Archives For December 2011

Photo Taken By Hannah Stelzl

It’s my favorite time of year – spending time with family, listening to great Christmas music, attending concerts and Christmas programs, and looking back over the year…Merry Christmas!  (Yes I am a day late – it’s been a busy week!).  If you didn’t get a copy of From Vendor to Adviser in your stocking this year – we still have a few at:

© 2011, David Stelzl


I have written several posts on negotiating with customer service and sales people as a way of practicing.  You can do this almost every day at home as telemarketers prey on you and your family.  It makes getting unexpected calls more interesting.  In a recent webinar on fee setting (which is also discussed in my new book, From Vendor to Adviser – #VendortoAdviser), I talk about the need to understand the value, and get to the point where your client really understands, before quoting price.  This same principle is key to the negotiating process as demonstrated on a call I had yesterday with Time Warner.  Here is what happened…

I received an unexpected call from a telemarketer selling phone, cable, and Internet packages.  He started by asking me what I do for Internet connectivity, then went to cost – how much does it cost me.  Keep in mind, this is not a return on investment sale, but rather a classic TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) sale.  When I told him, he said, “Wow, that’s high”.  His comment was not scripted which made me feel like he was actually listening to me.  This one principle kept me on the line in the midst of a busy day!

He then asked about phone and TV.  I don’t watch TV, so he went right to the phone/Internet bundle and started talking prices while mentioning faster speeds.  He did not try to argue DSL speed vs. Cable, which I have heard one too many times.  I wasn’t complaining about speed – just price.  So as long as the speed is comparable, the price is all I care about.  So where does the negotiation come in?  As soon as we started talking quote…

Once we came to the real numbers it came out that there is an installation charge of almost $100 between my two phones, fax, and Internet service.  Knowing that annuity revenue far outweighs the installation charges, I asked told, “I’m good to go if we can wave the fees”.  “Can’t do that,” he said, the people who come on site have to be paid.  But we all know that the money I pay for installation is not going directly to the installer, and there is no way the managers of that group are going to give up two phones and an Internet for $100.  I’ll be paying $100 every month from now until I die, unless a cheaper solution comes along next year, so I said, “I guarantee your manager will wave the fee to do this deal, go ask him.”  He was skeptical, but willing to go to bat for me.  Within 60 seconds we had a deal, free installation, and half my current bill, without a long term commitment!  It pays to learn what matters most when negotiating.

One more thing:  Don’t miss our Vendor to Adviser Webinar coming up December 21st – you can check to see if there are still seats open at: (CLICK HERE) – if not, get on the Waiting List!

© 2011, David Stelzl

No, I didn’t buy they Kindle, but people have been asking me to put The House & the Cloud and From Vendor to Adviser on Kindle for while now – so, I did!  If you have a hard copy of The House & the Cloud, don’t be fooled by the black cover.  It’s a new cover – one I will likely use if I ever get around to updating my book; something I hope to do this year!  You can see them online at:

1. The House & the Cloud

2. From Vendor to Adviser

Buy one and let me know how it looks…

© 2011, David Stelzl

In last week’s webinar on fee setting, one of the 5 secrets I shared had to do with understanding value before quoting a price.  By this I mean, you personally have ownership of the value your are providing and the client agrees – they too see the value.  On the call I discussed various ways to ensure this happens, along with some key technology areas that demonstrate it well.  One of these areas is security…you might have guessed if you’ve read my book, The House & the Cloud.

