Silver or Electronic?

You tell me…  Is it better to be a silver-tongued devil?  Or an electronic-tongued devil?

Silver or Electronic?

To win the “Race Against The Machine,” build an e-Rep

The evidence builds.  It becomes more and more clear all the time how computers, networks and “The Cloud” are steadily taking over more and more tasks up to now performed by humans.

And it’s not just mundane, low-skill tasks.  It’s also highly specialized, high knowledge-content work that takes years of study and a ton of experience to master.  (Golly whiz, sounds a bit like high-end sales, doesn’t it?)

Sales professionals cannot afford to ignore this trend.  Watch my mini-rant and let me know if you agree.

e-Rep Is A Great Idea, But I’m Too “X”

I’ve heard ‘em all. Every reason why creating and maintaining an e-Rep is a great idea, but not for me because…

  • I’m too busy
  • I don’t know what to blog about
  • I’m no tech whiz
  • It’s too complex
  • It’s too hard to learn how
  • I’m a sales pro, not a techo-geek
  • Blah, blah, bull-feathers!

Oh, and let me not forget my favorite, “My customers don’t use or pay attention to that stuff.”  Right.  They don’t use Google.  They don’t read or learn anything from internet-based sources. Please…

The real reason you haven’t begun building an e-Rep?  You fear change or are just plain too lazy.  Sound like a bit of a harsh judgment?  Harsh?  Yes.  Accurate?  Also, yes.

Let’s examine an example. Let’s take a guy who in less than 30 days took himself from “just-about-e-Rep-clueless” to creating a blog with some amazingly good content.  Start by putting yourself in the place of one of his customers.  In this case it’s a manager in an Assisted Living Facility; the person who recommends home healthcare providers to families of patients being discharged.  This customer loves her job and is deeply committed to providing the best of care to her patients.  Watch the video on this blog post that was produced by this crazy-busy home healthcare sales pro…

If that didn’t at least bring the start of a tear to your eye, you have no soul!  How do you think that customer, the ALF manager reacted to this?  Do you think our intrepid sales rep improved his relationship with his customer?

Back to YOUR reluctance to build an e-Rep…  The sales pro who made the video you just watched started with zero knowledge about blogs and zero knowledge of video editing, and in a month produced “the video” along with this post, this post and this post.  The guy’s on a roll.  He has an electronic sales assistant now that works 24 X 7 X 365.  He already has customers, talking about and e-mailing links to his blog to other key contacts in his industry.

Go ahead, tell me he’s not a more effective sales rep today than he was last month.

Selling Is STILL One Person At A Time

Hey, Sales Pro!

Do you:

  • Wait around for the marketing department to create content for you?
  • Consider blogging a poor use of your time?
  • Ignore the selling punch of video – you personally creating sales videos that sell?

I humbly suggest that’s crazy!!!

Or do you have the opposite disease?  Do you:

  • Focus intently over the number of hits your web site gets?
  • Write your blog posts to reach out to the masses of potential clients?
  • Obsess about SEO?

I humbly suggest that ignores a few points that are more important!!!

Pick your cliche.  When all is said and done, at the end of the day, when the smoke clears, selling still happens one-on-one.  It’s one sales professional and one decision-maker.  Yes, yes the sales pro has all kinds of help and assistance from support personnel, web sites, marketing departmentes, etc., etc.  And yes, of course the lone-wolf decision-maker is fast going extinct; replaced by decision networks.  Still, when all is said and done… It always comes down to one sales professional and one decision-maker.

“So Youngblood, what does this mean?’ you ask.  Well, my friend, it means you – almost certainly with little or no help – must create and distribute electronic content.  Lots of it.  Frequently.  For the most part aimed at a single individual or sales opportunity.   Distributed via your own blog.

Sound too difficult?  Balderdash!  (I love that word…)  Quite the contrary.  It’s stunningly easy.

  • Go to WordPress.com and establish your blog (That’ll take all of four minutes.)
  • Get a video camera (That’ll cost you around hundred bucks if you don’t already have one.)
  • Record yourself stating a value proposition (A very specific one, aimed at one person.  You’ll happily discover how that singular focus works for both the targeted individual and for a wider audience!)
  • Upload it to YouTube and embed it in your blog
  • Tell everybody about it and give ‘em the blog link

It’s that simple.  Assuming you already have a camera, your first video blog post – your first video blog post that will forevermore help you sell on a 24 X 7 X 365 basis – will take under two hours.  Your second and subsequent video blog posts will probably average around 30 minutes or so.

Worry about bells, whistles and frills later.  You’ll pick it up in bits and pieces.  You’ll get better at it.  By the time your dopey competitors catch on to what you’re doing, you’ll be light years ahead in the personal differentiation game and cashing those big and growing commission checks.

