Rick is the CFO at Response-IT and Canadian Cloud backup in Kingston Ontario. He’s involved with many community groups like The Rotary, Innovate Kingston, Switch and he’s on the board for Kingston Chamber of Commerce and Bereaved Families of Ontario. He’s also an active member of several Kingston networking groups.
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Transcription of today’s episode.
With so many marketing messages bombarding everyone what do you do to rise above the noise authentic and thoughtful marketing could be the final frontier for marketing in business sit back and enjoy as we interview the principles of real businesses as they talk about their distinctive and authentic approach to reaching out to new prospects when you rise above the noise your marketing doesn’t seem like marketing at all i’m jason tanner welcome to the zero noise marketing podcast networking one person at a time could easily become a lost art is there a place for networking in your business is networking a big waste of time today’s guest rift Frasso pulls back the curtain and reveals how authentic and committed community involvement has helped him consistently grow his business rick is also not just satisfied to support most of the community-based groups here in Kingston but he’s also one of the founders of the Kingston sales and marketing Club which is quickly becoming one of the premier networking events here in our city stick around and you’ll learn how to pick the right networking groups to build your business and how to conduct yourself when you’re at those groups this is the zero noise marketing podcast one of the things I want to ask you about you’ve got so many community groups that you’re involved with right how do you pick the ones that you’re going to be spending your time with I think it’s almost that they they come to me I hear about organizations I in some cases through mutual friend in some cases I’m able to fill a gap or something they need I’ll give you an example 100 men I heard by this organization didn’t know anything about it so 100 men they meet quarterly everybody gives one dollars that night and that night the pick a charity and they give that charity ten thousand dollars to use as they see fit you know the the the finances are used where it is most needed now I heard that the membership of a hundred men is dwindling okay there’s another organization a hundred women and their numbers are increasing rapidly so I met Brad Ravel who’s on the board and I suggested that possibly I could help them with their marketing campaign to possibly boost their numbers first thing I did I go to a hundred women right I interview some people from there to find out what they did and I have some Saint Laurent’s placement students helping me with a little bit of a marketing campaign that this year will put into place and to boost their numbers just to make sure that we always have a hundred men donating to that organization so there there’s a example of I love going to the meetings I love meeting new people it’s a fantastic experience but now I’m able to also help them boosting their numbers through a marketing campaign that’s super interesting to me because when a person is first starting their business they might be thinking themselves where can I go to get what I want and where you take it the opposite approach you look for a need a place where you can have a positive impact and and then you go for it and of course me being an entrepreneur businessman you know that you you’re gonna meet some people within that organization they’re going to be business owners there’s some retirement people there but there’s a lot of business owners in that organization that like to give back to the community and they’re good people to get to know okay in the business sense you know yeah I’m sure you hurt you’ve heard of the term pay it forward yes so in a lot of cases that’s what I do you know I’m not there to sell anything I’m not there to boost my business I’m there to help right six months down the road we’re gonna hit a phone call right you know they need help through our services and they’re gonna think of a response i.t right but you never go into it thinking about the milk no have no that’s really interesting so you don’t have an attachment to sort of a specific outcome you just you just fill the fill-a-need letting and trust that something didn’t come from it yes exactly exactly yes and it’s so interesting meeting new people a lot of times I’ll meet someone or hear of a group or a new business and I’ll go visit them or I’ll invite them here for a little chat just to find out who they are right you know you might meet them again six months or in a year you just never know and I really find there’s so many interesting businesses so many interesting people in Kingston right great well so what would you say to someone who’s interested in getting into networking specifically there how would you suggest they did into that there are several networking groups in Kingston Kingston connections is a great one they have they meet Thursday mornings at Smitty’s they’re a very referral based business but not because they have to because they like the people that they associated with and they trust the people that they associated with I’ve started with mark didymus the Kingston sales a marketing Club here in town we started it with six people attending and now we’ve had up to thirty that organization is not to sell not to boost your business it’s a bunch of like-minded people getting together to learn a bit marketing and the way I’m going to learn about marketing is by talking