Tag Archives: Reputation

Shout Out to Dave Dupre for CIO of the Year Award

13 May

A shout out to my co-founder and CTO at Inquisix, Dave Dupre, for being nominated for WINNING the 2012 CIO of the Year Award from MHT and Boston Business Journal. No surprise to me, Dave was clearly the best engineer back while we were getting our degrees at Boston University and he accomplished amazing things at Inquisix by building a pretty sophisticated application behind the covers that was so simple to use. He’s got didn’t even need my vote for winning the award next month!

Motivating The Troops

30 Jul

I was invited to sit in the back of the room for a new-year sales kickoff meeting. Unbeknownst to me, the sales team had finished the prior year ranked 16th of 16 teams. The local VP had been relieved of his duties about 3 months prior so the area VP was in town to talk with the team. By the end of the area VP’s 30 minute kickoff speech I was shaking my head in amazement regarding the number of bad Sales Manager 101 cliches he managed to use.

He started the meeting by telling the group that he enjoyed being a jerk and that this particular group brought out the worst in him. Although he called himself something worse than a jerk, a word that rhymes with donkey. He ranted about how bad the team was, how embarrassed he was that they were on his team and that things would be different in the coming fiscal year. Then he had them all watch Alec Baldwin’s (in)famous speech in Glengarry Glen Ross.

 

 

When a region does that poorly in sales, I wonder where the fault lies. Is it with all of the reps who did so poorly? Can it be the entire office’s fault? Maybe the sales trainers did not do their job properly? Perhaps it was the marketing group because they delivered bad leads? Did some microeconomic event strike this region while leaving everyone else unscathed? Or maybe the fault lies with the area VP who passed down quotas that weren’t based on in-depth market study and analysis?

I also wondered how things were going to improve. The entire sales team of over 20 people except for 1 rep remained. Quotas were unchanged. Training was pushed out till the next quarter. A new regional VP had yet to be hired. How quickly after they came on board would they be able to positively affect the efforts of a 30-person sales team? Would the area VP be delivering the same speech in 6 months?

Clearly, his sales management style can be summed with the Dilbert-esque comment:

 

(photo credit: SJT Enterprises)

Performance Reviews – Does Anyone Like Them?

26 Jan

Does your company do performance reviews?  Is there anyone out there who likes them?  Most employees like to receive them.  Most managers hate to do them.  And even employees don’t like to do them when it’s the 360 peer review. Regardless of how you feel about performance reviews, if you are a manager at a company that requires them, then they’re just part of the job.

But should they just part of the job?  Are your team members apprehensive when  it’s time for you to deliver your review of them?  Do you think there will be any surprises for them?

Good managers will never surprise a team member with a bad performance review.  Why?  Because communication between manager and team member should be happening throughout the year and not only during an annual performance review.  I don’t like surprises from my salesreps, especially during forecast time, and I know they don’t like surprises like this as well.

If you are not surprising your team during performance reviews, then how are you communicating to them during the year?  Via one-on-one meetings?  Team meetings?  Hallway conversations?  Email?  Ideally, you are communicating (and listening) on a consistent and frequent basis.  Which will make writing and delivering performance reviews easier for you and less stressful for your team.

(photo credit: jokemail)

Follow-up Follow-UP

5 Nov

Ivan Misner posted on his blog – What Is the Number-One Trait of a Master Networker? this week and I thought, “Absolutely dead-on!”

Nothing frustrates me more than giving a referral to someone and then they DON’T FOLLOW UP. I’ve asked my colleague if they’d accept this referral to and now I have to explain why there was no follow up. This affects my reputation. That’s why Inquisix allows members to rate the referral in both ways – rating how well one party handled the referral and how well the other party gave the referral.

Inquisix – Business Relationships that Last

27 Oct

BusinessRelationshipsThatLast

I just ordered this book because that’s what Inquisix members do – they build business relationships that last.

