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3 Secrets to getting the right audience at your next lunch & learn.

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How to Convert Prospects to Customers…

This is the big issue.  Sales managers constantly ask me, “How can I find more great  sales people?” While sales people continue to tell me, “Our company needs some marketing to attract new prospects.” Then I hear from marketing (speaking of their sales team), “They don’t use our stuff.”

Everyone’s pointing the finger – because technology sales, for the reseller, is getting harder every year, and no one has a solution.

Yesterday I addressed this issue on a Nationwide webinar sponsored and hosted by Cisco Systems, w/ Brian Avery. I covered three important points.

1. Marketing Has to Change!

It’s a new concept, but I believe sales people have to become marketing people. Reseller businesses don’t have full time people working in marketing who are able to attract a constant stream of new customers. Most of the marketing people are doing all they can to keep up with event planning, marcom, and marketing administration such as keeping up with business cards. Demand generation is clearly a different set of skills and one you won’t find in most technology reseller businesses.

I see a lot of resellers (VARS) spending time and money on branding exercises.  This is a total waste of time in my opinion. It won’t lead to one single sale for you. Instead, you need a direct marketing system that reaches out to the masses and attracts qualified buyers. Direct marketing and branding are totally different animals. Direct marketing reaches out systematically, using email, landing pages, auto responders, webinars, and marketing events. When done right, it’s measurable in it’s effectiveness, and can be tested and refined.

It’s the art of getting the right message to the right person, at the right time. And it results in a next step that is also measurable and well defined. In our session I explored the need to focus on a specific group, with a well crafted message designed for that group, and the right combination of media to reach that group.

I showed, in just a few minutes, how the average sales rep can apply a set of easy access online tools to build their own list building campaigns to attract buyers. Which can then be moved into a systematic sales approach.

2. Making the Conversion

The next step is making the conversion from FREE to FEE.  It would be nice if I could take a cold list from Hart Hanks, call them, get them on the phone, and convince them to take a meeting that would then lead to a sale. If you’re on that course, you’re destined to fail. It won’t work. There are thousands of people just like you doing the same thing. You might have a good message and you might be a skilled professional, but standing out in the masses of millions of other sales reps with the same skill just won’t cut it.

I proposed several ways to get your message out there. I talked some about the proper use of social media – which in most cases is not really working for you – but it can. I talked about deliberate content, designed to reinforce your message and drive the prospect along a specific path – toward an event. You can make that event call one-on-one, but that leads to long hours and lots of windshield time. The alternative is to set up lunch & learns using a process I laid out in some detail in my Special Report on Converting Prospects to Customers (Get it right here).

A Lunch & Learn meeting set up the right way can attract buyers – not IT. You’re probably inviting the managers, but in most cases it’s the IT, or what one channel manager recently called, The Hot Dog Eaters, that are attending. If that’s the case, I understand. But it’s not because executives wont attend. It’s your message. The wrong marketing approach will lead to the wrong audience every time. Get your message right and you’ll have decision makers in your next event.

3 . You Need Justification To Make a Full Conversion

Justification requires more than an unsolicited proposal. In fact, the conversion begins at the event. If your event doesn’t have a conversion process built into it – you’re wasting your time and money. Marketing events aren’t really marketing events when you refuse to move your guests toward some next step.

Now, I understand you don’t want to sound like a used car salesman here – however, the right message can move people to buy. We see this all the time when a motivational speaker gets on stage. More often than not, people are out buying their books and high dollar coaching programs right after the speaker speaks. There’s nothing “Used-Car-Salesman-Like” about this. It’s the natural result of a motivational message that shows people a true need – which is exactly what your event message should sound like. Do this and you’ll have the first step to conversion done.

The next step is using some type of offering in your event that gives you access to the key influencers. For years I thought IT people were influencers. In some ways they are, but more often than not, they’re blockers or neutral. The real influencers sit in the departments that use technology to make money for the company. If you want to see the power of influence, show a loan officer how he can process twice as many loans with a new application, and he’ll be influencing in ways you never imagined.

Get my 8 page Special Report on Making this Conversion.  You can get a copy right here (CLICK).

 

© 2014, David Stelzl

 

Marketing Success is a Formula

Not an Event…

My last three posts were videos describing different aspects of Marketing Events and marketing success. This Thursday I will be speaking to Cisco partners on how to Turn Prospects into Customers. That’s exactly what a marketing event is.  If you sell Cisco, you can sign up and join us online right here: (CLICK). – Thursday, July 17th, 9:30 AM ET.

