Episode 234: How to market your MSP to a vertical

Episode 234 May 06, 2024 00:41:23
Episode 234: How to market your MSP to a vertical
Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Episode 234: How to market your MSP to a vertical

May 06 2024 | 00:41:23

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Hosted By

Paul Green

Show Notes

Episode 234

Welcome to the MSP Marketing Podcast with me, Paul Green. This is THE show if you want to grow your MSP. This week’s show includes:

Featured guest:

Thank you to Dr. Kevin Gazzara, leadership coach and Senior Partner of Magna Leadership Solutions, for joining me to talk about how MSP owners can keep their staff happy, make them feel valued, and increase their productivity – without spending a penny.

Dr. Kevin Gazzara is the Senior Partner of Magna Leadership Solutions established in 2007, and the coauthor of the acclaimed books “The Leader of OZ” and “Ready, Set, Get Hired”. He is an ICF certified coach, and a certified Positive Intelligence (PQ) Mental Fitness coach and founder of CoachSultants.com. Kevin has taught and developed Management and Leadership career-changing programs in the corporate world during his 18 years at Intel Corporation and as a University professor at 6 Universities over the last 28 years. Dr. Gazzara’s work has been recognized for his international leadership development programs by Workforce Magazine, https://magnaleader.co/LTP. Kevin’s passion is in helping individuals find the leader within themselves.

Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevingazzara/

Extra show notes:

Transcription:

NB this transcription has been generated by an AI tool and provided as-is.

Speaker 1 (00:00): Fresh every Tuesday

Speaker 2 (00:02): For MSPs around the world, around the world. This is Paul Green’s MSP Marketing podcast.

Speaker 1 (00:09): Hey, welcome back to the show. Here’s what I got in store for you this week.

Speaker 3 (00:13): Hi, I’m Dr. Kevin Gazzara and I have found a way quantitatively to identify how to keep your people, how to retain them, and it won’t cost you a dime. Listen to Paul’s podcast to figure out how to do that.

Speaker 1 (00:28): And on top of that fascinating interview with Kevin. We’re also going to be looking at

Speaker 2 (00:31): The power

Speaker 1 (00:32): Of deadlines to get things done.

Speaker 2 (00:36): Paul Green’s MSP marketing podcast.

Speaker 1 (00:40): Let’s talk about marketing to different verticals such as CPAs or accountants or lawyers or veterinarians or dentists or something like that. Now maybe you have a couple of verticals already in your MSP. Maybe you are completely vertically focused or more likely you have a general client base, but you’ve got a couple of verticals. You fell into a vertical almost by accident because you picked up two lawyers. And so for you, lawyers is your vertical. Now having a vertical is a very, very powerful thing to do for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s so much easier for you to know who the leads are. So let’s say you are based in, I don’t know, Los Angeles and you want lawyers in Los Angeles and we’ve all watched the Lincoln Lawyer on Netflix, right? Or we’ve read the book so we know there are lots of lawyers in Los Angeles.

(01:32) My point is it’s a lot easier to know who they are. You can find a directory or a Google listing or just go out there and get lists of who these people are. And so verticals make it very easy for you to know it’s a finite market. Very easy for you to know who are those people, where are they? What are their contact details? So it’s easy to know who the leads are. It’s a lot easier to reach them because you’ve got their contact details. You can direct market to them. You can send them stuff in the mail, you can email them, you can reach out to them on LinkedIn. You probably know that they’re going to specific events. There must be networking meetings for lawyers in Los Angeles. I bet that’s an interesting meeting, but you get the idea. The most exciting thing about having a vertical is that you can make your marketing message highly relevant to them.

(02:18) And that’s the thing that makes verticalization. To use a made up word verticalization is the best because it’s relevant. So if I’m a lawyer in LA and I see some marketing from an MSP that says something about my legal practice in California, then that is incredibly, or it feels incredibly relevant to me. And that’s the trick that we’re trying to pull off with our vertical marketing. Now the other thing to bear in mind with marketing to a vertical is that the best clients prefer to buy the highest quality. And if you can demonstrate that you understand their world and that you are relevant to them, they will perceive that you are a higher quality. So if they’re looking at two MSPs, one of them just deals with any business, that’s what their marketing says. And the other one just deals with lawyers in Los Angeles.

