What spooks the sales profession? How about the phrase “Social Media”

It’s time to get over it.  Time to quit hiding behind the cliches and myths keeping us from leveraging the BIG LEAGUE selling power of social media tools.  If for nothing else, use their monitoring capabilities to put that first chink in the exec’s gate-keeping armor.

I just got another slap up-side the head

Another slap up-side the headAnd so the lesson learned?  Actually, there were three.  First, don’t ever get cocky and think you’re above executing all the basic blocking and tackling.  Second, make sure your e-Rep is robust and continuously feeding meaty, valuable text, audio and video content to your constituents out there in cyber-space.  And third…

Never, never, never pass up an opportunity to get someone signed up for your e-newsletter.

Post, but first – PLEASE… Think!

Think before you post

Put yourself into the shoes of the decision-maker.  If you can skim through some text, or listen to a short audio or watch a quick video to acquire some chunk of information or garner a bit more insight into some topic, why on earth would you burn all the time required to have a face-to-face meeting?  You wouldn’t.

As a sales pro therefore, you must post text and/or audio and/or video – and lots of it – to provide that info and insight at the exact instant the buyer wants it. 

Seems pretty obvious to me…

Picture this…  A sales assistant who:

  • Is on-call 24 X 7 X 365
  • Flawlessly delivers each of your sales messages every time
    • To anyone
    • Anywhere
    • Any time
    • On demand
    • As many times as requested
  • Relentlessly “pulls” prospects into your sphere of influence
  • Nurtures relationships with all of your contacts
  • Works for free

Too good to be true? 

No.  Actually, it’s too obvious to ignore.  Consider the following definition:

e-Rep:   An e-Rep is a digital extension of the B2B sales professional; an “electronic alter-ego.” It is developed by continuously harvesting the knowledge, experience and insight of an individual, embedding that intelligence in an electronic format (text and/or image and/or audio and/or video) and distributing and promoting it via a wide variety of electronic media like web sites, blogs, e-newsletters, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.

Why on earth would you not have your own e-Rep?  No matter how techno-phobic you are, you already have virtually all the skills required.  There’s a bit of start-up effort to get the thing launched, but after that it saves you time every day.

Simply put an e-Rep helps you sell more faster.

Get a copy of the e-Rep e-book now.  And sign up for this free e-newsletter to further boost your e-Rep knowledge and skills.

Publish or Perish, Baby…

Publish or Perish

You simply MUST be there when they, the buyer, do a Google search.  To be there, you must publish.  You must continuously publish strong, compelling content that showcases your value at every stage of the customer’s buying process.

It’s just that simple.  Any questions?

MASSIVE “Establish Business Relationship” cycle-time reduction

Every sales pro knows that establishing a solid, credible, cordial business relationship with the decision-maker is fundamentally essential for success.  Every sales pro also knows that doing so takes time – precious, fleeting, oh-so-valuable time.

Most business processes, being at their core pretty scientific, can be studied, dissected, and redesigned so that the cycle time for their execution can be dramatically reduced.  I’ve always firmly believed that this was true for all but one business process.  The exception being establishing a business relationship with an executive-level decision-maker.

Thankfully, I’m wrong.  Dead wrong. 

A business talk radio show can reduce the cycle time to less than an hour.  Invest an additional 50.39 seconds to listen to three audio-clips-worth of executive business relationships getting established.  The first clip is with a VP of Business Development for a major Control Systems Integrator.  (VPs of Business Development, by the way are my primary targets.)  My co-host and I met this gentleman face-to-face for the very first time roughly 25 minutes before the recording.

Insult? …or business relationship getting established?

Note a few extremely significant facts:

  • The radio show guest – my prospect; the guy I want to buy from me – less than 30 minutes after shaking my hand for the very first time – is comfortable enough with me to take a cheap shot
  • He, me and my co-host have a hearty laugh at my expense
  • After the laugh, he and we immediately get back to discussing a serious business issue (…one that has high odds of leading to sale for us.)

