You need to write a book (authors sell more)

Episode 8: You need to write a book (authors sell more)

Paul Green

Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Episode 8: You need to write a book (authors sell more)

In this week’s episode

  • Welcome back to Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast and the first episode for a brand new year. As we take stock from 2019 and look ahead to an exciting 2020, Paul explains how writing your own business book could make the next twelve months for your MSP even more successful
  • Spoiler alert – there may just be a lightbulb moment waiting for you in this week’s episode. Paul introduces you to the work of expert marketer Jay Abraham and his three simple steps to grow a business
  • Nigel Moore is today’s guest. The successful ex-MSP owner, and founder of The Tech Tribe, discusses how he’d run an MSP differently with the benefit of hindsight
  • There’s a brilliant question from podcast subscriber Krunal about how and when to do the marketing for your MSP

Show notes

Episode transcription

Voiceover: Made in the UK, for MSPs around the world. This is Paul Green’s MSP Marketing podcast.

Paul Green: Hello and welcome back to the show. Here’s what’s coming up today.

Nigel Moore: Owned an MSP. I sold an MSP and now I teach and coach MSPs how to avoid the bajillion mistakes that I made when I had my MSP.

Paul Green: We are also going to be talking about how this year you’re going to need your own book to help your MSP to stand out and be completely different to all of your competitors. I’m going to introduce you to a concept called the profit matrix. It’s the one tool that is going to grow your net profit this year more than anything else.

Voiceover: Paul Green’s MSP Marketing podcast.

Paul Green: So it seems a bit weird to be saying it this far into January but Happy New Year is our first podcast of 2020 and I hope you had a really good break with your family. I imagine now you’re back to work and your probably, you’re past that raring to go stage that we have past Christmas, but you’re a few days in and you’re quite focused on clearing up what’s happened over the break and just getting on with having a great 2020.

Paul Green: I want to talk to you today about the three growth levers for your business. Now this is a classic piece of work which originally came from a famous marketer called Jay Abraham and he’s worth Googling. He’s not just a marketer actually. He’s an incredibly good business consultant who’s focused on helping people like ourselves. Jay’s American and I most of spent five, maybe 10,000 pounds on his stuff over the years.

Paul Green: In fact, four years ago I bought his ultimate hard drive, which was literally a dump of everything on his hard drive, all his audio recordings, all of his books and everything, and every now and again I’ll just have a dip in and have a look and see what’s in there. Now, one of the things that I learned early on from Jay Abraham is that there are only three ways to grow your business. Think of these as your three growth levers.

Paul Green: So the first one is to get more new clients and most business owners, we think that getting new clients, that’s the way to grow the business, but actually we’ve got to focus on the other two levers as well. The second lever is to get your clients to choose to buy from you more often, and the third lever is to get your clients to choose to spend more every single time they buy.

Paul Green: Now, even for an MSP where you’ve got a very high level of monthly recurring revenue, you still need to be focusing on those three things. Get more new clients, get them to choose to buy from you more often and get them to choose to spend more every single time they buy. And the most successful business owners who are focused on net profit growth and growing the whole overall business they’re focused on those three things later on in today’s podcast, we’re going to talk about the profit matrix, which is a great way of growing your monthly recurring revenue and selling more to your existing clients.

Paul Green: And you need to have an eye on all of these things at once because the reality is that getting new clients while it’s necessary because every MSP needs to add those new clients. It’s the most expensive type of marketing you’ll do. If you look at every single penny that you spend on marketing throughout a year, and you could track this, this year and then divide it by the number of new clients you’re getting, you’ll see that your acquisition costs, your cost of actually bringing a new client into the business is incredibly high. Because of course it’s every single penny or pound or dollar or cent that you spend on marketing and your time and your staff’s time, and you add all of that together and it will come to thousands and thousands and thousands of pounds or dollars. And you’ll probably only have a small number of new clients coming into the business because of course MSPs don’t win lots of new clients all the time, but they do keep the clients that they get for a very long time.

Paul Green: So the challenge to you then this year is not just a focus on let’s get more new clients, but let’s get more new clients. Let’s get our existing clients to buy more from us and let’s get them to spend more. Let’s see if we can increase the average revenue per user. In fact, that might be one of the KPIs that you want to track and we’ll be talking about KPIs in a future podcast, KPIs being key performance indicators, your revenue per user. You should be growing that by a pound per month, per user, per month or whatever is the relevant thing to you, but you certainly got to do in your strategic planning for this year, making sure that you’re covering off all three of those growth levers.

