Every “H-Rep” Needs An “E-Rep”

By December 8, 2009E-Rep, Social Media

by Todd Youngblood

That is, every Human Rep needs an Electronic Rep to help execute the extraordinarily challenging job of Sales Rep.  Even if you don’t (yet) agree that every one of us must have an electronic alter-ego, you’d be hard-pressed to argue that you couldn’t use some extra help in getting your job done well.

Here’s a hypothetical example to clarify some of the E-Rep basics…

Once upon a time there was a traditional sales rep.  Let’s just say his name was Willy Loman.  He was pure H-Rep; a solitary human being out there pushing himself into the customer’s consciousness, and on a fairly regular basis securing an order.  One day he got a phone call.  It was from a total stranger, but as it turned out, the stranger was friends with one of Willy’s better customers.  The stranger told Willy he needed widgets and that the friend had told him Willy’s widgets were the most wonderful widgets world-wide.  He placed a big order.

That was the day Willy realized he had invented “reference selling.”  But, being a pretty sharp character, he took the concept to yet another level.  He realized that instead of pushing himself into that deal, he had been pulled into it by the customer.  For all intents and purposes the selling was already done before that phone call ever got made.  He concluded he needed to start replacing some of his old Push-style selling with this newly discovered Pull-style selling.  He realized he might even be able to get to the point of eliminating Push altogether.

Then he ran into a problem.  His customer quickly got tired of doing Willy’s job for him.  Ever resourceful, Willy wrote down what the good customer had said, and got permission to post those words on another of his new inventions he called a “web site.”  Not quite as powerful as the direct reference, but he found his phone ringing rather regularly with inquires about his widgets.  Still WAY better, faster and easier than the Push method

Being dedicated to the methodical, relentless, continuous improvement of his sales process, Willy didn’t stop there.  He invented yet another new thing to create more pull and called it “blog.”  He wrote down all the questions he was getting on that flood of new and additional phone calls and then posted them, along with well thought out answers, on his blog.  Now the customers who called had fewer questions.  They placed orders with less haggling.  Some of them even complimented Willy on the “thought leadership” he was demonstrating.

Ole’ Willy continued to press the envelope.  He got a similar written reference for his gadgets and repeated the process.  Then he wondered if this Pull thing would work for services.  He repeated the process again, this time for his widget winding services; and then for his gadget grinding services; and then for… (You can see where he was going with this.)

Last time I saw Willy, he was inventing something he plans to call “LinkedIn.”  He’s convinced that in six years or so, 50 million business people will register.  Willy says he’ll personally be able to get literally hundreds of people to voluntarily “connect” with him, thus providing a 2nd degree connection with tens of thousands of additional potential buyers.  He says that because of those connections, many, MANY more people will find his web site and blog and therefore be more likely to want to buy his products and services.

At that point, Willy said he had to get going.  As he hustled off back toward his office I heard him muttering something about a “google” that would crawl through his LinkedIn, blogified web site, combine that with his “tweets” and “facebook profile” and give him a really great “page rank.”  As the door closed behind him was shouting something about having the greatest E-Rep ever.

Is Willy on to something?  Maybe every H-Rep really does need an E-Rep.  What do you think?

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