(03:09) They will perceive that the MSP who just deals with lawyers in Los Angeles is an expert at them and what they do and therefore is better quality. And they will basically, well, they’re more likely to choose you. And once they’ve chosen you, they’re more likely to pay you more as well. Because when we find something we perceive is of a higher quality, we are happy to pay more for it. So relevance is a big part of this. And what I really wanted to talk about in this bit was how you need to demonstrate that in your marketing. So a lot of MSPs, their approach to verticalization is just to have a page on the website. You’ve got a page for lawyers, a page for dentists, a page for manufacturers, whatever. I think if you are really going to go after a vertical, it is worth you investing more, spending more time, and really going for it.

(04:01) For example, rather than just having a page on your website, you have a whole website, and that might just be a one page website, but it has its very specific domain. So it could be it for lawyers la.com for example, and that’s just a one page website. And a one page website still has navigation at the top. But what happens is when you click on, let’s say the about us button up at the top, it kind of jumps down to a piece of anchor text. Further down you get the idea. So you haven’t got three, four pages, you’ve got just one page, but you definitely have a website just for your vertical. You might choose to have two or three different LinkedIn profiles. You might have one that’s for your general audience, and then you might have a LinkedIn profile just for your vertical. I’ll let you into a secret.

(04:43) I have two active LinkedIns. So if you and I are connected on LinkedIn, and if we are not just go and Google Paul Green, MSP marketing LinkedIn and you’ll find me. But if we are connected on LinkedIn, that’s my MSP specific LinkedIn. Now I started that in 2016, intending it just to be the audience of people I wanted to speak to within the channel. So it’s just vendors and it’s just MSPs. I do have a second LinkedIn, which you are probably not fine, but that’s for my general stuff. So that’s my LinkedIn I’ve had for like 15 years. It’s just my general connections. I don’t use it for marketing, if that makes sense. So I have a very vertical specific LinkedIn. It’s good marketing to do that. What else would you have? You’d have your email list as well. Now, this is easy. You don’t need to have a separate CRM if you’ve got a vertical within your existing CRM, you just segment the data.

(05:33) So you might have lots of general email addresses, but you would then have a load of let’s say lawyer addresses and you just segment those within a list or a collection or by tag or however it works in your CRM. And that means that you can send an email just to the lawyers if you want to. And then you can send a separate version of that email to your general list. And of course, within your CRM, you can set up a little safety guard as well so that if you’ve emailed the lawyers, you exclude them from the list of the general businesses that you send. That would be a smart thing to do. Now, there are a couple of other things if you really wanted to go for the vertical that you would do, one of them is this, you would do a podcast. Doing a podcast to your vertical is super smart marketing because again, it tells them that you are an expert at their world.

(06:23) So within their world, obviously it allows you to talk to them and broadcast a very relevant message. The other smart thing that you can do with the podcast, and I don’t do this just so you are clear, but what some MSPs do, and this is a smart thing to do, is you invite potential future clients on as guests of your podcast. So let’s say you had a podcast and it was IT or technology for lawyers in la, you would then contact some lawyers in LA and invite them to come and be guests. So you’d say to them, Hey, if you’re not chasing ambulances tomorrow, would you like to come and be a guest on my podcast? It’s about technology for lawyers in la. I’d love to have you on. And the reason for you connecting with them, and ideally you’d meet up and physically record it with them.

(07:07) The reason for doing that is not to fill up your podcast with content. It’s because you then get an hour quality time with someone that could one day become a client. Do you see the smarts of that? Right? So it’s like an intense sales meeting dressed up as a podcast, and obviously you do put the podcast out with their interview, but they will, well, they will perceive you to be a very important expert at what you do because experts do podcasts, experts do videos, experts write experts produce content. And if you could do, even if you did a podcast once every two or three weeks, do that for a couple of years and not only will that in itself start to bring you business, but as I say, you can get some really good guests on there and some of those guests will choose you because you’re the smart choice.

