Archives For sales training

At The DropBox Office

October 18, 2016 — Leave a comment


The Important, But Difficult Transformation…

From Vendor to Advisor

Last week I had the opportunity to meet with Ingram Micro’s Datacenter Advisory Board to discuss the important transformation: From Vendor to Advisor.

Meeting at the DropBox office in San Francisco (Amazing office space!), I covered five key areas of transformation. But one important one, every sales person should be engaged in right now is that of understanding the CIO and their current challenges.

CIOs are in trouble in many respects. If you call on businesses large enough to staff a actual CIO, and you were to get their honest input on where things are headed, you might be surprised to hear what’s going on.

The office of CIO is under fire right now from two sides…

On one side, the business leadership is looking for CIOs to lead the charge with digitalization. That means figuring out how to leverage transformational technologies to compete in a digital world. Customer experience is the focus here, and customers want to be connected online. Amazon-like interaction is becoming more and more expected. The sales rep who can provide business insight on how to transform the business is going to be highly sought after.  CIOs can’t so this alone.$1 HC Book Ad

But few reps are doing anything more than parroting data sheet features and functions. The answer? Every rep should be back in school! By that I mean taking time to learn about business.

Reading the CIO Journal is a great start. But don’t stop there. Read books written by the top business authors. Every month I recommend books I find value in through my Insider’s Edge Newsletter.  One book I recently recommended, Traction, offers great insights into the business planning process.  Business planning might not sound like technology sales stuff, but it is central to what business leaders need. Start with the things they are already engaged in, and then move to the digital age to help them solve real-world problems.

On the other side there is security. The fact is, security is changing, and CIOs are being asked to present a measurement of risk to their board. Where does that data come from? In the very large enterprise, such as Bank of America (where I used to work years ago), there are teams that handle that sort of thing. But come down a step or two and it doesn’t exist.

One of my clients, who manages this entire process for regional banks, recently reported achieving over 400% of his quota in just 6 short months, simply by providing this to his clients.  They need it, and they’ll pay for it.

The  Trusted Advisor  Formula

There are two ingredients – Trusted and Able to Advise. It’s obvious. Maybe even silly. When I say this on stage it usually gets a laugh.

But there is an important question here.  Are you able to advise on the things your execute-level clients really need advice on? If not, how will you equip yourself to make this transformation? It’s not easy. It takes diligence in reading, studying, and listening to/ watching great content. Those who take the time to study will see the results. Those who don’t may find the next decade in this business to be impossible.

© 2017, David Stelzl



Process Creates Profit

October 11, 2016 — Leave a comment

processAre You Maximizing Profit w/ Process?

Sales Is a Process That Must Be Built and Perfected

It’s tempting to wing it – shoot from the hip. A small percentage of sales people just seem to hit it out of the park without thinking or strategizing beforehand. But process always outperforms the average.

Jim Collins, in his book Good to Great, told us that even an average process would outperform the average player.

In my Event Marketing Success Kit, I introduced a concept called the conversion blueprint for sales. A flow chart that moves sales reps away from flawed methods like, make 60 calls per day to get 1 meeting…and close a percentage per month.  Instead, I’ve systematized the process of attracting new customers, taking them through a series of steps that create justification and ultimately a decision to buy.$1 HC Book Ad

If one point of conversion is too low, there are strategies that can be used, and tips given to perfect that point. I’ve also given average conversion rates on each, giving the rep something to compare their success to.

It’s been said that the low income earners are working hard while the higher income earners own processes. McDonalds hires and trains low income earners while those who designed and improved the process have done very well for themselves. While sales is not like building burgers, it is a process that can be systematized.

Getting Started with Process

Need a place to start? Selling everything to anyone leads to hard work and chaos. On the other hand, finding an something to lead with can save you time and offer greater value through specialization w/ higher close rates.

For instance, if you know the assessment always leads to business (or converts 60% – 70% of the time as a client told me yesterday), then you know your system works best when you focus on moving people to the assessment first. From there you can branch out into many directions, but the sales are in motion at that point.  Your income naturally goes up.

