Welcome to the Rialto Marketing podcast. Today's episode is a revenue acceleration series interview where we talk to seven figure B2B professional service firm owners that are actively trying to grow their business and get to the next level. We talk about the good, the bad and the ugly so that you can learn from their experience.

Join Tim Fitzpatrick and Jeremy Conway for this week’s episode of The Rialto Marketing Podcast!

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Building Raving Fans

Tim Fitzpatrick
Welcome to the Rialto Marketing Podcast. Today's episode is a revenue acceleration series interview where we talk to seven-figure B2B professional service firm owners that are actively trying to grow their business and get to the next level. We talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly so that you can learn from their experience. I am Tim Fitzpatrick with Rialto Marketing where we believe you must remove your revenue roadblocks to accelerate growth, and marketing shouldn't be difficult. I want to thank you so much for taking the time to tune in. I am really excited to have with me Jeremy Conway from MAD Security. Jeremy, welcome and thanks for being here.

Jeremy Conway
Thanks for having me, Tim. I'm really looking forward to today.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, me too. I always start these types of interviews off asking the same three questions. Are you ready to jump in with both feet?

Jeremy Conway
Yep, I'm ready to go, Tim. Let's go.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Okay. Very quickly, what do you do? How long have you been doing it?

Jeremy Conway
Currently, I'm the CEO of MAD Security and I've been in cybersecurity for about 25 plus years. I do it for MAD Security, a managed service provider.

Tim Fitzpatrick
In the time you've been running MAD Security, what's the most important lesson you've learned?

Jeremy Conway
The most important lesson that I've learned in running MAD Security, that's probably that you don't lose until you quit. You're never out of the fight until you take yourself out of the fight.

Tim Fitzpatrick
That's a good one. I've never had anybody say that. I like that one. This actually leads into my next question, which is we know growing a business is hard. We've run into challenges. Do you have any mantra or something motivational you say to yourself or share with your team to help push through those times?

Jeremy Conway
It's basically what I just said there, and that is don't give up, don't quit. There's an answer. What I truly believe and what I try to preach to our team, my leadership team, my sales team, my marketing team, all those folks is that our frustrations is just a skill we haven't learned or acquired yet through some knowledge gaps. So there's other people that have already powered through it. I mean, there's billion dollar organizations, there's all these things, and we just got to figure out what they did differently. And Success leaves trail, leaves clues, we just got to follow it to bridge that gap.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. One of my mentors always talked about success leaves clues, right? Yeah, that's a really good one. It's like for most of us, we're not paving a new path. Many people have already gone down that path. We just need to know where to go to get the help that we need.

Jeremy Conway
And it definitely feels like you're always paving new paths, but you just got to put your head up, look up and see the force for the trees and be like, Wait a minute, somebody else has already done this. There's a book, there's a blog, there's somebody I can talk to, there's a mastermind, there's somebody out there that will share this experience and get you through it. Mentors.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. Who was it? I think it was... I'm going to botch this, but have you ever read the book Who, Not How?

Jeremy Conway
No, but I've heard about that.

Making Difficult Choices To Get Where You Want To Be

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, so have I. I haven't read it. But what we're talking about just reminds me of that. We don't need to figure out how. We need to figure out the who and they'll help us figure out the how. So, Jeremy, you have a really interesting professional path. And you started in the military. Can you share that path with us? Once you got out of the military, what happened?

