In this episode, Jeff Loehr and Joe Rojas welcomed Kathryn Rose, the visionary behind ChannelWise. She emphasized the importance of defining a niche in today’s saturated MSP market. The conversation revolved around the common fear of narrowing down to a niche, where many businesses worry about limiting their reach. However, as the discussion revealed, honing a niche allows providers to address specific business problems more proficiently.
Kathryn also touched upon the essence of sales, stating that the core of a successful sales strategy is understanding and solving client problems rather than merely selling products. She introduced the ChannelWise Coaching Cafe, a space where experts provide valuable insights to MSPs. Throughout the conversation, the trio converged on the idea that business, at its heart, exists to solve problems.
For MSPs and other businesses to thrive, they must embrace this ethos, ensuring that every sale and every service genuinely addresses a customer’s unique challenges.
Kathryn Rose is an innovator and the founding CEO of award-winning global expert marketplaces (getWise, channelWise) that provide business owners and professionals in targeted markets access to thousands of vetted executives, coaches/mentors, education, and resources that accelerate business or career growth.
She is a former Wall Street executive sales leader and an author of 9 books. She has been featured in Forbes, Inc. Magazine, CBS Marketwatch, Fox News and more. She was recently named Worth Magazine Top 100 Entrepreneurs, Forbes Top 1000 innovators and a member of the prestigious Nasdaq Milestone Makers program. Kathryn is a highly sought after speaker at leading global industry events–Google, IBM, Dell Technologies, Women in Tech Summit and the Grace Hopper Celebration. Kathryn has received accolades for her vision, commitment, and leadership including the CompTIA Advancing Women in Technology Mentor of the Year Spotlight award and more.
What is the problem you solve, and for whom?
Did you ever want to just pick up the phone and get some advice on a buisness or career challenge? Our platform helps people and businesses go forward, faster.
For vendors/suppliers — we have experts that can help the folks inside these organizations get access to experts to answer their critical challenges about how to build a channel program but we also offer vendors a way to support their partners at scale. They can offer channelWise access to their partners to help them with their business.
How do you help MSPs
For MSPs, they are small businesses and have small business challenges…finance, HR, legal, marketing, and sales to name a few. We want to support them by offering access to world-class experts, on-demand, that will help them accelerate their growth.
Your Company Website/URL
What you are promoting:
- Learn about the Coaching Cafe https://www.channelwise.com/coaching-cafe-for-coaches
Jeff Loehr: Hey there, Joe.
Joe Rojas: Hey, what’s happening, Jeff?
Jeff Loehr: Have you ever tried to make baguettes?
Joe Rojas: No.
Jeff Loehr: So last time I tried to make it, it was chewy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Making a baguette takes a little bit of finesse. Like the French, they came up with this process a million years ago, and they’ve been building it and doing it ever since. And if you want a baguette, you have to follow the process. There’s no other way around it. And that’s the way it is.
So this morning. Here in Berlin, if you want bread, you go down to your local bakery to get your bread. There’s this French bakery around the corner. It’s always got this line around the corner.
I don’t understand it. I’m like, what are these guys selling? Are they selling crack? There’s always a line. And so I stayed in line today, and I got some croissants, and I got a baguette. Brought it home, and you know what? It was amazing.
Joe Rojas: It was the best.
Jeff Loehr: And I realized something. The reason it’s so good is because they learned and they follow the process. They know how to make baguettes. Now, I can make baguettes on my own, but why not just go down to the people who know what they’re doing? They’re not making this white wonder bread. They make baguettes, and they make French pastries, and that’s it. And when they sell out for the day, that’s it.
So why am I bringing up baguettes, Joe?
Joe Rojas: I have a notion of why you’re bringing up baguettes.
Jeff Loehr: It has everything to do with niche. The amazing thing is that we’re going around the whole time and I see it everywhere I go.
Everything is a niche, right? The reason that these guys have a line all the way around the block is because they do the one thing that they do really, really well, And today, we’re talking with Kathryn Rose. And one of the things we talk about is delivering your service at 50,000 feet. I make bread, versus I want a specific kind of bread (baguette), and I want it done really well.
