[00:00:00.550] – James Kernan
All right. Hey, welcome back everybody, to session four of Creating Customers for Life the Secrets of QBRs. We’re going to talk about how to use QBRs as your number one lead generator in your marketing plan. Welcome back. Good to see everybody back online here.
[00:00:19.570] – James Kernan
I’m going to go ahead and get started with today’s session. So all of you hopefully know me by now, james Kernan. I’m the presenter and coach of this program. I’ll talk a little bit more about my background on today’s broadcast. So here’s a quick agenda.
[00:00:35.670] – James Kernan
I’m going to go into a quick overview of the program. We’re going to dig into session four. And session four is really all about using QBRs as your number one lead generator in your marketing program. And then I’m going to dig into the marketing program a little bit as well and give you guys some other tips and tricks of things that you need to make sure are part of your overall marketing program. Okay?
[00:01:00.450] – James Kernan
Some very affordable campaigns, also known as free. So we’re going to dig into that as well. And then we’re going to go ahead and wrap up. And as always, I’m going to answer questions as we kind of go along in today’s session. So just a couple of quick housekeeping reminders.
[00:01:17.450] – James Kernan
Let’s use the Q and A as an interactive way for you guys to ask questions and me to provide answers. I’m going to ask a lot of questions during today’s session, and I want to make sure that I’m answering all of those to the best of my capability. So anytime you’ve got a question, go ahead and type it in the Q and A box and I’ll go ahead. I’ve got it open on my other screen and we can review those. So just a friendly reminder there.
[00:01:41.730] – James Kernan
So here we are in the five week challenge. We’re already in session four. So session four coming down the home stretch and then we’ll wrap things out. Next week was session five. So the program objectives, there were five key things I really wanted to provide all of you.
[00:01:56.860] – James Kernan
Number one was an already done for you playbook that will help you increase your appointments and generate new sales overall. Number two, I want to give you a thorough understanding for you to really understand your own value that you provide in your unique value proposition that you bring to the table for your customers and your prospects. Okay? Three, how to better qualify prospects. We’ve been talking about that for the importance of a sales process.
[00:02:27.490] – James Kernan
And last week we really digged into step three and step four in the value based seven step process. That’s what I teach in the value based selling sales process. The seven steps and three and four were really how to run your first meeting and how to run your second meeting. So if you haven’t seen that, that’s a really good one. Make sure you go back and watch session three.
[00:02:48.810] – James Kernan
And then lastly, how to give your prospect options to increase your opportunity of winning the deal. And we’re going to talk about that a little bit more as well. So here are the sessions one through five. Today we’re in session four, making Customers for Life.
[00:03:08.930] – James Kernan
Okay, so here we are in week four, digging into session four. Quick question. I’ll let you guys go ahead and answer this in the Q and A box, but how are you guys doing with your homework so far? There’s been homework assignments as we’ve kind of gone along each week, the homework assignments really were taking a look at the already done for you handouts that we are providing in each one of the sessions and making those your own. Right?
[00:03:38.680] – James Kernan
So there’s Word documents. There’s Excel documents. So those are important. Most of them are designed for you, just to slap your logo on it and you’re ready to go. Take out what you don’t want, add what you want to add back in.
[00:03:54.150] – James Kernan
But instead of you writing something from scratch that will literally take you hours and hours, it should take you 15 minutes, really, to go through something like that. So if you haven’t been able to complete these things that aren’t on your calendar, never get done, in my opinion. So carve out time to work on your business and just dedicate maybe an hour, maybe 230 minutes. Sessions on Tuesday, maybe one on Thursday, something like that, just to work on your business. Drop it on your calendar when you’ve got an opening.
[00:04:26.840] – James Kernan
So nothing overcomes them. So a couple of the answers so so working through them, kevin mentioned I’m working on them as well. Well, that’s the normal answer. I know how busy you guys are. That’s exactly why I created a lot of these already done for you exercises that will give you an example of what a completed one looks like.
[00:04:47.740] – James Kernan
So you can kind of start with that. Start with the end in mind instead of creating things from scratch. I remember how busy I was when I was in your shoes. Come back from a training class with 50 things to do, and I’m going to implement everything. And I never have a chance to implement anything because this industry has us so darn busy.
[00:05:06.690] – James Kernan
Thousands of emails a day, phone calls and employees. I get it, okay? So I just want to help you succeed. So that’s why I’m giving you these exercises. And throughout the week, if you guys got questions on these, just email me, reach out, I’m happy to work with you.
[00:05:22.820] – James Kernan
So here’s question number two today. What does QBR mean? And it’s not what you think. It’s not what you think. It’s not that industry acronym.
[00:05:31.340] – James Kernan
So what does QBR stand for?
[00:05:37.950] – James Kernan
All right, don’t everybody type in at once. So go ahead in the Q and A box, type in what QBR stands for. All right, there you go. Kevin dan. Good job, guys.
[00:05:49.580] – James Kernan
So quarterly business review. Quarterly business Review. Rod, it looks like rod, read ahead and read the workbook. Okay, david, good job. Good job.
[00:06:05.310] – James Kernan
So what I was looking for is the quality business review. Okay? So quality business review because who knows the frequency of how often you should be meeting with your current customers? Your current customers are going to tell you and you’re going to figure out with one how sophisticated their business is, how busy your primary point of contact is, how sophisticated their technology is. You’ll understand very quickly and normally during onboarding or maybe even during the sales process, you can identify what frequency is it to meet monthly, is it quarterly, is it every six months?
[00:06:43.550] – James Kernan
And to me, the best answer is as often as you possibly can because it’s not a technology business review. To me, it’s really a quality business review where you’re having a business conversation with the primary point of contact, and it’s the best sales opportunity of all time. It’s really a great sales opportunity, and we’re going to talk about that in just a minute. Okay? So I want to tell a little story and give you guys a little better understanding of kind of where I’ve come from in the industry.
