Archives For selling

inkpenCopywriting Just Might be The Next Skill to Master

If you’re in sales, you’re trying to connect with people. You’re goal is to grab their attention.  But the market is crowded…”Sales” strategies by themselves are no longer enough to reach new prospects.

Marketing is Not Always Marketing

You might have a marketing group. Bad news – most marketing groups are actually more administrative than they are true marketing.

They might be meeting planners, or they might be handling logistics like ordering cards and working with third party printers, etc. to create data sheets.  If you have marketing professionals that really understand demand generation and the science of moving people forward, you’re way ahead of most.

But Copywriting is Yet Another Thing

What is Copywriting? Hopefully you know the  term.  It’s a speciality area of marketing. Your marketing people won’t get this in their marketing degree, and it goes against just about everything you and I learned in English class.  Yet great copywriting is responsible for converting people more than just about any other marketing discipline.

When you see a great headline on a billboard or magazine, a copywriter wrote it. They probably wrote it years ago, tested it millions of times, and they know it works.  And they probably made a fortune writing that one sentence.

You don’t need to become a expert copywriter, however, if you want people to read your email, sales letters, or respond to your social media posts, you do need some input on this subject.

It would take a long post to actually give you the steps – instead let me point you to people like John Caples, Victor Schwab, and Robert Bly.  They’ve all written books on this subject. I think my favorite is John Caples, How to Make Your Advertising Make Money. Study and perfect your copywriting, and you’ll find it much easier to attract new prospects.

© 2016, David Stelzl

plug and playSelling Security is Not The Same As Selling Insurance

You can spin security a million ways to make it sound like there’s a return on investment, but you’re only kidding yourself.

So how exactly do you sell something that many people think they don’t need more of, and that really has no ROI?

I just wrapped up two training days with Brian NeSmith, President and CEO, and his team at Arctic Wolf, a security operation center that targets small and medium businesses.  As always I’m sure I learn more than anyone at these meetings.  And I have to say, I’m impressed with the technology and the team.

Arctic Wolf is exactly what small and medium businesses need as they move toward more IoT, mobility, and BYOD.  This morning as I’m wrapping things up and getting ready to head home for the weekend, a few key principles are on my mind…these are foundational mindsets every sales person must have if they want to sell security or managed services.

  • Security is not a product. Even if you are selling a product, don’t present it that way.
  • Every small and medium business needs more security. Specifically, they need the intelligence and insight into what’s going on in their network as they create and use data.  According to Gartner, 80% of these companies are working without any realtime detection element. Even if they have the UTM firewall, they probably don’t watch it. And if they did, they wouldn’t understand it. That means every one of these companies is a qualified prospect.
  • If budget comes up, something is wrong. Security is sold based on high impact of a likely event. Most decision makers won’t understand their risk, so start there. That means you’ll need to gain access to those decision makers early in the sales process – but not to show them your corporate presentation. Instead, talk to them about technology trends like IoT that will be used to grow their business.  That’s what they want to hear…then transition to the security risks that come with new technology.
  • The sale requires justification. Justification comes with getting them to see they have urgent issues – risk. Most assessments, like 90%, show urgent findings.  That’s justification. If you still can’t close, you are either talking to the wrong people, or hiding the urgency in the language you use. Be bold and upfront – be clear. People from China are potentially in your data!
  • Whatever you do, don’t get bogged down in the technology and how it works. This discussion can come later with the IT people – but the sale is made at the business level, and should be conceptually made before diving into the weeds.

For more on how to effectively sell security, check out The House & The Cloud…you can get it here for a limited time for $1.00 – free shipping, and no strings attached.

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

What if You Put Those Words Into a Book

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2016, David Stelzl

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

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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.

phone angryProspecting is Hard!

My clients have been telling me for years that, “No one answers the phone anymore.” So why do we keep making so many cold calls.  I know there are training programs out there that claim to change all of this, but if the person you are calling isn’t picking up the phone, it’s pretty hard to improve on your message.  If you think a better vmail will do it, you’re headed down the wrong path.

