Archives For Real Life

Back From An Amazing 7 Day Trip

This past week we covered about 50 miles of very rugged country, climbing 7 of the 46 Adirondack High Peaks!  Here are a few pictures of the SVLC team, and my son David who joined us!



On the summit

On the summit

Crack Climb

Crack Climb

Bethany on Gothics

Bethany on Gothics

The team on Armstrong

The team on Armstrong

Downtime in the lean-to

Downtime in the lean-to

Swimming in Lake Colden

Swimming in Lake Colden

Relaxing on Mt. Colden

Relaxing on Mt. Colden

Avalanche Pass

Avalanche Pass

We made it!

We made it!


Climbing Mountains.

I arrived in Frankfurt, Germany yesterday morning after a great lunch & learn with IOvations in Boston.  In Boston I was surrounded by 6 foot piles of snow – here the weather is perfect early spring, sunny, and beautiful.  A few pictures from my walk around town on Sunday…this afternoon I will be delivering a keynote speech to the BASF sales organization on how to build an amazing value proposition.  Later I have a breakout session on the importance of building character in your organization, and some practical steps on how to do it.

IMG_2996 IMG_2997 IMG_2998 IMG_2993

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 26, 2014 — Leave a comment

family 2014Happy Thanksgiving! I am grateful for the opportunity to work with all of you who have benefited from reading my blog, attending my workshops and live sessions, and those who continue to work with my through the SVLC Insider’s Circle and Coaching/Mastery Programs…

The weakest Firewall is the Human Firewall!

The Human Firewall. That’s the person sitting behind the screen, creating, using, and sending digital assets.  It doesn’t matter how great your client’s perimeter defense is, when their end-users are traveling all over the world, sporting the latest mobile devices, full of highly sensitive data. Or just plain ignorant of the risks involved in processing sensitive data.  It’s time to move beyond IT…to the place where it happens.

Example: My Credit Card Number

Just this week one of my employees was setting up travel – I’ll be delivering the keynote at Westcon’s upcoming security conference in Park City, Utah, just about a month from now.  In the process of scheduling transportation to and from the airport with the hotel concierge, we received back a confirmation email.  I’m sure the hotel has a firewall – maybe a great one!  But the email they sent contains just about everything a hacker would want to know about me – including my entire credit card number and expiration date.

I responded by contacting the manager over the concierge services…Naming the person who sent the email, I was told that the sender was new.  They started their job just two weeks ago – he was sorry about the mishap.  Not completely happy with this answer, I asked him if he knew why this was a problem…his response was about half-right.  He seemed to get the fact that people can see email content.  Pressing further, I asked him if he understood what PCI Compliance was, what a violation would mean to his hotel, and how Visa might respond if I were to put a call into them.  He was clueless.

Somewhat enjoying this conversation (despite the fact that my credit card is probably posted on various websites around the world by now), I mentioned my keynote next month…speaking on this very thing.  I noted that this might make an excellent example…again he apologized and we ended the call.

The opportunity Sits with the Business Side Managers

Stories like this one create opportunities.  The business side managers are liable for what their employees are doing.  If this type of thing creates a real problem, it’s going to cost the company money – big money.  Target is going to pay for credit reporting, and Target customers were thinking twice about pulling out their credit card a week before Christmas last month.  Companies can’t afford this – and it’s far more expensive than your proposals to fix it.  But you can’t sell this to IT.  It’s time to move out to the business units.  Arm yourself with stories of disaster – learn to communicate the impact vs. likelihood message from my House & the Cloud book.  IT does not have this one covered!

© 2014, David Stelzl

P.S. Learn more about selling to the Business Side…get a free copy of The House & the Cloud, along with my Value Proposition Keynote.




Looking Back on 10 Years…

Christmas is right around the cornerand yesterday was the 10th Anniversary of Stelzl Visionary Learning Concepts…

It was just about 11 years ago that my wife encouraged me to seriously consider leaving Dimension Data to start my own business – doing something new.

At the time I was running the North American Security Practice, working hard to build a presence in the U.S. for a company whose primary business was in South Africa, with a strong following in the Asian markets under the name, DataCraft.

Traveling almost 100% of my time, our practice had grown from a start-up division, to over 30 Million in just 3 short years!

I joined Dimension Data as part of 7 acquisitions made by Didata to enter the US market in 2000.  My role with Premier Systems Integrators (one of the 7) had been one of helping rightsize and prepare for this acquisition – which meant streamlining the business, downsizing some of the groups, documenting some of the processes, and working on a business plan to demonstrate our vision to perspective buyers.

After the acquisition I was looking for a new opportunity inside this global company.  Having worked with a team in the past to build a 75 Million Dollar Reseller (with a strong focus on security – and later sold to Forsythe), I was interested in getting back into the security market.

I’ll never forget the senior management’s response to this idea – “Is security still an opportunity for growth?”  Short sighted to say the least – they let me begin work in this area as a one man team.  Within a few months I had 7 on my team, and 33 Million Dollars later we were off and running.

Three years later it was time to move on and do something new – and more profitable to me personally.  I spent the next 6 months talking with peers, exchanging ideas, getting counsel, and develop a program to help sales and marketing professionals overcome many of the obstacles that had developed in the market between the 90s and 2000 – if you recall, the 90s were booming with respect to high-tech companies and the reseller market!

It was December 17th, 2003.  I was to meet with my manager at Dimension Data – he was coming in to visit our office in Charlotte NC.  But I was sick…fever, headache, the whole works.  So I called in sick, and asked that we meet by phone.