(07:54) And you can do the similar kind of thing with YouTube. And obviously YouTube is a little bit more, you’ve got to put more resources into it because these days you can start just doing a YouTube video with your phone, but once you start bringing in guests, you need to mic people up properly. You need to do lighting properly, you need to do video properly. But that could be as simple as someone with a video camera filming you and a lawyer walking along a street in LA talking about technology and their life and all of that kind of stuff. And as long as you’ve got wireless mics and a half decent camera, that will be all right. And doing it outside sort of gets past all the lighting problems. But YouTube obviously the bigger investment to those and audio podcasts are very easy to do. Now, what’s exciting, because what we’re talking about here is marketing to a vertical and doing it really well, what’s exciting is you can do this to multiple verticals at the same time.

(08:42) I actually pulled off this trick in my last business. So this was a marketing agency. I started in 2005. I sold it in 2016, and we worked with three verticals. We worked with veterinarians, dentists and opticians or optometrists. We had three websites actually we had nine websites. We had a general website, we had a website, and then we had two other websites that sold a specific service. And we did that for each vertical. So we had nine websites, we had three LinkedIns, we had three Facebook groups, and we didn’t do podcasts, but we were just starting to dip our toes into YouTube. And that was a lot of work, but the veterinarians didn’t know about the dentists who didn’t know about the opticians. So as far as they were concerned, even though all the work was just being done by the same team as far as they were concerned based on our marketing, we were experts and specialists in what they did.

(09:33) And don’t get me wrong, we knew their markets very, very well, and we didn’t just do the same stuff for each of them. We did some specific work for the vets and some specific work for the dentists, et cetera. But from a marketing point of view, it seemed like we only worked with them right down to we had three separate phone numbers. So our VoIP system, when they called in, it told us whether it was a veterinarian or a dentist or an optician that was calling in. So you can do this, you can have multiple verticals, but I challenge you to do more than just have a vertical page on your website to really look at your vertical and say, right, I want to make my marketing message relevant to them. How am I going to make them feel that they are the biggest thing in my world?

Speaker 4 (10:15): Here’s this week’s clever idea.

Speaker 1 (10:18): So if you are really struggling to get things done, let’s talk about the power of deadlines. And when I say get things done, I don’t necessarily mean getting client work done. I’m going to assume that as a business, you are organized very well around doing the client work. I mean getting the more important stuff done, which is the stuff working on the business, improving your marketing, doing some more sales. It’s only when you’re working on the business that you actually start to move the business forward and start to grow it. And most MSP owners that I speak to, they really struggle to do this. They struggle to get things done. So a couple of weeks ago, I took a week away on my own. So I’m a sole parent. There’s just me and my beautiful child who’s 13 and a teenager. So she’s beautiful, but also difficult in the way that only 13 year olds can be, but there’s just me and her in the house and it means I don’t get a huge amount of time on my own to go off and be Paul and not be a parent.

(11:16) And a couple of weeks ago she went away with the school, she went on a school trip abroad. So I had the most amazing week. I just put myself into a hotel in London, here in the uk, and I had no plans. It was amazing. I had no plans deliberately because as you’ll know yourself, if you’re a parent, there’s always, you’ve got to be somewhere on time. You’re always being a taxi driver, there’s always getting food ready, there’s always routine in things. And I wanted to enjoy being an adult and being a human and not have routines. And I just walk. I love walking. I walk like 50 miles that week and I just ate and had a few beers and went to a casino. I don’t gamble. I like watching other gamble, et cetera, et cetera. And what was really interesting was leading up to that week, so in the week when I was working leading up to when I knew I’d have that vacation, that holiday that week off, I got five times more stuff done in that week.

(12:09) And you’ll have had exactly the same thing when you are going on some kind of vacation and maybe you’ve never really looked back at that and thought about the superpower of that, why do you get more done the week before a vacation? It’s simply because of deadlines. Because you know the following week you are going to be wherever you are and you don’t want to be doing any work. No one wants to be that person sat at the airport at the gate when they’re calling your name, where you’re sat there typing furiously on your laptop to try and get something done to get it finished before you go on vacation, right? No one wants to be that person. So what happens is the week before when we have this immovable deadline is we just work to a greater capacity. We do more things, we do them faster, we are more organized, we know what we need to do and we become better at saying no.

