Interview With Dale Stefancic, DCS Local Independent Marketing Advisor
Last December, Dale Stefancic of Mentor, Ohio smashed our 30 Day Challenge as a new Independent Marketing Advisor for DotComSecrets Local. He wrote in to say:
I sold the website and facebook page. The client went for the silver package which I marked up 100% as suggested. I met him at a Dan Kennedy group I participate in monthly. I just pretty much asked some good questions and listened. Most businesses need more revenue and you can only do that a few different ways. One is get more customers, so I just directed him to the webinar and followed up. I now have four more prospects and have just gotten a verbal commitment for my second sale last week. Don’t complicate this. The webinar will do your selling. Just understand the needs of your prospect.
Now, with a few more months gone by, we followed up with Dale to see how his local marketing business is going today!:
Q: Can you tell us about your first experience running your own business?
A: It’s tough, it’s a jungle knowing just how much I have to have my “A” game every minute of every day. But first, I had to make sure I had an “A” game.
My first time around the business ownership block, I kind of found out just how good I wasn’t. My nature is always to assess and improve. It takes time, but I found out the value of constantly self-evaluating. So like any individual who wants to be the best at what they do, you have to practice, train and measure everything. If you don’t measure it you can’t improve it. Also track your activity and evaluate if what you are doing is taking you closer to your goals. If it’s not, stop doing it. If it is, improve it and keep doing more of that activity.
Q: What is the most important lesson you learned at that time?
A: I needed to separate myself from the competition. Sometimes you need to think and act outside the culture of your business for people to identify with you. Secondly, I think people have a tendency to talk more than listen. I learned early on that listening is truly a skill and what you can come away with being a great listener when listening to your prospect.
Q: Why did you decide to become an Independent Marketing Advisor?
A: Actually I had been looking at becoming one for some time. Then I saw the webinar again and made some notes. I reached out to Brett Curry by email and set up a phone appointment to speak to him about the opportunity. I soon came on board and Brett helped me with some early challenges and was a great person to just interact with. This would be a key piece of how I can be the difference maker with businesses truly looking for the keys that unlock the door with increasing sales and adding growth to their business. Plus I would have the credibility and expertise of the DotCom Secrets team supporting me. A hard combination to beat.
Q: Can you walk us through the process you took to close your first sale as an IMA?
A: It was really nothing magical. I was at a networking event and was talking to a gentleman that was telling me about his business and how he was having some difficulty getting his product in front of enough of his market. So here again, I just listened and let him tell me about his pain. I provided the link for the webinar and followed up. I then made some suggestions and asked if we could get together to have a discovery meeting where I could show where he could meet his goals with great results.
I wanted to show the value in what I would be able to do for his business. I didn’t over hype or sound like a salesman. All I wanted was to show him what can be accomplished in such a way that he would understand and would make sense.
Q: Since crushing the 30 day challenge in December, how has your marketing business been going?
A: Actually it has been going well. I have made some key contacts and presentations that have placed me with some very influential decision makers. They have also expressed a strong interest in involving what I do as an IMA with their programs which would be a game changer.
I think the challenge today is that business owners are so cautious with moving on a particular project. We try to remove any perceived risk by the business owner when making the decision to work with us.
Today businesses are so overloaded with all the latest and greatest. It slows the process down at times, but you have to be patient and demonstrate the value you have with this program and the expected outcome.
Just recently we have gotten commitments from two clients. We are working on the content, irresistible offer, etc. for the website. We have some good prospects in our pipeline which will bring continued revenue and build our local market.
Q: How has your success changed your business and life?
A: Success has changed me from the perspective that yes, it can even happen to me. It has changed my business life in that I have even more drive knowing what can be accomplished.
Success is an addiction and once you experience it, you want more of it. But it’s not only having more of it personally but being able to share and enrich others with the knowledge and what you need to do to accomplish it.
Q: What is the biggest difference you see between businesses that are struggling through the recession and those that are thriving?
A: I feel that businesses today that are struggling may seem busy, but being busy and being productive is very different. Productive is moving you closer to accomplishing your goals that have the desired result which will make you more profitable.
You need to identify with what you do from the activity you take every day and decide, is this moving me closer to what I need to accomplish? If it’s not, simply stop doing it.
I think another key factor is many businesses do not have a good strategy of implementing what they have learned or any new found knowledge they may have gained. Again, track everything and decide if it achieves the desired outcome you are looking for.
Lastly, don’t let what you hear in the media decide when time is right. I know this isn’t the best climate for business, but regardless of the times, you still have to “Make It Happen” if it’s going to happen at all.
Q: Do you have a favorite success story from your work as a business consultant?
A: I wanted to use what I have learned over the years to give back to my community. I started a Student Entrepreneurship Challenge working with the area high school juniors and seniors.
My thought was to reach young adults at a stage in their life where deciding what to do and how to go about it was a challenge. So I started to contact area high school faculty and counselors with my idea. The response has been very good and after four years we have had some amazing success stories of students that have developed products and are selling them nationally and internationally.
We give out dollar amount awards and new laptop computers with some smaller prizes as well. Students submit a product or service idea and develop a business plan around it. The top five are selected to present in person and a panel of judges, (community business people) judge for first, second and third place awards.
Q: What message do you most want to share with local business owners?
A: Take the time and budget some dollars every year to invest in yourself. We live in an increasingly changing world. You have to keep yourself in such great shape from every aspect as a business owner, and track everything.
See if what you are doing, be it time or money spent, drives you towards the results you are looking to achieve.
Q: And with other marketing consultants like yourself?
A: Be patient and listen. We always want things to happen quickly. In most cases people you are dealing with will tell what they need and when the best time is. But you have to be dialed in to hearing what the prospect has to say rather than being so revved up to sell what we have, because we know just how good it really is. We have to let with the value aspect of what we have to offer be the lead. Let the prospect know you are there to work together with them in the process of providing the most practical and affordable solution. Don’t give the objection, but build the relationship in a way that the wall never goes up. The rest will take care of itself.
Q: Where do you see yourself and your business in the next 5 years?
A: I think that the sky can be the limit. I have an excellent foundation with relationships I have made. So now it’s just identifying where the right fit is. First my goal for this year is to reach Master level with the program and continue to build this program out. Always, always be a student of the game and bring as much increase to people and businesses that I can.
This quote from Nelson Mandela puts it into perspective: “There is no passion to be found playing small, in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”
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