee.

Direct LER = Gross Margin /  Direct Labor Costs

In simple terms, it's the 2x rule but now we shoot for a higher number closer to three. For 2017  The higher the number the more efficient you are being with your resource but there is a point where LER grows too high and you are really stressing out your staff.   You need to find out where that tipping point is for your team and anticipate the need to hire more staff before they start walking out on you.

If the LER is low then you may have uncovered some problems in your company,  either excess or poorly trained staff,  needy customers, wasteful practices, lack of procedures or problems in your procurement or service delivery.

Add LER or if you like the 2X rule to your arsenal of metrics for your company, but don't look at it in isolation.  It is only one metric that needs to be part of your planning and strategy.

Enough of that boring bean counter stuff , and my apologies to all you bean counters let's talk about some actionable ways you can get more done and increase your LER.
]]>
Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean 22:37
Hiring – Onboarding – the first 90 days – ITPN -EP011 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/hiring-onboarding-first-90-days-itpn-ep011/ Tue, 04 Jul 2017 16:24:56 +0000 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/?p=315 Make the first 90 days successful for you and your new employee As soon as the offer is accepted.   Get the Offer Letter Signed and start any pre-employment tasks Get a Voided Check for Direct Deposit If in the US get the w4 and i9 paperwork out of the way Order a pre-employee drug and background test Order any needed hardware and licenses for the new employee Have your plan together for where and what hours they will work In the days before the start date Set the new Employee up on all your systems Assign a buddy to the new hire and have that buddy reach out with contact information as soon as possible Send out a "Welcome Aboard" email to the staff Arrange for a Friday Afternoon visit before the start date to meet the team Set up the outlook contact list with helpful aliases and phone numbers Add the new hire to any recurring huddles and meetings so that it is already on the calendar. Have any swag or uniforms ready Get any insurance or Company Vehicles lined up Schedule "onboarding" meetings with team members to spread the load and build relationships The Perfect Service Ticket The PTO Process VoiceMail Setup and Phone Training Org Chart Review and insider information on the company Print out helpful information for the new person Phone Lists Company Holidays Employee Manual Helpful URL's Company Acronyms   Tips: Avoid "Radio Silence"  - keep in communication with your new hire. First Impressions Count - get new equipment if you can Add them to the "staff" or all hands email alias so they have your announcement email in their inbox on day 1 Program the welcome message into your digital signage or welcome sign Try to get them working on any online coursework BEFORE their start date     On the First Day Make sure the workspace is ready to go and arrive early before the new hire. If possible by the team lunch and encourage a group lunch Put their name on the welcome board Walk them through the office and re-introduce them to everyone Have 80% of their day planned out and a goal for the 1st day or week Share Company Stories especially ones that highlight core values Have all passwords and accounts written down for them   Tips: Smile Slow Down - everything you know about your company and service doesn't need to come out on day one. Listen - let them talk and really listen If possible bring them into the office even if they are going to be a remote employee Have them work with your "A" players first - first impressions count Share something personal (not too personal) with them to start building rapport   First 90 days     What they should be able to do By 30 days Learn the tools Become Familiar with the Culture Complete at least one small independent project or be working service tickets Achieve a small goal By 60 Days Complete a bigger Project or be able to support the customer base. Take on some longer term responsibilities - measure with your metrics Become fully engaged in the company rhythms - huddles, meetings and metrics By 90 Days Be able to fully handle the jobs responsibilities with minimal supervision   What you need to do   Don't forget to keep it fun - pay special attention to this if the employee is remote. Lay out goals for them  daily, weekly and for the 1st 90 days - remember this is the "probation period" Check in daily and assess the goal progression Force them to use your systems - change is hard but habits can be changed in about three weeks. Take note of their promptness or tardiness.   Use this for discussion during their 90 day review. Start the Baptisim by Fire and see if they sink or swim Have a review meeting around the 90 day mark.   Tips: If you spot a problem deal with it right away Don't be afraid to fail fast - if you made a hiri... Make the first 90 days successful for you and your new employee As soon as the offer is accepted.   Get the Offer Letter Signed and start any pre-employment tasks Get a Voided Check for Direct Deposit As soon as the offer is accepted.
 

* Get the Offer Letter Signed and start any pre-employment tasks
* Get a Voided Check for Direct Deposit
* If in the US get the w4 and i9 paperwork out of the way
* Order a pre-employee drug and background test
* Order any needed hardware and licenses for the new employee
* Have your plan together for where and what hours they will work
*

In the days before the start date

* Set the new Employee up on all your systems
* Assign a buddy to the new hire and have that buddy reach out with contact information as soon as possible
* Send out a "Welcome Aboard" email to the staff
* Arrange for a Friday Afternoon visit before the start date to meet the team
* Set up the outlook contact list with helpful aliases and phone numbers
* Add the new hire to any recurring huddles and meetings so that it is already on the calendar.
* Have any swag or uniforms ready
* Get any insurance or Company Vehicles lined up
* Schedule "onboarding" meetings with team members to spread the load and build relationships

* The Perfect Service Ticket
* The PTO Process
* VoiceMail Setup and Phone Training
* Org Chart Review and insider information on the company


* Print out helpful information for the new person

* Phone Lists
* Company Holidays
* Employee Manual
* Helpful URL's
* Company Acronyms



 
Tips:
Avoid "Radio Silence"  - keep in communication with your new hire.

First Impressions Count - get new equipment if you can

Add them to the "staff" or all hands email alias so they have your announcement email in their inbox on day 1

Program the welcome message into your digital signage or welcome sign

Try to get them working on any online coursework BEFORE their start date

 

 
On the First Day

* Make sure the workspace is ready to go and arrive early before the new hire.
* If possible by the team lunch and encourage a group lunch
* Put their name on the welcome board
* Walk them through the office and re-introduce them to everyone
* Have 80% of their day planned out and a goal for the 1st day or week
* Share Company Stories especially ones that highlight core values
* Have all passwords and accounts written down for them

 
Tips:
Smile

Slow Down - everything you know about your company and service doesn't need to come out on day one.

Listen - let them talk and really listen

If possible bring them into the office even if they are going to be a remote employee

Have them work with your "A" players first - first impressions count

Share something personal (not too personal) with them to start building rapport

 
First 90 days
 

 
What they should be able to do

*
By 30 days

* Learn the tools
* Become Familiar with the Culture
* Complete at least one small independent project or be working service tickets
* Achieve a small goal


*
By 60 Days

* Complete a bigger Project or be able to support the customer base.
* Take on some longer term responsibilities - measure with your metrics
* Become fully engaged in the company rhythms - huddles, meetings and metrics


