Turn your lunch & learns into high-conversion sales events that predictably drive new business.
Archives For lunch & Learn
The Follow Up Plan Determines Success or Failure
What happens After You Conduct a Live Lunch & Learn Event…Is It Successful?
In my last post I talked about raising your conversion numbers. Successful lunch & learns convert. Mine are converting at about 99% over the past 12 months. Meaning, if 30 people come to the event, I expect all of them to convert to an assessment – the one thing I find that regularly leads to ongoing business.
Today I’d like to look at the follow up plan. If you don’t follow up correctly, you can’t expect to get business out of it.
Follow Up Starts At The Event
Your follow up program starts right there at the event. Step one is asking your attendees to sign up for something at the event. The best time to do that is while you are speaking.
When I go out to speak I will often offer my audience something as I am speaking. As a speaker, I don’t have an assessment. But one strategy that works well is to offer a video to the audience. For instance, when I see the audience is really engaged – there’s energy in the room and they’re on the the edge of their seats, I’ll say, “How many of you would like a summary video of what I am getting ready to explain right now?” 90% will raise their hands. At that point I will say, “Pull out your business card, write VIDEO on it, and pass it up to me.” The response is predictable.
You can do the same with assessments. And I am doing that every month as I go out and speak to business leaders on behalf of a hosting reseller…
The Power of Free Assessments to Convert
I also recommend using a free or complementary assessment. I get more push back on this than anything else I recommend. But the fact is, this converts 60 to 80% of the time. The ROI is there so try it.
Paid assessments are great – but if you’re selling low end, $2500 assessments, to the SMB, or assessments to larger firms for under $10K, you probably don’t have any margin left anyway. And your conversion is probably low. Your sales cycle on the other hand, is likely high.
The complementary assessment should only be offered in exchange for something – like a leader showing up at an event. Don’t advertise it on your website.
Use it as leverage. Insist on doing it your way – after all, they didn’t pay. So if the decision maker won’t invest any time, stop the process. If they refuse to show up to a final review meeting, don’t hand it in. Use the complementary assessment to gain the audience you need to close the business. You can’t do this if they’ve paid you. Once you’re paid, they control the process.
You Have About Four Weeks
Time is short. When you make the conversion in the meeting, emotions are high. High conversion rates mean an emotional response it taking place. It’s no different than an old fashion revival meeting. The hands go up, and the more people see hands going up, the more they want to raise their hand.
But this emotion won’t last. You know they have a need. They don’t. But with this emotional response comes a willingness to let you look under the covers. It’s your chance to build a second emotional response that has substance behind it. Assess and find the urgent things.
You have about 4 weeks to get this done. Once that time expires, the emotions go down. It will be harder to get them to act at this point. So follow up quickly and get it done. Don’t invite more people to your event than you can effectively follow up on.
© 2016, David Stelzl
Want to Multiply Your Managed Services Business?
Join Me This Thursday
I’ll be presenting a repeat of last week’s session on how to Transform Your Technology Reseller Business w/ Security.
Find out how to grab the attention of business owners who don’t really think they need more security.
Discover how I convert 90% of the audience when presenting security at reseller lunch & learns (In just 60 minutes).
See why budget does not matter – even when a company has nothing to spend, they’ll find money for security.
I’ll also show you why most resellers are failing to close annuity business of any kind, and how to change that with one simple change in your strategy.
Yes I Want a Seat! <<< CLICK to join my on Thursday April 7th, 2016
Sponsored by Check Point and Ingram Micro – plus they are giving away 10 seats in my Security Sales Mastery Program (Normally $500), and Check Point will be giving one attendee a FREE 700 Series Firewall!
©2016, David Stelzl
This event closed 100% of the Attendees!
The above video comes from an interview I did with Randy Sklar, President of Sklar Technology Partners.
Whenever you do an event, it is best to video it!
These video clips and interviews can then be used as promotional pieces for your next event – as well as catalyst for setting up meetings with companies that did not attend the event!
Try This and other great strategies presented in my latest book, The House & the Cloud.
© 2015, David Stelzl
34 New Prospects – 100% Conversion
Security topics are hot right now. We recorded this interview (above) following a very successful lunch & learn event in Richmond. Randy Sklar, President of Sklar Technology Partners has been actively bringing these types of events to Richmond based small business owners over the past 10 years, and it’s paid off. The message used to make this event successful comes right from my book, The House & The Cloud…and for a short time you can pick it up for $1.00!
Using The Interview…
The interview is something we started doing a few years back to increase the conversion on follow up. If you’ve offered these types of events to your prospects in the past, you know you need a much larger list of possible attendees to get 30 to sign up. In this case we used the strategies from my Marketing Success Kit to attract new logo business owners. It worked so well that we had to turn people away!
After the event begins the follow-up. We signed people up for assessments during the event (and all of them did sign up). Now, using clips from the event and this interview video, we have something to take to those who did not attend. The rest of the list.
In many cases you can double your results by using an effective marketing campaign after the event. I describe this in detail in the Marketing Success Kit. But in a nutshell, there are 6 groups to consider: 1) Those who signed up, 2) Attendees who did not, 3) People who agreed to attend but didn’t, 4) Those who could not make it, but wanted to, 5) people who did not respond, 6) and finally, those who unsubscribed, told you they weren’t interested, or somehow communicated that they did not want to hear from you again. This last group can be discarded – they are not worth spending time and money on. Each should receive a short video sales letter with one of your clips, followed my a short text email offering to come by and share insights from the speaker. Follow up your email campaign with phone calls to set up these meetings.
