The New Client Playbook for MSPs

Table of Contents

In this episode, co-hosts Jeff Loehr and Joe Rojas discuss a strategy for MSPs to acquire new clients without resorting to cold calling or using expensive marketing strategies.

This tried and true strategy is simple and very effective.

Tune in to gain valuable knowledge from this dynamic duo as they give you the solution to getting your next clients.



How MSPs Get Their Next Client

Jeff Loehr: So we tend to think that we have to talk to a million people so that we get two sales.

Actually, you only have to talk to about 10 people to make two sales, and trying to talk to everybody in the world just turns out to be really expensive and pretty darn ineffective. What do you think, Joe?

Joe Rojas: It’s funny because I was talking to this guy this week, and he’s like, well, I want to get to a million dollars. And I’m like, how many clients do you think you need for that? He’s I don’t know, about 500?

And I was like, yeah, you need about 20, dude.

If you’re like super cheap, you need about 40, but if you’re like your proper price, you need about 20 clients to get to a million dollars in ARR.

So it’s really about 20 clients. And so when you have this misconstrued view of how many clients you need to hit a particular amount of MRR, that misconstrued view informs this set of tactical actions that are the wrong actions, right? You’re like spraying and praying, baby.

And so the question is, how do you pull back?

Jeff Loehr: Let’s talk a little bit about what you do. So, if you shouldn’t do marketing, if you shouldn’t do spray and pray, what that leaves you with is a question around how you get in front of some people so that you can convert them to clients.

The strategy that we love for this is actually the Dream 100 strategy, which was popularized by Chet Holmes. I’m going to get the story a little bit wrong. At one point, he was working at a periodical, and they were selling to everybody. They were just spraying and praying the whole time.

He said, look, who are the 100 clients that, if we signed any one of them up, would be transformative to our business? And these are clients that they knew, or they didn’t know they wanted to work with, and they made this list, and then they focused all of their sales and marketing efforts on that list of 100.

That was transformative for this business because it allowed them to really focus.

What we often miss is that there are tens of millions of companies out there sending tens of millions of messages every day. Every individual is getting 10,000 messages a day. If we want to stand out, we’ve got to focus that effort.

We can’t be competing with all those 10,000. It’s just it’s too expensive. So, the idea is that you identify these top 100 clients, and then you start going after the top 100 by focusing on them and their needs. and we have a series of steps to help people go through this.

Step 1 of the Dream 100

The first step is to identify Your Dream 100 targets.

And everybody fights us on this, Joe, right?

Joe Rojas: They fight us because they’re fighting the narrowing down of the ideal target, especially in the MSP space.

When we tell you to identify the 100, not only do we want you to pick a hundred random companies, we want you to pick a hundred of a kind of company or a kind of person that has a very particular problem, and that it’s all the same,

Because you got to get good at the thing.

Jeff Loehr: You have to know what problem you’re solving for them so that you can be very attractive to them. So you want to be sure that you are talking to 100 or that you have a list of 100 prospects who have the problem you solve and can pay the price that you need them to pay.

And that would, all else equal, be interested, you think, in what you are selling. So once you identify these, you can start classifying them and sorting them. And I do know that sometimes you don’t come up with a hundred; sometimes you have 76. Sometimes, it takes time to get to a hundred.

You start with the top 10, right?

Step 2 of the Dream 100

You move on to step two, which is to create customized, value-rich outreach. Now that you know exactly whom you’re targeting, you can curate personalized, high-quality content that speaks to them specifically.

Jeff Loehr: This came from one of the people we work with, Charlene Ignacio, was talking about how one of her clients sent out 100 Yeti Mugs with their own logo to a hundred people, and they got zero response.

Zero. And these are expensive things, right? When you add it up times a hundred, you’re spending a couple thousand dollars to send these things out. Then, the next time, they realized the observation was, look, you made it all about you, not about them.

So the next time they did it, they just started on the top 10, and they put the prospects’ logo on the Yeti mug. And then something like 80% of the people actually came back to them and wanted to have a conversation because it was about the prospect and not about the person making the sale. We always want to make it about ourselves.

So when we talk about value-rich content, we mean value-rich where you’re solving problems for them and you get yourself, your ego, and everything that you want out of it out of the way.