*
By 90 Days

]]>
Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean 22:24
Hiring – Testing and Interviewing for great hires – ITPN -EP010 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/hiring-testing-interviewing-itpn-ep010/ Sun, 25 Jun 2017 17:30:50 +0000 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/?p=301 This is the 2nd part in a 3rd part series on hiring. See episode 9 for some tips on creating your job description and advertisement.  In this episode of the IT Provider Network I am discussing tools and techniques to move the candidate from the inbox to the offer letter. Testing to weed out the noise. All of our candidates go through some sort of testing,  and most go through quite a bit of testing to hedge our losses against a bad hire. Start your Testing in the Job Advertisement - make the candidate to something extra when sending in their resume.   Make sure they read until the end. Using Skype for initial interviews for non-english speaking audiences.  3:15 Using One Way Video Interviews on Sparkhire to separate the curious from the serious candidates 4:00 Two way Video Interviews Cognitive, Personality, Motivation and Testing for Culture Fit Wonderlic Testing DISC assessments Interviewing Break the ice with some questions to build rapport. Talk about Work Experiences in addition to Work Skills Check their Social Media Profiles Concentrate on Soft Skills Don't forget to be quiet and listen. Wrap Up If you have doubts about the candidate, keep looking and remember a vacant position is better than a bad hire any day. Transcript Terry: Hi, and welcome to episode 10 of the IT provider network.   Female 1: Welcome to the IT provider network. Are you a manage service entrepreneur wanting to take your business to the next level? Do you excel in IT, but feel your business management could be better? Join Terry Russy, where every episode he shares his skills, tips and tricks that have helped him to build a successful, worldwide business.   Terry: In our last episode we talked tools and techniques to use to get a great job advertisement out for a position that you have open. Today I want to carry that a little further and talk about the next step in the process. This is where you're getting some candidates coming in, and you need to test them and interview them. So at the end of episode 9, we pretty much had you ready to get your job posting online, either through one of the online posting services or through Craigslist or LinkedIn and hopefully now you're getting some candidates flowing into your system. That system could be an applicant tracking system or an email address or worst case your own email box. The one thing I forgot to mention in episode 9 with job postings is that I usually include my first test to the applicant in that job posting I'll give you an example of what I mean. So this is for a level one helpdesk tech, at the bottom of the ad it reads, “For immediate consideration, please send your resume to resumes@oursite.com and reference the above job posting in the subject line”. In the body of the email, tell me how you move a users profile from one machine to another when replacing a users computer”  and then I write, will be interviewing in our town next week and make your first impression count. So it's usually a little test like that, it might be a technical test if it's a technical position or it might be just sending your resume to a different address, either a mailbox specifically designed for that post or an email alias, so just by adding that one sentence to the job advertisement, I created 3 little tests for the candidate. Could they send it to the right email address, did they put the job posting into the subject like, and were they able to answer the technical question? A question that was easily solved by goggling it. So think about that when you're making your ad.   What this allows me to see, is did the candidate read the job description thoroughly. Did they read the job advertisement to completion? Did they have any attention to detail? Are they a throughout thought out person? Are they really interested in the position or are they just wasting my time? So first test in the job advertisement, This is the 2nd part in a 3rd part series on hiring. See episode 9 for some tips on creating your job description and advertisement.  In this episode of the IT Provider Network I am discussing tools and techniques to move the candidate from the inbox t... episode 9 for some tips on creating your job description and advertisement.  In this episode of the IT Provider Network I am discussing tools and techniques to move the candidate from the inbox to the offer letter.
Testing to weed out the noise.
All of our candidates go through some sort of testing,  and most go through quite a bit of testing to hedge our losses against a bad hire.

Start your Testing in the Job Advertisement - make the candidate to something extra when sending in their resume.   Make sure they read until the end.

Using Skype for initial interviews for non-english speaking audiences.  3:15

Using One Way Video Interviews on Sparkhire to separate the curious from the serious candidates 4:00

Two way Video Interviews
Cognitive, Personality, Motivation and Testing for Culture Fit
Wonderlic Testing

DISC assessments
Interviewing
Break the ice with some questions to build rapport.

Talk about Work Experiences in addition to Work Skills

Check their Social Media Profiles

Concentrate on Soft Skills

Don't forget to be quiet and listen.
Wrap Up
If you have doubts about the candidate, keep looking and remember a vacant position is better than a bad hire any day.


Transcript
Terry: Hi, and welcome to episode 10 of the IT provider network.

 

Female 1: Welcome to the IT provider network. Are you a manage service entrepreneur wanting to take your business to the next level? Do you excel in IT, but feel your business management could be better? Join Terry Russy, where every episode he shares his skills, tips and tricks that have helped him to build a successful, worldwide business.

 

Terry: In our last episode we talked tools and techniques to use to get a great job advertisement out for a position that you have open. Today I want to carry that a little further and talk about the next step in the process. This is where you're getting some candidates coming in, and you need to test them and interview them.

So at the end of episode 9, we pretty much had you ready to get your job posting online, either through one of the online posting services or through Craigslist or LinkedIn and hopefully now you're getting some candidates flowing into your system. That system could be an applicant tracking system or an email address or worst case your own email box. The one thing I forgot to mention in episode 9 with job postings is that I usually include my first test to the applicant in that job posting I'll give you an example of what I mean.

So this is for a level one helpdesk tech, at the bottom of the ad it reads, “For immediate consideration, please send your resume to resumes@oursite.com and reference the above job posting in the subject line”. In the body of the email, tell me how you move a users profile from one machine to another when replacing a users computer”  and then I write, will be interviewing in our town next week and make your first impression count.

So it's usually a little test like that, it might be a technical test if it's a technical position or it might be just sending your resume to a different address, either a mailbox specifically designed for that post or an email alias, so just by adding that one sentence to the job advertisement, I created 3 little tests for the candidate.]]>
Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean 20:44
Hiring – Process and Tools to find great talent – ITPN – EP009 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/hiring-process-and-tools/ Sat, 17 Jun 2017 18:06:26 +0000 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/?p=281 You’re growing, you’re hiring, your making decisions on new team members.  If you’re like me it is one of the least favorite things you will have to do as an entrepreneur.   You post an ad, have some interviews and hire someone that you basically have known for one hour. Then reality sets in. You basically only know a little bit about your new hire.  They may or may not be a great tech, or worse he may be a terrible fit for your culture and act like a cancer on your team. Hiring and Finding the Best Talent Today we’re going to talk about some great ways to improve your hiring process and get the right people in the right seats at your company.   In episode 9 of the IT provider network I am going to share with you the tools and processes I use to search for great candidates and in episode 10 we’ll talk about interviewing and testing and finally in episode 11 we will talk about some great employee onboarding tips to get your new hire settled in and feeling like part of the team. Before I get to the content of the show I wanted to give a special shoutout to my team at PICS ITech.  We made the MSPMentor MSP 501 list for the 5th consecutive year in a row and that wouldn't have been possible without the team.   Job Descriptions Finding a good hire starts with a good job description that you can tailor into a great job advertisement.   I would recommend that if you are hiring for an existing position that you analyze your existing job and see what the role, requirements, and qualifications are for that position.   Then we can roll that into a formal job description that your existing and new employees can use as a guideline for their job. If you are starting from scratch and in the US, look at the US Department of Labor Career One Stop website.  They have an online job description creator that will give you a good editable start on your job description.    You put in a job title and a location and the tool will spit back a job description that you can edit online and save. I use a supercharged version of a job description in our company.  We use Employee Strategic Plans or ESP’s to work with each of our employees so that all parties involved know what is expected of them and also that individual team members plans flow up to department plans, divisional plans and finally to our corporate plans.  The ESP’s include goals, responsibilities, and qualifications like a normal job description but add time allocation, career paths and expectations to the document.   Job Advertisements Once you have a good job description it’s time to create a great job advertisement.  One of the sayings we have around the office is “someone’s always selling someone” and this is your first chance to sell your company and your position to the candidate. A.I.D.A. Before you start writing the job advertisement get your head on straight.   Unlike the job description which is written for a position the advertisement should be written for ONE person, the person you want to select your company and apply for your job.  If you think of this as any other ad you should strive to write using the AIDA method: So what is AIDA, it is an acronym that stands for A = Attention I = Interest D = Desire A = Action   There are many articles on the AIDA method, so google it and you can do a deep dive but I will break it down quickly for you here. A – Attention – you can’t get a good candidate if you cannot get them to click on your advertisement so you need to capture the candidate’s attention in the beginning of your ad.  This starts with the Job Title or the Posting Title.   Make sure it is written in such a way that you will get the most candidates to click on the ad and start to read. I – Interest – This is where you need to start building interest in the position.  I like to write as if I am speaking to ONE candidate and telling them about the position.  For example statements like “You will be helping our customer do x... You’re growing, you’re hiring, your making decisions on new team members.  If you’re like me it is one of the least favorite things you will have to do as an entrepreneur.   You post an ad, have some interviews and hire someone that you basically have ...
Then reality sets in. You basically only know a little bit about your new hire.  They may or may not be a great tech, or worse he may be a terrible fit for your culture and act like a cancer on your team.
Hiring and Finding the Best Talent
Today we’re going to talk about some great ways to improve your hiring process and get the right people in the right seats at your company.   In episode 9 of the IT provider network I am going to share with you the tools and processes I use to search for great candidates and in episode 10 we’ll talk about interviewing and testing and finally in episode 11 we will talk about some great employee onboarding tips to get your new hire settled in and feeling like part of the team.