Jeremy Conway
Yeah. Being in the military, I thought I'd never get out. I really loved it. I enjoyed it. The commodity, the things are going there. It was a big shock for me to hit industry and get a job and not have three squares of meal a day and do those types of things. When I exited, I just took the best possible job I could possibly take at the time. I took an IT help desk position at a defense contractor because I was in the army and exited just with the work right here in Huntsville, Alabama, where I got out. Didn't grow up here, but that's where I got out. When I got there, I found out that the same skill set that made me successful in the military was making me really successful in the commercial space. I was only on the help desk for a few weeks, and then I got promoted up into administration, and then we had a security incident. I got promoted into some cybersecurity stuff. In doing that, I had done some projects for the Department of Defense and this defense contractor that caught some eyes of some other folks outside of that. I got asked to migrate over to NASA to help build their security operations center. They had the network operations center at the time. Cybersecurity was kind, and we're talking like 20-something years ago, right? So chuckle-tuckle on cybersecurity 20 years ago was fun, right? But they had heard some stuff that I'd done over at the DOD, and they asked me, Hey, would you like to come over and join our team? Basically, there was a very small group of us that went over there and we built the NASA Cybersecurity Operations Center from nothing to supporting over 450-plus universities, 13 centers. The space station was our responsibility. Interesting, we also controlled the command center at Russia and the Cosmonaut Hotel because we were doing joint message stuff, so we got to see that stuff. Doing all that was great. Politics got and they decided they were sending way too much money to Huntsville, Alabama. So politicians migrated the SOC over into California out to Ames to do that. We kept the knock. My team got crushed down to a few group folks, just me and a couple of other folks. Several people migrated over. I didn't want to move my family and do that type of stuff, so I stayed here. Always like it's something that I'd done on a project that's leading me to the next one. I actually was working with this technology at the time while I was at NASA and we had this group project with multiple other agencies and such. The CEO of that company said, Hey, with all your guidance and stuff, we've been able to take our company from X million dollars to quadruple in revenue for it. It was a big thing. He's like, Are you bored? Would you like to come work for me? If so, here's what I can offer you. He offered me some stake in the company and he offered me like, Hey, get us bought because I want an exit in the next 3-5 years and you'll get this reward for it, a nice little piece of the thing for some motivation. I went and joined them. That was ITRO Security and that was Ken LaVine a long time ago. We got bought in three years by McAfee Intel at the time. That led me to getting a little bit of a check and I was like, Hey, what am I going to do in my life? I was like, Well, maybe I started business and I started lifestyle business. I was like, Hey, I'm going to work a few months a year. In that few months a year, I'm going to support my family because cybersecurity and the clients I was working with were high end, personal things. I had one out in Seattle that's very famous. I tested their personal networks and did some things there. All of a sudden, they told their friends and this referral thing happened and I had to have a real business and I had to hire people to help me do this stuff, so it became a real business. Well, in that becoming a real business, I ran into MAD Security. I was the founder of MAD Security. It actually was three gentlemen, Mike, Aaron, and Dean, and great folks. I started doing a bunch of services for him and stuff. In doing that, over the time, I realized, Hey, this is very profitable. This is great business. I actually leaned out of doing the business stuff, the marketing, the sales, and that stuff. I want to be an engineer that does cool stuff with cool people and has fun and just live my life. I joined up with them as an equal partner. We sold off a piece of it for some training and some things happened and such. Over time, Mike went off to be a CISO at GE Healthcare. Aaron went off to lead the training company that we sold to Semantic. We're all very successful. Dean stayed back and he was the CEO. Well, the company was struggling a little bit because we lost some of the things there and such. I realized that the way I wanted to run a company, the way Dean wanted to run a company was just a little different. We had a little bit of just different more just direction and stuff. Neither way was wrong. It's just sometimes two people don't agree on how they're going to do it. We made a decision jointly. We found a great company out in Washington, DC, and they purchased off our federal reselling business and allowed us, allowed me to fund our services business. At the time, our services business, to be completely blunt, was several million dollars in the red on the opposite side. We could take that money, put it into there and try to rebuild it. In doing that, it was painful. It was my first lesson going from... I was the CTO of the company, so I was always the engineer, going from a CTO, like advisory, I'm not really worrying about books, didn't even know what a balance sheet was, didn't really care what a P&L was other than, Am I going to make money and can we do this and that stuff? To managing all that, downsizing the company, bringing it back. Then now, four-plus years later, I'm enjoying life. I've got almost 50 employees and we're crushing it. Lots of things happened in that four years. I'd also say that the other gentleman that went off to do the other thing, his business was very successful. That company purchased it. They exed it multiple times and they went from a $20, $30 million worth of book of business to over $100 million with the government. It was good for everybody. I don't want to shed any negative light on that separation, but it was just different.

Tim Fitzpatrick
But it seems to me that for you, making that choice to break things apart and go different directions, you made the conscious decision to take a few steps back, knowing that long term that was going to get you to where you wanted to be. Is that right?

