Archives For Marketing

Hannah-BookHow Many Unread Emails will You Write This Year?

What if You Put Those Words Into a Book

This week two of my family members did something important.  First, my daughter Hannah (age 23) published a book! Second, my father – and often a business advisor to me, sent me an article on email marketing.

In the article, the author tells us how many thousands of words the average sales person will write in a year, in the form of email. Most of them will go unread.

While the email article is more about how to change your email, the book is what I am really interested in.

Looking back over my own marketing efforts, the book has absolutely been my best marketing effort.  Mine (The House & The Cloud) is 275 pages. My daughter’s is slightly less. This may sound like a lot, but if you added up all of your unread emails, you might be close.

What would happen if you decided to write a book?  Several things…

  1. First, you would be seen as an authority on something.  Right now, if you sell, and don’t have a book, people probably treat you like “a vendor”.
  2. You would be forced to do some research – at least if you wanted your book to have some real content.  Once the research is done you really do speak like an authority.
  3. You would have one of the most powerful sales letters on earth. It’s so much easier to followup with a phone call to discuss your book than it is to talk about your company.
  4. You would be forced to organize your knowledge…Napoleon Hill, in his book, The Law of Success points out that wisdom is power.  But then defines wisdom as organized knowledge. He goes on  to say that, disorganized knowledge does not bring change, but organizing it into something that is really useful brings real change (or lasting solutions) and that is powerful.
  5. You would have one of the most effective business cards possible – something to hand out at events and networking functions. Something that converts to business.

Is it possible? My 23 year old daughter (who I think is pretty awesome) did it…and if she can do it – I believe many of you can too.

© 2016, David Stelzl

PS. You can get my best selling book right here for just $1.00!  Why such as low price? Give me a call and I’ll explain how marketing works….

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phone angryProspecting is Hard!

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.

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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!

Ingram MicroAre You Getting Through To New Prospects?

Yesterday I posted some strategies to find new customers using LinkedIn.  Having used this method myself for several months, I’ve been amazed at how much easier this is than trying to reach out to someone I don’t know by phone or email. It does work.  However, there’s a catch…

On May 21st, Ingram Micro is sponsoring an online workshop (Click to Register) where I’ll be addressing effective messaging used for prospecting – where I will be covering this in detail. If you want more clients, you need three things:

Understanding Your Market.  

This is your people group.  It’s the person you are reaching out to.  But knowing they run a small business, or serve as the CISO for a Fortune 500 is not enough.  We all have a target market – if we don’t define it properly, we end up with nothing. In fact, I was meeting with a guy not too long ago with this problem. When we first connected by phone he claimed to know just about everything there is to know about technology.  From his point of view he could sell any technology solution to just about any size or industry prospect. But when I asked him how many active clients he had, his answer was in the single digits!  It turns out that having a broad view of the market often leads to a watered down message.

Second, you need a Message.

This is what I’ll be spending most of my time on in the upcoming workshop. Every company pretends to have a message – the problem is they all sound the same. Good messaging meets a person where they are right now – then takes them to the place you need them to go. If your message isn’t built for a specific people group, it won’t move anyone to action.

Finally, there’s your media.

On a coaching call yesterday, with a well seasoned enterprise rep, we were reviewing this final step. It was an ah-ha moment. The sales person I was working with is successful, has a a well defined people group, and knows their message. As we worked through these concepts there was a sudden awakening! The media discussion brought in a bunch of new ideas. Email and phone are not your only choices. And some people respond better to one media over another. Finding out which one is important.  It’s also helpful to see how to turn something we all have, like a website, into a marketing tool. The truth is, most of the reseller websites out there are nothing more than a datasheet online.

Remember, If it doesn’t convert, its not marketing.

© 2015, David Stelzl

P.S. Don’t forget to sign up for the Ingram Micro Workshop: (Click to register)  – May 21st, 1:00 PM ET.

linkedin_clothWe’re all on LinkedIn.  So Why Not Use LinkedIn To Prospect for New Business!

