January 12, 2024

Episode 08: Building Trusted Relationships

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Erick and Rich explore the significance of Kaseya’s new outsourced help desk service and why now’s the time to build your client solution roadmap for 2024. They’re then joined by the multi-talented Lisa Shorr—an MSP, corporate brand coach, and Channel Mastered’s chief brand strategist—for an insightful conversation about how vendors can build trusted relationships with MSPs. And finally, one last thing: a new world record for the biggest serving ever of a stinky noodle dish from China.

Discussed in this episode:

Kaseya Announces New Offerings, Special Recognitions

6 Strategies to Become A Trusted V.E.N.D.O.R.

What Does an MSP See When They Look at You? Brand Credibility or Brand Confusion?

Chinese company cooks up world record serving of smelly noodles


Rich: [00:00:00] Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another episode of the MSP Chat Podcast, your weekly visit with two talking heads talking with you about the services, strategies, and success tips you need. To make it big and manage services. I am Rich Freeman. I’m chief content officer at Channel Mastered, company responsible for this program.

I am joined this week as every week by your other cohost, Erick Simpson, my friend, my business partner also our chief strategist at Channel Mastered. Erick, how you doing?

Erick: I’m doing better than you, Rich, because I am back home trying to get rested from just coming. From IT Nation Connect with you, but you are off to another event right now.

So you haven’t touched, you haven’t touched home base for how many weeks now, Rich? You’ve been on a whirlwind tour.

Rich: I’ll correct you in two quick ways. So I left home for this road trip essentially on October 29th. But I was home for two days. I was home for the weekend. We’re recording this on a Monday, folks.

And also you said I’m in on the road again for an event, I’m actually on the road again for two events this week. Yeah, I’m on a stretch here, and it’s probably the closing road trip stretch of the year, but I’m on a three week stretch during which I’m attending five events. And this is event number

Erick: four.

pEople say, folks are road warriors. You’re like a road general, Rich, I don’t I don’t relish that nomadic existence that you pull off so well. I couldn’t do it myself, but but here we are ready for another awesome episode of the MSP chat podcast.

Rich: Indeed, and we’ve got an awesome interview segment coming up with our channel mastered colleague Lisa Shore. Who is going to be talking about a topic that she honestly, and I can say this honestly, knows better than anybody else in the channel, anyone else in the world arguably. She is an image consultant for MSP.

She helps them burnish their corporate image, but also their personal image and that of their employees. So we’ll get into that with her in a little bit. And trust me, folks, this is a subject that too few MSPs think about that you should definitely be thinking about for competitive reasons. But Erick, let’s dive into our top story of the week.

And it’s an interesting one for a couple of different reasons here. Just a few weeks back Kaseya issued a press release in which they announced three different things. I’m going to focus in on item number two on that list, because they announced in that press release, in passing, item number two, The introduction of what they’re calling Kaseya Helpdesk Services, which is a white label, outsourced helpdesk service that their partners can tap into right now.

A very timely offering, Erick, right? We know how competitive the labor market is for technicians right now. It’s been that way for a long time. All the research I’m looking at says that’s not going to change anytime soon. Here’s a way to pay Kaseya what they say is a very competitive price and, with long term commitments, competitive pricing is part of their DNA over there.

You can get this whole hiring and retention issue off your plate. Get rid of that headache. Outsource a lot of your particularly level one Helpdesk to Kaseya. If you’ve got level one techs today, you can either politely invite them to find employment else elsewhere. It’s certainly a favorable market for them.

And that brings down your expenses enormously and increases your profitability. Or you can put them to work on more profitable strategic kind of endeavors. That helps the bottom line out too. So a very interesting service. ConnectWise, obviously, via their continuum acquisition, has been doing something like this.

They’ve got a knock that they’ve had for a long time, but interesting to see Kaseya get into this. Particularly because, Erick, and I won’t spend a lot of time on this because this is speculative, But when we were both at DattoCon, I had an opportunity to interview Fred Vokola, CEO of Kaseya. And at the very end of this interview I did with him, as I’m literally packing up my computer and stuff and getting ready to leave, he tells me, Oh, by the way, Rich, in April at our next conference, we’re going to announce the biggest thing ever to happen in the managed services industry.

And I’m like, now you tell me this, Fred what is it like, give me a hint. He barely gave me a hint, and I won’t go into the details, but the hint that he gave me, the one hint that he gave me, had me thinking I’ll bet you they’re going to introduce some sort of help desk service, and they’re more or less going to give it away.