Jeremy Conway
Oh, yeah. I say there was in conflict, in people with different opinions, there's always going to be some pressure or such with it. In making that decision, there's another gentleman involved with this as well. There was three of us, and we were really trying to figure out what we were going to do and the frustrations with all that. It would be really easy for me to say, You know what? I made a mistake a few years before and just take my stuff and go out and go back to starting what I was doing. Just cut the string and be like, Hey, whatever. But what tug at my heart was this, is I had grown very close with that engineering staff. I had grown very close with all those professionals. Our engineering staff was 18, 17 folks. If I was to just sniff that cord and go off, I knew I'd be okay. But those folks, they're going to have to find another job, they're going to have to do different things. It really tucked in my heart. I was like, Hey, how do we solve this? I felt like the burden was something that I could solve. Like I said, I don't give up easily. I was like, You know what? If I can just figure this out and they're willing to get behind me, we can do this. Really what made me make that decision and stay here and take on that big debt and do what we did and make those hard decisions was those people, those folks, the people that I had bonded with and met. I really did it for them more than I did for me.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Did you find that they were even more committed at that point because of the decision that you made?

Jeremy Conway
Oh, it's so interesting. They were super committed. We went into COVID, they even took salary reductions and things like that to make this stuff happen. But that's another lesson I've learned in this stuff is they were instrumental in making the success and their buy-in and they could see what it was. But interestingly enough, I will tell you that that crew that we did that, there's only a handful of them still here. Over time, they grew apart as well. Not bad separation, but just grew in their careers. The company couldn't support the growth that they were looking for, or they just had a difference of opinion into where we were going, directions, things like that. For example, one of the big things that I made a decision on was to say, I'm going to be a flag pull company. We used to be virtual. I said, Hey, I'm running security operations. We're doing managed services. I need to set a flag pull up, create a brand, build an epicenter, bring everybody in. Some folks didn't want to come from remote back into the office thing. This was before the COVID thing, so even before that thing. Those things triggered it. But yeah, when we first triggered over, we had huge buy-in. They were very motivated to do everything. They were instrumental and you didn't have to worry about people doing the work or doing whatever was required. Yes. That's that answer to the question.

Niching with Tour Target Market

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, absolutely. I want to shift gears. I want to talk about a few marketing things, you go figure, right? Your target market is pretty focused. What is your market? By focusing has that helped you grow?

Jeremy Conway
Oh, yes. I'll start with that. Cybersecurity is everybody's concern. When we first started four years ago, I was like, Hey, we're just going to solve this for everybody. Boy, did we get our butts handed to us. The big markets like financial industries and stuff, they're spending all kinds of money on marketing. They got all these sales and we're just this little company trying to break into it. They really handed us our butts. They were like, You guys are not even on our blip of radar. We regrouped after six, seven months said, Hey, what the hell are we going to do? We can't win any deals. People don't resonate with us. Then we realized that, man, we're all from the defense industry. We all have military backgrounds. We all come from government contracting, things like that. We just focused down on the defense industry base and government contractors. We're like, Hey, we understand them. We understand the compliance requirements they have. We understand what their frustrations are. We understand their budget. We understand everything about them. Let's just service them. That market is huge. We started talking to them and man, it was like catching lightning in a bottle. It was literally like one, next, next, next. We were talking to them. They appreciated our process and that we wanted to get to know them. They appreciated that we could talk their language. What they most appreciated is not only did we get to know them and then talk their language. But by combining those two things together, we gave them the right solution versus, Hey, here's this box that everybody uses cybersecurity and it doesn't really tailor to you and it could work at a bank, but it could work here. They feel like there's this white glove service to it and it's just literally doing it with that compliance mandate, so the regulatory requirements that they have as well, and then doing it operationally and just focusing on that niche. It made it easy. Marketing became easy, messaging became easy, talking on phone calls with them. Because when they said, I have this problem, we're like, We can relate. We know what that is. We're not just reading it and making it up. We have felt those pains. Does that make sense?

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, it makes perfect sense. Thank you for digging into that because so many businesses struggle to narrow their focus. And look, it's not to say that you have to narrow your focus to be successful. There's plenty of examples of companies that are very successful. But the vast majority of us, it is so much easier to narrow our focus. But the big roadblock for a lot of people there is, Well, if I narrow it, I'm going to lose business elsewhere. You found that to be the exact opposite, which is what most people do. When you're selling cybersecurity to the masses, the target's so broad you can't even see it. And when you can't see it, you can't hit it. When you narrowed it down to the defense industry, much narrower, now it becomes so much easier and you touched on this, you understand them, right? You can enter the conversation that they are having in their head, so you can relate to them. Your message attracts them and it engages them because it's in their words, not yours. And when you know exactly who you're going after, the defense industry, all of a sudden, when you ask yourself the question, Well, where do we need to go to get in front of the defense industry?, it becomes so much easier to create that list of where you can go to get in front of those exact people. When it's too broad, it's far too difficult to create that list. And your message is too generic and so it doesn't resonate.