What About Email Marketing?  

Email is better. If I get someone’s vmail, I may leave a vmail, but I almost always send an email telling them I left a vmail. Some people have visual vmail services, but for those who don’t, I’m pretty sure they are retrieving many vmails at once, or from their cell, and probably won’t take the time to record my number.  The email makes it easy.

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What About Sales Letters?

But what happened to sales letters?  On a recent coaching call I was talking with a sales rep who is struggling to get meetings.  He makes his 50 or so calls per week, but the conversion from calls to meetings is low.  While listening to his explanation of why, I reflected back on a recent Lunch & Learn we did together. In just four weeks he had managed to recruit 22 business leaders! All new prospects.  So while he’s only converting about 4% of his calls to meetings, in just a few weeks he was able to set up the equivalent of 22 meetings.  What’s going on here?

It might be that the 22 came because I was speaking – but I don’t think so. None of them had ever heard of me.  It’s not like Zig Ziglar’s coming to town.   No, I’m not the reason for his success.  It’s the message we used to get their attention, and the campaign strategy we used to get that message out.

The phone calling message doesn’t work for at least two reasons. First, no one is answering their phone.  But second, you only have about 6 seconds to grab your prospects attention on a phone call.  And most of the phone calls being made are to get a meeting to review company slides or offerings. No business leader has time to do that. Especially knowing that there are thousands of people just like you calling for the same meeting.

The Lunch & Learn was successful because we had first identified a specific target market. In his case we were targeting CIOs of mid-sized companies, 500 – 2000 users.  Our first point of contact was a written letter. In fact, it was a 3 page letter written with conversion in mind. Most would have chosen a one page letter, but not me. For reasons we don’t have time for in this post, the longer letter is more effective. We followed up with two more emails plus phone calls. When we finally did get through to either the CIO or an executive assistant, our call was very focused on security awareness.  This is not a new strategy. Michael Bosworth, in his 1995 book, Solution Selling, recommends setting up one-on-one meetings using a similar educational approach.  And Dixon & Adamson, authors of The Challenger Sale (Even though the author is selling against what Bosworth teaches) is saying the same thing.

In the end, we had 20 of the 22 people attend, and every attendee agreed to move to the assessment stage in my marketing blueprint.  The bottom line is conversion. If your conversion numbers are great, whatever you are doing is working (at least for now). But if not, you may need more than some phone training or a clever vmail message.

© 2015, David Stelzl

PS. Want to convert 70-90% of your Lunch & Learn audience,? Check out the Marketing Success Kit.  It comes complete with training, prewritten letters, call scripts, and everything you need to know to effectively sell through live marketing event meetings.  Click Here to Learn More!

dollardataCredit Card Data Is A Commodity…It’s The Company Secrets That Profit

How Secure Is Your Data – What About China?

The big companies have had their share of horror stories with credit card theft this year, but are you and your customers watching the trends in Espionage?  Earlier this month I interviewed a couple of former NSA agents to give technology providers some insights into cybercrime trends and a war we are all involved in.  Summer Worden, one of my guests on the SVLC Insider’s Circle Program talked about Russian and China, revealing some of the hidden agendas and what to expect in the future.  Much of this is driven by Economics according to Worden.  China’s economy needs more innovation, and what better way to get it than to take it from the United States?

Espionage Is Hitting Businesses Right Now

This week in the Wall Street Journal, FRANK J. CILLUFFO AND SHARON L. CARDASH gave us more on this. Here’s a sound bite that should shock us; “The FBI reports a significant spike in its number of economic espionage cases: a 53% increase just this past year.”  Where is this coming from and what’s driving it?

