Archives For Technology Sales

This afternoon I had the opportunity to present Event Marketing tips to a large group on Webex.  This is such an important topic, it needs more time.  For those who missed it, and perhaps a refresher for those who attended:

1. Getting the right people is both the most important part, and the most difficult part.  But, contrary to what most sales people believe, it is not impossible, and not even as hard as you might think.  It just takes some strategy and time.  While most people don’t really like call scripts, a well rehearsed script can do wonders.  Some have accused me of making this into a robot sounding message, but far from it…you would never accuse Russel Crow or Brad Pitt of reading from a script, but they do it all the time.  It’s just that they have practiced to the point of sounding natural.  The fact is, if they just did their own thing, the movies they are in would fail.  They use a script, but add their own personality to it.  Once practiced, this is not hard to do.

2. Mistakes are common.  I reviewed several serious mistakes even the most sophisticated companies make.  Why do they make them?  Simply because no one is really studying and optimizing this process. One simple mistake is not gaining commitment there in the meeting.  A follow up program that starts an hour after the event will take a 75% response down to a 5% response and you’ll never really know what happened.  You don’t want this to be salesy – but that doesn’t mean you don’t sell anything.  I heard one woman refer to this as the Invisible Close.  By educating attendees, and providing a place for them to get more of what you are talking about, you help them get what they need.  This can be done professionally without sounding like an encyclopedia sales person.  Much more of this is addressed in my audio series – Important topics from Vendor to Adviser…in fact there are 5 hours of critical concepts in this series.

3. Conversion is key.  If you aren’t focused on conversion rate, there is no reason to do this event.  There are customer appreciation dinners, but you don’t really need to spend this kind of time and money on IT level customers…there are a handful of customers that deserve this type of treatment, but not many.  Instead, measure your conversion, and work on building the percentages.  Focus on getting the right people, and test your messaging, repeating the same kind of program over and over.  Make minor changes  – and there are millions of secrets I have discovered, including reducing attrition, getting higher level audiences, using better topics, etc, that draw the right people and increase the rate of conversion.  This is a science, not a hope…don’t be fooled into doing the event for as little as possible.  Make a wise investment and get a strong return.  That is good business.

© 2012, David Stelzl

Advertisements

My son's first Dentist Appt.

My new book goes into great detail on this subject, as well as the upcoming webinar on Oct 14 – which is filling up fast: (CLICK) to sign up.

One issue I bring up is the availability of funding – how many times have you been told, “We don’t have any money”, or “Our company doesn’t provide JMF”?

One of my clients received both of these responses…made a call, followed some of the guidelines I give in my book, and a few minutes later received $4000 in sponsorship!  How did that happen?

A few tips on acquiring funding…

1. It helps to have a track record.  Don’t engage in marketing events that don’t really produce anything.  Funding sources don’t want to hear things like, “This is just a customer appreciation event.”  Track your results as you go along so that you can use them to sell future potential sponsors on supporting you.

2. Schedule the event – then invite the sponsors to join you.  It’s easier to get money when people see you taking off – rather than sitting around looking for handouts.  If you have momentum, people will want to join you.

3. Work for those that sponsor you…help them make their numbers.  Leverage this with future sponsors.  If your partners don’t support you there is no reason to stay with them.  There are many great solutions out there…don’t stand by those who don’t stand by you.

4. Have a plan.  Show your potential sponsor how you plan to sell their product.  In our case we have close to 40 decision makers lined up for this week’s event.  Our reports show that we should close about 30 of these attendees on conducting a discovery process, and from there, more than half should turn into some type of business.  No one can turn this kind of results away…
Join me on Oct 14 to find out how we did, and how we did it….(CLICK)

© 2011, David Stelzl

I like to think of my proposal as a letter addressed to someone rather than a sterile document opening with a third-person narrative of the company I am selling to.  I address them personally…

Example:

John Smith,

RE: Fall Seminar Series

I understand you are working to build your sales over the next twelve months through a series of customer facing events that will target executives in midsize companies. etc.

Most proposals are so difficult to read that,…well, nobody actually reads them.  Worse, there are marketing departments that have created templates that company policy says, “Can’t be changed by the rep.”  How ridiculous!   Fine, if the template is great, but the truth is, they are not.  You go through months of work trying to get to that moment where you present your proposal, and then everything comes to a screeching halt while managers and legal try to find time to interpret your company’s document.  Can’t we make this easy for the customer?