As Collins points out, the process doesn’t have to be perfect. Better to start with something and tweak it as you go. Eric Ries, author of The Lean Start Up reminds us to build, measure, learn. Rather than building the perfect mousetrap the first time around, get something on paper, begin to work it, and perfect it as you go. In the end you’ll have a much better system.

For more on how to build the right systems to drive margin rich IT services, check out The House & The Cloud…The only book I know of that explains how to sell security services with a simple, easy to implement, sales process.

© 2016, David Stelzl



IMG_2104Ransomware, ID Theft, Hidden Attacks…

This is the time to be investing in security services.

Find Out How You Can Turn Your Technology Reseller Business Into a High-Margin Profit Machine… 

On March 31st, Check Point, in partnership with Tech Data will be hosting a special LIVECAST event where I will be sharing key strategies that can open doors you’ve never imaged going through.

This is for resellers only!  Join us by clicking on the link below!  But don’t wait. Seating is limited…


BONUS #1!  During this event, Check Point will be giving away 10 seats in my most popular online training program – The Security Sales Mastery Program.

BONUS #2! One lucky attendee will leave with a brand new 700 series Check Point security appliance!  All you have to do is show up and tell us you want one…

© 2016, David Stelzl

question_markHow Technically Savvy Are You?

Is This Winning You New Business?

It would seem that if you really know what you’re doing technically, people will buy from you. Unfortunately that’s not true.  IBM showed us a long time ago that sales prowess outsells technical savvy every time. Look at companies like WellFleet, Sybase, and DEC.

If your somewhat new to the industry, you may not even recognize these names. They’re history.  But not before developing some really cool technology. We’re only on Wednesday and already I’ve had several coaching calls with technical heavyweights, who at some point decided to go out on their own. The idea was, “Since I’m the one who knows everything, I can probably make more money running my own business.”

Initially that sounds great. Then you start wondering why no one is calling. You know everyone out there needs you, but for some reason, they are still meeting with non-technical sales people. Why?

The school of hard knocks truth is that technical skills don’t readily translate into business. Michael Bosworth, in his book Solution Selling, told us years ago to sell to the 95% of the population that doesn’t realize what they need. Steve Jobs told us, “People don’t even know what they need until I invent it.” (A reference to iPods and iPhones).

If you have strong technology, that’s good. You can’t complete long term without it.

But if you want to grow your business, you really need marketing and sales strategies that work. Some things to think about….

  1. If you do assessments, start measuring your conversion. If they are security focused for instance, do you know how many (Percent) show major issues? Given that, what percentage of them convert to remediation? If the percent is lower than 50% something is broken. Your message is not getting to the asset owners – the people with liability.  (Learn more about this in The House & The Cloud)$1 HC Book Ad
  2. If you conduct lunch & learns, how many are coming? More importantly, how many are converting to a clear next step? If it’s just your customers, you probably have little or no clear conversion rate. If you are getting new prospects, is there a clear next step (like an assessment) that leads to new business. What’s your conversion rate?
  3. Even if you just sent out proposals, are you measuring the conversion (or close) rate? If you’re down in the 20% range like most, you are wasting a lot of time.  In my book, From Vendor to Advisor, I explain how I achieved a 95% proposal close rate. Might be worth a read.

Copyright, 2016, David Stelzl

IMG_3863Last week I spoke to the High Performance Technologies Sales Team…

Delivering a Keynote on, The Secrets of High Priced Consultants…lessons I’ve learned from the Big Six and others, who know how to call on C-Level Executives.

There are 5 major disciplines I see high-priced consultants mastering.  For instance, they sell one of 4 things – Customer Experience Gains and Risk Mitigation being the two most compelling value propositions.  Technology is then just a means of achieving these things.

But perhaps the most important aspect of my message came from a recently interview with the CISO of Sodexo. From our 45 minute discussion I gleaned 5 important things sales people should stop doing if they really want to peer with C-levels.

