Leveraging AI for MSP Growth

Table of Contents
https://youtu.be/DVPfyZ8-bpY

Summary

Chris Bintiff joins us to discuss the role of AI in the MSP business. Discover how new technologies can push the boundaries of your growth and competitiveness. In this podcast episode, Joe and Jeff are joined by Chris Bintiff, founder of Not Really Rocket Science and MarketingSpark.ai, discuss the role of AI in the MSP business.

Discover how new technologies can push the boundaries of your growth and competitiveness. And how becoming an expert in a focused niche can really make your MSP stand out from the crowd (and allow you to charge more for your services).

Tune in for this insightful conversation on artificial intelligence, niching down, the final 3% of a project, and more.


Featuring

Chris Bintliff, Founder of Not Really Rocket Science

Chris is a 20 year digital pro who’s worked with some of the biggest and best, creating modern strategies and solutions that affect change and create impact.

He’s a designer, creative, web specialist, and marketing expert who excels at innovative thinking. He’s skilled at navigating complex issues, and I’m easy and fun to work with.

He loves his work and delivers results.

What is the problem you solve, and for whom?

I work with forward-thinking small businesses and business leaders, igniting engagement and insight with the fusion of AI, automation and imagination. My done-for-you design, content & strategies eliminate hassle and headaches, making digital marketing stupid easy.

How do you help MSPs

MarketingSpark is a particularly useful solution for MSP, delivering a complete marketing strategy and content plan in minutes.

Your Company Website/URL

What you are promoting:

http://marketingspark.ai


Transcript

Introduction

Jeff Loehr: I was on a really interesting mastermind the other day; there were the people who were geography agnostic and industry agnostic, right? And then I was like, what do you do? And it’s like, well, I, you know, had this long explanation. I still don’t know what they do.

And I know we keep coming back to that, but I feel like it is the thing that is holding people back.

Joe Rojas: It is the central core thing that holds MSPs back. And I can’t say that enough times. If we say that on every single podcast for the next, like 50 podcasts, it won’t be enough.

Jeffs aha moment on client acquisition

Jeff Loehr: And then the other really cool and interesting thing that came up for me was the idea that the people looking at us and looking at what we do, and they say, you are not spending enough money on customer acquisition.

And if you are not happy with your customer acquisition, you’re going to have to spend money because it’s the person who spends the most resources who wins the client. This is really interesting from a pricing perspective as well, because if you answer to that I can’t do it because I can’t afford to serve my clients. And that means that your pricing is wrong for your market.

Because someone else is gaining those customers, and they are doing it by dedicating those resources. So if you’re not able to meet their resources, you’re never going to make any headway, right? So you’re clearly undercharging.

Speaker who charged $997 for a $10k gig

Jeff Loehr: He made a point as well they had a speaker coming up and realized that the speaker had to speak French and the speaker that they had didn’t speak French.

So they went, and they found another speaker who could speak French and speak on the same topic. And they found this guy, and they were planning on spending $10,000. That’s what they’d arranged with the initial speaker. And then this second speaker came and said, yeah, I do it for $997, and their response is, what’s wrong with this guy?

There’s no way we could work with this guy. He’s only a $997 speaker, like this is a $10,000 gig. And the idea that, like, price is signaling who you are and what you do. And the fact that this guy is doing $997, he’s not doing enough work to actually get the speaking gigs that he really wants, which are the $10,000 speaking gigs.

So all of that to just say conversation with Chris, we talk a lot about that agnostic, not agnostic. We talk about AI, we get a little bit into this pricing, and I think it is a fascinating conversation. Why don’t we just move over to the conversation with Chris?

Joe Rojas: Sounds awesome. Let’s do it.

Can you tell us how you got started with Ai and MIT?

Joe Rojas: Can you tell me a little bit more, Chris, about this thing that you’re doing with MIT and what that is, how you got started and that, because that sounds fascinating.

Chris Bintliff: When I started Not Really Rocket Science seven years ago, one of the most valuable things I did is I went and did one of these certifications or whatever through the email service provider that I was really looking to understand at the time, which was called Drip.

And I learned so much beyond what I thought I was going to learn. And also, having that certification was really helpful from an authority and credibility perspective. So when people saw that I knew what I was talking about, from that third-party sort of a vibe, that was a lot better than me telling you that I know what I’m talking about.

So AI, it’s so buzzy, it’s so trendy, and that’s interesting. And I love just dabbling in it, but I really wanted to understand more deeply, so how am I going to help people with this? One of the things that I keep saying to my clients who keep I don’t know talking about AI is, this is true presently, it may not be true in a year. Is AI going to take your job?

No. Is somebody who knows how to use AI to do your job going to take your job maybe? And so I’m a person who’s really eager to understand this stuff, and I’m having more fun with AI than I’ve had since I like designed my first website in the late nineties. It’s just like super energetic and real.

