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Here it is: (CLICK), a recording from yesterday’s Webex presentation on accessing decision makers…Also, over the past several webinars I have made some reading recommendations…

1. Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play: On this one I recommend the audio book…I’ve listened to this book dozens of times as he does a great job of getting down to business with busy executives that tend to give elusive answers to avoid being pinned down.

2. Made to Stick: Great book on Marketing.  I was recently talking to a young lady getting ready to head off to college for marketing – total waste of time.  Read  three or four books (this being one of them) and you’ll be way ahead of most marketing graduates.

3. Permission Marketing: Here’s another of my recommendations on marketing…I spoke about gaining permission through the demand generation / event process, and moving through the 4 meetings…these are simply practical steps of gaining permission.  Read what Seth Godin writes here and you’ll understand exactly what I am proposing in my Webinar.

4. The New Rules of Marketing and PR:  We haven’t mentioned this book yet, but it’s the third one to read on marketing.  As Social Media prevails, learn to use it in your business.

5. The House & the Cloud: I’ve mentioned this book countless times…yes it’s my book, and probably the only book specifically written to sales people on selling security technology.  You should read it…

© 2011, David Stelzl

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Based on some of the follow up questions I received following Wednesday’s Webex on Effective Demand Generation I thought it might be helpful to add these points:

0. Don’t let the irritated, over-worked executive frustrate you or stifle your marketing plans…

1. Marketing, while considered to be very artsy, is very scientific.  Learn what motivates people, what turns them off, what causes them to be judgmental, and what creates open-mindedness.

2. The goal is to gain permission to continue the sales process.  Study Seth Godin’s book Permission Marketing for more insight on this.  Godin does a great job of explaining why marketing cannot be interruption driven, using mailings and billboard type selling.  This fits well with a consultative selling approach.  Events like we are describing here are just one step in gaining permission to consult and advise with decision makers.

3. Persuasion is an important concept.  I like the definition from our home school curriculum, “Guiding truth around other’s mental road blocks.”  Truth implies honest delivery of a client’s situation and your ability to improve it.  Roadblocks exist simply because the 95% you call on don’t really understand the issues like you do.  Demonstrate a need for risk mitigation or operational efficiency and you’re on your way to helping them.

4. Finally, remember that executives need your input.  Don’t shy away from communicating value.  Thousands of incompetent sales people have addressed this group in past meetings and phone calls, so don’t be surprised if there is some convincing to do up front.  If you have prepared properly, you are doing them a favor by contacting them.

© 2011, David Stelzl

At the end of yesterday’s Making Money with Security Online class I mentioned the upcoming “Principles of an Effective Value Proposition” online program scheduled in April.  There is nothing worse than sitting through a terrible presentation or being stuck in boring meeting for several hours.  So why would we subject our prospects to this kind of torture?  To get us started, here are ten things that will absolutely kill a Power Point presentation… 

1.     Opening with an agenda slide – your first task is to grab the audience’s attention; the agenda slide is a sure way to lose everyone.

2.     Using the standard bullet point format in Power Point – this makes for boring slides with too many words.

3.     Showing slide after slide of meaningless numbers, statistics, financials, with values that are too big to comprehend.  The human brain needs a comparison when dealing with large numbers – a point of reference.  A slide or 2 is okay, but don’t go overboard on statistics and sound bites.

4.     Talking about “Self”.  Especially true when presenting to new prospects – no one cares about your company before there is a reason to do business.

5.     Bad colors and no graphics.  Most people are visual.  They want to see pictures – this is why people watch movies rather than listen to stories on the radio.  If you want your information to be memorable, use grabbing graphics!  The best way to do this is by changing the slide background to an image.

6.     Reading your slides – no! Look at the audience.  This requires that you know your material.

7.     Too many words on the slide.  If your audience can’t read the whole slide in a few seconds (5 or 6 words) you’ve lost them.   They will either listen to you or read the slide…most will read the slide and ignore you.