Perspectives From A Sales Support Guy

It’s very easy to forget sometimes, that the folks who support our sales efforts have a whole lot of knowledge and skill.  This episode of the Sales Thinker Radio Show explores a few of the things they have to offer.

Some of guest Mark Howe’s ideas on using electronic tools are pretty darned creative.  Mark is a Product Specialist with The Knotts Company in Berkeley Heights, NJ.

Mark Howe, Product Specialist, The Knotts Company

Record Your Internal Meetings!!!

Have you ever said something during an internal company meeting and when you’re done think that maybe you actually said something worthwhile?  Maybe even pretty darned good?  Maybe something that can be packaged and used to help everybody sell better-cheaper-faster?

It happens all the time!

You say things.  Your colleagues say things.  90% or more of it is ho-hum, fluffy BS, but some of it is invariably quite good.  Exactly the sort of stuff you all need for the elevator pitch, the blog post, the e-mail, the…

Following is an example of the value that can be derived from recording internal meetings.  This one was extremely informal.  Just two of us at a coffee shop.  (I got stuck with the check…)  Just hangin’ out, takin’ a break, gettin’ some lunch.  My partner, Todd Schnick, asks me what I’d say to a prospect to explain exactly what we do to provide selling power and value with our Dreamland Interactive services.

Of course, I busted his chops for interrupting me while I was on a roll!  It was fun.  It was a moment when our conversation led to an “ah-ha” moment.  It generated content that is now part of our sales and marketing arsenal.

Record your internal meetings!!!

Think Audience of 1

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and again and again…  Every h-Rep needs an e-Rep. That is, every human sales rep needs an electronic alter-ego; a highly personalized, customized, electronic version of him or herself.  I repeat the refrain for two reasons:

  1. It is unequivocally true
  2. Appalling few sales reps have bothered to create one

The vast majority “gets” why it’s true.  They realize that a sales rep must continuously become more efficient; get more accomplished in less time.  All kinds of basic, repetitive and administrative tasks can be offloaded to an electronic assistant.  All kinds of critical selling tasks can also be powerfully augmented by an e-Rep.  For example:

Ever make a great face-to-face sales call?  …or an average one?  …or a bad one?  Think about the impact a 2 or 3 minute video summary of the conversation would have to reinforce the brilliance (or whatever…) you shared.  Create the video, upload it to YouTube, mark it private if appropriate, then include a link to it in your follow-up e-mail.

That leads to the second reason the vast majority “gets” why an e-Rep is essential.  Your customers are busy too, right?  That video not only reinforces your value proposition, it reinforces it at a time and place convenient to the customer.  Anywhere, anytime, 24 X 7 X 365.  And the customer can easily share your value proposition with others in their decision network who now hear the value proposition directly from you. Nothing gets lost in translation.

The example above is just one tiny sliver of an e-rep.  You already know the litany; blog, YouTube, LinkedIn, radio, Twitter…  Why on earth would any rep not take advantage of the time-saving, effectiveness-leveraging power of an e-Rep?  The answer I hear most often?  “I can’t think of anything to blog about or make an audio or video of.”  My response to that statement?

AAAAAGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

OK.  I’m calm again.  Please pay attention…  Think about the title of this post.  Think audience of one.  Now think of a decision maker or influencer in your territory.  Now think of a message you need to deliver to that person in order to advance the sale.  Now write out that message and/or make an audio recording of it and/or make a video.

Now think of another decision maker or influencer in your territory.  Think of a message you need to deliver to that person.  And so on.  Get it?

Let’s think this through now.  Let’s say in each of your top ten accounts and/or target accounts there are five contacts you either have or need to have .  Let’s say there are two distinct messages you need to deliver to each.  That would be 10 accounts X 5 contacts X 2 messages.  That’s 100 discrete messages to load into your e-Rep.  That’s 2 blog posts a week for year!

So who’s nuts?  Me?  Or the folks who say they can’t build an e-Rep because they have nothing to say?

Have I mentioned that every h-Rep needs an e-Rep?

Think About It… – Week of 8/8/10

“Life is a long lesson in humility.”  James M. Barrie

At 20, I wasn’t humble.  At 30, I thought about being humble.  At 40, I realized I had a lot to humble about.  At 50, I wondered how a guy like me had gotten this far.  At 60, ???

Quick Thought For Week Of 7/25/10

Cuchillo de palo!

Have any habits that might annoy your customers?  Have any bad habits you thought you had dropped, but haven’t?  The answer, of course is, “Yes.”  Here’s a quick video to help stay focused on your not-so-spiffy behavior patterns.

E-Rep: DO IT!!!

OK, fine.  I’ve become a (possibly annoying) evangelist for the notion that “Every H-Rep Needs an E-Rep.”  That is, every human rep needs an electronic alter-ego to supplement his or her never-ending, always-more-demanding responsibilities.  More food for thought below.  Am I right?