Tag Archives: Reputation

White Paper Available – Inquisix Referral Networking

4 Mar

Whether you’re a front-line sales rep hunting for new business, a consultant delivering solutions, or small business owner communicating with customers, board members and employees, it’s all about selling: selling to win new business or selling to retain customers in an increasingly competitive marketplace. So what’s the deal with the buzz around emerging Sales 2.0 solutions? Which approaches are best able to fill the pipeline? How can you integrate informal networking with the latest technologies?

This White Paper by Michael Kreppein, Inquisix’s Chief Sales Officer, explores the value of referral networking by using Inquisix to combine your in-person with your online networking.

Please download the White Paper in pdf format by clicking the link below.

InquisixWP
Inquisix White Paper on Referral Networking

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Top Inquisix Posts of 2008

25 Dec

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to all. As the end of 2008 rapidly approaches, the Inquisix team hopes you are all enjoying the holidays with your family and friends. If you’re thinking of prepping early for 2009, here’s some of our most popular articles from 2008.

Why Cold Calling Doesn’t Work:

Cold Calling From the Buyer’s perspective:

Generating Referrals:

Pay or Play for Referrals/Reputation:

You lost me at "Hello"

17 Dec

Stephanie Fox Muller, one of our advisory members, sent me this email along with her comments below.

Why would anyone take a salesperson seriously when their first communication – first! – offers a freebie of four hours of work? Let’s see, I don’t yet know what you do. That means I have to take my time to go to your website and figure it out. Then decide if I want four hours free.

If your fear of the economy is showing, maybe you need to take a step or two or nine back. If your product or service had value before the economy tanked, it still does. If you don’t believe that, you can bet that your prospects won’t. Good sales and marketing people know how to position their offering to meet the current needs of their audience. If you can’t figure out how to sell whatever the heck you offer in light of the current economic conditions, the last thing you want to do is give it away. If it ain’t worth anything to you, it’s worth less to me. And I don’t buy the little disclaimer at the end – if you try us out now, you may buy us later. If I don’t need you now, I won’t remember you later.

Instead of doing the email equivalent of cold-calling with a drop-your-shorts offer, how about asking clients who DO see your value and ask them for referrals?

Does Your Best Salesrep Behave Badly?

25 Nov

I’ve recently been catching up on the medical TV show, House. He’s a brilliant doctor who’s interested in diagnosing the diseases but not interested in his patients. He’s arrogant, condescending and a royal PITA*. He’s also one of the top doctors in the U.S. So his behavior is tolerated and even encouraged by his boss when a really tough case comes along.

Don’t we know sales reps like that? They bring in the big deals, save the company’s quarter on more than one occasion and earn more money than their boss. But they’re also rogues who don’t play by the rules, couldn’t be bothered to keep the SFA system up to date and generally ignore the rules without consequences. Their boss has a love/hate relationship with them, with love being highest at the end of the quarter.

What does your company do? Do they tolerate these reps? Embrace them? Fire them? Try to find more of them?

What would you do if you were their boss?

* PITA - Pain in the A**

The Virtual Handshake – Building an online business presence

14 Nov

On the recommendation of a friend, I’ve been reading, “The Virtual Handshake” by David Tetten and Scott Allen.  It’s an interesting mix of research into online networking and practical steps to improve your online networking experience.

They suggest that how you build relationships has not changed since the days of networking via face-to-face and email.  What’s changed is the medium in which you network – now it’s primarily the web. I think that while the web is important, it’s primary purpose is to enhance your face-to-face networking, not replace it.

The book focuses on their 7 keys to building and maintaining an effective online network.  I think these steps would be just as applicable in building an effective in-person network.

  • Your Character – what other people think about you.  It’s your reputation
  • Competence – do you walk your talk?
  • Relevance – how relevant is your network to your networking goals?
  • Relationship strengths – how strong is your tie to the people in your network?
  • Information you know about the people in your network – parallel to the strength of your ties is how much non-published information do you know about the people in your network?
  • Number of people in your network – both your direct and two-degrees-away network
  • Diversity – the more heterogeneous your network the better it can help you

The authors believe that social networking software allows you to have the best of both worlds, a large quantity of high-quality connections.  While I don’t agree with this sentiment, as I wrote here, I do concur with their sentiments that successful networkers focus on what they can give you and not what you can give them.

All in all, a good book to read.  Especially if you are looking for a how-to book on building a sustainable and positive online presence.

More than just Rock Stars need publicists on the Web

29 Oct

Ever want to be so famous that you need a publicist to ensure your name is in the papers and TV? Ever wish you had a publicist to help keep your name out of the press?

Forget George Orwell’s 1984 Big Brother watching you, it’s “little brother” on the web watching you. If your goal is to be found on the web then you need to manage your reputation carefully. It’s so hard to build a good reputation online but unfortunately its very easy to get a bad reputation.

As Maxine Winer, who leads the Reputation Management practice at PR agency Edelman, reminded me, “…one of the top 10 rules of blogging is to always get permission to use someone else’s material…. in the blogosphere, transparency reigns supreme and people are judged (often harshly) based on their authenticity or lack thereof.”

Many of the sales author bloggers I’ve been reading have turned in another sales author/speaker because they’ve found their content published on his website under his name. I first saw Dave Stein mention it in his blog. Then Geoffrey James of Selling Power posted on his blog. Next I saw Jill Konrath’s blog saying that this same author was plagiarizing her content.

