June 20, 2019
By Brad Stoller
I love attending MSP conferences. You have hundreds of industry professionals under the same roof, and the entire building is abuzz with good ideas. There’s so much to take in, both on the stage and in the hallways. You need a keen ear to ensure you don’t miss your next breakthrough. This is something I have believed over the years, but a conversation with one of our clients brought this back into focus for me in a big way.
As an appointment setting firm, we benefit from a direct window into MSPs all over the country. Inevitably, we come across clients who are outpacing their competition, and we lean into asking them what they are doing differently and how they have found success where others have floundered.
One of our Houston clients fits this bill perfectly. He’s built a reputation for closing more appointments than anyone else we work with. Yes, he follows our advice on cold appointment calls, but he’s tracked his successes and failures to build a personalized system that works for him.
Over the years, he’s become an expert at homing in on a single idea and working on it until it’s perfect — a skill he relies on during industry conferences. Whenever we cross paths, he’s carrying a notebook stuffed with the ideas he’s picked up. Eventually, though, he’ll stop writing down new ideas. He picks one, and dives deep.
He grows hyper-focused, fleshing out this one takeaway with as many details as possible so that he can implement the idea when he reaches his office.
One year, my colleague wrote a letter to each client. In it, he summarized all the work his team had done behind the scenes for the client so that they would understand the impact of their work. For an MSP, with so much of our work happening behind the scenes, this was a powerful way to demonstrate the value he brought to his clients while also building the relationship.
A different year, he launched an educational program for like-minded industry professionals. He began hosting quarterly seminars featuring thought leaders and speakers. The seminars provide ongoing education for attendees and provide his business (and partners) with a stream of referrals and prospects.
My colleague has been at the forefront for 30 years. He’s produced big results for his company — all by focusing on one great idea at a time.
His tactics are critical when attending conferences. You’re in and out of educational sessions, but there’s little time to process the best messages when you’re also obligated to network in the time between panels. The good ideas and memorable stories you do latch onto often seem out of reach. Without a detailed strategic road map customized for your company, the idea fizzles out by the time you reach your office desk.
My colleague’s conference success stems from one important realization: It’s too overwhelming to implement multiple conference takeaways at once. If he spreads his attention too wide, he’ll fail in each discipline. By centering his focus on the best lesson, he’ll manage to implement it without …
… fail because there are fewer distractions. He can dig down without messing up.
This thought sets apart the true MSP professionals: It’s better to go narrow and deep than wide and shallow. You can find a generalist anywhere, but experts are rare. Because he spends so much time focusing on a single idea, my colleague understands it inside and out. If he insisted on implementing every single conference idea, his success rate would be abysmal.
When we allow ourselves to focus, we can build our businesses with one idea at a time.
Brad Stoller is working to change how MSPs look at their sales processes. He authors articles, provides video instruction for MSP sales tips, and holds sales-related webinars to help MSP owners, managers and sales personnel. As the national director of business development at The PT Services Group, Brad has interviewed hundreds of MSP owners to develop a new way of focusing on quality, first-time appointments and sustainable, exponential growth. Follow @BradStoller on Twitter or on LinkedIn.
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