[00:07:16.570] – James Kernan
I’m going to go through this pretty quick, but let me first talk about perseverance. How many of you in today’s troubling economy or even looking back in your past, have had to overcome adversity? How many of you have faced that? Go ahead and type in the Q and a box, a yes or a no? In some cases, things have been really easy and might be a piece of cake.
[00:07:39.760] – James Kernan
And in most other cases, there’s always ups and downs in this industry. We’re always going to be faced with adversity and to me, leaders and strong salespeople and marketeers. Like all of you, we have to persevere, we have to charge forward. We might have to change the plan a little bit, but you’re going to charge forward. So I wanted to talk about some real world statistics and examples.
[00:08:04.690] – James Kernan
So some of you have seen this chart before, sales statistics about perseverance. 48% of all sales people never follow up with a prospect. They get a lead. You guys put all the time and energy into these marketing campaigns, spend tons of money, and then you hand a lead over to a salesperson. Almost half the time they don’t even follow up on it.
[00:08:23.660] – James Kernan
Okay, we’re all guilty of that. We get busy or it gets lost in your inbox and you forget to follow up. 25% of sales people never even make a second attempt and stop. Okay, that’s almost 75%. 12% of sales people only make three contacts and then they stop.
[00:08:41.830] – James Kernan
Okay, so we’re up to about 87%, 86% now. So I’m just going to skip down to the bottom. You guys can read through the rest of this, but 80% of sales are made on the fifth to 12th contact. Okay, so what’s my point on this slide? Basically, we need to create as many at bats.
[00:08:59.920] – James Kernan
We need to create as many impressions with your customers and your prospects as humanly possible. QBRs is one of them. And I’m going to talk about some other ways for you to stay stickier with your current customers and stay stickier with your prospects and educate them through your marketing efforts to attract them, to raise their hands saying, hey, I want a meeting with Dan, I want a meeting with Dave, I want to it down with James and have them help me. Okay? So my point of this really is it’s all about consistent outreach, consistent marketing.
[00:09:34.740] – James Kernan
So I’m going to tell a quick story about perseverance. So in 2001, I’ve been in the industry for a while at this time. I turned right around and I bought my own company. I bought it for $30,000. It was in San Diego County.
[00:09:48.910] – James Kernan
It was a little company a friend of mine owned. He only had a couple of employees and they had done pretty well up to this point up to the prior year. And then over the past year they kind of started shrinking his salesperson, got sick, left the company and nobody was selling. So I got a good deal on the company, but I remember writing a check for 15K in March of that year and then I said I’d write another check for the following 15 kwh at the end of the year if I collected the receivables and everything panned out. So timing wise is really bad.
[00:10:23.720] – James Kernan
Most of you are probably younger than me, but if you were doing business at that time, 2001 was I get an F for timing post Y, two K flop. The economy really flattened out and then 911 happened. And for those of you in the business world, when 911 happened, remember, nobody did anything. Everybody was terrified of what was going to happen with the United States. Are we going to war?
[00:10:47.310] – James Kernan
First invasion on our home soil. It was pretty scary and the consumer confidence went in the tank. So nobody spent any money at all for the remaining part of Q Four. And it hurt my business and to make things worse, the worst year of my life. My father was diagnosed with cancer with cancer in September and subsequently passed away subsequently passed away in December of that year.
[00:11:17.220] – James Kernan
So that was a real bummer for me and it was just a brutal year. I didn’t pay myself for the first six months. I remember doing my little one page business plan presentation to the team after I bought the company. It started with three people that were my employees and I remember them rolling their eyes at me about what the plan was and where we were going. So I was like, this is going to be a real challenge.
[00:11:42.510] – James Kernan
I had a lot of sleepless nights. I remember, how am I going to meet payroll? I wasn’t paying myself at the time. I had to put more money back into the business to cash flow things out during that first year because it’s really tough. But the best news is we ended up at the very beginning of the next year, we won two big contracts, won the San Diego Padre Petco Ballpark, the new baseball stadium going into San Diego.
[00:12:06.170] – James Kernan
My company was awarded that contract. We did all the Cisco network. Infrastructure is a big project, over a million dollars. And then we won a big technology staffing contract of placing engineers on site in downtown San Diego on one of the military bases. And that really grew from there into being a huge contract for us.
[00:12:28.210] – James Kernan
So we grew from about 378,000 that first year to over 12 million in three years. So I thought about giving up. I thought about stopping the marketing. I thought about leaving, shutting down the business and going back to my old company. But I decided not to do that.
[00:12:45.610] – James Kernan
And obviously, I’m grateful that I persevered and fought forward, but I just wanted to share you that story just as a word of encouragement, because I think we’re in a difficult state of economy right now. And I promise you, if you keep marketing your business the way I’m talking about in this program, you’re going to fight right through this economy and you’re going to grow. Okay? Ended up selling the business in 2006, and I’ll tell you a little bit more about that. So I’ve been in the industry for a long time.
[00:13:16.980] – James Kernan
The first 15 years, I was with a couple of different big technology providers in Los Angeles. This company was over by Computer Corporation. We grew from about 8 million to 32 million. The next one was a $30 million competitor of theirs. I ended up joining his company in San Diego called Technology Integration Group.
[00:13:37.170] – James Kernan
During my seven years there, we grew from 30 million to over 315,000,000 during that stretch. So it’s really a great learning. I was part of four acquisitions, so I learned quite a bit as DP sales. I was one of the owners there, too. And then I just told you the story of the networks.