New Logos are hard to get. Cold calling is not really working, and it’s no wonder. The people we are calling are getting thousands of calls, and unlike email, calls take an incredible amount of time to make and return.  However, email is hard too. Getting noticed in email is a one-in-a-million chance. It’s easy to delete an email.  But LinkedIn seems to work.  The open-rate is actually higher than normal email. I know they say that in the ads, but based on my experience, it’s true.

Have you tried LinkedIn for active prospecting?  I thought I would provide a few tips here on how to make use of this great tool. It’s funny how many of us are on this cloud application. It’s the one hole in the great wall every business leader has surrounded themselves with.  And it does work. In fact, I just got off the phone with a VAR Business Owner. He can’t get his sales guy to make use of LinkedIn, however in the past week he’s landed 3 sizable deals himself, simply by spending an hour each day reaching out to people.  Meanwhile his sales guy is pounding the phones with little to show for it. Blog Subscribe Ad

Here’s One Way to Use LinkedIn to Find New Business

1. First, you will need an upgraded account. I use the Business Account for $23.99/month.  This gives me more access to see people’s profiles before connecting, and unlimited use of the advanced search capabilities.

2. Next, you need a way of getting around the InMail limitation. You only get 5 InMails (Emailing within LinkedIn) in the business level account. But the next level up only gives you 8, and the top level is 15. If you’re in sales, none of these options will work.  So here’s what you do…

  • Use the advanced search function to find the people you are looking for. Consider searching titles, companies, or types of businesses.  I find that setting a block of time, such as an hour, and then focusing my search on something that will give me a few hundred hits works well. I’ll then spend that hour contacting people from that one search.  This saves time.
  • You can try connecting.  One person I spoke with will contact someone they know, who is connected to the prospect they’re after, and get permission to name them. They are not asking for an intro – that takes too long. Instead, just to name them. This increases the likelihood of connecting.  A Connect request does not use an InMail.  The only problem here is that waiting for your contact to respond might be too cumbersome.
  • Another option is to use the groups. If that prospect is in a group that you belong to (if not, just join a group they are in), you can click on the number of members in that group, which will display all group members. Search for their name and click MESSAGE.  This message will not count against your InMails either.

3. Offer them something.  I like to offer content – a free copy of one of my books or a special report on some topic that seems relevant.  Cloud security has been a good one.  Adam Witty, in his book Book The Business, does a great job explaining how to connect with people using books and reports. It’s much easier to connect with content than to connect trying to sell something.  (Note: I will be interviewing Adam Witty in June on my Insider’s Circle Program!)

4. Follow up.  Try offering your content 3 times, one time per week. I get about a 50% acceptance on this. Usually it’s the 2nd email that does it.  For some reason people respond to a message that refers back to the first message more often than replying to the initial try.

5. Don’t give up.  It’s important to know your product or offering is valuable. Like any prospecting effort, there will be those who respond negatively.  In fact I had one today.  The thing that amuses me here is that I am reaching out to sale people and sales managers. So today I sent my third and final email offering my book – it was sent to a vendor you would recognize in the security space; he’s the regional sales manager.  His reply simply said, “Leave me alone.”  I was tempted to email back asking him how he would counsel his sales team with this type of response.  But I resisted the urge.  There’s no reason to get into it with people…just move on, continue spreading your value until someone responds with a need.  Remember, it’s their loss not yours…

© David Stelzl, 2015

death of a salesmanWhat’s Your Conversion on Cold Calling Prospects?

Ask your peers – the successful sales people are probably farming accounts they’ve had for years.  Others have a different strategy. No one wants to hear from a sales person they don’t know.

I’ve had several coaching calls this week with sales people who are either new with their company, or new in their role. Some are large company sales people calling on enterprise accounts, others are SMB resellers selling managed services. The story is the same. They’re making 100s of cold calls, with about a 1% return – converting to meetings.  Note, this is not a sale, just a meeting.