Upcoming Making Money with Security Workshop (Online) – Click to learn more

Why Security Does this so Well:

  • Security issues are in every company – if you can find them, most of the time they are urgent.  In a recent coaching call we were reviewing assessment results from a complementary risk analysis.  The client’s email system had been compromised and was acting as a spam relay!  What is the likelihood of closing the remediation business on this one?  100%!  In another situation the client’s report revealed no firewall – the network was actually set up to bypass the firewall!  Another 100%…and finally, I worked with a client recently only to discover that everyone in the company had full admin rights to their  database – this is a healthcare company with HIPAA requirements!  Again, there is a 100% likelihood of closing business.  Why?  Simply put, we found urgent issues and had asset owners involved.
  • Executives are still interested in security…you may not think so, but the fact that Wall Street continues to write about security tells me the readership – mostly management level people, are interested.  It’s not that hard to arrange marketing events and sales calls around educational security related material.  The success comes as sales people focus on the business aspects, not the technology itself.
  • Every technology deal has a security aspect to it – one that is central to the success of implementation.  Whether you sell unified communications, applications, core networking, storage, or specialize in managed services, security is key.  It’s a differentiator.  If your competition is selling storage, the deal is likely dependent on price.  When security enters the equation, the value equation changes.  Here, success is dependent on understanding how to weave the security story into the deal.  It’s always relevant, making it the right thing to do.

Find out more on this – join us the first week of January before things get to hectic – 3  days, 2 hours each day – online, so you don’t have to go anywhere!  Sign up here (hurry while early registration discounts apply):

Upcoming Making Money with Security Workshop (Online) – Click to learn more

© 2011, David Stelzl

Stop Wasting Time on Proposals Nobody Reads!

Sign up here: (December 21st at 1:00 PM)

Nothing wastes more time than writing proposals that don’t sell.  The more you write, the more time you waste…I remember some of my early proposals, crafted after lengthy documents I had seen as an IT manager.  Then one day I remembered, “I never read those things, so why would anyone read mine?”  The fact is, most of the proposals being written never get read!  Why?  Simply put, no one has time to read anything but the essentials.  What’s in your proposal that really matters?  Price, parts list, stages of a proposed project, and perhaps some dates?  These things are important.  What about the rest?  Well, perhaps there are some things in there, buried deep within your project rhetoric.

Join me next week on December 21st at 1:00 ET to talk about proposals.  I’ll be drawing from my newly published book, From Vendor to Adviser (which contains an important chapter on how to put together quality proposals.)  Here is the link – sign up now! past events have filled up quickly….

© 2010, David Stelzl

When the customer says, “Can we resolve this”, don’t say “No” before checking into it!  Imagine how silly the American Express Customer Service Rep looked on a call with my daughter this morning. Last year my daughter and I approved a small purchase of a planner – not realizing that American Express was signing us up for a lifetime subscription.  After receiving a new planner in the mail this year, our statement showed up with a $40+ charge!  Wow – the price suddenly went way up.  I guess they assumed we would just let it go.

Of course we called to return it, but they the rep said “No, we can’t take it back”.  My wife overheard this and immediately jumped on the call – “So you’d rather me cancel the card and keep the planner?” she asked…”Well, well….blah blah blah, no…” She said.  Within two or three minutes we not only had a credit, but they told us to keep the planner (suddenly it’s free).  So they were right, they can’t take it back, however the credit was there, we just had to ask.  American Express gets one star for customer service on this one.  Make sure your customers are happy they are doing business with you, and when something happens that causes a customer satisfaction problem, don’t make the customer threaten to leave before responding.

© 2011, David Stelzl

Preorder Now!

I am very excited about tomorrow’s free webinar on fees!  While spreadsheets and finances are not my favorite pass time, the idea of increasing margins and cutting losses is exciting!

If you have not signed up, do it now!

I prepared 7 well kept secrets to help you change your pricing models for 2012 – and I know they will help you increase profits if you follow them closely.  Let me hint at one important pricing concept right here to get us started…

Did you know that when you discount 20% on services, you give away 40%?  It might be obvious, but tomorrow I plan to show you several simple math problems that will explain where most resellers lose money over the course of a year, and how that affects not only the bottom line, but every sales person’s personal income (and eventually your company’s ability to deliver quality service to the customer!).  I’ll show you how, and what to do about it tomorrow at 1 PM, ET.  Make sure you put this on your schedule – one hour could change your entire financial outlook for 2012…

© 2012, David Stelzl