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Do you "Give to Get" or "Give for Money" Referrals?

3 Aug

Did anyone see JigSaw’s recent announcement that they’ve sent up an exchange where you can sell a referral to your contacts?  It’s called “JigSaw Connect” and given the number of members they have (850K registered  members), this could be the first exchange to make selling a referral by the individual sales rep successful.

Selling a referral to your customer isn’t anything new.  Companies have been doing it at the corporate level for years.  They call it the affiliate program or the business development partner program or just the reseller program.  And this seems to be a well understood and accepted practice by the customers.

Individual sales reps and agents selling a referral to their customer in certain industries isn’t new, either.  The introduction of a mortgage broker by the real estate agent that just found your new home probably comes with a kick-back to the agent from the mortgage broker.  Maybe the referral fee is not as well understood by the consumer but I don’t think anyone would be surprised.

Now JigSaw is taking this to a new level.  It’s at the rep level where an individual rep can earn $200 by referring their customer to any vendor that’s signed up to advertise on JigSaw Connect.  And it’s many industries, even ones where traditionally the selling of referrals at the rep level is frowned upon.  The only other site I’ve seen that offers this exchange of referrals for cash is SalesConx, a startup based in New York City.  But they don’t have the membership scale that JigSaw has.

I’ll be very interested to see how JigSaw Connect fares.  JigSaw itself received a lot of negative press early on because people were offended that their business information was sold anonymously.  JigSaw will say that they’re just collecting business information differently than a Hoovers or OneSource but aren’t any different in the information they deliver.  I’ve used JigSaw for years and Inquisix is a JigSaw data partner so I don’t have an issue with the service.

Still, selling referrals versus giving referrals is an interesting dilemma for some.  BNI members give referrals to get them in return, i.e. “Givers Gain“.  At Inquisix, we encourage members to give referrals to increase their reputation with their own customer.  But no money is exchanged.

Would you anonymously sell the business cards you’ve collected to a data broker, i.e. JigSaw?

Would you sell a referral to a business contact you have?

There’s a big jump in effort, responsibility, and reputation between the 2 questions.  Let’s see how this pans out.

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Consummate Networkers Presentation by Inquisix

29 Jul

As mentioned in a previous post, Pat Weber runs an online networking group called the Consummate Networkers and she invited me to speak to her group last week.

Pat has three key areas of consummate networking:

* Show Up
* Dive In
* Follow up

Pat asked me to talk about the Dive-In area so I presented to over 30 attendees on, “The Morning After….Attending the Networking Event.” We used the BlitzTime solution so that everyone could see & hear the presentation and then do one-on-one networking afterwards. All from the comfort of their home, office or car.

http://www.viddler.com/player/b22c378e/

Get Back in the Ring

7 Jul

A colleague of mine sent me this quote from Teddy Roosevelt that keeps her going when she needs a pick-me-up:

“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.”

TeddyR

Improving Your Elevator Pitch

6 Jul

Have you ever froze at a networking event when someone asked what you do?  Or maybe there were a few too many “ums” in your pitch?  Or, most critically, did you see eyes starting to glaze as you babbled on?

I think the 30-second elevator pitch at a networking event is too long given everyone’s reduced attention span.

Babara Lopez, the Elevator Pitch Coach, just gave me a great tip on creating a great and quick elevator pitch.

ElevatorPitch

Start with, “Well, you know some businesses have [insert the problem you solve]?”

Pause for acknowledgement.

Continue, “Well, what I do is [insert your solution]”

If you’ve done your pitch well and the recipient is interested, then a reply of, “So, how do you do that?” means you’ve done well.

Here’s the Inquisix pitch.

“Well, you know some companies are looking to expand their business through referrals?”

“Well, we connect those company owners and salesreps to reputable professionals to give and get referrals confidentially.”

Managing Customers in the Short Term for the Long Term

28 Jun

How do you treat long-time customers when the economy is this challenging?  Are you tightening the rules to manage costs or are you more liberal in your policies?

I went to a business that I had purchased from for many years but not over the last year.  They greeted me warmly as if I had just talked with them yesterday, with no hint of criticism or complaint in their voice.

Later that day, I went to another business that I also frequent often.  They know me well enough to recommend new products they think I’d like.  And they know I’ve referred other customers to them. I was 90 minutes late in returning an item I had rented and they wanted to charge me another full day.  It’s their policy and it’s posted.  When I asked for leniency, the owner’s reply was, “It’s our policy and you need to pay.”

The next day I received a rather large bill.  I had made a mistake in understanding the rules so the bill was correct if unwelcome.  When I asked the Accounts Payable person for some flexibility, I was flatly turned down.  When I asked to speak to the owner, I was told that he refused to discuss these issues with anyone.  “Even customers who’ve purchased from him for 20 years?” I asked.  The answer was, “Yes.”

The economy is going to get better.  I will spend more money.  I will continue to make referrals to my vendors.  Which vendor mentioned above will continue getting my business and my referrals?

Meet Master Networker Rick Roberge, Inquisix Member

10 Jun

rickrobergeweb21

This is the second in our series of meeting our Inquisix community members.  Thank you to Rick Roberge, master networker and sales coach with David Kurlan & Associates — and an Inquisix member since December 2007. Rick spent some time to answer a few of our questions about trends in business and networking and we’re much obliged.

General Inquisix

What is your business?

We, at Kurlan & Associates, are sales development experts. We evaluate salespeople, management, systems, policies and procedures to determine WHY sales aren’t what they should be. Once we determine the WHY, we can train or coach salespeople or managers, develop a more effective sales process, recruit stronger people or a dozen other solutions with laser focus and a predictable ROI.