[00:13:53.890] – James Kernan
Plus grew from 378 to over 12 million, served a lot of advisory councils, and won all sorts of awards and accolades. And I got to talk about that. But I just wanted to give you my background because I’ve been in your shoes, and I know how hard it is to fight through and make time to market your business. And in every instance I just showed you, it’s exactly how we grew the business because we implemented these marketing programs. So another question for everybody.
[00:14:23.910] – James Kernan
Where’s the low hanging fruit in your business? And when you look at your pipeline, the real low hanging fruit in everybody’s business and everybody’s pipeline is with your existing customers. All right, so the low hanging fruit and everyone’s pipeline is with your existing customers. I’m going to talk about that today, about how to grab more of that right fruit from your customers and how to create customers for life. There’s a couple of key points.
[00:14:51.090] – James Kernan
Some of this I’ve already talked about some of the previous sessions. But number one, they have to like you. They have to trust you. They have to know what you do. And you need to have a professional relationship with them.
[00:15:04.760] – James Kernan
Normally it’s getting to know them a little bit more so you can help problems solve. And fifth is something we’ve talked a lot about already in this is really you need to have a business conversation, not a technology conversation. As you’re getting to know these people and as you’re building out their plan. These are kind of five of the core areas that I think are most important. And we’ll continue to talk a little bit more about some of these today.
[00:15:31.530] – James Kernan
So when I talk about quality business review, it’s really an opportunity for you to strengthen your relationship with your customers and demonstrate the value that you’re providing and you will provide them in the future. We’ve talked a lot about what your value proposition is. Okay, we have the exercise in session one, the very first session about what is your unique selling proposition, what value do we bring to the table? And in some cases it’s not too sexy. Okay.
[00:16:02.200] – James Kernan
And in some cases it’s really nothing truly unique. But I promise you, as you grow as a business and you fight forward, it will become sexier and sexier and sexier. Normally you can identify some key quality things that will differentiate you from your competition locally. And that should be the cornerstone of your marketing message. Okay, I hope that makes sense.
[00:16:26.170] – James Kernan
So here’s a couple of best practices I’m going to dig into a little bit more today. Number one, as always, we talked about this last week in meeting three and meeting four. This is really meeting or step eight of the value based selling is continuing your relationship. I never want to sell something once to a customer and walk away. We did a lot of heavy lifting going from step one to step seven of the seven step value based sales process.
[00:16:54.120] – James Kernan
Step eight is really continued business with the existing customers. And that’s what QBRs are. So like, before we’re going to start with a detailed agenda, I have an example I’m going to walk through in just a minute. Use data to tell the story. Use the tools that we have at our fingertips and that should be part of our agenda.
[00:17:14.350] – James Kernan
Always be transparent and honest to the best of your capabilities. There’s an art to that. I won’t go into too much detail there, but I think it’s important to be transparent and then create a customer success plan. And the question is, you can go ahead and type this in because I’ve asked this question of you guys before. So in the Q and A box, go ahead and type in your answer.
[00:17:40.810] – James Kernan
So the first question is, how many of you had a business plan? I asked you that question back in session one. So I asked you that before, and most of you answered, no, I don’t have a business plan. Okay? And it’s okay because I gave you a business plan.
[00:17:57.110] – James Kernan
So technically, now I have a business plan. The next question is, what do you think the answer is going to be when you ask your cook, your customer? Okay. How many of your customers have a business plan? And I’ll just say it this way.
[00:18:13.630] – James Kernan
Most of the time, in my experience, has doing this for a long time, 30 years, I would say over 50% of the businesses that you work with, and those are small, mid size, and enterprise businesses. Over 50% typically will say, yes, I’ve got a business plan. I have a business plan. How many of you have goals? Well, most everybody is going to raise their hand, I’ve got goals.
[00:18:38.510] – James Kernan
Okay. And then the real question is how many of you have a technology plan that’s going to help you meet and exceed your three to five year goals? How many of you have that? And very rarely I’ve ever ran into any end user, prospect or customer that raised their handle. Yeah, I have a technology plan because most of them don’t.
[00:19:00.760] – James Kernan
And this is one of the values that we bring to the table. We can help them with that. Okay? I’m not talking about a 50 page technology business plan. We’ve got the tools through the assessments that we do to make building out a technology plan really good.
[00:19:18.110] – James Kernan
And if we have a business conversation with the prospect instead of a technology conversation and understand, is the plan to grow, is the plan to shrink? Is the plan to stay the same? How much data do they have? How much data do we need to back up? How much storage do they need?
[00:19:38.800] – James Kernan
Is it on prem or is it up in the cloud? So as you’re asking all these questions, I already know you’re architecting a solution that either they have in place now or they’ll need to scale into, or maybe they need to do a rip and replace. And you’re thinking of those things right from the very first meeting. I know that. So we just need to get some of the basics in a plan for them once they become a client.
[00:20:05.810] – James Kernan
And that’s the plan that we kind of work from moving forward. So I’ll talk a little bit more about that customer success plan. So creating that customer success plan, you can start with baby steps. After you onboard a client, you just want to create kind of a quick 90 day plan, hey, we’re going to do onboard. You get everything normally there’s a project involved, like a remediation project of updating some of the hardware that they had or updating some of the software there, or adding some things.
[00:20:40.350] – James Kernan
Most of the time with onboarding new clients, there’s a project involved. And once you kind of get past that, hopefully it’s at the 90 day mark. You sit down and have a quick review, hey, how are we doing? Then you can kind of start this process that I’m talking about. But the idea is, in the beginning, just start with baby steps.
[00:20:58.270] – James Kernan
It’s a 90 day plan. Let’s just get through the first 90 days because as all of you know, what’s the hardest time period with any client? It’s the first 90 days. It’s getting to know you. It’s getting them to work inside your process and you training them, onboarding them, and getting them over the hump so things really smooth out.