If you make a big multi year commitment to a big stack of their products, they’ll [00:05:00] just do level one for you. And then lo and behold a few weeks later, here comes Kaseya help desk services. I have a hunch. I may have been onto something here.

Erick: Curious. So interesting, but not unexpected.

I’m thinking, scratching my head going, when are they going to make this move? When are they, because as you mentioned, Rich. The tech shortage, the cost of replacing technicians and engineers that are poached is just so high and hiring and retention is tough. I like the idea of Kaseya.

Offering this service. And by the way, Rich, where are these technicians and engineers located?

Rich: So they are located in, essentially local markets. They have them scattered about the the globe. But if you are in North AmEricka purchasing the service, then they are, English speaking, North AmErickan based white label help desk employees,

Erick: which is valuable.

That’s a value add, a unique value proposition. Compared to some of the alternatives out there. So I really picked up on that and yes, it, if we’ve got technicians and engineers, if I’m the MSP, I probably am not going to release them back to industry. I’m just going to see this as an opportunity to have the noise of the level one tickets being handled by the sales services.

And then I’m going to put my team to work on more profitable, more valuable services to our clients. So they need cyber security training, they need cloud migration training, all the training that they need end user security awareness training. How do we reposition our valuable staff that has been with us, that it’s obviously a cultural fit or else they wouldn’t be with us.

As long as they are rich and put them to work and get them trained to deliver more meaningful, more sticky services, more strategic services to our clients, thereby increasing our rates for those services and covering the cost of potentially these lower cost level one help desk services from Kaseya.

So I say, bravo let’s move into the next evolution version X dot. X of managed services by outsourcing something that I’ve always promoted, rich outsourcing more of these noisy services that don’t require. specific expertise and strategy so that we can offer those at a very high value and commensurate rates to our clients.

Rich: And, I’ve been writing quite a bit in recent weeks on my blog channel Holic about this, the key to avoiding commoditization and keeping your profitability up is to get into that strategy space that you were alluding to Erick. And yeah, absolutely. To the extent that you can really.

Build the entire team at your organization around business consulting, business planning solution design development and execution. That’s going to be really. Smart and helpful for your business longterm. And it’s a nice segue into your tip of the week, actually, because you’ve got the keyword solution in there, Erick.

So what is your tip of the week?

Erick: Rich, it’s all about dusting off your client solution roadmap. Now the client solution roadmap is a tool that we built in my MSP. Now we transitioned. Our professional services and time and materials based technology firm that we started in 1997 into one of the first MSPs in the channel around 2004 ish, 2005 ish.

And we developed, once we figured out the value proposition and how to position flat rate, it services, what we called it then rich. So it wasn’t very, sexy or anything like that. It wasn’t managed services yet. Fly rate I. T. Services that came with these components, remote monitoring and management service desk and some additional services that we threw in there.

It was basically vendor management. So we pioneered things that Today, people take for granted, Oh, vendor management. We know what that is. Nobody knew what vendor management was back then. And that was the third leg of the stool that we put together with our managed service offering, monitoring patch management and user service desk, and then, vendor management, and then we did projects on top of that.

We loved the recurring revenue model so much rich that we started finding opportunities to. Deliver third party white labeled services to our clients. And some of them didn’t even need to be white label. They could be billed directly from that vendor. But the idea was that we would find all of these other needs within our clients, businesses that we already have that trusted advisor relationship with, and we could introduce these third party.

Strategic vendors or white label them under us. But the point [00:10:00] was, is they needed everything from, VoIP to DNS, to wireless, to all, just think of everything, copier printer. We had accounting firms. We had all these different services that kind of extend way beyond what an IT practice, thought to be able to deliver back in the early 2000s, let’s say, and we were really pushing the envelope there.

So what we figured out was. Clients need all these services. We’re going to focus on the core ones that we deliver best and make the most margin on, and then we’re going to create strategic alliance relationships with vendors that deliver all these other services. And so we built out this tool.

It was basically a glorified Excel spreadsheet. We call it the client solution roadmap rich, where we would list all of our clients down the left column, across the top, we had all of the products, services, and solutions that we thought our clients would ever need based on them telling us these things.

And then we would find vendors to fill those gaps. And we were looking for vendors that offered a recurring revenue type of commission or revenue stream to us to do that. So think of today and think of the specialization that MSPs are focusing on more cybersecurity, more cloud, right? And they’re getting away from maybe they’re focusing so much on these services, but they also have other services that they do deliver.

