The one sales question you must ask EVERY prospect

Episode 9: The one sales question you must ask EVERY prospect

Paul Green

Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Episode 9: The one sales question you must ask EVERY prospect

In this week’s episode

  • If you’re looking to get more new clients you need to be sure your time is spent as effectively as possible. So Paul talks about the one killer question that can save you from wasting time chasing prospects
  • If there’s one prospecting tool that can help you stand out in the market and attract new clients, it’s dark web monitoring. Paul chats to Matt Soloman from ID Agent who pioneered the service and explains how to use it in the best way
  • In this week’s episode Paul also identifies the one thing your website really needs. And there’s a great question from listener Ben from the ITGUYS about running campaigns on LinkedIn
  • Plus, with the start of a new year, it’s a great time to take a fresh look at personal future financial planning and embrace any new perspective it may bring to 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, here’s what’s coming up on this week’s show.

Matt Solomon: 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: We’re also going to be talking about how to run an effective LinkedIn campaign. And I’ve got a sales question so powerful you must ask it of every single prospect.

Voiceover: Paul Green’s MSP marketing podcast.

Paul Green: I want to start off by talking about something slightly dull but actually very important and that’s financial planning. You see I’m moving house at the moment and I’m using the opportunity to review my will and just to look at my insurance policies and general finance planning in general. And I think this is something that as business owners, we don’t really take very seriously. I think because we’re in charge of our own destiny. And to a certain extent in charge of our own income, we never get round to planning things like pensions, life insurance policies, all of that kind of stuff.

Paul Green: And actually this stuff’s really, really important. Not so much for now, but in case something does happen to you. Or in the happy event that you make it to pensionable age and you don’t want to be working at the pace you’re working now when you’re 65, 70. Because I don’t know that many of us that really want to do that.

Paul Green: So as I say, I’ve just revised my will. It’s always good to revisit that every two to three years. And I’ve been working with my financial advisor on three potential scenarios for my life from here on in. And as I’m just talking you through these, just go through in your own head these three scenarios. So I’m 45 now. All being well I should have another 25, 30 years left. That’d be great.

Paul Green: And scenario number one actually is living a long and healthy life. So I’ve been going through with my advisor what my income would look like at the age of let’s say 65, 70. Now, I’m not sure how it works in the USA or in other countries, but essentially pensions have changed completely in the UK from being a place where you put money and hoped you live to take, to these days you can buy some very smart pension products.

Paul Green: And my IFA’s been talking to me about some pensions that I can put a lot of money in. And then in the event that I can’t take that money out for whatever reason, then actually that money can be left for my dependent, for my daughter. So there’s some really good different pensions out there.

Paul Green: So the first scenario we’ve talked about is living a long life. And the way that they’ve positioned it to me is to think of a pension these days as a tax wrapper and not just something you pay into. So it’s just a very tax efficient way to put money aside. And in fact we’ve come up with a figure at the age of 45 because I’ve got not a huge amount of pension. Two or three old company pensions. One I’ve been paying into a little bit for the last few years, but nothing substantial. And my financial advisor’s given me a sum and it’s around about £2000 a month.

Paul Green: If I can put up £2000 a month into a pension from now, then by the time I hit 65 I’ll have a £1,000,000 in my pension pot. Now that’s actually quite an exciting figure because I don’t have to pay £1,000,000 in. Due to the wonders of compound interest and investments, over 25 years, £2000 a month plus what I’ve already got becomes £1,000,000.

Paul Green: And then I can choose to take out a lump sum or I can turn it into an income or just do something else with it at the age of 65. So that’s going to be one of my goals is to get that going in the next few months. So scenario number one is living a long and healthy life. And that’s the scenario that we all tend to think about.

Paul Green: Scenario number two, kind of a bit more depressing but something we need to plan for, because scenario number two is that you are dead. And some point in the next few years you die. And you know it happens and I don’t know how old you are, but at the age of 45 now, I know a couple of people who’ve died from cancer. And it’s real, these are people I’ve known quite well.

Paul Green: So you have to consider what would happen if you were dead. Obviously this doesn’t concern you so much as it concerns your other half, your dependants. And you have to think about things like debt. So I’ve got some buy-to-lets and my plan for the buy-to-lets was always to enjoy capital growth and to sell a couple of them near the end and pay off.