That’s going to come right. But you must show them the value first.

Then you distribute that to them through multiple means. channels through email, calls, social media, direct email, personalized gifts, whatever it is, and you do this

Joe Rojas: After you’ve reached out every possible way you could imagine, then you show up at their space, you bring them a little something. you bring a little gift, and you have a conversation, and you will be surprised at the results that you get from doing something like that.

Jeff Loehr: Yeah. And that is the huge value around this because it’s about them; that surprise comes from all of a sudden they’re really interested in having a conversation with you because for the last couple of weeks, you’ve been talking about them the whole time.

Joe Rojas: So then what?

Step 3 of the Dream 100

Jeff Loehr: Then we want to design the process. Step two was designing the process, right? So you create the outreach, you create the process, and then step three is really that awareness; you’re implementing it, right?

So, you start with some soft touch stuff like, your social media connection or you send an email and you’re subtly introducing your value proposition. And then you gradually intensify your outreach efforts with follow-up emails and calls and the value-rich content that we talked about.

So you might reach out to somebody on LinkedIn and send them an email, and then next week, you send them that Yeti mug with their logo on it.

Maybe they’re producing content, and so you like their content and redistribute it or share it. One thing that somebody did is they just went around and started giving prospects Google reviews, right?

So they randomly give them five-star Google reviews. And somebody’s gonna remember that you did that for them. So the key here is to remember that it’s a long-term game, so you have to keep this up. Over time. You have to be persistent. You can’t just do it once, and then you get a couple of rejections you don’t continue on, right?

You have to continue reaching out to people.

Joe Rojas: I’ve learned from you, and from my own experience, it’s a series of experiments that you’re doing.

So you try something, but it doesn’t work, and then you try something else.And if that doesn’t work, then you try something else.

But what you can’t do is keep changing your target because you’re never going to get there. It’s oh, we need to get to California. Okay, let’s head north. That’s not working. Hey, yeah, you got to head west, right? If you’re heading west and then you hit some kind of roadblock, you can’t be like, Maybe we can get to California if we go south.You gotta keep going. We just gotta figure out how you’re gonna go west. And what happens is people hit a roadblock, and they’re like, okay, we’ll go northeast, and we’ll see what happens. And then, you know, no, we, we’ll go north

And you keep changing directions and going around in circles.

And then every, every few months, you find out, this feels familiar. I think I’ve done this before. You started it like six months ago and now you’ve just come back to it again and you move forward an inch.

So, if you want to keep moving in the direction you’re going, you have to keep going in that direction, right? You have to keep pushing in that direction. You have to keep figuring out. if that didn’t work, what will work?

Am I using my language instead of the customer’s language?

Cause I want to use the voice of the customer. So, am I using my voice? Am I using the voice of the customer? What is it that I’m not identifying that all of a sudden doesn’t appeal to them? Another way to showcase your expertise, you said, is by commenting on their posts.

If they’re commenting and the problem that you solve is consistent with what they’re saying, say, give them advice right on their posts. Say, hey, a possible solution for this problem is you could do this, this, this, this, and this.

Jeff Loehr: Right. That’s outreach,

There’s a caveat to that, Joe. You don’t want to tell people that they’re wrong the whole time. One of the things that doesn’t work at all is to tell people how wrong they are. So, you go in there and say, no, that won’t work at all. You can’t do it that way.

It’s not about making people wrong. It’s about giving them solutions that they can implement and do. So, pointing out people’s flaws never works.

Joe Rojas: That never works. Oh, let me tell you how much you suck. Rather than, Hey, look, a possible solution for this. It’s like a possible solution for this is this. Cause the thing that they’re doing might work it might’ve been working for them all along, right?

Another possible way of doing this is to do it like this, and they never thought of that before because your solution may not be the be-all and end-all, but it’s a different solution that they haven’t looked at before.

Jeff Loehr: And so often, it’s not about the best solution.

It’s about the best communicator and the best engager. Most solutions work pretty well, honestly, unless you’re talking to a charlatan.

The question is really, how are you engaging people? On the website, we have a 10-point engagement process.

