Turn your lunch & learns into high-conversion sales events that predictably drive new business.
Archives For marketing event
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
If You Sell Technology, Are You Getting Enough Quality Leads?
Right now I’m sitting in the Denver airport on my way home from the GKIC Info Summit – an annual marketing conference (See Dan Kennedy to the left – still using overheads in his presentation.) Of course, after 4 long but incredible days of marketing education, my flight’s been canceled. American claims they sent me an email months ago telling me about a schedule change, but you know how that goes. I get so many emails, it’s not really possible to read every one, so here I am with an expected arrive of 12:40 am. So enough complaining – on to selling ideas.
7 Things Critical Steps If You Want Leads (in the SMB Market)
I say, SMB (Small Medium Business), because most of this conference was about marketing to smaller businesses. I’m sure many of the principles will apply to the larger F500, but it definitely applies to SMB. So if you’re a reseller (VAR) or MSP – managed services provider, looking for Small or Medium Business clients, there are some things you should be doing right now!
- First, stop cold calling – it doesn’t work. To make things worse, your marketing team is probably not giving you tons of leads either, so don’t expect it (if you even have someone dedicated to marketing). But the things Brunson showed us are simple to do. I’m already doing some of what he said, but he showed me an easier way. So easy, sales people can do this without a dedicated marketing person. So if you want leads, you might need a mindset change on what sales people “are supposed to do.” Leads come when you market, not sell.
- Next, take a look at your competition. You probably attend channel events, so you probably know lot’s of resellers. Someone out there is generating traffic through online marketing and their website. Chances are when your company website was built, whoever gave the go-ahead to build it was looking for something cool and unique. Big mistake. Why reinvent the wheel just to look different. If someone out there is doing something that is pulling in millions of leads, you might want to do the same thing. Note: I don’t know anyone who is pulling in tons of leads making cold calls. That doesn’t mean you never pick up the phone. It simply means the phone is a poor choice for that initial touch. Brunson gave us several clear examples where he used online tools to figure out who was getting the traffic. Once he found the 800 pound gorilla, he started the “Funnel Hack” process. Simply put, he clicked on their ads – on their website, FaceBook, or wherever they are advertising, to reverse engineer their marketing methods. Then he simply created something very similar. Is this stealing? No! You can’t copyright or patent the things I am talking about here. If prospects like the way a certain ad looks, there’s no reason to do something new.
- The “Funnel” refers to the flow – what happens after you click. A strong marketing strategy takes the prospect from an ad, builds rapport, gets an opt-in, and then starts selling. Your website is probably one of the first things to look at. Is there a lead capture ad, above the fold, on the home page? If not, you should change it – if you can. If you can’t you need something else. FaceBook is actually a great place to put ads. One of the speakers week showed us an incredible business, marketing to small business clients exclusively on FaceBook. Can you do this for free? No. But if you are hoping to make big commissions in the coming year, it might be worth spending a few hundreds dollars. If you spend one dollar and two come back, will you be happy? How much is one qualified lead worth?
- What happens next is critical. There should be an offer, and it should be a no-brainer to move forward. On my site I offer a free copy of my 2007 book, The House & The Cloud. Every week I get several leads from this one eBook. This is called a lead magnet. The one problem I have is, my lead capture form is not on my home page. Expect to see an updated website in the near future. You too need a lead magnet. It could be a book, CD, video, eBook, etc. But it must be something the average SMB owner is going to want. As soon as they opt-in, there should be another offer. Using the blueprint from my Marketing Success kit, your goal as a technology reseller should be to move them into an educational phone call using something like The House & the Cloud Message (Download the book if you don’t know what I’m talking about). This message was designed to show SMB business owners the one BIG mistake just about every one of them is making as they look to leverage new technologies such as Cloud.
- The funnel continues – if they will take the call, you set one up. This is where the phone comes in. If you have some basic information online or access to Webinar software, you can actually show them what’s going on without making an onsite visit. The goal is to move into a risk assessment. This should be highly qualified, but pro bono. The purpose of it is to assess the likelihood of a compromise. Given that most SMB companies have poor security, if you look in the right places you are likely to come up with something urgent! Again, I explain all of this in The House & The Cloud.
- If they don’t take the meeting, your marketing campaign continues. Use a combination of email, calls, hardcopy mail (like a detailed sales letter), video sales letters, and anything else you can think of. Hit them about 8 times over the next three weeks. If they still don’t budge, put them on a less intense campaign. Perhaps inviting them to a future Lunch & Learn. It takes some people years to ripen, but with enough leads coming in, and an automated drip campaign, you can afford to keep reaching out.