Every week there’s some weird new headline, so many ethical things to think about. So many mechanical things to think about. I just think it’s the energy around, it’s super cool. So I was just doing research, so like, how can I learn more and not like from Udemy, which is cool and not from YouTube, which is are a lot of other people.

Just trying to figure it out and then suddenly making, let me present myself as an authority. And I thought so what’s the top of that? So MIT came to mind, so I did a little bit of research, found a kind of a 12 week intensive that they do that is around data science, machine learning and AI.

And I had to have a conversation with their admissions people. They had to look and see a little bit like, what am I up to now? And that was really interesting. And then just jumped into that. And it’s no joke. Like every week, there’s either a test to prepare for based on, and it’s all digital.

And then there are cohorts every week there’s a two hour cohort, there’s office hours. And there’s people from all over the world that are in your cohort. So you’re learning from them. And then there’s three projects that are all you’re using software, a special kind of software that they give you access to, to then understand a real world data problem.

Using Ai to better allocate resources for a hotel

Chris Bintliff: So for instance, last week’s project was your client is a hotel and they’re trying to understand how to allocate resources better. How to predict cancellations so that they can allocate resources better. And so you’re just given a bunch of data. And then your job is as a data scientist to both understand the business case and the sort of value prop that they have in mind.

What are the gaps or the holes that they don’t know that they are missing? Then do the data analysis using AI and some machine learning to be able to predict. So you’re putting in data that then builds a predictive model where you can say, so with this X amount of confidence, if we were to do this, and in my discovery, if your lead time is further than 67 days or something like that, it’s more likely they’re going to cancel.

So business recommendations might be incentives if they’re going to go that far out or, shorten your own availability window. Like just don’t make reservations available past X amount of days or whatever. And it’s just really interesting. It’s flexing muscles that I don’t normally get to flex.

I don’t spend a ton of time in data science in my like day-today. And I’m a person who loves that. Give me something I have no idea about and I’m interested in learning about it, even if it’s nothing. I love to watch documentaries about people who like are basket weavers. I don’t care about basket weaving, but I love watching somebody who’s really good at what they do.

Jeff Loehr: Yeah.

Chris Bintliff: And this is a little bit like that.

Ai and Ethical Art

Chris Bintliff: So then, you know, I was doing a guest lecture at UC, San Diego around art and ai. So AI art, like some of the different tools and what to look out for and some of the ethical stuff.

It’s helpful when I can say, so here’s how some of that is trained, and here’s how the machine learning operates. Here’s where the bias is built in. So here’s where you need to watch out for this or for that. At the end of this whole chain somewhere, there’s a human being that the machine learned from. So what is that human being?

What are their characteristics? May they be coming into that plane? It’s all just so fascinating and I love the energy around it right now.

Woman who is suing Open Ai for their DALL-E program

Jeff Loehr: There’s this woman, I can’t remember her name. Oh man. I’ll see if I can find it. But I think she’s suing Open ai for the DALL-E program, because then you can put in, do a cartoon in the style of this woman, and then it produces a cartoon that looks just like her cartoons. And she’s that’s my style. It’s like this isn’t just writing, random stuff. You’re actually taking the way that I do things like the specific style that I have created, that took me time, effort and years of branding to create.

And now you’re saying anybody can use that to create their own stuff and they get to profit from all of my branding?

Chris Bintliff: Yeah.

Jeff Loehr: And that’s a really interesting question and challenge, right? Because there’s another thought that says artists for forever have been copying other artists.

And that’s actually how people learn to create art. What’s right and what’s wrong and how do we sort that out? Seems to me to be a, a super Yeah. Interesting problem. And I have sympathy for both sides. So I don’t know what the answer is.

Chris Bintliff: Me too.

Jeff Loehr: And I think it’s something that, that we’re really going to have to put some thought into figuring out.

Cause I think what’s changed is that the AI that you’re talking about with the, the models, like the hotel models that’s been around for a while. Like we’ve been using those things and big data to create regressions and predictive models. That’s, it’s super useful.

But like these language models and then, and this DALL-E, I don’t even know what it is. These models are able to take and then regenerate stuff that really can step on copyrights.

Discussion about Ai and ethics

Chris Bintliff: I completely agree with you, Jeff, that there’s just this, it’s a fascinating debate and discussion and where one lands on it with the information that they get. I agree with you too.

Hasn’t art always been some form of imitation? I think there’s this really interesting dichotomy on, I think about it’s really easy for us, we, who are used to a thing to have reactionary and often apocalyptic ideas about new tech. Oh no, it’s going to do this. So some third grader is out there and they’re going to have a world of accessibility out to them to illustrate their comic book or whatever.

And imagine the opportunities that’s going to create for them, in their imagination or whatever. So that.

Jeff Loehr: The places that they will be able to go that we can’t even imagine because they’re going to be able to tap into other parts of their brain that we haven’t even imagined them being able to tap into.

