If you have hospitals, doctors offices, anyone that has a need to protect PHI (protected health information) or ePHI on your account list, this is a really good, concise discussion that I found valuable.  

Have a great week, happy selling!

Sales is very seldom an event, it’s a process. Build relationships. Create and deliver value.

The greatest way to become disciplined, is to get around disciplined people…

 If you’re not winning, how do you change the paradigm and win?

-Kyle Wilson

Podcast from Ziglar.com

To get on a soapbox for a second, podcasts are free.  They contain real facts, real opinions from real people.  Practitioners in the field. Sure, podcasts are governed by less stringent practices than mainstream media – so may not be as factually correct, and sometimes take bigger liberties, but you actually get more of what people really think.  I’m re-challenging myself to take some of the time that I spend on junk TV, music at the gym (if I ever get there), on listening to talk radio on the commute, to background noise on a flight, and turn it into time spent listening to (and watching) podcasts.  You can find podcasts on just about anything. Time well spent (although be discerning… the fact that anyone CAN have a podcast, means that there is definitely quite a bit of junk to wade through). /RantOff

FYI, this post is about technology sales, although I’m certain that many people can relate to it.

A great guy that I know, Martin Fisher, Twitter @armorguy, is one of the hosts of the Southern Fried Security podcast at http://www.southernfriedsecurity.com.

Yesterday I listened to Episode 176, called “Money Changes Everything” found here http://www.southernfriedsecurity.com/176/.  It’s about getting your internal information security and risk management projects funded.  I think it’s also a must listen as a technology sales person.  Martin is joined by Andy Willingham, @andywillingham, Yvette Johnson @JetSetYvette, and Steve Ragan, @SteveD3.

Here are some of the things that I picked up from listening to this episode:

In this installment, Martin brings up the adage from Glengarry Glen Ross of “Always Be Closing” in the context that it’s important to know what the business is reading about, is concerned about and align it with internal projects, and more importantly align technology with that business need.  Need to understand what the technology your stakeholders are hearing about does.  Real understanding.  Then, “Don’t talk about stuff that doesn’t matter”.

Have multiple “elevator” pitches prepared –  get to know how to best present you and your company to your customers and prospects, to everyone from the influencer, to the decision maker, to the person in charge of purchasing.  Have them handy for engaging with vendor field reps, for vendor SEs.

Pay attention to what Forbes, Business Week and the WSJ has to say about InfoSec (or whatever it is that you’re selling).  If you don’t know what they’re saying, you’re misinformed.  Make the connections, know how to tie technology into business challenge.

Don’t just look at trade news (CRN, CSOOnline, Gartner), look at industry news, business news.  At a macro level, Forbes, Business Week, NYT, WSJ, all of those are great.  But find the vertical publications too – what are financial institution CEOs reading, what do hospital administrators turn to for news and information about how to run a successful hospital?  While they may not talk about phishing, or malware per se, they talk about the business problem.  Whether you’re a salesperson or an executive that is working to “sell” into your customer, or within your organization; your job is to understand how technology can be used to protect your organization against those problems. Those threats. The fact that mainstream media has picked up on this significantly means that it’s a more widely known problem… more pervasive… and it doesn’t just matter to technologists now, this is a problem that people are aware of throughout organizations.   Data Threats are not going away, and this is a unique time to be able to help your customers or your organization protect what’s most important to them.

They also talked about which departments need the solution, and get their support.  This led me to think harder about that one – what if we actually knew for sure the following info, do you think we would make more sales? Better sales?


  • Know which departments need the solution
  • Know the impact on the department
  • Know if the department shares the funding burden


Think about it – the more departmental support we have, the more we know where the budget comes from, the easier the budget


No matter who our primary contact is, we have to stop trying to sell to IT, and start selling to the business.  That’s a game changer.  If you have a customer that has no interest in understanding what the business needs? If they’re reluctant to change their way of thinking? We can help educate them and  build value for them within the organization.  If we can help grow them, great, if not, we’re there to recognize opportunities. Another Glengarry Glen Ross borrow for the phases of the sales process:

Attention – Something bad happened.
Interest – How well are we protected?  How do we prevent this from happening to us?Decision – What should we do?
Action – Validation of investments you’ve already made, or getting the go-ahead to fill the gap.