Before I get to the content of the show I wanted to give a special shoutout to my team at PICS ITech.  We made the MSPMentor MSP 501 list for the 5th consecutive year in a row and that wouldn't have been possible without the team.

 
Job Descriptions
Finding a good hire starts with a good job description that you can tailor into a great job advertisement.   I would recommend that if you are hiring for an existing position that you analyze your existing job and see what the role, requirements, and qualifications are for that position.   Then we can roll that into a formal job description that your existing and new employees can use as a guideline for their job.

If you are starting from scratch and in the US, look at the US Department of Labor Career One Stop website.  They have an online job description creator that will give you a good editable start on your job description.    You put in a job title and a location and the tool will spit back a job description that you can edit online and save.

I use a supercharged version of a job description in our company.  We use Employee Strategic Plans or ESP’s to work with each of our employees so that all parties involved know what is expected of them and also that individual team members plans flow up to department plans, divisional plans and finally to our corporate plans.  The ESP’s include goals, responsibilities, and qualifications like a normal job description but add time allocation, career paths and expectations to the document.

 
Job Advertisements
Once you have a good job description it’s time to create a great job advertisement.  One of the sayings we have around the office is “someone’s always selling someone” and this is your first chance to sell your company and your position to the candidate.
A.I.D.A.
Before you start writing the job advertisement get your head on straight.   Unlike the job description which is written for a position the advertisement should be written for ONE person, the person you want to select your company and apply for your job.  If you think of this as any other ad you should strive to write using the AIDA method:

So what is AIDA, it is an acronym that stands for

* A = Attention
* I = Interest
* D = Desire
* A = Action

 

There are many articles on the AIDA method, so google it and you can do a deep dive but I will break it down quickly for you here.

A – Attention – you can’t get a good candidate if you cannot get them to click on your advertisement so you need to capture the candidate’s attention in the beginning of your ad.  This starts with the Job Title or the Posting Title.   Make sure it is written in such a way that you will get the most candidates to click on the ad and start to read.

]]>
Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean 17:36
The Holy Trinity-ConnectWise Sell, Automate and Manage-ITPN-008 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/connectwise-holy-trinity/ Sat, 03 Jun 2017 17:41:56 +0000 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/?p=263 ConnectWise - Quosal, LabTech and ConnectWise ConnectWise - Sell, Automate and Manage In French Cooking it's Mirepoix In Italian Cooking it’s Soffreto In Cajun Cooking it's the Holy Trinity In IT Services it's ConnectWise In this episode we are going to talk about the three tools that I use to run our managed services business.  Over the years we have standardized on tools that have been acquired by IT PSA vendor ConnectWise. We'll talk about using a quoting tool and why you need it to be successful.  Remote Monitoring and Management and how you should be using it to save time on your helpdesk and why having a PSA or CRM tool like ConnectWise Manage is absolutely essential for a managed services business. Why you might need ConnectWise You might need ConnectWise Sell if you are: Creating quotes for hardware, software, services and recurring services Managing your sales processes like a real business -  tracking profit, sales activities, and oppurtunities. Constantly looking for the latest products and SKU's to sell to your customers. You might need ConnectWise Automate if you: Monitor and Manage your customer computer Profit by being more efficient and doing less reactive work Need the ability to bill for your services based on knowing the number of machines a customer has. any finally you might need ConnectWise Manage if you are: In the IT Business ... Some other tools we talked about in this episode Quotewerks by Aspire Software We have used Quotewerks for over 10 years and really like some of the features that they bring to the table.   If you are evaluating quoting tools I strongly recommend you take a look at Quotewerks.  (side note... never name your product, something that is spelled wrong,  if your prospects can't find you they can't buy from you). Nilear Nilear is an awesome set of tools that integrate with your ConnectWise Manage and Automate systems to give you a wealth of features that are not available in the software.  In this episode we talk about the Delta Station function of the toolset that audits and allows for rollbacks in the ConnectWise Automate system,. but we use much more of this system to manage our service team.    Check out Nilear, I highly recommend it. Ninite One Ninite Pro or Ninite One  is the command line tool version of Ninite.   Ninite allows for installation and upgrades of many common desktop applications. Ninite tries to behave exactly a seasoned tech that is installing applications on a users' desktop.   It does it so it... Say "No" to toolbars or other junk Always install the latest version of an app Install the right 32-bit or 64-bit version for a PC Install apps in the PC's language Skip apps that are already up-to-date Upgrade an app if it's out of date Here is a list of the applications supported by Ninite Some other PSA and RMM tools to check out Kaseya VSA - RMM Toolset Kaseys BMS - PSA and Business Management Ninja RMM -Ninja MSP Solarwinds MSP Toolset Other things to do Don't forget to scale it up! Special Thanks to: Josh Kemp from Ozark Information Services for the feedback! Transcript Terry Rossi: In French cooking, it's called mirepoix. In Italian cooking, sofrito. In cajun cooking, it's the Holy Trinity. But in IT services, it's ConnectWise. Today, we're going to talk about the ConnectWise Holy Trinity: ConnectWise Sell, formerly known as Quosal; ConnectWise Automate, formerly known as LabTech; and ConnectWise Manage, the flagship PSA product that made ConnectWise what it is today.   Female Voice-over: Welcome to the IT Provider Network. Are you a managed service entrepreneur wanting to take your business to the next level? Do you excel in IT but feel your business management could be better? Join Terry Rossi where every episode, he shares the skills, tips, and tricks that help him to build a successful worldwide business.   Terry: Hi, ConnectWise - Quosal, LabTech and ConnectWise ConnectWise - Sell, Automate and Manage In French Cooking it's Mirepoix In Italian Cooking it’s Soffreto In Cajun Cooking it's the Holy Trinity In IT Services it's ConnectWise - ConnectWise - Sell, Automate and Manage

* In French Cooking it's Mirepoix
* In Italian Cooking it’s Soffreto
* In Cajun Cooking it's the Holy Trinity
* In IT Services it's ConnectWise

In this episode we are going to talk about the three tools that I use to run our managed services business.  Over the years we have standardized on tools that have been acquired by IT PSA vendor ConnectWise.