If you’ve already read the book, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Talk Radio Podcast : Emergence of Reputation Networks : Sept 23, 2009

2 Sep

I had an amazing Blog Talk Radio with Jon Hansen of PI Window on Business last week.  We spoke over our allotted time, almost an hour, on the emergence of reputation networks such as Inquisix.  With it being so easy to make connections on the web and trade recommendations, how can people who don’t know you really trust what they read about you?

Topics we discussed included:

  • Value of References
  • Giving vs Getting
  • Political Patronage and References
  • Verifying References
  • Integrity of Referral/Reference Process
  • Does Social Media Help or Hurt
  • Extending Your Reference Base with Integrity
  • Emergence of Reputation Networks with Social/Business Networking

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/BTRPlayer.swf?displayheight=&file=http://www.blogtalkradio.com%2fJon-Hansen%2fplay_list.xml?show_id=662419&autostart=false&shuffle=false&volume=80&corner=rounded&callback=http://www.blogtalkradio.com/FlashPlayerCallback.aspx&width=215&height=108

If BTR podcast doesn’t show above, please go to Jon’s site to listen to it.

On a side note, talking with Jon was one of the easiest and most enjoyable online discussions I’ve had.  Jon prepared me for the call by sending me some topics to think about prior to our interview.  He was calm when we had a few technical difficulties to iron out before we went on the air.  And his engaging demeanor and conversation made the conversation lively, interesting and valuable.   I was certainly surprised to learn later that Jon’s only been a BTR host for a short time.  Jon has written a book, “Your Show Will Go Live in 5 Seconds” about his experiences as a Blog Talk Radio Host.  If  you’re thinking of becoming a BTR host or are thinking of your personal branding via Social Media, you owe it to yourself to read this book.  An excerpt is available at no charge at Jon’s site.  Not surprising, his book reads as breezy and well as listening to him online.

JonHansenBook

Talk Radio Event: Emergence of Reputation Networks : Sept 23, 2009

23 Aug

Jon Hansen hosts a Talk Radio Show, “PI Window on Business” that reaches an estimated 300,000 syndicated subscribers worldwide every month.  The PI Social Media Network is internationally recognized for its ability to identify, structure and disseminate the ideas and visions that are reshaping the emerging global enterprise.

JonHansen

He’s talking with Michael Kreppein, Chief Sales Officer of Inquisix, to examine more closely the emergence of “reputation networks” and their effects on personal branding in the Web 2.0 world. Reputation networks, like Inquisix, are gaining ground to combat the growing problem within the realms of social networking, where references or testimonials are bartered by an ever-expanding network of interloping relationships between name collectors versus relationship builders.

Please join us.

Wednesday September 23, 2009 at 12.30pm ET

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.

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?

Successful Referrals Require More than Just Your Reputation

26 May

Paul McCord has an excellent series of posts on the 4 requirements for a successful referral.

pillars

Pillar 1: Your Relationship to Your Client
Pillar 2: Your Client’s Purchasing Experience
Pillar 3: Your Client’s Relationship to the Referred Prospect
Pillar 4: How You Contact Your Referred Prospect

Paul says that clients don’t like to give referrals. I agree, I think they’re much better at being a reference then pro-actively giving you a referral.  But referrals can be earned and Paul details the “how” which mostly revolves around your reputation with your client.

What’s really interesting is discussed in Paul’s 3rd pillar.  He says, “Your referred prospect will view YOU the same way they view your Client– Good, Bad, or Indifferent”  I absolutely agree.  Inquisix’s data on the quality of a reputation given shows that the better the relationship between the the person giving the referral and their referred colleague, the better the referral experience.  The first hint of a bad referral is how the referral is handled, which is Paul’s 4th Pillar.

So the primary reputation factor in a good referral is not between the person asking and the person giving the referral. Rather, it’s between the person giving the referral and their referred colleague.

Pillars 3 and 4 are why Inquisix allows members to rate each side of the referral via reputation points.  If you give a referral, that member will rate you on the quality of the referral given.  If you get a referral, that member will rate you on how well you treated their trusted colleague. Your Inquisix reputation rating of giving and getting referrals then becomes the badge that all other members can use to validate your credentials.

memberrating