And I know that I can’t cook it myself. And that’s just the key. You have to think in terms of you’re not just selling bread. You’re selling a baguette. You’re selling a specific kind of baguette that’s special and tailored to the people who are buying it. And you know how many of those people are haggling over the price? None of them. Because They just feel lucky that they got to the front of the line while there were still baguettes available.
Joe Rojas: Yeah, we have a French bakery here at Forest Hills like that. They got voted the number one baguette in New York or something. It’s you go and there’s always a line and they make everything fresh and whatever is run out. That’s it for the day.
Jeff Loehr: And they don’t compete on price, and they do one thing, and they do it really well. And that’s the thing. That’s an opportunity for people to learn and understand better their niche, where they get the recipes that they need to gain confidence. One of the things that we’re learning is that the reason people don’t niche is that they’re not confident in their delivery.
Joe Rojas: Because if you become really good at sales and you are not confident in your delivery, you’ll sell a lot, but you won’t keep any clients. So you want to make sure that both of those things have to be on point. They both have to be well-balanced, and if you don’t balance those things, it’s just not going to go well.
Jeff Loehr: So enjoy the conversation with Kathryn Rose, and check out ChannelWise. And she does mention a very cool strategy. I love it when she talks about competing on price. She talks about never competing on price, but she does have a very cool back pocket strategy.
Introduction to Kathryn
Jeff Loehr: Kathryn, welcome. Can you do a little introduction of yourself and tell us where you are and what you do?
Kathryn Rose: Sure. I’m Kathryn Rose. I’m the CEO and founder of ChannelWise. I’ve been in the IT tech channel for quite a while. I actually have been in the Boston area; I moved here with my family about 10 years ago or so.
Jeff Loehr: Nice. So go ahead, Joe.
Joe Rojas: So I’m so excited that you’re on and I can’t wait to hear about everything that’s happening over at ChannelWise and what you’re doing. We have a bunch of listeners that don’t know what the Channel is.
What is the Channel
Kathryn Rose: Sure. There are a number of different channels. You can look it out there. General Mills sells its cereal, and you buy it at Stop and Shop or Kroger or whatever. It’s a retail channel. And then you have affiliate programs where, If you have a favorite piece of software, they’ll say, Hey, if you refer a friend, you can get a little bit of a commission or a bonus or something that also is a channel.
But then you have the IT and telecom technology channels where if the vast majority of your revenue depends on someone else selling your stuff, you’re in the IT channel and, a lot of companies, in the IT channel. For instance, Dell, you can buy a Dell laptop at Staples through one of their retail channels. But if you want to deploy a lot of Dell laptops or other bigger types of technology, Typically, you would work with a channel partner, and then over the years, things have sort of evolved into this managed service provider area or on the telecom side agents. So, these agents or MSPs will resell someone else’s products but in a bundle of different kinds of services. So you go to a managed service provider, and they might sell you the Dell laptops or Microsoft or all the different components and services, but then you have your cloud backup and recovery and cybersecurity and everything.
And a lot of businesses don’t have the internal staff or the time or the actual inclination to do this themselves; they’re going to hire somebody who is an expert, and that’s all they do every day. And that’s how we find ourselves here in the MSP space with small companies like myself.
I don’t have a CISO and different people inside my organization who can manage all of those things for me, so we work with a managed service provider. So that’s really the biggest difference. I think in the Channel that we’re talking about today.
Jeff Loehr: I’m the one, I keep asking Joe, I keep saying, what is the Channel?
Because I’m like, with you, I’m like, there are like a million channels, right? A channel, you can sell through lots of different channels. It’s a funny thing. I understand now, Kathryn, where it is, what it comes from, but for the first, I don’t know, six months of us working together in the MSP space, it really bugged me. I was like, that Channel, like what? There’s one Channel. I mentioned this super highway of all the stuff you plug into the Channel. And then the stuff comes out of it.
Kathryn Rose: it’s funny because in the Northeast if you say I’m going to the city, it doesn’t matter where you are. You’re going to New York.
When you say the city, it’s New York City. Right? It’s very similar to when we talk about it. We talk about the Channel. My husband runs products for Panasonic. He doesn’t call his Channel, the Channel. It’s the ad channel; they call them resellers.