[00:21:18.670] – James Kernan
So that’s kind of what I’m talking about. So create a list of goals and KPIs for the quarter and then kind of think of it from whatever the frequency is that you’re going to meet with them. Think of it at one step at a time in the beginning and then we are going to want to kind of build out more of a three to five year plan as you can. I’ll talk about that here in step four. But define the strategies of how you overcome any of the roadblocks.
[00:21:47.140] – James Kernan
You want to identify those as you’re going through this, and then look for new opportunities of other products or services that you have to bring to the table. And that’s what I call the service matrix. If any of you had read ahead at the workbook that I shared for session four, one of the handouts in the workbook was what I call the service matrix. I’ll show you an example here as we get towards the end of today’s session. But essentially it’s identifying here’s all the services that my company provides.
[00:22:20.470] – James Kernan
Let’s just say there are ten of them. And then here’s all the customers on the top part of the graph. Customer one, customer two, customer three. And then of customer one, how many of those ten services do they do? And normally, like your first or second, your biggest customers do most everything that you do or all the things that you do.
[00:22:39.320] – James Kernan
And then as you go down the stack, maybe not so much. But the idea is to identify what services they’re using and which ones they should be using and using that to cross sell and upsell into providing more services for them as part of your normal meeting frequency. That’s number three. And then if applicable, paint a picture of how to use technology to help them meet exceed their three to five year goals. So this is back to the comment I made a moment ago about understanding where the business wants to go and then paint the picture because none of your competitors are doing this.
[00:23:17.180] – James Kernan
It’s like, look, if I can create a technology roadmap that’s going to help you on your business goals, your three to five year goals, if I can create a technology plan that’s going to get you there, is that what kind of partner that you’re looking for? And we all know the answer is absolutely yes. That’s exactly what they want. Most of your competitors are out there, are just trying to scrape by and keep them month over month to be a customer. They’re just doing the minimum of what they need to just scoot by and have them not quit their plan.
[00:23:51.830] – James Kernan
And I want to challenge you, at least for your top three accounts, top five accounts. Try to implement some of the things I’m talking about here. It’s going to look like a lot when we dig into the agenda. You can scale it way back, but this is a really good, solid, best practice approach for you to make that customer for life and to grow and drive more business through that customer, okay? Because typically by the time they become a customer again, they like you, trust you, and they know what you do in most cases.
[00:24:25.980] – James Kernan
So we want to create that success plan. So here’s a three page strategic business review. So this is a QBR agenda that I’m going to walk through. This is page one, and if any of you have ever read the book Traction in Q and A, go ahead and just type in yes or no. But the book Traction gino Wickman wrote a book probably about 1012 years ago, and it was really about the EOS.
[00:24:57.540] – James Kernan
It’s the entrepreneur’s operating system for all of us techy guys. That’s the operating system for your business. Just like Dos or Windows, the operating system for your computer. This is the operating system for your business. I loved the tie into tech, and I’m an EOS implementer, so I’ve done a lot of EOS implementations.
[00:25:17.230] – James Kernan
If you’ve not read the book, it’s a really good book. It’s a really good book from a structure standpoint. And one of the key things that they have as a takeaway in the book is what they call the level ten format, the meeting agenda. And it’s really how you manage your staff is what that is. For internal meetings, it’s a 90 day meeting, weekly frequency, and there’s a set agenda every single time.
[00:25:43.740] – James Kernan
Start on time, end on time. And the meeting is very upbeat and fast. So this closely resembles a level ten meeting agenda if you read the book and we’ll catch on to that. So here’s what the agenda looks like. So five minutes, quick check in, how’s everybody doing, what’s going on?
[00:26:07.800] – James Kernan
What’s new? And then dig right into the scorecard. And I like the scorecard because this is the analytics of what you’re doing. If you have set any kind of goals, I’m going to try to reduce the ticket count from 50 tickets down to 40 tickets. By doing some training this quarter, we want to better educate your end users.
[00:26:29.400] – James Kernan
And you’ve got some measurable things that you can do. Start with the numbers first because that’s typically the results. So start with the numbers. That’s a quick scorecard to me. It’s one of the more important ones, even though it’s listed as optional.
[00:26:45.810] – James Kernan
And then you can look at some relevant metrics like BDR stats, patch stats, customer Satisfaction results, storage, AV stats. Don’t bore them with the details. A good one is the office 365 secure score. So those are something measurable that most decision makers when they’re looking at just like that assessment review. Green is good, yellow is failing.
[00:27:11.680] – James Kernan
I’m sorry, yellow is warning and red is failing. A scorecard is a very similar thing, like, hey, I want to know if I’m doing good or not, or I want to know if I’m improving, okay? I just want to make progress. Meeting over meeting. This is how you do it.
[00:27:28.410] – James Kernan
The next five minutes is any open action items. Maybe carry over items from the last meeting and then project status update. Oh yeah, I’m supposed to deploy ten new desktops. We got to that last month and completed that in two days. You’re going to want to talk about things like that.
[00:27:48.210] – James Kernan
So then the 15 minutes interval here is the client updates and changes. What’s changing in the environment in the next 18 months, in the future? What’s changing in the industry? Again, have a little bit of a business conversation. These are great lead questions to just ask, is the business growing or shrinking?
[00:28:08.270] – James Kernan
Adding employees, locations? Any new evolving technology that you’re interested in learning more about or you’re planning to implement? I need to be a part of that. And then a quick environment at a glance. Look at the asset report.
[00:28:23.890] – James Kernan
Here are some examples of what you could be doing during this 15 minutes. Okay? And then the bulk of this is really the review of exposure and risk. So you see the 45 minutes here. This is a 90 minutes format.
