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Thanks to NetGain, Cisco, HP, and VMWare for sponsoring yesterday’s business leader event in Cincinnati.  We had over 40 business leaders for this educational event…

Eye Opening, Compelling, and Scary…

Eye opening, compelling, and scary.  These are the comments I heard after sharing some of the growing threats I see coming our way in the coming year.  Our material on cyber crime trends was well received and much-needed by many of the executives I spoke with during the seminar. Small businesses are being affected by security breaches every day, yet many are unaware of what is really going on inside their servers and mobile devices…According to the Wall Street Journal, most business leaders (over 75%) believe they are fine, yet Visa tells us that 90% of their business fraud cases are SMB related!

Individual Conversations

I spoke with one CEO of a Cincinnati based law firm after my session.  His business deals with highly sensitive legal information – the kind of information that, “Can’t get out!”  He was concerned that, while his company uses passwords and firewalls, he has no way to monitor who is accessing what, or to see if systems are being compromised, or to know if internal people are emailing sensitive information in an insecure way.  We talked about the cost of implementing technology that does this type of monitoring – “It’s out of reach for the small business.” he said.  This is led into a discussion on the value of using a managed solution through a third party provider…

In another conversation, I spoke with a man running a healthcare company.  He was concerned that his staff didn’t really understand how to assess their current security posture.  This is the case with most small business. They don’t have the tools or the expertise to do this in house.  Here again is an opportunity to engage an outside provider of assessment services, which NetGain, our hosting company has, to help ensure their applications are unaffected by today’s malware threats.

In the afternoon we heard from representatives of Cisco Systems and VMWare, as well as Microsoft, sharing how their companies are working to provide more secure products to protect these companies from growing threats in the coming year.  NetGain concluded the meeting by offering to meet with these businesses one-on-one to review their security needs, something every business should be doing on a regular basis.

© 2012, David Stelzl

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About a month ago I presented via Webex – an Ingram Micro sponsored session on how to sell security and other risk related projects. The content was focused on the security sale, but the truth is, Risk Mitigation is a powerful motivator to buy.  I offered people a free copy of my House & Cloud book (in PDF format).  Today I received an email from one attendee who is reading The House & the Cloud as a result, and has also picked up my new book, From Vendor to Adviser.  I was encouraged to read, “This is totally transforming my business.”  In the email, he attached an article on HP, a company who has failed to apply the concepts I bring out in both of these books.  Here’s the article – it’s worth reading if you aim to stay in business.

“For a decade now the company has sometimes seemed more like a tawdry reality show than one of the world’s great enterprises.”  Check the link for more on this…

© 2012

 

In 1995 Geoffrey Moore brought us ground-breaking information in his book entitled, Inside the Tornado.  This book was required reading for many technology manufacturers, including HP, a strategic partner of my employer at the time.  Using a standard marketing normal distribution curve, Moore showed us how market adoption changes when you start talking about technology.  It takes years for, what he refers to as discontinuous innovation, to catch on when talking about cars, phones, or air travel. But when speaking of today’s hot technology innovations, suddenly adoption is taking place in months.  Why is that important?

Well, to the technology manufacturers, Moore showed how products met the first inflection point of that model where early-adopters transitioned to early majority, a new audience of buyers.  He explains in his book that this audience is a bit more conservative than the first, and unwilling to work with technology that is bleeding edge!  This group represents people who might be risk adverse or, like many information technology professionals, goaled and paid on up-time, not innovation.  The first group however, representing those who will take a risk on new technology, is likely in the camp of profit center managers, looking for technology that puts them out in front of the competition.  This is further explained in Bosworth’s book, Customer Centric Selling, as he applies the model in a slightly different way to various kinds of buyers.

Manufacturers studied these models with profit and adoption in mind.  Moore’s point was that, manufacturers needed a way to enter the larger markets of early majority and late majority (possibly representing 33% and 33% of the possible market for each) if they were to enter the larger majority markets with their products.  The first one there would be given the greatest opportunity to become the market’s defacto standard.  Once there, the channel was established to meet the accelerating demand for their products, which Moore termed, The Tornado, thus the title, Inside the Tornado.  This is where the manufacturer views the channel, but this is not necessarily where the profits are for the channel partner.  The problem is, most resellers (VARs) are positioned exactly in the middle of Moore’s Model; perhaps the most unprofitable position possible for a reseller, which in turn, hurts both the reseller and the manufacturer – the company depending on their partners to bring in more and more of their business.  This is a problem.