Paul Green: But what if I die? What if I died in a car crash tomorrow? We have to think about these things. So actually I’ve just signed up for a number of different life insurance policies which pay out lump sums in the event of my death or if I’m given less than 12 months to live. So that’s great. So I can lie under a taxi in my last few moments. I hope it doesn’t happen like that, but I can lie there and at least have the peace of mind that all of my debts will be paid. My daughter will get my assets unencumbered and because of my will she’ll be protected and can’t get that till she’s 30. Because I don’t want her having lots of money until she’s of a certain age.

Paul Green: So we all know what would happen if you gave a 20 year old a significant amount of money. It wouldn’t end well. So scenario number one is living a long and healthy life. Scenario number two is dead. Scenario number three is the hardest one. And it’s that you’re alive but you can’t work.

Paul Green: Now I don’t know about you, but that’s my personal idea of hell. To be alive, but to be in sufficiently bad health, whether that’s some degenerative disease or some kind of disability or something that I can’t work. And actually it’s the most expensive one to insure for. That’s when you’re into your critical illness and there’s a limit to critical illness.

Paul Green: There’s only a certain amount of money that you can get from critical illness and it’s all to do with how much income you have. So if you currently earn, well, let’s say your business makes a 100,000 a year. You might only take 20,000 or 30,000 of that as your income on your tax return. They will have a look at your tax returns and assess what income you have.

Paul Green: So often what you can get on critical illness insurance is completely different to what you are actually putting in your bank account. And this is where you need to do some extra planning. So if you can only get X amount on critical illness, you’re going to need to go and get either some more buy-to-let properties or just something else to give you an income. Maybe buy another business that you will own but not operate, to give you an income.

Paul Green: And these are the kinds of things that a really good financial planner will just help you through, because they can’t sell you products for all of these things. But you need someone who takes an overall view of your life and what might happen in those three scenarios. So I’m in the process of doing that now, maybe, certainly this time of year mid-January, this is a good time to look at this and say, “Maybe we should just get this done.”

Paul Green: And you and your other half should go and talk to some people and plan out what would happen in each of those three scenarios. A long and healthy life, being dead or being alive and not being able to work. And a bit of discomfort now and a bit of extra pain now and getting some stuff sorted out now, does mean that whatever happens with your life, at least you can kind of go to sleep at night knowing that you’ve got it sorted out. And that can give you great peace of mind.

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

Paul Green: Most of the MSPs I work with do their own sales and you can have companies doing well over £1,000,000 where the owner is still the primary new client acquisition person within the business. They might not be doing the account management anymore. They are the one out seeing clients. And that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with that because it’s not like most MSPs are sitting down doing 10 sales calls a week. It tends to be one or two sales calls a week because obviously one client can actually bring on quite a fair, significant chunk of monthly recurring revenue.

Paul Green: Now there’s a question that I developed a number of years ago. In fact, I developed this when I was running a sales team of two field sales supported by three telesales. And we wanted to get some instant information to help us understand exactly where the prospect’s mindset is. And this is something that you can use when you’re doing sales calls.

Paul Green: It’s a question that you can ask of any prospect which will immediately tell you whether or not they are a prospect in dire need of help, someone who is warming up to the idea of moving away from their incumbent, or someone that’s just a tyre kicker. They’re just sort of fishing around for quotes. In fact, you might want to use this question at the qualifying stage. I’m sure you jump on the phone with your prospects before you physically go out and see them. This would be a great time to ask the question. This is the question.

Paul Green: On a scale of one to 10, where one is awful and 10 is amazing, how would you rank your current IT support company? Let me say it again. On a scale of one to 10, where one is awful, 10 is amazing, how would you rank your current IT support company?

Paul Green: Now the point of this is to get them to commit to telling us about their existing incumbent supplier. If they respond with a score of eight, nine or 10, there is no opportunity for you right now. So you may choose to meet them because there may be a future opportunity, but the chances are I’d park that one for a year or a couple of years because eight to 10 he’s happy.