to other people funding it what they do for their business we have a speaker every of the first Wednesday and a good example would be you you spoke at one point and very interesting because not only you learn about marketing from the speakers or from the people that you’re talking to but it’s a great networking opportunity you know things happen things are gonna happen before the meeting and you’re gonna meet people after the meeting and that’s another great marketing group there’s another smaller one called Kabam they Kabam up they may they meet at lunch at Nino’s there’s of course the bee and I write and and networking groups can be joining in the chamber the chamber I was at a mixer last night at Habitat for Humanity I joined the rotary community service organization of course another great networking opportunity so my suggestion would be just get up there meet people again last night I was at a speaker series innovate Kingston in the Town Hall in Portsmouth there’s about 50 like-minded entrepreneurs there what a great opportunity to to meet people that started yeah and there’s a panelist there are some successful people great questions about Kingston and the community there’s just so many opportunities I could be here five days a week attending events if I wanted to absolutely and here’s a question so when you’re you’re in a networking situation the speaker or the usual agenda has has happened an attorney an open social context yes how do you conduct yourself when you’re when you’re talking to people so that you can you can deepen a relationship I become interested in what they do I rarely talk about myself I let people know who I am and what I do but again I’m very interested in what they do and I learn from them I learned from possibly their mistakes so or how they became successful or what they are doing now and of course we’ll exchange business cards now if you’re going to exchange business cards a lot of people that business card might end up in their top drawer never to be seen again I I suggests that make use of the business card follow up with some emails maybe every three months every two months contact that person again let them know you’re still around a slow way to build a lasting relationship you know so just just don’t drop it I’ve heard that referred to as the loyalty loop for clients and customers so you the loyalty loop so you never let it drop you always contact a person through an email meeting them Vence a follow-up email you might attend their events so it’s a circle that you can continue a circle don’t let it ever break right and you never know what’s going to happen okay so the the mine said you how has this affected your mindset as far as thinking about other people’s needs I’m I’m open to all those other people’s needs I am not always able to help with but what I can do and what anybody can do is act as a connector an example was this morning I heard of a nonprofit organization that wanted to put the makers of videos for the pathways organization I happen to know a young man that wants to start a business in that industry I don’t have the skills right but I certainly know that he does so I introduced them and that’s all I did and there they he will now be producing videos for that nonprofit to be used in to put on social media to actually show people the what the benefits are sorry what pathways has accomplished for their 300 kids on under their care okay so a lot of times are just connecting to people right yeah guys yeah okay that’s great so there’s there’s two tiers to what we’re trying to do with this with the show and one is to look at the authentic stuff that you’re doing either implicitly or explicitly in your marketing I’ll connect about something that is you know you’ve executed it explicitly you’ve done this main priority and budgeted time for us for this in your schedule yes but the implicit message of this action that has that you care about your community and that your you have a personal commitment to to support a service right so that’s that’s very interesting kind as far as that took marketing goes and the other side of what we talked about on our show is what do you do in your business to make it easier for your customers to refer you well we do little paid advertising okay how we do get a lot of referrals from our customers and that is done by a customer experience that it’s really not hard to do it’s not hard to answer the phone it’s not hard to set up a service call next day when the person needs it I’ve heard so many complaints in my industry of customers not being serviced well or in a timely manner and to tell you the truth I just don’t get it it’s so easy you know it’s so easy to be nice to people it’s so easy to be nice to a business to service that business it just comes natural to us we have a great team that’s we always leave the customer satisfied very very important we’re never in a rush and you know in a lot of cases our clients the they almost become friends you know you get to know them well you see them at hockey games we see them on the golf course possibly in the summer and well we do give it hockey tickets and we do give it a golf ticket but but I really find probably the easiest marketing advertising we do is just talking to our customers that’s it right and just a commitment to make sure that they get exactly what they’re yeah and we communicate to them what we’re doing at a grassroots level you know we’re not going to talk big heavy technical talk mhm you know this is it’s very interesting talking to you particularly because I understand that with the back up side of your business the