Jeremy Conway
For sure. I'll tell you this that it was a scary, scary decision for us to narrow down to that. It took a minute for it to resonate, and it took a lot of coaching up internally and like, Hey, stick to the process. Don't quit. We can get there. But when it's starting to gain traction, we start closing those deals and we started seeing that movement like it was... They talk about the flywheel. It's really hard to get going. But once it started going, it's really good. What I love about it is this is I think we're just getting started. Even though I feel like momentum and stuff, we're learning so much so fast and it's just exciting and that market is huge. I'll tell you, we've also done things like this. We said, Hey, the defense industry. We've also narrowed down geographically where we're going to do some concentrated efforts in our messaging and things, and not worrying about broadcasting to every defense industry-based contractor out there. Because you're the tiny mouse in this giant thing and they can't hear you. It's much easier to fish out of a pond that you know what's in it and where to go. You know where this fishing hole is? Go there and just deal with the fish that you pull out of that one.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Oh, man, Jeremy, you're speaking my language. The example I usually give people is like, if you know that you want to catch trout, well, you're going to go down to the local trout farm ponds and just stick a line. And you know you're going to catch trout. You're fishing where the fish are rather than casting this wide net in the middle of the ocean, hoping that you're going to catch something. So I love it. And thank you for sharing that. I actually have an interview coming up with another MSP, a managed service provider that, I don't want to give it all away, but very similar experience, except he was in business for almost 20 years, if I remember correctly. It was somewhere between 15 to 20 years, and they started to look at their marketing efforts and they were working with somebody. I was not working with them. This is long before we even connected, but they started looking at it and they're like, Man, half of our customers are in this one industry. And the consultant they were working with was like, Why are you not focusing on that industry? And they made the jump. Similar to your situation, it was like, Man, in six months, we generated more qualified leads than we did the previous three years.

Jeremy Conway
What folks don't talk about because we say it all the time, the other efficiency that we got was this. This is really interesting because you get more leads, more leads lead to more revenue, that thing. But the other thing that we didn't see coming, and I don't hear a lot of people talk about this, is once you narrow your niche, you can really trim as a service provider like us. You got to think that you have to do things very efficiently. You can make that very efficient, which not only grows your top line, but your bottom line. People are happier because they know what they got to do every day. They know what the standard is. They're not new things happening. Now, they're challenged by the challenge of cybersecurity, but they understand how they operate in, and it has actually increased our bottom line more than we anticipated because we're not servicing everybody. We're not everybody to everything. And it allows us to create some efficiencies, some optimizations, purchase in bulk, do things that you normally couldn't do if you are fishing in the ocean.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, you're not reinventing the wheel every single time. Now, there's nuances, like you said, to each project, but the tools that you're using are the same. There's efficiencies, and when there's more efficiency, you're getting things done faster with less time. So thank you for touching on that because you're not just niche to generate more leads and convert those leads at a higher rate. Everything on the back end, from a service standpoint, gets optimized when you niche and focus on a specific industry.

Jeremy Conway
One trick that I'll give you that we use all the time here that really helped us in our marketing message and our operation is defining what done looks like. In our services, we define what done looks like. What does success look like? That works for our marketing message, that works for our operations efforts, that works for everything. By just seeing what the end in mind is, the done, we can back-pedal from that. Knowing your market, knowing who it is, how you're going to do it, and what success looks like. When you're having your sales calls and your marketing message, you just talk about what that is. If it all lines, you know it's the perfect thing. Those things go right through the sales funnel, right through the marketing sales funnel, right in the operations. It's super smooth. You're like, This is easy. This is not so easy. Then you realize, Well, it's not easy. It took a lot of work to get there, and it feels really good.

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Building Raving Fans Through Referrals

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. I want to shift gears a little bit. I want to talk about referral program because I know you have one. Most businesses that I talk to are generating most of their leads from word of mouth and referral, and most of them have no process for it. It's super low hanging fruit. There's no process to consistently request reviews. There's no referral program to encourage people to do it. So when we talked about this in the pre-interview, I had to talk about this because I think there's a lot people can learn from this. So just tell me a little bit about your referral program, and then I think we can dig into it a little bit more.

