Archives For sales

executive-1Three Things You Can Do To Earn A Seat At The Table

Continuing from yesterday’s topic on, Things Sales People Do That CIOs Hate, last week’s keynote also covered three things CIOs really need…and can’t easily get internally.

  • Security Intelligence.  Intelligence is the new security buzzword. Not that it’s new. But for years people have talked about “Defense in Depth”, “Zero Day Response”, “Layered Security,” etc.  Recent WSJ reports are telling us that just about every board meeting agenda allots about 30 minutes to security.  What do the leaders of that meeting want to know? They want a measure of risk – “What are the odds our company will get hit this year?”  Who, besides you can give them that information?
  • Advice on leveraging new technologies. In the interview I referenced yesterday, the CISO I was meeting with talked about his need for advisors. He can’t know everything, and his team is heads down on support issues, project implementations, and daily operations. They don’t have time to keep up with technology the way you do.  So rather than showing up with your corporate presentation, show up with research and examples. Knowing what other “like” companies are doing to compete will go a long way.  In the Interview he mentioned compliance as an area they constantly need more advice on…can you advise your clients on HIPAA, GLBA, PCI, etc.compliancy group
  • Trust. Most of the sales people out there are just trying to sell. Is that you? Do you care whether your product actually works, or delivers a benefit this client needs? If you do, and I hope you really do, you’re a minority. The great thing about security is, just about everyone needs new security. As threats evolve, and IT moves toward new disruptive technologies, the security strategy is constantly evolving. It’s safe to say that, regardless of who they end up buying from, they do need security. Make sure you are doing the things that earn that trusted advisor status. Security is a great place to start.

Copyright, 2016 David Stelzl

PS. Check out what Compliancy Group has to offer resellers…compliance offerings without going back to school for four years.


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


32 Million Important Records

Are you up on OPM? 18 Million personnel records breached in the Office of Personnel Management.  It’s the latest in a string of high-profile data breaches our government has suffered. There’s been some reporting on this, but not nearly enough.  The number was first reported around 4 million, then 18, and now, after a recent congressional hearing, the number may actually be as high as 32 million.  But there’s more…

Here’s what you need to know…

1. L. Gordon Crovitz, columnist for the Wall Street Journal writes, “The Chinese hackers managed to gain “administrator privileges,” allowing them full access to the computers …among other things, they were able to download confidential forms that list “close or continuous contacts,” including those overseas.” He goes on to report, “That’s not the worst of it. The administration disclosed a separate intrusion that gave Beijing full access to the confidential background-check information …that includes the 4.5 million Americans who currently have access to the country’s top secrets. The potential for blackmail is chilling.”

2. Much blame is being cast on the Chinese for this attack, however Crovitz points out that, given the opportunity, any government who has access to another government’s records is going to take them; the US included. It’s up to the US government to make sure our data isn’t available to other countries.  We saw fines and personnel changes when Home Depot and Target were hit – what happens when the Government, the ones who impose these fines on private sector companies, make the same mistakes?  It’s an interesting question…

3. The fallout is potentially big.  While a recent Wall Street article suggests that the US data has not shown up in online chat rooms yet, Crovitz calls this issue a much bigger problem than Edward Snowden’s breach. He writes, “Millions of patriotic Americans entrusted with national secrets are going to lose much of their privacy because their government was unable to protect their confidential personnel records…That loss of privacy dwarfs the hypothetical risks from the NSA that have dominated the headlines.”

4. Other reports discuss national security… These “hackers accessed not only personnel files but security-clearance forms, current and former U.S. officials said. Such forms contain information that foreign intelligence agencies could use to target espionage operations.” WSJ. Apparently the government officials announced the personnel attacks, but held back on the security-clearance theft for at least a week.

Stay on top – learn the sound bites… in my book, The House & the Cloud, chapter 6, I discuss the power of sound bites and how to effectively use them (and how not to use them) in a sales call.

© 2015, David Stelzl

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The New House & the Cloud – Completely Revised,

Full of New Strategies, And Updated To Address New Technologies – Cloud, BYOD, Mobility, Collaboration, and Social Business.

It’s been a long time coming – I had hoped to have this out in the late summer.  But it’s finally done, and with the publisher.  Here’s what to expect:

1. First, if you have the real book – The House & the Cloud (vs. the PDF version) you know the old cover was ugly.  It was my first book – published in 2007, and I was so anxious to publish it, I couldn’t wait for a better cover design.  I’ve learned my lesson – the cover does matter.

2. There’s now a website with tools, updates, videos, examples, and more – when you get this book, you get a whole lot more. I even have a forum to ask questions.  Anyone who buys the book will have access to the site. Just turn to the back of the book and follow the links – it’s free, as long as you have the book.

3. It’s longer. That might not be a selling point for sales people who are too busy to read – but if you have the first version, or even worse, my Vendor to Advisor book, you know the print was too small.  That doesn’t mean the content is bad – they are just harder to read than they should be. In this book,  you will find more content, but you will also find larger print and spacing to make it easy to read.

4. More chapters. I’ve shortened the chapters, cutting many of them into multiple chapters, making it easy to read and easier to find things. In this book 12 chapters are now 30.

5. Updated content. There’s a lot of new content here. Security has changed, but so has selling security. In this book you will find great ideas for selling security to companies using cloud, BYOD, social collaboration tools, and more. I also address managed services in detail – and have even included a chapter written by Choice Technologies, a provider of Managed Services and Managed Security.

6. More fun to read. My first book read more like a text book. This one is more conversational and easier to read. Hopefully this makes the book easier to get through so you can start earning more money on bigger security projects, faster.

