long-tail

Decoding The Security Assessment Sales Opportunity

And Why You Can’t Afford Not to Know What Your Client Is Asking For (Or Actually Needing)

Most IT Services Companies do security assessments. Do you? Why or why not?

The Security Assessment (approached correctly) just might be the start of your BIGGEST sale this year!  Let’s take a look…

Assessments Come in Many Flavors

15 Years ago I was leading a global reseller’s security team.  We were selling assessments (and more). But we where leaving a lot of money on the table.  If we had known what I know now, assessments would have doubled and tripled our profits.

Assessment can mean a lot of things. How you define this obscure project will determine if you get the long-tail (follow-on business resulting from this one door-opening engagement) or not.

The IT Director’s Definition

If you sell to IT directors, and they’re saying, “We need a security (or risk or vulnerability or pen test) assessment, this non-buyer could be saying different things. Chances are high, they don’t really know what they need.

Ask them, and you’re likely to get something like, “We need to know if our systems are secure – or accessible to hackers.”

You know the answer without looking. “No…hackers can always access your data”.

While they might need something for compliance, or are just carrying out orders from above, the IT Director’s ability to understand true business risk is limited at best.

If the director is defining assessment in their own words, they’re picturing a list of vulnerabilities and a punch list to patch things up.

You can’t let the IT director define your assessment.

Instead, you will want to EDUCATE your prospect on what board members (or executive management) really need. Educating and selling what’s really needed puts the deal back in your court, and allows you to sell from your home-court advantage point.

The CIO’s Definition

The CIO, if asked, would likely define Assessment differently. CIOs are being asked (quarterly) by the board to quantify business risk.  Risk is more a look at business impact and likelihood.

The request looks something like this: Give us…

  • Our top 3-5 threats right now.
  • How exposed are we (or what are the odds we’ll be compromised or suffer a major incident over the next 3 to 12 months)?
  • How are we managing to our risk?

Can the CIO deliver? No. Not without some help from security analysts that understand how to put risk measurement into business-leader language.

Your Technical Person’s Definition

If you ask your SE or Security Consultant, they may be thinking pen test, vulnerability, compliance, or risk…each one has it’s own definition. This one question (what is a security assessment) can turn into a lengthy discussion (debate) riddled  with semantics…

What do technical people picture (Yes, I did come from the technical side)?

Probably the  NETWORK (architecture, segmentation, router/switch configuration, encryption levels, wireless exposure, etc.), SCANS inside and out, operating system  (O/S) reviews (hardening, active processes, access rights, patches, etc.), and perhaps the WEBSITES (code, SQL Injection vulnerabilities, etc.)

It’s all pretty technical…

Your Definition

Depending on how technical you are, your answer will vary. Probably one of the above…perhaps more or less technical…and depending on the market you sell into, highly profitable (as in large comprehensive risk assessments done for fortune 500 firms)…

…Or of little value, and full of margin crushing surprises (as in assessing risk for the rather stingy Small Business Market).

The Right Definition

The right definition (in my opinion) is a door opener…a marketing document.  The assessment should be the start of a long tail.

Only about 15% of the assessments I see ( and I see lots of them) convert to long-tail business (remediation and managed services).  But over 90%, according to my friends on the security consulting side, reveal what they would call, urgency.

This low conversion epidemic is like an oncologist, with a long line of patients, that show obvious signs on cancer in their blood work, but are unwilling to enter any treatment plan.

That doctor is a FAILURE. He’s correctly diagnosed (at least at a level that delivers a high degree of certainty) however, he seems unable to convince dying patients of their life-threatening disease.

Security is like cancer. It comes on suddenly, is hard to detect, but left untreated, will kill the victim.

If your assessments show urgency, yet fail to convert, it’s not an economy problem. It’s an epidemic.

Like with cancer, few people will consult their budget before entering treatment. They’ve heard the bad news, know they must take action, and therefore they do. Only when hit with the reality of what’s not covered by insurance, will they start looking at budgets…but this is an effort to reprioritize, not stop treatment.

(MORE ON SELLING SECURITY – THE HOUSE & THE CLOUD)

Making the Tail Longer

Over the next few weeks my goal is to expand on these concepts…and to lengthen the conversion tail that should follow any true risk assessment.  To answer questions like:

  • How do  I sell this thing.
  • Who do I sell it to.
  • How should it be conducted .
  • How do I convert it to business.
  • Is there a way to make it recurring (hint, there is)
  • When should it be free, and how much can I charge.