Chris Bintliff: They’re going to see all these possibilities and it’s going to open up, like not just career paths, but like all the things that sort of opportunity in a developing mind can represent. But the flip side of that is some great, in that same situation, comic book artist will not develop because they just went to open AI or they just went to Mid Journey or whatever.

And they got what they needed. They didn’t need to figure out how to craft it. So I don’t know how it’s going to all end up. And that’s what I think is really interesting.

Jeff Loehr: So there’s a really interesting point in what you’re talking about, around the fact that we have our perspective and I don’t know, have you ever read the Hornblower series?

CS Lewis and the Hornblower

Jeff Loehr: You guys know what I mean? CS Lewis and the Horn.

Chris Bintliff: Oh, CS Lewis. I’ve heard a lot of him

Jeff Loehr: The hornblower was his character. He was a British captain during the Napoleonic Wars. So there’s like this whole series of him going out in boats and these naval battles and whatnot.

Okay. The reason I talk about this is because you read these stories and one of the things that I’m immediately struck by is how many people it took to run a sailing ship. Hundreds of people to pull ropes and set sail and then take them down again. And then you had to feed all these people.

So you had to prepare the food and there’s like the industry around that. And this was crucial for Britain, right? This was a massive development point for Britain was the strength of their Navy and everybody that was in that Navy. Now, today, that entire sailing ship could be run remotely.

Like one person could operate five or six of those things while having lunch and having a conversation with somebody else. That time is over. And yet economies didn’t collapse. Britain isn’t dead. The world hasn’t ended. We’ve developed new technologies and new ways of being that have been enabled there.

And I think it is really hard, like if you grew up with sailing ships, having hundreds of people and your entire navy being, your entire country, being dependent on all of those people having worked to imagine then a world where nobody’s on those sailing ships and yet your economy flourishes. It’s so hard to imagine what that world would look like.

The opportunities that Ai presents

Joe Rojas: It’s really hard. And it’s really so interesting, Jeff, what you’re saying, because. The thing that I like about what you said, Chris, is there’s that person that didn’t develop that could have developed. But what about the person that had this limitation that now they are free to imagine whatever they can imagine and have a conversation with this thing and really take it to a level which is not possible before, both visually with the art.

Hey, make me a frog with eight heads, and the, there’s a place that you can go that was not possible in your writing, because you are freer to imagine and develop and conversation.

I know, at least for me, it’s way easier to develop a concept and conversation than try to write it down.

It’s very hard for me in writing to work something out. But, the best ideas that I’ve developed with Jeff and I love working with Jeff because he really pulls it out. We get into these things and it’s really good and, but it’s in conversation. So what becomes possible now for those visual people that can now start to put things into words that they couldn’t put before.

And for those people that were really great at writing that can now create visuals that they could never do before, because the thing that they’re imagining, they can actually say it in language and boop, there it is. So that, I think that there’s a real opportunity as well there.

Chris Bintliff: I love what you’re sharing and that conversationality is key to the value of if we just talk about Chat GPT.

I was helping a client understand it, and they would work with it a little bit and then they would find themselves having a question about how something worked and their default, let me jump to Google and they were Googling how to do the thing and I said, just talk to the thing that you’re already in.

There’s a mindset that we have where search engines, they don’t really provide context. They just give us a whole bunch of stuff for us to go see if we can figure out the context. Unless we’re looking for something pretty binary, what time is this or how, what’s the recipe for that? And we’re so used to that.

It’s almost like, hate to use the paradigm word is such a buzzy thing, but it’s almost a paradigm shift to realize that you can just talk to this machine in an organic sort of human way and it will do the same. And one thing that I love to do, if you haven’t tried this, do it.

Tell Chat GPT that it is an expert of a certain kind and to ask you questions. And now it becomes a coach, which is super cool. So you can give it some sort of scenario and you can tell it I’m trying to make a sale to somebody and here’s the challenges and the obstacles are this.

Play the role of that buyer. And when I ask for it, give me feedback. So it’ll do a whole role play. Imagine what you used to have to do to engage in a role play, either digitally even, which was always awkward and weird. You were just kind of decision treating or with somebody and here it will just do it for you and then you’re okay, gimme feedback and it will give you pretty authentic feedback.

That’s incredible access. So for the young sales rep out there who’s I’m just trying to learn and sharpen my team, here’s a great tool to just go play around with in your boxers at two in the morning, something you have access to that you didn’t a year ago.

Like we, we weren’t having these conversations in the same way. That quickly is how it’s iterating, it’s fascinating stuff.

Jeff Loehr: And I think on that I actually think that, we keep talking about this impacting marketing. And I think that if you go ask it to write something in Malcolm Gladwell’s voice, it’s still not going to be good.

Because the thing is that what makes Malcolm Gladwell’s writing. Interesting is the way that he puts together things in different ways, or he makes connections. And those connections, those are unexpected connections. So they’re not derivative connections.