7. More free stuff. Not only is there a free website, but there are introductory training offers and more in this book. Again, these are at the back of the book to help you take this material to the next step.

What Happens Next?

So what’s next? The publisher is reviewing the content – they should have this done this week.  Once that’s in place they will print a proof copy for me to review. I’ll do that over the Christmas holidays and have it approved before New Years.

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Then its time to print! The book will be available on Amazon, initially as a paperback selling for $19.95. If you are interested in Kindle, please comment on this post to let me know. If I have enough requests I’ll send it to Kindle and have it online in Q1.

Another question that comes up often – will I have an Audio book…again, I would need to hear from you.  In the past I have had some requests, but not many.  Creating an audio book with a high quality reading is not cheap – so if the demand isn’t there, I probably won’t do it.  But let me know…my goal is to get this material to you in a way that allows you to benefit from it.

© 2014, David Stelzl

P.S. You can gain access to the Website now by downloading the 2007 Version and following the instructions in the responding email…Just visit us here:


IMG_2104What’s your value proposition?

How many times have you been asked, “What do you do?”

It’s a simple question. But the answer may prove more complex than you imagine.  Following is a excerpt from my House & the Cloud Update, where I eventually answer this important question.


Consider the following scenario:

You’re attending an association meeting, social gathering, or group event. You meet someone new—perhaps an executive with a large manufacturing company in town. After striking up a conversation, an event organizer indicates he’s ready to begin the meeting, and everyone is asked to be seated. Your new acquaintance quickly asks what your company does. You have only one minute before heading to your seat.

What do you tell him?

Take a moment to write your answer on a sheet of paper. Underneath your answer, write a second sentence that explains the value your organization brings to prospective clients like the one you hypothetically met.

Every day, you meet. But how many of these interactions actually turn into long-term profitable relationships? How often do you have a value proposition that resonates so strongly that your prospect wants to formally meet with you or schedule subsequent meetings? If you’re a manufacturer with significant market share, you may have a brand that gets you in. For resellers, it’s  a different story.

What Makes Your Brand Stand Out?

As a reseller, brand is associated with your product offerings. Perhaps you sell Dell, HP, Cisco or some other globally recognized technology. But in the eyes of a CIO, there are thousands of companies just like yours. When this happens, price becomes your differentiation—and it will eventually destroy your company if your business model was built like those of most resellers: high-touch salespeople supported by highly trained presales engineers or consultants. It’s an expensive model to run, unless you have a way to leverage all of that high-touch talent to close complex, margin-rich deals.

Selling commodity products does not offer a compelling differentiation story, unless it’s based on price and delivery—much the same way wholesale distribution is modeled. Consider the trends in nontechnical industries like supermarkets, hotel chains and bookstores. These industries are investing in experience to change the way people shop. Customers no longer want to shop in a basic grocery store. Instead, they demand cafés, prepared foods, banking services and a florist…

In Chapter One of My House & the Cloud Update I go on to show that…  Blog Subscribe Ad

Security has the power to transform your company’s offerings, if approached correctly. It’s not a product and everyone needs it…resellers who are spending their JMF money and other marketing funds on branding are wasting their money.  You’ll never have enough money to build the household name brand – unless you’re one of those rare multi-billion dollar resellers.  For the average reseller – focus on direct marketing efforts, and develop the intellectual capital to be great in your focus area. Market like crazy to attract the local businesses through direct marketing efforts, and demonstrate your expertise in the follow up process…

For more on this, look for my coming announcements when the book is finally in print!

© 2014, David Stelzl

While you are waiting – make sure you have my recently published special report on turning prospects into customers!

heartbleedA Big Thanks to ePlus and Their Partners for Hosting Yesterday’s Security Event!

Yesterday, ePlus, along with their vendor partners hosted an executive lunch meeting to discuss security and the future of disruptive technologies, and how security must change in 2014.

This just happened to coincide with Heartbleed – on of the biggest disasters we’ve seen yet on the Internet.  At the end of the session, ePlus offered to provide an assessment to those who attended, helping them uncover anything that might not be inline with the protection needed to guard against current threats.

The Biggest Problem With Security

In my keynote, I addressed what I believe are some of the biggest problems with companys’ security strategies right now.  There are all kinds of problems out there, but I firmly believe the biggest one is that corporate leaders think their systems and networks are more secure than they really are.

Target thought they were PCI compliant, until they were hacked – and I guess since the PCI people said they were, they were. Are they still?

66% of the Internet Webserver Administrators probably had no idea that OpenSSL was broken, and has been for two years…so for two years they’ve been saying, “We’ve got it covered,” and for two years, they’ve been dead wrong.  Could they have known? Probably not, since the bug wasn’t known.  But it’s that attitude that bothers me. The arrogant answer of, “We’re all set,” that makes the company leaders think they are more secure than they are.

Great Time To Review the Rest of Your Strategy

There are some great tips out there on what to do now.  I suspect that most companies will jump on this update and get their webservers in order. Somehow the Heartbleed patch needs to be validated by the PCI police.  Will the users all change their passwords too? Probably not.  But this is a great time for companies to reevaluate their security overall.  Don’t stop at SSL – consider looking at the rest of it. If you’re a technology reseller or consulting company, I would recommend contacting every one of your customers by Monday with a simple plan to help them ensure their systems are set up correctly. If the end-users of that company are using outside websites (which of course they are) for shopping, social media, daycare, and who knows what else, their credentials are now compromised. If they don’t update them, they are creating an avenue back into their company’s secure systems.  Chances are they are using the same password on everything they touch from email to Yahoo, and their ERP systems.

© 2014, David Stelzl



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.