Archives For selling

dollardataCredit Card Data Is A Commodity…It’s The Company Secrets That Profit

How Secure Is Your Data – What About China?

The big companies have had their share of horror stories with credit card theft this year, but are you and your customers watching the trends in Espionage?  Earlier this month I interviewed a couple of former NSA agents to give technology providers some insights into cybercrime trends and a war we are all involved in.  Summer Worden, one of my guests on the SVLC Insider’s Circle Program talked about Russian and China, revealing some of the hidden agendas and what to expect in the future.  Much of this is driven by Economics according to Worden.  China’s economy needs more innovation, and what better way to get it than to take it from the United States?

Espionage Is Hitting Businesses Right Now

This week in the Wall Street Journal, FRANK J. CILLUFFO AND SHARON L. CARDASH gave us more on this. Here’s a sound bite that should shock us; “The FBI reports a significant spike in its number of economic espionage cases: a 53% increase just this past year.”  Where is this coming from and what’s driving it?

According to the article, “Randall Coleman, the head of the FBI’s counterintelligence division, told the Wall Street Journal in July that much of the suspicious activity is performed by Chinese companies against U.S. firms and that the Chinese government plays “a significant role” in the attempted theft of trade secrets.”  Espionage, as pictured in movies is generally dealing with government data – like the recent OPM hack I wrote on a few weeks ago.  But this is about business. These are companies, targeting companies that have new ideas, strategies, and innovations that the competition in China will benefit from.

In Kevin Mitnick’s book, The Art of Deception, he shares the tale of a businessman entering a small business responsible for developing high tech manufacturing equipment. The man approaches the front desk asking to see the president of the company. The receptionist informs him that the president is out of the country and unavailable. At that point the businessman begins to fumble through his planner, double checking his meeting.  He’s flown in from out of town, and is supposed to be meeting the president to discuss a joint venture. There must be a mistake!

In a last ditch effort, he asks if the development team is in – perhaps he can take them out to lunch to review the plan he and the president have come up with.  They agree, and into the development area he goes. They spend several hours discussing the latest drawings and plans – the company’s latest top secret innovations. The businessman takes a few pictures, and heads out, promising to reconnect next week when the president returns.

You probably guessed – but when the president returns, and the team reviews their recent meeting, the president has no idea who they are talking about. This is a case of economic espionage, and chances are the business guy is now back in his own lab building a “Copy-Cat” product with only a few months of R&D vs. the decade the first company spent developing these ideas.

No Need to Go Onsite

Like your evolving managed services program (if you are an MSP), you no longer have to go onsite to do your work…the same is true when it comes to stealing company secrets. As the WSJ article states, “If you place yourself in the shoes of those playing economic catch-up, why invest millions in R&D if you can simply steal it at a fraction of the cost, especially with just a few clicks of a mouse?”. Now that everything is connected and online, stealing information is simple.

Cilluffo and Cardash rightly point at that,  “The theft of intellectual property and trade secrets destroys jobs in this country, and undermines the nation’s economic competitiveness by striking at the heart of U.S. innovation.” And in this case, nation states are behind these acts of war!  Years ago I read in another WSJ article, “This is a slow sifting of the American Economy,…and because it lacks the alarming explosions and bodybags, no one is really paying attention.”  At some point we will find our bank accounts empty, and our businesses collapsed.

No One Is Claiming Responsibility, But Who’s Investigating This?

Terrorists claim responsibility when they blow things up. They want us to be afraid. In a war, the opposing country generally announces their demands and threats of invasion. In this case, the thief is not interested in being known – they have no demands. They are looking for a competitive advantage. It’s to their benefit that no one know what they are up to. If they can silently get away with strategic information, they can recreate a product in their own lab, with a fraction of the required investments in time and money. With their copy-cat product in hand, they are now able to sell it at a fraction of the cost. Recovering their investment is easy – they didn’t spend their own money on this invention.