If they are, then it’s not interesting. So you can write in his voice all day long. You’re not going to imitate him. What is interesting, I’ve heard a little bit of this, but not much is the idea of this replacing therapists and I actually think that there’s a good case for it because therapy.

Talk therapy, there’s not very much new there.

Chris Bintliff: That’s interesting.

Jeff Loehr: I don’t know if you guys have been through therapy, but it’s like, it’s the same stuff. You know what I mean? And you have to spend so much time educating the damn therapist and then you don’t like them but you can say to if you could have an AI therapist where you say, look, just treat me like this.

This is the kind of person I want to talk to. And then have the it be that therapist, that’s actually a really interesting application because there’s not all that much new therapy.

Joe Rojas: What I like about that application is that it also removes the judgment out of it. Because it’s just a language model. So there’s no judginess, there’s no judgment.

Chris Bintliff: One of the things that I think is best for, and something I’m using it a lot for is onboarding. So what you’re describing is really interesting Jeff. Cause what if 80% of something was communicate with the AI and then hand it over to the professional who can see this whole thing, get up to speed quickly and then come with their unique perspective or point of view or whatever.

Like what if the first 80% could be handled by something so that the last 20%, which is really the meat, like me telling story exactly where story

Jeff Loehr: That’s where the differentiator is. Not in the 80% but in the 20%.

The last 3%

Chris Bintliff: A hundred percent.

And it might be in the last 3%, the real value, the thing where that’s the old lighthouse.

I’m going to pay me $10,000 to fix the lighthouse, cause I knew which screw to turn. Not cause I did some great thing, but I knew what I was doing. So if you can get to that last 3% of anything, that’s really interesting. Think about how much any of us waste both as professionals and as the buyer or the service provider.

And the service providee. How much time do we spend as you just pointed out, Jeff, just telling you how the thing works or getting you up to speed so that then you can tell me what’s valuable. What if we could offload that so that I was just getting involved in the part where my brain is really great, I’m not great at logistics, but I’m great at telling you what I see or whatever.

Those are really powerful possibilities. I love that idea.

Be the expert, narrow your niche

Joe Rojas: What it makes me think of. And this is just to come around to the MSP side of it, is Jeff came up with this brilliant saying is agnostic is where MSPs go to die.

And the opportunity now is to become a real expert in one thing and be the best at it. Be the best at it and use a process like this. What you’re talking about, Chris, when you’re onboarding, you’re an expert in this. You can really use this in your marketing and your thing to speak directly to that ideal client that has that problem.

That is the problem that you solve. And you can get deeper and deeper into that problem in a way that not anybody else can, because the thing that 3%, that last little bit, that’s what you’re the master at. So you can start to really form that and I don’t know why there’s so much resistance.

Why is there so much resistance to this idea that agnostic is where you go to die? Like What’s the deal, man? What do you think

What do you think about agnostic is where MSPs go to die?

Chris Bintliff: I have some points of view on that, but Jeff, you have a lot of energy around that whole topic, as Joe just pointed out.

And I think your point of view on it is pretty interesting. I have a perspective, but it’s into the larger realm of a problem with marketing. So marketing as I describe it to everybody I work with. Marketing, is telling your story to people who care and who are willing to pay for it.

Here’s what almost everybody does. Small businesses, certainly MSPs, large organizations, they only focus on the telling. And so we get all up in the tactical. And that part feels easy cause we can just go read a blog post or read a HubSpot thing or go watch a YouTube. So now I’m doing the Facebooks or I’m creating the post, or I’m generating the thing, all the tactical stuff that is a problem because that is agnostic.

I’m just going to broadcast, I’m just making just a spatter shot. If I don’t spend any time on the starting with, who cares? I got to know who cares. And then what is my story? What makes me interesting or unique and then valuable to who cares? And if we spend no time, even if we spend a little bit of time on those two things, we’re doing more than most.

But if we spend no time, which is what most of us do, most of us associate like marketing is synonymous with the doing of the thing. I need a website, I need a post. Instead of a, let’s think about. And when we don’t start with the, let’s think about and punch holes in it and bring in different points of views and unique perspectives and somebody who’s going to be contrarian to the narrative we already have in our head.

We assume these vocabularies. If you ask in your company, Hey, what do we stand for? You’re going to get 52 different versions. Even if you got posters all over the walls because you haven’t like actually lived that, that’s not like a thing that we can just say we are about because we are doing it all day.

If none of that stuff is on point or even just a little bit of energy is paid to it, then you’re back to the doing. And that’s a totally agnostic thing. You’re just trying stuff out, see what works? And by the way, the industry is reinforced the doing cause that’s how they get paid. So you get your Google ads a hundred dollars free or do you wanna boost this post?

It’s only this much money. So it’s really accessible to do the technical thing. You don’t need to be an expert in marketing to create a thing, to make a page, to do a thing. And that’s great. Like I love that accessibility. But if you don’t have the. Marketing is also the intersection of creativity and customers.

