Real Expertise or Network Strength?

Call it reluctance, or resistance to change, or objection, or fear, or the ever-popular (and sadly pathetic) rationalization that  “it doesn’t apply to my business.”  There is still massive reluctance, resistance, objection… among sales professionals to aggressively developing and deploying an e-Rep, a digital extension of your personal store of knowledge, experience and expertise.

Including you?

KnetworkPerhaps the biggest roadblock is the quite real fact that many decision-maker level folks are simply not in, or are very marginally engaged in, the LinkedIn/Blog/YouTube/Podcast/Twitter/etc. world.  You’ll never make a direct connection that way, you insist.  Ummmm…, so what?  There is a massive and rapidly growing cohort of decision-influencers that is mightily engaged.

This is where understanding the “Real Expertise” vs. ”Network Strength” debate becomes critical.

Consider the 50-something, non-social media engaged, brilliant, successful CEO faced with making a $20 million business decision.  She needs Real Expertise on her decision-making team.

Now consider the Real Expert in this case.  This geeky recluse truly does have awesomely good perspective for this particular situation..  But he’s a geeky recluse.  Afraid of his own shadow.  Couldn’t gain anyone’s attention if he stood buck naked in a crowded conference room.

Now consider the guy with genuine Network Strength.   He is a master social networker.  He is famous.  He has a gazillion blog and e-newsletter subscribers, two gazillion LinkedIn connections and three gazillion Twitter followers.  He is barely aware of the issues surrounding the CEO’s decisions.

So who makes the sale?  The expert or the networker?

OK, rhetorical question, but get the point!!!  Most of us fall somewhere between the two extremes.  Have you ever seen a relative knucklehead win because and only because he had good connections?  Have you ever seen the relative genius get totally ignored because nobody would take the time to listen to him?

If you are the real deal.  A true sales professional.  With lots and lots of genuine and valuable expertise.  Are you seriously going to cede win after win to some yahoo with a stronger e-Rep? Are you?  Seriously? Are you that reluctant, resistant, in objection to developing and deploying a digital extension of yourself.