$1 HC Book AdMy Black Friday Special Offer

The House And The Cloud Could be the Start of a New 2016 Business Strategy!

The House & The Cloud – 2nd Edition, is almost 1 year old. Just one year ago I was working on the final touches to get it out by January 1. And I did…

Since last January, this book has been a tremendous success…People all over the world have reported back amazing results.  On the other hand, I know there are a lot of people out there who have the book, but you just can’t seem to find the time to get started…so here are a few pages you should check out before year end:

  1. Pg. 194 – 199.  If you’ve been on a Security Sales Mastery Coaching Call with me, we’ve probably looked at these pages. On 194 I present what executives need to know. This is how I start just about every lunch & learn I speak at. The pages that follow describe a simple, yet unique approach to assessing security. Try it!
  2. Chapter 13. This is the message that is converting over 90% of the attendees at the lunch & learns I am speaking at. The truth is, just about anyone could master this presentation. You don’t need me – it’s all right here. (Of course I’d be happy to speak at your next event either way.)
  3. Pg. 107 – All data requires some level of security. But that level changes over time as data goes through it’s lifecycle. I find this simple model helpful in explaining to managers how data gets compromised and why they need a new mindset.
  4. Pg 119. Decision makers only spend money on 4 things. If you are presenting any other message, you are selling on price. On page 119, not only do I show you the four things, I also prioritize them. One of them leads to the fast possible close, and one is almost useless without extensive training on your part – so forget it.

And there’s a lot more…the point is, anyone selling technology, managed services, security, or anything related to data, should read this book. So I’m making it easy – if you don’t have the book, get it right here (For a limited time only). Click the ad above and I’ll send you one for just $1.

P.S. Happy  Thanksgiving!


dan kennedyIf You Sell Technology, Are You Getting Enough Quality Leads?

This week, Russell Brunson, Entrepreneur and Founder of Click Funnels gave us some amazing sales insight!  If you want to grow sales, keep reading…

Right now I’m sitting in the Denver airport on my way home from the GKIC Info Summit – an annual marketing conference (See Dan Kennedy to the left – still using overheads in his presentation.) Of course, after 4 long but incredible days of marketing education, my flight’s been canceled. American claims they sent me an email months ago telling me about a schedule change, but you know how that goes. I get so many emails, it’s not really possible to read every one, so here I am with an expected arrive of 12:40 am.  So enough complaining – on to selling ideas.

7 Things Critical Steps If You Want Leads (in the SMB Market)

I say, SMB (Small Medium Business), because most of this conference was about marketing to smaller businesses. I’m sure many of the principles will apply to the larger F500, but it definitely applies to SMB.  So if you’re a reseller (VAR) or MSP – managed services provider, looking for Small or Medium Business clients, there are some things you should be doing right now!