Stay tuned…

© 2017, David Stelzl

canstockphoto36882341Stuxnet Brought Disaster to Something That Needed to Die…

Why do Your Clients Need You?  After all, The Customer Is Always Right. Right?…Or Are They?  But before we get to that…

Iranian Nuclear Weapon Developments…Remember Stuxnet? The malware sent to DESTROY the Iranian Centrifuges?

When Stuxnet was unveiled, I predicted it would be back. STUXNET IS BACK!!!!

The developers claimed that Stuxnet would self-destruct after sabotaging the Iranian threat…of course the self-kill part of the program couldn’t be completely tested (for obvious reasons).

Everything that goes online eventually turns up in the WRONG hands.

It’s like a new Newton’s Law or something. (In case you’re really into science and think Newton’s Gravitational Law is his 4th, it’s not…but this might be).

Moving on…

Malware In Memory Is Nasty Stuff

Kaspersky discovered some really nasty stuff about two years ago; MALWARE in MEMORY. “Kaspersky eventually unearthed evidence that Duqu 2.0 (the never-before-seen malware) existed and was derived from Stuxnet.” Duqu is a form of malware stored primarily in MEMORY…

Malware in memory (not in a file) is called FILELESS, and according to security analysts, this type of threat is going MAINSTREAM.

Just to give you a feel for how bad this is, it took Kaspersky 6 months for detect Duqu 2.0…that’s bad news for anyone trying to keep systems free from hacker invasions.

According to Kaspersky, “At least 140 banks and other enterprises [across about 40 different countries] have been infected by fileless malware to date.” Meaning, these banks have been successfully infiltrated by an in-memory malware nearly invisible to their IT people (or service providers).

Of course, since this nasty-code is so hard to detect, the actual number has to be much larger.

So far, these attacks seem to be aimed at ATM machines, with the purpose of moving money out of the bank and into the hands of thieves. Stuxnet was unstoppable, simply because it was a surprise attack. FILELESS Malware is one more example of hacker-innovation being one step ahead. The criminals have the advantage.

Insight: Your Client Has No Idea What They Have or What They Need

Once again, it makes NO sense to ask your client if they are infected with malware or need more security. Unless it’s an obvious YES, they don’t know. How could they.

For the past month I’ve been writing about messaging and attracting new leads (Did you get our FREE Special Report Designed to Attract New Prospects?). Once leads start coming in, your job is to educate…

Just yesterday I was on a coaching call. My client was retelling her sales story of meeting with a new prospect. Supporting her call, she had her local channel SE.

When it came time to review their recommendations, the SE asked the prospect, “Do you need this firewall to have failover?”

The prospect said, “No”.

…the SE said, “Okay.”

My client was shocked!!! How does the prospect know what they need???

When my client questioned the prospect’s maximum tolerable downtime (MTD) it became evident – this company would be dead in the water if their firewall were to go down during business hours. Hundreds of people sitting at their desks with nothing to do. How much would that cost the company? Can you picture it?

Is the client always right? Sure, except when we’re talking security…Your clients need an advisor. So be one…

P.S. Remember, The Trusted Advisor is….Trusted (recommends the right stuff) and able to advise (knows things the client doesn’t know, but needs to know).

P.S.S. If you need more leads, download this special report designed to attract business leaders in need of security!!!!

© 2017, David Stelzl

 

sales-funnelNobody Understands Opt-In Strategies, Yet Everyone Has One…

If You Missed My Write Up On Lead Magnets and Insane Web Conversion, Go Back to Last Week’s Post…This Is Important…

What’s the #1 PROBLEM I hear on coaching calls?  Not enough new-logo deals…However, that’s not the real problem…

Keep drilling to the root problem and something unexpected pops up….

Not enough sales meetings…(true, but that’s not the root)…

Push further and I find my client’s list is just too small (or just stale and beaten to death).

A Neglected Prospect List Quickly Becomes Cold Leads

Afraid to keep emailing…If you’re not communicating, you might as well have a cold list. But you also need new names…when you start regular communications, expect people to drop off…it’s okay.

Names are like cells on the body – they die or become useless, so get rid of them, and replace them with new names…

Last week I urged you to get a lead magnet that works, front and center, top of the fold, on your website. Something to attract new names every day…Are you doing that???

(And don’t use the FREE assessment trick – read more about what makes a lead magnet work here)…

Once you’ve read the above, DOWNLOAD my eBook – It’s a lead magnet…One designed to attract prospects to your managed services business (using security)…It’s called,

Surviving the Digital Revolution  <<< The eBook That Converts

eBooks Only Go So Far…You Need More

But Having an ebook is NOT Enough – Something Has To Follow…if you need more leads, keep reading…

Yesterday I visited a site with an ebook. I downloaded it…okay, I have the book. Now what?