Also, make sure you have my latest Special Report on Turning Prospects Into Clients…this special report offers some great insights on reaching out to qualified buyers and offering them a message that will move them to buy. Click Here To Get Your Copy!

© 2014, David Stelzl

P.S. You can check out the Making Money w/ Security Boot Camp Right Here! (Click)

 

Blog QR AdI’m getting ready to kick off today’s Making Money w/ Security workshop (online) in about an hour – but before leaving yesterday’s webinar on Event Marketing, I just had to comment on one of the comments I received after my presentation.  One of the attendees wrote – “Not enough detail, it’s not as easy as he makes it sound”…he goes on to say that he’s tried and the right people don’t attend.

First, I do read my comments, and I appreciate people taking the time…every other comment I received was extremely positive…but this one deserves a response since he took the time to write it.  Here are a few points taken from yesterday’s content, and expanded some…

1. I started off the event by stating, “There is no way to cover this topic in 90 minutes – so there is a 6 hour audio training program, 100 page detailed field guide, and Quick Start reference manual available. (See the sidebar)”  Not that I am doing this webinar just to sell more books, but 90 minutes is what my client asked for, and so that’s all the time I had.  And that is why I mentioned these other resources…He’s right – I couldn’t give enough detail in 90 minutes…so, buy the training materials if you want more detail.

2. It’s not that easy…well, I didn’t say it was easy in yesterday’s event.  I said “Marketing is a science”.  I went on to explain that I’ve been working on this for about 10 years, and longer if you count my time as a reseller.  It’s codified – not easy.  And so, that is why there is a 6 hour training course.  You can’t argue with results.  The fact is, I do track attendees and responses, and the average marketing event does end up with 75% of the attendees moving to step 2 – the assessment phase.

Does lack of time or a high-level overview deserve a negative comment?  No, it underscores the need for more in-depth training.  Is codified the same as simple?  No, calculus uses formulas, but it’s far from simple.  The truth is, when I meet a marketing director who is struggling to get the right attendees – there is always a reason.  Most of the time it goes back to the message they are advertising.

This person’s comment also mentioned a problem with having the right speaker available.  There are thousands of great speakers – this one is simple to fix.  Its a simple case of companies not wanting to pay for a speaker.  And so they settle with the local free speaker, or put someone on their team in front of an executive audience. As I have said before, professional speaking is a profession like any other profession.  The person who decides to go out on a sales call once in a while is not going to succeed, and the manager who decides to get up and present every once in a while is also likely to fail.  I’m not going to someone who’s never performed surgery to fix a rotator cuff just to save some money.

Don’t discount event marketing just because your last event didn’t go well. Figure out why it didn’t go well and fix it.  The Complete Marketing Success Kit might be a good place to start – but start somewhere and find out how to make it successful.  Sales people have already shown us that old-school cold calling is expensive and largely ineffective.  Get it right, the right people will be there.

© 2013, David Stelzl

Blog QR AdWe’re off to a busy week this week with a Cisco sponsored web event this afternoon, and kicking off my third Making Money w/ Security (and Managed Services) event tomorrow afternoon at 3 PM.  As part of today’s web – with over 200 people signed up, I pulled together some of the most important concepts from my Event Marketing eBook in a new product I call, The Idea Book (click to read more and order it) – a Quick Reference Demand Generation book with 19 easy to follow pages to take you through the major concepts. In addition, I have also put together a package that includes this quick reference along with the 100 page detailed guide, and over 6 hours of instruction on how to pull off the most successful marketing event you’ve ever held.

Check out the right hand sidebar for the new quick reference IDEA BOOK – priced like a phone app or iTunes download, it’s just $1.99.  If you want the full blown program, you can get it here with a 20% discount (for a limited time).  It’s time to get serious about marketing….

© 2013, David Stelzl

Happy 4th of July –  three important things you don’t want to be without.

1. I’ve changed the pricing on my live event marketing audio program – get it today for just 99 cents!  (MP3)

2. You’ll also want to add the Event Marketing Field Guide…100 pages of step by step instructions that will basically eliminate all of the wasted time you spend cold calling. (Click Here).

3. And don’t forget, you can sign up now for the online Making Money w/ Security workshop right now – only a few seats are left at this point. (Click)

© 2013, David Stelzl

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This morning I am preparing to speak to Cisco channel managers, account managers, and channel marketing. The topic – Event Marketing. 