Good comment – “Cautionary tales are wonderful, but FUD is the devil”. – Don’t make the cautionary tale worse than it is by exaggerating “Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt”, or over-promising what the solution you’re selling will deliver.

Tangible things that people forget about that they can use to get positive attention:

  • Using audit – especially external findings / assessment findings.  Audit findings, non-conformances, observations & negative findings are business risks. Companies, especially publically traded businesses, really care about that.
  • Evolving compliance standards – PCI – DSS is continually getting updated, HIPAA rules are becoming reinterpreted, almost every compliance standard goes through being re-defined and re-evolved.

Interest is all built on relationships.  Early in a customer engagement, relationships on our side are built on expertise power (knowing or thinking that we have superior knowledge in an area).

I don’t want to give you the whole thing – listen to the podcast.  It’s worth it. By the way, I highly suggest subscribing to this podcast and making it a regular listen. If you don’t do that, you’re cheating yourself by not at LEAST listening to this episode.

Sample Podcast Lists

Information Security Podcast Lists

https://isc.sans.edu/podcast.html – SANS “StormCasts” & ISC Podcast

General Podcasts


I also suggest going to ItunesU and Itunes and check out the educational material and podcasts available there.


What podcasts do you listen to? What blogs do you read?

The opinions stated here are my own.  Not endorsed or paid for by any company or government entity.  No animals were harmed in the making of this blog post.  No trees either.  THAT MEANS DON’T PRINT IT.

Being a frequent traveller, (and often travelling to new places, and places that are served by multiple airports) I was looking for a site that would help me figure out the closest airport to the city I was travelling to.  I found a really great site in travelmath.com.

If you travel for business OR pleasure, this is a site that you should DEFINITELY add to your travel favorites both for long-term planning, and short term reference.

From their website description:

“This site provides an online travel calculator to help you find answers quickly.  If you’re planning a trip, you can measure things like travel distance and travel time. To keep your travel budget under control, use the travel cost tools.

You can also browse information on flights including the distance and flight time.  Or use the section on driving to compare the distance by car, or the length of your road trip.

Finally, use the map below or the links on the lower right to lookup an airport, hotel, city, state, country, or zip code. You can use the bookmark button at the top to save any page, or try searching for your exact destination.”

“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.”

-Theodore Roosevelt

Happy New Year!  This time of year is the time when we all start off strong – hopefully with good, organized, written goals and a plan to execute on them.  What are your goals?  What are your top areas of focus for this year?  Most importantly, how will you make sure that you continue to execute on them?

I read a great blog yesterday on Creating a Personal Masterplan from personalmba.com that I thought was very insightful and concise.  Josh Kaufman talks about building and prioritizing your goals, states of being and habits and creating your own Masterplan.  I’d highly recommend reading it.

I am re-reading “The Effective Executive” by Peter Drucker.  It’s amazing to go back to a book first published in 1966 and recognize that, even with the tremendous technology advances we have made, the principles are still relevant and pertinent today.  There’s a quote in the first chapter that I highlighted, and really sums up my commitment to 2012.  “Knowledge work is not defined by quantity.  Neither is knowledge work defined by its costs.  Knowledge work is defined by its results.”

The best thing you can do to establish and maintain relevancy and build your personal value is by doing whatever it takes to deliver results.  Affect real change and real  results, and do it today.  Then do it every single day in your personal and professional life.  Start every day with a purpose and execute on it.  Then keep on executing, and don’t get lost in the analysis.

“Never forget that you are one of a kind. Never forget that if there weren’t any need for you in all your uniqueness to be on this earth, you wouldn’t be here in the first place. And never forget, no matter how overwhelming life’s challenges and problems seem to be, that one person can make a difference in the world. In fact, it is always because of one person that all the changes that matter in the world come about. So be that one person.”  – R. Buckminster Fuller

2012 for me is the year of results.  It’s going to be my best year yet – what about you?

Just like laying out an outfit the night before a big meeting saves time in the morning, so does laying out your schedule on Friday for the next week.

If you know on Friday the outline of the following week, it truly does make your weekend more enjoyable.  Go in prepared, knowing what you have to do.  Get that edge, it will make a difference.