What to Do About It

In the WSJ Article, the writers tell us, “Recent reporting suggests that the Administration is striving to craft an innovative and calibrated response to the OPM hack in light of its scale. This is a significant development in the ongoing match of Spy vs. Spy on steroids. An equally compelling answer is needed to China’s economic espionage against the United States. Time is money in this context — but more importantly, it is national security.”

It’s true, our government needs to get on this. In a recent Presidential speech I heard Obama say that our greatest threat right now is environmental…I have to respectfully disagree.  Without a doubt, I believe it’s cybercrime – Hacktivists, Nation States, and Cybercriminals.  All three are attacking everything from your personal data, to company innovation, to our nation’s intelligence.  As a technology provider I want to encourage you to start educating your clients – everything must be secure, and it can’t wait for the next budget cycle or a government mandate.  Like a doctor sharing the diagnosis of cancer with a patient, it’s up to us to convince them to begin treatment. This is not about insurance, it’s about preservation.

“Those who say they have it covered are either ignorant or lying to you.” – A quote from my most recent book, The House & The Cloud 2nd Edition.

HC Image

© 2015, David Stelzl

P.S. If you want more on how to convince your customers they need better security, this book explains how to do it…(click to see it on

Ingram MicroAre You Getting Through To New Prospects?

Yesterday I posted some strategies to find new customers using LinkedIn.  Having used this method myself for several months, I’ve been amazed at how much easier this is than trying to reach out to someone I don’t know by phone or email. It does work.  However, there’s a catch…

On May 21st, Ingram Micro is sponsoring an online workshop (Click to Register) where I’ll be addressing effective messaging used for prospecting – where I will be covering this in detail. If you want more clients, you need three things:

Understanding Your Market.  

This is your people group.  It’s the person you are reaching out to.  But knowing they run a small business, or serve as the CISO for a Fortune 500 is not enough.  We all have a target market – if we don’t define it properly, we end up with nothing. In fact, I was meeting with a guy not too long ago with this problem. When we first connected by phone he claimed to know just about everything there is to know about technology.  From his point of view he could sell any technology solution to just about any size or industry prospect. But when I asked him how many active clients he had, his answer was in the single digits!  It turns out that having a broad view of the market often leads to a watered down message.

Second, you need a Message.

This is what I’ll be spending most of my time on in the upcoming workshop. Every company pretends to have a message – the problem is they all sound the same. Good messaging meets a person where they are right now – then takes them to the place you need them to go. If your message isn’t built for a specific people group, it won’t move anyone to action.

Finally, there’s your media.

On a coaching call yesterday, with a well seasoned enterprise rep, we were reviewing this final step. It was an ah-ha moment. The sales person I was working with is successful, has a a well defined people group, and knows their message. As we worked through these concepts there was a sudden awakening! The media discussion brought in a bunch of new ideas. Email and phone are not your only choices. And some people respond better to one media over another. Finding out which one is important.  It’s also helpful to see how to turn something we all have, like a website, into a marketing tool. The truth is, most of the reseller websites out there are nothing more than a datasheet online.

Remember, If it doesn’t convert, its not marketing.

© 2015, David Stelzl

P.S. Don’t forget to sign up for the Ingram Micro Workshop: (Click to register)  – May 21st, 1:00 PM ET.

linkedin_clothWe’re all on LinkedIn.  So Why Not Use LinkedIn To Prospect for New Business!

New Logos are hard to get. Cold calling is not really working, and it’s no wonder. The people we are calling are getting thousands of calls, and unlike email, calls take an incredible amount of time to make and return.  However, email is hard too. Getting noticed in email is a one-in-a-million chance. It’s easy to delete an email.  But LinkedIn seems to work.  The open-rate is actually higher than normal email. I know they say that in the ads, but based on my experience, it’s true.

Have you tried LinkedIn for active prospecting?  I thought I would provide a few tips here on how to make use of this great tool. It’s funny how many of us are on this cloud application. It’s the one hole in the great wall every business leader has surrounded themselves with.  And it does work. In fact, I just got off the phone with a VAR Business Owner. He can’t get his sales guy to make use of LinkedIn, however in the past week he’s landed 3 sizable deals himself, simply by spending an hour each day reaching out to people.  Meanwhile his sales guy is pounding the phones with little to show for it. Blog Subscribe Ad

Here’s One Way to Use LinkedIn to Find New Business

1. First, you will need an upgraded account. I use the Business Account for $23.99/month.  This gives me more access to see people’s profiles before connecting, and unlimited use of the advanced search capabilities.