Jeremy Conway
Everything happens through experiences and failures and things like that. We did not set out to create a referral program. We didn't even know that that's the only way to grow in the manner, like one to two to two to four to eight that way. What happened was this is we were just set out to make our customer experience really well and read books, did other things. What we did is we created this program we call Building Raving fans. It's basically like our loyalty program, our loyalty circle. What we did was, as we looked at, and with guidance from other folks and mentors and things and just taking pieces from different stuff, what we have is basically this circle. When you enter in our program through a marketing message, that be cold, outreach, whatever it is, you're going to follow this path of events that we have that we orchestrate to do that. We understand that we understand that enthusiasm will get you to each other's gates. We got to figure out how to create enthusiasm every step. That enthusiasm transfers naturally with humans. It's almost like when you come home and your dog is like, Ha ha, really happy, and you're like, Hey, you feel really happy. No matter how bad your day is. That's the thing we talk about. When they come into our sales and they do that, we're building enthusiasm, we're relating with them and such. But what we try to do is at every value entry, create more enthusiasm. What happens is they come into our sales program, early on we give them away something, some value thing that normally would they pay for. Maybe it'd be a pre-assessment, maybe it'd be something like that. Here's the key. Most folks ask for the referral on the back end, on the six-month mark, on a 12-month, they think of it very formally. We ask for it right upfront. If we get a great experience in that early entry, even before they're a client, we're like, Hey, do you think anybody else would benefit from this? Do you think you have anybody to know that we might be able to... We don't ask for the referral, we just ask if they have anybody that would benefit from this. Or could we tell somebody else about this pre-assessment or this type of thing that we may be able to help you get that thing. We get an early entry referral right up the gate. It's amazing how a referral program, if you just ask and ask at the right time, people will do that. They're like, Oh, yeah. Now, that works in reverse. This is bad. If you give something crappy away and you ask for a referral, they're going to go tell their friends that you're crap. The danger of giving away something early is if you give away of something that is not of value, it's very easy to be dismissed. They're like, Oh, no, that was garbage. You have to give away something of value. It has to really cost the company something. I don't want to call a loss leader because I don't like that term. I don't feel like losing, but do that. Then they go through that experience. Let's say they don't give us a referral at that point, but they go and they sign up with us as a business. As soon as they sign up, we're like, Hey, guess what we do? We ask again. We say, Hey, this seems like a great solution for you. There's other folks that you know that are probably having the same experience. Is there anybody you'd like to just point us in that direction? We don't on it, but we just ask that. 50% of the time, maybe 30% of the time, they're like, Oh, yeah, you know what? You need to talk to XYZ or whatever because we're at a meeting and they're having the same problems. There's another referral process. Once they get into the program and they're doing our services. We have these quarterly service reviews. We have these touch points. Guess what we do on every one of those touch points. Hey, you seem to be enjoying your experience with us. You seem to be doing this. This seems to be working for you. Do you think there's anybody else that might benefit from this same service? That's literally our referral program. So at every piece that we get to, we just ask. There's nothing super formal about it, but that's how it works. I will tell you, do we have some formal realities in our referral program? Incentives? Sure. We have folks that we do a channel and stuff, and we may incentivize for like, Hey, we'll give you a discount for this, for that referral stuff. But 90-plus % of the time, we don't have to do that stuff. It's just natural that people want to help other folks. The secret to our program is customer experience. If you have an enthusiastic, happy, you solved a real problem for our customer, they want to tell their friends because they want to be the smartest guy in the room or gal in the room. They want to be the connector. They want to be like, Hey, this is great. Try this out. Does that make sense to you?

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. I want to break this down because I think this is easy for people to overlook. First, in your referral, the way you've described this, I think of this as a referral system. You don't really have a formal process of incentivizing for referrals, right? You do incentivize some, depending on the relationship. But what you really have is this system where you have identified specific points in the customer experience where it makes the most sense to ask. Jeremy, honestly, it is like I told you to say this ahead of time. Thank you, because this is what I tell people all the time. If you want to put together a formal program, great. They can work really, really well. But if that's concerning for you or it's not something you want to do, just looking at the customer experience and identifying the points where it makes the most sense to ask can have a huge impact. And because you put that into your process, it's repeatable. It's done consistently over and over and over again. Now, whether you're starting it off with a free assessment, some type of try offer where it's like, hey, we want to give you an idea of what it's going to be like to work with us without actually having to pay for it. They're super happy at the end of that, bam. What I always say is when they have had enough experience where they know what it's like to work with you and they tend to be at their happiest, those are points that you want to ask, and you touched on those. It's at the end of a free assessment. It's at the end of onboarding, somewhere towards the end of the start of the project, right? Before you transition into more ongoing things, you're asking again. Then you've got other touch points in your process. A lot of MSPs, I'm like, You should be asking at the end of every happy support ticket being closed. Like, you just responded, you took care of their problem, just ask. It's a gentle ask, right? It doesn't have to be in your face. Like you said, it's just. Hey, so glad we could take care of this for you. Do you know anybody else that might benefit from this type of service?