(13:02) So when someone wants to have a chat, we say, no, I’m sorry, that’s not core focus to me. It’s not something I need to get done this week. This is the power of deadlines. Now, since coming back from that holiday, I’ve been asking myself, how can I introduce artificial deadlines? Because you can pretend to work as if you are going on holiday next week, but the reality is you are not. So your brain kind of knows that’s not real. So you don’t work at the same kind of frenetic pace, you’re not the same kind of no, no person, you’re not as organized. So how can you introduce those deadlines into a regular working week? Well, I’ve got some ideas and they’re things that I’m going to try out. So the first of them is to base your work around events that cannot be moved. So for example, let’s say your kids have a sports day.

(13:49) Let’s say you need to be at school at, I dunno, 10:00 AM for sports day, and you’re going to be there for four hours. So there’ll be nothing happening, and it’s a really core value to you to be a parent and be there at sports day and for your kids when they look up to see that you are watching them lose their race and you’re not on your phone talking to someone from the office or whatsoever. So that’s a really good example and certainly where you want your kids to see you and you want your kids to see that you are engaged even though actually we are bored. That’s a secret that all kids never know. We are bored at their sports day or their theater show some of the time. But that thing that morning, that’s an immovable deadline. That would be a good way.

(14:28) I appreciate that. Doesn’t come up very often, that kind of thing, unless I guess if you have a regular sports club or a sports, like my child does lots of acting schools and drama clubs, so sometimes I have to just kind of sit there and watch them do a performance and that can be a good deadline for me. Here’s something you could do two, three times a week, take a train journey. So I live about 40 minutes from London, so I live in the UK just outside a city called Milton Keynes. It’s about 40 minutes on the train to London. And I figured out that in that 40 minutes, so long as I can get on the wifi, I can get a ton of work done. And again, I work to a frenzy. I’m not looking at my emails or my WhatsApps, I’m getting things done because I want to have it done before I get off the train because that’s an interruption.

(15:11) And then obviously also then waiting for a train. So if I know, let’s say I’ve got to pick up my child at four in the afternoon, which means I’ve got to get on a train at three in London. So I might be sitting there at two 30 in the train station furiously typing on my laptop doing work because I know I’ve got an immovable deadline if I cannot miss that train, it has occurred to me and I might try this next week. What if I was to go to London just to be productive? So I get onto the train to give me a short journey to be productive, and then in London for a couple of hours again with that deadline. And then I’ve obviously got another train journey back to be productive. I’ll try that out and I’ll let you know how that goes.

(15:50) Another idea is you could sort yourself out a deadline based around fun. So let’s say you were going to the cinema, and that’s going to happen at 3:00 PM today. It is cool going to the cinema during a working day. I don’t do it very often, but it’s a fun thing to do. So at 3:00 PM you’re going to the cinema. That’s when the film starts at 3:00 PM It’s an immovable deadline. And actually because it’s something fun just like a vacation or a holiday, it’s something you’re not going to want to interrupt. In fact, as I’m doing that, I’m thinking you’ve got even more things on a day-to-day thing that you could do, like parking. If you go and park somewhere and you have to buy a parking ticket and there’s only let’s say 90 minutes or two hours on that parking ticket, it’s a deadline, isn’t it?

(16:31) As you look around you on a daily basis, you can start to see deadlines. And these are not artificial deadlines. They’re real deadlines that have consequences. If you’re late back to your car, you get a parking ticket. If you’re late to the cinema, you miss the start of the film. If you miss the train journey, you don’t pick up your kids from school and they hate you. All of these things are real deadlines that are really important to you. And actually getting up to that deadline, you can be so much more efficient. I’m going to try some of this out over the next few weeks. I’d love to hear from you if you do the same.

Speaker 4 (17:03): Paul pulls blatant plug

Speaker 1 (17:05): Plug. It’s funny, we spend a lot of time in this podcast talking about improving your marketing and how to win new clients, and sometimes it’s easy to lose track of why we’re trying to do that. It all comes down to improving your life. I’m assuming that you are the owner of the business. If your business is bigger with more resources, more clients, more cash, more cash coming in and more cash generated as profit, that changes your life. The goal of being a business owner is not to work 60 hour weeks, sweating yourself into an early grave in order that people will just forget you. That’s not the point of the business at all. The point of the business is to give you a great life. And don’t get me wrong, you’ve got to look after the clients. You’ve got to look after your staff. All of that’s important.