And I’m not suggesting that everybody do what we did is think of everything that the client needs, but you certainly have services that you deliver that not every single one of your clients are buying from you. So create your client solution roadmap of all every single product, service or solution that you want your clients to consume.

And then the other name for this tool, which was the red dot green dot spreadsheet, because if a client had that solution, they’d get a green shaded cell. If they didn’t, it was a red shaded cell. And then there was some calculations on, and you can get it on my MSP mastered website. If you really want one that it’s all built with.

Put your pricing in per user pricing, one time pricing, everything like that. And then you can forecast out how much money you’re leaving on the table. And so it was an amazing tool that we just came up and it was very successful. And then what it allows you to do when you start doing something like that rich is to say What’s the next lowest hanging fruit?

Product service or solution that we can sell to the majority of our clients that don’t have it. We would train our sales team up on it. We train our technicians and engineers, how to deploy it. And we would go market it and sell it, boom, to all the clients. And then we go to the next thing and then do that over and over to the point where rich, we had about 40 percent of our recurring revenues coming from services that were fulfilled, someone other than ourselves, think about the power of that.

So that’s the client solution roadmap. And I suggest everybody think about that. I know a lot of MSPs are. Are probably doing something like that, but boy if you’re not, this is probably a tip that could find you, who knows, an extra 40 percent more MRR.

Rich: And I will simply point out that every vendor, every distributor I know, every sales and marketing expert in the world will tell you, Cross selling to existing clients is much easier and cheaper than landing net new clients.

So you should be doing both obviously. But if you are not making a priority of cross selling, that’s a mistake. And the roadmap and that sort of systematized approach to, to mapping that out and tracking that, and then working your way down the list are very good solid organized way. To make sure that as he said, you’re not leaving money on the table.

I like it.

Erick: It creates a tremendous amount of stickiness. Think about it.

Rich: You know what it is time now for us, we’re going to take a quick break and then when we come back on the other side, we’re going to be joined by our channel mastered colleague, Lisa Shore who is going to talk all about business image management, personal image management for MSPs.

If it sounds like a squishy topic, doesn’t sound like something that’s relevant to you trust me. By the time you’ve come to the end of this interview, you will have changed your mind about that for reasons you’re about to learn. So we’re going to take a break. When we’re right back, we’ll be joined by Lisa Shore.

And welcome back to MSP Chat for our spotlight interview segment this week. And we are joined by Lisa Shore. Lisa wears many hats. She is our chief brand strategist at Channel Mastered. She is the owner of a brand and image management consultancy for MSPs called Shore Success. And she’s also co owner with her husband, Erick, of an MSP in the New England area called Secure Future.

tech solutions. Lisa, welcome to the show.

Lisa: I’m tired. Just thinking about me. Thank you for having me.

Rich: Our pleasure. Completely our pleasure. I was thinking to myself [00:15:00] just a little bit earlier today. How long have we known each other? I’m pretty sure we met in 2017. Does that sound

Lisa: about right?

I think that’s when I that’s when my first articles showed up at when I started writing for Channel Pro was 2017, so I think so, somewhere 26, probably 2016, and then we really started hanging out more 2017.

Rich: It also occurs to me it’s a little surprising that you agreed to come on this podcast because you were the victim of the most notorious fail in the history of Channel Pro Weekly, the podcast I used to Whitlock you know exactly what I’m talking about we had Lisa on the show.

For the first time, she was, she’s been on that show several times, but we had her on a show to talk about brand and image management for MSPs. It was about a half an hour conversation. We hung up. Matt and I said to each other, man, that was good. And then Matt realized he hadn’t recorded it. He didn’t hit record.

Lisa: I just saw Matt last week and he shared the same story.

Rich: Yeah. Yes. The two of us are still, yeah. I want to spend most of our time today focusing on a series of blog posts you’re writing for the Channel Mastered website. But before we do that, I, one of the reasons why I was so happy to have you write for Channel Pro when I was Executive Editor.

There and come on that podcast was because I really feel you convinced me that brand and image management for MSPs is a super important topic that doesn’t get discussed enough. So just give folks, the MSPs in our audience, a quick synopsis for what that’s about and why they should care about it.

Lisa: So image and branding directly relates to solidifying client relationships, which then results in profits for your MSP. So it’s really, or for your vendor. So if you’re a vendor, whichever direction, so it’s really important that if you have someone, we all have the same tech stacks, a lot of products that we offer are similar.