Paul Green: That’s actually, it’s the kind of score you would want your clients to give you. Eight to 10 means the level of dissatisfaction just isn’t there yet. And we all know that people switching from one MSP to another is a very slow process because better the devil you know. Inertia loyalty keeps them with someone before they’re ready to move.

Paul Green: Now, if they answer five, six or seven, then an opportunity is coming. It might not be now, or it might just be on the edge of now, but it’s certainly coming at some point. Because actually five, six or seven is a level of dissatisfaction.

Paul Green: In fact, if you asked your own clients this and they replied, five, six or seven, then there’s something wrong. Emotionally, there’s some reason they’re starting to disconnect. They’re unhappy. Let’s be honest, it’s probably the small factors isn’t it? Because often the clients become dissatisfied because of a series of small emotional factors rather than anything you’ve specifically done or not done.

Paul Green: Now if they answer one, two, three or four, there’s a huge opportunity now. Because one to four means they’re hugely dissatisfied with their incumbent MSP and you want to get in in front of them as soon as you can. Now, once you’ve asked this question that one of on a scale of one to 10, there’s a followup question that you must ask and it’s this. “Can I ask specifically why you gave them that score?” And then you close your mouth and you go quiet and you let them do the talking. Because they will tell you exactly what it is that their MSP has done to upset them.

Paul Green: In fact, they’ll blurt something out and if you keep quiet, it then encourages them to say something else and they’ll tell you. And it might be something like, “Oh, I don’t know. We just found we can never get them on the phone. And you know, it’s such a pain when we do get hold of them, everything’s just seems to take so long and blah blah blah blah blah.” And they will blurt out to you the reasons that they are dissatisfied with their current MSP.

Paul Green: And take careful notes on those. Because when you go to meet with them in a couple of days time, you can use that information to poke the pain a little bit. It’s the pain they have of their current incumbent MSP. There’s some pain there and you can poke that and you wouldn’t be as crass as to jump in and say, “Hey, on the phone you told me X, Y, Z.”

Paul Green: But you could say, “So one of the things that some people are unhappy with with their IT support company, is the time it takes to answer calls. How much of an issue is that for you right now?” I mean even that sounds like a bit of a crass question, but I’m sure on the day you’d come up with a great way of moving them around to their level of dissatisfaction before of course you ask them more open questions.

Paul Green: So if you’re not currently asking this question as a qualifier, I would start doing this immediately. Not only will it save you some time not going out to see time-wasters, but I think it will make it dramatically more likely that someone will dump their incumbent MSP and move over to you instead.

Voiceover: Paul’s blatant plug.

Paul Green: This week it’s one for my listeners in the UK and it’s about getting an absolutely cracking video on the homepage of your website. So I’ve said in previous podcasts, you need two types of video. You need regular disposable video that can go on your blog, on your social media, all of that kind of stuff. And that you can do yourself.

Paul Green: You can either get it animated or just get on your mobile phone. It doesn’t have to be a Hollywood production. But there’s a video that you should have on your homepage which should be as good as you could make it. And that’s a video, a 60 second summary of your business. And this video works best when it’s your clients talking about you.

Paul Green: If you think about it from the prospect’s point of view, someone who comes to your website, who sees a video of your existing clients saying how great you are, that’s amazing social proof. And in fact they’re going to listen more to your clients than they will actually listen to you.

Paul Green: So we have a service, it’s a joint venture between myself and a very good friend of mine called Darren Wingham. He does all the videos and I find people that can buy videos from him and it’s called Now Darren will come out, he will arrange everything. He’ll talk to your clients if you want him to. And he will take responsibility for making sure you get this amazing 60 second video that goes at the top of your website. It becomes one of your primary marketing tools, a 60 second engaging video featuring maybe you, but certainly some of your clients.

Paul Green: And while he’s there he can also do some headshots for you so you’ve got decent photos. He can also do two or three other videos for you. It depends what you want to do. And I’d have a chat with Darren. So you can go and check out all of his portfolio and see Darren’s availability to give him a call and book him with his live calendar. And all of that is available at

Voiceover: The big interview.