The next clip is with the Chief Information Officer of major textile manufacturer.  The Proven Method, our client, is sponsoring a radio show to connect with CIOs, their target decision-makers.  My co-host and I had met this gentleman-and potential-customer’s-customer less than 10 minutes prior to the following recording.  (Note:  His name is Peter Appleyard.  We humans, due to our genetic/linguistic wiring, struggle mightily with pronouncing “er” when the next syllable happens to include the letters “p” and “l.”  I had to re-record the intro 3 times until I could spit out “Peter” vs. “Petel.”)

Ooops or relationship-builder?

After our guest had the chance to chide me during the episode’s commercial break as you just heard; and after my intrepid partner had the opportunity to “scold” me for my mispronunciation, he did this….

Schnick goofs too

Yeah, it’s the little things.  Little, interpersonal interactions that bring the decision-making-holder-of-the-deal-making-power into our close-the-deal world.  You just listened to Todd & I do it twice.  We got the opportunity to establish a strong business bond with both of these executives for two reasons.

  • We invited them to be guests on our own business talk radio show
  • The business talk radio show experience we gave them inevitably created a fun, memorable moment amidst the serious business at hand

What’s your lame excuse for not using this powerful selling tactic?

To get a more holistic (yet not quite the whole thing) feel of the business talk radio show selling strategy, listen to both of the complete, ready for prime time interviews here and here.

Fire all the sales managers?

It’s not a totally crazy idea.  It might even be where we’re inevitably headed.  In any case, it’s worth pondering, if for no other reason because doing so would remove so much expense from a business.  (Anybody need some extra cash to invest?)

In fact, what got me thinking about the possibility of eliminating sales management was being told by the CEO of one of my clients that he was going to ignore my suggestion to hire a sales manager.  “Don’t need one,” he said.  “My CRM system is my sales manager.  “Hmmmm…  Since I had a hand in designing their sales process, and helped map it into their CRM, and preached incessantly how a good process supported by a solid CRM system ensured great discipline and accountability in the sales force, it was a bit tough to argue.

To that, add the power of today’s technology-based collaboration tools.  This  company has an internal wiki for sales best practices and tools that the sales team continuously updates and uses.  It’s like an electronic mentor.  No, it IS an electronic mentor.

And there’s more.  This outfit is also hell-bent on using  technology-based collaboration tools (dare I say e-Rep) to sell more.  This led them to learn a lot about blogs and social media.  Lo and behold!  Things like LinkedIn groups and the comment streams on sales blogs provide a whole ‘nother universe of sales mentorship.  It’s not only huge, it provides a perspective that is vastly better, broader and more innovative than even the best sales manager/mentor.

I won’t claim to have just presented a bullet-proof rationale for firing all the sales managers, BUT… I am convinced that well-designed, properly used techno tools CAN indeed be applied to ensure effective discipline, accountability and mentorship.  Tell me again the three key tasks of a sales manager.

What do you think?  Am I on to something here?

“Blogchure” – Hideous? Or a noble step in the right direction?

“Not many companies in our industry even have a blog.  Let me show you ours.”

With that statement, a weirdly old school/new school journey began.  Didn’t and still don’t really know how to react to whole conversation.  Take a listen and let me know what you think.

Blogchure

When They Google Will You Be There?

When they Google, will you be there?

I’m not sure ANYTHING could be more obvious.  Before your customer buys, he or she – 100% of the time – will search the internet for information.

If you’re NOT there, you’re NOT part of the decision process.

Could it be any more obvious?

Every sales professional must have an e-Rep for two fundamental reasons:

  1. When a customer or prospect does an internet search, if you’re not there, your competition will be.
  2. Time.  You don’t have enough.  Your customers don’t have enough.  An e-Rep save lots and lots of time.

To reiterate…

100% of the time, customers will search the internet at the beginning of their buying process.  If your e-Rep is not there when they search, YOU are NOT part of that process.

How many times do you repeat the same value proposition, address the same objection, deliver the same product/service overview presentation?  Takes time.  And do your customers have time to listen precisely when you are available?  No.  …but your e-Rep is there 24 X 7 X 365.  And your customer doesn’t have to try to accurately repeat what you said.  Your e-Rep does so perfectly every time.

Every professional sales person must have an e-Rep.