So what sets us apart? What is it that makes the client want to stay with you? Want to engage with you and that’s the human side of it. That’s how we appear It’s how we communicate. It’s how we connect with others and that’s that relationship that really matters And so that’s why and so and we had my MSP had some struggles and so and we weren’t paying attention and we were losing clients and really upsetting people and so because of that Sure.

Success evolved and is what it is

Rich: today. It it, it is a really interesting and neglected topic. And I would just encourage people to go to sure success. com S H O R success. One word. com learn more about it, get in touch with Lisa. But let’s talk a little bit before we get into those blog posts tell folks a little bit about your role as chief brand strategist at channel master.

So I

Lisa: am here to look at all of the little details that we, how we present ourselves here at Channel Mastered. Whether it’s how we show up at trade shows, what we wear. I intentionally dressed for this today. Even though I’m not sure we’ll be on video, but I still have a red jacket on because that’s our branded colors.

Also, thinking about how we’re communicating, how our voice sounds, how our posture looks, the, any kind of communication we send out, is it the same story? Is it in line with the, Who we are, how we want to support vendors and really looking at the full

Erick: picture. And, that’s that’s one of the reasons, Elisa, that we love working with you at channel master, because you bring a dynamic, a perspective that a lot of people don’t even think about.

And you’ve started documenting some of these best practices and strategies. In a series of blog posts, the seven part series that you’re writing for channel mastered about what vendors need to do to earn the trust of MSP partners. So shining the perspective on, vendors and what they should be doing in order to earn the trust of MSP partners.

And, when we’re working with vendors at channel mastered. I never thought about the things that you’re describing in these blog posts. When I say, we need to earn the trust of the MSP partners, I’m thinking channel program stuff and benefits and MDF and making it easy to work with and training and all these things.

But this component can actually improve that trust, align the trust much more quickly, build stronger loyalty, even [00:20:00] when I would argue. That some of the other components still need to be worked on in the channel program itself. Would you agree with that? And why is building that trust such an important consideration other than the obvious in your mind?

Lisa: So I have two responses to that. One, a confused buyer never buys. And if somebody is confused about how you look and is that going to be wait a minute. If they’re allowing their team to appear or sound. abrupt, annoyed, then what about the service I’m going to be receiving? What about the support I’m going to be?

It all relates. And then we all buy, speaking from the perspective of an MSP owner, We buy based on feeling and do we feel that this company, this vendor that I’m going to be aligning with is the right vendor for me because they are going to secure me, they are going to provide me really great supportive support, not just support, but when my engineers get on the call, I have to, when we sign on with a vendor, we’re not just signing on because just because of the product, we sign on thinking about it.

My client res, my client solution, but how are my engineers going to do working with this solution? How are they going to feel? Inevitably, once the sale is made or once we sign on with a vendor, it goes over to my support team. I, my, and my, if my service team is upset. Because your support staff are angry, they’re grumpy, they’re whatever, or they’re just not getting back, they’re not following through, they’re not setting expectations, that’s a problem.

And that makes a difference. There’s a lot of vendors who are alike. And so how do you set yourself apart? It’s really critical.

Erick: Yeah. You made some really important points there Lisa. Yes. Human beings buy based on emotion, right? Justify that purchase, with logic afterwards. The other point that I think about when I’m listening to you describe this dynamic is nobody really knows how well we actually deliver services for our clients.

Until they sign up. So all they’ve got to go on to make that buying is the sales, the marketing process, the sales process, and that, that interaction that they have with different members of the team, pre sales, so that makes a very compelling point in, Hey, if we’re, if we’ve got all these other things that we’re looking at, we should look at.

The brand, the image, and you mentioned a couple of things, how we speak, how we communicate. I know you and I had conversations, Lisa, where you even get down into, the inflection of, and the cadence and our tone and how we, raise our voice and lower our voice and speed up and slow down to, to engage better with our audience, which I think is really happening.

Now, the first post in your series for Channel Mastered lays out six things that vendors need to do to earn this trust with their MSP partners, and they correspond with the acronym VENDOR. V E N D O R. That’s right. And it’s a super interesting read. Give us a brief overview of that post and what those six.

Items mean the

Lisa: acronym. So I wrote the post from the perspective of being an MSP owner and what do I look for in a vendor? So what is it that I? When we’re selecting a vendor, it goes through a very critical vetting process. It’s not just, Oh, I have to go with that vendor because everybody talks about them.

