The Importance of Sound Bites – Becoming the Adviser

Spkr-web1Yesterday I completed day 1 of the Making Money w/ Security Virtual Workshop.  One of the topics we discussed is that of using sound bites effectively.

What are sound bites?  Sound bites are short, factual statements, that come from solid sources.  They communicate something serious, alarming, insightful, or amazing.  They build credibility.  When a sales rep is armed with numerous sound bites from credible sources, they appear to be well educated, well read, and in touch with the trends.  Over time, having read and memorized enough sound bites, that person will be knowledgeable. After all, knowledge is gained mostly through the study of good books.  Isn’t that what changed most of us over the four to six years we spent in college?  Here’s a quick overview of the process…

1. Determine what you aim to be an expert in.  What will you be a trusted adviser of?  Let’s assume is securing mission critical information – the focus of this week’s workshop.

2. Study newsworthy sources and discover the trends – pick out the sound bites.  “If you think U.S. Military computer networks are secure, think again.”  Security experts report to the U.S. Senate committee – March 23, 2012.

3. Memorize these quotes – if you spend 15 minutes each day, scan the news, and pick out just one, you’ll have countless up-to-date quotes at your fingertips the next time you meet with a CIO.

4. Use these sound bites to communicate truths to executives.  Their IT people are telling them “We’ve got it covered.”  In fact, 71% of mid-size companies believe (because their IT people tell them), that everything is fine.  90% of Visa’s reported fraud cases come from this same group, and the FBI tells us that it takes at least 15 months before people realize they’ve been attacked.

5. What did I just do?  I defeated the IT person’s argument by quoting the Wall Street Journal – that is the appropriate use of a sound bite.  Rather than bickering with IT about how secure they are, simply pull out a sound bite that suggests that they have been infiltrated, and that they probably wouldn’t know – so how can they be sure?  Who will the executive believe?  It’s no longer my word against theirs – it’s IT vs. The Wall Street Journal report, the FBI, DoD…etc.

Having been on many security sales calls over the past 20 years, I can attest to this idea – it works.  Executives don’t trust sales people, but they don’t trust IT either…they do trust experts, The Wall Street Journal, Gartner, etc.  Your job is the persuade, not argue.  Persuasion is “Guiding truth ar0und other people’s mental roadblocks.” (Quoted from The Character Training Institute).  Discover the truths written by the experts, memorize them, and then guide them around these roadblocks that resist knowing how insecure the network really is.

© 2013, David Stelzl


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