We talked about inbound marketing, IT businesses, getting more clients, sales, productivity, entrepreneurship, and his company with Michael Kearse.
Our guest today is Michael Kearse from Philadelphia, PA, USA. He is a client acquisition expert who helps IT businesses get more clients with inbound marketing. Besides being a successful digital marketing consultant, he has psychology and MBA degrees. In addition, he is a seasoned project manager with PMP certificate.
Welcome to Worth Of Web Academy!
Please tell our readers about yourself. We would like to learn more about your background and your life before starting your own company.
I love sports and played basketball throughout childhood, high school, and college. So during high school, it wasn’t easy for me to get jobs except at telemarketing businesses. Selling credit cards, newspapers, etc. In college, I wasn’t sure what field of study I wanted to do, but I always had an interest in human behavior so I studied psychology. When I got out of school, I had a 4-year degree in psychology and great experience in sales and marketing so I had to make a decision which way to go. So I decided to go into sales and marketing working for a straight commission sales and marketing role.
I struggled there for about a year and then decided to leverage my education and landed a role doing case management for individuals with disabilities. The income was horrible but the work was very rewarding, so I decided to go back to school and get an MBA – thinking this would make me more marketable for a better paying job. Eventually got the MBA and started a new career as an IT Project Manager. Things really took off from there. I got my PMP, became a board member of a local PMI chapter, and started a new role for a Fortune 500 company. I thought I had the dream. I quickly realized that corporate America would never satisfy me so I started consulting for local software development shops. It was then I realized the real pain point for the niche was sales and marketing.
You have a successful digital marketing business now. Could you tell us more about your company? Which services do you provide? Do you have a team or do you work alone?
Sure. So I help software and IT businesses get more clients by using inbound and digital marketing. I really become their virtual Chief Marketing Officer and partner with them to create a sound infrastructure that identifies buyers and gets these prospects to approach my client. I provide sales funnel creation/management, lead generation, retargeting, PPC, social media management, etc. I also have an online course, so small IT business owners can create the system and strategies themselves. I work alone, but do have a virtual assistant and plan on scaling in the next quarter.
How was the transition from working for an entrepreneur to being one? Were there any struggles?
For me, the transition was pretty straight forward. I am very studious and I am always picking the brain of others who are in positions I aspire to be. So for me, it was liberating to have the freedom to do what I want, when I want and concentrate on hitting my goals.
How is a typical working day for you?
I spend the 1st part of my day going over my goals and reviewing where I currently am. Then spend the early morning responding to emails and documenting high priority tasks for the day. I then do some fulfillment for clients and some prospecting for myself. The rest of the time I am on sales calls speaking with prospects and determining if I can provide value to them.
“When I say inbound marketing I am referring to the act of getting prospects to identify themselves as a potential buyer and approach you through your campaign. Outbound marketing would be more like a typical outreach to individuals with no prospecting funnel for them to approach you on their own. I prefer and leverage inbound marketing 100%.”
– Michael Kearse
You have experience with project management and various methodologies. Do you adopt any specific methods to increase your productivity? What do you suggest when your clients ask how to automate the operations of their IT businesses in order to scale?
To increase productivity, I use a system I learned from one of my mentors called; The Priority Management System. The theory is that no man can manage time, but only manage his priorities. I do leverage common sense project management methods to manage my client’s fulfillment to be as productive as possible. I actually created a section in my online course where I discuss Millionaire Business practices. The best way to implement is to spend at least 1 hour per week improving some aspect of the business. Sales, operations, or service.
I believe you look for and identify the pain points of various businesses in the digital industry regularly as a consultant. Do you recognize a pattern with IT businesses you work with? Do IT businesses suffer from a common problem?
Yes. The common problem that IT businesses have is the inability to get in front of prospects, keep a full pipeline, communicate their message correctly to the market, sell and market, implement the new way to market online, and social media. The common problem they face is that they typically don’t know how to sell and market since they are technical experts. Another huge problem is they don’t know the market they want to serve. They don’t know the market well enough to develop a compelling message.