Yes. I will go look at that vendor, but we then test them out. We try, we really always do a demo in our office. And I. I put my support team, my service team to the test to say, Hey, does it work? Is it easy to deploy? Tell me about the support you receive. What’s your experience? So I wrote a my article is about the things that I look for.

And so the vendor is my acronym, my brain works in acronyms. And so V is for visuals. And that’s, there’s two sides to the visuals. It’s the corporate branding. Is it clear? Do we understand? Can we pronounce their name? Can we understand what they’re, the coloring, the, like the whole process of it.

And then the personal branding. When I meet you at a train show, do I like your person? Do you like your salesperson? Are they approachable? Are they friendly? Are they knowledgeable about the product and [00:25:00] service you offer? E is emotional intelligence. And this is where a lot of sales can happen or go south.

Emotional intelligence is our ability to build relationships. It’s our ability to first understand how we’re feeling and then respond based on what needs to happen in that conversation. So we might be feeling inside frustrated or not understanding something. But we want that sales rep to make us feel secure, make us feel, don’t worry, you’re in good hands.

I’ve got you. I get it. And so there’s an inter, a kind of communication, but we have to think, how do I feeling, but also how do I need to respond? So we’re in a mutual conversation here of comfort and support. N is nonverbal communication, that’s critical to, that’s not just what we wear, which is part of it, but also our posture.

And how do we look confident? Do we hunch our shoulders and look down and hide our eyes and give her a very weak handshake? What all of that matters, all of that is preparation to building trust and credibility. D is what we, you just talked about in dynamic dialogue. And that’s how we say it.

That’s what we say. Of course, we certainly don’t want to use. No confidence words like hopefully we can solve your problem or I don’t know just like that I don’t know and then you leave it like that So that’s a combination of I don’t really care in your voice in your tone, but also a finite answer saying If I’m already telling you I don’t know now when I get to be with your support team.

Are they gonna tell me the same? All of this perception starts to build in the brain. And so it’s really critical that we establish all of this from the get go. O is open communication. Do we feel that you’re communicating with us when there’s a problem? When there’s an upgrade? When there’s an outage?

Or, if you’re working on our service ticket that we put in for you, are you letting us know? Are you setting expectations? Is there open dialogue? An R is reliability. Are you reliable? Are you going to be there when we need you? That’s critical because your product is a direct result of my client’s success.

Are we a team? We need to be a team. So we need to consider all of these factors.

Rich: The, your first blog post in the series spelled out that, that acronym and gave people a quick introduction to what each letter stands for. And the subsequent posts are gonna dive in to each of those letters one by one.

. And most of those are still to come, but you recently published the the deep dive on V for vent V for visuals. Excuse me. First letter in the acronym there. You said earlier in the conversation, a confused buyer doesn’t buy, and that’s a point you emphasized in that blog post there.

Talk a little bit about the relationship between appearance and visuals, personal and corporate brand and buyer confusion.

Lisa: So let’s start first with the corporate side, because this is where most people and almost every single vendor considers this. They all consider, okay, let me come up with a company name, let me come up with a logo, let’s put some colors to it.

So we want to make sure, so that, and that’s usually where the marketing stops. So they start there, they’ll come up with a great logo and then we’re going to use it. Great. But do people understand it? Can you articulate what it means? And right there from the get go, sometimes logos or company names. It might be antiquated, they might not be clear or maybe ability to pronounce.

So starting right there is just thinking about what your company name is and what does it stand for and making sure that you tell that story, making sure that as a vendor, the buyer, the MSP owner understands what you stand for. And that means that your invoices, your website, you all the different, your LinkedIn profiles.

All need to be consistent. I have three C’s in image and that’s consistency, congruency, leads to credibility. Consistency is showing that logo, showing those colors, showing your tagline, your core values needs to be consistent everywhere you go. Credibility, congruency is telling that one story. And if you’re saying [00:30:00] that you’re this type of a vendor, you’re a security vendor for backups.

Great. And then you start telling stories about other avenues that you’re looking into and if someone’s not clear on what you do or who you do it for, then credibility could be lost. But if you are able to articulate you as the owner of your, of the, of the spender and then all of your staff, all of your team need to be on the same page sharing that message.