According to the article, “Randall Coleman, the head of the FBI’s counterintelligence division, told the Wall Street Journal in July that much of the suspicious activity is performed by Chinese companies against U.S. firms and that the Chinese government plays “a significant role” in the attempted theft of trade secrets.”  Espionage, as pictured in movies is generally dealing with government data – like the recent OPM hack I wrote on a few weeks ago.  But this is about business. These are companies, targeting companies that have new ideas, strategies, and innovations that the competition in China will benefit from.

In Kevin Mitnick’s book, The Art of Deception, he shares the tale of a businessman entering a small business responsible for developing high tech manufacturing equipment. The man approaches the front desk asking to see the president of the company. The receptionist informs him that the president is out of the country and unavailable. At that point the businessman begins to fumble through his planner, double checking his meeting.  He’s flown in from out of town, and is supposed to be meeting the president to discuss a joint venture. There must be a mistake!

In a last ditch effort, he asks if the development team is in – perhaps he can take them out to lunch to review the plan he and the president have come up with.  They agree, and into the development area he goes. They spend several hours discussing the latest drawings and plans – the company’s latest top secret innovations. The businessman takes a few pictures, and heads out, promising to reconnect next week when the president returns.

You probably guessed – but when the president returns, and the team reviews their recent meeting, the president has no idea who they are talking about. This is a case of economic espionage, and chances are the business guy is now back in his own lab building a “Copy-Cat” product with only a few months of R&D vs. the decade the first company spent developing these ideas.

No Need to Go Onsite

Like your evolving managed services program (if you are an MSP), you no longer have to go onsite to do your work…the same is true when it comes to stealing company secrets. As the WSJ article states, “If you place yourself in the shoes of those playing economic catch-up, why invest millions in R&D if you can simply steal it at a fraction of the cost, especially with just a few clicks of a mouse?”. Now that everything is connected and online, stealing information is simple.

Cilluffo and Cardash rightly point at that,  “The theft of intellectual property and trade secrets destroys jobs in this country, and undermines the nation’s economic competitiveness by striking at the heart of U.S. innovation.” And in this case, nation states are behind these acts of war!  Years ago I read in another WSJ article, “This is a slow sifting of the American Economy,…and because it lacks the alarming explosions and bodybags, no one is really paying attention.”  At some point we will find our bank accounts empty, and our businesses collapsed.

No One Is Claiming Responsibility, But Who’s Investigating This?

Terrorists claim responsibility when they blow things up. They want us to be afraid. In a war, the opposing country generally announces their demands and threats of invasion. In this case, the thief is not interested in being known – they have no demands. They are looking for a competitive advantage. It’s to their benefit that no one know what they are up to. If they can silently get away with strategic information, they can recreate a product in their own lab, with a fraction of the required investments in time and money. With their copy-cat product in hand, they are now able to sell it at a fraction of the cost. Recovering their investment is easy – they didn’t spend their own money on this invention.

What to Do About It

In the WSJ Article, the writers tell us, “Recent reporting suggests that the Administration is striving to craft an innovative and calibrated response to the OPM hack in light of its scale. This is a significant development in the ongoing match of Spy vs. Spy on steroids. An equally compelling answer is needed to China’s economic espionage against the United States. Time is money in this context — but more importantly, it is national security.”

It’s true, our government needs to get on this. In a recent Presidential speech I heard Obama say that our greatest threat right now is environmental…I have to respectfully disagree.  Without a doubt, I believe it’s cybercrime – Hacktivists, Nation States, and Cybercriminals.  All three are attacking everything from your personal data, to company innovation, to our nation’s intelligence.  As a technology provider I want to encourage you to start educating your clients – everything must be secure, and it can’t wait for the next budget cycle or a government mandate.  Like a doctor sharing the diagnosis of cancer with a patient, it’s up to us to convince them to begin treatment. This is not about insurance, it’s about preservation.

“Those who say they have it covered are either ignorant or lying to you.” – A quote from my most recent book, The House & The Cloud 2nd Edition.

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© 2015, David Stelzl

P.S. If you want more on how to convince your customers they need better security, this book explains how to do it…(click to see it on Amazon.com).

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.