2. Next, you need a way of getting around the InMail limitation. You only get 5 InMails (Emailing within LinkedIn) in the business level account. But the next level up only gives you 8, and the top level is 15. If you’re in sales, none of these options will work.  So here’s what you do…

  • Use the advanced search function to find the people you are looking for. Consider searching titles, companies, or types of businesses.  I find that setting a block of time, such as an hour, and then focusing my search on something that will give me a few hundred hits works well. I’ll then spend that hour contacting people from that one search.  This saves time.
  • You can try connecting.  One person I spoke with will contact someone they know, who is connected to the prospect they’re after, and get permission to name them. They are not asking for an intro – that takes too long. Instead, just to name them. This increases the likelihood of connecting.  A Connect request does not use an InMail.  The only problem here is that waiting for your contact to respond might be too cumbersome.
  • Another option is to use the groups. If that prospect is in a group that you belong to (if not, just join a group they are in), you can click on the number of members in that group, which will display all group members. Search for their name and click MESSAGE.  This message will not count against your InMails either.

3. Offer them something.  I like to offer content – a free copy of one of my books or a special report on some topic that seems relevant.  Cloud security has been a good one.  Adam Witty, in his book Book The Business, does a great job explaining how to connect with people using books and reports. It’s much easier to connect with content than to connect trying to sell something.  (Note: I will be interviewing Adam Witty in June on my Insider’s Circle Program!)

4. Follow up.  Try offering your content 3 times, one time per week. I get about a 50% acceptance on this. Usually it’s the 2nd email that does it.  For some reason people respond to a message that refers back to the first message more often than replying to the initial try.

5. Don’t give up.  It’s important to know your product or offering is valuable. Like any prospecting effort, there will be those who respond negatively.  In fact I had one today.  The thing that amuses me here is that I am reaching out to sale people and sales managers. So today I sent my third and final email offering my book – it was sent to a vendor you would recognize in the security space; he’s the regional sales manager.  His reply simply said, “Leave me alone.”  I was tempted to email back asking him how he would counsel his sales team with this type of response.  But I resisted the urge.  There’s no reason to get into it with people…just move on, continue spreading your value until someone responds with a need.  Remember, it’s their loss not yours…

© David Stelzl, 2015

death of a salesmanWhat’s Your Conversion on Cold Calling Prospects?

Ask your peers – the successful sales people are probably farming accounts they’ve had for years.  Others have a different strategy. No one wants to hear from a sales person they don’t know.

I’ve had several coaching calls this week with sales people who are either new with their company, or new in their role. Some are large company sales people calling on enterprise accounts, others are SMB resellers selling managed services. The story is the same. They’re making 100s of cold calls, with about a 1% return – converting to meetings.  Note, this is not a sale, just a meeting.

After you read this…I think you’ll want more details. So here’s an opportunity.  This month, on March 26th, 1:00 PM ET, I will be presenting more on how to build your technology business – sponsored by Ingram Micro….

Sign me up!  <<< It’s free to join this event, Ingram has made it possible. Keep reading, but make sure you have a seat.

They’re wasting their time.

Not only are cold-callers wasting time – their managers will soon give up on them. Even though they are the ones that assigned the task of cold calling. The misconception is, if you make enough calls and your message is good enough, you’ll get a meeting. From there you can show them value through the amazing features of your product, and make the sale. It’s wrong thinking – 90s thinking.

Death of the Salesman

I wrote an article years ago called, “Death of a Salesman” where I explained many of these concepts. Of course, I stole the title from Arthur Miller, but I did give him credit. Sales as we know it are over. You might still be making some headway, but don’t expect it to last. 80% of purchases today are made based on Google research. Most sales calls come after the product research. The research has been done, the shopper knows the street prices, and now they want a deal.  Google is taking over the function of presales consulting.  Google knows more than you or your presales engineer will ever know.