And when it’s clear, that’s when credibility happens. So that’s on the corporate side. On the personal side, that’s not as easy, and that’s something that’s often, we would rather, I get it, all of us in the IT world want tangibles, and we want to stay in our lane or behind the monitor, I totally get it, but what sets you apart from that sea of sameness, and that’s the personal side, the personal branding side, and everybody in the company Needs to view themselves as a leader.

Everybody’s a leader because everybody touches the client, the MSP in a different way, whether it’s through service support, whether it’s through sales and account management, invoicing, whatever it is, wherever it is, especially trade show management, whatever it is, we need to have humans who consider how to build the brand.

Number one is, being in uniform. grooming, thinking about, we’re all on keyboards. I put in my article, we’re all on keyboards. And I remember someone telling me at a trade show years ago that the engineer, this is on the MSP side, but their engineer had dirty nails and it grossed them out.

And I’m like, Ooh, think I, so I casually look at, the, and the nails of my team and different people. And I’m like, just making sure, but thinking about those things, all of those details really make a difference. And send messages and people, we listen with our eyes. There’s a statement that says we listen with our eyes, and if we don’t start thinking about how we’re presenting ourselves, what we’re saying, and what messages we’re sending.

Physically and verbally, that really plants seeds and perception seeds. It doesn’t mean that it’s right or, really wrong, but it’s perception. And it’s other people’s perception that we’re working with. And we’re all different people. And so we have to work a little bit harder to make sure our message stands out.

To make sure that when we deliver the messages, we’re building relationships. tHat are authentic, but also consistent, congruent, incredible with the brand that we’ve created. And with our mission statement, all of it. Whenever you see me, sure, success anywhere, I’ll always be alignment with my brand.

Everything I talk about is always going to be, how do we become better communicators? How do we become empathetic toward each other, understanding we all have clients breathing down our neck? We all have tech issues. We all have those. How do we communicate that and communicate together in an empathetic way?

Thinking about, okay, let me show you in my face that I care. Let me show you in my eye contact. Let me show you in my voice. And notice I have dropped my voice, I’ve dropped my tone just a little bit to show how serious this is and how passionate I am about being strong communicators in our industry. So critical.

Erick: Wow, Lisa, you’ve done a really great job of identifying, some of the tips around, corporate image assessment, personal brand, corporate brand. so You’ve already given us some really good things to think about there. So I’m going to throw you a little bit of a curveball. I’m going to ask you because, I think one of the, one of the first in, the most important interactions that a vendor will have with an MSP prospect is that first call with their internal sales team or demo person or things like that.

So let’s say that, I’m the MSP. Former MSB and I’m engaging now with you, my vendor prospecting. I’m looking for a solution and I’ve gotten past the, you’ve done a good job of the corporate branding. I get it. I feel comfortable. Everything is congruent. Everything is consistent. Now it leads me to Book a call with you.

Can you share some of the do’s and don’ts? . For an internal salesperson at a vendor, as you and I are communicating in that very first call, [00:35:00]

Lisa: my number one do is to have a process. Have a process of a series of questions to ask so that you can qualify and you can learn more about that. MSP, how are you gonna use my solution?

Tell me about your client base. Tell me about your engineer team. What is their level of knowledge? What is their level? Tell me about any and also use a voice that sounds excited that sounds intrigued interested curious Willing to help too often. I hear voices that are monotone. Okay, tell me about so you wanna how many licenses do you need?

What can I do for you? And they leave it there, but there’s so much opportunity. Number two big advice is to research who is buying your product before you get on the call. Find something out about them. Too often, it’s just a base conversation of a trans, it’s more transactional. I feel like our industry is really critical.

The vendors that are most successful are because they have relationships. with MSPs. Those are the ones that are most, they make an effort to really learn what our pain points are, to really learn, but they also learn who am I as a person, because once we feel connected with somebody, then that sets us over the edge.

That really makes a difference to building credibility and trust. And not enough people do research ahead of time. I’ve gotten on vendor calls and they don’t even, they weren’t even prepped ahead of time of who we are, what our company is, what we do, who our niche or verticals are, none of it. And so it’s really critical we do the research.

We have some qualifying questions in place and have it as a document. Could be an online document, it could be something physical in front of you. My IT company, I keep it in front of me all the time. We have a whole series of questions, of qualifying questions that we use to make sure. A vendor, you could have the same.

You should absolutely do the same. And I’m really thinking about that. Some of the don’ts, I think there are more do’s than don’ts. I think I would rather focus on those. But, just thinking, being mindful of some of the conversations that you shouldn’t have. When you’re first meeting with someone, it’s not appropriate to Talk about politics and religion and all of that.

