Over at Web 2.0h…really? today, I saw a post about a new service called Salesconx. It is an online marketplace for personal introductions. People buy and sell their friendships and business relationships for anywhere from dozens to hundreds of dollars. Let’s say that you know the VP of HR at a large company, and that that person is (inexplicably) willing to let you introduce them to random salespeople. Someone who sells employee management software might be willing to pay you $50 or $100 for you to set up a meeting with that VP.
Let’s leave the morals, ethics and viability of this concept alone for the moment – it is discussed intelligently at Web 2.0h…really. My question is, why not go to the next step? Instead of providing a forum for people to pimp out their friends, why not let people pimp out themselves?
Attention all salespeople: I’ll sit still and listen to you for 30 minutes if you pay me $100! Or you can take advantage of the weekly special and get a full hour for $175!
I’m semi-serious about this. Marketers pay a lot of money to get their message in front of the right people. BMW pays millions to try and influence only a small percentage of the total population that could realistically afford their products. Multi-tactic marketing campaigns, like the ones I’ve run for big-ticket software applications, can easily mount up to dozens or hundreds of dollars per qualified lead. If someone who had the Need, Authority, Timing, and Budget for my product offered to sit with one of my salespeople for an hour, I’d gladly pay $175 for that privilege!
As a matter of fact, marketers regularly do just that at various executive conferences hosted by the likes of Gartner. The way those events work is, Gartner invites various qualified executive decision makers to a conference where they will learn things valuable to their jobs, often actually paying for them to come. Then Gartner sells sponsorship opportunities to vendors who would like to sell stuff to these executives, and as part of the sponsorship, they promise you a certain number of private meetings with the executives. So Gartner is effectively taking the vendors’ money, then using it to bribe the executives (with a free trip to a conference at a luxury resort) to spend time with the vendors. One event Maximizer took part in, back when I worked there, cost $10,000 and got us a dozen or so private meetings. That’s significantly more than $175 per prospect.
How is that different from Salesconx? All Salesconx does it take out the Gartner middleman and replace it with some guy selling his relationships. And my scheme removes the middleman completely! Someone write up a business plan for this and I’ll split the first year revenues with ya’.