After you read this…I think you’ll want more details. So here’s an opportunity.  This month, on March 26th, 1:00 PM ET, I will be presenting more on how to build your technology business – sponsored by Ingram Micro….

Sign me up!  <<< It’s free to join this event, Ingram has made it possible. Keep reading, but make sure you have a seat.

They’re wasting their time.

Not only are cold-callers wasting time – their managers will soon give up on them. Even though they are the ones that assigned the task of cold calling. The misconception is, if you make enough calls and your message is good enough, you’ll get a meeting. From there you can show them value through the amazing features of your product, and make the sale. It’s wrong thinking – 90s thinking.

Death of the Salesman

I wrote an article years ago called, “Death of a Salesman” where I explained many of these concepts. Of course, I stole the title from Arthur Miller, but I did give him credit. Sales as we know it are over. You might still be making some headway, but don’t expect it to last. 80% of purchases today are made based on Google research. Most sales calls come after the product research. The research has been done, the shopper knows the street prices, and now they want a deal.  Google is taking over the function of presales consulting.  Google knows more than you or your presales engineer will ever know.

How do you know if I’m right? Look at your conversion rates. Are you converting more than 10% of your calls to meetings? I would be surprised if more than 20% of your calls lead to anything more than voice mail. I spoke to one guy this week who is reaching 30% of his audience, but still, only about 2% are converting to meetings. Another rep in the enterprise space can’t reach anyone meaningful.  Several of my calls were with people who have recently been handed lists – they know their primary contact is too low in the food chain, and they need a way to move up. But how?

A Radical Approach to Selling

Over the past 12 months I’ve been conducting workshops on a radical approach to sales. If you look at my sales concepts in detail, you’ll see they have a lot more to do with marketing than sales. David Merman Scott recently published an article supporting this idea – sales and marketing must merge. He’s right. That doesn’t mean the marketing department goes away. We still need meeting planners, data sheets produced, and marketing graphics.  But the marketing concepts are what drive new logo business. And sales people will need to master them, essentially becoming their own marketing department.Blog Subscribe Ad

Look at the big 4 – they are consultants…but behind it all, everyone is still in sales. They create business. No one wants to meet with another sales person. And no one wants to see your corporate presentation. But there are things you can do.

Marketing is a science. The science of how we think and what we respond to. Conversion depends on great marketing. Consulting is the art of helping one move from point A to point B – where Point B is the preferred state to be in.  Can you do that?  If you think the engineers are responsible for this and your job is to set appointments – you’re wrong.  You need both. You need the ability to attract new business through marketing, and the ability to help them solve a problem at the business level. This is consulting. This is why PWC wil continue to prosper long after the technology sales person is out of work.

Can you become this person?

The answer is yes. The university system would have us think we need to go back to school, get a new degree, and start over. The truth is you can make the jump by applying the concepts given in Napoleon Hill’s well known book, Think and Grow Rich. There are 17 things to do, but the bottom line is a passion to get there. From there it’s working hard to get there. Reading the right books, working with the right coach, and being willing to invest in the right tools.  Your company may not allow you to expense these things – what should you do? Look for the ROI. If you don’t you’ll lose. Spend your money wisely, but make the investment where you’ll get a strong return.  I spend my own money on coaching, books, and marketing tools every month. It’s paid off – it’s multiplied. I’ll continue to invest.

That’s right – there are tools. Learning to use LinkedIn as a marketing platform. Learning to write great copy. And then putting your new marketing brain to work – what would attract a new logo buyer?

One of my clients actually took my advice and wrote a book!  I have it right here – he sent it to me last week and I was amazed as I held it. There’s nothing more powerful than sending your book to a VP, and then following up with an email to…not sell them something, but talk about the book. From there the sale is easy.  But you don’t have to write the book. You could send someone else’s, but it must be profound, and you must have studied it in a way that brings new applications to benefit you new prospect. Writing a special report can be almost as powerful….from there, its a matter of finding ways to get your book or report to the right people. This is a whole lot easier than cold calling.