We'll talk about using a quoting tool and why you need it to be successful.  Remote Monitoring and Management and how you should be using it to save time on your helpdesk and why having a PSA or CRM tool like ConnectWise Manage is absolutely essential for a managed services business.
Why you might need ConnectWise
You might need ConnectWise Sell if you are:

* Creating quotes for hardware, software, services and recurring services
* Managing your sales processes like a real business -  tracking profit, sales activities, and oppurtunities.
* Constantly looking for the latest products and SKU's to sell to your customers.

You might need ConnectWise Automate if you:

* Monitor and Manage your customer computer
* Profit by being more efficient and doing less reactive work
* Need the ability to bill for your services based on knowing the number of machines a customer has.

any finally you might need ConnectWise Manage if you are:

* In the IT Business ...

Some other tools we talked about in this episode
Quotewerks by Aspire Software
We have used Quotewerks for over 10 years and really like some of the features that they bring to the table.   If you are evaluating quoting tools I strongly recommend you take a look at Quotewerks.  (side note... never name your product, something that is spelled wrong,  if your prospects can't find you they can't buy from you).
Nilear
Nilear is an awesome set of tools that integrate with your ConnectWise Manage and Automate systems to give you a wealth of features that are not available in the software.  In this episode we talk about the Delta Station function of the toolset that audits and allows for rollbacks in the ConnectWise Automate system,. but we use much more of this system to manage our service team.    Check out Nilear, I highly recommend it.
Ninite One
Ninite Pro or Ninite One  is the command line tool version of Ninite.   Ninite allows for installation and upgrades of many common desktop applications.

Ninite tries to behave exactly a seasoned tech that is installing applications on a users' desktop.   It does it so it...

* Say "No" to toolbars or other junk
* Always install the latest version of an app
* Install the right 32-bit or 64-bit version for a PC
Install apps in the PC's language
* Skip apps that are already up-to-date
* Upgrade an app if it's out of date

Here is a list of the applications supported by Ninite
Some other PSA and RMM tools to check out
Kaseya VSA - RMM Toolset
Kaseys BMS - PSA and Business Management
Ninja RMM -Ninja MSP
clean 28:20
5 Things to Keep your Customers Happy and Reduce Churn – ITPN-EP007 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/5-things-keep-customers-happy-reduce-churn-itpn-ep007/ Thu, 18 May 2017 14:36:27 +0000 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/?p=246 5 Things to Keep your Customers Happy and Reduce Churn This week was a rough week for me.  We had a couple of events that through off everyone in the service team.  The WannaCry ransomware outbreak and the media coverage caused panic throughout our client base.  We needed to react with communications, blog posts and new scripts to install the emergency patches released by Microsoft.  We are always looking for proactive ways to keep our customer happy and prevent churn. This was coupled with a couple of big P2V or physical to virtual conversions and a hijacked server at a cloud data center.    Needless to say, there was a lot of stress in the office and it reminded me what our clients go through when they have a problem.   So today I want to talk about 5 things you can do to reduce churn and have to keep clients that are happy to refer you to their friends. So what are they? Put yourself in the caller’s shoes Don’t Assume – Listen, think then Speak Get the Facts Jack Get to Know Your Clients and their Users Get Organized – get your House in Order   Show Links Some links from today's show.  I highly recommend all of these to help grow your business. Dave’s Charm School Gazelles and Scaling Up Rockefeller Habits and the Scaling Up Book Doug Diamond – Gazelles Coach that knows the MSP and Software Development Business Digital Equipment  Corp - MicroVAX   That’s it for episode 7 – as always, I want to thank you for taking time out of your day to listen to the IT Provider Network.   My goal is to help you build and scale your managed service business by sharing some of the lessons I have learned over my 21 years in business.  If there is something you need help with in your business, shoot me a note by using the contact form at www.itprovidernetwork.com. Episode 007 2017, Terry Rossi IT Provider Network http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/7   EPISODE 7     Terry:   Welcome to episode 7 of the I.T. provider network. My goal is to help you build and scale your manage services business by sharing some of the lessons I've learned over my twenty-one years in business.   Female Speaker:  Welcome to the I.T. Provider Network. Are you a managed service entrepreneur wanting to take your business to the next level? Do you excel in I.T. but feel your business management could be better? Join Terry Rossi for every episode. He shares the skills, tips and tricks that helped to build a successful worldwide business.   Terry:  The five things are put yourselves in your color shoes, your clients shoes. Don't assume. Listen, think and then speak. Get the facts straight or get the facts Jack. Get to know your clients and their users and get organized. Get your house in order. So let's start with the first one. Put yourself in your client's shoes. What I'm talking about here is empathy and empathy is the ability for you to feel and recognize and respond to the needs of your client as if you are going through the situation yourself. So we've all had calls that don't seem important to us but may be important to the client. Things like not being able to print or phone or email problem or some kind of other problem on our payroll day. These are all things that are very important to your client but may not seem that important to you. It's important that you put yourself in your client's shoes and understand what they're going through.   There are basically five steps you can use to create empathy. Step one is to think as if you were the caller. Think in the context of the caller. Put yourself in their position, what are they going through, what pressures do they have, who's looking over their shoulder, who's ringing their phone every five minutes wondering about this situation.What is it affecting in their day that they can't get done because of the problem they're having. Step two is to watch for body language. Now, this doesn't work obviously if you're on the phone ... 5 Things to Keep your Customers Happy and Reduce Churn This week was a rough week for me.  We had a couple of events that through off everyone in the service team.  The WannaCry ransomware outbreak and the media coverage caused panic throughout our cl... This week was a rough week for me.  We had a couple of events that through off everyone in the service team.  The WannaCry ransomware outbreak and the media coverage caused panic throughout our client base.  We needed to react with communications, blog posts and new scripts to install the emergency patches released by Microsoft.  We are always looking for proactive ways to keep our customer happy and prevent churn.

This was coupled with a couple of big P2V or physical to virtual conversions and a hijacked server at a cloud data center.    Needless to say, there was a lot of stress in the office and it reminded me what our clients go through when they have a problem.   So today I want to talk about 5 things you can do to reduce churn and have to keep clients that are happy to refer you to their friends.
So what are they?

* Put yourself in the caller’s shoes
* Don’t Assume – Listen, think then Speak
* Get the Facts Jack
* Get to Know Your Clients and their Users
* Get Organized – get your House in Order

 
Show Links
Some links from today's show.  I highly recommend all of these to help grow your business.

*
Dave’s Charm School
* Gazelles and Scaling Up
* Rockefeller Habits and the Scaling Up Book
* Doug Diamond – Gazelles Coach that knows the MSP and Software Development Business
* Digital Equipment  Corp - MicroVAX

 

That’s it for episode 7 – as always, I want to thank you for taking time out of your day to listen to the IT Provider Network.   My goal is to help you build and scale your managed service business by sharing some of the lessons I have learned over my 21 years in business.  If there is something you need help with in your business, shoot me a note by using the contact form at www.itprovidernetwork.com.



Episode 007
2017, Terry Rossi
IT Provider Network
http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/7
 

EPISODE 7

 

 

Terry:   Welcome to episode 7 of the I.T. provider network. My goal is to help you build and scale your manage services business by sharing some of the lessons I've learned over my twenty-one years in business.