Challenging Presuppositions

Years ago Tim Ferriss, Author of The 4-Hour Work Week figured out how to accomplish more in a few hours than most of his sales colleagues could accomplish in an entire day.  How did he do it? After hours upon hours of unproductive cold calling he decided to step back and analyze the process.  The gatekeepers were always getting in his way – no one would let him speak to the decision makers.  So instead of making his calls during work hours, he simply moved to 8:00 AM, calling for 30 minutes, and then picking up again at 6 PM for another 30 minutes.  In no time he was closing more meetings than any of his peers. 

Tim shares a story in his book of how he won the Chinese kickboxing National Championship by studying the rules and changing the game to create an advantage.  He writes in his book, ” Sports evolve when sacred cows are killed, when basic assumptions are tested! The same is true in life and in lifestyle.” Tim’s process was revolutionary – but senior management has caught on, and in my recent CIO meetings I understand that they don’t want to hear from you before their administrative assistant shows up.  So now what?

Traditional Lunch & Learns

This past week I spoke with two different manufacturers about lunch & learns.  In both cases my clients – both resellers, were working on funding for events they are planning.  In both cases the vendor sponsor was skeptical about sponsoring me to speak. 

My events are different.  I counsel my reseller clients not to let vendors do the speaking, and I insist on inviting executives.  “That’s not the way we usually do it.”  Both companies made this statement…but what are the results of the typical event? 

It’s like Tim Ferriss’ cold calling.  Traditional lunch & learns are drawing small audiences of technical people, reporting high attrition rates (like 50% of those signing up never actually get there), and no measurable return on investment. The measure of success I hear all too often is, “How many attended?”  That’s like measuring sales by asking, “How many calls did you make?” – what does it matter.  If you don’t generate any gross profit, what’s the point?  And if you managed to make your entire quota on one call, why do you need to make 100 more calls?  A second call might get you to your accelerators (assuming your compensation plan has this feature built in.)

Changing the Rules

Why am I so stubborn about how the event happens?  Several years ago I started challenging the assumptions.  Why does the vendor have to speak?  Does it lead to more sales? Don’t get me wrong here,  I don’t care if they speak – but let’s not speak just to have a role in the event, or just to feel important.  The only question everyone should be asking is, “What is the purpose of having the event and are we achieving that purpose?”  From what I can tell, there are two reasons to have an event:

1. To reignite old buyer relationships.

2. To create new buyer relationships.

From the reseller’s perspective, these are the only two things that really matter.  Traditional cold calling doesn’t work – my clients all agree.  Tim Ferriss had a great idea, but it too has lost it’s savor.  Lunch & learn events with IT people have been around for ages, but they aren’t producing.  Why? Because technical people don’t have any money. 

So I started looking at the buying process.  The seller needs time in front of a decision maker, but there has to be a compelling reason for that meeting.  Decision makers are business people. They spend money for one of two reasons: to make more money, or to mitigate risk.  That’s it – simple, just two reasons.  Then I started looking at events in general.  What makes one event a major success, while another has almost no attendees?  Why do some events lead to 1000 people making major life changes, while other events lead to no measurable change at all?  It’s the speaker – and the motivation they provide to make a commitment, change something, or move in some direction.  It’s a conversion process, and there’s a simple formula to make it all happen.

So 10 years ago I joined the National Speakers Association and started studying great speakers.  It’s not the product they sell (Every motivational speaker worth their fee has a book or DVD set.)  If it was, they would simply set up an online store and go on vacation while the money rolled in.  They can’t do that. Most speakers sell their products at the conference or seminar.  Their book sales online are mostly unmeasurable.  But at the conference, they often sell enough product to double their speaker fee income.  It’s the speaker’s passion, combined with a life changing message, delivered to an audience that has the authority to make the commitment or accept the challenge. 

This morning I’ll be sharing the basic principles of event marketing success.  Why would anyone want to continue making dozens of unproductive cold calls five days a week when they can sell to 30 or 40 people at one time in one hour?  I have found that with the right message, at least 60%, and on average 75% of the audience will respond to the right message.  If the right conversion product (assessment or strategy session) is offered, they’ll sign up.  This leads to multiple meeting opportunities.  If you don’t close business after all of this, you can’t blame it on the event – but you are way ahead of where you would be on a cold call.

© 2013, David Stelzl