Joe Rojas: I’m really excited because we get to talk about Jeff’s big screw-up.
Jeff Loehr: It’s not really a screw-up, Joe. It’s more of a lesson learned slowly.
Joe Rojas: Like dripping a gallon of honey through a cheesecloth or something. Okay, five layers of cheesecloth. And the problem has been our niche.
Jeff Loehr: We had a niche and knew who really wanted our stuff, but we didn’t tell anybody about it.
Joe Rojas: That’s the problem.
Jeff Loehr: This is a track we fell into that is so important for all of us to break out of. We did some pumpkin planning from Mike Michalowicz’s book The Pumpkin Plan, and we realized we needed to talk more to the customers who valued what we do the most: MSPs (Managed Service Providers).
Joe Rojas: MSPs are crushing it with our advice. But we keep calling them entrepreneurs.
Jeff Loehr: But in their minds, they aren’t entrepreneurs or necessarily entrepreneurs. They’re not going to their computer searching, “I need entrepreneurial help.” What they’re searching for is MSP help. They want to know how they build MSPs. We want MSP owners to think of themselves as entrepreneurs, not technicians, but entrepreneurs running a business.
We want our MSPs to see themselves as entrepreneurs, so that’s the language we use but not the language they use. So we’ve been editing out the jargon of entrepreneurs because nobody cares about that stuff. And the reverse is also true if you’re technical and you’re using technical jargon with non-technical people.
We needed more technical jargon to talk to technical people, so we changed everything to focus on MSPs. We’re already seeing people more willing to have a conversation with us because they see themselves in the stuff we do.
Joe Rojas: MSPs have to niche, so they must change their content to fit that niche. That’s what we’re doing.
Jeff Loehr: Seth Godin talks about how a luxury wine glass costs $60, but an IKEA wine glass costs $2.50 and you get a box of six. If you can’t taste the difference, you aren’t the customer for the luxury wine glass.
Logically and emotionally, there’s no difference between cheap wine and expensive wine, but we pay the extra 60 bucks because we like the story’s romance and the heavier glass. The luxury brand and IKEA have valid niches, but you can’t take a $60 wine glass and put it into IKEA, and you can’t take a $2.50 wine glass and sell it as a luxury item. You can’t think of it as just selling wine glasses. You’re selling ideas to specific kinds of people.
Joe Rojas: If you’re an MSP and don’t have a niche, you have to learn everything from scratch when you onboard a new client, and if you’re agnostic, you have to learn new hardware and interfaces.
Jeff Loehr: It’s not just onboarding. It’s delivery. At Daimler, we had the idea of standardizing onto a single software system. Standardizing on one operating system and one set of software shrank the IT department because they eventually knew every problem coming up and had scripts for every situation.
Joe Rojas: When you specialize in a particular niche, people start looking for you, and your market grows. It’s counterintuitive, but the narrower you get, the bigger your market gets. The narrower you get, the more clients you’ll get, and the better you’ll be able to serve them and solve their problems because you understand their pain inside out.
Jeff Loehr: Marketing is onboarding. It’s the way you deliver. It’s everything. You have to be clear about how you solve a problem for an avatar of your ideal customer. It also makes writing content and developing tools easier because you’ll know exactly what issue you’re addressing, to whom, and what language to use. So a key takeaway is: think about who your customer is and market to them.
Joe Rojas: And that’s going to change your business.
Jeff Loehr: And we’ll demonstrate that over the next few months.
Joe Rojas: With that, remember that you are loved.