What is Kathryn’s origin?
Jeff Loehr: And you come originally from the marketing space, right? So you were originally in marketing doing SEO for people, right?
Kathryn Rose: That was a sort of evolution of my life. I was in financial services, and I was on Wall Street, and the mortgage market melted down. It was like 2007.
Jeff Loehr: That impacted a lot of people along the way.
Kathryn Rose: Yeah, a lot of people. And particularly myself because I was eight and a half months pregnant with my first child. At the same time, my mom had a brain aneurysm, and that left her paraplegic. So I had, within three months, lost my job, I had my brand-new baby, and I had to take care of my mom. And I had to reinvent myself. But I’ve been in sales for most of my career. And so this idea of helping my clients back then get noticed on Google, that’s what they were asking for. And I said, how hard could that be?
Jeff Loehr: Exactly.
Kathryn Rose: So I had to really dig deep and relearn a whole industry. And so that’s how the reinvention happened. I started helping folks with search engine optimization and then social media. And then fast forward through that, I actually ended up back to my roots in the Channel and in and around sales.
I ran sales for a software company that provided the very first through a partner marketing automation platform, Specifically for the IT tech channel. So that’s how I found my way back in, but I’ve been in a very variation of channels for years.
Jeff Loehr: What I think is interesting, too, is you’ve actually written books on social media and social media selling. You went full down the pathway and figured it all out. That’s actually really cool. and I was looking at some of that and I wonder is there something you can say that this is the thing that people get wrong, or this is the thing that MSPs get wrong.
And I know there are lots of things, but is there any one sort of central thesis that sort of drives your social selling strategies?
What is the key for social selling strategies
Kathryn Rose: It’s all about the relationships. Be interested and be interesting, right? And I think that’s really the key to all of this. The idea is the relationships that you build through the years. And when you actually put yourself out there to be helpful and useful, those are the kinds of things that come back to you in equal dollars.
And, with social media and social selling, there’s still so much of this junk out there. That’s, Oh, DM people or get clients in 30 days or whatever. This is a long game, folks. You have to show up, you have to be interested in other people, you have to be interesting and share interesting content, and then it will come back to you.
If you want a transactional thing, pick up the phone and dial a hundred people, or I don’t know how many it is now, but it used to be a hundred dials, 10 appointments, and one sale, but if that’s what you want to do it still works. You can do that, but if you want a long-term strategy where, if you leave tomorrow, the Channel and you go work someplace else, people will follow you over there too because people are still wanting to do business with you.
Jeff Loehr: I actually think there should be something written on buying. We spend so much of our time talking about how to sell, how to use social media to sell, and how to use content to sell. And just as you were talking, it almost seems like what we really need is a guide on how to use social media to buy.
Like, how do you find the people who have legitimate things to sell, legitimate things to say, who are legitimately trying to help versus all of these people creating noise the whole time? And that actually comes back to what I think you’re trying to do with ChannelWise, right is connect people with real insights and real experts, rather than just noise.
What Kathryn is up to with ChannelWise
Kathryn Rose: When that whole thing happened a long time ago. It was really hard. I didn’t know what I was doing. I was a fledgling and coming from somebody who’s pretty Type A, and I knew my job cold.
I knew financial services cold. Anybody could call me about anybody’s requirements. I had 300 lenders that I worked with. I would know them all just cause that’s what I did. And so I was like completely fish out of water. But what really helped me was that one-on-one conversation.
I have a problem. I need it solved. And what we’re trying to do with ChannelWise is that, and we also understand the space. MSPs. The vast majority of them are under 10 employees, but they have a great potential for revenue. But sometimes they get stuck, and they have a challenge scaling, and there’s all this noise telling them what they should do.
People shoulding on them. It could drive a lot of anxiety and really get them off track. And so what I’m saying is, your problems are unique. They may have this, they may be rooted in similar philosophies and similar challenges, but if Joe has an MSP that focuses on lawyers and health care, and you just add in that vertical, because I know you guys talk a lot about niching and how that’s really important to do, right?