Marketing events are still the number one way to get business. The problem is, most are doing them wrong. This won’t lead to business, and will often leave you wondering if it’s worth the investment. You’ll need to spend more to do it right. You’ll need a great speaker – which you will have to pay for. But if you can land 20 new logos, as I did a week ago, your return will be obvious.

You will also find yourself needing auto-responders, your own personal blog, hard-copy sales letters, and landing pages. These are all marketing tools, and they work. But chances are, your marketing department won’t use them in a way that creates new leads for you. It’s up to you to figure out how to use them, and how to bring in new business.   I’ll give you more in the upcoming Ingram event – What I Learned About Sales While Working on Multi-Million Dollar Projects with PWC.

© 2015, David Stelzl

P.S. One thing I learned from PWC is how to price…resellers are losing margin every day simply by how they go about pricing….I’ll show you some strategies that are easy to apply later this month. Don’t forget to sign up.

Not only are they wasting time; their employers will soon give up on them.

The Power of Video Marketing

How many executives will watch this video vs. your standard corporate presentation?

This is the infomercial…while it’s not direct marketing, it does advertise Deloitte in a powerful way. Prakash is the expert here, talking about relevant things to executive management, that directly relate to the services his organization provides. And they have a link to it in the Wall Street Journal!

This is a sales person marketing. Anyone can do this. Whether you work for the SMB reseller or the nationwide firm. Chances are your marketing department is not doing this – but any sales person can create a YouTube interview on the fly. I’ve done many interviews like this with my clients as a way of reaching out to prospects. They’re easy to create and more interesting than your company Power Point.  Why aren’t we doing more of this.

Sales people need to learn how to prospect…I have a great new training program coming up on this subject on August 12th. It’s free – but you need to register to get a seat.  I’ll be discussing some great new strategies like this one – strategies that will help you attract new prospects and convert them to customers quickly. This is especially easy in the security and managed services space.

Get a Seat at my New Online Training Program – August 12th at 4:00 PM << Register!

A Few Things to Notice About This Video…

1. Prakash is a security guy – I don’t care what technology you sell. Security has the power to enhance your value proposition, attract executives, and put you in front of other opportunities because it’s urgent.

2. Notice Prakash’s use of sound bites! I talk a lot about sound bites and how to use them in The House & the Cloud – And in the 2nd edition, due out shortly, you’ll find an entire chapter dedicated to this topic. There’s more to it than you might think – but there’s power in using sound bites correctly. Just listen to the number one radio talk show in the world. Whether you like Rush Limbaugh or not, he’s got a following you can’t touch and he knows how to use sound bites.

3. Did you hear the word DETECTION? In The House & the Cloud I argue that detection is the missing element in most organizations. It’s not just detection – but a detection that provides intelligence. Several of my clients are in the business of selling security intelligence to the enterprise.  But every company needs it…I believe this will be central to the future successful technology provider – especially in the managed services business.

4. Finally, who is the host? Prakash opens, thanking her for inviting him to be on the show.  But who is she? The point is, it doesn’t matter. It could be FOX or CNN but it’s not. You don’t need CNN to do this. You can do it right in your office or over Google+ Hangouts as I have done in several recent interviews.

Don’t forget, we’ll be talking sales strategy in my all new upcoming online training on August 12th. Make sure you have a seat!

Reserve your seat here and find out how to multiply the success of your prospecting efforts << Sign Up Here

 

© 2014, David Stelzl

 

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The Story is Your Bridge to Success

Earlier this week I had lunch with my friend Bill Whitley.  Bill works with property casualty companies like Nationwide and State Farm to equip their sale people with a stronger message – in the same way that I work with high-tech sales and marketing people.

