Archives For trusted adviser

Make the Move!

Make the Move!

Earlier this week Ingram Micro – distributor for all kinds of technology, sponsored a webinar on Moving From Vendor to Adviser – for it’s technology resellers.  In my book, I talk about at least 12 things resellers need to start doing if they want to remain relevant in the coming years. In this 50 Minute webinar I provide five key things to start doing and relate them to information security.



  • Becoming a risk adviser to the companies you serve
  • Conducting effective demand generation programs (See my recent ebook on Event Marketing)
  • Implementing the secrets of high-priced consultants
  • Using value-based pricing strategies – no more block time or time and materials.
  • Redefining the way you approach the proposal process – writing great proposals that actually close business.

Also, make sure you have a copy of my book, The House & the Cloud – available on this blog sidebar for free – in PDF format.

© 2013, David Stelzl


Over the weekend one of my long term technology selling friends sent me this article on Solution Selling, a recent article from Harvard Business Review (Click).  In his email he noted, “This is exactly what we are seeing in our business – read it.”  So I did.  A few notes I made in the first section of the article reinforce exactly what I have written in my recent book, From Vendor to Adviser

  1. 60% of a typical purchasing decision (researching solutions, setting requirements, benchmarking prices) is done before a company ever contacts possible suppliers…in other words, the “Value Add” VARS supposedly contribute is no longer needed – the client is way ahead of you before you even begin.
  2. The solution sales process of asking open-ended questions is more annoying than it is helpful given the research that has already been conducted…something I have been saying for over a year now.
  3. Reps need to engage earlier.  In my book, I talk about high-end consultants and the need to get involved in strategy using the four things buyers buy.  I cover this in an audio format in great detail in my 5 Essential Topics for Moving From Vendor to Adviser.
  4. Instead of going after companies with a need, look for companies in transition, accelerated growth, etc.  Come in with predictable needs and educate them on possible direction – help them get there by providing the tools and processes they need to succeed.
  5. Target Asset Owners…the article doesn’t use this terminology, but the person they describe is exactly this person (the one I describe in my books).  Forget about coaches and advocates, and get involved with change agents who are driving the company forward – in some cases pushing the company where it doesn’t really want to go, in order to gain a profit.

The writer makes the statement, “companies need to rethink the training and support provided to their reps.”  This is so true.  Vendor funded product training is useless in this scenario.  I’m not saying you don’t need to know your products, but I am saying you can’t just know your products.  Getting involved early requires more than an early phone call.  It requires the ability to advise.  The trusted adviser is both trusted and able to advise…the latter is the harder one to learn.

© 2012, David Stelzl


Order Now!

This week I am out traveling the midwest – it’s 100 degrees and climbing,…meanwhile I am taking every moment I can in the evenings to work on several great business opportunities….here’s a peek.

1. My Making Money w/ Security Class has been revamped to include more managed services selling as well as the great security selling strategies that have always been the core of the class.  Managed offerings are a big focus for everyone I talk to, so it’s all in there now.  The next class is almost full, and scheduled for August…you can read more here: – I hope to announce more classes later this year.

2. I’ve had my web  team set up a private forum for the mentor alumni group…so if you have been through my private mentor program (that would not include group coaching packages that are sometimes sold on the back of a training class), you will soon have access to this resource no matter how long ago you were in the coaching program – and it’s free.  I’ve opened it up to my mastermind group already – so we are adding content as we speak.

3. Which brings up my new mastermind program – not formally announced, but more coming on that.  I have one group in full swing right now (5 business owners), and other groups will be announced at some point later this year.  This is an opportunity to collaborate with the best and the brightest – people in similar positions working on the same things, where I will personally facilitate, help set goals and direction, and work with the team to develop new strategies for profit and client acquisition… as well as offerings and anything else that contributes to the long term success of that group’s business.

4. I am continuing on with some of the free educational webinars I started late last year.  For the third time, and by request, I am offering “Accelerating Managed Services Sales” in July on the 10th.  If you have not been to this, I highly recommend it.  You can sign up right here:  Other topics are coming.  If you have a particular topic you would like for me to cover, send it to me for consideration.

