Participation Pays Off

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blog

I met the guy who started this blog at a conference a few years back.   He was there to casually make contacts with CIOs and those in the tech industry.    He sponsored a dinner by getting a few friends together and asking them to bring a few friends.   I was a friend-of-a-friend.   At the time, and throughout dinner, I wasn’t sure who was sponsoring it but I enjoyed the discussion and the food.  At some point he started a discussion about the Blog and then, a month or so later, after we had a relationship established, he started a discussion about his business.  Not only am I now a contributor to his Blog, but like that famous commercial says, I’m also a customer of his company !

 

So why don’t more people get involved, participate, and build real relationships?    I don’t know!    The alternatives really stink.

 

Alternative #1 Cold Calls:  My telephone rings all day.   Nearly every one of those calls is someone cold-calling me to make sure I’m aware of their services, to offer that they are available to contribute to my most important initiatives (that they are dying to learn of), or to suggest that I’d be doing my employer a disservice if I didn’t return their call today.    Get real, folks.

Alternative #2 SPAM E-Mail:  My inbox similarly overflows.   No, I don’t have “10 minutes” to chat with you.  Talk about “wham-bam”!    When I delete all the cold-call e-mails, I’m down to just a few meaningful e-mails each day.  Busy executives must focus their time and energy.   Stop wasting ours.

But alas, there is a mutually supportive alternative:

There are plenty of opportunities for those in the generally-described vendor community to get involved in the tech community, support it, and build real relationships.   The money spent on the constant barrage of phone calls and the ridiculous e-mails can be redirected toward meaningful industry participation.  That’s getting out and doing things, contributing, meeting people and building relationships.  From sponsoring an event to buying a table at a fund-raiser, speaking at an event to share your insights, creating a peer networking opportunity (that doesn’t require someone to sit through a sales pitch), connecting acquaintances and friends over a casual dinner (that doesn’t involve a sales pitch), all of these and more are available to you.   Take the opportunity to do it.

The blog guy (who is now a good friend) doesn’t only hold a dinner at a conference, he is involved throughout the community.   We do many such things together because we both see the value in involvement and contribution to the industry.   Who do I call and promote internally within my company, when we have a need? Yep.  Him.  Why?  Not because he’s a back-slapping buddy, but because he’s built a solid relationship, contributes to the community, and actually has a good track record in his professional space.

Similar relationships are there for the making – just get involved!

 

 

by Mr. CIO On-Point
Mr. CIO OnPoint currently serves as a CIO in the technology industry.   OnPoint comes from a long IT background, starting in end-user support and advancing through infrastructure, application, and consulting roles to CIO and cross-functional executive leadership.  OnPoint has served in companies of all sizes in a range of industries.  OnPoint is active in IT industry organizations, contributing thought leadership in the IT profession, advising emerging companies, and offering his expertise to support emerging IT leaders and youth pursuing careers in IT.  After being frustrated for years with ineffective sales approaches, OnPoint contributes case studies here to help salespeople be more effective at approaching CIO’s in a way that allows them to make their value proposition clear and start  meaningful mutually-beneficial relationships.    He also provides examples of what not to do.   Unfortunately these examples happen way too often.

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Stop Calling With This Lame Approach

job sucks

superheroesTitle: How much must this job suck? 

“I saw a lot of traffic and interest in our website from your company.  I’m not sure if this is you or someone else at your company, but I wanted to make myself available to answer any questions you have.  I can be reached at 1-800-xxx-xxxx and my name again is Jim.”   

Poor Jim is doing his job.  Like many sales reps, the job sucks.  Smile and Dial.   I wouldn’t want to do it.  So for those of you doing it, my hat is off to your persistence and sheer will to press on.

But to the companies who set this up.  ARE YOU SERIOUS?  Tell me, seriously, is your sales approach to watch the IP addresses and domain names of visitors to your website, and then follow-up with THE CIO of the registered company, fishing to figure out if there’s an opportunity?

What this tells me is that your company is not smart enough to capture names of visitors, to get people to give up some sort of identifying information along the way, and to assess patterns of usage and numbers of unique visitors to use that information to better hone your sales approach and identify actual targets within the company who are likely to be looking at your website.   Hint:  I’m not!

I will never call you back.  So stop calling with this lame approach.

 

Mr. CIO OnPoint
Mr. CIO OnPoint currently serves as a CIO in the technology industry.   OnPoint comes from a long IT background, starting in end-user support and advancing through infrastructure, application, and consulting roles to CIO and cross-functional executive leadership.  OnPoint has served in companies of all sizes in a range of industries.  OnPoint is active in IT industry organizations, contributing thought leadership in the IT profession, advising emerging companies, and offering his expertise to support emerging IT leaders and youth pursuing careers in IT.  After being frustrated for years with ineffective sales approaches, OnPoint contributes case studies here to help salespeople be more effective at approaching CIO’s in a way that allows them to make their value proposition clear and start  meaningful mutually-beneficial relationships.    He also provides examples of what not to do.   Unfortunately these examples happen way too often.