  1. First, stop cold calling – it doesn’t work.  To make things worse, your marketing team is probably not giving you tons of leads either, so don’t expect it (if you even have someone dedicated to marketing). But the things Brunson showed us are simple to do. I’m already doing some of what he said, but he showed me an easier way. So easy, sales people can do this without a dedicated marketing person.  So if you want leads, you might need a mindset change on what sales people “are supposed to do.”  Leads come when you market, not sell.
  2. Next, take a look at your competition.  You probably attend channel events, so you probably know lot’s of resellers. Someone out there is generating traffic through online marketing and their website. Chances are when your company website was built, whoever gave the go-ahead to build it was looking for something cool and unique.  Big mistake. Why reinvent the wheel just to look different. If someone out there is doing something that is pulling in millions of leads, you might want to do the same thing. Note: I don’t know anyone who is pulling in tons of leads making cold calls. That doesn’t mean you never pick up the phone. It simply means the phone is a poor choice for that initial touch.  Brunson gave us several clear examples where he used online tools to figure out who was getting the traffic.  Once he found the 800 pound gorilla, he started the “Funnel Hack” process. Simply put, he clicked on their ads – on their website, FaceBook, or wherever they are advertising, to reverse engineer their marketing methods. Then he simply created something very similar.  Is this stealing?  No! You can’t copyright or patent the things I am talking about here.  If prospects like the way a certain ad looks, there’s no reason to do something new.
  3. The “Funnel” refers to the flow – what happens after you click.  A strong marketing strategy takes the prospect from an ad, builds rapport, gets an opt-in, and then starts selling.  Your website is probably one of the first things to look at. Is there a lead capture ad, above the fold, on the home page? If not, you should change it – if you can. If you can’t you need something else. FaceBook is actually a great place to put ads.  One of the speakers week showed us an incredible business, marketing to small business clients exclusively on FaceBook.  Can you do this for free? No. But if you are hoping to make big commissions in the coming year, it might be worth spending a few hundreds dollars. If you spend one dollar and two come back, will you be happy?  How much is one qualified lead worth?
  4. What happens next is critical. There should be an offer, and it should be a no-brainer to move forward. On my site I offer a free copy of my 2007 book, The House & The Cloud. Every week I get several leads from this one eBook.  This is called a lead magnet. The one problem I have is, my lead capture form is not on my home page. Expect to see an updated website in the near future.  You too need a lead magnet. It could be a book,  CD, video, eBook, etc. But it must be something the average SMB owner is going to want.  As soon as they opt-in, there should be another offer. Using the blueprint from my Marketing Success kit, your goal as a technology reseller should be to move them into an educational phone call using something like The House & the Cloud Message (Download the book if you don’t know what I’m talking about).  This message was designed to show SMB business owners the one BIG mistake just about every one of them is making as they look to leverage new technologies such as Cloud.
  5. The funnel continues – if they will take the call, you set one up.  This is where the phone comes in. If you have some basic information online or access to Webinar software, you can actually show them what’s going on without making an onsite visit. The goal is to move into a risk assessment. This should be highly qualified, but pro bono.  The purpose of it is to assess the likelihood of a compromise.  Given that most SMB companies have poor security, if you look in the right places you are likely to come up with something urgent!  Again, I explain all of this in The House & The Cloud.
  6. If they don’t take the meeting, your marketing campaign continues.  Use a combination of email, calls, hardcopy mail (like a detailed sales letter), video sales letters, and anything else you can think of. Hit them about 8 times over the next three weeks.  If they still don’t budge, put them on a less intense campaign. Perhaps inviting them to a future Lunch & Learn.  It takes some people years to ripen, but with enough leads coming in, and an automated drip campaign, you can afford to keep reaching out.
  7. One last thing.  One of the most effective things I’ve done in my own business is to invest in experts in different technology, sales, and marketing disciplines.  So for instance, if you want to see how to really work FaceBook ads, you could spend hours trying to figure it out, or you could find an expert.  Do one of two things. Either hire them to coach you through it, or pay them to do it for you. Obviously getting the coaching is cheaper. Generally in just a few weeks you’ll have what you need to move forward.   You will also need some technology such as landing pages.  Right now I am using Megaphone, but seriously considering Brunson’s FunnelClicks product.

You don’t need a bunch of marketing things going one…work on one funnel, perfect it, and measure the outcome. Fine tune it so that you have hundreds of new names every quarter.

© 2015, David Stelzl

Make sure you get The House & The Cloud if you want a message that is sure to get you to the next stage in your sales process!

IMG_9025We All Need To Keep The Learning Process Going

Spending Time With Successful People

How do I keep up?  Well it doesn’t hurt that I interview experts every month.  Last month I had the equivalent of an MBA course in HIPAA, preparing for and speaking with Marc Haskelson of the Compliancy Group.  Over the past several months I’ve had opportunities with former NSA and CIA agents, owners and presidents of highly successful resellers, and some of the highest producers at larger companies like Dell Secureworks, Accuvant, and Check Point Software.

Next month I’ll be hanging out with some million dollar producers in my own business in a 2 day planning and strategy mastermind meeting.  There’s nothing better than learning from your peers when you see them doing something great.

Morning Reading – Krebs, WSJ, Etc.