If you don’t understand both of those two things and how they can intersect to your advantage, then you’re just back to the doing. And that’s why we have like literally CEOs at two o’clock in the morning YouTubing being like, how do I get started with Instagram? That’s not where you start CEO.

 Start somewhere different than that. But we don’t do it. We dunno. That’s the point of view I have on that agnostic thing is it’s really easy and we don’t even realize what we’re missing.

Jeff Loehr: It’s easy to say, I’m going to go post on social media, even though it’s painful to do and you end up spending a lot of time, but you think, oh, it’s right there and it’s accessible for me.

I can just go out and do it. And then there’s a hope that comes with it, right? And there’s also an excuse. So there’s a hope that somebody will see me and want my thing, and then there’s an excuse that happens. I did all of this.

Nobody saw it. Nobody wanted my thing, so it’s not my fault that I’m failing. So I think that kind of comes out of it, that’s baked into it.

Important lesson about average customer value

Jeff Loehr: And I had our coach challenge me yesterday because he said, what’s your average customer value?

And I said here’s my average customer value. And he said, okay. So traditionally a third of what you do goes to contribution. A third of that value goes to contribution. A third of it goes to actually actual delivery, and a third of it goes to acquiring the customer.

That’s your traditional way of doing things. And he said, so are you spending anywhere near a third of that price in acquiring the customer? No matter how you look at it, whether you look at it over six months, a year, or even are you thinking about spending a third? I’m like no.

What we’re doing is we’re making a lot of noise in a lot of channels in the hope that somebody comes and buys our stuff. So that we then have an excuse when people don’t do it, that we can say we tried and we did everything that we can. And if I’m going to spend real money, if you say to me, Hey, you have to go spend, let’s say $5,000 to acquire a customer, then all of a sudden I have to think really hard about where I’m going to spend those $5,000.

Joe Rojas: A hundred percent.

Jeff Loehr: And then if I think I’m going to acquire 10 customers, I have to spend 50,000, I’m going to spend $50,000. I’m going to think hard about where I spend the $50,000. And that’s the work of marketing.

The Dunning Kruger Effect

Chris Bintliff: I think that’s a great point. And the flip side of that, which I see all the time, is by the way, if you get that story right and that customer right, then the doing becomes almost inevitable.

Okay, so here’s where those people might be able to be found and they’re not on Facebook or they’re not on the ad or whatever. But that is you do that analysis and then you say, okay, I think this is a great way to do I think radio ads, which by the way, I rarely recommend are the thing to do.

And then somebody says, we tried radio ads. It was a huge bust. Cool. But you tried it without any of this new insight that you have or without a strategy behind it. You just tried it and so now you’re cutting off possibilities from yourself because you think you know more than you do. You think you’re an expert in this?

Cause you tried it for a month and you didn’t get any, that’s the other thing.

Joe Rojas: The Dunning Kruger effect.

Chris Bintliff: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And so yes, your Dunning Kruger is like running rampant cause you think you’re an expert in Facebook ads cause you tried it for a month. Which you did then have developed some data.

You didn’t actually get anything and therefore it must not work for you. You don’t understand that maybe it takes time or maybe your obstacles are this, or maybe if you would’ve added this to it or whatever. And so now you’re turning off spigots that could be turned on because you didn’t turn on the right way or you didn’t turn on enough earlier.

Your expertise. That’s the thing is. Like anything, you got to know what you’re doing with this and how to think about it. And just cause you’re a CEO of a company or you run some company, or you’re really smart or great at that thing, please focus on being great at that thing or leading your company and through your vision in that thing.

Not in thinking that you’re also the expert in X. Cause you tried to think for two months.

MSP that targeted the WHOLE WORLD

Joe Rojas: You know the reason why we’re laughing so hard is because we met with an MSP and everything that we say, he’s oh, I’ve done that, I’ve tried that. I’ve done this, I’ve tried that. I’ve tried this, I tried that.

Yes, I did that. No, that didn’t work. That doesn’t work. No, that doesn’t work for me. That’s doesn’t work in my industry. We’re going through the whole thing.

Jeff Loehr: And then he’s and I’ve done this for everybody. I’ve targeted

the whole world and I’ve got every channel, every place for everybody.

I’ve targeted the whole world. Only $1,500 a month, mind you. But still,

Joe Rojas: Anyway, the whole world. But then we go through the whole thing. And I said have you identified the ideal client, the problem you solve for them? He goes I haven’t done that.

The Importance of Narrowing Down your Market

Chris Bintliff: That probably won’t work cause I targeted the whole world. Yeah. That’s fascinating. And so common. I like say all the time, if I can target redheads in Nebraska, we’re going to get you more business then if you want me to try to talk to every MSP in America, like the more we can niche that down or chisel that down or whittle that down.

