Archives For prospecting

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Do You Have a Solid List to Sell To?

Not Having a Great Prospecting List Just Might Be The End of Your Business Success…

If not, this one weakness may be the thing that keeps you from hitting or exceeding your 2017 goals. This post is my first post of the New Year, so let’s kick this year off with a plan to 10X the business you’re in!

13 Years ago I started my company (Stelzl Visionary Learning Concepts) using a list handed to me by a security product manufacturer. 250 names of companies that would benefit from my offering, if only I could reach them.

I was excited…

After all, lists are expensive and often filled with misinformation. My newly acquired list was clean, up-to-date, and accurate. One problem… I didn’t (at the time) know what to do with it. I emailed each prospect. I also tried calling…I took a great list of names and  turned it into sales resistors.  Now what????

Not one turned into business (at least initially). I was approaching sales like a junior sales rep, not a marketer. I was doing what most sales people do – calling repeatedly (pestering people I don’t know) to get them to buy something.

Business was slow, but I learned a valuable lesson. My friend’s list wasn’t my list.

If you want to sell more, you need one of two things. An organic list of traffic you own, or a way to convert a cold list (or cold traffic) to a list you own. In both cases you need a list you own  But I’m getting ahead of myself….

New Year, New You, New Way To Sell

Conversion: Building a List of Qualified Leads You CAN Sell To

There are four kinds of  traffic (think of each name on your list as “traffic”).  They are:

  1. Traffic you don’t own of control
  2. Traffic you control
  3. Traffic you own
  4. Traffic you used to own (which is like traffic you control but different)

What you want is traffic you OWN…so stop cold calling and start list building…

You’re in sales. And the more traffic you own, the more people you can direct down paths that lead to solutions, and profitable business. It’s win/win. And a win turns a profit. But without the conversion process, you’ll just be cold calling…

The other two types of traffic are made up of people you MUST convert to traffic you own (if you plan on growing your business this year).

Traffic You Own is The Best Traffic To Have – So Let’s Start Here…

Let’s take look at traffic you own. I love owned traffic…this is my personal list. A list I have nurtured and pruned for over ten years, with thousands of names on it.

These are the people  who have opted in to my mailing list or marketing process.

Perhaps they’ve bought something, they’ve downloaded a special report, or attended a live event. They know me by name, and have opted to give me their name and email or phone contact information. Do you have a list like this? If so, how big is it. More importantly, is it growing each month?

If you have a compelling value proposition, and you have nurtured your followers, chances are most of them will eventually do business with you in some form or another.

The key is nurturing, educating, and offering relevant solutions along the way.  Fail to nurture your group, and your tribe will fall into the abyss. Every neglected name eventually becomes  “traffic you used to own”.

In 2007 I taught classes for Cisco direct sales reps around the world. I collected hundreds of names. But lacking the automation necessary, I failed to keep up with each individual.

Occasionally I would send out an email blast but more often than not I would get “Unsubscribes” and complaints about spam. People who had once opted-in for more information and training updates had forgotten me. That’s my fault, not theirs.

Bottom line, you want more traffic you own, and you need a way to keep up with each potential buyer, farming like you would a crop of high-margin, grass-fed beef.

Then There’s Traffic You Control – Another Group I Love

You control traffic when a person subscribes to your blog, Likes your Facebook page, or follows you on Twitter.

When I do a joint venture webinar with Ingram Micro or Speak at the Avnet Partner Summit, I am in front of traffic I don’t own but can control.

In my recent Ingram Micro sessions I converted 90% of my “Controlled Traffic” to “Owned Traffic” using a simple opt-in strategy…and a conversion strategy is exactly what you need if you want to own more traffic.

Notice here that Traffic You Control is highly valuable, and the conversion metrics can be extremely high…

Using lead magnets (such as a video or special report) work well. In my recent 90% conversion event, I used a Text Msg Opt-In to a summary video of my session. It worked like magic…

Over the years I’ve tried all kinds of conversion methods, including handing out cards and brochures, passing around a newsletter sign-up list , and back-of-the-room book sales. Back-of-the-room usually converts about 20%. Following up cards converts 2%.

At an event years ago I offered a free onsite coaching session following my breakout. The conversion was low, but the business I closed was easy and extremely profitable. Some of those clients have been with me for over ten years now.