Is there a nurturing campaign of some kind to follow? Will that website owner work to earn my business?

The Necessary Actions That Follow Great Opt-Ins

Some of my traffic is HOT – It’s made up of people that know what I do, …and they’ll buy just because they believe my products are great.

Then there’s WARM traffic. Perhaps these people have heard my name, or at least understand what I am offering, and it seems to meet their need. They need some education – but at least they’re listening.

The third group is COLD. They seem unaware – not sure what they need or who can help them…They may not even know they have a need (like many small business owners and security).

My lead magnet is written for COLD traffic group. Sure, those I already do business with will likely download my book, but we’re already engaged. In fact, I may just send them the document to get feed back and provide value.

The COLD CONVERSION is what I am after.

So once that eBook get’s downloaded, I need to know it. From there, a campaign kicks off. Below is a standard 2 step-funnel that does just that… (We use ClickFunnels – one of easiest tools out there for making this happen).

funnel

In the above diagram I’ve sketched out an OPT-IN page followed by a DOWNLOAD page…The download page just may be the most underused page out there.

The prospect expects some type of confirmation, and chances are they WILL read it to get their download. So offer something more...in this case I’ve offered a webinar registration. It too is free, and it brings them one step closer to WARM TRAFFIC.

Here’s a secret…invite cold traffic straight to a webinar and they won’t attend…offer them an ebook, which they will take, but then follow with a webinar, telling them how much time this will save them – they won’t have to read the eBook!!! It’s funny, but true.  People want books; however, people don’t like to read.

If they don’t bite (webinar registration), kick off an email campaign…sell them on the webinar (which could be an everwebinar set up to run automatically – something you can do right inside of your Clickfunnels program).

From there, consider adding other touch points. Hard copy sales letters, phone calls, etc. It’s always easier to follow up on an eBook than it is to set a meeting to discuss your company.

Nobody cares about your company until they’ve received value. Give them the eBook

© 2017 David Stelzl

 

canstockphoto26876709You Have a Website, Right?

Does it Do Anything Useful??? 

What I  mean is this…Is your website a billboard online, or does it actually attract prospects? )Take note, I’m about to give you the secret to Internet Marketing with your website…)

Or did you just set up your site to education current customers for free? Probably not.

My guess is you wanted people to visit and buy…but they don’t. Why?

Probably because there’s nothing there to convert them.  (In a minute I’ll give you a free sample you can use on your own site…)

When I visit my Amazon account online, I am probably shopping for something. Even if I search for a product, like “Northface Tent”, amazon comes up. But I always buy stuff on Amazon, so I click and see what they have.

What happens when you Google “IT Services”, or worse, “Computers?” I just tied “Computers”.  976,000,000. That’s bad. Are you in there somewhere?

The Lead Magnet Strategy Works, If You Design It Right

I won’t go into great detail here. Instead, I have a free lead magnet you can download right now. But before using it, it’s important to understand it. And if you understand it, you can create more!

My Free Lead Magnet <<< Download it Here

In fact, I was recently listening to a presentation by a guy who writes ebook marketing materials for a living. He’s written dozens of like-ebooks for a single client. In one case a dentist had 26 ebooks on the dentistry website, published under different types of dental challenges.

So if you were having problems with your teenager’s wisdom teeth, you could go to his site and read his 20 page ebook on “How to Deal With Wisdom Teeth”.  (As you can imagine, he’s advertising for paid traffic, and directing different dental searches to his site).

Of course you’ll be asked to enter your name and email before downloading…If the content is good, it’s certainly worth the exchange. But expect to be marketed to once you’ve finished your download. And rightly so…if you have a toothache, you’re ready to buy!

What Topic Is Your Ideal Prospect Going to Read About Right Now? (Hint: Not Managed Services)

It could be a lot of things. If you call on CPAs for instance, they might want to know about recent trends surrounding Ransomware.

But you’ll need a title to grab their attention first.  A title about Keeping your CPA Business Up and Running During Tax Season might do it!!!! Or however about…

“What Will You Do If Ransomware Hits In The Height of Tax Season?” Hmmm, can you imagine what would happen if your own CPA were hit right before filing your taxes this year? That would be bad – but worse for him than you.

Get Some Insight Before Moving Forward – This Business Building Strategy Works

Download my latest ebook and read through it. Here’s what I want you to notice (Note, I am not saying this is perfect – but it does have what The Experts recommend).