When you read the trail of blog postings and comment, what do you think? Maxine and I think this is plagiarism, pure and simple. Maxine told me, “It’s bad behavior in any form–not to mention illegal if the material is copyrighted. In this case, it’s just plain foolish (or perhaps arrogant) to publish on his blog and represent as his own work that was written by others. And word spreads like wildfire online. Repairing a tarnished reputation isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible either.”

After reading these sales author blog postings and talking to Maxine, I suggest:

  • Don’t plagiarize. Duh! It’s unethical and way way too easy to get caught
  • Keep tabs on your own content. Use a service like Google Alerts to search the web for your published content being used without your permission

So what should this sales author do about the plagiarism charges? I asked that question of Maxine and her response was that what he needs to do is admit what he did, acknowledge that it was wrong, apologize (both to those whose material he used and to his readers) and promise to never again use other people’s work without their permission. What do YOU think?

PS - Thank you to The Pandemic Blog for the picuture, where I found another post by an author complaining of plagiarizing.

Seth calls it "intangibles" I call it "reputation"

14 Aug

I met Seth Godin years ago at one of those kids activity centers where parents host their pre-schooler’s birthday parties. If you have kids, then you know that pre-school birthday parties means “no drop-off” thus you can’t run a few errands or stop by Dunkin Donuts. I was reading his “Permission Based Marketing” book amongst the happy screams of little kids and I notice out of the corner of my eye that 2 people keep walking past me and smiling. One of them finally approaches me and says, “My husband wrote that book!” The other person walking past me turned out to be her husband, Seth. You’d think that I’d recognize him since his handsome dome was right on the front cover of my book!

I was reading this while my kid was here

Seth’s recent post is about how intangibles are what allows you to charge more for your service vs the commodity-oriented competition. Some of his ideas include participation, enthusiasm, speed, focus, generosity and hope.

Hope? No, not “I hope this deal will close” as that’s not an viable or effective tactic for beating the competition. Instead, “is your offering going to be something great.”

As I’m reading this blog, it struck me that I consider all these intangibles to be my reputation. Just like an intangible, it’s hard to quantify reputation. You either have it or you don’t. Your reputation with your customer is what keeps them coming back to you instead of saving money with your competitor. Your reputation is what gets you the warm welcome when you meet with prospects.

Here’s a few suggestions of mine on ensuring you have the intangibles, the reputation, it takes to compete and win.

Reputation Matters

13 Jun

I have over 1,500 names of business contacts in my Outlook folder. But there’s only about 100 business people that I know well enough to accept a referral from me. I have earned the right to make referrals to these busy people because of my prior interactions with them. So when I make a referral to them for you, it’s because I value my relationship with them and not necessarily because I’m doing you a favor. And I expect you to treat that referral like gold because how you handle the referral is a reflection on me.

Rick Roberge hammered this very issue home in his recent blog posting, “Why am I calling?” A guy could have received a great referral from Rick to one of Rick’s trusted contacts but that guy’s reputation with Rick earned him a “No”. A well-deserved “No” in my opinion. And I just loved Rick’s description of this guy in the second to last paragraph! A great lesson and one that made me laugh.

Quality vs Quantity

24 Apr

When I was graduating college and needed appropriate interview clothes, I spent my money on one good suit.

When I was furnishing my first apartment, I spent my money on one piece of quality furniture. Of course it was the stereo system.

When prospecting for business, I’d rather get one good referral instead of making 100 cold calls.

When I think of who I can really count on, I see a few very good friends instead of lots of casual acquaintances.

It seems simple – for the important things, quality triumphs over quality.

I received a request via LinkedIn from a guy who worked for me over 7 years ago asking me to endorse him on LinkedIn. I replied, “Sure, why don’t you write something for me and I’ll edit as appropriate and post.” I haven’t heard back.

I get the feeling he thinks I’m the bad guy here because I was asked to do something by a former co-worker who’s connected to me in LinkedIn and I pushed back.

But he’s looking for a reference from me, one that will be available for all to see. Google him, you’ll find my recommendation. Google me, you’ll find my recommendation of him. So my comments not only say something about him but also about me, too. After all, if I don’t have a good reputation then my recommendation of him is worthless to him. If I recommend everyone who asks me for one, then what’s the value of my recommendation?

If YOU wanted a recommendation from a former boss (or customer), how would you go about it? Would you call them? Send them a personal email? Or send them a form-generated email thru a social network like LinkedIn? I wonder how many other former bosses received the same form email as me?

How much effort was expended asking for this particular recommendation? Does it not deserve the same effort in return?

Collecting online friends like airlines miles

3 Jan

How many invitations are you getting a week to become a friend of someone on their online networking site? Invitations from social sites like Facebook and business sites like LinkedIn come to my mailbox daily. Then there’s MySpace and Going and MeetUp – the list goes on. It seems like a game or a treasure hunt, “…whoever collects the most friends win….” Remember in the early days of frequent flyer programs when you’d stand around saying, “Well I’m a 50K on United” and another salesrep would trump you by saying, “I have Platinum status on American!” Some of these people have collected online friends like they collect airline miles – I mean seriously, who really knows the 500 people they’re connected to in LinkedIn, for example?

I had these thoughts rattling around for a while but it was Seth Godin’s recent blog that got me to put it down on paper. Seth asks, “I wonder if there’s a more useful measure: who trusts you?”

I agree! Can you really know more than 150 people that well? Enough for them to trust you and vice-versa?

* eBay has seller ratings to help buyers determine if they can trust a seller.
* TrustPlus is a new site that lets you view the reputation of others while building your own reputation.
* Inquisix has member referral ratings for each of our members to help determine if members want to exchange referrals with each other.

Having lots of online friends is nice. Knowing who you can trust online is even better.