Another thing I do is read.  I always have a book going.  Right now I am working through an audio book on building your online platform, by Michael Hyatt.  I also read the WSJ CIO section each morning, and subscribe to Krebs on Security.  Here’s a tidbit from this morning’s post I found interesting … How do fraudsters “cash out” stolen credit card data? Increasingly, they are selling in-demand but underpriced products on eBay that they don’t yet own. Once the auction is over, the auction fraudster uses stolen credit card data to buy the merchandise from an e-commerce store and have it shipped to the auction winner. Because the auction winners actually get what they bid on and unwittingly pay the fraudster, very often the only party left to dispute the charge is the legitimate cardholder.”

Conferences Are Great For Networking and Learning

And today, as you read this post, I am headed out to Denver Colorado to attend the Information Marketers Summit with Robert Skrob, President of the Information Marketing Association.  IMA is code for online training programs like the Security Sales Mastery Program on my website.  If you’re in the high tech industry, you can’t afford to work so hard that you don’t have time to read, network, and attend training.  As you start looking at your 2016 two things I recommend doing. First, figure out when you are going on vacation, and block that time out.  Also block out any important days such as your spouses birthday or your anniversary.  Second, figure how what kind of training you need to get and how you’re going to get it.  If you’re not growing, you’re shrinking.

© 2015, David Stelzl

PS. Don’t forget, many of you qualify for free training. I have several sponsors who are willing to put you through the Security Sales Mastery Program – normally $450/seat!  Contact me to find out if you qualify for a seat!

phone angryProspecting is Hard!

My clients have been telling me for years that, “No one answers the phone anymore.” So why do we keep making so many cold calls.  I know there are training programs out there that claim to change all of this, but if the person you are calling isn’t picking up the phone, it’s pretty hard to improve on your message.  If you think a better vmail will do it, you’re headed down the wrong path.

What About Email Marketing?  

Email is better. If I get someone’s vmail, I may leave a vmail, but I almost always send an email telling them I left a vmail. Some people have visual vmail services, but for those who don’t, I’m pretty sure they are retrieving many vmails at once, or from their cell, and probably won’t take the time to record my number.  The email makes it easy.

Find Out If You Qualify For Free Sales Training w/ One of Our Sponsors!

Find Out If You Qualify For Free Sales Training w/ One of Our Sponsors!

What About Sales Letters?

But what happened to sales letters?  On a recent coaching call I was talking with a sales rep who is struggling to get meetings.  He makes his 50 or so calls per week, but the conversion from calls to meetings is low.  While listening to his explanation of why, I reflected back on a recent Lunch & Learn we did together. In just four weeks he had managed to recruit 22 business leaders! All new prospects.  So while he’s only converting about 4% of his calls to meetings, in just a few weeks he was able to set up the equivalent of 22 meetings.  What’s going on here?

It might be that the 22 came because I was speaking – but I don’t think so. None of them had ever heard of me.  It’s not like Zig Ziglar’s coming to town.   No, I’m not the reason for his success.  It’s the message we used to get their attention, and the campaign strategy we used to get that message out.

The phone calling message doesn’t work for at least two reasons. First, no one is answering their phone.  But second, you only have about 6 seconds to grab your prospects attention on a phone call.  And most of the phone calls being made are to get a meeting to review company slides or offerings. No business leader has time to do that. Especially knowing that there are thousands of people just like you calling for the same meeting.

The Lunch & Learn was successful because we had first identified a specific target market. In his case we were targeting CIOs of mid-sized companies, 500 – 2000 users.  Our first point of contact was a written letter. In fact, it was a 3 page letter written with conversion in mind. Most would have chosen a one page letter, but not me. For reasons we don’t have time for in this post, the longer letter is more effective. We followed up with two more emails plus phone calls. When we finally did get through to either the CIO or an executive assistant, our call was very focused on security awareness.  This is not a new strategy. Michael Bosworth, in his 1995 book, Solution Selling, recommends setting up one-on-one meetings using a similar educational approach.  And Dixon & Adamson, authors of The Challenger Sale (Even though the author is selling against what Bosworth teaches) is saying the same thing.