(You’re probably wondering what this has to do with the red hydrant…nothing, it’s just a fun picture I took while photo shooting with my daughter).

© 2011, David Stelzl

Will you Walk Away?

November 12, 2010 — 2 Comments

Will you walk?  I’ve been writing about fee setting, and no fee setting series would be complete without facing the reality of a failed negotiation.  If you’re not willing to walk away from the business, you have no business negotiating.  Once the client perceives your willingness to discount, they’ll require it as part of every deal.  Set your fees wisely, being honest with yourself, and your ability, and be consistent.  Everyone knows that car dealers are more willing to negotiate at year end, and that Cisco, HP, Sun, Oracle, (fill in whatever product company you sell) will do the same (Usually at month or quarter end) for any big deal.  Anything to make the numbers work.  So what have we trained our customers to do?  Wait.

Your job is the be the best.  Jim Collins talks, in his book, Good to Great, about the hedgehog.  Being the best, having the passion, and finally the economic engine.  When clients see your value and know your prices are fixed, they’ll stop playing games.  Michael Bosworth, in his book, Solution Selling, explains it like this, Once you start discounting, the client will continue to squeeze, like a wet washcloth, until there is no water left.

What’s the solution.  Be great, be willing to walk, and leave the client wanting you.  Then continue to market to them until they realize they really do need you.   In the long run you’ll waste less time, make more money, and have better clients.

© 2010, David Stelzl

Ignore the first 8 seconds of this video (advertisements), then take notes.  Every one of your clients has one – a copy machine.  This video explains where the risk is and how to demonstrate it.  It this doesn’t wake them up, nothing will.  But make it part of your risk assessment so that you can actually show the client copies of every document they’ve ever copied.  If they are leasing the machine, it may be another company’s documents.  In this video you’ll see documents downloaded from a used copy machine in a warehouse.  One system contains sex crime unit pages, another from a police department, and a third from a health care organization. The key to closing business is in finding something urgent – security issues always top the list, but they must be demonstrated.  Here it is – 100% likelihood  (originally reported on in April, but worth taking a look at right now…Thanks to Matt for passing this on).

© David Stelzl, 2010

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After attending and speaking at dozens of channel partner meetings and hundreds of reseller workshops I’ve had opportunity to interview and speak with many business owners and sales people on the topic of value – just how much value is there in attending these events.  Listen to what I’ve learned about channels, resellers, distributors, and vendors…

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They all say they’ve got it covered…no one does!  Here is a summary article from one of my contacts at DiData…great info, thanks Matt.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37115813/ns/technology_and_science-security/#storyContinued

Summary:

  • “Our systems are probed thousands of times a day and scanned millions of times a day,” – speaking of government defense systems…
  • “We are experiencing damaging penetrations — damaging in the sense of loss of information. And we don’t fully understand our vulnerabilities,” – Now I feel safe!
  • Hackers have already penetrated the U.S. electrical grid and have stolen intellectual property, corporate secrets and money, according to the FBI’s cybercrime unit. In one incident, a bank lost $10 million in cash in a day. (Yet your clients all have it covered!)
  • “We’re talking about terabytes of data, equivalent to multiple libraries of Congress.” – (But those in the SMB don’t need to worry – right!)
  • United States military would need to prepare for fallout from a cyber attack, which could leave cities in the dark or disrupt communications. – (If you don’t offer DR planning, you might reconsider)

When your clients say, “We’ve got it covered”, remember, most are just ignorant, some are lying.  Don’t take no for an answer – instead educate them on what is really going on, and drive forward with the sale.  Take advantage of my latest ebook on selling through assessments… it’s free!  http://www.stelzl.us/training/CreatingSales.pdf

© David Stelzl, 2010

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