[00:28:39.010] – James Kernan
I’d always say anything in between 60 and 90 minutes is good. Anything longer than that is too long. And normally anything shorter than that, you’re not going over enough of the data points. But the exposure and risk, this is really where you may be taking a quick look at the latest risk assessment. We’ve all got the tools to provide things like that.
[00:29:02.730] – James Kernan
Look at security upgrades or recommendations, lifecycle upgrades, product operating system or hardware, end of life, the life cycles of what standard that maybe that company is using. You want to make sure you’re trying to bring those things to the table and doing some research. That’s harder and harder to do today with all of the supply chain challenges. But normally if you’re working with your supply chain or distributors, value added distributors, or your manufacturers, you can gather. That data really pretty easily present and review a budget.
[00:29:45.230] – James Kernan
I like talking budgets with the customers and proposed projects so you know how much you have to work with if you’re able to get into that part of the conversation and then if there’s any issues to resolve, this is the IDs identify, solve and discuss. If you’ve got time for that and then just kind of wrap up. You want to schedule the next meeting and then kind of move on. So this is a sample agenda. There is a ton of stuff on here but I wanted to kind of create this for you so you know what you should be doing in each one of these in the very beginning.
[00:30:21.110] – James Kernan
If you’ve never used this type of format for a QBR scale it way back. Make it really simple. Okay? So if it’s too hard then you’re never going to do it again. Or if it took you too long to prepare, you’re never going to want to do it again.
[00:30:35.830] – James Kernan
So keep it simple in the beginning and a lot of this has enormous value to the customer and use as much of this as you possibly can. That’s my point. So here’s something else that I wanted to share. Normally this simple cost benefit analysis. This is one of the handouts that I had in session four.
[00:30:58.890] – James Kernan
This is really good when it relates to you giving a pitch. So during the QBR you identified, hey, we’ve got several servers that are end of life. We’re going to need to upgrade the hardware. When we upgrade the software, we’re going to have to move some data around. I’m going to put a project proposal together for you of how many hours that will take and what the cost of the product is.
[00:31:22.970] – James Kernan
And if it’s something bigger and it’s something that the customer is like, I’m going to have to think about that. This is a good exercise to use. It’s really a cost benefit analysis template where you just kind of fill in the blanks and it typically will tell you what the total cost is over the lifecycle of the product and what the potential return would be if applicable. But I like using this kind of thing on bigger projects, not necessarily on recurring revenue subscriptions. That typically doesn’t work out very well.
[00:32:00.360] – James Kernan
It’s more for projects. For those of you that are selling projects along with your managed it okay. So this template is one of the handouts. I encourage you to check that out. This is something that my businesses have used and a lot of the one on one clients that I coach and the peer groups use this type of tool when we’re proposing bigger projects.
[00:32:23.250] – James Kernan
So QBR best practices, it’s really important just come in prepared.
[00:32:31.590] – James Kernan
When I interview business owners and I interview sales professionals and we talk about QBRs, it’s 100% of the time when I ask them how often are you doing your quality business reviews. We don’t really do them very often. Why? Explain that? What’s the agenda?
[00:32:53.170] – James Kernan
What’s the process? Well, you know, the Him and Han, we kind of go over this or the ticket count and it’s like, well, you’re not prepared. If you’re not prepared and you don’t bring meaningful value, then you’re wasting your customers time and they’re not going to want to meet with you anymore and you’re wasting a huge opportunity. So again, it doesn’t need to be as glorious as that full agenda I just showed you. Just grab as many of those things as you’re comfortable with and then just start with the first one and make it meaningful.
[00:33:26.640] – James Kernan
Give them that data. But it’s a great sales environment when you can tell the customer, here’s where we’re at, here’s where we are going, here’s what we should be doing in having that budget conversation with them. And you’re looking at things 6912 months into the future or more.
[00:33:48.430] – James Kernan
Selling gets really easy. And when selling gets really, really hard is when you’re 100% reacting. When you’re in there not meeting with them, talking about the future. You’re in there fixing something that just broke because you never brought it up to them in your last meeting three months ago and you knew they should have done it, you just didn’t have the time to present it to them. Okay, and I’m guilty of that.
[00:34:11.260] – James Kernan
We’ve all been busy and are busy, but everything starts with you just being prepared, coming in with an agenda. And also invite the right people into the meeting, the decision maker, the decision influencers the people that this impacts. Okay? You’re going to want to make sure that they’re all invited. And even if they don’t attend, you can copy them in on the notes.
[00:34:36.020] – James Kernan
When you send notes over, like, here was the agenda, here’s what we covered. Thanks for meeting with me today. Here’s the people in attendance and here’s the ones who weren’t there. But just keep them in the loop so you’re educating them on your progress and what’s happening. And just remember I’ve said this a lot already, but it’s a business conversation, not a technology conversation.
[00:35:00.670] – James Kernan
If you can, if you’re comfortable with this, you want to try to talk budget. And when you’re looking at the frequency of the QBRs and one of the key items that you’re talking about is what the technology plan is. They might have a big software renewal coming up next year where they might have some end of life hardware or software, some other things that you need to replace in six months. Plan that out ahead of time so you know what’s coming and you get them in the project queue, get them quotes early. The likelihood of you winning business on quotes for project 6912 months in advance and you’re the one telling them this is what they need to do and approximately here’s how much it will cost.
[00:35:45.740] – James Kernan
They’ll budget that out and you’re going to get the business. It’s not something that’s going to go out to bid, typically, and you wonder if you’re going to get that deal or not. And then if you can, based on what’s going on in the world or in your local community. I was like trying to have these meetings face to face. It’s an intimate part of your relationship with a client that you’re sharing the good, the bad, the ugly, and it’s an opportunity for you to get to know them better.