Jeremy Conway
That's exactly it.

The Faster You Ask For The Sale, The Less Money You Make

Tim Fitzpatrick
I love it. Yeah, just ask. This is not easy, right? There's work, but it is simple. The process itself is not overly complex. So thank you for breaking that down, man. I absolutely love it. I want to ask you a little bit about messaging, because especially in the IT space, it's super technical. Depending on the ideal client, they're not very technical. How do you take something as technical as cybersecurity and communicate that to people? Have you had challenges there and what have you tried to do to overcome that?

Jeremy Conway
Yeah. I would say 95% of the industry gets this wrong. It's just amazing how simple this is. When I break this down to you, I call it the Homer Simpsons moment. You're like, Do that. You're like, Oh, wow. Because yeah, this is taking me four years to figure out. We were not good, but what we did was like everybody else. When we would have our messaging, we would tell people about us. We would tell them how great we were, the experience they're going to have, the coolness of our technology, the coolness of our service, how it's acting. The fear, the uncertainty, the doubt, like cybersecurity is bad and we're your savior, we're the digital guardian. We're this, we're that. That's wrong. How you get to be able to be on a conversation and make it impactful, whether you're talking to an entry level manager that has six hats and her is like, Hey, they told me I got to do this compliance thing in cybersecurity. I don't know what I'm doing. You ask them about a firewall and they're like, I don't know, it's a thing that lights over in the corner. That thing. You have to choose somebody that's in an enterprise company that's got 15, 20 years in cybersecurity and is talking about reverse engineering and malware analysis. How do you do that? How do you do that with a Salesforce that wasn't technical coming on here? You don't tell them anything. You guide them on a journey through questions. What I mean by that is we have a four-step process, and the very first process in ourselves is what we call our deep dive discovery. We nickname it deep dive discovery. What's really interesting is we tell our customers exactly what that journey is. If you want to see it, it's probably available on my website. It's under the About Us. You can see exactly what that looks like. The deep dive discovery, we tell the customers, Hey, we're going to ask you a lot of questions about it. We make it 30 minutes. Seven minutes is to get the prep. We got 20 minutes of that and then three minutes and book the next meeting. That's literally how it's broken down. You got that little bit of 20 minutes to get with. What we know is we call it a deep dive discovery, but really what we're going to get in that 20 minutes is situational understanding of what they believe is their pain or their problem or their issue. It's not truly what is the pain or issue. Somebody told them they have to do this, they have to do it because of regulation. They got something that's in that thing. We take that situational question and we do that through... They don't even hear what mass security is. They don't even ask. When you start asking questions like that, What is it? Why did you take this call with us? How do you see that working? What is causing you to have these things? It's all these kinds of questions. We avoid why, because why is a validation question. If I was say, Why do you think that, Tim? You're like, Personally, I'm going to defend that. But if I say, How did you come to that conclusion? Or, How did that come to be? You mirror and you do things like that. We're out the garden and we do that. Then we go into what we call our capabilities alignment. They think based off of that discovery call, we're going to come in and tell them how Matt's security aligns to those things. But the reality is all we do is put our situational pain back up to them and go over it with them. What happens is they naturally, because of that time break and stuff, start to think about what that really is, and they start diving in and we start finding root causes like, Hey, they have this contract that requires it and they have board members that are pushing it. We get down to the real reason on why they're experiencing the issue or the concern that they have with cybersecurity, even if it's a technical thing, like they don't have a budget or there's something like that. We start to outline all that. Then we spend a few minutes about literally in this hour presentation, we tell our guys not to do more than 10 minutes of, Okay, we've got all that information, so 40 minutes of that is talking about that. Then we take that 10 minutes and we say, Hey, this is what MAD security does as an overview. We're a company in Hunford, Alabama. We're Matt's services. We have these core services. Based off of what we see here, we look like a good fit. Sometimes we tell them, Hey, we don't look like a good fit. This doesn't look right, this thing, because you have these things and we can't solve those. Just out the gate. We take that information and we go into what we call solution design. We come back and we tell folks, Hey, you got to... They're always asking sometimes as they're getting these pains, Well, do you think this would solve it? Do you think that would solve it? My guys just iterate like, Well, not sure yet if we could fit you, but if it could solve it, what would that look like? They start describing what done is, what their end goal is. You see where this is going, right? What happens is in that solution design, we come in and we tell them like, We're a doctor. We're going to prescribe the exact medication needed to get you to where you're going. That's where we balance people, processes, and technology. We iterate that back to them with our service definitions. We might say it's a gap assessment, it's some management services, it's this, it's this, it's this, and we start Xing out the pain points. Sometimes the pain points and the issues can all be Xed out. We say, Okay, you have a budgetary problem. How are you going to go about solving that? We put that back in their lap, things like that. We outline what we can solve, what they can't solve, and we say, Are we in agreement that we've hit everything that you thought of? Then from there, that's when we get into giving them a proposal, showing them prices in the follow-on meeting. How do we talk to people with this big technology gap? We don't talk at them. We let them tell us what they think done looks like, what they think needs to happen. All we do is take our solutions and map it into what they're doing there. We don't talk at them. We just talk about the experience. What we found is there are very common issues that they all have that we can then put in marketing messages as well. Have you experienced this problem? Well, this is the solution that we have, that stuff.