 

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A Frog Or A Good Relational Seller

images

images A Frog or a Good Relational Seller? The Choice is Yours!

We kiss a lot of frogs in this business, as I’m sure salespeople kiss their share too.
Every now and then one does their job right and turns out to be an effective relational sales person.

Here’s one that did.

Dear Mr. CIO On-Point,

We have a mutual friend, Jim BestGuyInTheWorld, and he sends his regards.
Jim and I have worked together for many years and he thought it would be a good idea to reach out to you regarding <project/service that you’ve worked with Jim on before> and see if I could provide any assistance.  Please let me know if you are available to get together to discuss this and I would like to offer my assistance if applicable.

Sincerely,

Has-A-Clue-How-to-Build-Relationships

Clue did a great job here.  Clue found a contact in common, Jim.  Clue checked in with Jim so that they could reference his referral.   Clue was sure to mention that Jim wasn’t just a one-night-stand contact;  Clue had worked with Jim and the relationship is solid.  Clue suggested value and invited a discussion.

A clean play.  No fouls.  Nicely done!   And more than that, a meeting is secured!

I look forward to having breakfast with Clue and Jim.
Yes, Clue is bringing Jim along.  Nice move to parlay Clue’s relationship on top of my existing relationship with Jim and build from there.  Clue is just knocking it out of the park before the game even starts.  I don’t know what it will lead to, but I’m looking forward to seeing my old friend Jim and getting to know Clue.

Try it.  You might like it.

Don’t be a Frog.
by Mr. CIO On-Point
Mr. CIO OnPoint currently serves as a CIO in the technology industry.   OnPoint comes from a long IT background, starting in end-user support and advancing through infrastructure, application, and consulting roles to CIO and cross-functional executive leadership.  OnPoint has served in companies of all sizes in a range of industries.  OnPoint is active in IT industry organizations, contributing thought leadership in the IT profession, advising emerging companies, and offering his expertise to support emerging IT leaders and youth pursuing careers in IT.  After being frustrated for years with ineffective sales approaches, OnPoint contributes case studies here to help salespeople be more effective at approaching CIO’s in a way that allows them to make their value proposition clear and start  meaningful mutually-beneficial relationships.    He also provides examples of what not to do.   Unfortunately these examples happen way too often.

 

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New Year’s Resolution: No Stalking

stalker

stalker
It’s a new year but some IT salespeople didn’t make effective selling one of their New Year’s resolutions.
Here are two stalking attacks I received so far this year:

“Hi Mr. CIO On-Point, I just dropped you an e-mail and I listened to your voice mail greeting and I am going to reach out to your assistant as you advised, but I just wanted to let you know that I am John from Helpful Consultants, Inc. and we have high caliber consultants ready to go.”
Is John getting a call or e-mail back?  Doubtful! One of my New Year’s resolutions was to reduce clutter.
In less than one minute I deleted that voice mail, the e-mail, and I told my assistant to ignore him. Clutter gone!

“Hi Mr. CIO On-Point, you may have missed my last e-mail, so I’m sending you this reminder to pop it back to the top of your In-Box. At Ship Your Gizmo, we have a full stock of IT equipment that we can get out to you today!  All I need is 10 minutes on your busy calendar so that we can discuss your needs.”   Truth be told, Ship had sent me at least five e-mails, one every few days.  I don’t need Ship to manage my In-Box.  I’m really good at it.  I see Ship’s name and I hit the Delete button.  Bye bye.

John from Helpful is certainly not being helpful.  Neither is Ship.   Both are stalkers, pure and simple.  I don’t know if it’s them or their employers, or both, who are at fault.  Certainly if you are rated by the number of calls made or the number of e-mails sent, you’ll just pummel my peers and me with these worthless approaches. As a wear-em-down salesperson, these tactics might land you a sale here and there, but they won’t build relationships. Both approaches are annoying to the target and mostly unproductive to the stalker.

Meaningful interactions lead to enduring business relationships. You get those interactions and relationships by networking your way to influential people.  There’s a ton written in this blog about how to do that.  If you are a stalker now, please work to become a relational seller.   If your employer is forcing you to stalk, go find an employer who values business relationships and allows you to take the time to build them.   Success comes to those with the relationships.
Just think about it…. when you need something, who do you call?  That’s right, someone you know AND like, not someone who bugs you!

Happy New Year!

Mr. CIO On-Point

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