Matt Solomon: My name is Matt Solomon. I’m the vice president of Business Development. What ID Agent does is we monitor the dark web for compromised credentials associated with organisations. So what’s happening is employees are using their work emails on third party websites, so think of LinkedIn and Dropbox. Those websites get breached and expose potentially work credentials, network passwords, things like that, if they’re being repeated.

Paul Green: How many MSPs are not yet offering any kind of dark web monitoring?

Matt Solomon: I mean, I’d say that’s a high majority still haven’t adopted to this. I mean, ID Agent was the first dark web monitoring company in the channel. So we brought it to the channel in May of 2017. So this was a completely new concept. No one was talking about it back then. In those 30 months, I mean we brought on 2,400 partners.

Matt Solomon: I mean that is an incredible number and any vendor would be happy to grow that quickly. But in the scope of the MSP space worldwide, that’s a really low number actually. So we think there’s this massive opportunity for MSPs to still have this as a differentiating product.

Paul Green: And why do you think MSPs haven’t embraced dark web monitoring? Is it because they don’t necessarily get it? Or is it because they don’t think their clients want it?

Matt Solomon: Yes. So sometimes I think they’re not sure their clients want it. So honestly, the number one objection we get, “I want to see if my clients will buy it first.” That’s something we really strongly fight against. Our message is you shouldn’t be asking your clients if they want dark web monitor because the answer’s going to be no probably because no one wants dark web monitoring.

Matt Solomon: But whether they need it is a whole other question. Stop asking if they want this and start telling them why they need it. MSPs clients often think that they’re already doing these things and doing it at no additional cost. Right. And so it’s definitely the onus is on the MSP to come in and say, look, 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: So one of the things I always say about business owners and managers is that they don’t know what they don’t know. Which is a version of exactly what you’ve just said there. And what first put ID Agents on my radar, was when one of my clients was talking about using it as a prospecting tool. The idea of being able to sit down in front of a business owner and show them that they have been breached in some way is quite a powerful one. So how exactly does that work?

Matt Solomon: Yeah, so with the prospecting tool, you’re putting the domain of really any organisation and it pulls up the 100 most recent emails and passwords on the dark web. Now an important note is that we are masking the password after four characters for privacy reasons. But what it enables an MSP to do, and you alluded to this, it’s proof that something’s actually occurred already. Versus having to speak in these terms of, well this is likely to occur and this could definitely happen at some point.

Matt Solomon: This is something that’s actually happened already and this is why we need to talk about two FA, password management, security training awareness. It’s just unbelievable how this data allows you to sell other products. But just getting back to the court, it gets you meetings you would never have access to.

Matt Solomon: I got my foot in the door to 50 plus Fortune 500 companies. I had the CIO of Starbucks, Walmart, Panera Bread, Best Buy, SC Johnson, on phone calls with me. I didn’t have a single contact in any of these organisations. I just reached out to who I thought would be appropriate and it was a simple message. I just said, this is what we do. We ran an initial scan. You have X number of credentials on the dark web. Can we jump on a call and talk about the data and I’ll provide you a lot more context?

Paul Green: So your best performing MSPs now, specifically how do they use this as a prospecting tool? So do they, for example, do as you said there. Just contact people out of the blue and say, “Hey, we found some information about you on the dark web.” Do they have to explain what the dark web is? Do they take reports to meetings? What are they doing? Specifically, what are they doing that makes the most difference?

Matt Solomon: I mean there’s definitely ones that are doing the more cold prospecting, like I just said, where they’re sending out maybe email campaigns revolve around the number of credentials. And regardless of how you do this, you should never share the data unless you’re doing an in person meeting or a screen share. Because I’m telling you if you send this data without context, I mean every objection you can think of, it’s going to come up and you’re not there to answer those questions.

Matt Solomon: So yeah, cold prospecting. Events have been a massive success. So you think of, in the States we call them lunch and learns. So whether you’re inviting your current clients or prospects into a seminar about security, I mean, believe it or not, sponsoring a golf hole at a golf outing, a charity event. That’s been massive successes for MSPs.

Matt Solomon: And the idea is one, you’re either running a live data search at the event. Or two, you’re offering free complimentary dark web scan if they drop your business card. And generally 80% of domains that are being run have a credential exposure. So you’re almost guaranteeing yourself meetings by getting people to engage with you at events. Because if you see your number of credentials, I mean how do you not want to see the actual data?