Why do you network?

The average person doesn’t take calls from strangers. I’ve found that a minute or two, face to face conversation that’s all about them will increase the odds that they’ll take my call and be open to having a more substantive conversation at that time. Problem is, face to face networking can be time consuming.

What types of networking were you doing previously?

Face to face at Chamber of Commerce mixers, Business expos and home shows. Visiting BNI and other networking groups. Inviting my clients to private (my client only) business card swaps. Volunteer groups. Service organizations. Weddings, funerals, graduation parties. If I’m with people, I’m ON!

What was missing from your previous networking endeavor(s)?

Face to face networking can be time consuming and you have to get dressed.

What made you join Inquisix?  

I liked the idea. Like-minded, centers-of-influence, trusted advisor-types that can ask each other for introductions with the expectation that they’re talking to a similar type professional.

What do you like best about Inquisix?

In my opinion, LinkedIn has been ruined by the “LION” attitude (note: LION refers to LinkedIn Open Networker, which means you’ll accept an invite from anyone in LinkedIn.) I know every connection well enough to know whether I should introduce and how to introduce and give the person that I’m introducing a clue as to how to tailor their approach. I’ve refused many LinkedIn invitations from chance encounters if we haven’t interacted enough (or we’ve interacted enough to know that I shouldn’t). I also like the fact that I can say, “Yes” or “No”. I’ll usually have a conversation with the member asking for the introduction to determine fit.

Promise fulfilled? Have you received a referral introduction? Was it successful?

Yes! Success is defined as, “The person took my call and appreciated the fact that their friend introduced us.” It does not mean that I sold anything because I may not think it’s a fit.

Do you give referrals? Why?  

Yes. Lots. But not every time I’m asked. However, I sometimes give them without being asked.

What are the misconceptions about online networking? How does Inquisix address these or do them differently?

Quantity doesn’t matter. Quality matters. Inquisix insures quality by introducing the concept of “Reputation Points.” If you don’t or can’t make a strong introduction, everyone will know. So, it’s important to upload the people that trust you most and will follow your lead.

How do you see the future of networking?

I see networking as being the future. There’s a lot of buzz about in-bound marketing and lead generation, but NOTHING (unless you’re ‘click to buy’) happens until you have a conversation with a prospect who’s listening and open to your thoughts.

If you could get across one thing about Inquisix to a perspective member what would it be?

I’d rather have you upload 10 people that smile and feel good when I mention your name than 1000 people that will ask, “Who?” when I mention your name.

Thanks for speaking with us Rick.

Inquisix on the Business Insanity Radio Show

18 May

barrymoltz

Barry Moltz has a radio show where he will, “… talk about all the craziness of small business.” Last week’s theme was sales & marketing networking thru social media and he invited me to talk with him. You can listen to my portion of the show below.

[audio:https://mkreppein.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/barrymoltz1.jpgwp-content/uploads/2009/05/barrymoltzinquisixinterviewmay2009.mp3%5D

Barry had a few guests on his show along with me, including Alyssa Dver from my last post.  His show was also the inspiration for my post on why the cold calling process is like, “putting lipstick on a pig” which generated quite a few comments. If you’d like to listen to the whole 30 minute talk, go to Barry’s website here and listen to episode #40. You’ll find a wealth of information on his site so enjoy.

Happy Ears Are Bad For Forecasting

15 May

Alyssa Dver is author of, “No Time Marketing” and was recently on Barry Moltz’s Business Insanity Radio show again. She had a great quote that was both funny and deadly accurate.

She said that “Happy Ears” is her term for confusing prospect enthusiasm with purchase authority.

What a great quote! It should be one of your top concerns when submitting your forecast to management. And management should be filtering forecasts with same consideration.

What about your forecast, does it have too many opportunities in it based on Happy Ears?

Improve Your Message Before You Call

7 May

Since I have that fancy letter “C” as the first letter in my title as Chief Sales Officer, I get quite a number of cold calls.  Of course it just makes me cringe to be called by someone who hasn’t even spent a minute looking at our business and developing a message about their solution that I’d care about.  But I do enjoy critiquing in my mind their pitch.

Some would like to rename cold calling.  I recently heard it called “introductory calling” in an interview done on Barry Moltz’s talk radio show.  I don’t know, seems analogous to putting lipstick on a pig.

lipstickpig

Instead of just renaming the term, Nigel Edelshain of Sales 2.0 has written a 24-page ebook on turning cold calls into social calls.  He reviews the new Sales 2.0 techniques and tools to “…help you with the three most critical factors: talking to the right people, establishing relationships and using changes in your buyer’s environment.”

You can download Nigel’s book for free here.  Adding his blog to your RSS reader is also well worth it.

Innovative View To Inside Sales Metrics

27 Apr

I worked with Trish Bertuzzi of The Bridge Group on a few inside sales consulting engagements when I ran PeakSales Consulting in the late ’90’s.

Her company specializes in improving the Insides Sales department, especially when the group is involved in the full sales cycle till close. So they’re well qualified to publish reports on Inside Sales Best Practices. Trish’s latest offering is the “Periodic Table of Insides Sales Metrics” which I think is a really neat way to summarize the important data relevant for building a top-tier Inside Sales Group. Best of all, the table is free to download from The Bridge Group website.

trishtable

If you’re local to Boston and would like to hear Trish speak, why not print out the table and get her to autograph it at the Sales 2.0 Conference on May 21, 2009? I’m first in line!