If you have that specific thing, some of the same philosophies around marketing and sales might work on a 50,000 foot view level. But when you dig down into that niche, what are the key things that someone that sells into medical practices that are in Tucson, Arizona, Like, how can I get the help that will help me specifically with my challenge? And that’s why we created ChannelWise.
Jeff Loehr: So you mean that it’s somebody who’s selling to that niche can find out more about the niche through ChannelWise.
Kathryn Rose: Yeah. Because you could set a call with Joe, and Joe could say, look, I’ve worked with MSPs that have had similar things where they’re really trying to focus narrowly in on a
specific niche or specific vertical, and these are the types of things I’ve seen happen and work for those people, right? So it’s these quick, practical, tactical conversations. You folks at Start Grow Manage have an amazing job with longer-term coaching and longer-term programs and all the material that you all put together.
That’s fantastic. And there’s a great place for that, but where it could start is that conversation, or people said it calls with me to just, Hey, look, I want you to walk through my sales presentation with me. I’ve got a big sales call coming up, or, I’m selling for the first time into the enterprise.
What tips can you give me and things like that? It’s really like a very lower-key conversation, but we really dig into that specific challenge that they have.
Joe Rojas: But the importance of that, like, I was an MSP for almost 20 years. And if I had somebody that I could call like that, cause you get all these little technical questions, and you just have that question, and there’s nobody to call. You’re it. It’s you and Google.
Jeff Loehr: So then you’re bombarded by all the people with all the noise out there. And I think that it solves a really interesting problem. It’s just thinking while you talk that one of the things that we’ve learned is how critically important it is to define a niche, and we think that there’s just a natural maturing that’s happening in the MSP market that is going to require everybody to have a niche.
One of the big reasons why people don’t choose a niche is fear.
Kathryn Rose: 100% yeah, it’s fear.
Jeff Loehr: Now, what they’ll say is that they’re afraid that they won’t be able to get any clients or they’re afraid that they’re narrowing their market too much.
But I think the fear is actually more of a fear of delivery because It’s one thing to deliver things at a 50,000 foot level, right? It’s one thing to say, yeah, you can turn on the computer, right? But the bar is a lot higher than that now,
You actually have to be able to help people solve business problems. And as soon as you niche, people come back to you with business problems that are real problems that you really have to solve. And so I love the idea That you’ve got a place where you can go find out more about how someone worked with that group of people before or somebody who’s in that area who might be able to help you figure that out because we have to overcome that concern around learning about a niche and being able to provide services to it.
Kathryn Rose: I think, especially when they’re first starting out, people just want revenue. Cashflow is king. And when you say niche, you’re like, oh, I need this. I need this money to come in. But when you start diverting your focus or diluting your practice because you’re trying to serve too many people or too many different disparate industries, you really hurt yourself and your business.
Even with ChannelWise, we’ve had investors, for instance, who say why this is not big enough of a TAM. That’s a big enough of an addressable market. Why would you specifically focus there? But you don’t understand.
4 trillion runs through just about; I think it’s maybe three plus. I’m in sales. So, I round up, and it runs through the indirect Channel. So vendors spend an inordinate amount of money, and MSPs will spend the money. If they know that they’re getting the value from it or whatever. So, it might not be a huge TAM.
It might not be 3 billion MSPs or even 500,000 vendors, but the people who are in this space are willing to invest. In education and enablement and empowerment of their partners and of their customers to make sure that they continuously keep them. And they continuously grow.
Why would MSPs work with ChannelWise
Kathryn Rose: So vendors are always looking for a new way to enable, empower, programmatically, or whatever because these partner portals are fantastic, right? But only 17% of the partners actually even engage in there. I sold through partner marketing automation. S
Jeff Loehr: I was going to say what do you think? Partner portals, is that a useful thing at all?
Kathryn Rose: They are, but the challenge is you have got to get somebody over that chasm to use them and consistently come back. And when they were first set up, it was, this is an easy place for people to go grab content.
And then it was deal reg., but as now you’re getting out of physical products and more into monthly recurring revenue, maybe deal registration isn’t as important. I don’t know if it’s not important, but it’s not as big of a thing as it was.