Canadian cloud back to home I mean essentially the temptation would be to think you’re selling disk space but in our world like in this case is deeply commoditized concept is modular that’s certainly the view so what was it you’re doing that makes people understand that your delivery of that otherwise commoditized service separates you from the alternatives out there in the marketplace well if I was giving an elevator speech I would say we sell peace of mind so in in in our field disaster recovery just basically means for our clients that’s you’re not going to lose your data right and if something does happen to your computer the the cleaner knocks it over you know you can be assured your data is backed up on our server and that we can put everything back and it’s basically that simple and so many people just don’t get it ransomware they might be a attacked through ransomware and if if someone encrypts there’s someone named Joe from India who says he’s from Microsoft I phoned you up and encrypts your data and says you have to pay me two thousand dollars to get your data back no that happens that really happens we we get phone calls where businesses have phoned it up with that exact same scenario I would say it’s not unusual to get that type of phone call once every two weeks okay so there might be two times a month might be four times a month and and the thing is that people don’t hear about that we’re the only people that hear about that because we get the phone calls a lot of people are embarrassed that this has happened to them and they don’t advertise the fact and you can be sure once that happens they’re going to be phoning us to back up their data and the smart businesses have already done that yeah so what does it look like if I call I say Rick I have to have a cloud backup with you guys mmm I just came home I just came home and my computer has melted into a pool of plastic what what do i well first of all we’re going to put a new computer right in your place of business and we can do this all remotely we just get on our console and put that data back what kind of turnaround this is wrong we will be there at next day right okay okay now are other criteria your internet connection can be a criteria or if you have a lot of data we might take a hard drive right up to the server and back up to the server right there in the data center just to get it done faster so there’s you know there’s several possibilities you know just just depends on on what’s needed that at the time and we did get into cloud backup at the right time because as everybody knows everything’s going to the clock right I know my understanding is there’s a lot of service providers who are operating under these states maybe most of them are is that fair to say through number just right through numbers okay and we’re having coffee at one time and you mentioned to me that particularly in the medical yes industry they have very specific standards as wire them to keep their data in country that is correct talk about that there are a few provinces that have that mandated now and more provinces will follow over the years where they require health records to be kept in Canada because if you’re if you have a business in health industry and you have client data and you’re keeping that data on a Google Google server in Florida the you have no control over security even the American government there there’s a lot of talk what Canada has a couple of organized a couple of organizations the acronyms are PIPA da and that the the mandate that the data has to fulfill a certain security level you can encrypt that so our our a selling point is that we do keep our data in Canada and we have one of the highest security levels and everything’s redundant so you will never lose your data right so it’s perfect insurance ready yeah yeah that the great put them yeah right okay well that’s great so it’s nice to get a handle on what you do to strongly differentiate yourself in a market where people may have a hard time differentiating one IT company from another hmm so that’s that’s great and we talked about I’m glad we were able to talk about that so if I ask you a couple of concerns were you professionally sure what was the last marketing books that you read that had a an intact and how you do your marketing I would say the tipping point and I don’t remember the author’s name but that was suggested to me to read that because the I met a gentleman in the financial industry and after we met a few times he mentioned that I reminded him of the people in that book okay and so I read the book and he was right a lot of the things that I do naturally were more mentioned in that book okay well I mentioned the word connective right these notes what maybe was in his book to you yes yes and they they mentioned in in the book that the simple idea of being a connector can be a turning point and let’s say the fashion industry there were some examples of the fashion industry where in a bid was New York City a few kids on a few blocks start wearing hush puppies right and it was different no one else was doing that but the fashion industry got hold of that new idea making use of an old shoe from years ago from when I was young and they the people started buying hush puppies from little convenience stores or just wherever they could find it and and everybody started selling out of these hush puppies because all the the cool kids started wearing them and it became a multi-million dollar industry just because a few kids on the New York block started wearing these old shoes gotcha and I’m not so fast this look like yeah yeah I