In the end, we had 20 of the 22 people attend, and every attendee agreed to move to the assessment stage in my marketing blueprint.  The bottom line is conversion. If your conversion numbers are great, whatever you are doing is working (at least for now). But if not, you may need more than some phone training or a clever vmail message.

© 2015, David Stelzl

PS. Want to convert 70-90% of your Lunch & Learn audience,? Check out the Marketing Success Kit.  It comes complete with training, prewritten letters, call scripts, and everything you need to know to effectively sell through live marketing event meetings.  Click Here to Learn More!

appleHow Quickly Are You Responding to Your Customer’s Needs…

Time is important. The way you view your customer’s time just might be the most important part of your offering. Three recent interactions over the past week underscore just how important this is.

Apple Has Great Support

I mentioned in a post the other day that my daughter had been contacted online by a fraudster offering support. She called me in before paying the fraudulent charge, but I still went to Apple to make sure we were doing the right thing.  Apple was easy to contact. My daughter’s system is not new. In fact, it’t time to upgrade. But contacting support was easy, fast, and free regardless of the date I made the purchase. Using the online chat software I had my answers in less than 5 minutes, and the instructions on what to do were easy to follow.

American Airlines Calls You Back

My airline travel was down last year due to more online programs – so I lost my chairman status (USAirways). As a chairman member I always got immediate service.  Now that I no longer have the privilege, I have to wait in line like everyone else when calling in with a problem or question.  Last week was my first call into the now merged AA and USAirways company.  While the wait time was over 15 minutes, the automated system did take my cell number and call me back.  This is a great service for support organizations that don’t have to give immediate assistance. Sure enough, about 30 minutes after I placed the call they called back. I was connected immediately without being tied to the phone listening to hold music and marketing announcements. MMS Blog Ad

Quickbooks Makes You Wait

On the other hand, I had a Quickbooks App issue this morning. My first contact was with a woman who didn’t really speak English. Make sure your people speak the language of the people you support. I’m okay with a slight accent – we get that between northern and southern US. Not a problem.  But this was “Broken Engrish”, and very hard to understand.

She must have asked me 3 or 4 times which version I was using. For some reason she didn’t understand me either. When we finally agreed that I was on a Mac using the App, she told me I needed to talk with the online support team. Before placing me on hold she informed me that Quickbooks does not allow the support team to call out.  So waiting was the only option.

18 minutes later I am on the phone with online support. When I told him I had a Mac with an App, he simply said, “You have to uninstall it and reinstall it. We don’t support the App.” When I complained that the first person should have told me that, he insisted that he had told her to tell me that on the phone. I’m sure he did, but for some reason she did not relay the message. He apologized for wasting half an hour of my day and we hung up.

Computer support is critical. Most of us spend the entire day doing something on a computer. If you’re in the managed services business your clients should be support contracts, not T&M, and the support should be nearly instantaneous.  If you support the security side of your client’s business (which is a must these days) your response time is even more important.  The good news is, fast, quality support is worth paying for when you make money using a computer.

© 2015, David Stelzl

virus blueWhy Urgent Issues On Your Security Assessment Report Don’t Sell The Next Step

Have you ever wondered why the client doesn’t jump on the chance to implement your recommendations when you complete an assessment?

One of the most frustrating things in the security business happens when you complete an assessment. It seems like at least 90% of the assessments I’ve been involved in or read the report from, have several urgent issues. Gartner and I both have stated that 80% of the security budget is spent on keeping people out, but in my book, The House & the Cloud, I make it clear that detection-response is the only strategy that works.  Yet, clients rarely implement the recommendations that come from these reports.  They pay to have them done, listen to your findings, and then move on to other things. Why?

What’s Really Urgent? Hint: It’s Not Old Equipment or Missing Patches

I was meeting with the President of a technology  reseller two weeks ago in a 6-Hats Strategy session, going over the assessement process.  This fall he’s signed up to do at least 15 assessments before year-end, but if they don’t convert to managed services contracts, he won’t be happy.  History shows us that only about 15% will convert to more business unless he changes something.MMS Blog Ad

As we went through the 6 Thinking Hats Brainstorming Session, his list included things like missing patches, open ports, and free or non-existant Anti-Virus software. These all sound urgent, but they’re not! Not unless you can tie these issues to something more concrete. For instance, if you’re assessment comes up with no Anti-Virus software (of course most companies today would have something for AV), but there’s no sign of malware, you’re going to have a hard time convincing the CFO or frugal business-owner to spend more money.  Same thing with outdated software or hardware. If there’s no sign of danger, they probably won’t move to remediate.

