Initiating Collaboration That Matters

Last month, I invited a few of my peers – a highly respected entrepreneur, a sales professional, and a business development expert to my office in Ellicott City, MD to participate in a Business Development Collaborative Initiative (BDCI) I started with IGLOO Software in Ontario, Canada. The purpose: to ascertain whether synergies exist amongst participants that could be leveraged for our mutual benefit.  The result: Two participating executives signed agreements and we’ll be working on driving business together.

Von Wright, MBA

A week later I was in Charlotte, NC invited to share and exchange ideas with several business executives and new MBA and PhD graduates regarding: the nuances of successfully launching and managing their own small businesses; the CB3 “But I Hate Sales™” Seminars being rolled out in September; and framing new initiatives that address the needs of the under-served.  Southern hospitality was at its best in Charlotte as I was a guest in the home of Von Wright, MBA – a highly motivated businessman (who happens to be a former Marine, former US Army Officer, an Airborne qualified logistics expert, and my Pershing Rifles fraternity brother) and his hostess wife whose awesome cooking is responsible for making me put on 5 lbs. 🙂

Lessons learned:  There’s power in transparency in YOUR personal story. While it’s necessary to use wisdom in the management or disclosure of your intellectual property, there’s no substitute for sharing and exchanging great ideas and real-world perspectives with ethical, highly motivated professionals with purpose.  Want to expand your network, be introduced into warm markets, and transform lives while being handsomely compensated? Stop trying to win alone. Take the time to share what you know and commit to “pushing up people” (a phrase made famous by the great Art Williams.)

Win,

Christopher Bell, III

“Let’s Do Dinner” – A Failure to Reciprocate?

If you’re fortunate enough to have a team pumping out a few high-quality leads (like the inside sales crew at IGLOO Software to supplement your own activity) you feel super-loved and supported but under no illusion… you know that’s how they’re compensated.

When sales professionals have significant business opportunity engagements in the technology space,  they’re also introduced to enough economic buyers (EBs) in the normal course of  regular qualification and discovery processes that enable them to begin handing out really good, qualified leads to colleagues and peers working with other organizations – as long as it’s clear their products and solutions aren’t a fit, and there’s no competition for the same budget.  Unfortunately, it’s also quite likely they’ll receive a generic token of appreciation from the recipient of the lead that sounds like this:

 “Oh, thank you so much! We really have to get together sometime for dinner or maybe hit the links – I’ll call you!”  Even if the bearer of good news doesn’t say it, they’re thinking: “you’re kiddin’ me, right?  I just passed you a fat, actionable lead that’s going to  keep your insecure butt out of the fire for another 90 days or that may change your life, and you just pitched me the superficial oh-we-really-do-have-to-get-together-sometime” rap?

Me? I’m of the opinion that the “let’s do dinner” response is obsolete and that we should all press “reset”, start over, and think again about this aspect our professional interactions.

Instead of offering me dinners and golf outings that you know will never materialize, why not just make it a priority to reciprocate by returning the favor received by giving a qualified lead, in exchange for a really good qualified lead.  It’s the “golden rule:” do unto others as you would have them do unto you. In the process you replicate yourself and put another set of feet, eyes, ears, and an advocate into companies and places you don’t have access to… yet.

Want to take your sales initiatives to a higher level? Give away qualified leads, set reciprocity as a condition for lead-giving and then watch both you AND your peers income increase.  Dinner?  Thanks, but my wife called – “Big Daddy’s” going home to a feast of lovin’. 🙂

Rain check?

-Chris Bell