Voiceover: Here’s this week’s clever idea.

Paul Green: Talking, of getting brand new clients then, I believe one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal is to be the author of your own book and this is a book that’s aimed at the decision makers that you want to reach. So the business owners and managers in your local area or your particular vertical.

Paul Green: Now I’ve written, it’s either six or seven books and I’ve never sold a single one, but there are more than 20,000 of them in circulation. And that’s because I use my books and I give away my books to achieve two things. I’m trying to achieve positioning and I’m trying to achieve building up audiences and you should be doing exactly the same thing. By the way, if you don’t have a copy of my book, it’s called Updating Service Doesn’t Grow Your Business and just have a look in the show notes on my website and there’s a link there for you to get a free copy of the book. If you’re in the UK, we will physically post you a paperback, anywhere else in the world we’ll send you the PDF.

Paul Green: So your book has two jobs as it were. Two things that it needs to achieve for you. The very first one is positioning because it is a crowded marketplace. There are lots of MSPs, there’s loads of choice for the business owners and managers. And by writing your own book or putting your name as an author on the front page of a book on the front cover, it positions you in a way that no other marketing can. Well, I say no other marketing can. It’s the same as going to speak at events. Being an author, being on the media, speaking at events these are all things that most people don’t do and yet actually they’re very easy things to do. In fact, once you’re an author, it’s a lot easier to get the media interested in you and it’s a lot easier to get speaking gigs at events because people perceive that authors are experts.

Paul Green: I was a journalist and a radio presenter for 13 years and many of my friends still work in the media and even now they see that someone who has a book published is an expert. When they’re booking people for media interviews, they’re much more likely to trust an expert and experts write books, so you need to write a book.

Paul Green: Now, the second reason you need a book is not just for positioning, but it’s also to build audiences. One of my favourite marketing strategies is to build multiple audiences of people who choose to opt in to your marketing. LinkedIn is a very clear audience and all MSPs should be all over LinkedIn right now. But another audience that you should build is your list of email addresses, your list of people who’ve chosen to get promotional emails from you or let’s call them educational emails. Now, no one likes just signing up for a newsletter, so what we can do is we can offer them something in return for them joining the list, and this is where the book comes in.

Paul Green: In fact, the book can be considered something called an ethical bribe. You give them a copy of the book and in return you get their contact details and you get to market to them. And this is all above board and it’s a very simple transaction. When I say you can get a copy of my book, I ask that you join my marketing. That’s all I do. And of course you can unsubscribe at any time. Although my experience, 98 99% of people who join a marketing list then don’t unsubscribe. Particularly if the first transaction they’ve had with you is you give them a free book.

Paul Green: Books aren’t difficult to write. They aren’t difficult to get printed and published. In fact, the writing is almost the easy bit. You’ve just got to get stuff out of your head and either get it onto paper yourself or just brief a journalist to do it for you. There are loads of writers, I mean literally thousands of writers on and on and they can do it for you. They can interview you about the stuff that’s in your head and then they can write the actual words for you.

Paul Green: And even someone like myself who, you know, I’m a professional writer these days, I dictate more content than I actually write because it’s just faster and it’s easier and you can always fix it all in the edit later.

Paul Green: In fact, the real challenge with the writing of the book is making sure that it’s relevant to the audience because you’ll probably a tech, you’ve probably got a very tech brain and there’s a whole load of detail out there that you know is important, but the people you want to reach don’t necessarily share your passion for the high level of tech that you can operate at.

Paul Green: In fact, we already know that business owners or managers don’t know what they don’t know about technology and they kind of glaze over when you start talking at deeper levels about technology. So that’s the challenge when you’re writing your book is to make it so interesting that the business owners and managers that you want to reach read it and absolutely consume it and love it. Because we are trying to turn this book into a toilet read. We want this to be the book that they pick up when they’re on the toilet and they flip through and they read it because they’re consuming your content in their own personal time. And that is a very, very beautiful thing to so the writing is easy, the printing and the publishing and all of that is very, very easy.