  • A Title That Matters – Digital Revolution is a buzzword that will draw in a certain crowd worried about companies like Amazon (and any big-online business stealing the show).
  • Punched Up Copy…this means I’ve applied the rules of copywriting using by many of the great copywriters (Gary Halbert, Victor Schwab, and John Carlton for instance). Meaning, short punchy sentence structure, cliff hangers, transitions that keep the target audience reading, white space and pictures, power words, and much more.
  • There’s a Strong Call to Action…and it’s written to your customers, calling them to action now?
  • And it’s a Specific Call to Action  – an assessment. And justification is given to act now?
  • It Starts Where They are Now – Meaning the document considers what the customer might be doing right now before launching into an offer or call…, business growth and competitive advantage (customer experience). From there the ebook takes them where you need them to go (security).

So without going line by line, put on your “Target customer hat”. I mean, think for a moment, as though you were your best customer.

Download the book, and read it.

If it draws you in, perhaps your target customer is the one I had in mind when I wrote this manifesto. If not, use the same format and feel, and write your own…but I highly recommend having someone with Copywriting skills take a look before you go to market with it…chances are you won’t catch some of the subtle marketing-science behind what I’ve done here, making it hard to recreate the magnetic affect you desire.

In any case, give it a try…this is far easier than making another 100 phone calls to people who don’t want to talk to you right now…

© 2017, David Stelzl

1-hc-book-ad-3-0aDoes Your Website Generate Meetings?

Is There Something on Your Home Page To Draw Me In?

And once in, will I move to paying status quickly, with a clear path to higher margin services?

I’ve been writing this month about value propositions and attracting new leads. Most of the reseller and MSP sites I visit don’t actually advertise anything. There’s no conversion process in place.

However, some offer a FREE ASSESSMENT or sign-up for their e-newsletter.   Does that work?

In an post (earlier this month) I showed how these types of initial offerings, offer little value. Few qualified buyers want another electronic newsletter, especially prior to building a relationship with you.

At first contact, there are a number of hurdles to clear before you start offering assessments and newsletters. (note: I like hard-copy newsletters once the relationship is established, even if they are not yet buyers).

But, for a moment, let’s pretend they do…(want your newsletter or assessment the moment they hit your homepage – an unlikely scenario).

What Happens When Someone Signs Up?

Pretend for a moment that someone would actually subscribe to your newsletter without knowing you (The other question is, would they actually read it?)…

So they visit your website through an organic search. They are looking for a new MSP provider; their current one just isn’t cutting it. Do you know they’ve been to your website?Is there anything there to capture this potential buyer’s name?

At this point they fill out your newsletter request form (but this probably doesn’t happen in real life). Are you notified now? Do you then make a call? Are they ready to buy your high-ticket item (full blown managed services)?canstockphoto40335869

Maybe. And if your team is on the ball you’ll might land a competitive quote (where price is the primary determining factor. But I’m getting ahead here…).

So last week  I tested this (you know, the newsletter sign up). My company name is SVLC. Someone who doesn’t know me would still see my name as a lead. During my research, I hit several MSP sites and subscribed to their newsletters  just to see what would happen. This is called FUNNEL HACKING.

Funnel hacking in simply looking to see what happens when you click on someone’s lead magnet. You could go pretty deep here. If they actually have some automation in the form such as up-sells and email response, you would try different options to see where they take you…and what emails you receive back.

Nothing…I didn’t get a single call or email. In fact, I didn’t even get an existing copy of their newsletter (email or hardcopy). The funnels were one step – Sign Up. Perhaps their newsletter will come out next month, but I’m not holding my breath.

Any web-surfer was only interested in that moment. A month later they’ve forgotten you.

I have no idea where my name went????? Will I ever get a call?

Great Lead Generation Takes The Prospect Through, Overcoming a Series of Hurdles

When I say hurdles, I don’t mean you’re setting up hurdles. I mean you are clearing the sales hurdles that already exist. Competition, objections, etc.

You don’t need to create more. There are plenty of roadblocks before you ever begin. Enter Nurturing Campaigns.

Cold traffic must be warmed before it can be qualified. I was talking to a guy just yesterday on a coaching call. He’s making tons of calls, having some good conversations (but mostly with IT directors). As I listened, it became obvious that, despite lots of calls, he’s only getting through to a few (that’s the be expected); however, he has very few meetings. Completely predictable.

He also has at least one lead magnet, but no real funnel to speak of. If someone happens to download his white paper (poor choice for a lead magnet in this market), he gets their name and makes a call. Rarely does it lead to a meeting.

Nurture and Ascension – The Key To Warming Traffic and Clearing Hurdles

So what should follow your lead magnet (I recommend this not be your email newsletter sign-up form – see Getting More Leads for some better options)?

