A great comment from Barry Moltz:
“Many years ago small businesses wanted to appear large so customers would trust them. They produced fancy stationery and secured a respectable business address. This has all changed with the Internet, where customers value the human voice. Now every business wants to appear small and provide personal service to its customers.”
And I agree. I was quite happy to stop the renewal order of new stationery and envelopes and instead spent it on a better website. But still recognized that a website wasn’t enough, that customers expected a contact link that included phone and address. It was acceptable that the address wasn’t local as long as there was a viable address. More importantly was ensuring the phone was answered by a person instead of an automated system. At my small companies, everyone was the receptionist because the call rang to everyone if the frontline people were otherwise engaged.
The next level of trust that customers are looking for includes customer ratings. Think what eBay, Amazon and others started to ensure customer feedback is reflected back to prospects. Having peer ratings for Inquisix referrals was a key point to the system.
To build trust in today’s market, make it easy for the customer to research and buy your offerings. No more paper or offices but a well-designed website, a human answering the phone and trust ratings from customers are the new trust factors.
Today I thought I’d share the two top-10 rules that I have saved and posted in my office. One is from The Daily Beast on Steve Job’s rules for business. The other is a speech attributed to Bill Gates but was actually an op-ed letter by Charles J. Sykes written to college graduates.
This spring, my dear colleague, Joanne Black, the author of No More Cold Calling, introduced me to Mark Organ of Influitive. Influitive has an interesting twist on the reputation-based referral process that Inquisix built our business on.
Inquisix was focused on helping fill the beginning of the funnel with qualified prospects who came to you, the sales person, based on a referral from someone the prospect trusted. At Inquisix, the network was the salesreps and executives who had high-value relationships with their customers and thus could refer them. Influitive looks at the sales cycle from the point of view of your happy reference customers. At Influitive, it’s these customers who expand their reputation network based on the products and solutions they embrace.
Influitive is in beta now and I encourage any VP of Sales or VP of Marketing who is using salesforce.com to take a look at them.
This is a great story and inspiration to all that aspire to build their own product and company. I’ve been following this story since I read about it in the Economist back in October. 2 friends came up with an idea, build it on the cheap using partners to quickly prototype the product and then raised over $100K from angel investors in a few weeks. It’s now in production to popular reviews and available for purchase on-line.
What do I love about the story?
- 2 friends with complimentary talents to turn an idea into a product
- They came up with a great idea that they then EXECUTED on
- They quickly (and cheaply) built the protype using outside help
- They used KickStarter to find angel investors via the internet
- They are selling direct on the internet so cost of sales is low
It’s easy to come up with a good idea. Well, certainly easier than actually executing on the idea. So my congratulations to these 2 friends who were able to build and launch a consumer product with minimal resources and in rapid time.
What is it? It’s a tripod for your iPhone4. Simple, elegant and handy.
What’s your New Year’s Resolution? Shouldn’t it be to execute on your idea?
As a follow-on to my last post about why customers say they’ll buy early-stage solutions but do not, “You love me but you won’t buy”, I read an article in a recent Fast Company that discussed the same issue. Written by Dan and Chip Heath, co-authors of, “Made to Stick”, they discussed the difference between a product considered a vitamin, a nice-to-have – versus an aspirin, a must-have. Some people will pay money for vitamins to stay healthy but everyone will pay for aspirin to cure a headache.
I encourage you to read the article. Too bad there’s not a recipe for turning your vitamin into an aspirin but they have several examples that can help you brainstorm how to turn your own product into a must-have.
Welcome to my new site for discussions on referral based selling and more. I hope many of you will follow me from the Inquisix blog to this new site despite the long quiet period in between postings.
The goals of this site are:
- Continue the discussions on referral-based selling
- Include new topics especially around entrepreneurs and start-ups
- Interesting articles that I’ve read that I hope you’ll find interesting
All of the articles that I wrote at the Inquisix blog are included at this site. I’ve also included some of articles written by guest authors, including Joanne Black and Shiera O’Brien, that were so popular at the Inquisix blog.