At the corporate office, one question you have to be constantly asking yourself is, “How can we help our individual reps in ways that they can’t help themselves?”
Answers to this question typically hover in the more logistical area of the business. Shipping product. Mailing checks. Creating products. These are all things that a sizeable corporate entity, not an individual sales rep, should focus on streamlining.
It ultimately helps facilitate evangelism, which is what we’re all about.
Online Reputation Management
Another area that so often gets overlooked is search engine optimization, or SEO. Specifically, an area of SEO known as Online Reputation Management.
I believe that managing your company’s online reputation is one of the most important responsibilities the corporate office can focus on.
Pretend you’re a field rep for a second. You’ve had a great chat with a friend of a friend about your company. The friend is impressed with the product, and showed a little interest in the income. She’s excited. You’re excited. Your friend asks for a catalog, and says she’ll place an order in the next day.
She then goes home and does what pretty much any curious shopper does these days: She Googles your company.
And what she sees doesn’t exactly instill a great deal of confidence in the company she just heard about. Or more specifically, you, the sales rep.
Words like “scam” and “pyramid” are glowing on the screen. Headlines like “8 Reasons You Should NOT join Brand X” litter the results.
That excitement about your company leads to caution and concern. That caution and concern leads to a “thanks, but no thanks.”
As you ask why, your friend shares her experience with you. You try to explain the nature of some of these articles. You attempt to dismiss the legitimacy of the half-baked claims and opinions.
But it simply doesn’t work. The experience, and the company’s brand, have been tainted. There’s nothing you, as the sales rep, can really do to offset that.
The Real Danger
The real danger here is not in losing the prospective customer. The risk is in losing the disheartened rep. It only takes having your best presentations getting sabotaged by not-so-positive search results a few times for a sales rep to just give it up. After all, what can they do about what’s on Google?
Are you managing your company’s online reputation well? It’s critically important that you do. It’s not necessarily a quick process, but there are measures you can take to help boost the sentiment of your company’s keyword results.
The smart thing to do is to take measures when the results are great. Do everything you can to keep them that way. Even the best companies have weird stuff posted about them online. Make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep keywords related to your brand(s) generating positive search results.
By Brett Duncan from Strategic Choice Partners