Try it – this is far better than making cold calls to set up a meeting, with an agenda to share you company overview. No one really wants to see that.
© 2015, David Stelzl
My clients have been telling me for years that, “No one answers the phone anymore.” So why do we keep making so many cold calls. I know there are training programs out there that claim to change all of this, but if the person you are calling isn’t picking up the phone, it’s pretty hard to improve on your message. If you think a better vmail will do it, you’re headed down the wrong path.
What About Email Marketing?
Email is better. If I get someone’s vmail, I may leave a vmail, but I almost always send an email telling them I left a vmail. Some people have visual vmail services, but for those who don’t, I’m pretty sure they are retrieving many vmails at once, or from their cell, and probably won’t take the time to record my number. The email makes it easy.
What About Sales Letters?
But what happened to sales letters? On a recent coaching call I was talking with a sales rep who is struggling to get meetings. He makes his 50 or so calls per week, but the conversion from calls to meetings is low. While listening to his explanation of why, I reflected back on a recent Lunch & Learn we did together. In just four weeks he had managed to recruit 22 business leaders! All new prospects. So while he’s only converting about 4% of his calls to meetings, in just a few weeks he was able to set up the equivalent of 22 meetings. What’s going on here?
It might be that the 22 came because I was speaking – but I don’t think so. None of them had ever heard of me. It’s not like Zig Ziglar’s coming to town. No, I’m not the reason for his success. It’s the message we used to get their attention, and the campaign strategy we used to get that message out.
The phone calling message doesn’t work for at least two reasons. First, no one is answering their phone. But second, you only have about 6 seconds to grab your prospects attention on a phone call. And most of the phone calls being made are to get a meeting to review company slides or offerings. No business leader has time to do that. Especially knowing that there are thousands of people just like you calling for the same meeting.
The Lunch & Learn was successful because we had first identified a specific target market. In his case we were targeting CIOs of mid-sized companies, 500 – 2000 users. Our first point of contact was a written letter. In fact, it was a 3 page letter written with conversion in mind. Most would have chosen a one page letter, but not me. For reasons we don’t have time for in this post, the longer letter is more effective. We followed up with two more emails plus phone calls. When we finally did get through to either the CIO or an executive assistant, our call was very focused on security awareness. This is not a new strategy. Michael Bosworth, in his 1995 book, Solution Selling, recommends setting up one-on-one meetings using a similar educational approach. And Dixon & Adamson, authors of The Challenger Sale (Even though the author is selling against what Bosworth teaches) is saying the same thing.
In the end, we had 20 of the 22 people attend, and every attendee agreed to move to the assessment stage in my marketing blueprint. The bottom line is conversion. If your conversion numbers are great, whatever you are doing is working (at least for now). But if not, you may need more than some phone training or a clever vmail message.
© 2015, David Stelzl
PS. Want to convert 70-90% of your Lunch & Learn audience,? Check out the Marketing Success Kit. It comes complete with training, prewritten letters, call scripts, and everything you need to know to effectively sell through live marketing event meetings. Click Here to Learn More!
And What You Should Be Presenting On
Next week I’ll be speaking in Louisville, KY, at yet another lunch & learn – The question is, do people still attend these? Why should they? Well, this morning’s WSJ article, Boards Struggle With Cybersecurity, Especially in Health Care, answers the question. “Board members, [and any C-Level executive] need more education,” writes columnist Kim Nash.
Every company is facing these threats on a daily basis, yet only about 11% of the business leaders claim to really understand data risk. This data comes from a survey across 1034 directors. And while healthcare data is some of the most sought after by cybercriminals, the healthcare leadership rank as one of the least educated groups in this study! On the high ranking side (high-tech companies), only about 31% have a thorough understanding. In other words, most industry leaders are completely unprepared to make wise decisions when it comes to mitigating risk.
Healthcare Leaders Need More Security Awareness Education
Last year I experienced this misunderstanding as a speaker at a Healthcare conference in Denver. Every security related session I attended focused on compliance. HIPAA is important, but it has little to do with risk. I started my session by asking the audience to set compliance aside for an hour while we talk security. They seemed surprised by the idea. After my session, several commented that they had no idea what was going on. Kim Nash quotes Charles W.B. Wardell, III, president and CEO of executive recruiter Witt/Kieffer, stating, “In health care, the need for security knowledge is urgent, …Many [health-care] organizations are conducting risk assessments regarding their information security programs and preparedness and are alarmed at what they’re finding.” Having personally worked with many security providers who perform these assessments, I can confidently agree – most of them are turning up urgent issues.
Study results presented in this article showed that just about every industry, other than IT, scored 20% or less on having a high degree of knowledge. More industries reported “Some Knowledge”, but many reported “Little Knowledge”.
When Is Your Next Lunch & Learn? Fall is a Great Time. Now Is The Time To Plan It.
Should you be setting up more security-focused lunch & learns? The answer is, Yes!
However, these groups don’t need product knowledge. They don’t need to hear sales managers, channel managers, or even you local SE talking about products, services, or esoteric technology jargon. What they do need is straight talk on trends, likely threats, big mistakes being made, and why so many companies are losing the battle. They need intelligence they can use to make wise decisions regarding access to data, policy, hiring decisions, outsourcing decisions, and budget justification.
These are the kinds of things we’ll be addressing next week, and they’re the same things your clients and prospects need to hear. If you get push back on attending, you might want to point them to Kim’s article… (Access it on the WSJ website).
© 2015, David Stelzl
PS. Check out my new Security Website – it’s a work in progress, but here it is.