How do you know if I’m right? Look at your conversion rates. Are you converting more than 10% of your calls to meetings? I would be surprised if more than 20% of your calls lead to anything more than voice mail. I spoke to one guy this week who is reaching 30% of his audience, but still, only about 2% are converting to meetings. Another rep in the enterprise space can’t reach anyone meaningful.  Several of my calls were with people who have recently been handed lists – they know their primary contact is too low in the food chain, and they need a way to move up. But how?

A Radical Approach to Selling

Over the past 12 months I’ve been conducting workshops on a radical approach to sales. If you look at my sales concepts in detail, you’ll see they have a lot more to do with marketing than sales. David Merman Scott recently published an article supporting this idea – sales and marketing must merge. He’s right. That doesn’t mean the marketing department goes away. We still need meeting planners, data sheets produced, and marketing graphics.  But the marketing concepts are what drive new logo business. And sales people will need to master them, essentially becoming their own marketing department.Blog Subscribe Ad

Look at the big 4 – they are consultants…but behind it all, everyone is still in sales. They create business. No one wants to meet with another sales person. And no one wants to see your corporate presentation. But there are things you can do.

Marketing is a science. The science of how we think and what we respond to. Conversion depends on great marketing. Consulting is the art of helping one move from point A to point B – where Point B is the preferred state to be in.  Can you do that?  If you think the engineers are responsible for this and your job is to set appointments – you’re wrong.  You need both. You need the ability to attract new business through marketing, and the ability to help them solve a problem at the business level. This is consulting. This is why PWC wil continue to prosper long after the technology sales person is out of work.

Can you become this person?

The answer is yes. The university system would have us think we need to go back to school, get a new degree, and start over. The truth is you can make the jump by applying the concepts given in Napoleon Hill’s well known book, Think and Grow Rich. There are 17 things to do, but the bottom line is a passion to get there. From there it’s working hard to get there. Reading the right books, working with the right coach, and being willing to invest in the right tools.  Your company may not allow you to expense these things – what should you do? Look for the ROI. If you don’t you’ll lose. Spend your money wisely, but make the investment where you’ll get a strong return.  I spend my own money on coaching, books, and marketing tools every month. It’s paid off – it’s multiplied. I’ll continue to invest.

That’s right – there are tools. Learning to use LinkedIn as a marketing platform. Learning to write great copy. And then putting your new marketing brain to work – what would attract a new logo buyer?

One of my clients actually took my advice and wrote a book!  I have it right here – he sent it to me last week and I was amazed as I held it. There’s nothing more powerful than sending your book to a VP, and then following up with an email to…not sell them something, but talk about the book. From there the sale is easy.  But you don’t have to write the book. You could send someone else’s, but it must be profound, and you must have studied it in a way that brings new applications to benefit you new prospect. Writing a special report can be almost as powerful….from there, its a matter of finding ways to get your book or report to the right people. This is a whole lot easier than cold calling.

Marketing events are still the number one way to get business. The problem is, most are doing them wrong. This won’t lead to business, and will often leave you wondering if it’s worth the investment. You’ll need to spend more to do it right. You’ll need a great speaker – which you will have to pay for. But if you can land 20 new logos, as I did a week ago, your return will be obvious.

You will also find yourself needing auto-responders, your own personal blog, hard-copy sales letters, and landing pages. These are all marketing tools, and they work. But chances are, your marketing department won’t use them in a way that creates new leads for you. It’s up to you to figure out how to use them, and how to bring in new business.   I’ll give you more in the upcoming Ingram event – What I Learned About Sales While Working on Multi-Million Dollar Projects with PWC.

© 2015, David Stelzl

P.S. One thing I learned from PWC is how to price…resellers are losing margin every day simply by how they go about pricing….I’ll show you some strategies that are easy to apply later this month. Don’t forget to sign up.