I like webinars here. But something has to happen to begin the education process. When someone downloads an ebook, the chances of them actually reading it is low.  Yet they downloaded it, probably to scratch an itch of some kind. They’re trying to do something…

Sometimes a series of short emails that point the reader back to specific sections in the ebook can help. For instance, “I know you’re busy, but be sure to check out the One Big Mistake Every Business Is Making as They Move to The Cloud…it’s on page 4). Another strategy is the webinar…offering them an immediate way to get the information they need, without actually reading.

Here’s the funny thing. People will download your ebook faster than they’ll sign up for your webinar (speaking of cold traffic); however, they’ll sign up for the webinar if you offer it to them right after downloading the book. Strange, isn’t it?

And now that Everwebinar technology exists, there’s no reason to NOT do them. You can be running a webinar twice a week without ever touching it! But DON’T create one just yet.

You need a presentation designed to convert first (Note: The House & the Cloud Presentation is converting nearly 100% of the time when I speak at lunch & learns – you can get it here for just $1.00).

Once you have your high-conversion message in hand, start presenting live (by webinar) until you have perfected your pitch. The day you hit it out of the park is the day you can take your session recording over to your new Everwebinar application.

Amateurs Focus On The Front End

The front end is your low value offer…I see too many MSP providers trying to sell the big ticket item on day one. The other sin is an unwillingness to invest in the lead magnet (i.e. not willing to send hard copy or pay for an eBook that really works.)

So sales people are left to make tons of cold calls (as though it doesn’t cost the company money) to save a few marketing dollars: foolish thinking. The e-newsletter sign up and the free assessment (on your website) are really no better…

The focus should be on backend high-ticket items, with an understanding that lead generation requires investment. The cost per client acquisition is a number you determine by looking at marketing dollars spent in comparison to closed business (over a quarter for instance).

When I sell my book for $1, it costs me at least $10 – probably more when you consider the investments in funnel and webinar software products, shipping, and printing of the book. Too many people set stringent limits on their marketing budget, rather than looking at Marketing ROI.

If it’s costing me $10/book, but the entire marketing funnel is break even, at least I’m getting names for free. This is a whole lot better than buying a list…and the names are arguably better.

And if I know where to get traffic, my list may be growing exponentially over the quarter. Next, it’s time to look at ways to ascend that new prospect up the value ladder.

Stop focusing on every front end dollar. Instead, create a path from low cost/low value, to high profit/high value, with the steps necessary to clear the hurdles along the way (price objections, etc.).

Copyright 2017, David Stelzl

 

get-more-leadsHow to Sneak Into Your Prospect’s Office Undetected

Using Lead Magnets and Funnels to Launch Your Year Just Might Be Your Best Bet

If you’re following my blog, you know I’ve written several articles over the past few weeks on creating the value proposition, defining your target market, and building your list. These are all necessary steps for a BIG year…

But how do you get new names on your list? That’s today’s topic.

You can buy a list or buy traffic. But what happens when you reach out to that list with cold callers or email? Do leads respond?  And when you introduce yourself from XYZ IT Services Company, does your prospect smile and invite you over for coffee? Probably not….

There has to be something else to get your list warmed up before anyone will want to hear your message. And that’s where lead magnets come in.

GREAT lead magnets are few and far between. That’s good news!!!!

This morning I went searching for great examples of what TO do…do you know I couldn’t find any in our industry? No surprise really, but that means you have an opportunity to race past your competition.

In fact, I just plowed through about 1000 reseller websites, cleaning up a call list I have. I would say that no less that 75% of the websites I hacked (for information purposes only) were down right depressing – Embarrassing. But I will save that for another time…back to lead magnets and list building.

Things You DON’T Want to Offer, If You Want to Attract List

First stop, Google. I figured I would just funnel hack a few IT Services companies. You know, resellers that sell IT Services or MSP solutions.

The first company to pop up on Google’s paid2017-01-13_07-47-36 advertising list was a company called Proactive ITI…Next I did a quick search to make sure they were not one of my clients. Nope! Whew.

They actually do have a homepage that attempts to convert. Two problems. First, the offer is below the fold (meaning you don’t see it unless you scroll down). Second, they have the dreaded FREE ASSESSMENT offer (Which they are calling, A Second Look).

Then (checking their URL on SimilarWeb.Com) I noted that their bounce rate is 100% and their traffic numbers are extremely low. They could probably take down their website and sales wouldn’t be affected.2017-01-13_07-55-05

Next, I clicked on CDI, an IT Integrator in the North east.