  • Stop calling with generic messages like, “I wanted to introduce myself.” CIOs get thirty to forty of these every week from technology sales people. They don’t have time for this.
  • Stop Showing your generic corporate presentation. I know your marketing people think it’s great, but it looks like every other company’s presentation. There really is nothing unique or compelling about it.
  • Stop making things sound worse than they are. Security is a big issue, but without proper justification, you can’t just start throwing statistics at them.
  • Stop calling to tell them about the latest hack printed in your local paper. They probably knew about it before you did. It’s not interesting or insightful to them.
  • Stop showing up with nothing meaningful to say. Instead, start reading about the things they care about, become an expert in something they would find helpful, and then give them a call about something specific.

I’d love to hear more from anyone who has first hand experience with “What not to do” when meeting with an executive…

Copyright 2016, David Stelzl

PS. I was on a call years ago with a sales rep from the company I was involved in. The sales rep managed to get a C-Level meeting, which I attended. One of his first questions was, “So what does your company do?”  Big mistake…


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!

My Worst Sales Call

February 12, 2014 — 2 Comments

What was your worst sales call?

Don't show up unprepared - i.e. Don't waste your prospects time.

Don’t show up unprepared – i.e. Don’t waste your prospect’s time.

I remember mine…

After working hard for months to gain access to the decision maker of a large healthcare company in South Florida, I finally had my chance…a meeting with the CIO.

My current contact, the IT Director, set up this meeting.  When I arrived it was just the two of them – the CIO and the IT Director.  After a brief intro, the CIO sort of turned the meeting over to me.  I immediately launched into a few exploratory questions – my version of the, “What keeps you up at night?” questions.

I didn’t get very far before he stopped me.  Looking at his IT colleague he mumbled, “I thought you said this guy had something important to meet about. So far all I’ve heard are a bunch of sales – open-ended questions.”

Imagine sitting there.

What do you do next?  The call went downhill from there, and of course, that was our last meeting.  There was just no recovery.  You might say this guy was just a jerk.  There was definitely some of that.  But looking back, I also realize that I didn’t come prepared with anything interesting to say.  After all, he hadn’t asked for the meeting, I did.  He wasn’t shopping for anything in particular, so it was up to me to come up with something to hold his interest – or to demonstrate some value.

This week we kicked off Day One of the Moving From Vendor to Adviser Sales training.  The sales person who just shows up for lunch meetings and golf outings is not longer of much value – it’s just not that interesting.  There has to be more – substance.  I call this predictable messaging. An understanding of a CIO’s major issues – predictable needs.

Today we set the foundation for making the move.

When you’re not prepared with the “Right Stuff”, meetings aren’t fun.  On the other hand, when you can show up with important information or a presentation that hits the mark, sales can be one of the most fulfilling jobs out there.  That’s the difference between the vendor and the adviser.  Whether you’re in the class or not, there are a few things sales people just need to be doing on a daily basis.


  • Never stop being a student – there’s always something to learn.  Right now there are significant changes taking place in the offices of the CIO and CISO.  If you don’t understand these changes, you might find your message is outdated in your next sales call.  Don’t let this happen. Don’t waste your prospect’s time.
  • Know the technology trends.  BYOD, Big Data, Cloud – these are just some of the big initiatives going on in just about every company.  You probably know this – but do you know how they are attacking these projects, who is driving them, and where failures are occurring?
  • Retailers are under attack.  Cybercriminals have found some significant weaknesses in our current credit card payment systems – the Chip and Pin technology issue.  You might also know that the PCI requirements were met by Target, yet they lost 40 million credit card numbers.  How can that be? Are you up to speed on what happened?
  • Know your people group – the people you are supposed to be calling on. Do you know who they are, what their most pressing needs are, how they think, how they buy…? Become a student of them and you’ll be way ahead of the competition.

Tomorrow we’ll be launching into Day Two…Looking at marketing concepts every sales person must know in order to persuade their prospects that they have what it takes to be the technology adviser.

© 2014, David Stelzl

P.S. Keep up with the trends, as well as C-Level selling concepts in my Insider’s Circle Group.  (Click to learn more)