Archives For Value Proposition

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

 

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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

salesWhen You Sell, Are You Lying?

Last week I wrote about “5 Things Not to Say” as a reseller…you need a better value proposition but you can’t afford to lie about it. You’ll be found out and it will destroy your business. A good name is hard to establish. It’s harder to recover.  What’s your value proposition? Why should I buy from you? Some common lies…

 

We’re Better Than Everyone Else

If you resell technology and provide managed IT, it’s common to think you’re better than everyone else out there.

But is that really true?

No one knows. How can you measure the best reseller? Unless you’ve worked for both companies there’s really know way to know. If you’re both on Amazon in the form of a book there will be ratings and comparisons. But your business isn’t a book or gadget. So don’t say, “We’re the best.”

Instead, consider some alternatives:

  • Our customer satisfaction ratings are 5 star! Chances are you competition didn’t bother the poll their clients. Set yourself apart!
  • We have CISSPs on staff. Chances of smaller resellers carrying this level of certification are low. SANS.Org certs are equally impressive.
  • We provide a 100% money back guarantee. So there’s no risk. Can you say  that?
  • Show them customer testimonials expounding on how great you are.  Your customer can say “You’re the best,” you can’t.

The Price is $X. Is It Really?

Are you discounting when the pressure’s on?

Telling your prospect the price is $1000/month and then cutting it in half to get the deal is dishonest. If the price is $1000, it is. If it’s $500, then say so. Cutting your price to get the deal leaves your prospect wondering if they now have the best price.

Instead, consider these alternatives:

  • The price is too high, so cut the scope or change the payment options.
  • Add something to the deal pro-bono to prove your quality (but don’t add a monthly feature). For instance, waving your fee for an assessment lowers the up front price, but is not technically a discount.
  • If in the end the competition has better pricing, remind your prospect that low-ball pricing either means the competition is desperate and can’t deliver the same quality for the price they’ve quoted or they have less expensive people, which also means lower quality.
  • If your prospect chooses the low price provider ask to reconnect in a year to see how things are going. If the other company really can deliver the same quality at a lower price your prospect has made a wise choice…but it’s unlikely. There are no “apples to apples” comparisons when dealing with people, culture, and personality.

You Provide Security and Disaster Recovery Services

Do you really? Selling firewalls and providing security are not the same thing. Offering backup and recovery is not disaster recovery.  Yet I see these claims all the time on reseller websites.

Learn what your customers really need and then study out the fine lines that distinguish different offerings and descriptions.

For instance, pen tests and vulnerability assessments are often sold as risk assessments. But if risk is not quantified in the report the client is left without a measure of risk. When I explain this difference using the impact vs. likelihood graph in my book, The House & The Cloud (Pg. 194) the response is predictable. It’s an ah-ha moment for the client. One that often leads to conversion.

In the coming weeks I’ll be showing you have to create compelling message  that is truthful and high-impact…stay tuned!

©2016, David Stelzl

img_4248What’s Your Value Proposition?

Have You Ever Tested it With Customers?

Or are you just going off what some other seemingly successful VAR is doing.

This business is incestuous.

Resellers meet with each other quarterly copying each other’s ideas without actually testing anything.

It’s also deceptive. 

The 1 million dollar reseller looks enviously to the 10 million dollar reseller for direction. But the fact is revenue is meaningless with privately held companies working on single digit margins.

Everyone Has The Same Value Proposition, “Our People Are Better”.

At Ingram ONE this week I’ve met with numerous resellers. It seems like everyone has the same value proposition. Some more sophisticated or sporting bigger certs but at the end of the day everyone looks the same on paper.

Is Your Marketing Working? What About Sales?

Conversion is the measure of success. If your website doesn’t pull in leads it’s broken. If your assessments don’t readily convert to business they’re useless. If your first meeting presentation doesn’t convert to something great it should be trashed. And if your prospecting efforts (cold calling or whatever) are not landing meetings it’s time to reengineer the process.

There are 4 Value Propositions,  Only 2 Work…

in this economy. I list all four in The House & The Cloud, however these two are what you need to know:

  • Risk Mitigation
  • Customer Experience (a form of competitive advantage)

The second points to custom software and digital connectedness with the customer. It’s Amazon morphed into whatever business you’re calling on. The other is minimizing risk.