Not only are they wasting time; their employers will soon give up on them.

bluedataWhat Is the Digitized Megatrend All About

Your Clients are going digital. We all are. And it’s happening fast. Obviously we all use computers and smartphones. That’s not what I mean. I’m talking about a Megatrend. A complete paradigm shift in the way we think about business. Think cloud, appstore, smartphones, and Internet of Things (IoT). Everything is connected; everything is digital. This is the mindset of Generation C – C stands for connected, and they will be connected.

By 2020 our businesses will be fully meshed with a generation of digitized workers and leaders. Their world is online – friends, family, photos, entertainment. They bank on tablets, invest electronically, buy and sell on their smartphones, and transact business anywhere at anytime. These people share their lives on Facebook, opt for a text message over a phone call, and hang-out together in chat rooms.

This trend is unstoppable. To compete in the future, your clients must be connected too. They must be mobile. They must be global. All of this is now possible, even for the micro business, using what have been called transformational technologies. The cloud, big data, online collaboration, social business, etc. With these space-age advancements, small businesses or start-ups have an incredible opportunity. You have global reach. Suddenly they can complete with fortune 500 companies. They can utilize enterprise class technology simply by plugging in like a utility. All of this was out of reach just a decade ago.

But what about security???

We’ve already seen evidence of the disaster that awaits us if we don’t wake up. Everything is online. Everything is accessible. Keeping it in the right hands will be overwhelmingly difficult. Over the past five years we’ve seen power grids disrupted, military secrets compromised, major retailers sifted of their customer’s data, and some of the most intimate parts of our lives digitally exposed. And it will get worse.

So while your clients must be digital, can they handle these new threats? Threats that may surreptitiously take their most prized intellectual property (IP), and steal the trust of their most loyal customers.

This is an opportunity for every technology reseller – but especially those of you who call on the SMB sector…

This is so important that I’ve recently updated my book, The House & the Cloud to include these concepts. I had hoped to have it out this past summer, but it was just too much. So I am making some final edits, including some recent events, and hope to have this in the printer’s hands before month-end!

As a bonus, I have created a special private membership site just for those who have the book. You can get access to it by downloading the current free version of The House & the Cloud – an email with instructions will get you there.  You’ll find updates on the new version as well as videos and other tools to supplement the book content…

Get The House & the Cloud  << Click to Get the Book and Access The Site!

Also, if you have not seen my new Security Sales Mastery Program – it’s in place and people are taking advantage of it. You can read more here:

Master The Security Sale <<< Click to Read More About It!

© 2014, David Stelzl

The Average Security Sale Is A Commodity Sale Too

Security is always in the news, and generally ranked high on the company initiatives list.

For ten years I’ve been encouraging resellers to put more focus on security – urgent security issues just seem to move people to buy faster than anything else…

Is SECURITY a good place to put more focus?

Most of the sales reps I know sell security appliances, but avoid higher-end security sales—a truism for both the manufacturer and reseller sides. Gross profits tend to be incremental and relatively low. Something obviously isn’t working on the reseller side.

Get The House & the Cloud – The eBook on Mastering the Security Sale.

Security Appliances Lead to Small Commissions

If you sell security appliances, you’ve likely noticed stiff competition can delay a sale by 9 or more months. You may be able to take your family out for a fast-food meal with your commission check,  depending on your brand name, the brands you carry as a reseller and your product lines’ margins. You’re frequently asked to place an evaluation product onsite, using free installation services to get it up and running. Either way, the manufacturer claims the product installs “in minutes,” so there really isn’t much consulting business for this product, anyway. This hurts both the manufacturer (on the channel development side) and the reseller, who lives on gross profit. You conclude this may not be the right place to focus.

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Early in my career I was a security presales consultant…whenever security came up in a sales meeting they would immediately call me. But too often the resulting meeting would turn into a feature/function battle over appliance brands. Months of debate to close a small appliance sale.

How to Multiply Your Commissions

The House & the Cloud – 2nd edition is a book of hope…and it’s almost ready for print. These issues are a symptom of treating security as a point product.