 

Female Speaker:  Welcome to the I.T. Provider Network. Are you a managed service entrepreneur wanting to take your business to the next level? Do you excel in I.T. but feel your business management could be better? Join Terry Rossi for every episode. He shares the skills, tips and tricks that helped to build a successful worldwide business.

 

Terry:  The five things are put yourselves in your color shoes, your clients shoes. Don't assume. Listen, think and then speak. Get the facts straight or get the facts Jack. Get to know your clients and their users and get organized. Get your house in order. So let's start with the first one. Put yourself in your client's shoes. What I'm talking about here is empathy and empathy is the ability for you to feel and recognize and respond to the needs of your client as if you are going through the situation yourself. So we've all had calls that don't seem important to us but may be important to the client. Things like not being able to print or phone or email problem or some kind of other problem on our payroll day. These are all things that are very important to your client but may not seem that impor...]]> Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean 19:08 Fries with that? Scaling your MSP like McDonald’s – ITPN-EP006 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/fries-scaling-msp-like-mcdonalds/ Thu, 04 May 2017 13:53:59 +0000 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/?p=224 Today we're going to look at three things we can learn from McDonald's to grow and scale our IT Service Provider business Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean 15:28 Tools for publishing and monitoring your social media networks – ITPN-005 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/tools-for-publishing-and-monitoring-your-social-media-networks-itpn-005/ Fri, 14 Apr 2017 14:45:38 +0000 http://itprovidernetwork.com/?p=191 Episode 5 - Tools for publishing and monitoring your social media networks In this episode I hope to share with you three important things: The power of customer testimonials and your "About Us" page How content is too expensive unless you find ways to repurpose it Some tools you can use to manage your social media networks.   Show Links Using a project plan for settting up all your social media accounts - start with Directive's Ultimate Social Media Rig I caught a great episode of Noah Kagen presents where Noah's good friend Neville Medhora lured me into his website and I stumbled across this awesome actionable post on creating a great "About Us" page.  Neville extracts all the golden nuggets from Marian Schembari in this post  How to Create an amazing "About Us" page (tactics from a professional About Page writer) Hootsuite - the ultimate social media platform management tool,  if you don't like Hootsuite you might try Buffer or SocialOomph Social Jukebox is a great tool to repurpose your content on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Social Jukebox - Free Trial ManageFlitter - Build your Twitter account with ManageFlitter  - audience Management - copy followers and influencers. Transcript Transcript [0:00] Hi and welcome to episode 5 of the IT Provider Network my name is Terry Rossi and I'm here to share with you some tips and tricks that I've learned over the last 20 years running a software development firm and IT services firm.  Today I want to talk about setting up your social media accounts in the footprint that you have on the internet. [0:20] Then I want to talk to you about some tools that I used to publish republish and monitor what we put out there on the social media Networks. Welcome to the it provider Network.   [0:52] Get started with the actual meat of the show I wanted to share with you a story from this week. [0:58] We had actually engaged a writer to help us with some customer testimonials and case studies. This particular person work for a large. 250 million or so software development firm and recently they went through a round of layoffs and she got laid off her sole purpose. At this company was to write customer case studies and success stories so she agreed to work with us for a short time while she was in between jobs and. Interview our customers and get some testimonials for so the first one she did was about a three-page document was like a success story I would call it for one of our companies that manages associations. [1:44] What I really liked about the work she produced was she was really really good at getting the customer to open up. On all the buying reasons that they purchase from us. She's also really good at getting to the meat of the problem of why they left their previous provider. [2:06] Let me just give you a couple excerpts from the. Success story that she wrote part of choosing picks the customer work with another service to provider to manage its it operations. What is their business grow the vendor was unable to keep up with the company's needs, help that's response time was slow and that was impacting customer product I'm sorry employee productivity and customer satisfaction and they lack the commitment the customer wanted in a partner. [2:35] Here's a quote from the customer directly we will with them for several years but we just weren't seeing the initiative or the leadership around either improving our infrastructure or just maintaining it explains the customer. [2:50] It was a lot of talk and not a lot of movement is the moral of the story is there is your customers are paying attention when you tell them you're going to do something you should do it whether that's Network admin or. Vcio type Services Technical Services if you're selling a flat fee service and you're only providing help desk. [3:08] You're not really giving the customer the value they're expecting it anyway to take away from tha... Episode 5 - Tools for publishing and monitoring your social media networks In this episode I hope to share with you three important things: The power of customer testimonials and your "About Us" page In this episode I hope to share with you three important things:

* The power of customer testimonials and your "About Us" page
* How content is too expensive unless you find ways to repurpose it
* Some tools you can use to manage your social media networks.

 
Show Links

* Using a project plan for settting up all your social media accounts - start with Directive's Ultimate Social Media Rig
* I caught a great episode of Noah Kagen presents where Noah's good friend Neville Medhora lured me into his website and I stumbled across this awesome actionable post on creating a great "About Us" page.  Neville extracts all the golden nuggets from Marian Schembari in this post  How to Create an amazing "About Us" page (tactics from a professional About Page writer)
* Hootsuite - the ultimate social media platform management tool,  if you don't like Hootsuite you might try Buffer or SocialOomph
* Social Jukebox is a great tool to repurpose your content on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Social Jukebox - Free Trial
* ManageFlitter - Build your Twitter account with ManageFlitter  - audience Management - copy followers and influencers.



Transcript
Transcript
[0:00] Hi and welcome to episode 5 of the IT Provider Network my name is Terry Rossi and I'm here to share with you some tips and tricks that I've learned over the last 20 years running a software development firm and IT services firm. 

Today I want to talk about setting up your social media accounts in the footprint that you have on the internet.

[0:20] Then I want to talk to you about some tools that I used to publish republish and monitor what we put out there on the social media Networks.
Welcome to the it provider Network.

 

[0:52] Get started with the actual meat of the show I wanted to share with you a story from this week.

[0:58] We had actually engaged a writer to help us with some customer testimonials and case studies. This particular person work for a large.
250 million or so software development firm and recently they went through a round of layoffs and she got laid off her sole purpose.
At this company was to write customer case studies and success stories so she agreed to work with us for a short time while she was in between jobs and.
Interview our customers and get some testimonials for so the first one she did was about a three-page document was like a success story I would call it for one of our companies that manages associations.

[1:44] What I really liked about the work she produced was she was really really good at getting the customer to open up.
On all the buying reasons that they purchase from us.
She's also really good at getting to the meat of the problem of why they left their previous provider.