I believe empathy is a necessary skill for lead generation. Gaining trust, attracting an audience, converting your visitors into leads. That is easier said than done. Does having a psychology background help to understand the needs of a client in each step? Could you give some tips for entrepreneurs who are closer to technical side more than marketing side to make this process easier?
I don’t think it’s my psychology background that has helped me understand prospects, I think what it really is, is having a general true interest in the market and looking to provide value and help. Here is a tip, and anyone can do this, whatever niche market you serve, google what the trends and challenges are of that niche. Read every article on the 1st page. This will give you great insight to the opportunities within your market and what the psyche is of your typical client and prospect.
“Because of the internet, software, and automation, I am able to do things that use to take 10-20 people to do. The internet has leveled the playing field tremendously and anyone can become an entrepreneur over night. There will be more self-made millionaires in the next 5 years than the previous 200 years combined. These are exciting times.”
– Michael Kearse
As technology advances, consumer behavior changes but so does marketing. Less interruptive approaches like inbound marketing are getting popular among customers and marketers. Do you think that inbound marketing is better than outbound marketing? Which one do you prefer?
I think they both have their place and many have different definitions for the terms. When I say “inbound marketing” I am referring to the act of getting prospects to identify themselves as a potential buyer and approach you through your campaign. Outbound marketing would be more like a typical outreach to individuals with no prospecting funnel for them to approach you on their own. I prefer and leverage inbound marketing 100%.
What would be your advice to our readers who would like to use inbound marketing? Any tips for content marketing, social media marketing, and search engine optimization?
Could you share some tips for our readers who try to close more deals for their IT businesses? Do they need to hire a sales team? Do they need to decrease their prices to find a space for themselves in their competitive markets or do they need to charge premium prices? What to focus on?
If you want to close more deals, you need to have more sales calls. How many sales calls have you had this week? You don’t need a sales team, first, you need prospects to talk to and eventually sell. Don’t decrease your prices because now you become a commodity. Focus on what you are great at, what value it provides, and where in the marketplace people want or need that value. That’s what you focus on.
How to network the right way? How important are LinkedIn and other social media channels for networking?
If you are a B2B business you need to be all over LinkedIn. There is too much to share here, but I do go into that in my course and I will be doing a live training on the subject of LinkedIn. When it comes to social media, you want to build relationships since it’s a social environment. Then keep the conversations all about the individual/prospect. And you want to get them to discuss any challenges that are related to what you do well and provide value in.
“The common problem IT businesses face is that they typically don’t know how to sell and market since they are technical experts. Another huge problem is they don’t know the market they want to serve. They don’t know the market well enough to develop a compelling message.”
– Michael Kearse
You are an entrepreneur who is working with other entrepreneurs every day. What are the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur? What do you recommend to someone who wants to be an entrepreneur?
There are many different ups and downs as an entrepreneur. “Will I have enough revenue this month?”, “Who can I find to help me with a specific challenge?”, “I don’t have enough time to prospect or grow the business.”, or “I need to work on the business instead of in the business.” Being an entrepreneur can be both rewarding and frustrating at the same time. One needs to have a strong mindset, support network, and specific goals. If you don’t have a strong “why”, you will quit and look for security.
What do you think about the future of the internet, online businesses, and IT industry?
The internet and online business are the future. This is closely related to IT as well. We are moving out of the information age into the automation age. Software is eating everything. If what you do on a daily basis isn’t using software… it will be. Because of the internet, software, and automation, I am able to do things that use to take 10-20 people to do. The internet has leveled the playing field tremendously and anyone can become an entrepreneur over night. There will be more self-made millionaires in the next 5 years than the previous 200 years combined. These are exciting times.
What is next for you? Any new ideas or projects to pursue? You have a book called “Project Management In Practice”, will we see your new books in the future?
I am in the process of dominating the software and IT niche when it comes to finding the 3% that are in a buying state and helping them learn about the value my clients can provide. I did just create a new eBook. You can get it on Amazon: How To Grow Your IT Business Without Hiring A Sales Team: For Software & IT Business Owners. If you would like a free copy, email me at [email protected]
Is there a book, movie, event, workshop, etc., that changed your life? Any suggestions? Do you have mentors, idols or role models?
The movie “The Secret”, and a talk that Dr. John Demartini gave about values.