Is Your E-Rep Any Good?
It's harder and harder these days to get a face-to-face meeting with a decision maker. They're all so darned busy, busy, busy. If they won't take the time to learn, how can they possibly solve their problems and implement key initiatives?
Hold on a minute here. If someone earned the rank of decision-maker and has the wherewithal to keep that role, by definition, that person IS learning enough to solve problems and implement key initiatives. In other words, it's you that has the learning problem, not the decision-maker. You haven't learned that tactics for getting in the door have radically, dramatically and forever changed.
You need to establish your credibility before you ask for a meeting. You need to get the decision-maker to realize that he or she needs more perspective and context about some issue, has three or four questions to ask, and that you are uniquely qualified to provide the perspective, context and answers. And you need to do all that without ever having any direct contact. In fact, you really need to avoid asking for a meeting at all - to avoid pushing yourself into the decision process. You need to get the customer to pull you in.
Impossible? Only if you think cold calls, schmoozing the assistant and clever mailings are your core techniques. They may well still be necessary, but you need some additional weapons in your arsenal. You need to be where the decision makers are already hanging out. When they reach out for info, you need to already be there - directly in the path of that reach. You need to create an electronic extension of yourself!
How tough is it to create and continually enhance an electronic extension of yourself? Actually, not much tougher than what you're already doing. It's just two extra steps:
* Build an "E-Rep Infrastructure"
* Embed everything relevant you know and learn in that E-Rep
DO NOT succumb to techno-phobia!!! If the technology overwhelms you, either get over it or find a geek to help. Frankly, if you put your mind to it, you can learn all the tech you need over a single weekend. For your E-Rep Infrastructure, get a blog, some simple audio recording/editing software for your PC and a video camera. (There are loads of choices out there. I use WordPress for my blog, NCH Software for audio/video editing, iTunes, a Flip Cam and YouTube.)
DO NOT succumb to I-don't-know-what-to-write-or-talk-about syndrome. Are you kidding me? You make your living talking for crying out loud. Every time you learn something, write it down and/or record it. When you have a new flash of insight, write it down and/or record it. Think through all the potential problems, issues, concerns, projects, solutions, initiatives, etc. that your products and services can address, then write them down and/or record them. When you read something interesting, attach it to your E-Rep self.
Neither of these two new tasks presents much of a challenge. Do them, along with whatever of the traditional techniques work for you. Can you really afford not to? Don't you need an E-Rep version of yourself to be available 24 X 7? What if it's 2:00 AM on Saturday and the hottest prospect in the universe is looking for a sales rep that can help?