[2:06] Let me just give you a couple excerpts from the.
]]>
Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean 19:43
Tools for Creating Inbound Marketing Content – ITPN-EP004 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/tools-for-creating-inbound-marketing-content/ Sun, 02 Apr 2017 23:23:05 +0000 http://itprovidernetwork.com/?p=171 Episode 4 - Tools for Creating Inbound Marketing Content Today I want to share with you some of the tools I use to create marketing and educational content for our company.     I’m going to do this as a two-part series, so today i will focus on the tools I use to produce our digital content and next time I will share with you the tools I use to publish, repurpose and monitor what we publish on the Internet. You have probably produced some content for the Internet.  As a company, we have dabbled in content production for many years.   Like many businesses we made a half ass attempt to publish a blog, produce some videos and stay relevant on social media,  but last year we made a significant investment in what is called inbound marketing.  We signed up and started using a service called HubSpot.  If you haven’t heard of Hubspot, Hubspot is sales and marketing automation platform to help b2b or b2c companies attract visitors to your website and turn them into buyers.   If you are looking for how you can get more out of your internet marketing I would encourage you to take a few hours and go through their Inbound Marketing Certification Training.    Even if you aren’t interested in investing in the Hubspot platform, It’s free, quick and easy to do and will set you up with a good foundation that you need to start taking advantage of inbound marketing with or without an automation platform. If you would prefer reading a book,   a quick and easy read is, “They Ask, You Answer” by Marcus Sheridan.  Marcus was a pool installer in Virginia and one of the first big inbound marketing and Hubspot success stories. So lets get into content production and start with a couple of definitions, the first is “content marketing”  so we are on the same page. Content Marketing Content marketing is defined as a strategic marketing approach focused on continually creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content that is designed to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to produce a sale. When they say “clearly defined audience” you will often hear this referred to as a buyer persona or buyer avatar.      Buyer persona’s or avatars are fictional representations of people that you believe would buy from you.   So, for example in our company, we have defined some buyer’s persona’s that represent the types of buyers we typically deal with.  We have defined “Ian the IT Guy”, “Fran in Finance”, and “Charles the CEO”.   Each of these personas help us create content that is directed to and will resonate with that type of buyer. The personas are specific.  For example, our persona for “Ian the IT Guy” is made up of his Roles (Ian is an evaluator, decision maker, techie, Caretaker, Introvert, Knowledge Seeker, Troubleshooter), Goals (Ian needs to keep infrastructure running, preserve his job, work over vendors, make himself look good in the eyes of his boss, and advance his career).   He also has specific Challenges (too much to do, not enough time, no real decision making power, no peers to work with, limited budgets and a fear of losing his job). If you keep a specific persona or avatar in your mind while you are creating content you will have a much better chance of making something that will resonate with the potential client. Inbound Marketing The next term I want to define is, Inbound Marketing. I threw out the term Inbound Marketing when we were talking about HubSpot.    Inbound marketing is a marketing system that is designed to address problems and needs of a clearly defined audience by building trust and credibility.   Content produced for an inbound marketing program is designed to be helpful and relevant not intrusive.   Most inbound marketing includes elements of SEO, Blogging, Social Media and Live events and webinars. Instead of old school pop-ups, banner ads and other intrusive methods.    This is the main reason I spend have of my days building content. want to share with you some of the tools I use to create marketing & educational content. Today I will focus on the tools I use to produce our digital content and next time I will share with you the tools I use to publish, Today I want to share with you some of the tools I use to create marketing and educational content for our company.     I’m going to do this as a two-part series, so today i will focus on the tools I use to produce our digital content and next time I will share with you the tools I use to publish, repurpose and monitor what we publish on the Internet.

You have probably produced some content for the Internet.  As a company, we have dabbled in content production for many years.   Like many businesses we made a half ass attempt to publish a blog, produce some videos and stay relevant on social media,  but last year we made a significant investment in what is called inbound marketing.  We signed up and started using a service called HubSpot.  If you haven’t heard of Hubspot, Hubspot is sales and marketing automation platform to help b2b or b2c companies attract visitors to your website and turn them into buyers.   If you are looking for how you can get more out of your internet marketing I would encourage you to take a few hours and go through their Inbound Marketing Certification Training.    Even if you aren’t interested in investing in the Hubspot platform, It’s free, quick and easy to do and will set you up with a good foundation that you need to start taking advantage of inbound marketing with or without an automation platform.

If you would prefer reading a book,   a quick and easy read is, “They Ask, You Answer” by Marcus Sheridan.  Marcus was a pool installer in Virginia and one of the first big inbound marketing and Hubspot success stories.

So lets get into content production and start with a couple of definitions, the first is “content marketing”  so we are on the same page.
Content Marketing
Content marketing is defined as a strategic marketing approach focused on continually creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content that is designed to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to produce a sale.

When they say “clearly defined audience” you will often hear this referred to as a buyer persona or buyer avatar.      Buyer persona’s or avatars are fictional representations of people that you believe would buy from you.   So, for example in our company, we have defined some buyer’s persona’s that represent the types of buyers we typically deal with.  We have defined “Ian the IT Guy”, “Fran in Finance”, and “Charles the CEO”.   Each of these personas help us create content that is directed to and will resonate with that type of buyer.

The personas are specific.  For example, our persona for “Ian the IT Guy” is made up of his Roles (Ian is an evaluator, decision maker, techie, Caretaker, Introvert, Knowledge Seeker, Troubleshooter), Goals (Ian needs to keep infrastructure running, preserve his job, work over vendors, make himself look good in the eyes of his boss, and advance his career).   He also has specific Challenges (too much to do, not enough time, no real decision making power, no peers to work with, limited budgets and a fear of losing his job).

If you keep a specific persona or avatar in your mind while you are creating content you will have a much better chance of making something that will resonate with the potential client.
Inbound Marketing
The next term I want to define is, Inbound Marketing. I threw out the term Inbound Marketing when we were talking about HubSpot.    Inbound marketing is a marketing system that is designed to address problems and needs of a clearly defined audience by building trust and credibility.   Content produced for an inbound marketing pro...]]>
Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean 16:49
Building Rapport with Employees, Prospects and Customers – ITPN-EP003 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/building-rapport-with-employees-prospects-and-customers-itpn-ep003/ Sat, 18 Mar 2017 18:56:26 +0000 http://itprovidernetwork.com/?p=133 Every wonder why you are not closing the deals you think you should or why you seem to be losing customers or employees left and right?   I was there once, there were a lot of reasons that this was happening but one of the main reasons was that no one in our company was building lasting relationships.   No one was building rapport.   On this episode of the IT Provider Network we are going to talk about some proven ways you can use to build rapport and lasting relationships with your prospects, customer and employees.   Join me on this episode as we explore over 10 different ways to build rapport. Link to the Recorded Power Point Presentation: Episode 3 - Building Rapport 2017, Terry Rossi IT Provider Network http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/episode3 Transcript [0:00] Ever wonder why you're not closing the deals you think you should. Hawaii losing customers and employees left and right I was there once there's a lot of reasons why this was happening but one of the main reasons was no one in my company was building lasting relationships. No one was building rapport. On this episode of the it provider Network we're going to talk about some proven ways you can use to build rapport and lasting relationships with your prospects customers and employees. [0:36] Music. [0:51] I am welcome to episode 3 of the it provider Network thanks for joining me and is always my goal is to bring you great content that will help you build grow and scale your man is service business. I was recently asked by someone on my management team to elaborate on the statement I made about building rapport with our customers. My comment was after someone in my finance department said that she emailed a new customer about setting up our company as a vendor. I told her not to forget to pick up the phone with our new customers and build a relationship. That relationship needs to be built with conversation so they were more than just a vendor is there AP contact but we're a person we need to build real relationships with our customers and that's true of our prospects and our employees as well. So I turn this statement into a PowerPoint presentation that I gave to our management team during our Monday morning meeting. I also took the time to record it so I can add it to Human Resources Arsenal and reuse it if and when the time comes that we need it again. This is a good practice to get into in your business always be thinking about maximizing the time you're spending and being able to reuse or repurpose the content you create. If you're giving your presentation recorded if you're writing a blog post think about ways to make it Evergreen make content it's always relevant. Interesting and relevant content it doesn't become dated. This is particularly important now with social media using tools like social jukebox and before you can repost content with different titles and kind of a round-robin fashion. [2:28] So what follows is the presentation I did for a management team I've included a link to the PowerPoint video on YouTube in the show notes at the it provider network.com / episode 3. Have a listen then I'll be back to wrap things up hello everyone today we're going to talk about building rapport with our customers. Our employees are prospects or for anyone for that matter so let's start out with a simple definition what is rapport. She look at Wikipedia or if you could find one a dictionary. Wars Define is the clothes and harmonious relationship with people or groups and understanding their feelings ideas and being able to communicate well with them. That's what Rapport is it's the relationship it's understanding it's having a bond with someone having empathy. [3:24] Does interesting CBS News In The Wall Street Journal did a poll and they asked people what percentage of people in general do you think are trustworthy. So imagine lining up a hundred people and asking someone out of those hundred people how many do you... Every wonder why you are not closing the deals you think you should or why you seem to be losing customers or employees left and right?   I was there once, there were a lot of reasons that this was happening but one of the main reasons was that no one ...
Link to the Recorded Power Point Presentation:


