The Agonizing, Agnostic MSP: Stop Generalizing, Start Focusing
Jeff Loehr: Joe, there’s an elephant in our podcasts.
Joe Rojas: What? What happened?
Jeff Loehr: We got some feedback – which is exciting. But some people were upset that he said MSPs shouldn’t be agnostic. Actually, I think on just about every episode, I’ve said something like, “Agnostic is where MSPs go to die.”
Joe Rojas: And then I played a little bugle.
Jeff Loehr: I’m very happy to offend people, especially if I’m offending people by telling them the right way to run their business and make more money and do less work. Here’s the fact Joe: most people should not like what we’re doing.
Joe Rojas: I don’t know, that seems all wrong coming from someone who wants to grow a company as badly as you do.
Jeff Loehr: I don’t care, I want the right people to like us.
Joe Rojas: The not-agnostic people.
Jeff Loehr: We work with MSPs who are sick and tired of being sick and tired, believe there must be a better way and are willing to think differently. If they insist on clinging to agnosticism, we cannot help them.
Joe Rojas: They want to go on a four-week vacation from their clients, with no phone calls from their staff, no phone calls!
Jeff Loehr: The hustle guy says you’re good to work on weekends. We don’t want to talk to that guy, we will happily refer the agnostic people who want to work weekends and holidays to that guy, and we help people go on a four-week client-free vacation.
When you worry about appealing to everybody, you listen to the detractors, and you should not. Appeal to a small segment, and don’t worry about the detractors.
Joe Rojas: So the idea is to make people not like us.
Jeff Loehr: The idea is to stop worrying about everybody. We’ve fallen into this as every entrepreneur has.
Joe Rojas: We fell into this so hard it was like a two-by-four in the face.
Jeff Loehr: I wrote something for somebody day on LinkedIn the other day, and they got this comment where this person said, “You’re an idiot.” And I was so excited! Wow, somebody with a big following called you an idiot! That is so cool! But the feedback was, “but they called me an idiot; we can never say this thing again!” But in my view, this is awesome. You’re starting some controversy. They’re welcome to their opinions. And we have our opinions. Their followers should go to them, and our followers should go to us. The biggest problem that MSPs face is trying to appeal to everybody. You will always have detractors, and you will have supporters.
Joe Rojas: I meet many MSPs, and I ask them about their vertical or who’s their avatar. What segment do you serve? And 98% of the time, it’s, “I’m agnostic. I do anything and everything for anybody and everybody.”
Jeff Loehr: Do you know where the word “agnostic” comes from? It comes from doubting the existence of God. So you have atheism on one side: people say, “There’s no God!” And then you have the religious people on the other side saying, “There is a God!” And then you have the people in the middle saying, “I don’t know.” Agnostic is the people in the middle. My point is: a third of the US population identifies as having no religion or as being agnostic. So Joe, where do they go to church? Where do they gather?
Joe Rojas: At the movie theater?
Jeff Loehr: Look at the successful religions of the world, like Catholicism. It’s been around 5000 years, and lots of people believe it. They say, “We’re Catholic and adamant about it.”
Catholics talk about how great it is to be Catholic. Every religion doubles down on its belief system, and its believers talk about how great theirs is. And it’s the same thing in business. You have to appeal to somebody specific so you can attract more of those kinds of people.
Joe Rojas: The great thing about that is, if you work with lawyers, they’ll tell other lawyers about you. If you work with accountants, they’ll say to other accountants, “Oh, you should work on my IT guy. He only works with accountants. “Oh, you should work with my IT guy. He only works with dentists.”
Jeff Loehr: So look, I’m sorry if you’re so thin-skinned that you’re offended by us finding that too many MSPs are agnostic. I apologize. But not really. You build a business through focus, and every single time I don’t focus, I claim agnosticism. I’ve done it more than once and every time it fails.
Joe Rojas: And not in the too-distance past either.
Jeff Loehr: So you’ve got to get specific. We had to get more specific than just working with “entrepreneurs.” We love all entrepreneurs, but we had to get more specific to entrepreneurs who are MSPs. So whatever you do, get specific and, you know, don’t take our jokes too seriously.
Joe Rojas: Remember that you are loved. Even if you’re agnostic, we still love you.