Vendors are supplying a ton of content. There’s a ton of things out there. And it used to be, you would go to market, say with IBM, like I’m a blue partner, kind of thing. And now. It’s less about the vendor and more about the partners themselves.
So, my whole thing is if you want to change the level of engagement, you have to change the engagement model.
So, if you want people to come into your PRM, we partner with all the top ones; we’re in their marketplace. And you can say, Hey, come get some calls from experts to help you with your business.
So that’s the way we go to market with vendors. Our experts will come and do webinars for their partners to learn and to get more information on how to do better business and marketing and legal and those kinds of things.
What’s ChannelWise like on the partner side
Kathryn Rose: and then on the partner side, if you get stuck, know that there’s a vetted resource out there. At least someone to listen, someone who’s been there, done that. And not only the been there, done that, it’s the, they are there doing it.
So there are people who are MSPs who are saying, I want to come in, and I want to help the MSPs, even though I’m still doing that job, I want to help others. It’s just having that sort of insurance policy to say, Hey, when I’m stuck, I know I can reach out and get help.
Jeff Loehr: So it seems like there’s a lot of value to the vendors as well to say, if you go support the partners through, getting the knowledge, they’re going to be able to sell more product. There’s going to be more, more out there for everybody. So you get a lot of vendors also doing it.
Kathryn Rose: Yeah. We just launched in May.
Kathryn Rose: We’re talking with all of them because I’ve been in sales, as I mentioned, my whole career, but I’ve never done a race to the bottom.
MSPs do not sell on price
Kathryn Rose: I’ve never sold on price because my philosophy is if you help people do more business, they’ll do more business with you. So if you want to stay top of mind, if you want that engagement level, you have to say, you know what, partner, MSP, agent, bar, whatever you want to call them.
We know it’s challenging out there to differentiate, close the gap on your cash flow to generate more business, and continuously retain that business. So we’re going to give you a resource that will help you do that.
You can come to watch our technical stuff, take our technical trainings, and get our technical certifications over here. And that will obviously help you with your business. But if you want to know SEO marketing, you want someone to talk to about sales. Those are the kinds of things that can help you actually move the needle on your business.
That partner is going to remember that and appreciate it.
Joe Rojas: You said I’ve never sold in a race to the bottom.
Jeff Loehr: You just said it so beautifully. I’ve never done this race to the bottom or sold on price. And it’s so important. Oh my gosh, we get so many people who keep saying, I’ve got to put down my price, or how can I cut my price?
We just interviewed a bunch of MSPs, and one of the most interesting outcomes of that interview was that people with the lowest prices are the ones who are most concerned about price competition.
They’re the ones who are concerned that their customers are going to leave them. They’re the ones who are concerned that they can’t ever raise the price or the ones who are concerned they don’t have any money. And then we had some people who are on the other side where they’re charging hundreds of dollars a seat. And their concerns have nothing to do with price or with customers leaving them. They’re concerned about, like you said, making a difference in the business, or how do I get ahead?
How do I look ahead? And it’s just so interesting that idea of no people, we need to stop competing on price because it’s not a price issue.
Joe Rojas: and the thing that we started off with Kathryn. This importance about getting into a niche.
Joe’s example of a business not treating an MSP like a commodity
Joe Rojas: Let’s say you had a, I don’t know, 25-user account, and you’re charging them $200,000 a year.
But out of that $200,000 that they’re paying you, they’re making 3 million. Because you’re so good at helping them run their business and automate their processes, and you understand their system so well.
Kathryn Rose: Oh, they can’t wait to write that check. Honestly, that’s the thing, too, but also think about it from a business perspective, and Jeff, you’re an operations person, too.
Think about just from the business perspective of if you’re charging that much money, you can spend a lot more time with that customer and deliver the value, Versus just, you’re trying to sell a hundred accounts at a hundred dollars a seat versus, five accounts at $300 or whatever
Even to this day, I always lead with price, and it used to drive my sales manager crazy. He’d be like, I can’t believe you started the conversation off of how much it costs.