So of course that’s critical, but really it’s important to get to know the person. Some of their, you can find so much information, go on their LinkedIn profile, see if they volunteer for an organization, see what their last posts were, what’s important to them and really establish from the get go that relationship.

Erick: Yeah, those are really key insights, Lisa. And I know when we do training for internal sales teams. At channel mastered for our vendor clients, we also have, what I call the the bad words list, right? When you’re having a conversation when you’re having a sales conversation, you should replace, this is the replacement words reference is probably a better way to put it.

Deal opportunity,

Lisa: for action plan,

Erick: Price, no investment, contract agreement, right? A contract just seems so, Hey, the agreement is something we work toward, right? Problem versus challenge. I hear you have some challenges in your MSP that we’d like to help you overcome, right?

So there’s a lot of that conversational, I’d say conversational intelligence, right? It’s emotional intelligence, or conversational intelligence. Yeah, maybe I’ve added a new letter to the acronym there

Lisa: for you. I’m writing that down. I actually, I really like that.

Erick: And the key things that you mentioned, having excitement, not acting like you’re just going off of a checklist, being an order taker.

Nobody likes that, right? No. That engagement, that excitement, That gives the MSP that feeling that, oh, you really are excited to talk to me and to earn my business. It makes all the difference in the world. So

Lisa: true. So true. And I want to add in, I love that, conversational intelligence. I also want to add in email.

A quick word about email, because honestly it’s easily misconstrued. And adding in a couple of extra steps, I know we’re all pressed for time. I totally get it. But if we really want to develop relationships and set ourselves apart, these extra few steps really matter and using dear, first of all, dear Erick, dear Rich, I really enjoyed our conversation today.

Thank you so much for inviting me. I have a couple of followup questions and then putting things in bullet points will help to digest. And then, it was great to see you today, sincerely, our warm [00:40:00] regards, Lisa. Having that structure of a little bit of kindness. A little bit of formality, yes, I know we’re casual in this industry, but that doesn’t mean our email has to be as casual, and it’s so easily misconstrued, so I highly encourage people to consider as you’re building relationships, but not only that, it’s consistently retaining those relationships.

It’s a lot of work to have to switch, to off board an MSP or, it’s a lot of work all around setting everything up. So let’s, think about longevity here and we want referrals. We want raving fans and brand loyalty. And so all these little details

Rich: matter. It’s interesting because a lot of this conversation has been vendor oriented.

But pretty much everything you’ve spoken about with us today, Lisa, applies every bit as much to MSPs, right? Have a process for handling that first call with a potential client. Research them a little bit before that conversation, et cetera. So thank you so much for joining us Lisa.

I’ll just tell folks in the audience. If you are a vendor, she has way more wisdom than you just heard in the last however many minutes. If you want to tap into that a little bit and you’re a vendor Channel Master can help you out with that. If you are an MSP and you want to take advantage of of Lisa’s expertise in this area, I’m sure Success is the place to go.

And again, that is Sure. Success. com. Lisa, how else can people learn more about you? Get in touch. You

Lisa: can find me on LinkedIn, but the best place is to go to my website and right on the homepage, the top one third of my page is a link to my calendar. And so click on that calendar link, book a meeting with me.

I would love to, whichever side you’re on, whether it’s the vendor or the MSP side, let’s have a conversation of relationship building and trust. And why do clients really hire us? Why do they hire us? And what’s the differentiator? I’m happy to help.

Rich: I encourage folks again to follow up with Lisa. Thank you Again, Lisa always a pleasure folks we are going to take a break here when we come back on the other side Erick and I are going to wrap up the show Maybe have a laugh or two and send you on back to the rest of your day.

Stick around. We’ll be right back Thank

Lisa: you.

Rich: And welcome back to Part 3, the final part of this week’s episode of the MSP Chat Podcast. Erick, I get a little nostalgic actually, when having a conversation like that with Lisa, because it takes me back. About five, six years ago when I was at Channel Pro magazine and Lisa reached out to me and told me what she did, and I just knew immediately this is something nobody else is doing that everyone who reads Channel Pro needs and she, she contributed all sorts of blogs and did lots of event appearances for us in the years after that.

Yeah. Because it’s just really such an important service and such a unique one, no, nobody else is doing this.

