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How to Fuel Word of Mouth Referrals | John Gates

Even if you never made a sale with somebody, if they brought you 10 people that ended up needing a solution like yours and you were able to help them move their mission forward, it still works out.

In this episode, I had a brutally honest conversation with John Gates, Lead IT Security Operations/Threat Response Analyst at a Fortune 500 company, about his challenges, goals, what vendors do that piss him off, and the alternatives.

John is currently Lead IT Security Operations/Threat Response Analyst at a Fortune 500 company.

Guest at a Glance

💡 Name: John Gates

💡 What he does: John is currently the Lead IT Security Operations/Threat Response Analyst at a Fortune 500 company.

💡 Where to find John: LinkedIn

Episode Highlights

  • What John hates most about the cybersecurity industry:
    • There's excessive drinking at times at some of the events.
    • There are a lot of people out there that are just out for the dollar. They're not looking to gain a relationship with a company and address a customer's true need.
    • When vendors market - “100% secure”
  • How John recommends engaging with the buying committee at a Fortune 500 company:
    • Establish a connection first
    • You have to go to their website and find out how to get on their vendor list.
    • Continue to build a relationship and get to know each other
  • John’s one bleeding neck challenge:
    • Threat hunts and actionable data - finding intelligent threads where there's actual information he can turn and put to use.

      "A lot of times it's like opening the fire hose on somebody. I need more contextual based in what really applies to my business and what I'm doing now, because somebody that's attacking the federal government and those types of attacks, could they be leveraged in our environment? Probably. But are those really the kind of threats that are coming to mind? No, that's more just sifting through and coming up with an intelligent threat hunt."

  • John’s ultimate goal:
    • To continue to keep data secure.

      "Keep the bad guys out. Even figure out if the bad guys are in before you necessarily know they're in. Those things are reactive. Most times you are triaging or reacting to a situation. I dream of being able to proactively seek things out before they become a problem and being able to, to patch and keep a system at a normal state."

  • How John goes about learning new things:
    • John reads a lot of books.
    • He likes to look at the dark web and see what criminals are up to and what they are going after
  • What John hates most that vendors do:
    • Sell an incomplete solution

      "What I don't like is when it's out there and you really don't have a solution completely done. So you're setting the customer up for disappointment, right? Cause you say your, your product does A, B and C and it kind of does a B, As in progress in C is in Q&A right now, but it's not out there yet."

    • Not building an authentic relationship

      "If you don't build a relationship with somebody, you're not going to see our growth necessarily and change with that business as it matures or changes. And that's going to put any person in sales at a disadvantage. 'cause, you're not gonna know that progression."

  • The alternative:
    • Keeping promises

    • Staying in communication

    • Following through

    • Maintaining a relationship

    • Reaching out to see what's going on; if they need help with anything.

    • Being present and genuine.

    • Not lying and presenting things in a solid way

      "When you build that rapport and you have a true relationship with a business, that’s word of mouth, right? That can be your best advertisement beyond a webpage. People are outright suggesting you because of the experience that they had. That is a resource that is immeasurable and value, right?

      Even if you never made the sale with somebody, if they brought you 10 people that, you know, ended up needing a surface and you were able to help them move their mission forward and accomplish it, it still works out."

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