8.     No climax. A presentation must build.  If it’s flat people will lose interest quickly.

9.     Obvious.  Most sales presentations look exactly the same.  They discuss company background, offerings, features, a few client names, etc.  This is predictable, boring, and obvious.

10. When he presenter is not a speaker.  This is the final presentation killer.  If you’re going to stand up in front of a crowd, you had better be good.  This is not a genetic trait.  It’s simply a matter of learning the skill and practicing until you’re great at it.

© 2011, David Stelzl

Our last session in the Making Money with Security Class (Online) is tomorrow.  I’ve had some great interaction with attendees over email and some phone this week, and value the questions and ideas that will improve both of us.  Yesterday  I was asked, “What should I be reading?”  Here is a short list of some of my favorite books:

First, before I mention a single book, every sales person should be reading The Wall Street Journal!  Not the whole thing, but anything having to do with technology.  Referencing this paper in a sales meeting with a relevant comment (don’t just do this to show off), can’t hurt.  Every “executive level” client subscribes so every rep should read.  Second, turn off your television – what a waste of time this is.  Rent an occasional movie with great content, and use your spare time to read great books and talk to great people.  Here’s the list…(of course it’s incomplete…but this is what is sitting on the self next to me)

Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath – The Heath brothers do an excellent job of explaining what makes a message stick.  If we could just apply a small portion of these ideas to our presentations I would be a lot happier sitting through sales calls!

Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play, Mahan Khalsa –  I have listened to this in audio-book format dozens of times!  Normally, once through is enough for me, but Khalsa’s advise on how to answer executives, determine budgets, and move through “sales politics” is unparalleled.

Solution Selling, Michael Bosworth – this book is older, and I’m not sure I really like the 9 box matrix Bosworth takes us through.  However, the ideas behind his questioning and discovery process are right on, and his treatment of Negotiations should be required reading for all sales reps!

E-Myth, Michael Gerber – if you sell to small business, Gerber’s book is a must!  Again, I did this on audio book, and that is what I recommend.  The way Gerber pronounces “pies”, as he weaves his story of Sarah building her pie business is like listening to old time radio.  But the concepts are what make this book a winner.  Talk to any small business owner and start sharing Gerber’s truths, and they will be offering you a job.  This comes from personal experience with client of mine who has done this.  Business owners constantly wish he would come work in their company at a strategic level – what more could you ask for.

Time Traps, Todd Duncan – for the rep who does not have time to wade through Stephen Covey, this is the book.  Short, simple, but very practical.  My favorite part of this books explains that most reps spend about 90 minutes each day actually selling.  What if they doubled that!

Consultative Selling, Mack Hanan – An old standby for anyone creating value.  I had the opportunity to dine with Mack in NYC a few years ago!  The author has a great deal of wisdom when it comes to demonstrating justifaction.

Personal Branding, Peter Montoya – There is no better book on personal branding, and personal branding is key to changing the way people perceive you.  If you want to know how famous people become famous, Peter explains it.  If you do nothing to change your personal brand, expect to be treated accordingly.

Good to Great, Jim Collins – there is no excuse for not reading this book!  Every executive has read it, so you should too.

Permission Marketing, Seth Godin – Did I say Marketing is key?  I did!  Seth Godin has a lot of wisdom in this area, and seems to understand the steps we need to take in order to get past the noise.  Thousands like you are calling on the same executives every week.  How will you get permission to continue calling on them?

The New Rules of Marketing, David Meerman Scott – Yes, there are new rules.  Scott has forever changed my view of marketing and social media. Every rep should take this book to heart and get moving on their marketing program.  Waiting on your marketing department will kill your business.

The Ultimate Sales Machine, Chet Holmes – for his treatment of educational marketing.    He has some older ideas that are easily replaced with Scott’s book, but still worth reading to understand how he gains permission, building on Godin’s ideas.