[00:36:17.150] – James Kernan
So at all possible, always try to be face to face physically in the meeting if you’re allowed, or at least do some type of interaction where you’re looking eyeball to eyeball in a video meeting. But I like doing it face to face.
[00:36:34.150] – James Kernan
The meeting itself, short and sweet, 60 to 90 minutes. And you guys saw the agenda. There was a lot of stuff there. The important thing is you want to keep it upbeat and keep it entertaining and move through the data points and let the data tell the story to the best of your capabilities. You don’t want to just him and haw and drag things out and try to fill up an hour meeting and not present relevant information.
[00:37:00.550] – James Kernan
You can get through a lot of content, valuable content, in 60 to 90 minutes if you keep it upbeat. So start on time. Try to end on time to the best of your capabilities. Always be honest and open with feedback and to feedback both negative and positive. Sometimes that’s hard.
[00:37:23.130] – James Kernan
Nobody likes hearing about a complaint about your practice. I always like to ask, hey, what else can we do to get better? We had a run in last month with one of your employees and here’s what happened. I think we overcame that. We trained them.
[00:37:41.620] – James Kernan
Now things are good. What else can we do? What else can we do to go above and beyond and make sure we get five star service on every opportunity and solicit that feedback? If you can encourage collaboration, you want to make this as interactive as you can. They’re not thinking speeds and feeds and servers and software.
[00:38:07.550] – James Kernan
They’re thinking of what the business has to do in order for them to meet those goals. So have that conversation and find out, hey, how is the economy affecting your business? What are you guys doing to market your business? Some of the stuff that we’re talking about here is great conversation pieces to kind of mix in and scatter in any communications that you have with your customers and your prospects. And then what do you do when a customer says no to your recommendations?
[00:38:38.510] – James Kernan
Go ahead and type in the Q and A box. I kind of like to see what do you do if the customer says no? Especially like if you’ve got some, hey, we need to upgrade your backup and recovery device. We need to implement some additional security precautions because it feels like we’re vulnerable in these areas. Normally the QBR meetings is where you’re presenting these type of proposals or proposed projects.
[00:39:09.640] – James Kernan
You’re having those discussions. What do you guys do?
[00:39:14.730] – James Kernan
Okay, so David, we present them a document to sign and let them think about what they’ve done. Exactly. That’s exactly it. I’m going to show you that here next, in just a minute. There was a question Dan asked and I missed this.
[00:39:30.280] – James Kernan
Do you share the agenda with them? Yes, I like sharing the agenda with them. So I put all the data points on there for you guys. You guys kind of pick what you want, but I do like when I schedule the appointment and I send the email meeting request, if you can attach the agenda to it or at a bare minimum, make sure and just educate them that, hey, the agenda is going to be similar or almost identical every single time we meet. We won’t have to dig into each one of these categories, but here’s what the agenda will look like moving forward.
[00:40:03.170] – James Kernan
So, yeah, great question, Dan. Thank you.
[00:40:07.530] – James Kernan
All right, so I just wanted to read through the rest of the comments and questions. Here’s a good denial of services letter. Okay? So when you make a recommendation and they say no. Okay.
[00:40:25.970] – James Kernan
Another way of getting them to say yes is say. Look. I’m required by my cyber security insurance company that if we need to make the following recommendations and if you say no to those. I need to kind of cover my tail legally and just make sure that I presented these to you and it’s up to you whether you accept those or not. As a technology professional, I would recommend, yes, you should do these things, but if you just don’t have in the budget, I understand, but I can’t accept the legal responsibility for this.
[00:40:58.960] – James Kernan
This is your decision. Okay. So it’s a really nice sales way of pointing the finger at the big bad guy, the insurance company. And if you read the very first line, in order to comply with our cyber liability errors and emissions insurance policy, we must recommend that your organization have certain things in place. And here’s what they are.
[00:41:22.930] – James Kernan
And then the very bottom I’ll let you so this template is actually in the handout section as well, but this is where I’ve seen this work really well. And you explain this to them and say, I would just need you to sign this if you can, before I leave. Or if you need someone to review it, let me know. And then they’re like, okay, hold on, James. All right, hold on, air partner.
[00:41:46.210] – James Kernan
Let’s talk about this proposal again. How much is this again? And why do I need to do this? If you’re making me sign this denial of services letter for your insurance company, it must be pretty important. So maybe I missed something.
[00:42:00.000] – James Kernan
Okay, so it’s a great way to make a customer change a no to a yes. To me, that’s really the primary objective of this. And also, furthermore, you do need to limit your liability with a lot of your clients, and this is a great way of doing it as well. I’ve seen dozens of different copies of Denial of Services letters. This one is really nice because it’s not saying, I’m making you do this and I’m the bad guy.
[00:42:29.670] – James Kernan
The insurance company is the bad guy. I’m the one paying my big premium. I need to comply. And if I’m not in compliance, then you need to sign a waiver here. So that’s basically how to explain it.
[00:42:42.440] – James Kernan
I hope that makes sense. Okay. And kind of getting back to the goals, the KPIs things that we want to measure, I love this quote because it’s absolutely spot on. Whatever gets measured gets improved, right? If you’re going to take time to start measuring something, it’s going to get improved.
[00:43:04.060] – James Kernan
And as you move forward, this is exactly the kind of data points that you want to be sharing with your customers and your prospects. Okay, so I promised here’s the service matrix that I talked about probably about 20 minutes ago. This is something in preparation of your QBRs that you should always be doing. I would never show a customer this, but I would have this data in front of me so I know what services the customer currently has and what I can cross sell and upsell to them. So again, just to recap on the far left column, service one might be managed It.