But the Text Msg Opt-In has by far been the most effective (I’m using FixMyFunnel to convert these leads).

During reseller Lunch & Learn events I doing something similar to convert. The attendee is converted from controlled or uncontrolled (which we will get to in a minute) to owned through a hardcopy letter campaign (Yes, you heard me right – hardcopy snail mail sales letters).

The event itself is an up-sell campaign delivered to controlled traffic. Our conversion with owned traffic at live events is nearly 100%. Notice that we needed to convert them from controlled and uncontrolled to owned before the up-sell could take place. So we are going from hardcopy letter, to event, to assessment…and on to MSP contract.

Finally There’s Traffic You Don’t Control – Not As Good, But Good To Have, If You Can Convert

Even though my new list was clean, the names on that list were uncontrolled traffic. They didn’t know me, had not visited my site, and had not been referred to me. My list was no different than an expensive magazine mail list.

Other examples include Social Media sites like Facebook or Google+. LinkedIn searches, guest blog traffic, youtube channel views, and organic traffic to your website offer more examples.

Converting uncontrolled traffic is similar to controlled traffic. You need a lead magnet.

Right now my oldest son is looking at various sales positions as a next step in his career. We were talking the other day about prospecting and I pointed out that finding traffic and converting it is the place to start. If you’re employer hands you a list of 300 names to call on, that last thing you want to do is start cold calling them to set up an introductory meeting.

Doing so will likely chase those people away. Better to find a lead-magnet they’ll want, and get them to opt-in. Do exactly what I did at the Ingram Micro event. Offer content and a way to get more. Then, once converted, create an ascension path just like the one I created at the Ingram Micro event and target that 90% conversion rate.

Coming later this month, I’ll be discussing how to build effective lead magnets and conversion strategies that will both build your list and create ascension to higher margin solutions you offer.  Stay tuned and feel free to post questions right here…

© 2017, David Stelzl

P.S. Transformation is here – that means security opportunities abound…are you ready?

 

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How Expensive Is Your Prospecting Strategy?

Time is expensive. How many calls can you afford the make to people who don’t care, won’t call back, or who might ask for more time consuming information just to get you off their back?

Earlier in the week I wrote about the number’s game. This is the poor advice many are getting that says, make 60 to 100 calls per day and you’ll get one deal per month. 60 calls per day is 1200 calls per month. All to get one deal? That’s like 40 hours, or one fourth of your month! How much does that cost you or your business? This is the mentality of sales activity based management. It’s wrong thinking.

Conversion Is What Matters

When you start looking at conversion numbers rather than number of calls per day, you come up with telling metrics. That one deal represents a .08% conversion. Does that sound good to you?

There are three components of outbound marketing to consider. Your market, your message, and the media you use to deliver that message. If your conversion is .08% to a deal, there’s a disconnect in one or all three of these components.$1 HC Book Ad

Start with Market

The first place to look is not media, yet that’s where people go first. Make calls, have an event, or send an email blast. If you do any of these things before looking at your market, you’re shooting in the dark. The more closely you define your market, the better.

Yesterday, on a coaching call with a rep going through the Security Sales Mastery Program, we took about 15 minutes to define his target market…individuals he is targeting with his calls. In just a few minutes we had a diagram of that person. When he stepped back to consider it, he said to me,”In 30 years no one has ever given me this perspective of the person I call on.” Suddenly he was able to see what that target person is thinking about, what they’re worried about, what they are trying to accomplish, and so much more. It completely changed his understanding.

This is the first step to moving away from the 60 calls per day program. It will save you time and an incredible amount of money. And it will lead to more sales.

PS. You may be qualified for sponsorship through one of our many distributor or vendor partners…Check out the Security Sales Mastery Program <<< Click, and look for the link to see if you qualify for a seat today!

dan kennedyIf You Sell Technology, Are You Getting Enough Quality Leads?

This week, Russell Brunson, Entrepreneur and Founder of Click Funnels gave us some amazing sales insight!  If you want to grow sales, keep reading…

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!

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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?
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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!

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.

Find Out If You Qualify For Free Sales Training w/ One of Our Sponsors!

Find Out If You Qualify For Free Sales Training w/ One of Our Sponsors!

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

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

P.S. Make sure you have my newly published special report – Turning Prospects into Customers! (CLICK to Get It Now).