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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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Are You Providing Email Security as Part of Your MSP Offering?

Email Compromise Has Grown by %1300 Over the Past Year

Over 95% of your clients intellectual capital is digital today – more than likely, 50% of that is in clear-text email. Email compromises are now growing at astronomical rates.

Too many of your clients think spam is just a nuisance. It’s also malicious. While spam is responsible for landing bots on client systems, it’s the email scams that are fast becoming an easy win for hackers.

What I’m talking about here is fake email written by scammers, posing as the boss.

How Do Email Scams Work

It works like this…an email is sent from the boss to someone with the ability to transfer funds. The account information is provided, with a request to transfer $10,000 for example.

It may be a partnership deal, customer refund, or payment to a vendor. The person doing the transfer doesn’t have time to research it – they just transfer the money and go on to the next task. The cash is now sitting in a bogus account, controlled by the scammer.

These scams work! Why? Most of the companies you do business with are using technology to block viruses, not social engineering. These emails look legitimate.  They don’t contain malware of any kind. They’re simply a request coming, supposedly, from an executive. No one’s asking questions – they just move to get the job done.

Millions Are Being Lost

Over the past year roughly $3.1 billion worldwide, have been transferred using this scam. In the U.S., WSJ reports that, “as of last month, 14,032 victims of the scam had reached out to the FBI’s Crime Complaint Center within the past three years, with combined losses totaling more than $960 million.”

These losses come from all size companies – large and small business. No one is safe. Most of the transfers are going to China and Hong Kong – no surprise there.

Is There Anything That Can Be Done To Stop This?

Compromised or spoofed email accounts are nearly impossible to detect once the compromise is made. Stopping someone from spoofing by securing email servers and accounts is the first step.  But there’s more…

There are some solutions coming out right now through a cloud-based service, for an annual fee.  These services manage a white-list of approved senders.  Google, Microsoft, and a few start ups are working on this.

There’s also a need for security awareness in this area, as well as some procedures to follow when dealing with requests to transfer money. The technology isn’t there yet – clients may need to communicate these requests using some other means – not email.

I agree with the FBI position on email – businesses should not be using free email services.

© 2016, David Stelzl

 

vance morrisAre Your Customer’s Getting The Disney Experience?

Retention with any form of managed services depends a lot on customer experience.

No one can argue that Disney hasn’t been a leader when it comes to attracting people – and building loyalty.

Yesterday I had the privilege of interviewing Vance Morris as part of our monthly SVLC Insider’s Circle Program.  Vance has lived on the other side of the Disney experience – the side creating it. Today Vance works with companies like yours to help create differentiation through customer experience.

There are two key value propositions out there right now that really matter… Customer Experience and Security. Imagine if your company could provide both!

Here are a few highlights from yesterday’s program… Want more? Join the Insider’s Circle

Read More About Joining The SVLC Insider’s Circle

First, Vance tells us it’s not really MAGIC.  But what is it? It’s more about consistent processes that make everyone feel loved.  He talked about the script you use when you answer the phone, and how your SE’s approach a client when arriving onsite. These simple things go a long way when you engineer them correctly, and train your people to follow through.

The Welcome Matters. Welcome kits are a big deal. But Vance took this a step further, talking about how to keep clients thinking about you long term. It’s more than just good service. The extras go a long way. An important point here was charging enough to add those extras.

Newsletters Create Magic. Vance showed us how a dentist and a carpet cleaning business leveraged the newsletter. This is an area I believe we are failing in!  In fact, I had to look back at my own efforts and make the decision to recreate. It’s not cheap, and it takes time. But I am convinced it matters.  People do read newsletters when they are worth reading…but no one wants to read about Microsoft patches…Vance told us exactly what to put in the  Newsletter if we want it to sell for us.

And there’s a lot more.  But these three things stand out as steps every one of us can take without too much effort.  And if we did…we would see some amazing results.