[00:43:40.570] – James Kernan
Service two might be my managed security as an overlay on the managed services. Service three might be managed backup. Four might be phones. Five might be cabling services. Remember how I said customers must like you, trust you, and know what you do?
[00:43:59.650] – James Kernan
Many times our customers don’t know what you do. They might like you and trust you, but in a gentle, educational way. You always need to be selling them in positioning the services that maybe they’re not using. And sometimes we need to go through this service matrix. My number one customer, my number two customer, my number three, just mark down what services they’re already using and then come in armed with that data.
[00:44:28.600] – James Kernan
It’s like, hey, they’re not using our managed backup, or we don’t really do phone support for them. Let’s maybe try to position that and cater your marketing around that. So this is a really simple exercise. It should be something that your team can help you with. It doesn’t have to be something that you do.
[00:44:46.570] – James Kernan
So maybe make one of your team members put this matrix together. I gave you a copy of this in the handouts in session four, but I love this because it’s a great way to understand where your customers today and as part of their plan, your roadmap for them, you’re going to cross sell and upsell them into other services that you know they need. Okay, so we got a little bit of time left. I wanted to talk a little bit more about the annual marketing plan. Remember I gave you a couple of templates in the very first session there was the 90 day plan that just had a couple of blank spaces for you to put a couple of key things in there of what you should be doing.
[00:45:26.060] – James Kernan
And then this is the annual plan. This document is a couple of pages but it basically is a twelve month plan. I’m going to zoom in on this so you see what it is. So this is January and February. There’s a couple of things that all of you should be doing anyway because it can be free.
[00:45:48.670] – James Kernan
Number one, the very first campaign that all of you should be doing are QBRs. All of you should be meeting with your current customers. I’m sure that you do it already. You might just go meet them for coffee. That’s okay.
[00:46:02.500] – James Kernan
Keep that going. Go to lunch, go meet them in their office, your office, it doesn’t really matter. But have some kind of regular frequency that you have set up with them and try to make those QBRs a little bit more meaningful. Implement some of the things that we’ve talked about. And this is an opportunity for you to cross sell and upsell the other services that you have.
[00:46:24.560] – James Kernan
So just a friendly reminder here’s the spreadsheet, the campaign name, QBR. The purpose is to cross sell other services. The timing, when are we going to launch the campaign? We’re going to be doing it all the time. So it’s the entire month.
[00:46:40.210] – James Kernan
The listing segments, all your top level clients. What are the products and services that I’m trying to sell? It just says varies. And then what’s the special offer? It varies.
[00:46:52.120] – James Kernan
It depends on what the customer is currently doing and what they should be doing. What you recommend to them. Okay, this is a real simple. So this is a copy of the annual business plan. QBRs should be on every single person’s.
[00:47:08.470] – James Kernan
The easiest campaign, the second easiest campaign is the referral promotion. Okay? That’s down here I have this listed referral promotion. You should be doing referrals all the time. All of you get referrals.
[00:47:22.400] – James Kernan
It can be just you at the end of your meeting with the happy client. Hey, is there anybody like minded like you that could benefit from our goods and services that we sell you or anybody that you can think of other business owners in the community that might benefit? I’d love a referral if you can think of anybody. So ask for a referral. First of all, if you’re shy, we’ve talked about this before.
[00:47:51.040] – James Kernan
Put it in your email signature line. Okay? In the very bottom of the email signature line, instead of a tagline you could say, hey referrals the greatest compliment of all time. Or I’m never too busy for a referral, ask them for a referral. Another thing I’ve seen people do is like on the back of their business cards.
[00:48:11.000] – James Kernan
On the back of their business card, just say, I’m never too busy for a referral. Or click this QR code to enter our referral promotion. I don’t think you need to pay money or motivate people to give you referrals. If they like you and trust you, they’re going to give you referrals. Case in point, there was a client of mine came, really good friends, and it was like, I’m going to implement this referral promotion.
[00:48:37.960] – James Kernan
I heard this idea at this conference. Everybody that gives me a referral, I’m going to give him a $50 Home Depot gift card. If it’s a guy, great. I tried to give this guy a $50 gift card. He got pissed at me.
[00:48:51.980] – James Kernan
He was upset. He goes, James, I like you. You don’t need to give me something. I’m just trying to help you succeed. So use your common sense.
[00:48:59.470] – James Kernan
What you can do is send them a thank you note, a handwritten thank you note, and say, hey, I just wanted to let you know I appreciated the referral. I followed up with them right away. I met with them on Monday and we’ve already sold a project to them and I’m very grateful. Thank you so much. That’s all you have to do.
[00:49:18.130] – James Kernan
And now you’re in position to get ten more referrals from the same guy because you thanked them, you shared your gratitude, appreciation, and more specifically, you told them what happened. Nobody wants to hand a referral off to someone and then them never follow up on it, right? Like those stats we were looking at. So number two, the other thing that should be in everybody’s marketing plan are referrals. Okay?
[00:49:42.040] – James Kernan
Have referrals, employee referrals, customer referrals, vendor referrals. Another easy thing I wanted to highlight real quick. There’s two other things. One is an e newsletter. All of you should be doing an e newsletter.
[00:49:56.800] – James Kernan
You can go out and get content for free from TechCrunch.com or from your partner community, your distributors, your manufacturers. There’s all sorts of alert services or subscription services. Like Microsoft has one that they’ll send out this current updates of what’s going on with their product stack. Take some that are relevant for your practice and you can either do this yourself or you can out task it or outsource it. Do it yourself.