© 2011, David Stelzl

Photo Taken By Hannah Stelzl

It takes a few years longer, but hiring my kids to work with me has been the best decision I’ve ever made (not to mention the tax advantages)…It takes about 15 years of dedicated work and mentoring, but in the end, the quality is unsurpassed.   My wife and I are raising entrepreneurs!

Some home schoolers are accused of raising socially inept teens.  While I have not seen this to be true, no one is accusing me of this.  Sometimes I do get comments about child labor laws, but lucky for me they don’t apply to your own children.  I know, because I tried using that line when I was a teen.

So meet David, my 16 year old sales rep.  Born and raised in our house; he started his first business managing a bee farm about four years ago (still going strong), builds incline stretching platforms for local physical therapy offices in Charlotte NC, and is in the process of rebuilding his bathroom from the studs up (new tub, cabinets, walls, tile, plumbing, etc.)  He’s a problem solver, enjoys building, math, science, and gourmet cooking; on weekends we mountain bike together, along with his three younger brothers.  One day he hopes to run his own bed and breakfast – perhaps in the nearby Blue Ridge mountains.  In the mean time he is learning about business.  He sells online classes for me, is studying and working with my accounting system, and attends events I speak at, to assist with logistics, AV, and product sales, while learning to interact with business people. Most recently he attended a demand generation event in the mid-Atlantic and closed his entire table of eight on moving forward with a security assessment (to be performed by the sponsoring reseller).  We’re looking forward to a great year together!

© 2011, David Stelzl

What IT Wants

October 20, 2010 — Leave a comment

What does IT want?  A vacation…  Here are ten other possible answers:

1. Higher pay

2. A better chair

3. A new laptop – probably a MacBook Pro

4. Add to it a new Ipad for personal use

5. Education – on technology, to improve the resume

6. Recognition

7. A promotion

8. Better stuff to oversee

9. Better stuff to oversee with

10. A new job that just is…better.

So why are we spending some much time negotiating prices, selling ROI, or talking about risk and liability?  IT doesn’t really care.

Speak the C-Language

October 19, 2010 — 2 Comments

In a coaching call I had yesterday I was asked,”How do we communicate more effectively with business owners and executives?  We’re constantly being sent back down to IT.”  This is a common question and one worth commenting on.  Language has a lot to do with it…

(I know, it’s the second gun picture this month…and yes, I do have one of these)  If I meet a fellow handgun enthusiast,but I’m dressed in business attire, neither one of us knows the other’s interest. If the topic comes up and I throw out some keywords such as Kel-tec 380, NRA, or double action/single action (and actually know what that means when speaking of handguns), that person immediately recognizes me as a peer in that particular area of interest.  It allows us to build a relationship around that area, especially if that person senses I know more about it and might have insight into their next purchase.  Notice this purchase is not something they will likely delegate to their spouse or children.

In the same way, when I meet an executive or business owner, if I am reading the same books, the same papers, and understand the pressures and factors involved in running a business or business unit, they will pick it up by the words I use and the sound bites I provide.  The questions I ask will be different, and my approach to meeting their need will be in line with their business needs.  If I demonstrate a particular understanding in areas of risk or security, related to their data, I earn the right to advise them on liability and protection.  On the other hand, if I talk about the features and functions at the level they look to IT for,  I  sound like IT’s peer, or worse, less knowledgeable than their IT person, positioning myself as a possible vendor.

So what are you reading to be relevant to business leaders?  I read The Wall Street Journal almost every day, I study the trends of cybercrime rather than the features of products, I know who is stealing, from who, and with what.  I know who is losing, who is winning, and the names of the ring leaders.  I don’t know how to set up router security (except in theory), and to be honest, I don’t care.  Your comments on books that are hot right now would be helpful to readers of this blog, so feel free to comment here!  To get us started, I found my recent reading of, What Would Google Do? to be thought provoking, business relevant, and interesting to those I speak with.

© 2010, David Stelzl

Well, I’m glad I wasn’t traveling from NY to Charlotte yesterday, a flight I’ve taken often!  In case you missed the water landing, check out Wall Street.  On to business, today’s podcast brings us to the third and final discussion on business planning  – click the link to find out more.  Make sure you have a plan for 2009 – it’s bound to be an interesting year.

Next week I will begin a series on The Power of Risk Concepts.  This builds on my Making Money with Security® program and will provide you with some of the most important concepts in high-tech selling.   If you’re looking for better ways to articulate value to your customers, this is it.  Be sure to check out the blog entries at http://dstelzl.podbean.com/ for updates as we progress.  You can sign up by clicking on the “subscribe to premium content” link on the right-hand side of the Podcast page.  Try it, there’s no obligation to continue.