(17:52) Quality is really important if you want a long-term business. But the ultimate goal of this is to give you plenty of time and plenty of cash to do the things that are important to you. Like going to your kids sports days, like going on bigger and better vacations with your family. And this is why we put together the MSP Marketing Edge. We work with you assuming that you are not very good at marketing. We work with you to help you do all the marketing that you need to do. We give you a ton of marketing content. We give you a very, very simple plan to follow. But we’re not just there to help you do marketing. We understand there is that context that if you improve the business through marketing, you improve your life and you improve your life, you improve your other half’s life, you improve your kids’ life, you improve your staff’s life. That’s what we’re really in the business of doing here. Now we only work with one MSP per area. So the first thing for you to do is check to see if your area is available. You can do [email protected],

Speaker 4 (18:56): The big

Speaker 3 (18:57): Big interview. Hi, I’m Dr. Kevin Gazzara, and I am the founder of Magna Leadership Solutions.

Speaker 1 (19:05): And thank you so much for joining us on this podcast. Kevin, you won your place on this show by saying to me, you have a way to improve staff retention and for us to have happier staff. And I’m not sure how familiar you are with the MSP employment market right now, but it is so difficult and so expensive to find really good people. Recruitment is a nightmare for most MSPs, and the only nightmare that’s bigger than recruitment is when a trusted member of your team comes to you and says, I’m really sorry, but I’ve decided to leave and I’m going over to X-Y-Z-M-S-P or moving onto something different, whether that’s for more money or whether it’s for other reasons. So anything that we can do to improve the retention of our staff is very, very welcome. So you and I are going to talk about that in just a minute or so’s time. Let’s first of all just go back a little bit and learn about you. So tell us what your backstory is, Kevin, what have you done with your career? What is it that gives you the right to be on a podcast like this, talking about how to retain your staff better?

Speaker 3 (20:11): Alright, well thanks Paul for having me on the podcast. And here’s my quick backstory. Born and raised in Pennsylvania area in Philadelphia, did my undergrad in engineering and business MBA. And then I went off and did all my doctoral work in organizational leadership and management. And during that time I did all my doctoral research and my dissertation on creating and understanding to see if there was a correlation with task types for motivation, engagement and productivity and getting people flow. And what I found is, yes, there is, and that’s what we’re going to talk about today. So I spent 30 years in corporate world, retired in 2007, started at my own firm, magnet Leadership Solutions. We’ve been helping small organizations develop their leaders either through coaching or through our leading forward academy for the last 17 years. Every year has been better than the last. Life is great and I’m so glad to be able to help individuals and we work a lot with IT organizations as well.

Speaker 1 (21:24): Yeah, no, that’s great to hear. And I’m not surprised that you’ve had 17 great years in a row and I’m sure 2024 will be no different for you. Clearly someone that gives a lot back. So talk to us then about what your findings were, and by the sound of it, that doctoral work was some time ago, but then you had 30 years in that corporate environment and your 17 years consulting to really hone down into what is it that keeps people staying with us or what is it that drives them out to new employers or new opportunities?

Speaker 3 (21:54): Well, first of all, there’s lots and lots of things that keep people in their jobs. And the key is to create a motivating environment. A lot of HR people will tell you you need to go out and you motivate individuals and you really can’t motivate people. What you can do is you can create a motivating environment and the key is to tailor the environment to them. And since we work with a lot of IT organizations, a lot of them like to work individually. They’re not overly people. So you have to create that environment where they can go off and do the heavy duty work and at the same time, you don’t want to forget them to make sure that they feel part of the team. So I think the biggest thing, Paul, that we found is that they don’t do a great job of hiring the right people.

(22:44) That they hire people generally for skill and they really should be hiring for talent. And if you look at the number one reason people leave is people leave usually because of managers. It’s not because they’re going to get another $5,000 or whatever, but they feel like the environment that they’re at doesn’t meet their kind of autonomy, mastery or purpose as Daniel Pink talks about in his book and drive. And if you can create that environment for them when they get a better offer, a financial offer, they’re more likely to stay. But it starts with hiring the right people. You want to hire for talent, train for skill. And the biggest reason I’d say people leave in addition to the manager is that they just don’t fit with the team. And the good news is there’s lots and lots of assessments. We use a lot of different assessments for this to try to figure out are they going to be a good fit.