Episode 3 - Building Rapport
2017, Terry Rossi
IT Provider Network
http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/episode3

Transcript
[0:00] Ever wonder why you're not closing the deals you think you should.
Hawaii losing customers and employees left and right I was there once there's a lot of reasons why this was happening but one of the main reasons was no one in my company was building lasting relationships.
No one was building rapport.
On this episode of the it provider Network we're going to talk about some proven ways you can use to build rapport and lasting relationships with your prospects customers and employees.

[0:36] Music.

[0:51] I am welcome to episode 3 of the it provider Network thanks for joining me and is always my goal is to bring you great content that will help you build grow and scale your man is service business.
I was recently asked by someone on my management team to elaborate on the statement I made about building rapport with our customers.
My comment was after someone in my finance department said that she emailed a new customer about setting up our company as a vendor.
I told her not to forget to pick up the phone with our new customers and build a relationship.
That relationship needs to be built with conversation so they were more than just a vendor is there AP contact but we're a person we need to build real relationships with our customers and that's true of our prospects and our employees as well.
So I turn this statement into a PowerPoint presentation that I gave to our management team during our Monday morning meeting.
I also took the time to record it so I can add it to Human Resources Arsenal and reuse it if and when the time comes that we need it again.
This is a good practice to get into in your business always be thinking about maximizing the time you're spending and being able to reuse or repurpose the content you create.
If you're giving your presentation recorded if you're writing a blog post think about ways to make it Evergreen make content it's always relevant.
Interesting and relevant content it doesn't become dated.
This is particularly important now with social media using tools like social jukebox and before you can repost content with different titles and kind of a round-robin fashion.

[2:28] So what follows is the presentation I did for a management team I've included a link to the PowerPoint video on YouTube in the show notes at the it provider network.com / episode 3.
Have a listen then I'll be back to wrap things up hello everyone today we're going to talk about building rapport with our customers.
Our employees are prospects or for anyone for that matter so let's start out with a simple definition what is rapport.
She look at Wikipedia or if you could find one a dictionary.
Wars Define is the clothes and harmonious relationship with people or groups and understanding their feelings ideas and being able to communicate well with them.
]]>
Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean 16:19
Why 90% isn’t good enough – ITPN-EP002 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/why-ninty-percent-isnt-good-enough-itpn-ep002/ Sat, 11 Mar 2017 18:51:47 +0000 http://itprovidernetwork.com/?p=126 So often as a managed service provider was a running with our choke out and trying to get all the critical and urgent tasks done and we forget about the important ones that will really change the way we deliver service and delight our customers.  In today’s episode of the IT provider network we are going to talk about how 90% is not good enough.     Episode 2 - Why 90% Isn't Good Enough 2017, Terry Rossi IT Provider Network http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/episode2 Transcript ITPN-EP002.mp3   Terry: I was talking to one of my team the other day about one of the most important things an outsourced IT provider needs to do and that is finish the projects they start. This is especially important for a flat-fee manage service provider or really any company that has a long-term relationship with their clients. We were talking about a couple of our recent phone system projects that we're implementing and specifically a new cloud-based telephone system. We don't do a lot of voiceover IP work or telephone work so we needed to make sure that we really complete these projects 100%. So often as an MSP we're running with our chokes out trying to get all the critical and urgent tasks done and we forget about the important ones that are really changing the way we deliver service and delight our customers. In today's episode of the IT Provider Network, we're going to talk about how 90% is not good enough.   Female: Welcome to the IT Provider Network. Are you a managed service entrepreneur wanting to take your business to the next level? Do you excel in IT but feel your business management could be better? Join Terry Russey, where every episode he shares the skills, tips, and tricks that helped him to build a successful worldwide business.   Terry: Welcome to episode 2 of the IT Provider Network and thanks for tuning in and joining me on some of these first initial episodes. I promise you to work to continually improve and bring value to you and your company. My goal is to join you once a week and share some of the insights and lessons I've learned in growing my managed service provider business and working with small medium and larger enterprises all over the world. Back to my story about the telephone projects we're in the middle of doing. We're working with a new vendor, new for us, called Zoltis. They manufacture and sell an on-premise physical or virtual phone system for small and medium-sized businesses as well as a fully hosted cloud-based solution. The thing that attracted us to Zoltis was the fact that they tied together telephone, instant messaging, electronic faxing, and conferencing all together and allowed you to use this phone system with or without a phone instrument. You could use a soft phone on your laptop for example. Their system relies on a piece of software that has all the high-end features built into it so the phone itself is actually a rather dumb device. This isn't an advertisement for Zoltis although we're very happy with the company and the product. So if you are interested, I have put some contact information into the show notes at the itprovidernetwork.com/episode2. We had a couple of nice winds with the product and we decided to go for the Zoltis cloud offering for a local township police department and court system. We aren't their IT provider yet so we wanted to have minimal reliance on their LAN and dealing with another IT company that we hopefully would be replacing soon as soon as their contract expires. So we put them in the Zoltis cloud which is a full service offering as I said, flat fee per user, and they provide the SIP Trunks hardware software support etc. Essentially, we just get a commission. So when we sold this project, we developed a project plan that included all the pre-cutover tasks, the planning, number porting, auto attendant creation, mailbox and user your creation, and then the go-live services, as well as user training and documentation. So often as a managed service provider was a running with our choke out and trying to get all the critical and urgent tasks done and we forget about the important ones that will really change the way we deliver service and delight our customers.
 



 
Episode 2 - Why 90% Isn't Good Enough
2017, Terry Rossi
IT Provider Network
http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/episode2

Transcript
ITPN-EP002.mp3

 

Terry: I was talking to one of my team the other day about one of the most important things an outsourced IT provider needs to do and that is finish the projects they start. This is especially important for a flat-fee manage service provider or really any company that has a long-term relationship with their clients. We were talking about a couple of our recent phone system projects that we're implementing and specifically a new cloud-based telephone system. We don't do a lot of voiceover IP work or telephone work so we needed to make sure that we really complete these projects 100%. So often as an MSP we're running with our chokes out trying to get all the critical and urgent tasks done and we forget about the important ones that are really changing the way we deliver service and delight our customers. In today's episode of the IT Provider Network, we're going to talk about how 90% is not good enough.

 

Female: Welcome to the IT Provider Network. Are you a managed service entrepreneur wanting to take your business to the next level? Do you excel in IT but feel your business management could be better? Join Terry Russey, where every episode he shares the skills, tips, and tricks that helped him to build a successful worldwide business.