Their home page offers NOTHING for conversion, but they do have a landing page.

But again, it’s the Free Network Assessment. I have some inside-track as to how their business is going, and my understanding is that their network assessments are few and far between, with little to no conversion.

Free assessments, white papers (such as the one offered on CrowdStrike’s homepage), and a free tour (like on I found on DFT Data Center’s site) generally don’t work well.

No one is going to believe that your free assessment is worth something if you offer it to anyone who finds you online.

White papers are stale and outdated… And a tour? Who wants to go visit an IT provider just to walk around and look at rack space?

Great Lead Magnet Ideas – Something You Can Start Building Today

So, what makes a great lead magnet?

  • Your book (even if someone writes it for you).
  • Special report on business relevant topics such as The Digital Revolution.
  • Free training session (recorded user awareness training for instance).
  • An infographic on Security. Perhaps a maturity model.
  • Checklist for something relevant.
  • Even a quiz

Notice, white papers don’t work, but special reports do. The book has been my number one conversion tool. I get hundreds of leads by offering my book for $1 online.

And since I do require the $1 payment (which of course is a loss-leader), the prospect is more qualified. Not too many high schoolers are going to pull out their credit card for my book, even if it is just one dollar.

The Everwebinar has also been a high conversion program, but requires a little more effort upfront. So in my case, I am offering the book, and then taking buyers to the webinar.  I have another funnel I use that offers the webinar training first. I’m using that funnel with resellers of a specific brand technology, endorsed by their executive management – so a sort of bridge is created to the cold lead.

What Makes a Lead Magnet Great?

In one word, Relevance.

But it must be consumable too. People love books, but getting someone to read is somewhat of a challenge. And so, leading with a book, followed by a video makes perfect sense.

People want the book, but would rather watch the movie, once they know it’s available.

In addition to relevance, it must be written to convert.

Great sales letters are written using a copywriter style of writing. Copywriting is a style of writing that your English teacher would frown upon. However, it is what sells.

Sometimes the most polished writings and prettiest websites offer no conversion. Commercials written for entertainment attract more spectators than they do buyers. So don’t judge the letter, book, or webpage by it’s ascetic appeal or cool-factor. Conversion is the only metric that matters.

Great marketing starts where the buyer is NOW.

So if the buyer is consumed with customer experience and mobility, that’s where you need to begin. If saving money is top of mind, and cloud seems like the obvious answer, start there.

But then take them where you need them to go. Prospects looking at less expensive MSP solutions are not automatically disqualified, when you think this way. Perhaps you can start with a lower MSP price in your dialogue, then transition to the heart of IT Services (which should be keeping data secure). From there you can offer the assessment.

So the basic MSP service is less per workstation, but the necessary security makes your monthly recurring contract actually more expensive. Will they buy it? With the proper justification, the sale is made. I’ve seen it happen more times than you can imagine.

Other Options…

Can you write a book or put together a  training video? You can. If you don’t write well, or don’t have time, you can always get someone else to write or speak for you. You can do it through a short interview (as I did with one of my clients recently), or you can give an online presentation, record it, and have someone transcribe it.  From there, you will want someone with copywriter skills to edit and punch up your copy.

Remember, no one really likes to read business stuff (well, except for a few weird people like myself). So make sure your written work is exciting, entertaining, and full of great (business relevant) content. Write like you speak, not like a textbook.

Getting Magnets In the Hand’s of Prospects and Converting

Getting your lead magnet out isn’t that hard. I’ve used postcards at events, text opt-ins (also at live events), blog posts full of content with links to get more (code for Lead Magnet), my website homepage, and paid traffic ads on Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Subscribe now! and I’ll be filling in the details as we take this journey through 2017…building more funnels and lead magnets to create qualified IT sales appointments!

© 2017, David Stelzl

 

angrybusinessman

Just Because Your Message Is Poor Doesn’t Mean You Should be Selling Harder

What’s Your Value Proposition?

When I look at a reseller’s messaging, I ask myself, “So What?”

Is there a compelling reason to buy here? Will the CPA, doctor, lawyer, or business executive care? Or is this message designed for techies without a budget?

Great Marketing starts where someone is right now…

Then takes them to where you need them to go!

(Discover the Most Effective Security Value Proposition in my Book The House & The Cloud…Special offer)

There are Five Components of an Effective Value Proposition…

But before I get to how to build one, let me share with you one memorable experience where the sales rep was clueless and wasted over 3 hours of his day trying to convince my family to buy…

The Product Guy and His Value Proposition Mismatch

Our vacuum died…It was a bad day at the Stelzl house. 6 Kids (Now 7), all very young, full of energy, and making lots of messes…But it gets worse.