(23:43) And so that’s kind of the foundational types of things. Pay attention to your people. We find that communicating with them on a more frequent basis is better than a large communication like meeting once a month. If you can meet with them in small intervals, it really shows that you’re interested. And we encourage all the people that I do executive coaching for is take an interest in the individual as well. Even though you say leave all your baggage at home, people bring that into the office. And particularly now in a virtual environment, it’s more prevalent. So if you can pay attention, find out what their interests are, show an interest, figure out how it relates to your work, they’re going to really think hard before they make that jump.

Speaker 1 (24:29): Yeah. So nothing you’ve said there is particularly rocket science. Is it really? No. If you look at it, no, not at all. Getting the right people in, making them feel comfortable, showing an interest in them so that they become part of something. They’re not just working for you but they actually belong. So even though it’s not rocket science, many, many, many business owners, even people with just two or three staff let alone when you start getting up to 2030 or more, they really struggle with this kind of stuff. So why do we struggle?

Speaker 3 (24:58): I think it’s really quite simple. I think if you look at most organizations particularly today is that they’re under-resourced, particularly smaller organizations never say no. And they keep adding stuff to their plates. And what they don’t realize is we had something when I spent 18 years or 17 years at Intel and right before I left, I wanted to make sure that I could go and help other organizations that didn’t have $10 million budgets when I was managing Intel’s management leadership development for the world. And I think one of the things that we found is, is that people really don’t have a great understanding of what we used to call keeping the business running, that we keep adding additional projects and things and people want to be good team players and employees want to be good team players. But as managers we do a really terrible job.

(25:56) That’s what we’ve seen. They do a terrible job of really allocating sufficient amount of time and resources for the individuals to do a good job. And then you end up with people working 80 hour weeks and on the weekends and the evenings and it destroys their family life and they want to be good, they’re doing it with good intent, but most people have not figured out what’s your normal day, your normal week, what does it take out of that 40 or 50 hours that you’re working to really just keep the business running? And then if you look at that and you do an inventory, that’s one of the first things that we do is when we’re looking at doing the task rebalance that we’ll talk about, I’m sure in a little bit is identify where all your time is going, resources going, what’s important, what is it important, being able to get rid of this stuff or delegate the stuff that is really you shouldn’t be doing if you’re making $120,000 as an IT administrator or whatever the number is.

(27:00) If you’re doing lots and lots of administrative work that could be outsourced, that’s usually a really good low hanging fruit of things that you could do. So once you figure out how much time you have, and I would encourage all the small business owners to have their people doing inventory, we have a process and anybody that wants to contact me at the end, I’ll glad to send the process to them to be able to do that. Then you’ll get an idea of how much more work you can take. And I’d say that’s probably the number one reason that people are leaving is just because you get that slow scope creep and eventually it gets too much. And like I said, people want to be good team players, so they don’t want to say no. And it usually gets overwhelming. And the best way to, or the easiest way for people, particularly since most people are non-confrontational to be able to address it is just to pull the plug and move on and start over.

Speaker 1 (27:59): Yeah, no, absolutely. And thank you for that offer. We will share your contact details at the end of this interview, but that’s something really, really interesting. It’s never occurred to me and I’ve owned a business since 2005, that was when I started my first one. It’s never occurred to me to actually stop and create a baseline level of how many hours does it take me? Does it take each member of my team just to keep the business running? Sure. Most MSPs listening to this like yourself, Kevin, we’ve got projects on, we’ve always got a project. There’s always something that we’re doing to develop or improve or grow or close something down or try something new. And yeah, I think that’s something maybe my team and I might go and do in the next week or so is figure out where’s the baseline. Now you mentioned a specific process there, I think it was task rebalancing I think you mentioned. Tell us a little bit about that.

Speaker 3 (28:50): Yeah, so as I mentioned Paul earlier just previously is that there’s lots and lots of ways to keep people motivated and engaged. So I had created as a part of my doctoral dissertation when I was doing all my research, I noticed that each one of us does different tasks. And the way it turned out was I was managing at Intel. I did my doctorate around in 2000. So I was still working at Intel and finishing all my doctoral work while I was still working there. And one of the things that I found is as I was managing my team at a team of about 20, one of the things I noticed was they were all very similar personalities almost. They had master’s degrees, usually in HR or business, all about the same age or so, and same experience. And what I noticed was I’d walk into the first person’s office to check in and see how they were doing, and I would notice they would say, Hey, I love working on task A, but I don’t like B and C as much.