For those of you who are already in the SVLC Insider’s Circle – your copy of both the video and audio are going out this week…with our NEW newsletter (in hard copy as Vance recommended) shortly to follow…If you’re not – please consider joining us using the link above. These programs are designed to keep you up to date on the industry and in front of your competition.

© 2016 David Stelzl

 

Last week I met Brian NeSmith, President of Arctic Wolf out in Sunnyvale California. Great solution for small and medium business resellers who need a detection solution supporting their MSSP offering! Take 2 minutes to watch this video…this is what I’ve been preaching for the last decade.

© 2016, David Stelzl

appleHow Quickly Are You Responding to Your Customer’s Needs…

Time is important. The way you view your customer’s time just might be the most important part of your offering. Three recent interactions over the past week underscore just how important this is.

Apple Has Great Support

I mentioned in a post the other day that my daughter had been contacted online by a fraudster offering support. She called me in before paying the fraudulent charge, but I still went to Apple to make sure we were doing the right thing.  Apple was easy to contact. My daughter’s system is not new. In fact, it’t time to upgrade. But contacting support was easy, fast, and free regardless of the date I made the purchase. Using the online chat software I had my answers in less than 5 minutes, and the instructions on what to do were easy to follow.

American Airlines Calls You Back

My airline travel was down last year due to more online programs – so I lost my chairman status (USAirways). As a chairman member I always got immediate service.  Now that I no longer have the privilege, I have to wait in line like everyone else when calling in with a problem or question.  Last week was my first call into the now merged AA and USAirways company.  While the wait time was over 15 minutes, the automated system did take my cell number and call me back.  This is a great service for support organizations that don’t have to give immediate assistance. Sure enough, about 30 minutes after I placed the call they called back. I was connected immediately without being tied to the phone listening to hold music and marketing announcements. MMS Blog Ad

Quickbooks Makes You Wait

On the other hand, I had a Quickbooks App issue this morning. My first contact was with a woman who didn’t really speak English. Make sure your people speak the language of the people you support. I’m okay with a slight accent – we get that between northern and southern US. Not a problem.  But this was “Broken Engrish”, and very hard to understand.

She must have asked me 3 or 4 times which version I was using. For some reason she didn’t understand me either. When we finally agreed that I was on a Mac using the App, she told me I needed to talk with the online support team. Before placing me on hold she informed me that Quickbooks does not allow the support team to call out.  So waiting was the only option.

18 minutes later I am on the phone with online support. When I told him I had a Mac with an App, he simply said, “You have to uninstall it and reinstall it. We don’t support the App.” When I complained that the first person should have told me that, he insisted that he had told her to tell me that on the phone. I’m sure he did, but for some reason she did not relay the message. He apologized for wasting half an hour of my day and we hung up.

Computer support is critical. Most of us spend the entire day doing something on a computer. If you’re in the managed services business your clients should be support contracts, not T&M, and the support should be nearly instantaneous.  If you support the security side of your client’s business (which is a must these days) your response time is even more important.  The good news is, fast, quality support is worth paying for when you make money using a computer.

© 2015, David Stelzl

virus blueWhy Urgent Issues On Your Security Assessment Report Don’t Sell The Next Step

Have you ever wondered why the client doesn’t jump on the chance to implement your recommendations when you complete an assessment?

One of the most frustrating things in the security business happens when you complete an assessment. It seems like at least 90% of the assessments I’ve been involved in or read the report from, have several urgent issues. Gartner and I both have stated that 80% of the security budget is spent on keeping people out, but in my book, The House & the Cloud, I make it clear that detection-response is the only strategy that works.  Yet, clients rarely implement the recommendations that come from these reports.  They pay to have them done, listen to your findings, and then move on to other things. Why?