Different types of risk exist in different vertical markets. The bank is more concerned with account balances being off. Healthcare wants to know life support systems are up and patient privacy is sure.

Stop thinking your people are better, your workflow if more efficient, or that your IT Service Offering somehow provides a more efficient way to handle IT.  It might all be true, however the business owner or CIO is not going to see it as unique.

© 2016, David Stelzl

graph-going-upHow Long Has Your Company Been This Size?

Can You Multiply It?

In 1995, I joined a couple of guys to build a new commercial focused reseller. Our vision was big. We were funded by an 8 million dollar CAD-CAM reseller, but we expected to exceed this by 10X…

So How Do You 10X Your Business?

First, it takes a lot of work ON your business, vs. being bogged down in the daily grind. There’s a tipping point, or fly wheel, or whatever you want to call it, depending on whose book you read.  Three things that accelerated our growth are important, because they still apply. NewsProCover

RETENTION and MARKET FOCUS…even in the mid 90s we knew we needed recurring revenue and long term clients. Getting a client takes time, but keeping one is far easier. (Check out Shaun Buck’s Book on newsletter marketing for more ideas on client retention – It’s free if you use this link).

Customer experience is a hot topic right now in every business. But the key to our success was problem solving. We weren’t going after the firewall sale, or even the storage sale. We were there to solve problems. When you solve a problem, people take notice, and retention goes up.

The first step might be surprising. It’s going after the right kind of customers. I call this people group. Even today I can point to profitable deals that didn’t create long term business, simply because the client was too far outside my target people group. It’s fine to sell something to someone outside your core market. But don’t spend time marketing to that group. Let them come to you. Take down the business and assume they’ll be moving on. Whatever you do, don’t rebrand your company overnight to find more like that.

The same was true in our 1995 start up. We sold 10s of millions of dollars to one single customer in one single year. But the chances of landing more like it were nearly zero. Not everyone agreed with me on that, but over the 5 years (before the company was sold,) those who tried never succeeded. It was a wasted effort.  On the other hand, those in our target market were by far our most profitable clients.

MAXIMUM LIFE TIME VALUE…next is understanding the lifetime value of a customer. A few weeks ago I entered an ice cream store with my family. Now we have 9 people in our family, so when we buy ice cream at a boutique, it’s a large ticket sale. But in the course of ordering, the owner yelled at my 8 year old son. My son was tired, not feeling well, and accidentally wandered behind the counter looking for a restroom.

Not believing my ears, I confronted the store owner – at first politely. But he remained stubborn, so we all walked out. What did that cost him?  He might be thinking, $30. But no, it’s far more. We travel by that store on trips pretty often. The lifetime value (LTV) far exceeds that $30. Customer experience is essential if you want to increase LTV. What about your business. How long do clients stay on your managed services? What if you increase that average by just one year? What happens to your profit?

When a new client comes on, you need a real problem to solve, and an experience they won’t forget. You need long term retention.

GROWTH AND UPSELL…Finally, the 80/20 rule says that 20 percent of your customers are worth 80% of your revenue. So what can you add for those premium customers, to give them a premium service?

A one off sale does not lead to growth. So start thinking, what can we add to provide higher level services, with recurring revenue, which ultimately increase LTV?

Let’s say you have a base MSP offering of $X per workstation – let’s say you have 100 of these. 20 percent of these customers are going to pay enough to make up 80%, so give them something more expensive to buy.  But don’t stop. The 20 customers are paying a multiple of what the other 80 are paying – and of course getting something far more valuable. But 20 percent of that 20, or 4 of them, will pay enough to make up 80% of the profit coming from the 20. In other words, you can offer a higher level service to the 4, worth a multiple of what those 20 pay.  But wait, there’s one more step – that last 20% is one person, willing to pay for one more level of service.  So go ahead and create one.

If you do the math now, you’ll see that this 100 person group is now worth far more than they were with the original MSP offering.  As your business grows, the group grows, and new levels get created, growing your business.  It took us 5 years to hit the 10X mark. Of course this takes people, time, and vision…but there’s no better time to start than right now.