You see, I grew up in an “Electrolux” family…if you’re over 45 you might remember the original Electrolux brand (the current Electrolux is not the same). It was like a cult following…

As a boy, our family bought one vacuum and we used it forever. Electrolux was the Cadillac of vacuum cleaners. These high-end cleaning machines were only sold in-home. Stores didn’t carry them.  They were expensive. However, they lasted forever. In my mind there were no other options.

Jump ahead to life as a married man. Electrolux is not the same company. Having been acquired and cheapened, it’s nothing special…

I tried buying one of the newer models (a whole story in itself), but it just didn’t last like the original I knew as a boy.

With our dead vacuum in hand we needed something fast!

Skipping through all the shopping disappointments, one salesperson stands out, and that’s what I want to focus on here. He’s the Rainbow guy. A reseller of sorts selling high-end hardware.

Rainbow vacuum technology is compelling.   It’s the “Water Vacuum”. You can buy one for about $2000. A refurb might be $650.

Perhaps you’ve seen Rainbow’s demo in your home at some point. My wife came across this amazing water machine while researching healthier vacuuming options. If you’ve studied this out you know that there are some nasty microbes nesting in your rugs, on your beds, and even crawling on your skin.  Under a microscope everything looks like a Creature Double Feature. Yuk!

So the guy shows up…He’s the Product Guy w/ a Value Proposition

Immediately he launches into the technology. His system doesn’t use traditional filters It’s water based filtering technology. Even the smallest microscopic stuff is sucked up, defenseless against this thing.

And then he did the most amazing thing…

He took my vacuum, spread out some dirt on my rug, DISCONNECTED the vacuum hose from the machine, and vacuumed up the dirt! Did you catch that? The vacuum attachment wasn’t even connected!!!!!  But the dirt still disappeared.

His message was obvious. Our the traditional vacuum was just pushing the dirt into the rug to make it look clean. Hmmm. (Pretty cool sales strategy…you have to admit).

But there was just one problem. He didn’t understand us. Here we were, sitting in the living room of a two story house, with 6 kids (we have 7 now), all quite young at the time, and going crazy.

All we could do was try to keep up with everything including homeschooling all of the kids. With all the busyness, our kids did a lot of the cleaning, but we had toys, schools supplies, and stray sock everywhere (Legos and all kinds of tiny army men all over the floor).

So, when I asked him to let me pick this thing up, I found out it weighed a TO! “How are my kids going to transport this thing up and down the stairs?  It’s a daily occurrence that the vacuum is upstairs and there’s a spill in the kitchen.”

“Well,” he replied. “You might have to get it for them…”.

Then, what about emptying the water after vacuuming (something that must be done after each use)? “You just dump it in the woods,” was his answer.

Outside?  Who’s going to do that? And what about when it’s snowing or freezing outside?

“Well, you might have to do that too.” Whoa…

And then the final blow, “What about all the Legos and army men that are going to get sucked up into that monstor? What do we do about that?”

“Well, you could run the water through a stainer or something.”

Are you kidding? With all kinds of fuzz, hair balls, and food particles, you expect me to be out in a rain or ice storm,  straining toys out of dirty water? (Are you picturing this?)

TOTAL DISCONNECT….

You see the problem here. His technology is great. But for a family with a bunch of little ones, homeschooling, etc., operational efficiency is what’s important. Not than getting dust mites out of carpeting (Even if the rep things otherwise.)

What was my wife thinking? Did this sales guy have a clue?

Where were we (mentally) at the moment he came through our door? We were busy, stressed out, needing relief. The Rainbow guy probably should have greeted us, observed the chaos, and admitted, “This is not a great solution for a family like ours,” and moved on.

On the other hand, the wiser rep would have approached our home, not with cleaning technology, but with ease of use.

Operational efficiency is one of the 4 THINGS BUYERS BUY (from my book, From Vendor to Adviser). And then (knowing there are hundreds of lightweight vacuums) he might have focused on longevity, knowing we can’t afford for this thing to be out of commission for even one day with all of these kids. And from there, moving to a risk mitigation sale…

You want your kids to be healthy, right? Vacuuming keeps the allergens down so your kids will be healthier! And families that have easy-to-use vacuums, vacuum…in fact, the kids will do it all, if you let them.

Here’s a Simple Strategy for Getting Your Value Proposition Together. It has 5 5Components.

1. Trends

Trends are like sound bites. They bring credibility. But remember, great marketing starts where someone is right now. So using the marketing Avatar I discussed a week ago, you are choosing trends and sound bites that matter to that person.