PS. By all means, do read The House & the Cloud

© 2010, David Stelzl

 

You probably don’t remember how to balance chemical equations but chances are you do remember some of the great stories one of your teachers or classmates shared in school.  Mr. Gustafuson, one of my high school teachers, used to begin every class with a short excerpt from a book he was reading.  I remember some of the details from the book he read from, but to be honest, I don’t remember what class he taught!  I do remember looking forward to hearing the next section, which encouraged us to show up on time.

Stories are memorable, facts and figures are not.  In the words or Chip & Dan Heath, co-authors of Made to Stick, Stories are Made to Stick!

Presentations which might otherwise be dry, come alive with great stories.  When talking about a wrong approach or illustrating an idea, use  a story rather than arguing for your proposed solution.  A wise mentor once told me, you can’t argue with someone’s personal testimony.  So use a real story, and if possible, use one you have personally been involved in (If not, be sure to research the details and be sure it’s true before bringing it to the client.)

One more important point; great stories are rehearsed and revised.  Coming up with a new story at the moment of truth is not the best approach.  Develop your example stories before you get on stage, practice them, record them, share them with others, and figure they will improve over time, so tell them often.  The better you become at story telling, the more life you’ll bring to your presentation.  Try it this week and let me know how it goes….

© 2010, David Stelzl

I have an idea!  There are seven things IT is doing to enable hackers… You know how?  Bold, unexpected statements cause the brain to ask, “How?” or “Why?”  The stronger the need to know the better.  A great presentation creates these “Knowledge Gaps” to draw the audience in.  One speaker I listen to calls this “Salting the Oats.” In his week long seminar he often says things like, “There are 3 purposes for money…which I will share with you tomorrow.”  Another favorite line, “While in school I went from D’s to A’s.  I found the secret to success…which I will be sharing with you on Friday.”  This keeps people’s interest for days!

All you need is 30 minutes or perhaps and hour, of which much of your time should be spent in discussion.  But take a look at your opening presentation.  Is it boring or does it create knowledge gaps?  One speaker I respect says, “We need something every ten minutes to keep the audience tuned in.”  I don’t know where his research comes from, but I can say I’ve sat through many predictable presentations.  Like another episode of Scooby-Dooby Doo…the outcome is known long before the presentation is over; it’s obvious.  There is no curiosity, no ah-ha moments, and nothing to keep me from reverting back to my Blackberry – the ultimate time filler.  Spend some time today reviewing what you present and see if you have knowledge gaps or where some might be injected into the program.

For more ideas on Mastering Board Room Presentations CLICK HERE!

© 2010, David Stelzl

Having just completed another Profit Program Workshop in the mid-atlantic – some thoughts…

  • Market Strategy – what is it you are marketing?  Look at your collateral, your website, your events, webinars…is there a focus or are you just putting stuff out there?  Focus!  Focus on who you are targeting (your buyer), focus using media they’ll receive, and know what they’ll want to see and how often.
  • Marketing is building a brand.  Seth Goden talks about permission – gaining permission to market first, then providing content they care about and will agree to receive.  From there you increase permission levels as you provide more value.  Dan and Chip Heath add the need to “Make it Stick”.  One idea they offer is to target through success stories.  People like stories; can you tell the story in a compelling manner?
  • Pricing is always an issue.  Profit or non-profit – your projects go either way depending on how you price it.  If you’re losing money fixed pricing, you don’t know how to price.  If you offer T&M your selling like an amateur (You’re leaving money on the table or taking a loss on the project).  You take all the risk.
  • Sales people don’t call high, mostly because they lack self esteem.  This isn’t uncommon…and executives will keep you in your place as long as you allow them to.  “Power buys from Power”, comments Michael Bosworth.  Present a powerful (knowledgeable) presence and you’ll gain the relationships you need to sell.
  • You can’t advise if you don’t know what business leaders need you to know.  Read, study, get passionate about helping and consulting with clients.  Product sellers are yesterday’s breed – you can’t make it in this world (this economy) with another widget that promises faster throughputs or higher processing speeds.  Who cares?  Someone else’s widget will beat yours tomorrow.