Erick: And Rich, not for nothing, the majority of the MSP business owners that I’ve worked with are pretty, technically minded folks, engineer minded folks.

And sometimes, and I count myself among those, I’m an engineer by trade in the enterprise before, coming into the. They, the exciting world of, building your own it practice and running a managed service business. But we don’t think about those soft skills. We don’t think about the, the way that everything that your company does to, to market, to sell, to deliver service, even the way we dress our mannerisms, our body language, the way we inflection in our voice and raise our voice, lower our voice and things like that, all of that creates this.

impression that can create distinction and value in your client relationships. It’s amazing. Once you really appreciate, what the real impact of that is and what many of us are missing. By not being exposed to that side of, human behavior and perception and things like that.

And you’re right, Rich. I’ve had the pleasure of traveling a lot with Lisa at events, after she’s joined us on the channel master team and just watching how excited people get when she explains this. And it’s this epiphany, this light goes off in their head and they get really excited and want to engage with her.

For her services. And yes, I’ve not seen anyone else even speak about this in the channel. Not only is she amazing at what she does, but she’s pretty much got the market cornered because no one else is bringing this. This knowledge to MSPs that I know of.

Rich: Yeah. And yeah.

You can work [00:45:00] directly or reach out directly to Lisa at Shore Success, S-H-O-R-R. Success one word.com. But it’s worth noting that she’s part of the channel master team. Channel master works with vendors who work with MSPs and she’s part of the channel master team because vendors understand, they, they want their MSP partners to be as prepared for success and as successful as possible.

And once they’re introduced to Lisa and what she does, they understand the value of offering this service to their partners. In addition, she also works directly with the vendors on burnishing their image and making sure. They’re presenting themselves in the best possible way when they’re reaching out to MSPs.

Yeah loved having Lisa on the show. We’re gonna have lots of Channel Master Advisors on this podcast on a rotating basis. So she will be back and we’ll get into some more specific aspect of what she does with her down the road. She’s In the process, actually, of writing a seven part blog series on that for us.

Plenty more to talk about with Lisa. That leaves us with time, though, Erick, for just one last thing. And it comes to us from China. This is one of those Guinness World Book of Record one last things, Erick. Always a reliable source of those items for podcasts like this one. Turns out that a Chinese food company has broken the world record for the largest cup of instant rice noodles by cooking up 112 pounds of instant lucifen.

Now, I am probably mispronouncing lucifen. But they, this company in China has cooked up 112 pounds of it in a 4. 3 foot tall container. And I’ll just read directly here from the news story that called this record of my attention quote, the soup, which also contains vinegar, chili oil, peanuts, dried tofu skin, and bean curd sticks gets its famous fecal like odor from the sour bamboo shoots spread on the top.

I’m just gonna say, I’m gonna go out in a limb a little bit here Erick, and say, I don’t need. A cup of fecal like odor Chinese noodle soup. I certainly am not interested in the sound of 112 pounds of it in a 4. 3 foot tall container. So congratulations for breaking the record. I don’t know if that’s something.

I’m glad I didn’t have to experience that one myself in

Erick: person. Yeah, I’m certain, Rich, that they don’t promote that, aspect of the dining experience of these fine noodle dishes. Very heavily. Yeah, not not a good not a good experience when you’re dining too.

Part of that experience is out of the smells and the aromas and the aftertaste and all that. Good on them for getting the world record of the probably worst smelling largest cup of soup ever made.

Rich: Good on them. Good on them, absolutely. And I’m glad it’s on the other side of the planet. Folks, that is all the time we have this week.

Thank you so much for joining us. We’re gonna be back again next week with another episode for you. Until then you can check out the video version of MSP chat on YouTube. The audio only version is available wherever finer podcasts are distributed. From Spotify to Apple, Google, you name it, Amazon Music.

You’re gonna find us there. And when you do. Please subscribe, rate, review, share with your friends. It’s going to help more people discover the show help help make the show a little bit easier for people like you to find. Produced around the program is the great Russ Johns. Thank you for all you do, Russ.

You can learn more about him at www. russjohns. com. Russ is also part of. The Channel Master team, along with Erick and Lisa and myself, if you wanna learn more about Channel Master, you can check us out at www.channel master.com. And hey, if you wanna check out my blog, which I referenced earlier in the show here, it’s called Channel Hawk and you’ll find [email protected].

So once again, folks thank you so much for joining us. We’ll see you again next week with another episode. Until then, please. Remember, you can’t spell channel without M S P.