By the end of my book I hope you’ll understand why every client has a security need—and, by fulfilling this need, you can produce significant profits, regardless of your technology niche or the market you’re calling upon.  In my opinion, when security is approached correctly, it becomes highly profitable, a powerful door opener, and something that is definitely not a commodity sale.

On a recent trip to Chicago, I ran into Steve, an alumnus from one of my Making Money w/ Security workshops. When I say him, I could tell he was happy to see me. He simply said: “I just turned an 80K opportunity into an 800K sale using the principles you taught us in your security workshop!” Many of these principles are in the first edition…

It’s not hard to sell security, but it does require a different approach—one you may not be used to taking. In the end, The House & the Cloud will give you a winning strategy for selling virtually any product or service by tying it to security.

Get the first edition Free right here – and I’ll be sure to notify you when the next edition is finally printed!

Send me the First Edition of The House & the Cloud!

© 2014, David Stelzl


P.S.  Learn the Secret of Turning Prospects into Customers – get my latest Special Report Free (CLICK).


Mar-Cisco-SingaporeI’m back from my week in Singapore.  Singapore is one of those cities that is just great to visit – the food is great, the city is clean and easy to navigate (as long as you have a driver), and the hotels are clean and comfortable…here is just one highlight from my trip…

Kern, the taxi driver who picked me up last Tuesday, was exceptional…and offers a great example of the power in, what we have come to know as, The Perfect Greeting.

The Perfect Greeting

Getting into his cab that morning I was reminded of some reading I had done just before getting ready for work – a reminder to offer a perfect greeting. In our homeschool curriculum, one of the things we have been working on is, what we call, the perfect greeting – a greeting that expresses enthusiasm.  So rather than mumbling, “Morning….” like most do after staying up to watch late night TV, we are working on expressing a spirit of excitement and anticipation as we interact with others.

Engaging in Conversation

The perfect greeting let’s people know you are happy to see them and genuinely interested in their lives.  It invites conversation and friendship.  And it often creates an opportunity to meet a need.  Right at the start we hit it off with an update of the Singapore happenings.  I was on my way to class in the Changi Business park, just down the road from Changi Airport.  Though I had been there before, I learned through the ensuing conversation that I didn’t have my Singapore pronunciation right on the word Changi, along with a few other words that were going to be useful as I began my day.  Kern filled me in.

From there we moved through various topics from business to religion, family, politics, and a host of subjects that kept us going for the next 40 minutes as Kern navigated us through the morning rush hour. It turned out that simply by offering this perfect greeting I was had moved from surface chit chat to engaging at a much deeper level.  Through our conversation I was then able to offer some insights into some areas that were going to be helpful to Kern – something I had not anticipated.  This is the very definition of Trusted Adviser.

When we arrived he simply said, “No charge, I was honored to serve you this morning.”  Wow – no charge after 40 minutes of driving? Unheard of.  Well, it get’s better.

That afternoon Kern was right on time to fetch me from work.  As we headed back through the rush hour traffic, our conversation picked up where we had left off.  30 minutes later we arrived at the hotel and Kern again said, “There is no charge – I was honored to serve you and would like to serve you as long as you are in Singapore.”    And sure enough he did.  He drove me back and forth through my couple of days of training at no charge. Why?

Servant Leadership

Sales is about serving.  It’s the first step in customer service.  One of the most often neglected sales skills is simply the greeting – in fact, it’s not really a skill, but rather a demonstration of character (or lack of character).  How often are you asked the question, “What do you do?”  How often does it lead to conversation, friendship, and even a desire on that other person’s part to help you or engage with you on a new level?  The answer is, “Not often.”  This is just one of the many things I was teaching in my sales training class in Singapore.  I was pleasantly surprised to have a real time illustration to share with the class on how a person can offer a simple greeting, that then leads to conversation, friendship, and a chance to serve that person.  From there, there is no telling what will come of of it.  Try greeting people today in a way that makes them feel special and offers you an opportunity to serve them in some simple way, and see what happens.

©   2013, David Stelzl

P.S. I will be teaching some of the concepts in my Making Money w/ Security Virtual Workshop – coming at the end of this month!