At 10 A.M that morning, we got on the phone to meet – he and one other person – and unexpected guest from HR.  I was at 150% of my number for the year – but for some reason it dawned on me – and I said, without hesitation,

“Today’s my last day isn’t it?”

My manager, surprised by my words, mumbled, “Yes, how did you know.”

I simply replied, “I don’t know, but I’m ready to go…thanks for everything, it’s been great, but I am ready to go.”

They didn’t have any real explanation, but it didn’t really matter…I was ready to launch and I took it as providence and announced to my family, “We’re starting Stelzl Visionary Learning Concepts, Inc. – today!”

(Note: Since that meeting my previous employer has hired me to come back to conduct training, provide coaching, and has recommended that their sales organization read my books…and even asked if I would be interested in coming back…I’m not.)

Changes can be hard – but this change was the launchpad for ten years that I am extremely grateful for.  There were hard times getting started – as there always are with start-ups.  When things looked bad, I would just check in with colleagues from the past and ask them how business was going – more often than not I would hear complaints about compensation plans, being passed over for promotions, company politics, and more…I always left these calls encouraged and determined that we would make it.

Only about 4% of the entrepreneurs out there actually make the 10 year mark…and I’ grateful to be sitting here in my office looking back over a very profitable year.

I want you to know I don’t attribute this to my own brilliance – but rather to the encouragement and prayers of my wife and children when things were hard, the sacrifices they made in years where I traveled extensively, and to the many friends and family members who have given me wise counsel, and to those clients who have stayed with me, recommended me, and who have benefited from the work I’ve done with them – encouraging me to keep on building, developing, and innovating.

So to all of you who regularly read and participate in my programs – or who at some point, will,… thank you and have a Merry Christmas. I am looking forward to more amazing things in the coming year!

© 2013, David Stelzl

P.S. Don’t forget you can access a number of FREE business building tools on my website at this link;  (CLICK)


IMGP0006_3The year is almost over and it’s gone by quickly…

Chances are your month is really busy – closing the year, trying to get the last bit of business in, and perhaps clients trying to spend some of their budgets…making sure you year ends with a profit $$$

But if you Neglect these few things …

You might be sorry…Keep Reading:  Three Things to Do Before Christmas Hits…

1. Look back over the year – Remind Yourself.

Looking back is important – where did your business come from?  Is it repeatable, continuing, or maybe you didn’t really have a strong year – why not?  Next week I will spend 3 solid days looking at my year and planning for next.   I do this every year!

Some key things to look at:

  • Profile your buyers – what does your best client look like?  You can’t afford to be generic here – don’t tell me, “Small business owners,” or “Medical Clinics.”  Although the second is more specific than the first, I bet your most likely buyer is a certain kind of person, age range, race, political position…I don’t know.  I’m not talking about be prejudice here – I am talking about profiling.  I’m saying that your solutions, your geography, your price, and your personality, play best with a certain person.  I’ll sell to whoever can benefit and afford what I do – but I am marketing to a certain profile.
  • Is your business heavily dependent on one client?  If so, this is risky…You might have one client by design, and that too is risky – but if you sell into a broader market, make sure you are working on having a balanced portfolio.  I’ve seen too many profitable sales people go down when their one client leaves them.
  • If the year was great – make sure you know WHY?
  • If the year was down – Also ask, WHY?
  • Analyze this and figure out what went right or wrong this year.
  • Write this stuff down and ponder it…


2. Consider – “How Can I Accelerate Growth in 2014?”

  • If you are way over quota – perhaps you are doing well and don’t need growth.  If that’s the case, consider optimizing your business to reduce wasted time.  FOCUS on efficiency.
  • You can keep doing what you’re doing – but I bet there are some things you can do to really grow.  Is your marketing working for you?  Have you measured your response and conversion rates?  Even if you are a sales person working for a company with large marketing department – you might not be getting much out of marketing.  If that is the case, get a plan to change this.  Marketing is what generates leads and if you’re spending hours cold calling and leaving messages with people who don’t care, you’re wasting a lot of time.
  • Think EFFECTIVE – vs. EFFICIENT…what do I mean?  Most of the business people I run into are trying to be more efficient at doing things that don’t matter.  Fitting in more – waste-of-time meaningless meetings, fitting in more meaningless phone calls, and creating more no-sale proposals…this is all a waste of time.  Effective means – spending your time on the things that show a Return on Investment…revenue generating activity.


3. Is Your Family Life Healthy?

  • Maybe this should have been listed first – but I put it last so you’ll remember it most…and I might be too late on this…but too many sales people have sacrificed their family life to the point of losing it, just to make another dollar.  I’m urging you to make this part of your 2014 plan – to make sure you family relationships are strong.
  • If you are married – I have seen more successful business people go down fast after their marriage falls apart.  Everything is going strong, and suddenly your spouse announces, “I’m leaving.” or “I don’t love you anymore!”  15 years ago I came so close to this disaster it nearly destroyed me…I’m happy to say that I am one of the few that woke up in time and made a come back.  Strong marriages make for a stronger business plan.
  • How about your kids?  Talk about a distraction – having rebellious teenagers, teenage drug problems, an unexpected pregnancy with your high-schooler – it’s enough to derail anyone’s work life.  My kids range from 21 down to 5…(7 kids in total).  There’s nothing better than having the entire family on-board, with a common vision, supporting me in the work I do.  Make sure your 2014 plan includes building a strong family…a big factor in overall success.

© 2013, David Stelzl

P.S.  Here’s a great FREE offer to get your new year off to a fast start!  (CLICK) to get over $500 of FREE resources…