 

Terry: Welcome to episode 2 of the IT Provider Network and thanks for tuning in and joining me on some of these first initial episodes. I promise you to work to continually improve and bring value to you and your company. My goal is to join you once a week and share some of the insights and lessons I've learned in growing my managed service provider business and working with small medium and larger enterprises all over the world.

Back to my story about the telephone projects we're in the middle of doing. We're working with a new vendor, new for us, called Zoltis. They manufacture and sell an on-premise physical or virtual phone system for small and medium-sized businesses as well as a fully hosted cloud-based solution. The thing that attracted us to Zoltis was the fact that they tied together telephone, instant messaging, electronic faxing, and conferencing all together and allowed you to use this phone system with or without a phone instrument. You could use a soft phone on your laptop for example. Their system relies on a piece of software that has all the high-end features built into it so the phone itself is actually a rather dumb device. This isn't an advertisement for Zoltis although we're very happy with the company and the product. So if you are interested, I have put some contact information into the show notes at the itprovidernetwork.com/episode2.

We had a couple of nice winds with the product and we decided to go for the Zoltis cloud offering for a local township police department and court system. We aren't their IT provider yet so we wanted to have minimal reliance on their LAN and dealing with another IT company that we hopefully would be replacing soon as soon as their contract expires. So we put them in the Zoltis cloud which is a full service offering as I said, flat fee per user, and they provide the SIP Trunks hardware software support etc.]]>
Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean 14:57
Multi Pronged Customer Communications – ITPN-EP001 http://www.itprovidernetwork.com/multi-pronged-customer-communications-itpn-ep001/ Sat, 04 Mar 2017 18:54:13 +0000 http://itprovidernetwork.com/?p=131 In today's show we are going to talk about 3 great ways to keep in touch with your client base. I’m Terry Rossi and this is The IT Provider Network Show Episode Number 1   Episode 1 - Multi Pronged Customer Communications 2017, Terry Rossi IT Provider Network http://www.itprovidernetwork/episode1 Transcript [0:00] Music. [0:19] Welcome to the it provider Network show my name is Terry Rossi and I'll be your host today for episode 1 of the show. [0:26] We hope that you will join us on our journey as we attempt. To bring value to you and your company to try to help you grow and scale your MSP business or cloud service business, and share some of the tips and tricks that we learned along the way so without further Ado Let's Start Episode 1. Intonation we going to talk about three great ways to stay in touch with your client base and this is an important thing for all managed service providers. Because you're only as good as your last out a boy. [0:56] What I mean by that is if you're out of sight you're out of mine with a managed service customer if you're not providing value and showing your face and communicating with them. You're just another bill that comes on the first of the month that the customer questions whether they need or not so. [1:12] My company and our experience we found that there are three Avenues and which you can talk to your customer base there from your sales department your finance department. And your service department the order in which they communicate to your customers at least initially isn't exactly that order sales finance and service at least in our company it is, so where does it all start it starts with person, are there out there prospecting the managed service sale and you know they were the first people to make contact in there the first people that represent your company in the eyes of the prospect. Prostitute inside sales person an inside sales person in my company is a telemarketer. So we have a guy Jim it's been with us for over 8 years he dials all day everyday $80 a day in rain sleet or snow. [2:00] It takes a special person to do that so we're fortunate to have them. The gems out there representing our company what he says on the phone and how it interacts with the gatekeeper what we call the gatekeeper that's the person answering the phone as well as the key contact that we're trying to reach. That's how our company is represented that's the first impression that everyone remembers. [2:21] And it's important to get a great person to do this whether you're Outsourcing it or doing it in-house you need to really really really that that person that's doing the, falling for you cuz they are the first impression for your company I know there's a lot of people that want to Outsource this job and that's because it's a hard job and it's hard to get a person that will actually do that everyday, I encourage you to try to find that person though it's well worth it to keep it in house, companies that you hire that telemarket on very few of them and I've talked to many of their principles and their owners. Good companies doing good work but they're not as good as someone that sitting in your office that you can hear is pitch all day long and you can understand who is marketing to you can work with him during your daily Huddle's are your sales meetings to make sure that, that person is going to represent your company the way you want that's key that's really important in a business that's built on trust. So getting back to sales the first Contact is always with sales and it starts with a telemarketer, or the inside sales person or your outside sales person whoever makes the first Contact then it progresses to the hunter person that's out there actually trying to close the deal, trying to land a business for your company that person whether it's you or hired salesperson. They're key in representing your products and services setting the right e... In today's show we are going to talk about 3 great ways to keep in touch with your client base. I’m Terry Rossi and this is The IT Provider Network Show Episode Number 1 -   Episode 1 - Multi Pronged Customer Communications 2017, Terry Rossi I’m Terry Rossi and this is The IT Provider Network Show Episode Number 1

 


Episode 1 - Multi Pronged Customer Communications
2017, Terry Rossi
IT Provider Network
http://www.itprovidernetwork/episode1

Transcript
[0:00] Music.

[0:19] Welcome to the it provider Network show my name is Terry Rossi and I'll be your host today for episode 1 of the show.

[0:26] We hope that you will join us on our journey as we attempt.
To bring value to you and your company to try to help you grow and scale your MSP business or cloud service business,
and share some of the tips and tricks that we learned along the way so without further Ado Let's Start Episode 1.
Intonation we going to talk about three great ways to stay in touch with your client base and this is an important thing for all managed service providers.
Because you're only as good as your last out a boy.

[0:56] What I mean by that is if you're out of sight you're out of mine with a managed service customer if you're not providing value and showing your face and communicating with them.
You're just another bill that comes on the first of the month that the customer questions whether they need or not so.

[1:12] My company and our experience we found that there are three Avenues and which you can talk to your customer base there from your sales department your finance department.
And your service department the order in which they communicate to your customers at least initially isn't exactly that order sales finance and service at least in our company it is,
so where does it all start it starts with person,
are there out there prospecting the managed service sale and you know they were the first people to make contact in there the first people that represent your company in the eyes of the prospect.
Prostitute inside sales person an inside sales person in my company is a telemarketer.
So we have a guy Jim it's been with us for over 8 years he dials all day everyday $80 a day in rain sleet or snow.

[2:00] It takes a special person to do that so we're fortunate to have them.
The gems out there representing our company what he says on the phone and how it interacts with the gatekeeper what we call the gatekeeper that's the person answering the phone as well as the key contact that we're trying to reach.
That's how our company is represented that's the first impression that everyone remembers.

[2:21] And it's important to get a great person to do this whether you're Outsourcing it or doing it in-house you need to really really really that that person that's doing the,
falling for you cuz they are the first impression for your company I know there's a lot of people that want to Outsource this job and that's because it's a hard job and it's hard to get a person that will actually do that everyday,
I encourage you to try to find that person though it's well worth it to keep it in house,
companies that you hire that telemarket on very few of them and I've talked to many of their principles and their owners.
Good companies doing good work but they're not as good as someone that sitting in your office that you can hear is pitch all day long and you can understand who is marketing to you can work with him during your daily Huddle's are your sales meetings to make sure that,
that person is going to represent your company the way you want that's key that's really important in a business that's built on trust.
So getting back to sales the first Contact is always with sales and it starts with a telemarketer,
]]>
Terry Rossi - MSP and IT Business Coach clean 21:30