And that’s tricky. As you guys have described, as you guys know, figuring that out is not easy and it’s time consuming. And by the way, it’s dynamic. So what, this week, the answer might be this, but next month business dynamics or whatever might change. Market changes. Yeah. Find it might change and you might need to maneuver on that.

Its important to revisit your strategy

Chris Bintliff: So many of us have this sort of, we’ll do this strategy work, we’ll do our, we’ll build our revenue model, or we’ll do the thing when we start the business and we will never revisit it again. Everything is changing around us. Customers are changing all around us. New technology, AI just erupted and we still think we did the thing that we said we were doing seven years ago, or five years ago, or three months ago.

If we don’t revisit that on the regular so that we are just constantly keeping our own sort of status quo fresh and malleable and challenge it, is this really what we should be doing? I love it wasn’t long ago where you guys said, you know what? We wanna talk to MSPs, not to entrepreneurs. That’s cool if they’re listening, but we want to talk to MSPs.

That’s watershed and a lot of us don’t do that. And it’s tricky to get to that point too.

The Ego Issue of Niching Down

Jeff Loehr: And it’s, but there’s an ego issue there, right? Because

Chris Bintliff: Oh, interesting.

Jeff Loehr: Joe is Mr. MSP. I know tech. But I haven’t been in MSP and I see myself as broader, I’m the manager whisperer, I’ve got insights into all kinds of stuff. And I do. I, I legitimately,

Joe Rojas: he really does

Jeff Loehr: from my business for a long time, right? So I got stuck in that place from, but I can help lots of people. Nobody buys that way, right? So that part of your ego has to say I’m just going to focus on MSPs right now.

I’m not like the manager whisperer taking over the world. I’m taking on this one segment. And now I’ve got to get really serious about it and really learn more about it, because now I’m in this one segment and not just being the general whisper. And it’s interesting the process of just letting go of part of the ego and then focusing on one thing where, maybe you now have to develop some real expertise.

I’m having to get into ConnectWise. A year ago I didn’t know the name ConnectWise. And now I’m like, who can give me a login so I can figure out these reports? And that’s how we developed the expertise. But that’s where I think a lot of that resistance comes from, is that feeling of but I’m not I’m something different than that.

Conversation between different VOIP Providers

Joe Rojas: The other thing is, it’s so interesting, I had a couple of voiceover IP providers on a call the other day, and one of them was like a phone system’s, a phone system for the phone system. And the other guy was like, no, it’s not because the phone system is the phone system, but the needs of the person that’s buying the phone system are completely different.

 If a lawyer is buying a phone system, he’s going to look at it completely different than a retail store. I had a lawyer vertical myself. Personal injury lawyers, their phones can never be down cause a phone call is the difference between a $20 million win or loss.

Whereas a trusted estates lawyer, if their phone’s down, they could get it through email. It’s a different thing. They’re looking at it in a different way.

The need to innovate in your industry

Jeff Loehr: But this comes back to the whole AI conversation because there was a time when a phone was a phone.

There was a time when you were like, Hey, cool, we’ve got a phone line. And then you talked to a company, they were called the phone company. Yeah. And would come out and they would, it was only one they had like hook wires up. And then you’re like, now you’re connected. But the world changed and now just having a phone connection isn’t enough.

And it’s like the same thing when we’re just bringing it back to the AI. Now just writing a blog post. Now just knowing how to do something isn’t enough, because AI’s taken that effort out. So you’ve got to come back to that 20% that’s the magic. That’s the thing that separates you apart.

Joe Rojas: Ding.

Jeff Loehr: And, It’s not being a phone anymore because anybody can be a phone company. It’s what you’re doing with that to really add value to your customer that matters.

Chris Bintliff: That is a really good point. And I think there’s few of us left where we can say access is our, like main pain point. If that’s our main pain point, we aren’t innovating.

I don’t know if that’s a mental thing or a technical thing or whoever that, whatever that is for you. But we can literally be always on with our phones, with something that’s pinging us and saying, I have a thing. I need a thing. You can geolocate everything you want.

Like By the way, it’s a great way to pre-qualify too, like the AI step we were talking about, like maybe this isn’t my ideal customer and I’m not going to spend two hours wasting my time on somebody who isn’t the right thing. They can go through a process and by the time I jump in, I’m ready to help out.

Leadership and empowering others

Chris Bintliff: Something you said, Jeff, that I really loved about your ego, by the way. I think it is an underestimated skillset to have situational awareness and self-awareness when you’re a manager or a leader.

I think we often think that it’s around like how to lead a team or whatever. If you can’t see yourself plainly and your own weaknesses and then compliment those with people around you who are really great at something and have the situational awareness to see the people around you that are really great at a thing, then you’re going to only be stuck in your ego.

And frankly, how many of us have had managers through our lives or whatever where we’ve said they’re the most amazing? That’s cool. And when we get ’em, they stand out because we’ve had so many that are. Yeah. Driven by something else, right? I know. Different or whatever.