I’m like because everyone’s holding their breath to find out how much it’s going to cost at the end of this thing, it drives me crazy. So I’m like, look, just so you know. Our solution is between X and X.
Does that fit with your budget tolerance? And they will always tell me yes or no. And you know what? In my back pocket, I have a pilot program. So if they’re like, no, that doesn’t really fit. Oh, could we do a six-month pilot? Like I always have somebody in my pocket.
Joe Rojas: You write that one down!
Jeff Loehr: Pilot program
Kathryn Rose: I really believe that it’s giving them the idea of what it is. I heard a statistic the other day that the buyer is moving farther and farther away from talking to a salesperson.
And, my sort of thinking along those lines is they move farther and farther away from a salesperson, the lower and lower the price, right? So if someone’s making a hundred thousand dollar decision. They want to talk to me. If they’re making a $5 decision, they can go buy that on Amazon or something.
So the this idea of removing the salesperson from, Joe, you’re talking about selling a 300, 000 contract.
Joe Rojas: Yes.
Kathryn Rose: You might do a lot of their research online, but they’re going to want to talk to somebody at the end of the day. I love talking about sales. I could talk about sales all day long.
When and why Joe put the price at the front of a proposal
Joe Rojas: When you said what you said, it reminded me, on my fourth go around, ’cause we, I did one MSP and then sold it, then another one then sold it, and then the fourth one we merged up into a bigger company. And I remember the first sales call that I went with the CEO of that company and we were going on a sales call together, and I said, oh, I’ll put the proposal together, don’t worry about it.
And I pulled the proposal out. And I thought something was wrong with him because he turned pale. I’m like, Oh my God, this guy’s going to faint. Because I put the proposal on the table in between us.
The price, right on the front page, in big bold letters. It had their logo proposal and then the price right underneath. I thought he was going to pass out. And so I flipped the proposal over, and I handed it to the guy, and he looks at it, and he goes holy moly.
And I go, yeah, I figured we’d start there. Because if you can’t take that, we can’t have the rest of this conversation.
Jeff Loehr: You’re just wasting your time.
Joe Rojas: They’re just gonna wait for me to talk. And then you’re going to go to the back page to see how much it is. So I figured I’ll put that on the front page, and then I’ll go through the proposal with you. What do you think?
Jeff Loehr: But isn’t that what you do as a buyer? You’re like, hold on. Okay, cool. We can start back at the beginning.
Kathryn Rose: Absolutely, it does a few things psychologically. It’s pattern interrupt because that person knows they’re going to come in and they’re going to get sold.
As you mentioned earlier, Jeff, I was a sales coach at Harvard Business School. The biggest thing that I would teach and talk to the MBA candidates about was, as you mentioned, Jeff selling’s about buying.
So if you remove this whole idea of it’s an adversarial relationship and I have to convince you to buy like saying this is what my stuff costs and this is why, and here’s the backup behind the reason versus here’s all these great things about me and oh, here’s how much it costs, because that’s when everyone whispers like, oh, and by the way, so
Jeff Loehr: Yeah, like, I don’t want to offend you with my pricing or like it’s somehow dirty or wrong if we’re going to charge a price here, right?
But that’s where we always get to. And it’s actually funny when we did this research with the MSPs, how many people didn’t want to tell us their pricing because we asked whether you have a fixed price, and they said yes or no. and then if they did say yes, so what’s your price?
Most people would tell us, but I was surprised that some people wouldn’t tell. They’re hiding their pricing somehow. And I’ve always thought that having transparent pricing is a much better way. To operate just for the reason that Joe said as well, just cut the noise out.
Let’s just not have the conversation. If, for a fact, we’re out of the ballpark.
Kathryn Rose: Nobody wants to feel bad about it, that they can’t afford it either. Maybe you want to work with this person. So you do give them a little bit of a discount or something, but what I’ve done is we built it in so that it’s a step-up pricing. You start off here, and then in six months, you go here, and you go here, and you get to the regular price.
So that way, we’ve proven our value along the way. So, there are a lot of different ways that you can look at structuring it so that everybody feels good about the process.
