HEROware’s Best Practices Series
It’s a jungle out there in the reseller world, and the HEROware community is here to help. We invite our resellers to share their expertise, tips of the trade, and lessons learned about reselling so we can pass these words of wisdom on to other resellers. To be considered for an interview on the topics of sales, customer service, operating a small business, work/life balance or any other topic of interest to other resellers, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Holiday Stress Tips from HEROware
The holidays are here and, for many people, they bring with them additional financial, social and travel obligations that can really take a toll on an already busy schedule. For small business owners, the holidays also often bring about either a massive increase or decrease in business, either of which carries its own stressors. People are depending on you to keep your cool into the new year. Fortunately, we’ve put together some tips we collected from HEROware employees and resellers (many of whom have learned from experience) to help you along the way.
Tip #1: Prioritize
Even though there may be more demands on your time and wallet right now, you still have a finite number of hours in the day (and, we’re guessing, a finite amount of money in the bank). Admit to yourself that you can’t do everything you need/want to do, and start from there. Then, in each aspect of your life, pick one or two things that are most important, and focus on those.
In your work, you may decide that building your reputation for having excellent customer service is more important right now than expanding your customer base. In your personal life you may realize that traveling out of state to spend the holidays with an elderly relative outweighs your desire to throw your annual New Year’s Eve bash. Decide if decorating your house in the fashion of Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is worth the effort, or if you can live with just a tree and a few outside lights. Take some pressure off yourself by picking your “must do” events and activities, and make everything else a “will do if I have time.”
This brings us to…
Tip #2: Say “No”
Once you have picked your areas of focus this holiday season, start saying “no” to everything else. If you have decided, as in tip #1, to focus on customer service in your business, then say “no” to taking on new clients during this time. Skip a couple of parties. Buy fewer gifts. Decide not to travel. Spend Christmas Eve alone if you want to. If it’s not a priority, and you don’t think you can do it without adding stress to your life, then say “no” to it.
Don’t be scared to turn people down; you’ll still have friends come January.
Tip #3: Take Care of Yourself
If you took “exercise” off your priority list, revisit tip #1 and add it to your priority list. Then add “eating right” to your list as well. During times of high stress it’s more important than ever to take care of yourself. Even if you think you don’t have time to exercise, a good workout or even just a walk around the block actually reduces stress, clears your head, and energizes you, making you more prepared to handle holiday stress.
While many people find themselves drinking more around the holidays because of the increase of social functions, try to avoid the urge to turn to booze, cigarettes, pound cake, or any other unhealthy vice to relieve negative feelings. Poor health decisions impact you long after the holiday stress is gone.
Tip #4: Disconnect
So much of modern-day stress comes from constant connection to all our stressors – either through cell phones, iPads, laptops, television, radio, advertisements, or any other device that connects us with every overwhelming thing happening in the world. Brandon Phipps, owner of Second Star Technologies, offers this simple tip for giving yourself a breather: “Intentionally drive some place where your cell phone has no reception. Stay as long as you can until you start to twitch uncontrollably.”
Taking a nature break, even if it’s a simple walk on the beach or at a park, can do wonders for reconnecting you to what’s really important. Getting into nature, sans phone, has been proven to do wonders for one’s sense of well-being and relaxation.
Tip #5: Do Something Simply for the Fun of It
Allow yourself to just have fun. It also helps if you can surround yourself with happy, positive people in the process. If you don’t have a hobby, consider getting one. It’s a great outlet for stress relief all year long. George Cabanting, owner of Oxford Computer Services in Maui, sometimes relieves stress by spending his evenings playing guitar with a local ukulele group. The group enjoys dinner together, sings, plays songs, and even dances the Hula. George finds his balance, and remembers what he works so hard for.
HEROware’s Best Practices Series – Closing the Sale
We know it’s a jungle out there in the reseller world, and our HEROware community is here to help. We invite our resellers to share their expertise, tips of the trade, and lessons learned about reselling so we can pass these words of wisdom on to other resellers. To be considered for an interview on the topics of sales, customer service, operating a small business, work/life balance or any other topic of interest to other resellers, please email us at email@example.com.
Closing the Sale
with Brent Allen, Co-Founder of AmeriHub
You’ve been cold calling, networking, attending events, advertising, and you finally got the word out about your business. Someone has called you and wants to “speak with you more about your IT products.” You’ve got your foot in the door. So, now what?