© 2016, David Stelzl

 

 

socWant to Sell More Managed Services?

Being the Low Cost Provider Never Works…

But don’t be the middle priced offering either. There’s absolutely no benefit…

Your only option is to move upstream. Kmart, Walmart, Target…they’ve all worked hard to be the low cost provider. And how is that working out? Well, Kmart is closing dozens of stores before year-end. Walmart has been sweating over Amazon, their chief competitor, for the past 12 months. Month after month, these big box companies are fighting over pennies.  Amazon’s model is the only one that makes sense. It’s membership driven, offering music, storage, and instant purchase options, and a growing level of subscription oriented, monthly recurring revenue.

But in the reseller technology business you can’t win on price. Keep lowering you per workstation price and you’ll soon have margins that are so thin, you’ll have to let your best people go.  Don’t do it. (You can find more strategies on this in my book, The House & The Cloud!).$1 HC Book Ad

Instead, start asking, “How can I upgrade to a premium level of service?” Take this one step further and ask, “Where is my niche market?”

Security Offers a Compelling Premium Service

You probably already offer firewall management. But as firewall companies like Check Point and Fortinet add advanced services such as threat emulation, sandboxing, and SIEM like technology, there’s an up-sell opportunity to provide the 7 by 24 monitoring aspect. Something your clients just cannot afford to do internally.

Don’t have your own SOC (Security Operations Center), or the team to do this overnight? You can outsource it through channel-only security providers like Foresite. For a small fee, they’ll take over the management, offering different levels of service depending on the size and need of your client.

Don’t Give it Away

Don’t give this away. It’s your added value to the MSP program – something not many service providers are offering right now.  Over time, begin adding security expertise to your team, and add some high-end security services to your offering. For instance, you might add virtual CISO services or take over the reporting and interface needed for auditors policing compliance regulations such as PCI and HIPAA.

One client I work with offers GLBA management to regional banks, leveraging new laws that require there be a compliance officer, independent of the IT department. How many small banks can afford to hire someone qualified to fill such a role? Not many. But a third-party provider is permitted and makes for a great add-on service offering.

If you’re getting beat on commodity pricing, start thinking about security services and how to add that premium level. If you just raise your prices, you’re likely to be out there with Kmart, closing down offices. If you only have one office, it might be a short ride to the end.

© 2016, David Stelzl

If People Aren’t Responding to Your Message Keep Reading…

Technology Providers Need to Refocus If They Want to Help the Businesses They Serve

Last night I spoke to my church congregation on the  topic of security. That’s right, at the church. Some were in business, others were students, homemakers, or retired. They listened, asked questions, and commented after the talk that this was truly helpful. My hope is that  they left with some very practical steps to take to reduce their personal risk and exposure online.

The truth is, everyone is interested in security when it’s tied to their personal stuff. No one is interested when it’s about technology, with the possible exception of the IT person trying to enhance their resume.

Are People Calling You to Hear Your Message?

If you’re newsletters, blog posts, and website are littered with technical jargon, chances are no one is responding. But put a business or personal message in front of your prospects and they’ll tune in. Security is magnetic.digital Money Cover

Last week I was in Montana, speaking to small business owners in the small town of Helena. Not only did people come, some drove from the remote parts of Montana to hear this message. And at the end of my session, Information Systems of Montana was kind enough to offer their guests an assessment, just for attending. 90% of them said yes!  For an entire hour they were engaged, not checking email, but taking notes.

This month I’ve been invited to address business owners in New Orleans, deliver a large conference keynote in Miami, and speak to a CPA association in San Antonio. Why? Because people want more – they want to know what’s going on and how it affects them.

What’s Your Message?

It’s time to evaluate your message. Security and customer experience are likely the two most important topics out there when it comes to technology. If you write software, you can help people on the customer side. But if you’re working on managed services and infrastructure, you need security. Not just any security – focus on the trends and how they relate to the people you work with.

Remember, your prospects are building businesses. They’ll be using technology to create efficiencies and value. As they move forward, their security needs will be changing, and they’ll need advice. The person with answers will be in demand.

© 2016, David Stelzl