Paul Green: You know these days publishing your own book is a very mature industry. It’s a very routine thing to do. You don’t need to go and get a book publisher. You don’t need to get distribution to bookshops. You don’t even need to have it on Amazon really. I mean if you put an ISBN one of the barcodes on the back of the international standard barcode number, it will just be an Amazon anyway. It’s just Amazon can’t sell any cause they don’t have any stock of it, but you don’t want any of that. It’s just easy enough to just get a book published to get it printed and then you’ve got a book. And once you’ve got that book, you should use it everywhere. You should be carrying it with you at all times. You should take it on holiday in case you bump into prospects. You should have it on your website. You should have it on your LinkedIn should have it on your Facebook.

Paul Green: You should literally be offering copies of that book to everyone you meet at every meeting because it is the most perfect positioning tool for you. Now, if you’re not quite sure how to get a book like that done or you’d like to shortcut it, there is actually something that I can do to help you-

Voiceover: Paul’s blatant plug.

Paul Green: Because I wrote a book for my clients and they can put their names on the front and their business name and use it in their local market as if they are the author of that book. The book is called Email Hijack and its attempts to teach business owners and managers about email security in a way that’s interesting to them. It tells the fictitious story of David, he’s a business owner and while he’s on vacation, while he’s on holiday, he’s email has an email forwarder set up and his staff accidentally pay a 12,000 or $12 pound invoice. Instead of sending it to the supplier, they send it off to a hacker. And of course that has an overall 24,000 pound or $24,000 impact on the business. And that’s pretty much the story. And then he talks about all the different email scams that can happen and how you can prevent these with a blended security solution.

Paul Green: Now what’s interesting about Email Hijack is it might be something that you can help as well, having just talked about how important books are. This is a book that’s ready for you to go. It’s all part of my MSP Marketing Edge service. So I sell a whole series of content tools to just one MSP per area. And then we refresh those content tools every month. So the book is an evergreen is there for you to use throughout the whole of this year, but every month we give you a press release video, an educational guide, educational emails, educational social media, and a whole bunch of other stuff that you can use and only you can use in your local area.

Paul Green: So this is something that you think would be useful? Email Hijack is actually a freebie that we give away for people when they start their first trial. The first month is a very low cost trial for you. Just go and have a look, see if this is something. Well, see if A, if your area is still available because there are a number of areas that are no longer available and we won’t sell it to more than one MSP in an area. But also just go and have a look at the details and see if this is something that you think would benefit your MSP. Just go to

Voiceover: The big interview.

Nigel Moore: I owned an MSP, I sold an MSP and now I teach and coach MSPs how to avoid the bajillion mistakes that I made when I had my MSP.

Paul Green: This is Nigel Moore. He’s the founder of the Tech Tribe, a very highly recommended community for MSPs around the world. There are several hundred MSPs active in that community every day. I’m a member of it as well. It’s an absolutely amazing place to be. Now, Nigel sold his MSP right about four years ago and I started by asking him that if he acquired another MSP tomorrow, what would he do to change that MSP in the first 90 days?

Nigel Moore: Well, that is a great question and you know in the first 90 days there’s not a lot I would honestly do. Most of the time I would be observing how, be having a quick look at how things are working, where they’re, where there’s problems, where there’s opportunities and just getting the lay of the land. Because the last thing you want to do in the first 90 days is changed too much because you risk alienating any potential staff, your risk alienating potential clients. And so first 90 days I’d be looking at the lay of the land, but things I would be looking at would be what sort of database or marketing funnel have they got? We’ve got something in place that we can start prospecting to or nurturing or looking at for untapped potential there.

Nigel Moore: I would also be behind the scenes starting to prep up a little bit of a client services matrix, so an Excel spreadsheet where along the left hand side we list out all of the clients that are in the business at the moment and along the top we list out all of the services that the MSP can offer and future services that I can help bring into the MSP that they aren’t currently offering. And then we just fill in all the gaps green if their that client has got that particular service in that column and orange if they don’t and it’s an opportunity and red if it is not an opportunity whatsoever for some reason perhaps that particular client just won’t be able to go down that particular service route or whatnot and I get that at least done and ready to go so that we’ve got a bit of an idea of where we can start to spot opportunities.

