A warning - this post is fuzzy, fluffy, and nothing to do with MSP sales or marketing - it comes as a stark contrast to the rest of this blog. However, if you do what is detailed here in this post, it will change the way you think about your IT business and, more importantly - your own life.
In this post i'm going to show you how to attract your ideal client.
Before you can do this, you have to figure out who your ideal client is.
More importantly, why you want to attract them into your life and business.
You can never really get anywhere until you know where you are going.
Funnily enough, this all starts with you, and the next few hundred words you read might change the way you perceive your own life.
I want you to do an exercise with me that involves answering a simple question.
This question will help you figure out both who you really are and what you really want. Once you know this, you'll be able to work backwards and figure out who your ideal clients are that fit into the life you really want and what your business will become.
At this point, I am going to ask you to go and get a paper and pen to write the answer to this question down.
What do you want out of your life? If there were no limitations or consequences, what would your perfect average day look like?
Or, to put it another way, if you had to live the same day over and over, what would it be like?
Now, this exercise can't just be a thought experiment that lasts a few minutes. Instead, the answer has to be drawn out of your head in detail so that you can see the reality of who you really are and what you want.
I will give you an example of this based on my journey using this method that was taught to me.
There are a few questions that can help you get started.
Don't think about stuff (cars, bikes, watches) - it's about the experience - where would you live in this perfect day?
What would your house look like?
What time would you wake up?
What would you do in the morning?
What are your first thoughts in the day?
What would you have for breakfast?
Here's how I start my perfect day:
I wake up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee. As I make my way down the stair, my house keep hands me a mug of this coffee.
I walk out onto the garden patio with coffee in hand, looking over the extensive views of the Mediterranean hills, looking down at the swimming pool in the garden, I see my wife and daughter laughing at me as I wake from my long lie.
The day continues with my experiences, doing some work-related activities that I enjoy and am good at. I feel positive and am full of energy and excitement. In the afternoon, I meet with friends for some road biking in the hills. We tell jokes and stories and end the cycle with a stop to a fresh seafood restaurant.
The example above will hopefully get you thinking about what your perfect day consists of - here are some more questions to help get the ball rolling:
What would you do for dinner, eat in with family or go to a restaurant?
What type of restaurant? What would you have to eat? How would it taste?
As night falls, what are you doing and in who's company? You can get explicit here as this exercise is personal and only for you to read back once it becomes a close version of reality.
What are the last thoughts in your head as you fall asleep?
Now, this exercise might sound a bit like some new age thing, but it will help you identify precisely what you want to get out of life and what you want your business to become.
We all have these dreams, but they are never clearly defined, and as I mentioned, you've got to figure out where you want to go before you get there.
So promise me this before reading any further - you take pen and paper, and you complete this exercise. The more detail you can write down onto paper, the clearer your vision will be and the clearer your goals will become in life and business.
I also encourage you to share this with your partner, and if you are open to change, get them to do the same exercise.
Once complete, you will have a better understanding of your core identity and why you do what you do.
At this point, you have some hard thinking about your business. How will it transform to support this ideal day and lifestyle? What needs to be changed, and what types of clients will you need to attract to support this perfect day?
To give you a personal example of this - I wanted to be able to spend time in the Medeteraninan during the winter months. However, my business at the time of first applying this exercise required me to be physically present to serve my market place.
Clients expected face to face service - this is common in the MSP/IT space - so it was something we had to plan out and solve.
For me, the journey to supporting a location independent business has been achieved by changing the service and fundamental offerings to our clients.
It was not an easy decision to make, and we had to pivot from a pure MSP to something completely different - this included following a passion I had for search engine optimization.
We're now on track to move where we choose in the world when the time is right.
Let the clearly defined day set into your mind. The notes that you've taken should be stored somewhere safe, and I would suggest referring to them to remind yourself of what you really want out of life.
You can then expand to mastering who your core market is - those clients you want to attract - who they are.
Now when new members join me at IT Rockstars, one of the 1st exercises I have them do is write down who their best customers are.
Which customers do they enjoy working with, and why they enjoy working with them. This is another important exercise that will help you identify your core market.
How big are these clients?
How many users do they have?
What services do they buy from you?
What industry do they operate in?
What's their primary operational location?
How much revenue do they generate on average every month?
These are all critical questions, and if you can answer them for your top 5 clients, then you now have a foundation to answer the following question:
Who are your ideal clients? What type of business do they run? How many users do they have?
There may be some limitations here - 1st, you might just be getting started in business, or your ideal day does is not fit with the existing client base.
If that's the case, then you need to define the types of clients that will help support your perfect day.
What types of businesses are they?
To give you an example of how we did this for IT Rockstars, we knew that one-man-band MSPs were too small to support a long term relationship with.
Our member profile works best with MSPs that are 5-30 employees in size. Too small, and they don't stick around - too big, and they demand too much of our time.
We also have a number of marketing automation tools that are included in our membership that run on WordPress. Immediately this helps us refine our core market:
MSPs between 5-30 headcount
English speaking based in USA, UK, CA or Australia
Must have a website that runs WordPress
We also have a general idea of the types of decision-makers we need to reach:
They own the business either CEO, MD or President - for us; we found we wasted too much time with marketing managers, salespeople that were desperate for leads and young business owners.
Here's the decision-maker profile we came up with:
Age older than 32
Open to new ideas and way of thinking
Can easily delegate and understands the value they bring to their clients
Has some understanding of the power of content marketing and spends time on social media.
Wants to help their clients by educating them on technology solutions for their business that can solve problems and achieve business goals.
Has Republican (US)/Conservative (UK) tendencies and leans to the right.
Likes a drink now and again
Those last two on the list were hard for me to admit, but this immediately discounts prospects, not of this persuasion and filters them out.
You may have the opposite political view. Then, in theory, there's far less chance of you becoming a member of IT Rockstars - this is by design.
Remember, we want to attract our ideal client - not everyone. People we know we'll get on with and have commonalities.
The final layer to this core market is their pain point.
For us, it was easy as I'd run an MSP and been in a sales role - the biggest problem I had was a consistent source of new leads. This pain point is what we help solve at IT Rockstars, and all our communication and marketing includes elements of this in the copy.
Now let's do this for you.
Answer these about your ideal client:
Is your ideal client male or female?
How old are they?
What do they wear?
Are they married? Do they have kids?
Why are they in business (ask your current clients for this answer)
What do they do in their spare time?
What associations, groups and events do they attend?
Now the pain points
For you, the MSP, it's usually one of three things:
The current IT provider is slow to react
A major security breach or failure of IT
IT/Network is slow, and the current provider is not perceived to bring value or new technology/ideas to the table.
There are, of course, others we can add to this list, but with all the MSPs I've worked to with date, these are the most common pain points their market has. These pain points are your core market communication.
You can go deeper here into the industry they are in and find the pain points of the business by asking these questions:
What challenges are they facing in their specific industry?
What do they read to stay current?
Who are their competitors?
All these questions will take time to research, but you will have a much better understanding of your ideal clients, their pain points and how to communicate your value to them.
I would suggest you put these questions to your existing clients over the phone to get an accurate picture and understanding.
Check List to do:
Define your ideal day.
Define your ideal client.
Define your ideal client's pain points.
Now that you know what types of clients you want and what their problems are, we can now go out and start to attract them.
First, we got to find them. I will show you this in the IT Rockstars membership.