What’s Really Urgent? Hint: It’s Not Old Equipment or Missing Patches

I was meeting with the President of a technology  reseller two weeks ago in a 6-Hats Strategy session, going over the assessement process.  This fall he’s signed up to do at least 15 assessments before year-end, but if they don’t convert to managed services contracts, he won’t be happy.  History shows us that only about 15% will convert to more business unless he changes something.MMS Blog Ad

As we went through the 6 Thinking Hats Brainstorming Session, his list included things like missing patches, open ports, and free or non-existant Anti-Virus software. These all sound urgent, but they’re not! Not unless you can tie these issues to something more concrete. For instance, if you’re assessment comes up with no Anti-Virus software (of course most companies today would have something for AV), but there’s no sign of malware, you’re going to have a hard time convincing the CFO or frugal business-owner to spend more money.  Same thing with outdated software or hardware. If there’s no sign of danger, they probably won’t move to remediate.

Assessment Sales Depend On Impact and Likelihood

If you want to sell the next step, you have to take the next step in the assessment process. This is clearly spelled out on page 194 – 199 in The House & The Cloud, 2nd Edition. The next step is looking for the issues that should exist when a company fails to do the right thing.  Symptoms are enough to get a response. You don’t need the deep dive technical  analysis on what a particular botware application is doing. If they have one, it’s bad even if a marketing company put it there. If the marketing company is able to install bots on a network, the bad guys can do it too. Don’t worry about what the bot is, just find it.

If the systems are missing security patches, look for evidence of tampering, foul play, or unauthorized activity.  Keep asking yourself, “So what” for each issue you find, and tie it to a business problem. Find evidence of that problem, and you’ll have justification.  Don’t just say – your port is open. No one cares.

© 2015, David Stelzl

P.S. If you want to sell larger security deals, click the ad above and see if you qualify for a free seat through one of the many hardware vendors who sponsor this training!

Adding Security to Managed IT

Security is the most important part of your managed program.

Last Thursday I spoke to resellers in Atlanta, sponsored by Check Point Software.  This all day event included several important updates for resellers on what to consider in your managed program.  Keeping patches up-to-date and backing up data is important, but just about any reseller can do this.

What Small and Medium Size Businesses are Missing is the Ability to Detect Security Issues  

Following my session, was an excellent overview on how Check Point manages security at the end node. Small businesses are not going to stop their people from using their own phones and tablets for work (BYOD).  So how will these companies stop all the mobile device malware coming out?  This is a perfect role for the future SMB MSSP.  Can your company detect when a mobile device has been compromised? Are you able to help your clients make sure unauthorized users are not connecting to their wireless network? What about monitoring their IPS or correlating their events and providing reporting to show attacks you are blocking?  It’s all about intelligence. Helping small businesses (the businesses most targeted by today’s hackers) detect when someone is trying to access their data, and then responding to stop it.

It’s Not Just Technology – Marketing Science I Needed

In my session I showed how resellers should market and sell this. Not all business owners immediately see the need. As an example, the event I did last week in Richmond had over 30 attendees – every attendee (with the exception on one person who left early) signed up for an assessment provided by the hosting reseller. But I can tell you, not all of these attendees thought they had a need when we started the meeting. It was only after they heard the message.

This is the place to start.  These attendees where business level people, interested in keeping their businesses safe and growing. Assuming they are pretty safe, their focus is on profit and growth.

They may not all need more security, but the assessment process we are using is designed to uncover urgent issues such as compromised end nodes. If we don’t find problems, they should just keep checking. But we almost always do.

I spoke with one reseller yesterday who performs several assessments every month. While just about every assessment shows urgent issues, his assessment-to-project conversion is only about 15% (Which is average for our industry). Something is wrong here. If all of the assessments reveal urgent issues, why is the conversion rate so low?  It’s the assessment process. It’s designed to uncover vulnerabilities, but not designed to convert clients.

In my session I reviewed how to move business people from thinking they are fine, to understanding the truth about security. From there, we talked about how to assess and convert, to help businesses take the right actions to keep their data secure. Once things are under control, the MSSP offering should be designed to maintain an acceptable level of risk.

Providing this to your customers will make you one of their most important strategic partners.

© 2015, David Stelzl

P.S. if you’re interested in selling more security, consider the Security Sales Mastery Program – contact us to see if your company is eligible for training sponsored by Check Point Software, or one of several other well known security manufacturers.