Archives For call blitz

I had several conversations with consulting company sales people yesterday regarding event planning.  By far, most lunch & learn events don’t appeal to business owners and executives.  They attract the IT and security people.  On the other hand, most of those I meet with tell me, they would like the business leaders there.

Whether you agree or not, I am adamant about getting business leaders to these educational events.  This is the group that must understand the liabilities and risks associated with data loss.  This is the group that has the power to turn things around.  But this is also the hardest group to attract.  Here are 5 reasons this group won’t attend your next event…fix these and you’ll be on the road to fixing your events:

  • You didn’t invite them.
  • They don’t want to sit through a session designed for a technical audience.
  • They don’t want to meet with a mixed group – executives and technicians.
  • They don’t want to be sold to – a product oriented meeting designed to sell technology gear.
  • They don’t know anyone on your attendee list – it must not be that important.

Fixing Your Customer Event

Consider making it invitation only.  And be willing to reach out to business leaders in your community by phone.  Be ready to explain the value of your event to their administrative assistant.

Make sure your program is designed to educate business leaders, not field engineers.  Executives don’t need to know about protocol stacks, virtualization technology, or techniques for securing cloud applications.  They  do want to understand industry trends, competitive advantage, and liability.

Don’t create an event that appeals to both technologists and business leaders.  It won’t work.  The business leaders will lose interest when you start talking tech – the technical people will not appreciate the high level approach needed to appeal to executives.  Their different roles in the organization demand a different learning track.

Stop selling!  If you think your vendor sponsors must be the center of attention, you’ve made a mistake.  They want the same thing you want – an opportunity to fix real business problems.  Show them a better way to accomplish this and your partners will support your efforts.  The business leaders I am talking about have the ability to buy, but they don’t want to be sold.  They do want education.  The sale will come later where real needs exist.

Focus on creating a networking event.  I talk with business leaders of technology companies all the time.  They spend their own money to attend all kinds of partner events.  Half the value, they tell me, is in the relationships and networking that takes place during the breaks.  Can this also be true of your lunch & learn events?  It can.

© 2012, David Stelzl

PS. My new book, Event Marketing, 7 Secrets to Profitability Using Lunch & Learns and Sales Events will be out in just one week – stay tuned! – Oct 10th.

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I just received an exciting phone call from a computer, letting me know about an amazing healthcare offer that I don’t want to miss!  Should I buy it?  I have received several offers from outbound marketing companies in the past who provide these computerized calling services…I don’t know what their success rate is, or what market this approach does well in, but given the number of times I get routed to vmail when calling on a client, I can’t imagine taking a call from someone’s vmail (at least that’s what these calls  remind me of.)

If you have an opportunity to buy into a subscription that does this type of marketing, pass on it.  This is not the kind of marketing that typically does well for high-involvement sellers.  On the other hand, if you have received measurable success using this approach, I want to hear from you!  It could be that I am wrong about this – if I am, I want to know it!

© 2011, David Stelzl

Discipline

August 25, 2011 — Leave a comment

Hudson Taylor wrote, “At first the task looks difficult, then it is impossible; then it is done.”  Disciplines of health, parenting, work…it takes discipline to get started, endurance keeps you going.  At the end of the day, the discipline of exercise, getting on my bike, followed by endurance to finish the race.  I do it to maintain health and life balance, and to spend time with my kids…not always easy, but necessary.

Coming into an office after weeks of unprofitable calls, there is a discipline in getting started again – endurance to continue to process.  How tempting it is to “fritter and waste the hours…” when the task looks impossible.  Reaching the goal requires more than skill – it requires discipline, endurance, determination.  Failure comes, not so much from a lack of skill, but more often by giving up…

© 2011, David Stelzl

Presenting by Phone

February 18, 2011 — Leave a comment

RSA is over and I’m headed home.  While here  I thought of one more important presentation topic, so continuing from the whiteboard and PowerPoint posts last week, here is an important add-on.

Sometimes you just can’t be there in person, so what do you do?  I am not a fan of cold calling when it comes to high-involvement selling, however learning to use the phone is key when it comes to saving time.  Especially when you cover a large geography.  I cover the world with just one rep – me.

Like most, I hate cold calling, but if the call is set up through email or a referral, it’s no longer cold.  The problem is, people lose their focus on the phone, so you can’t really present anything.  Keep your descriptions short, use a story to draw them in, and predict objections to staying on the phone.    But you need more.

Here’s a simple strategy that I’ve found to be effective.  Since most of the people I schedule a call with are sitting in front of their computer of laptop at the time of the call, taking them to a website that has been set up correctly (meaning it has good content and graphics) is a great way to engage emotionally.  I have descriptions of what I am doing with customer testimonies on the side bar.  Without having to set up Webex and do a slide show or demo, I am able to take them to a page that outlines or pictures what I am talking about.  This allows me to systematically walk through my value, filling in the gaps with a story or two, to show how I have delivered value to others.

Become great at phone selling and you’ll save an incredible amount of time.  An on-sight meeting may take two or three hours with travel, waiting, meeting, leaving, and driving back to the office, and that’s best case, in town.  The phone might take thirty minutes to an hour tops. And that’s only if they are really interested.

© 2011, David Stelzl

If you’ve read Stephen Covey’s classic on life management, Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, you may remember habit 2, Beginning with the End In Mind.  This is key to any great sales call, marketing event, or other demand generation activity.  Having done many executive luncheons, one of my clients’ first questions is always, how many people should we invite.  On their mind is, “How many can we attract”.  My first question back is usually, “How many can you effectively follow up?”

Obviously there are the preparations that take place before a call, but what happens after you present?  Do you have a planned ending to your meeting that leads to, what Seth Godin terms, Permission?  And more importantly, do you have the bandwidth to stay on top of everyone who responds to your “program”?   Going in without a plan is like going in with a plan to waste your call list.

© 2011, David Stelzl

 

The Call Blitz Trap…

Marketing with Call Blitzes – a common program to generate sales, but does it work?  Listen to how the long term affects on your personal branding make this one of the biggest mistakes your company can make….