- One last thing. One of the most effective things I’ve done in my own business is to invest in experts in different technology, sales, and marketing disciplines. So for instance, if you want to see how to really work FaceBook ads, you could spend hours trying to figure it out, or you could find an expert. Do one of two things. Either hire them to coach you through it, or pay them to do it for you. Obviously getting the coaching is cheaper. Generally in just a few weeks you’ll have what you need to move forward. You will also need some technology such as landing pages. Right now I am using Megaphone, but seriously considering Brunson’s FunnelClicks product.
You don’t need a bunch of marketing things going one…work on one funnel, perfect it, and measure the outcome. Fine tune it so that you have hundreds of new names every quarter.
© 2015, David Stelzl
Make sure you get The House & The Cloud if you want a message that is sure to get you to the next stage in your sales process!
You can’t close without justification…this short video explains how justification happens – when this doesn’t take place, the sale stalls or dies…
© 2014, David Stelzl
In a recent Insider’s Circle Meeting I was reviewing key aspects of the Event Marketing Process. This clip explains what topics work, and what topics don’t work…
Also, make sure you have my most recent Special Report on Event Marketing and Converting Prospects to Clients…
Thanks to Konsultek for sponsoring yesterday’s business leaders’ luncheon focusing on Information Security in Chicago…
The truth is, without a change in strategy, companies will continue to lose big. My keynote focused on a number of trends to be watching out for this year – and on the heels of Heartbleed, there’s more than usual to be thinking about.
In case you missed the article published in Wired a few days ago – Heartbleed is still a major issue. The big guys have their servers patched, but it turns out that thousands of devices are still highly vulnerable, and many of these devices sit in the smaller companies and homes of unsuspecting, non-technical people. I’m talking about routers, switches, printers, and even firewalls. How will these devices get patched? Many are owned by people who have no idea what Heartbleed really is, and who don’t know where to start unless someone from the product manufacturer contacts them and walks them through some sort of patching process. I don’t see this happening.
At the end of our session, Konsultek offered their guests a complementary assessment to review some of the critical areas we touched on in the meeting. From my brief observation, every single attendee agreed to take this next step.
Wrong Mindsets Prevail
This most common mindset out there is the “Compliance” Mindset – compliance centric security strategies prevail, and they’re dead wrong. Getting the boxes checked off is a requirement, but it’s far from secure. It seems ironic that a company can be said to be compliant – then it get’s hacked. And suddenly, they are no longer compliant. Does that mean the initial audit was wrong, or do the “compliance police” think that a compliant network can’t be hacked? All networks can be hacked – I don’t care how compliant they are.
The other wrong mindset is the, “We’ve got it covered” mindset. This mindset bubbles up from the IT group in hopes of creating some sort of job security. Notice that Target has now replaced their CIO – is that because the CIO screwed up? Might be. The way Target was hacked was preventable, but was the hacking of Target preventable? The answer is no. If they can access NASA and the Pentagon, they can get into Target. They’ll simply find another door (whoever “They” is.)
Building the Right Mindsets
While security is often a losing battle, companies can gain a lot by simply building the right mindsets into the minds of those who create and use data every day. Making a company stronger than a nearby competitor can at least make it an easy choice for the hacker to go next door. That’s a bit like being a little faster than your friend while being chased by a bear, but it works.
The right mindset involves knowing you’ll be compromised at some point, and watching every moment until it happens. At that point, the response plan should be strong enough to keep the perpetrator from gaining access to critical data – in Target’s case, POS systems. We covered seven important mindsets in our discussion – mindset that are easily built, starting at the top, and which will go a long way in keeping things secure. While nothing is iron clad in this business, fixing 80% of the problem is worth doing. But buy-in at the leadership level is required, or it just won’t happen.
© 2014, David Stelzl
P.S. If I can help you get this message into the hands of your customers, give me a call, I’ll be happy to share some ideas with you.
One of my clients in Tampa just completed a very successful marketing event…in fact, 90% of the CIOs who attended this lunch meeting signed up to have their data center infrastructure assessed. How did they do it?
In this case they had a former CIO do the speaking. Understanding the pressures on the CIO role is critical – things are rapidly changing for IT leadership. Every day the CIO journal (your are reading this, right?) is reporting on trends that are forcing CIOs to become business level participants. Rather than focusing on 5 9s up time and the next major OS upgrade, the new CIO has to be thinking, “How does my company become the next Amazon.com?”
At the end of their presentation they offered a complementary assessment. It’s important to note that this assessment is not really free – it’s complementary. In other words, it has value and is worth paying for. But as I explained to a senior VP of sales the other day, the trade off may be months of courting a new company. Which is cheaper, two or three days of intense assessment work, or 3 to 6 months of lunches and golf outings? They quickly agreed, the assessment makes sense.
© 2013, David Stelzl