How to add a small step-up charge in sales
Kathryn Rose: So when I first started selling for this company, I added a $10,000 setup fee, and they’re like, we don’t have a setup fee. I’m like, we do now because if I go in there and they’re like, Ooh, I don’t know. I’m like, Oh, I’ll just take the setup fee off the table, and that’ll be your first month.
How does that sound? They’re like, okay. And some people might pay the setup fee. That’s okay, too. It’s just a way that you look at things, and everyone wants to feel good when they walk away from a sales meeting or, an interaction, and Joe and Jeff, you guys are right in the sense that, worrying about the price, what it does is it puts you in that it’s a commodity now.
So if I’m only spending $10,000, if I’m going to rip and replace the solution, that’s not a whole lot of money, but if I’m spending $300,000, now you have had your sort of tentacles for lack of a better term into all of my business, it’s much harder for me to rip and replace you with someone else, even for a lower price, because the cost to the business is so much time and effort, right? So that’s where you always want to be. You always want to be there.
The other thing is, if I have an enterprise client, I’ve won, it’s a very large insurance company, and we’re doing some stuff with their agent channel, but we’re also doing stuff with their employees.
Cause it takes a while to get those enterprise contracts closed, you might as well squeeze as much value out of them as you can. Once you get that MSA, it’s okay. Who else can I get up for business?
Think about what else you can do for your client
Joe Rojas: I liked that. And so, for MSPs, you want to be looking at what else can I do for this client? What are the challenges that they’re having?
Like let’s say you went architects, then you want to partner with all the software companies to sell software to architects. Because if you partner with all those software companies,
They’re gonna say, Oh, these guys make it work, and everybody else doesn’t have it working, but these guys have it working. So why don’t we refer our clients over here? So they stop calling us.
Kathryn Rose: Oh, you’re absolutely right. And that means you go to all the architect shows and you go to all those things.
And that’s how you build those relationships. And then over time, and again, it’s not a get-rich-quick scheme by any stretch of the imagination, but then over time you become that go-to resource, and you are the one that everyone who in architects and then when you talk to another architectural firm, you can say, look, we are the go-to resource for this.
And because we understand everything there is to know about being an architect and the challenge around that. It’s just a longer-term play.
Jeff Loehr: There’s a beautiful moment when you’re doing that, you’re working with the architects, you say, yeah, we’re the go-to people for architects, and they say, oh, really?
I’ll bet you have this problem. And when you can tell them what their problem is and they nod, they say, oh yeah, I have that problem. That’s when you make the sale, right? When they say, Oh, this person really understands me and really understands the problem that I have. And you can come up with a solution for that problem.
But that understanding of the problem, not at the 50,000 foot level, I’ve been talked about before, but that really nitty gritty business problem that’s happening right here on the ground. That’s sales magic.
Kathryn Rose: Yeah, absolutely. I agree. and it’s really fun.
And it sounds trite or whatever, but I really enjoy helping people. And, I always feel like if you serve, the money comes. And, we’ve talked about this before, too, that, as an offshoot of, ChannelWise, we’ve created an experiential version where we’re bringing it to conferences.
ChannelWise Coaching Cafe
Kathryn Rose: We’re calling it the coaching cafe, and we’re bringing it to conferences. And we found out that we were able to stand one up at the ChannelPartner show in Vegas. But we had three weeks to stand it up, but this is how relationships work. I made phone calls to not even half of my network, and everyone stepped up and was like, we’ll sponsor, we’ll send people,and it was three weeks time. I had a full roster of sponsors and coaches, and everyone showed up because when I’m always out there saying, how can I help? How can I support you? And that’s what ChannelWise is there for. If we can move the needle for somebody, then that’s going to be a value for them for a very long time.
Joe Rojas: Working with you really being able to help those folks that need tactical advantage. And they can look across the field of partners that you’re offering and get those tactics and that strategy and all the things that they need. And if you’re out there, go check out ChannelWise, go look at all their stuff, see what they’re doing. If you’re out at one of the shows, make sure you connect with Kathryn because she’s awesome.
Jeff Loehr: You did say, Kathryn, that you are actually on ChannelWise yourself, and you can explain to us this program in your back pocket program. We’re now going to promote significantly in our own network of people.
