Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tweet’s that count - A Specifier’s perspective.

Written from the other side of the Specifier/Product Rep relationship - here's the original story:  I'm Twitter, Hear me ROR (Return on Relationships)



No longer do I need to receive a pile of junk mail, pitching “high quality” and illustrating “Recent Installations.”  Instead, turn to data, content, and connect hashtags, to Professionals.  Reps have become a bit more savvy through Google searches/analytics, at “finding” specifiers' contact info - trust me, we “appreciate” it; however, bear in mind that pre-existing relationships are based in trust, for a product rep AND a product – remember, there is major "egg on our design face," if we take a chance and fail...consider optimizing to the “big 3” social media sites, tune into Likes, Followers, and Connections.  Capitalize upon that…but don’t pull a solicitation call maneuver, acting as a Client, and expect my return call…no rocket scientist needed to put two-and-two together…I almost pulled a Jerry Seinfeld on this Rep. Instead, drop the "talking" and begin to "listen..."  Want specifics?  To know how to effectively-leverage social media?..just ask Stephen Beach.  Our product representative/specifier “eRelationship” is the result of Twitter…

Background.
I’m a member of the Conservation Collier Land Acquisition Advisory Committee (CLAAC), which creates specific recommendations to the Collier County’s Board of County Commissioners on Residents’/taxpayers’ behalf.  By taking the time to review, in detail, projects/acquisitions, we provide “findings” for the BCC’s review, consideration, and indeed, final decision.  We research many issues, including sustainable products, but above all, must analyze best value, while balancing marketability, authenticity, and aesthetics [take a plastic bench: sustainability standpoint:  winner…aesthetic standpoint: loser!]  The first contact with Stephen was in response to a Tweet re: Green Marketing…sure, a simple back-and-forth.  Then it ended.  No pressure, no paraphernalia sent…just a simple "Have a great weekend" and "#FF" recommendation...absolutely nothing to do with his product or my service...what's the point, then, you ask? Read on...

Fast Forward.
Time passes, my involvement with CLAAC then turned to an evaluation of products, design styles, and  drawing review for a property within the Gordon River Greenway.  I FB-posted my excitement at the Scope, breadth, and amenity the Project will provide the County…I "saw" him like the FB page, then Stephen reached out via Twitter DM, as a direct result of the post to FB/Twitter-push, I “recognized him” from the Green Marketing post/other tweets, and after some back/forth, a phone call resulted.  What proved critical about that interaction was the “precision of the conversation," in other words, TIME VALUE.  
Rewind 5 years, and the phone call would have gone like this, “Yes, my name is “X,” and I rep the largest line of “Y” on the Eastern seaboard…so what projects do you have that I can look at?  Time for lunch?  I'd love to hear what your company is doing.”  This was standard issue and the time-intensive first approach to the relationship.  

Instead, in this instance, it was: “Hey, Jeff, this is Stephen Beach, PermaTrak…” [my response] “Sure, Steve, I remember from Twitter”…bingo, instant recognition, and segue to the "pre-launched" eConversation…No lunch time loss, no unnecessary explanation of my projects, NO WASTE OF SPECIFIER’S said time!!  Golden.  Immediate, pertinent talk of aesthetics/sustainability, specific product “exclusivity,” and other valuable information…
What I didn’t know or was hesitant about in PermaTrak's product, Stephen answered, filled in the blanks, and provided the company's truly unique marketplace position for sustainability and LEED-compliance in Southwest Florida.  This translated to a one of three product recommendation for the CLAAC portion of the Gordon River Greenway.  Sure, as Committee member, I couldn’t specify his, specific product, but I could now take part in a Committee recommendation to advise the County take a closer look a PermaTrak’s product, company, and go from there…
screen shot courtesy of Stephen Beach
Today.
So...Return on Relationships...still hesitant?  Whether you are a specifier or a product rep., Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn provide a greater venue for your Company, as this “case study” proves.  With the current constraints of time and dollars, social media still proves a pertinent, efficient marketing tool, enabling wonderful conduits for information exchanges…So if you’re “stuck,” have trouble finding new leads, and still send out blind, costly “junk mail” to potential Clients, Stephen and I have two words of advice:  “Get Social!”

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