(29:58) And then I would walk into the second office, same kind of person, and they’d say, Hey, I like working on B, but I don’t like A and C. And third person would be is I like working on C, but I don’t like A and BI thought this is really kind of perplexing for me. It’s like why is that? We’ve tried to align them with the work that they would love to do and there’s these different preferences. So I did some research, worked with a gentleman by the name of Bill Daniels, wrote a great book if anybody wants to read a fantastic book called Breakthrough Performance Bill’s a Behavioral Psychologist. And what Bill noticed was that each one of us has that we do three types of tasks on a daily basis. So on a regular basis we do routine tasks. And as you can imagine like routine tasks might be doing email or deleting 10 spam messages or getting 10 checkoffs done to call people or whatever it is.

(30:57) So routine work is highly predictable and at the same time really needs to get done in the moment. So that’s a routine work. The second task type is what bill calls is problem solving or troubleshooting called it troubleshooting. And that type of task is highly unpredictable and it has to get done in the moment. So you get a client call the server’s down, the code’s not working, my webpage is going all funky with characters. You have to do it in the moment. So that’s the troubleshooting or the problem solving type of task. And then the third type of task that we do is what bill calls project tasks. These are highly predictable and they don’t have to get done in the moment. So it’s like working in your taxes or finishing a new design or whatever. And what we found was that if you look at those three tasks as a pie, which equals a hundred percent, there are 496 discrete mixtures of tasks that people have that they like to do.

(32:08) And what we found or what I found through my doctoral research was that each one of us has a preference of a balance of one of those 496 different variations. And if I can identify that variation for your ideal task balance, I’ve proven statistically that I can raise your level of job satisfaction, motivation and engagement. There’s some additional work that was done by Dr. Holly Martin for her dissertation where she took my dissertation and she found out that you can actually expand empowerment where you feel empowered once you start doing this or even being aware of that. So the idea is find the mixture and then create the job structure to be able for you to get that mixture. So as an example for me at a very high level, just round the numbers off is I like 50% project work. I like 30% problem solving work and I have about a 20% tolerance for routine work.

(33:12) So what I do each day, and this is the thing that we do for organizations, in fact, we did this for a big IT organization, and there’s actually a case study that I’m sure I can give you the link at the end of this session is once you know that you can start structuring your day. So I found that I have a certain cadence and we all have a different cadence for once we know the splits, you want to figure out what your cadence is. So for my cadence for project work, it’s about two hours and for troubleshooting is about an hour and a half or so. Your routine work typically half hour to 45 minutes. So what I try to do each day is I try to schedule my day so that I block my time and I vary the test type that I do rather than just going from project to project to project where there’s variety of different things I’m working on.

(34:11) But what our brain wants is our brain wants that feedback of that we’re accomplishing things at different levels. When you finish a project piece, then it’s a very high intensity of feedback, but the frequency is a much, much lower troubleshooting is about a medium piece of feedback as well as it happens a little bit more than project work. And of course your routine work has a lower impact of the feedback, but it’s much, much more frequent. And each one of us has a different frequency that we need in order to stay motivated and engaged. And what I’ll tell the listeners here is the way you can tell. So once you know your mix, so you’ve got that project mix for me, it’s about 50 and I can do two hours in a row, is the way you can tell that you need to do a different task type is when you start thinking about other things.

(35:09) When you’re not in that flow and you’re not in that zone where you want to get up, you want to get a drink, you want to go pick up the phone and make a phone call or you want to go answer some emails, that’s the trigger. And the trigger says I need to switch my task type. So if I move from a project, then what I’m going to do is I’m going to go to the email and I’m going to read two dozen emails and I’m going to delete half of ’em and I’m going to feel like, oh, I have accomplished something. And after I’ve kind of done that for a while, when I start thinking about, oh, I should probably work on this or make that phone call, that’s the trigger. And then from there you want to jump into a different task type, either whether it’s project or troubleshooting, and if you can manage that and you have that ability to schedule block your time to be able to do that. At the end of the day, you’re going to be tired, but you’re not going to be exhausted, you’re not going to be mentally exhausted and you’ll want to come back and do it again. Now this process that I developed for the doctoral work, I call the task quotient or tq, and there’s an assessment once again that we’ll give to the listeners at the end so they don’t have to buy it normally we charge for this. I’m going to give your listeners a gift of that at the end.