Here’s an example process, and you can make this however you want. But it starts with:

  • Touchpoint 1. You have a LinkedIn connection.
  • Touchpoint 2 is a welcome email.
  • Touchpoint 3 is some sort of social media engagement.
  • Touchpoint 4 is some sort of customized content.
  • Touchpoint 5 is some direct mail, right?

So, this is where you can send a handwritten note or a Yeti mug or whatever that’s about them. You have a follow-up email or a phone call. Then, you could invite them to take a test of your services. Then, you might send them some sort of customized email again, but you keep going through this process of showing them what you can do and giving them content.

Now, there are a couple of things. They’re important as you go through this. These are magnifiers or multipliers, and they are some ideas about influence. And one of them is reciprocity. So, if you give something, you create. You have an obligation to your prospect, to return the favor.

This is just human nature, right?

And so the idea is that by giving them a Yeti mug that’s about them, and I’m not promoting Yeti, by the way, like whatever you want to give is fine; by giving them the Yeti mug, you are creating an obligation in their mind to reciprocate somehow.

So that’s one thing. The other thing is this idea of consistency. People like to act in a way that is consistent with what they’ve done before. So when they start taking action, you can remind them of the action they’ve taken in the past. And that is going to make them more likely to take the next action.

So as you go through this process, you can say, Hey, like that conversation we had last time, I’d like to do this again. Or, something along those lines really helps people look at your content. So you can keep those things in mind.

Step 4 of the Dream 100

And then you want to think about the offer.

You want to have a call to action. Early on, that call to action is really going to be something value-added and something for free. But eventually, you want them to take you up on your offer, and that offer should be your entry-point offer—the first thing that you are going to do for them.

So you don’t have to sell them the whole service and everything and get the full price. You just get that first offer out there. And if you don’t know what an entry point offer is, check out our video on offers, where we talk about the different types of offers and offer value ladders so that you can work on creating those.

And think about how your Dream 100 can lead to an offer that gets them very excited about working with you. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be the final product. This is a very valuable thing because it gets people out of the idea of buying expensive services and having to make a lot of changes.

It gets you into it. I just have to take that next little step, and then you build on that over time.

Joe Rojas: It’s really having those little steps, right? Not making them jump a chasm to get to that offer is important.

Jeff Loehr: And then you move into your sales conversation from there, where you talk about the problem, you talk about the solution they need for that problem, you talk about transformation, and then you can start making your final offer there.

but that’s the idea behind the Dream 100 strategy. It’s not complicated, right? It’s just a process. Why do people resist it, Joe? Why do you think?

Why do people resist the Dream 100 Strategy

Joe Rojas: There are a few reasons, right?

I was talking to one of our clients and they’re like, Oh yeah, we’re going to narrow down to medical and lawyers.

That’s not narrow. You got to get narrower. And it was like a three-week fight. and they’re like, no, we’re not going to have, that’s not going to be enough. There’s not going to be enough. There’s not going to be enough. if we narrow more, it’s not going to be enough. So finally, we ended up at a gastroenterologist.

That’s narrow. That’s really narrow. Then they’d look in their zip code. There are 328 gastroenterologists. I remember we said at the beginning that we needed 20 clients, right? It’s 328. And then yesterday we were having a conversation, and they’re looking like, Oh, we need to go visit some of these, right?

We’re going to start the Dream 100 strategy and reach out to them. Then we’re going to visit them, and they do a search locally. And they find 16 in a building. In one building, it’s Oh, there’s this medical tower that’s near us. And on different floors, there are 16 of them. Now, there are 38 in the building, but some of them are shared practices, and there are 16 individual ones in one building.

So the resistance is there won’t be enough and I won’t be able to get to

Jeff Loehr: Yeah.

Joe Rojas: It turns out that birds of a feather flock together. There is a reason why there’s 16 in a building. Because that’s where people go to deal with their gastroenterology stuff.

if you go to medical buildings, there’s like some that are all ophthalmologists, some, they’re all dermatologists.

Some of them all like to congregate in a building.

Jeff Loehr:A lot of these people, like, once you narrow down, you can actually find a lot of that target customer.

Joe Rojas: The fear is that there are not enough; they’re not. If I narrow it down, I’m going to miss all these other opportunities.

Jeff Loehr: Yeah.