But, facts alone are NOT that interesting.

In fact, if you call on the CIO, he probably knows what’s going on in the news before you do. So, coming up with a news-bite that matter won’t be easy.

I talk more about Sound Bites and how to use them in my book, The House & the Cloud [Page 69]. READ it, DO what I’ve recommend, and people WILL see you as the expert! (That coveted TRUSTED ADVISOR status).

Instead of just quoting day-old news, take your sound bite and add some INSIGHT to it. Matthew Dixon in his book, The  Challenger Customer, does a great job of explaining why insights are so powerful and how to use them in the sales process.

The bottom line , INSIGHT is what grabs a prospect’s attention.  For instance, the vacuum guy might have looked at our crazy home and quoted a statistic on how infrequently the average home is vacuumed and why that creates an overabundance of health issues. (Sound Bite).

His [insight] would then be, “That’s because most vacuums are so hard to use. Only the parents can vacuum and they don’t have time. But mine is so easy, even a child can operate it. In fact, most kids think vacuuming is fun. My kids wanted for toy vacuum for Christmas. So I give him a real one and now he cleans for us.” What mom would ignore an insight like that?

2. What I See (Further Insight)

What have you observed? Your client lives in a vacuum of sorts. They don’t get out much. So they don’t get to see what you see.

Failed IT projects, IT Budget overruns, poor IT decisions, major security disasters and system downtime,… the list goes on. If you’ve been in this industry any length of time (and have been taking notes) you have wisdom you are probably take for granted.

Think of yourself as the hub or portal of IT wisdom and insight.

(And if you are not that person, become him. You have everything you need to be the go-to source for IT strategy and chances are you competition isn’t doing anything with this knowledge.)

Note: CRN, MSP White Papers, and Continuum & Kaseya data sheets

are not a substitute for personal development.

So what are you seeing? A digital transformation is taking place without regard for real security. Malware is traveling surreptitiously through a global maze of routers and switches, undetected. And is hitting companies where they can’t see it until it’s too late.

3. My Concern (Great Place to Shed a Tear)

Are you concerned for your clients? This is where the Successful sales people stand out. They care…do you?

When your client senses that you actually care about their business, and that you are in fact passionate about helping them survive, it shows. The rep who is just after another product sale ($$$$) to make quota falls short here.

So, take a moment and consider why you are in this industry. If you believe you can help people, then start focusing on their problems and helping them find lasting solutions.

If the Rainbow guy really cared about us, he would not have told me to take point on transporting his dinosaur, and cleaning out filthy water in the middle of the night, in the snow, with a strainer (YUK!) Instead, he would have admitted that his product wasn’t a good fit for our situation.

4. What We Are Doing About It (Your Lab)

What you are doing is coming up with solutions. At least I hope you are.

Anyone can sell JBOD (Just a Bunch of Disk). But what about securing data and keeping people from cybertheft?

Is your company looking at the best ways to secure a small business? Or ways of providing security intelligence to a mid-market or enterprise account?

As a sales rep, it’s your responsibility to study. When I drive or fly I am constantly listening to audiobooks, podcasts, and recorded coaching sessions. That’s right. I do everything I tell my clients to do.

I offer monthly programs to keep my clients on top through webinars, podcasts, blogs, and training programs. But I also subscribe to several programs (Which I personally fund) for my own business to keep me moving in the right direction.

College never ended for me. I’m taking new classes every day! I hope you are.

5. Specific to You

Now it’s time to apply this to the client.

Here’s what I say. “As I see your company (Fill in something like, moving into the cloud or going through a digital transformation), I believe you will be at risk if you don’t take steps to ensure (Fill in something here such as assessing your risk levels with the impact vs. likelihood graph, another concept from The House & Cloud).”

At this point you should have the client’s interest and a proposed next step. In most cases you’ll move to an assessment or discovery process to validate your concern in their situation. (Impact vs. Likelihood).

Write It, Memorize It, Use It…

Your value proposition should be powerful and well rehearsed.

Only the “Specific to you” needs to be modified. The trends/insights are updated occasionally, and the “What we’re doing” changes slowly over time as your company’s solutions evolve.  Minor changes should be made as you observe your target market’s response.

Effective selling demands a strong value proposition, not more brute-force selling. If you’re staring to sound like a used car sales person, it might be you just don’t have a great message and you are trying to make up for it with manipulating sales tactics.  Join us in the SVLC Insider’s Circle Facebook Group and let’s collaborate on your message for 2017!

© 2017, David Stelzl