Speaker 1 (36:27): Okay, well, we are at the end. We are there already and I’m so glad. My final question to you is going to be the practical question of how do we figure out which of these 496 different types we are? And you’ve given the answer there, which is essentially it’s to listen to yourself. So I will just throw in one practical question before we go to some of those links. And thank you very much for your very kind offer, Kevin, from a practical tracking point of view, should you journal throughout the day, should you do time tracking? Because we all have moments during the day, don’t we, where we are distracted. For me, it’s going on social media. I know if I’m sitting down to do something and then I’m like, oh, just check Facebook on my phone. It’s a massive red flag. I don’t like Facebook. So it’s a massive red flag for me that I’m trying to find anything to do. And in fact, actually since working from home, if I find myself thinking I might just go and empty the dishwasher, that’s also another red flag. It means I’m distracting myself from the thing that I don’t really want to do. So from a practical point of view, how do you think the average person, not just the business owner, but their team, how can they figure out what their mix is?

Speaker 3 (37:35): Well, the first thing is take the assessment that’ll tell you what your mix is of the 496 different mixes that there are, we have a tracking sheet that we ask, we give to all of our execs or the people that go through our programs and say, here, just track the things that you’re doing. You want track it in. If you could track it in 15 to 30 minute increments, great. Certainly each hour just kind of writing down what you do that’ll give you an idea. And then the process in order, once you get your task quo to identify what are the project routine and troubleshooting tasks, then you can just do a quick inventory of what you got. And then I think you’re be incredibly surprised with two things. One that you’re doing a lot more of. Usually execs are doing a lot more administrative work than they should be, and two, you’re getting a lot less of what you to stay motivated and engaged. And then we have a whole other process of how do you fix that.

Speaker 1 (38:41): Yeah, yeah, that makes perfect sense. Okay, we’ve got to the point of the giveaways and you’ve made a very generous, in fact, let me sound the giveaway horn. So thank you for this. Make it nice and easy for us, Kevin, because we could always stick really complicated links on our show page, which is on the website. Tell us where to go and get these amazing things that you’ve said you’d give away. And also how can we best get in touch with you?

Speaker 3 (39:05): So I created a Bitly link, so it’s a short link. If anyone goes to Magna leader, MAGA, leader.co com, co slash and in all caps, gift GIFT, it’ll take you right to our site for you to be able to take the assessment and you’ll takes about less than five minutes to take the answer, the 15 questions. You’ll get your report instantaneously and it’ll identify your ideal mixture of how to stay motivated and engaged. If you want to get in touch with me, [email protected], send me an email. I’d love to talk about this. I can send you templates or walk you through things or give you insight on your report. Be glad to do that. And my promise to anybody that calls us absolutely no sales pitch, you’re not going to get a sales pitch from me. We have plenty of clients. I want to be helpful to you. And if I can do that, then I’m kind of fulfilling my kind of role in life.

Speaker 2 (40:08): Paul Green’s MSP marketing podcast, this week’s recommended book.

Speaker 5 (40:14): Hi, I’m Trevor W Goodchild Facebook ad policy specialist, and I recommend Built to Sell by John Waro because it gives you a really good insight, not only in how to build your business to sell, but also what are some good checks and balances to make sure that your business is operating sustainably for years to come.

Speaker 2 (40:33): Coming up, coming up next week,

Speaker 1 (40:35): We’ve got a special episode for you next week. MSP owner, Lyle Kirshenbaum, he’s doing a big trade show now. He did the same trade show last year. It was pretty good, good results. This year he wants more, so he’s got a bigger booth and he wants to really 10 x his return. So in our special next week, we are going to delve into what he’s doing and how to get better returns from it. If you’ve ever wondered if trade shows are a good way for you to grow your business, we’ll answer that question next week. Join me next Tuesday and have a very profitable week in your MSP

Speaker 2 (41:08): Made in the UK for MSPs around the world. Paul Greens Marketing podcast.

 

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