[00:50:26.840] – James Kernan
Just cut and paste three quick relevant articles, drop it into a template and email everybody. Customers and prospects, everybody in your email marketing database. You can sign up for MailChimp or constant contact for free, up to a certain number of contacts. I think it’s about $2,000. It’s free, just takes a little bit of time and you can control the content if that’s what you want.
[00:50:53.240] – James Kernan
For about $150 a month. You can outsource it to a company where they write your content for you. They’ll create your template. They’ll update it, they’ll even customize it. If you have a webinar or an event that you want to highlight, an open house or come see me, speak at the chamber of commerce breakfast.
[00:51:10.940] – James Kernan
They’ll help you. You just tell them what you want in there, put that in the e newsletter, and then they’ll email out of their own email platform. They’ll email all the people you tell them to email, and they also keep track of the analytics and we’ll share with you. So to me that’s a pretty good bargain at $150 a month. If anybody wants ideas of where and who, just reach out to me.
[00:51:35.420] – James Kernan
I’ll let you know. At a minimum, those are three things that everybody should be doing because you’re meeting with your regular clients. The e newsletter once a month goes out to everybody in your marketing database, customers and prospects. And referrals, you always want referrals. So at a bare minimum, that’s kind of the bargain basement.
[00:51:57.490] – James Kernan
There’s a couple of other things like this. Social media is important. Where is it? I’m looking for the real time, okay, security alert, email. So I think I’ve talked about this a little bit already, but this is another idea that you could do.
[00:52:15.800] – James Kernan
So create a simple template. It could be Kerning consulting, real time security alerts, and a picture of my face or picture of our logo. And then you just have a basic template and you can sign up for all sorts of microsoft has one, krebs has a really good security alert, msspalert.com has a really good security alert. So just be on the lookout for relevant information about some new ransomware attack or virus or the latest and greatest hack. And if it’s a big vulnerability that you are concerned with, here’s the idea, here’s what the template should look like.
[00:53:00.990] – James Kernan
So you cut and paste that article, you drop it in your template, and it basically says, here’s something really bad going on with the Microsoft operating system. Everybody needs to be on high alert. And then the template part says, but rest assured, if you’re a managed client of mine, we’ve already taken care of this for you. But if you’re not and you need to follow these five steps of taking initiative and fixing this yourself, or better yet, just call our help desk, we’ll walk you through this. And it’s a prospecting opportunity by you doing the real time security alerts.
[00:53:39.470] – James Kernan
The trick with this is just you got to kind of be on alert, be set up in advance. So the faster you cut and paste, drop at your template and get it out real time. Normally it has to be within 24 hours of something bad happening. If you wait too long, it takes all the fizzle out of it. You want to be the thought leader that they heard it first from you.
[00:54:03.890] – James Kernan
I would never send more than maybe one a month out, maybe one every two months. This is an interesting campaign to consider. Again, it’s free. You just have to make a little bit of time and create the template ahead of time and you can send it out of your email marketing tool. So there’s a lot of other good things in this list that you could take a look at.
[00:54:26.110] – James Kernan
So if you’ve only created your 90 day plan and you want to get a couple more things in that plan, here’s a couple of the ideas that I already shared with you. Okay? All right, so Jim asked, did you say the Mssp.com it was? Mspalert.com is the alert service, I’m pretty sure. And then David asked, what’s the nine word email campaign?
[00:54:55.130] – James Kernan
David email my office and I have a little template that explains what that is. Whoever wants that campaign example, it’s a real simple idea of just an email marketing campaign using nine words or less. So email me and I’ll forward that template over to you. Okay? So I’m going to go ahead and wrap up or get close to the top of the hour.
[00:55:16.620] – James Kernan
So, homework. I want you to think about what your QBR process looks like. Identify. Maybe these are the first three customers that I want to try this on. And create your own QBR agenda.
[00:55:29.820] – James Kernan
Keep it simple in the beginning. Remember to take baby steps. So keep it simple. Review that denial of services letter that I provided for you. I think it’s a very well written document that points the fingers at the big insurance company, not you as being the bad guy.
[00:55:48.230] – James Kernan
Don’t shoot the messenger guy, right? You’re just the messenger. Identify the tools that you would need to make these meetings easy. I’ve seen some people spend up ten plus hours preparing for Qdrs, and that’s way too much time. You should have the tools and the reports in place to be able to pull that quickly and build an agenda, build a presentation if that’s what you want to do.
[00:56:13.880] – James Kernan
Or have handouts. Make a simple process. Okay? I think that’s really important. And then take a look at that services review and consider doing that with your top five or top ten customers.
[00:56:25.910] – James Kernan
Trust me, it’s a great way to identify. It’s like, oh my gosh, I can’t believe our biggest customer doesn’t do X, Y, and Z. I never even thought of it. When it’s in black and white and it’s in front of you, all of a sudden you get really smart and it’s an opportunity for you to sell more. All right, so remember, we’re selling the problem that we solve, not the product.
[00:56:51.320] – James Kernan
We’re not there having a technology conversation. It’s a business conversation. So just in conclusion, to kind of wrap up, we talked about the QBR process. We talked about the annual marketing plan and some of the ideas as more lead generators for you with current customers and with prospects. We talked about the service matrix and how you can use that we talked about the denial of services letter, so please review those documents.
[00:57:20.210] – James Kernan
Next steps. Our fifth training is coming up next week, same time, 11:00 on Tuesday. So hopefully we’ll see everybody back at that time. If any of you want any of the documents that I talked about or you have questions, call me. I’m here to help you guys be more successful.
[00:57:42.080] – James Kernan
So there’s my number. I’m at extension 10 one or email me, [email protected] I would love to hear from you or connect out on social media as well. Okay, so thanks everybody. Good.
[00:57:56.140] – James Kernan
Great training today. We’ll see you back next week. Okay? Take care. Bye.