If anyone’s product has commoditized, it’s property casualty insurance!  You’ve heard the ads – “I saved money on my car insurance.”  It’s all about price…and when it’s all about price, what if you just can’t beat your competition’s price?

What’s his strategy?  Stories…

Stories can be compelling and powerful… everyone loves a great story.  In fact, in my own business, the great speakers are really just great story tellers.  I’ve said to my wife a number of times, I’d have a lot more business if I could experience a crash in the Himalayas and manage to crawl out of the mountains with just the shirt on my back…of course that might be a little extreme.

The same is true with your presentation.  As Bill and I talked about presentations, he simply said, “You’ve got to start out with things they are already thinking about, hook them into your presentation with a short, grabbing opening, and then launch into a story…”  The story creates the bridge between their busy day, and the information you’re about to give them.  Open with a story and you’ll have a lot more of their attention.

Here are five reasons why you should master storytelling:

1)      Stories create relationship. When it’s about you—be it about having kids, your early business challenges, a client you worked with to solve a problem, a challenging real-world experience, etc.… you create a bond with your audience on a whole new level.  Your listener is drawn into your world suddenly…

2)      Stories inspire people to action.  Remember the movie Rocky? I often use this as an example in my sales workshops.  When that movie first came out I lived across the river from the Philadelphia Art Museum.  I can’t tell you how many people starting running the museum stairs – in fact they put a statue of Rocky right at the top (and I was one of those people running the stairs).

3)      Stories are memorable. In Chip and Dan Heath’s book, Made to Stick (Which I recommend reading), they point out that, we remember some of the stories from highschool, but we don’t remember how to balance chemistry formulas – unless we still do this for a living or something.  Stories stick with us because we picture them – and visual things just tend to “Stick” better than other things.

4)      Stories generate discussion. A good story won’t explain everything, but will encourage your listener to ask questions, form thoughts, and create a launching pad for dialogue and idea sharing.

5)      Stories can help you position yourself or pitch a new idea, product or service.  When a speaker practices their speech – they don’t generally run through the entire hour-long keynote.  They practice the stories to generate the greatest impact.  Their story is the key to moving that audience to action.  Often a speaker, in one single 60 minute keynote, will move an entire audience to action…what if you could do that with your next sales meeting?

So how do you become a great story teller?

Read good stories. Read biographies of people who have done great things and listen to speakers tell their stories (TED and YouTube are great for this).  But don’t just listen to the story – listen to the way they tell it to get the greatest impact.  My friend Bill shared with me a simple 5 point outline that goes like this:  There’s a noble person, with a cause, who encounters an obstacle, which they somehow overcome (and if it’s with your help – you’re a hero).  Finally there is a success story.  Notice that Rocky fits perfectly into this outline.

Keep it simple. Don’t make your story too complicated or lengthy.  In the speaker industry we say, “Tighten it up.”  I recommend you record yourself telling your story to see if it’s working.

Concentrate on mastering the opening and closing. Use your strongest material at the beginning and at the end as this is often what the listener will remember.   The close is the most important – without a strong close, people will be staring at each other wondering what’s next.

Pay attention to the details. Details like names and dates bring credibility to the story and make it more real to you listener.  But not too many details – balance is important.  At the end, ask yourself, is the amount of time the story takes, worth the point I am making?

Beware of tangents. If you find a section of your story that strays from your original topic, cut it. Wandering off topic will distract your audience and cause you to lose their attention.

Stick to the facts. The best stories come from real life. When the hero emerges from a fictional tragedy, everyone knows it’s a fairy tale. But when someone really does crawl out of  a plane crash and help others survive, we sit up and listen!

Become a great story teller and you will always have an audience!  Even with your kids!

© 2013, David Stelzl

PS. Learn more about this and other great presentation ideas in my Vendor to Adviser Series.

PSS.  Make sure you are subscribed to this blog to get more on sales and marketing strategy in the high-tech world.