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We applaud this action, especially in this economy.
One client said to me, during a meeting where I was encouraging this tactic, “Tim, how can I take a very busy engineer or sales guy away from customers and quoting to play on the internet?”
After I calmed down, I explained to him that:
Seriously, since very little is new under the sun, this is just the new version of that longtime and revered guy at every company, the one people flocked to see at trade shows.
Two quick examples:
We had a client (sadly passed away) who invented polymer quenchants for commercial heat treating. This ancient industry used water and oil, mostly, as it had for literally centuries. People would come to the trade shows and actually wait in line to see the guy. Then, with almost papal severity, he would lean into them, listen to their quenching problem, ponder it for a moment and then put his finger in their chest and say, “OK, here’s what you do…”
We have a current client who runs what is arguably the finest gear company on the planet. He’s also a world-class fly fisherman. He stands in the aisles and goes “casting for customers,” as he says. When he arrives at a show or conference, you’d think Ghandi had walked into the room…with Mother Teresa on his arm! Talk about drawing a crowd. His theory evokes the old John Kennedy line that a rising tide lifts all boats. He actually shows customers, prospects AND his competitors his operation and his p&l. His company currently exports high-precision gears worldwide, including to China!
The internet guru at your company can be a powerful force for growth and a true agent of change for your business and the industry as a whole. Don’t overlook the possibilities or think that it’s just playtime! When a “social” network has a tangible business upside, that’s a game we’d all like to join!