130 days. That was how long it took my electronic alter ego, my E-Rep, to close his (it’s?) first deal.
Technically, I guess I could claim to have had an E-Rep since July of ’99 when I launched The YPS Group and put up a web site, but it wasn’t until September ’09 that I really started to think differently about the role of electronic media in selling. The catalyst was an interview I did with the High Velocity Radio Show guys on 9/21. Their success using social media impressed the daylights out of me. Even more impressive was how willing, anxious actually, they were too share everything they knew – for free. The sheer novelty of the philosophy and their enthusiasm for it convinced me to give it a go.
This blog is the centerpiece of my E-Rep and was launched 10/5. (It was moved under the ypsgroup.com URL on 11/26 to improve search engine optimization.) Unbeknownst to me at the time, my now new client found this blog, wandered around it, the web site itself and the e-version of my book Think About It… That led him to order two copies of my first book, The Dolphin and The Cow on 11/2. Somewhere along the way both the Director of Sales and CEO read the book and did some more wandering around the blog and web site. It was also Novemberish when it dawned on me that not just marketing, but sales can done using social media tools
On 1/6 of this year, I received a request for a face-to-face meeting via our Contact Us form. Cool! Note well the net additional effort expended on my part to do the groundwork to get this meeting set up. ZERO.
The Director of Sales, CEO and I met in a local hotel conference room for about three hours on 1/19 and discussed Sales Process Engineering. Two days later I e-mailed them a proposal. (This was my last proposal ever. I quit doing them recently and switched to Recommendation Summaries. Another concept from those High Velocity dudes.) On 1/25 I made a two minute video and e-mailed links to it and the three following blog posts:
We hadn’t discussed E-Rep during our meeting, and it seemed like the best way to sell the concept was to actually use it. (I forgot to ask if they were impressed and how it played in their decision process, but I will, and I’ll let you know.)
The phone rang on 2/12. It was the Director of Sales with three requests:
- When can we begin to implement the proposal?
- Would I be willing to expand the scope of the proposal using the same rate schedule?
- Would I please send an invoice and wiring instructions ASAP?
So you wanted proof that an E-Rep can actually sell? You got it. Now… I wonder what I can do to shorten his (it’s?) sell cycle?