How sales changed Kathryn’s life
Kathryn Rose: Yeah, I can talk sales all day long. It’s changed my life when I first graduated college. My dad started his own firm. He doesn’t care if I mentioned he barely graduated high school, but he did. Then, he worked on the assembly line at a manufacturing facility.
And then, when my parents had my brother and me, my dad said, I want a different life; I want to do something different. And so he started selling insurance, and my mom would lock him in the basement to make his hundred calls. And he ended up starting his own financial services firm and everything.
I remember when I graduated college, I was like, I don’t want to be in sales. He’s like, you’d be great in sales. I’m like, Ooh, I don’t know. And he was like, I’m not that slimy sales guy, And I’m like, that’s true. You’re not, but you’re different, right?
But then, when I decided to do it, I thought I went straight commission. So I’ve literally been working pretty much straight commission my entire career. And I love it because I obviously own my own business now, so it is a hundred percent straight commission, but it changed my life because I realized that –
you can make an incredible living off of solving people’s problems.
And if they know that’s what you’re really there to do, then they want to do business with you, and they want to do business with you long-term. I have clients that have followed me for 15-20 years now, and so that’s where you want to get to.
Sales is about solving people’s problems
Joe Rojas: What you said is the magical thing that a lot of people don’t understand. Sales is about solving people’s problems. Sales is not about how many computers can I put on your site? How much technology can I sell you? How much cybersecurity can I sell you? It’s not about any of that. It’s about how those things solve a problem for that client so that they can grow, make more money, and do the things that they want to do and have a great life that they want to have.
So when you’re coming at it that way, Then sales is enriching.
Jeff Loehr: so it’s not just sales guys. I understand what you’re saying, But business exists to solve problems for people.
So it can’t be just about the sales, right? So it’s the sales, but it’s also the business. So the reason you sell and you can solve somebody’s problem is because you figured out how to actually solve the problem.
Sales is really just opening the door for somebody to say, Oh, Hey, I think you have this problem. I’ve got the solution. Let’s put them together. But if you don’t have the solution and you don’t know what the problem is, you’re going to really struggle.
Why are there slimy salesmen
Joe Rojas: But that’s where the slimy sales thing comes in, right?
Because if you don’t have a solution, but you’re out representing that you do, that’s what that experience of slimy sales is. And if you don’t niche, your delivery is not going to be great. It might be great, but it won’t be freaking amazing. Freaking amazing where it just blows people away.
You have to niche. Because then that salesperson has this confidence because they know that the thing that they’re saying is the true thing that’s going to happen after they’re out of the picture. So yeah. Jeff, you’re absolutely correct.
Kathryn Rose: Oh, for sure. Yeah. Yeah. And a lot of MSPs are at least in the experience that I have, and Sometimes they’re started by a technical person or whatever. And that’s not their zone of genius, which is sales, right?
So their zone of genius is handling that technical side, hiring that technical talent, but then you find the person that is their zone of genius that will be able to help bring that product and service to life and get the people in the door. So yeah, it always has to work together.
The hurdle between technical people and sales
Jeff Loehr: I do find that sometimes, with technical people, they’re so worried about sales that then they go down this sales pathway as well. And I think that there’s this thing that we need to find about the balance and getting away from it being, oh, I’m selling to I’m solving a problem, and the sale is about solving the problem, that delivery is about solving the problem that the money exchange that there’s value that like there’s not a lot of mystery, to this whole thing like it’s right it’s about solving problems For people.
Jeff Loehr: On that, Kathryn, it’s been amazing chatting with you.
So the place to go to get the training on the pilot program or anything else, and we’re there, you’ve got amazing experts who are willing to give time for not that much money. And get you over those challenges that you have. And start creating some of those business relationships that can turn out to be really valuable over time. You can find it at channelwise.com. And on that, Kathryn, thank you very much for your time.
Kathryn Rose: Thank you guys. And keep putting out the great stuff that you all are, too. I’m enjoying it.
Joe Rojas: It’s so good to see you, and I can’t wait to see you on the road. We’re going to have such a good time. Can’t wait to get together with you. All right. Thank you. Remember that You Are loved