Nigel Moore: Obviously you’ve mentioned it was an owner led MSP and that will typically mean that that owner is probably on the way out in the short term, short to medium term. They’re probably going to be going within six to 12 months depending on the owner and so I would also be spotting and looking for the ways that we can replace their role in the business. And so I want to be changing too much process wise or procedure wise, but I would be figuring out how I can get people in roles that can replace the vast majority of their work and the tech stuff is going to be quite easy. Typically, even though most owners believe that they are the best person at doing the tech stuff, the reality is that they’re not and that’s a limiting belief and we’ve all had that belief in me included.

Nigel Moore: So I’d be getting the tech stuff off their plate or starting the process for getting the tech stuff off their plate by other hiring or augmenting with an outsource team or whatnot. But, the more important point would be figuring out the process for shifting the relationships from all those clients because that owner-led manager is going to have the primary relationship with probably 100% of the clients and that needs to be shifted. So I’d be looking at how to shift that.

Nigel Moore: Now, if I was to buy an MSP in my position, I would not be looking to be a manager in it. I would be looking to hire people inside the business and running it from an investment perspective. And so I’d be looking at who can fill those particular roles, the tech stuff and the account management stuff because all the backend stuff I can pull in a team quite easily or they’ve, they’ve more than likely got a team to do the admin, the accounting, the procurement, all of that kind of stuff.

Nigel Moore: But I’d be looking at those things so that would be the first thing that I’d been doing. As I said, I’d, I’d be trying to figure out in the first 90 days what assets we’ve got around marketing and growth and sales and starting to just get my head around where we could leverage them, but for the first 90 days is just observing how it’s working and just getting some plans in place for starting that shift of that, that owner transition out and spotting what opportunities current clients have got to start cross-selling different services and whatnot to start taking advantage of it.

Paul Green: That’s really interesting answer because what I was trying to get at with that, because I know you wouldn’t buy another MSP or I’m guessing you wouldn’t. Obviously if you did walk into someone else’s business tomorrow and you had complete control of it because you haven’t put 10 years in because you haven’t sat in the office for 80 hours a week because you didn’t hire all this stuff because you’re not emotionally attached to all the clients, you can look in that business completely differently than someone else can.

Paul Green: Do you think most business owners struggle to do that within their own business?

Nigel Moore: 100%, me included in that when I had my business for many years and quite often where we’re so caught up in the weeds of running the business that we’re not taking that 20,000 foot objective view above the business to look at it as a set of systems and a unit in itself.

Nigel Moore: Now with a different perspective like I’ve got now I can take that view of looking at it as an asset not as a job and a lot of especially owner led MSPs, me being one of them for many years. We want to look at it as a business but we treat it still like a high paid job or sometimes a low paid job and we don’t look at it as an actual functioning business unit with systems and processes and people that are in defined roles.

Nigel Moore: We look at it as a extremely talented, smart, high level tech person that can also navigate the business world a little bit and, and we built a business a little bit around that and less around those systems and processes. Which the reality is the value in a business is more around systems and processes and good people than it is around the owner being the smart cookie in the house. And that took me a few years. I learned that lesson.

Paul Green: So I call this being locked in the prison. Locked in a prison of your own design. So you create this, you lock yourself inside and then spend the next 20 years looking for the key to get out.

Nigel Moore: Where the heck did I throw that key?

Paul Green: Obviously you work with lots of MSPs. I worked with lots of MPS. What do you think of the basic things that you need to do to find that key and to to let yourself out? Is it about the systems? Is about people?

Nigel Moore: Great question. I think you’ve got to go right to your core of why you’re doing what you’re doing. Are you, wanting to build a lifestyle business? Are you wanting to build a business that’s a saleable asset, are you wanting to do it for the ego so you’ve got 50 staff or you’ve got to figure out why you’re doing what you’re doing and then you can start to figure out, okay, am I kind of creating this prison for myself or am I building it the way I want it to be built? And you can start to, at that point it’s time you’ve just got to step back and take objective, look regularly at what you’re doing. And quite often to have a proper objective look, you can’t do it yourself. You need to help with people around you that have that external perspective.

Nigel Moore: And so that might be a business coach, it might be a mentor, it might be even some friends, some peer friends, you know, some sort of peer group situation where you spending your time in the business, you’ve got to do that. You’re doing the work, you’re getting in the hard yards, but you’re taking a a regular objective look at what that business is, why it exists, what it’s doing, where it’s growing, what type of business model you’re creating and doing that, as I said with yourself, but also with the help of other people around you that can provide that external perspective and can ask you the right questions so that you can see the kinds of things that you’re not seeing yourself because you are down in that prison that you have initially created for yourself.