Seasoned sales expert Brent Allen shares some of his best low-pressure tips on closing the deal:
Tip #1: Educate
Client education is the biggest part of the sales process. For instance, with HEROware’s products, you should understand each product and why a prospective client might need it. Pay special attention to offering explanations on the differences between backing-up data, disaster recovery, and business continuity. The difference between these levels of product is what most of my customers have the hardest time grasping at first.
From here, I approach the education process as an insurance sale. Find out how much insurance the prospect needs. They don’t want to be over-insured or under-insured. Your job is to help them determine the right amount of “insurance” to invest in.
Then ask them some questions. Start with “what happens if your system is down? How much money do you lose every hour you are down? How many hours can you afford to be down?”
Walk them through the process of each different set-up: Are you just backed up? Then here’s how long you’ll be down. Does that work for you? Would you lose too much money? If the answer is “yes,” then present them with the next level of solution, what it costs, and what that scenario would look like if there was a disaster. Make sure they understand that, in every possible scenario, HEROware has a product for them.
Tip #2: Don’t present
This is going to sound radical but I never, ever make sales presentations, and here’s why: If you’re presenting, you’re talking. And if you’re talking, you’re not listening. If you’re not listening, how do you know what problem the prospect needs you to solve? Because, first and foremost, your job is to solve a problem, not sell a product.
There’s a scientific explanation why you don’t want to depend on a sales presentation to get the job done. Humans learn in three ways: either by what they see, what they hear or through the act of physical touch. Only 20 percent of the population learns by what they hear. So, the minute you present a potential client with sales material or start going through the PowerPoint presentation you’ve spent so much time on, there’s an 80 percent chance that you’ve lost them. If the prospect really wants to see your sales materials, email them afterward.
Tip #3: Don’t Try to Sell
This probably also sounds crazy, but the way to be successful in business is to not sell. Your job is to listen, figure out the customer’s needs, then educate them on how you can solve their problems. Your goal should be to offer a solution, not make a sale.
Have you ever walked away from an encounter feeling like you had been “sold” something? Most often, that feeling is accompanied by a sense of regret. Feeling like you’ve been “sold” something can leave you with a negative impression of the salesperson, their company, and their brand.
On the other hand, if you’ve ever had a legitimate problem that you needed solved and met someone who could offer you a solution to that problem, chances are you left that meeting feeling like your purchase was a good investment. In this second scenario, you were probably more likely to purchase from this person again, and refer them to friends and family.
Approach every sales meeting as a chance to build a long-term relationship. Feel free to guide your customers toward the best solution for them, but let them decide on their own to make the purchase. They’ll be more likely to remember you fondly if you do.
Tip #4: Leave with an Action Item
This should go without saying but so many new resellers fail to end a sales meeting with an action item. Never leave a meeting with a prospective customer without an action plan, whether it’s to sign the contract, send them a proposal, or follow-up with them in a few days.
Tip #5: Know When to Walk Away
Once you have a clear grasp of the customer’s problem, you may find that you simply don’t have the best solution for them in that particular instance. If this is the case, thank them for their time, and plan to stay in touch with them for the one day when you do have a solution they’ll need.
Being able to gracefully walk away from a sale when you aren’t the right fit will go a long way toward earning the customer’s trust, and ensuring your long-term success.
A MESSAGE FROM HEROWARE
The importance of comprehensive data protection became even more serious recently with the introduction of a malicious strain of malware called CryptoLocker. Once triggered, CryptoLocker encrypts many of your files and locks them up. Currently, the only way to decrypt your files is to pay a ransom of up to $300 for a decryption key… and it doesn’t always work. If you’re unaware of this virus, I highly recommend you learn more about it at:
The onslaught of this ransomware has been a pervasive reminder of what an important job our resellers do to protect their clients, and what a huge responsibility we have to provide a comprehensive protection solution. We strongly believe local AND offsite backups are essential for recovery in a variety of scenarios (e.g. CryptoLocker), and our real-time replication with no data loss and fast failover in minutes provides the best business continuity available for SMB’s.
On a final note, we are working on opportunities that will allow us grow a bigger and more capable HEROware so we can server our Resellers and their clients even better, and help them profitably grow their businesses. We plan to share some big news on these opportunities in future communications.
President and COO, HEROware