Assessment Sales Depend On Impact and Likelihood

If you want to sell the next step, you have to take the next step in the assessment process. This is clearly spelled out on page 194 – 199 in The House & The Cloud, 2nd Edition. The next step is looking for the issues that should exist when a company fails to do the right thing.  Symptoms are enough to get a response. You don’t need the deep dive technical  analysis on what a particular botware application is doing. If they have one, it’s bad even if a marketing company put it there. If the marketing company is able to install bots on a network, the bad guys can do it too. Don’t worry about what the bot is, just find it.

If the systems are missing security patches, look for evidence of tampering, foul play, or unauthorized activity.  Keep asking yourself, “So what” for each issue you find, and tie it to a business problem. Find evidence of that problem, and you’ll have justification.  Don’t just say – your port is open. No one cares.

© 2015, David Stelzl

P.S. If you want to sell larger security deals, click the ad above and see if you qualify for a free seat through one of the many hardware vendors who sponsor this training!

malwareWhat’s the Likelihood I’ll be Hacked Over the Next 12 Months?

That’s the question every business leader should be asking.

The answer – it’s likely.  Over the past week two of my kids have been hit by fraudsters. Neither ended up paying, but both were initially confused. Had it not been for the constant security awareness training that happens in our home, they might have paid the bill.

It could have been malware, but in this case it was a pop-up.  “Call Our Support Desk Now!  You’ve been infected by malware,” the message read. My 20 year old son had one on his iPad; my 21 year old daughter had one on her company laptop. Both came by inadvertently clicking on a pop-up ad.  In my daughter’s case, she did call the number to see what was up (her system was completely frozen at this point.)  The technician on the line wanted to access her system, which is no longer on any Apple support contract. For $250 he promised to set her up on an annual support agreement and remove the malware on her system.

At that point she called me in to talk with him.  First I asked him how he knew we had malware on this system.  He reported that he had received a message from our system telling him.  I probed further to understand what he was planning to do to fix our computer. His explanations were technical but vague. I asked him about malware, bots, and signs of intrusion.  He wouldn’t tell me specifically what the problem was. So then I started asking about remediation steps. Was this a scan, patch, firmware upgrade, etc. He couldn’t explain. It was clear he didn’t know what he was talking about, but he was adamant that we needed a solution. Finally I said, how do I know you work for Apple. He explained that his firm, BTS, was contracted by Apple for this type of support. I took down his number, thanked him, and called Apple. He was a fraudster.

In my son’s case, he simply called Apple support directly, ignoring the phone number on the screen. It too was fraudulent. Apple gave us the right tools to scan both systems to clear them of any adware or malware. And, using Apple’s chat software, the entire process was free.

Your Client’s Don’t Know Any Better

The problem is, your clients don’t know any better. What are the chances they would call and pay?  They’re working hard, trying to get through their day, and suddenly a message pops up, and like my son’s tablet, the system is locked. Apple walked my son through a hard-reset to get back to functionality. How many of your clients would simply call the number and pay the support fee?  Sure, if they work for IT, they’re probably savvy enough to do the right thing. But what about the countless office workers, especially those working in small businesses without dedicated IT support people?

Fortunately, in our case it was a simple hard-reset. It could have been ransomware, malware installed through a support link, or some destructive virus. The point is, your clients are highly likely to be hit with some sort of fraud scheme, malware, or ransomware in the near future. If all you provide is basic managed services, or possibly firewall support, these attacks will continue, and your client is likely to pay for it. Educating them on this is the first step. But then, every one of your clients really does need someone to monitor, detect, and respond to these types of problems. They will only get worse over time.

© 2015, David Stelzl