Paul Green: That has a real, I’ve got to see that, feel to it. Hasn’t it? That’s very, very clever. Matt, thank you very much for being on the show. How do we best get in touch with you?

Matt Solomon: You can just go to our website, and there’s a partner with us. And you can just submit for a demo. And that’s pretty simple.

Voiceover: Paul Green’s MSP marketing podcast. Ask for anything.

Ben Schneider: Hi, my name is Ben Schneider. I run ITGUYS. I’m interested in how to run a LinkedIn campaign. Can you help me?

Paul Green: Thanks Ben. So I assume you mean by a campaign, an advertising campaign on LinkedIn. And certainly the LinkedIn advertising platform, it’s not easy to use but you can go through and you have to pick your objectives. So yours is probably lead generation or website visits. You can build your target audience.

Paul Green: All of these kind of guides are obviously there in LinkedIn support articles. And then you can pick your ad format. And you can do imaging adverts, video adverts, message adverts, dynamic adverts. There’s all sorts of different things you can do. We have done loads and loads of LinkedIn advertising. And I’ll be honest, we’ve found LinkedIn very hard to get an ROI for the advertising.

Paul Green: Now we weren’t spending huge amounts of money, maybe £10, £20 a day. And sometimes it was quite hard to actually spend that money because people just don’t seem to engage with the adverts on LinkedIn in the way that they engage with adverts on say Facebook.

Paul Green: Now we’re targeting MSP, so it’s B2B adverts, the same kind of adverts that you’ll be using because you want to reach a B2B people as well. My gut feel now, and it’s only something I’m starting to develop this opinion, is that on LinkedIn you’re better off putting your resources, whether that’s cash or time, into much better content. And using automated tools like Dux-Soup, which we’ve talked about on this podcast before, focusing on the three Cs really. The three Cs being connect, content and call. So connecting with as many people as you can every day and putting out really good content every day.

Paul Green: And again, we’ve noticed that raw, real content just works better than that pre-packaged content. And I have a service, the MSP marketing edge, which sells pre-packaged content because that’s better than nothing. But nothing beats you talking to your mobile phone or typing something real or checking in some way, that kind of thing. That kind of content seems to get more engagement. And the more engagement you get, the more likely you are to turn some of these people into prospects.

Paul Green: So connect, content and then call. And I think what is working best right now on LinkedIn for MSPs is picking up the phone and calling your network. And yes, it’s uncomfortable. And yes, it’s just slightly above cold calling. And yes, no one wants to do it. But now I have a number of my clients now in my MSP mastermind groups that do this. They ring people from their network on LinkedIn and it only takes 10, 12 dials and you can get hold of a decision maker and you can have a chat. And the fact that you connected on LinkedIn gives you something to start with.

Paul Green: There are many other ways of doing it. You can take your LinkedIn connection and send them something in the post before following them up. That works quite well and actually it gives you a reason to call. So there’s lots of different things that you can do. But I think increasingly LinkedIn advertising just doesn’t seem to give you the ROI, the return on investment.

Paul Green: So actually I would take that money, put that money into coming up with better content and doing more to get more activity on LinkedIn. And then try and get that activity offline, get them on the phone and have a chat with them. Because that’s the only way that you’ll ever book phone calls and sales meetings.

Voiceover: How to contribute to the show.

Paul Green: I’m now accepting questions to go on future additions of this podcast. You can either just send me through a text question or you can just send me through a little audio clip of yourself. You can just record yourself on your phone. Send me an MP3. You send anything through to

Voiceover: Coming up next week.

Jonathan Jay: As soon as you realise that the amount of money that you have in your bank account is not going to influence your ability to make an acquisition and you realise that yes, you can grow via acquisition.

Paul Green: That’s my very good friend, Jonathan Jay. He’s going to be here next week talking about how to grow your business faster by acquiring one of your competitors. We’re also going to be looking at whether CyberFirst is the future for your marketing and maybe even the whole way you run your business. And we’ll be asking why, If you haven’t already done it, have you not outsourced your NOC?

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