Joe Rojas: There’s another thing, especially for service providers and particularly for MSPs. Because when you’re under a million dollars, you’re like, I’ll take whatever you give me, man. Come on. Just throw me some, whatever’s got it.

They got a check. I’ll take it. But here’s the problem. If you take everybody, you can’t create repeatable processes. You can only create a repeatable process for what we like to call what Juan Fernandez calls janitorial work,

Jeff Loehr: Right?

Joe Rojas: The janitorial work. So it’s 365, like email and cyber security, but at the end of the day, real customers don’t care about that.

Jeff Loehr: Yeah. And that’s low value. That ends up being very low-value stuff because you can only compete on price.

Versus you solve a real business problem, right? So we figured out what these problems for gastroenterologists is their EHR is not connecting properly to the machines that they use to look inside you.

Joe Rojas: All of a sudden, you become an expert in fixing that problem. It doesn’t matter who comes in as competition. If they don’t know how to fix that. Nobody cares. And if you charge twice as much as the other guy, they don’t care either because, at the end of the day, they need to do business, and you can fix the problem that keeps them from doing business.

And so the thing that scares them the most, and you and I have had this conversation, is having to put your ass on the line for actually delivering what you say that you’re going to do. Like actually doing the thing, but to actually do the thing, you have actually to be an expert.

Can I Focus on a Single Avatar if I’m Not an Expert?

So the biggest pushback that I get is that I’m not an expert in that.

So how can I say I’m an expert in that? You’re not an expert in any of the other crap either, and you’re doing it.

Jeff Loehr:  So there’s that perception. but I’m not an expert in it. So, I’m going to go to other places where I’m not an expert. And for some reason, it’s going to be easier to sell. To a broader group of people rather than sell expertise to a narrow group of people, right?

Joe Rojas: So what I say is, if you’re going to do it anyway, Sell to a narrow group of people and start to learn their problems and fix them so that you can create repeatable processes for fixing their problems. And then guess what happens after you do that for a while?

Jeff Loehr: Your price, it goes up. So, I think that’s the essence of it.

If you’re looking for your next customer and trying to figure out how to use marketing to get there. The way to use marketing to get there is to be sure that you have a product that somebody wants. That you’re solving a problem that’s important to them.

You identify a hundred of those prospects that meet those criteria and create a focused, structured program to go after them, to get to know them, to build that trust and relevance so that they start buying your products and they start working with you. And recognize that this takes a little bit of time.

But, in our experience, it’s faster than Scattershot Marketing, it’s faster than Spray and Pray, it’s faster than trying to be generic, and it delivers better results more quickly, even though it is a longer-term strategy. But the key is the focus. The focus and the repetition.

Joe Rojas: It’s the focus, it’s repetition, and it’s clear that your entry point offer has to solve an acute problem, right?

For us technologists, the other tendency is to go for the complexity. I’m going to show you how to solve your HIPAA compliance framework, blah, blah, blah, blah, right? So we had a client who worked only with dentists, right?

And they had all this complex stuff that they did. After they asked the clients, the dentist, some questions, they found that there was one cable that broke all the time. That if you could fix that, holy crap. that became their entry point offer. Hey, we know how to fix that cable.

And we keep it from breaking. We have a process to keep that cable from breaking. And then, they got in. And once you land, you expand. See, you can ascend once you’re in, but you must find the acute problem. it’s like going to the dentist, right? you might feel around with your tongue and you feel a little hole.

Oh, there’s a little hole in my tooth. Oh, yeah, that’s okay. And then a couple of weeks go by, it’s oh, it hurts a little bit, but it’s fine. And then you’re like, face feels like it’s going to fall off. It’s fine. And you go to the dentist and now you need a root canal, right? Because you weren’t paying attention until it was acute.

And for business owners, they’re not paying attention to this acute. So, you want to solve an acute problem, even if it’s a simple one,

Joe Rojas: That’s going to get you in the door. And once you land, then you expand.

Jeff Loehr: Right, Joe. That’s the strategy. You can find more information about it on our website.

You can just. Google Dream 100 for MSPs, and we will pop it up and check it out there. if you have any questions about how to implement this, let us know and; thank you for watching and for the amazing work that you do

Joe Rojas: All right. And remember that you are loved.

Jeff Loehr: Thanks everybody.

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