Jeff Loehr: And it’s not just knowing that they can do it, it’s letting them do it.

Empower them to be better than you are at that thing. That’s when it’s real, management and leadership. When you recognize that I need to surround myself that are better than I am at doing all of these things. Like, Joe is better at coaching, he’s better at making phone calls.

So I can either force myself to stand up for that and say, no, I have to own this, or I have to make space for Joe to be the expert. And then take some of this stuff off of Joe that someone else might be better at. And but like you say that that’s tough.

Importance of offloading work

Chris Bintliff: It is, but it creates space for you. So if you’re offloading for Joe, what he’s great at, cool. And this gets back to the marketing thing, offload what you’re not great at to somebody who’s great at that. You can just totally cultivate the thing that you are great at or sharpen your skills at the thing that you’re not great at, but you’re not like under pressure to make it great in this moment.

Those are key aspects of leadership. I totally agree. And as it comes back to some of the other things we were talking about, there are new ways to have those conversations. And if we, those of us who’ve been doing this for a minute are not open to those new ways. If we think everything needs to be a phone call back to Joe’s sort of analogy.

We are going to miss the opportunities that are not just right in front of us, but that our competitors are going to be chewing up, or the younger version of ourselves that are going to come up and build the next great company. They’re going to build it on the backs of this stuff that we were too intimidated to try, or too skeptical or too concerned about, or whatever, to just start to get into and realize its potential for us.

These are all dynamics of the growth mindset, right? These are all dynamics of willing to be an innovator and an imaginative innovator, and not just a business runner or a doer or a owner,

Joe Rojas: But what I like about what you just said, that’s really key.

It’s like you could either, go really be good at what you’re good at, or you can sharpen your skills and this other thing that you want to be good at. The question that I ask right, is, Why are you in business? Oh yeah. I wanted to make money. Okay, great. Then go be good at what you’re good at and get somebody else to do this other thing because you are already good at what you’re good at.

Get better at that. If you spend the time trying to go get good at something else, now that’s going to add friction. And friction just slows you down. If you’re at a place where you’re willing to add friction, great.

But most of the small businesses that I know, they’re looking to grow. If you wanna grow, you have to remove friction.

Jeff Loehr: Not add it.

How to delegate what you arent good at

Joe Rojas: And so how do you do that? How you do that is you go find amazing people that know what they’re doing. Yes. Let them do that.

And you get really narrow. You get really focused. And the narrower you get, I work with doctors. No. I work with orthopedic knee specialists who only do left knees.

Chris Bintliff: Yes. I love it. That’s a great point. And part of what I love what you’re sharing is just, that’s just behave with intention.

So I like what you said when you said, if you wanna introduce friction, if you’re doing it on purpose, then okay, good for you. But how many of us don’t even realize that we are introducing friction? And that can be by the way, like through logistical stuff that can be like, oh, what we do…

Dentists and clipboards

Chris Bintliff: how many times do you go to the dentist or whatever and you fill out a paper, something on a clipboard?

Are you kidding me? This is amazing that we still have situations where that’s what we’re doing. And now some human being is going to have to read your weird handwriting, try to put it in something, or they’re going to put a piece of paper in a folder that’s going to require storage and all this stuff.

These are points of friction that exist cause we haven’t. We just haven’t acknowledged that the furniture is in the way, and if we moved it five inches, we would have a clear path through the living room. We just are so used to it thing, and

Jeff Loehr: by the way, that dentist, they already have my information.

They probably have it spelled wrong because I did fill it out the first time on a piece of paper, but then read my handwriting because nobody can read my handwriting. And then they typed it in wrong. So they probably have my information in their database 10 times, but each time it’s completely unique because nobody can make out what I’m saying.

So they keep asking me every time,

Chris Bintliff: Four iterations of Jeff at the dentist, because each time he had a little bit something different. They got phone numbers and email addresses and whatever.

Joe Rojas: Here’s my absolute favorite. And this was maybe four or five years ago. I was a midtown and I need a dentist quick, right?

So I go on zoc docs or something like that. I find it. They ask me all these questions, I fill everything out. I’m like, this is going to be awesome. I’m going to get there. They’re going to have everything filled out, blah, blah, blah. I get there, right? And I’m like, Hey, and they hand me a clipboard.

With like three pages on it. And I’m like, I already answered all these questions. And they’re like, yeah, but that system doesn’t integrate what ours show.

Chris Bintliff: Oh yes. How often does that happen? That’s very commonplace too. Somebody’s email, that form goes to this person’s email who’s on vacation so

Joe Rojas: I almost felt like walking out.

Jeff’s story about the therapist

Jeff Loehr: I had a thing where like to go on to meet the doctor. This is a therapy thing. And before the sessions I’d have to answer all of these questions, and it was like a 10 minute thing to answer these questions.