Tim Fitzpatrick
You have three calls or meetings prior to actually even doing a proposal review. Is that right?

Jeremy Conway
That is correct.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, that's fascinating.

Jeremy Conway
But then upon the process, we tell them not a good fit, because we say this is how MAD Security guarantees success.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. Some people will drop out at one of these meetings, but my guess is the people that get to step three with solution design, I'm guessing you close a very high percentage of those.

Jeremy Conway
Very certainly. Because they have told us what it looks like, and all we're doing is validating that we can do what they said it's looking like. Yes, if we get to that solution and buy in, it's a high percentage. Most folks are like, Hey, to go from there to proposal, the quotes I hear is like five to one, three-to-one. If you can get 30%, no, it's way higher for us.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, which makes sense.

Jeremy Conway
Which makes 70%.

Tim Fitzpatrick
One of my mentors said, The faster you ask for the sale, the less money you make. I think that's appropriate to your process here. You guys are taking your time to really understand where they're at, and your solution design is checking off all the problems that you've uncovered in steps one and two, which is fantastic. Jeremy, I love this man. You've dropped some serious value today.

Conclusion

Tim Fitzpatrick
I want to ask you one question before we wrap things up, which is knowing what you know now, is there anything you do differently?

Jeremy Conway
I do it faster and better. What I've grown to appreciate is I wouldn't have got so frustrated with the journey and I would have learned to enjoy the process like I do today back then. In the past, I had a lot of anxiety, a lot of stress, a lot of things because I didn't know what I didn't know, and I wasn't accepting the fact that I just didn't have that skill yet to solve those problems. Now, when I run into those challenges, I'm like, You know what? Give me 20, 40 hours and I'll have this solved. We're going to figure it out. That's what I have to do differently.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Jeremy it has been awesome. Where can people learn more about you or connect with you?

Jeremy Conway
Sure, LinkedIn. I'm active on LinkedIn. I post regularly there, MAD Security. If you want to reach out that way, I'm rarely available.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Awesome. Madsecurity.com, and then on LinkedIn, it's Jeremy Conway. We will make sure that both of those end up in the show notes, so it's easy to find. Jeremy, thank you so much for taking the time. I really appreciate it. You can tell I was taking a bunch of notes. But man, you dropped some serious value. We talked a bit about niching with your target market. We talked about referrals, which are two of the nine revenue roadblocks we help clients remove so they can accelerate growth. If you want to know which of the nine roadblocks are slowing down your growth, you can do that over at RevenueRoadblockScorecard.com, and you can always connect with us over at RialtoMarketing.com as well. Book a free Discovery call. I'd be happy to chat with you and help you push through some of the roadblocks that you're currently experiencing. Thank you for listening, watching. Jeremy, thank you for being here with me. And til next time, take care.


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About the author, Tim Fitzpatrick

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