guess it like our natural instinct is to we want to think like hunters right but in in marketing especially nowadays we have to think like farmers because we don’t know of the seeds we plant which ones are going to bear right necessarily right good way of puttin them yeah yeah yeah so they certainly and I think happened with typical timberland boots as well the hip-hop around the immunity has subverted those for their own use and they couldn’t keep them in stores and they never said it like Timberland never had a meeting and brainstormed possible market right and they just created a sturdy sturdy product that someone found and another useful right right amazing yeah it kind of circles back to what he’s doing with with your network marketing – there’s no way of knowing where are those whom those seeds will fly and purchase you know right right and another thought that I always have when I’m out there and meeting people is I try to be creative but try to be innovative thinking of new ideas something that’s never done before an example I met women mean business here in town and we changed these offices into a showcase I got everybody to clean up their office we put a big black cloth on the table and one office we had the Boys and Girls Club we had someone selling jewelry we had an artist with a massage therapist every office we changed into a showcase for a business from the women that mean business networking group and we had wine tasting up front that was just an idea that popped in my head I’m very successful and you get much more enjoyment when you’re doing something different like that or you think of something different that’s it and it stands out you know people still come up to me and said oh I was at your mixer three years ago and that they we’ll remember that right yeah so I mean that actually trigger something in my own mind that would you say that it’s important to find a way to to find joy in the process of outreach rather than being miserly about about you know buds dinner I got to do two hours a week tour else well I always say I have the best job in the world because I have fun doing it right so that’s what I do what I do that’s why I own these businesses because I enjoy growing businesses I enjoy the process and I have fun doing it and I think that filters down to your team which then filters down to our clients yeah that that that just I think it’s what our business is built on okay you know it’s just people come to work they laugh and joke and they want to come to work and our clients see that you know they see our text being upbeat right now right they’re not loading the next call yeah yeah I that’s and that’s very tough I used to do tech support myself you know that that agent morale you know the guys on the phone that’s that’s a very tricky thing to do we have a little turnover here right that’s amazing and but we put time into people we find someone we want to keep and we put time into them so who’s been looking the longest I would say my partner Chris who I hired right at a school took him to his first call and he seemed surpassed me in technical knowledge which is another criteria I have I always hire people smarter than myself Shane our administrator has been here for over 10 years now he’s the and of hurt I’m sure you’ve heard this term before the glue that keeps everything together Shane is great he’s he knows all her clients by name he’s the one that’s gonna answer the phone he sets up the calls he orders everything goes through Shane and I’m sure every business says every business has somebody like that violin yeah we have our ashame fantastic so the employer attention it’s just another another facet of America Nick is it of course informs the way you come across to the people who do business with you there’s a there’s a consistency right and if you have the same check for six years they must be doing something right that’s amazing I thought annuity yeah but most of us when we call into a help desk we imagine them a sea of of strangers really whereas when doing business with response IT it’s it’s a small room of friends they’re there to help you yes yes and that can be an advantage even Canadian Club Mekka we’re in an industry and we’re playing with some or partnering with some very large companies but we have an advantage because we’re small we can turn on a dime we can make decisions we don’t have a hierarchy of the c-suite and and over time we found that’s a very real advantage to us [Music] you need to lock down yeah you know a bunch of policies that are really there to protect you for my clients your there your policies are there to help you serve not to protect you from lazy clients yeah yeah yeah and we can put resources to a decision when when it’s needed and you know we do try to act like a larger company but we do that with a very few personnel just because of the industry we’re in everything’s done on consoles like remotely gotcha yeah that’s great yeah so how could you even get a hole do you make well of course we have our website WWE city that CA and certainly a lot of people contact me directly Rick at responds ITC a thank you very much for coming today thank you very much this has been the zero noise marketing show connecting with the right prospects in an authentic way doesn’t have to be complicated if you think authentic zero noise marketing might be right for your business find out for sure by contacting us for a free consultation session we can be reached at six one three three seven nine three zero five point eight you might be eligible for a complimentary test campaign I’m Jason Tanner thanks for tuning in!