And then I go on and she’s asking me these questions like I did just fill it in. She said, oh yeah, we don’t ever see those. And so I said, I’m not using your system anymore cause it’s too hard for me to use. We’ll just talk on the phone because this whole system is just too hard to use.

And if you’re going to force me to use this, then I’m going to go somewhere else because it’s just too painful. And that’s exactly what you’re talking about. Yeah. I’m actually, I’m like, I’m going to leave if you don’t take the effort of all of this off of me.

Think about the customer experience

Chris Bintliff: Which is the customer experience and medical profession is unique in that they don’t think of their patients as customers.

So it’s a whole other thing. But anywhere else in the world that puts you through that amount of nonsense, you’d be like, look man, like I was excited to talk to you, but I don’t have time for this. And it represents that maybe everything else under the hood of your organization is just going to be as tedious.

So thank you. But I’m going to go elsewhere. And we don’t probably realize that there’s a problem. We just know that there’s a symptom of a problem Oh yeah, we have duplicate things because sometimes we don’t read people’s handwriting. You don’t realize we should digitize this so that it’s easy.

You just realize, yeah, we’ve got a problem. And that sometimes we’ve got duplicate things. You sometimes, got to bring somebody in who can see that big picture in a way that maybe you can’t, who can say, oh, here’s your process. We can do this, we can do this. What if we change this to that?

We can do all this. And now it’s not going to be in somebody’s email inbox when they’re on vacation. It’s going to be accessible to everybody. And your customers are going to be onboarded in five minutes and they’re going to be a lot happier. What do you think of that? We have to be able to get out of our own way.

Chris what do you do?

Jeff Loehr: So what do you do and how can people spend more time with you and get some of your brain power on their stuff?

Chris Bintliff: One of the things that I think I’ll share specifically for the MSP and generally, and as you’ve heard, I have a mindset around telling stories to your customers who care. But I’ve developed this AI kind of driven, resource that it’s fantastic and it’s called Marketing Spark, and it’s at marketingspark.ai.

I’m at NotReallyRocketScience.com. And Marketing Spark takes what I would go into organizations and literally spend eight hours. That was part of the sales prop, was like, I’m going to come in, we’re going to get elbow deep, and there’s going to be notepads everywhere and we’re going to put post-it notes on all the walls and we’re going to figure out your customer and your story.

And we’re going to get into this. It was super cool but also crazy intensive. And then it took me two, three weeks on the other side to put a profile together.

I taught some AI tools and then I put that into some automated processes so that basically if you spend a few minutes answering, 10 questions or something, you will get my brain back at you, which is super cool.

And so you’re going to get like specific observations about, so here’s maybe what your customer is most concerned about. You’re going to get observations on here’s what they might most be looking for and your messaging, watch out for this. They might probably not be looking for that. Some guidance on, they might appreciate design or communications that are like this and not like this.

Maybe they’ll like video or maybe they’ll like blog post or whatever, and then it’ll spit out an eight week content map for you. That’s literally like on week one, this is your topic. This could be your call to action, give this thing away. It’s all the stuff that I would’ve given you coaching on, but it’s just there, just built in.

It’s just baked in. It’s like crazy affordable. It’s back to all the things you were talking about. If you haven’t done any of the work on who cares, what are we talking about?

Who is our customer? This is one of the easiest places to start, and then you can click a button and get in touch with me right there to say, now I wanna pro that last 3%. I want somebody to talk me through this now or work me through this, cool. We can do that. But if nothing else, you’re going to have this like power document in front of you that gives you a roadmap to start to think about.

Jeff Loehr: Your brain and your expertise on that 3%, on that 20%. Imagine if you start with that and then you spend eight hours on it. Yeah. Yep. How amazing that’s going to be.

Chris Bintliff: Oh my goodness. Can you even imagine like

Jeff Loehr: miles beyond what it would’ve been if you just put all of the time and energy into the workshop?

So I think that is brilliant.

MarketingSpark.ai

Jeff Loehr: So marketingspark.ai and I tried it and I think it was brilliant. It was super well done. So I think everybody should give it a try. So just go ahead and do it. And then your other one is

Chris Bintliff: Not Really Rocket Science, that’s the name of my outfit, which is self-explanatory.

None of this stuff should be as hard as we think it is. Yeah. But at the same time, we should treat it with a little bit of intellectual respect. So NotReallyRocketScience.com is where you can learn more about all the things we do, the different ways we do it and how we can help.

Jeff Loehr: And Chris really got us started on this podcast.

Without him, we would still just be twiddling our thumbs and dreaming of the day. Chris we appreciate you.

Conclusion

Jeff Loehr: Thanks for taking the time. This has been an absolutely amazing conversation, unfortunately, we got to move on.

Chris Bintliff: Joe.

Joe Rojas: Remember that You Are Loved.

Chris Bintliff: Thanks guys. Great to be with you.

Jeff Loehr: Alright, thanks Chris. Talk soon.

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