Paul Green: Nigel. Brilliant. Thank you. How can we find you?

Nigel Moore: The easiest place to find me is in the Tech Tribe, so that’s and if you come and check that out and you’ll be able to find where I hang out and a bunch of cool, smart, funny MSPs around the world also hang out.

Voiceover: Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Podcast. Ask Paul anything.

Krunal Patel: Hi, my name is Krunal Patel from Onega. Could you tell me what the profit matrix is?

Paul Green: Thanks Cornell. Put simply the profit matrix is what buys you more holidays because it’s a way of spotting what your clients are not yet buying that they really should be. Now in practical terms, it’s very easy to do. It’s a spreadsheet where you’ve got your clients down one side and your services perhaps along the top and you literally put in a little mark where someone who’s buying a service, so it’s clear, it’s empty, where someone isn’t buying a service, you can do it on spreadsheets. With my clients, what I’ve found is that what works best is getting it off a screen and getting it onto a wall, onto a flip chart or some kind of whiteboard or something like that and making it the centrepiece of the office so you can see at a glance who is buying what and who isn’t buying what.

Paul Green: Now you’ve got three potential ways to grow your monthly recurring revenue using the profit matrix. The first way is if you have it in front of your techs and they’re on the phone to people, they’re more likely to just look up, to glance at the board and see at a glance whether the person who’s on the phone is buying a service or he’s not buying a service. Now, I know this information is in the PSA, but it’s kind of locked away when it’s in the PSA. When someone’s on the phone and they’re typing a ticket, they can just glance up and you can almost see their thought process of this person. If they have the advanced version of XYZ, then they wouldn’t have this problem at all.

Paul Green: Now we’d love our techs to jump straight on this and actually, you know, make the recommendation and that’s probably not going to happen, but at the very least they could send an email to you or to the account manager to say, hey, just been having a chat, this user about this, and I think this service would fix that problem. It opens the door for someone to have make that phone call. So that’s the first way to use the profit matrix.

Paul Green: The second way is when you’re doing your strategic reviews, where you go out to see clients every six, nine, 12 months, whatever’s appropriate. Maybe you take them out to lunch and you sit down with them and you talk about their business. That’s the open questions meeting. Those support review meeting is where you’re talking about where they’re going in the next two to three years. Just before you go out to that, you study the profit matrix and then you look at it and you say, right, what are they not buying? What are the dots here that aren’t in those services? It’s really these people shouldn’t be buying because they regulated or because they’re in a high pressure environment or because they always need a better version.

Paul Green: It allows you to steer the strategic review conversation in a specific direction so you wouldn’t come out and out and say, hey, I think you should buy this because that’s just a bit crass, but you would, for example, steer them towards a specific set of fears that maybe a specific service takes away for them. So there’s a very powerful way for you to position your strategic reviews and move them in a very clear direction.

Paul Green: Again, that information is in the PSA. You could just do it off the PSA, but there’s a certain magic that comes from seeing that information there in a very visual form on a wall.

Paul Green: And then the third opportunity to grow using the profit matrix is adding more monthly recurring services. One of my clients thought he had more than enough monthly recurring revenue services until he did the profit matrix on a wall and realised he didn’t have enough services. And from there he was able to offer enhanced versions of some services, some different flavours and add some brand new things on. And of course essentially what he’s done is he’s created more things that some of his clients will go on to buy.

Voiceover: How to contribute to the show.

Paul Green: I’d love to get your question to play out on the show. If you want to record me a quick MP3s, say who you are, said the name of your business and then just give me a quick question and then email that through to me. and do you know why that’s the same email address for any feedback on the show at all? Negative or positive? Just send it through to

Voiceover: Coming up next week.

Speaker 5: You’ve trusted us with your business and I’m telling you this wasn’t a thing that we were worried about two years ago, but now it’s absolutely a risk to your organisation.

Paul Green: That’s Matt Solomon from ID Agents. We’re going to be talking next week about using dark web monitoring as a prospecting tool. Always want to talk about three potential scenarios for your personal life, and I’ve got the very best sales question in the world that every MSP should be asking every single prospect.

Voiceover: Made in the UK for MSPs around the world Paul Green’s MSP Marketing podcast.