5. Finally, many have purchased the 5 Essential Topics for Moving from Vendor to Adviser… this has been a very popular audio series for those who have attended the Making Money w/ Security Workshops.   I have another series coming, building from the same book, From Vendor to Adviser, but covering 5 more essential topics.  These audio programs turn your car into a classroom…they should be out before year end, so stay tuned right here, and follow me on twitter at dstelzl and you’ll be one of the first to know.

© 2012, David Stelzl


Brand New!

Now Available: From Vendor to Adviser (PreOrder for just 13.95)

The proof is in my hands – and you can now reserve a copy of From Vendor to Adviser at a discounted price of $13.95 through my online store: (normally $16.95).  I’ve been working on this book for almost a year, and I think you’ll find it answers a lot of questions about how to grow your business.  I discuss pricing, proposals, presentations, discovery and assessment, and a whole lot more – everything in this book is specific to selling technology!  Not too many books are that specific, but I believe our industry is unique and requires some special insight when dealing with IT people, commoditizing technology, resellers that depend on services business and who are building managed services practices, etc.  There’s a lot to consider in these sales…so whether you sell for a giant reseller, specialize in a certain area such as data center, security, collaboration, or some application area, or are working directly for the manufacturer in a direct or channel role, this book hits the mark.  Check it out…I look forward to your feedback once you read it.

© 2011, David Stelzl

© 2011, David Stelzl

Actual picture of my book in process

Several have asked about the new book, From Vendor to Adviser…so here’s a quick update…

First, here’s a picture of the book in process.  If you see any errors on the screen, let me know…

The good news is, I’ve completed the first draft.  I am now running through it to make some minor changes, update a few things, and adding a some new ideas to make it more practical. For instance, I’ve added case studies to present a better picture of how some of the concepts and recommendations have been implemented by various clients.

By this weekend, I’ll be shipping 13 chapters (the entire manuscript) to my highly competent editor to comb through it.  We’ll spend the month making grammatical corrections and adding some structure.  At the same time, I will be adding a few pictures and have my cover designer go to work to get artwork and some quotes for the back cover done.

Then, with fingers crossed, and a lot of help from those who support me in this type of effort, we should have a final product by end of month – September that is.  And at that point, we’ll have a listing on Amazon as well as my website at

The hardest part of this whole thing is making sure the content is usable.  I have lots of ideas, but the challenge is always in keeping the descriptions brief, while providing enough information to actually allow you, the reader, to use what I’ve written.  That is my goal for September – to produce a book that provides concrete ideas that will allow you to truly transform your business approach.  Stay tuned…it will be out shortly.

© 2011, David Stelzl

Photo By: Hannah Stelzl

I’ve met too many sales people over the past decade who are stuck dreaming about the 90’s.  They had large accounts, perhaps covered one large global client.  They made big money, have impressive contacts, traveled the world, and won awards.  Innovation was high, new technologies drove early adopter buyers to research and seek out differentiating technologies.   And they were on the ride side, selling it all.  They had it made!

Sales were high because companies were seeking out new technologies that would put them ahead.  Perhaps the first restaurant to use pagers was a hit, the first realtor to use a cell phone beat his competition to the sale, and the first company to deploy email changed the way people communicate, gaining an advantage somehow.  Sales were strong and margins were good.  But it seems as though today’s technology developments are improvements on yesterday’s innovations.  They’re faster, cheaper, and in some cases more reliable.  Digital cell phones are much clearer than the old analogue, desktops are a fraction of the cost we paid twenty years ago, and the size of mobile computing devices has made it possible to carry the power of yesterday’s mainframe technology on our hip.  And with this era of improvement comes commoditization and thin margins.

Commoditization of technology is speeding up and the number of ways to purchase just keeps growing as prices fall.  The old days are not coming back, and sitting around wishing, won’t improve your numbers.  Expect sales to get harder going forward, margin to grow thinner, and buyers to be smarter.  As a sales person, you can’t be coaches anymore, responsible only for bringing in the team.  You have to become consultants, bringing knowledge and ideas, and prepared to solve problems; in short, you have to demonstrate that you are the best choice to advise business leaders on the direction to take with technology.  The more a sales person dreams about past success the less likely he is to perform in the coming year.  Margin can no longer come from product alone, but rather the intellectual capital you bring; ideas that are better than any other, work ethic that out performs your competitor, and creativity.  All of this starts with your message; the thing that positions you above the noise and creates an opportunity to demonstrate lasting value.

© 2010, David Stelzl