Archive for the ‘E-Rep’ Category.

Is Thought Leadership Really All That Important?

by Todd Youngblood

Regardless of what all the social media pundits say, not everyone needs or should even try to jump on the “thought leadership” bandwagon and use these new tools. It’s more important for sales professionals, managers and executives to ensure that the message:

  • Highlights value customers can accrue
  • Reflects what you can actually deliver
  • Provides the “type of dog food the dogs already want to eat”

Using Everett Rogers’ 1962 Diffusion of Innovations model is an excellent way to help think through the message you want to deliver and the media you want to use to deliver it.

Innovation Adoption

If your company’s products and services place it as an Innovator or Early Adopter type, you really do need to be blogging, tweeting, web 2.0-ing and social media-ing the daylights out of yourself. You need to be blasting out ALL of your well-thought-through concepts, along with your brainstorms and random seeds of thoughts at a high frequency and rate of speed. A major part of your company’s value is thought leadership, so you better be leading some thought yourself!

If your company’s products and services place it as an Early Majority type, you really do need to be blogging, tweeting, web 2.0-ing and social media-ing the daylights out of yourself. The difference though, is that you should be showcasing your aptitude at taking existing technologies, concepts and ideas and actually getting them implemented. You need to be demonstrating your expertise at harvesting real, tangible value from the new things. The Innovators are notorious for discovering awesome concepts, then almost immediately getting bored with them and moving on. Actually applying new technology and services is HUGELY important and HUGELY valuable. Showcase your prowess at generating large ROI quickly.

If your company’s products and services place it as a Late Majority type, you really do need to be blogging, tweeting, web 2.0-ing and social media-ing the daylights out of yourself. You’re the epitome of efficiency. You need to be touting your expertise at eliminating waste and wringing out every last bit of value from your existing and proven technologies. Especially right now! Given the state of the economy, with tight cash flows and limited capital investment, everybody is focused on increasing efficiency.

If your company’s products and services place it as a Laggard type, you really do need to be blogging, tweeting, web 2.0-ing and social media-ing the daylights out of yourself. You are the proverbial shoeless, shoemaker’s children. You need to be highlighting your expertise at delivering substantial value at a low price using only yesterday’s worn out tools.

Ok, so it’s clear by now that I think everybody needs an “E-Rep.” All of us need to be blogging, tweeting, web 2.0-ing and social media-ing the daylights out of ourselves. It’s not a question “if,” it’s a question of “what.”

Think About It…

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Is your E-Rep any good?

by Todd Youngblood

As a sales rep, you know better than anybody what your customers and prospects need to know. You’ve done your research. You know their issues, challenges and objectives. You know the value they could accrue by using your stuff. They just won’t take the time to meet with you and listen! Well, maybe it’s you that needs to listen up. Are they telling you to send your E-Rep?

It’s harder and harder these days to get a face-to-face meeting with a decision maker. They’re all so darned busy, busy, busy. If they won’t take the time to learn, how can they possibly solve their problems and implement key initiatives?

Hold on a minute here. If someone earned the rank of decision-maker and has the wherewithal to keep that role, by definition, that person IS learning enough to solve problems and implement key initiatives. In other words, it’s you that has the learning problem, not the decision-maker. You haven’t learned that tactics for getting in the door have radically, dramatically and forever changed.

You need to establish your credibility before you ask for a meeting. You need to get the decision-maker to realize that he or she needs more perspective and context about some issue, has three or four questions to ask, and that you are uniquely qualified to provide the perspective, context and answers. And you need to do all that without ever having any direct contact. In fact, you really need to avoid asking for a meeting at all – to avoid pushing yourself into the decision process. You need to get the customer to pull you in.

Impossible? Only if you think cold calls, schmoozing the assistant and clever mailings are your core techniques. They may well still be necessary, but you need some additional weapons in your arsenal. You need to be where the decision makers are already hanging out. When they reach out for info, you need to already be there – directly in the path of that reach. You need to E-Yourself!

How tough is it to create and continually enhance an electronic extension of yourself? Actually, not much tougher than what you’re already doing. It’s just two extra steps:

  • Build an “E-Rep Infrastructure”
  • Embed everything relevant you know and learn in that E-Rep?

DO NOT succumb to techno-phobia!!! If the technology overwhelms you, either get over it or find a geek to help. Frankly, if you put your mind to it, you can learn all the tech you need over a single weekend. For your E-Rep? Infrastructure, get a blog, some simple audio recording/editing software for your PC and a video camera. (There are loads of choices out there. I use WordPress (external link) for my blog, NCH Software (external link) for audio/video editing, iTunes (external link), a Flip Cam (external link) and YouTube (external link).)

DO NOT succumb to I-don’t-know-what-to-write-or-talk-about syndrome. Are you kidding me? You make your living talking for crying out loud. Every time you learn something, write it down and/or record it. When you have a new flash of insight, write it down and/or record it. Think through all the potential problems, issues, concerns, projects, solutions, initiatives, etc. that your products and services can address, then write them down and/or record them. When you read something interesting, attach it to your E-Rep? self.

Neither of these two new tasks presents much of a challenge. Do them, along with whatever of the traditional techniques work for you. Can you really afford not to? Don’t you need an E-Rep? version of yourself to be available 24 X 7? What if it’s 2:00 AM on Saturday and the hottest prospect in the universe is looking for a sales rep that can help?

Think about it…

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